Jon Hamm writing on NewsOK.com: “Here’s why I’m more concerned about the Rockets than the Clippers: Houston has another big trade or two left in them. The Rockets are over the salary cap, but they around $8 million under the luxury tax line. What that means is that they would be able to absorb unwanted money from another team in order to get the guy they want. For example, if they trade away $10 million in salary, they can take back up to $15 million. And while Harden and Dwight Howard are pretty much untouchable, every other Rocket can presumably be had. Much of the potential trade attention is focused on center Omer Asik, but the Rockets have several other assets. Specifically, if the right deal came along I believe the Rockets would part with super-cheap-yet-highly-productive players Chandler Parsons and Patrick Beverley.
Joe Kaiser of ESPN Insider fake trading Omer Asik: “Oklahoma City Thunder for draft picks and/or Jeremy Lamb or Reggie Jackson — Even with Steven Adams making a quick adjustment to the NBA, the Thunder still need help at the center spot. Asik’s activity around the rim and experience would give OKC exactly what it has lacked in recent years, and could be the final piece to the puzzle. The Thunder would then use the Amnesty clause on Kendrick Perkins next summer to stay below the tax line in 2014-15, when Asik’s contract balloons. The only problem with this trade is that the Rockets wouldn’t land the perimeter-oriented power forward it so desperately covets.”
Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN.com: “The last time the Thunder visited Oakland, back in April, they made the Warriors look less than a playoff team. Oklahoma’s 116-97 win came with a violent Westbrook block of Curry’s layup, followed by a court-shrinking, coast-to-coast slam by Durant that ended in an emphatic throat-slash gesture. Objective observers would have concluded that ground-bound Golden State just couldn’t match Oklahoma City’s athleticism, and that these teams were decidedly far apart. Not so with Iguodala it seems. He helps close the athleticism gap between these two squads while giving the Warriors someone who could plausibly guard Durant capably. When these teams meet again, the Warriors might have more trouble containing Russell Westbrook. The fiery guard had 31 points, many of them coming on shots that didn’t once consider grazing the rim.”
Only one writer had OKC in their top five in a 5-on-5 on ESPN.com: “This is probably selling Oklahoma City short, given how impressive Steven Adams and Jeremy Lamb have looked early on. Did the Thunder just draft a good center with the 12th pick? That’s not supposed to happen. I’d rank them higher if Scott Brooks took the extra step and placed Adams in the starting lineup. It’d also help their cause if Derek Fisher was relegated to, well, retirement.”
Darnell Mayberry: “I think tonight was the first time in eight games that Brooks subbed Durant out before Westbrook. Brooks sat KD with 3:23 left in the first quarter and brought him back with nine seconds left in the period. Durant then played with the second unit to start the second period. That is definitely the first time this season that Durant flanked the B Team at the start of the second quarter. It’s nothing new. Brooks supplemented the second team with KD throughout much of last season. But this tonight was another small example of how Brooks has been very experimental with his lineups, rotations and minute distribution early this season. He’s evolving nicely in that area.”
Be sure to hit up Yucatan Tacos next Thursday for Daily Thunder’s pregame happy hour. Great deals on food and drinks, with some prizes and such mixed in.