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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Articles tagged: Oklahoma City Thunder

Here are all the draft picks Oklahoma City Thunder now have

Sam Presti

The Oklahoma City Thunder reluctantly entered a rebuild when they acquiesced to Paul George’s trade request last week, but they have since done quite well for themselves.

The Thunder have amassed an absurd amount of draft picks in return for some of their traded players. They got five first-round picks from the Clippers in the George trade (three Clippers and two Miami Heat picks). They received two more first-round picks from the Houston Rockets for Russell Westbrook. They also received a first-round pick from Denver in a trade of Jerami Grant.

Albert Nahmad listed all the future first-round picks the Thunder possess entering the 2020 NBA Draft, including protections and pick swaps.

The Thunder’s first-round pick for next year is protected 1-20 from the trade with Philly that brought them Jerami Grant. They likely won’t have to worry about losing that pick, which will convert to two future second-round selections. Their top-14 protected pick in 2022 comes from when they dumped Carmelo Anthony.

The Thunder have the right to choose to swap either theirs or Miami’s first-round pick with Houston in 2021. In 2025, they will have the right to swap theirs or the Clippers’ first-round pick with Houston.

This is a crap load of picks, but it might take a while for the assets to pay off. The highest picks they will probably get the next few years will be their own. Beyond that, they’ll have to hope for the Heat to be bad soon and the Clippers and Rockets to be worse years from now.

Report: Russell Westbrook, Thunder working together to facilitate trade

The Oklahoma City Thunder appear to be headed toward a total rebuild after trading Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers, and Russell Westbrook could be the next piece to go.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Thunder have been fielding trade calls for Westbrook and are working with the star point guard to help facilitate a potential deal.

Westbrook is owed a whopping $170 million over the next four seasons, and finding a team that wants to take on that kind of contract for a 30-year-old player may be challenging. It will be even more difficult this late in the offseason, but it is certainly possible if both sides are motivated to make it happen.

There have already been several teams mentioned that could be interested in adding Westbrook, but making the money work will be the big obstacle. If the Thunder are able to move him and add more draft picks to the haul they received in return for George, they will have an unprecedented amount of draft capital moving forward.

Report: Russell Westbrook, Thunder discussing possibility of trade

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook are at a crossroads, and both sides may be ready to move on.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Westbrook’s agent, Thad Foucher, is discussing Westbrook’s next steps with Thunder GM Sam Presti. One of those steps could be exploring trade possibilities, with both sides recognizing that the time may have come after an 11-year partnership to explore external possibilities.

There is no indication that Westbrook has demanded a trade, but there appears to be a willingness on both sides to explore the possibility now that Paul George has been traded to the Los Angeles Clippers and the team’s window for playoff success looks to be closing.

It doesn’t appear that anything led to the breakup of the Thunder, but the reality of the situation is becoming clear. They have been paying heavily into the luxury tax for the right to lose in the first round of the playoffs two years in a row, are falling behind in the West, and have no real prospects to improve.

The biggest issue for Oklahoma City may be getting someone to take Westbrook’s four-year, $170 million deal.

Report: Thunder offering No. 21 pick to try to shed salary

OKC Thunder logo

The Oklahoma City Thunder are trying to avoid the luxury tax by dangling their No. 1 draft pick.

According to Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated, the Thunder have made the likes of Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, and Dennis Schroeder available in a bid to shed salary, and will include the No. 21 pick to try to get a deal done.

The Thunder have been subject to massive luxury tax penalties in the past, and they will want to avoid that going forward. Russell Westbrook and Paul George are locked in as the faces of the franchise, but the pieces around them are all apparently fair game.

Thunder GM indicates head coach Billy Donovan’s job is safe

Billy Donovan

The Oklahoma City Thunder saw their season end on a disappointing note last week when they lost four out of five games against the Portland Trail Blazers, but it appears head coach Billy Donovan does not have to worry about his job status heading into next year.

While speaking with the media on Monday, Thunder general manager Sam Presti said he envisions Donovan being back with the team next season.

Donovan has a record of 199-129 in four seasons with the Thunder, but they have lost in the opening round of the playoffs the past three years. While a lot of that had to do with losing Kevin Durant in free agency, Paul George had an outstanding regular season this year and expectations were high with him and Russell Westbrook leading the way entering OKC’s series against Portland.

Of course, we all know how that worked out. The Thunder were embarrassed both with their play and by what Damian Lillard did to them to close out the series. While they weren’t expected to get past teams like the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, a lot of people picked them to pull the upset over Portland.

The Thunder picked up the fifth-year option on Donovan’s contract earlier in the season, and there had been talk that he could earn an extension with a strong showing in the postseason. He may have to enter next year as a lame duck, but it appears he will be keeping his job in the short-term.

Damian Lillard acknowledges tension between Blazers and Thunder

Damian Lillard

The first round of the NBA playoffs has been set, and one of the more intriguing matchups will be the one between the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder. There is not a lot of love lost between the two Western Conference teams, and Damian Lillard is making no effort to hide that.

When it became official that the No. 3 Blazers will take on the No. 6 Thunder, Lillard admitted to reporters that there is “something there” in terms of tension between the two teams.

That isn’t exactly a secret. Earlier this season, Lillard and Russell Westbrook had some heated moments and traded words during a game. Westbrook got physical with Jusuf Nurkic during the same game, and Nurkic trolled him on Twitter after Westbrook called the Blazers big man a “clown.”

The rivalry didn’t end there, as Westbrook also committed a foul on Nurkic last month that many felt was dirty and intentional.

If you like storylines in the playoffs, the Oklahoma City-Portland series will be one to watch.

Ranking the top 10 NBA contenders post-trade deadline

Joel Embiid 76ers

The NBA trade deadline has passed, which means we more or less know what teams will look like in the NBA playoffs. There will be a few new faces who join playoff teams, but the bulk of these rosters are in place. With most of the season behind us, we also know who will likely be making the playoffs and seeded highly for a Finals run.

Keeping in mind the trade deadline activity, here are the top ten contenders to take home the title in June.

10. Utah Jazz

The Jazz were ultimately quiet at the trade deadline despite being linked to Memphis guard Mike Conley. In the end, they will go with what they had, which isn’t bad. Donovan Mitchell is a star, and Rudy Gobert is playing with a point to prove after being a quite egregious All-Star snub. They’re not really deep enough to challenge the best of the West, and they don’t really have enough in the way of top-level talent, but they’re good enough to cause a few headaches.

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