Enjoy the draft.
If the trade stays as-is, Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider gives OKC a C+: “Depending how much the Thunder spend to re-sign restricted free agents Enes Kanter and Kyle Singler, they were looking at paying 3.25 times Lamb’s $3 million salary in taxes, so moving his contract for the $1 million guaranteed portion of Barnes’ 2015-16 salary enables them to save about $8.5 million. Given how unlikely Lamb was to contribute, trading him was a no-brainer. It was just a matter of what, if anything, Oklahoma City could get in return.”
Darnell Mayberry with some new details: “Previous reports indicated that the Thunder would receive the non-guaranteed contract of Matt Barnes in exchange for Lamb, with OKC immediately waiving Barnes to shed salary. But neither Barnes nor his contract is coming to OKC, The Oklahoman has learned. The Thunder is in pursuit of a draft pick for Lamb, although his lack of playing time over the past three seasons has sabotaged his trade value. Charlotte owns the ninth overall pick in Thursday’s draft, as well as the 39th overall selection. The Thunder, however, isn’t expected to receive either of those picks. The more likely scenario under the proposed deal is Charlotte sending OKC a future draft pick.” Keep Reading…
The Thunder are sending Jeremy Lamb to the Hornets in exchange for Luke Ridnour’s non-guaranteed contract as well as a conditional 2016 second round pick, the team announced Thursday. Ridnour will not be joining the Thunder as he’ll be waived by the July 10 deadline, if not traded again.
It’s a pretty clear move to free a roster spot, likely to add whoever the 14th overall pick is tomorrow night.
So, Lamb’s career in Oklahoma City appears over. As the key piece in the James Harden deal, he never found footing with the Thunder, falling out of the rotation any time he got in it. There was expectation that he might find new life under Billy Donovan, but clearly, the Thunder are ready to move on.
Initially, the deal was reported as being Matt Barnes sent to the Thunder.
Russ Bengston of Complex on the new KD8: “Take the heel counter as an example. Deep into the design process, Chang had to rethink them, as what he’d come up with was too close to one of Kobe’s designs for Durant’s taste. Sketching one night, he was inspired by Durant’s latest tattoo—a saber-toothed tiger on his right calf. Which, of course, comes back to Durant himself. ‘Obviously the saber-toothed [tiger] was around in the ice age,’ Durant says, ‘and I feel I’m a cold-blooded killer.’
Cam Payne in a Q&A: “I don’t know what to think. I’m just ready for it to happen. I can’t wait till June 25, because I mean, like you said, people have been talking about trades and all this other stuff, and I have no control over it. So I’m just sitting here waiting and listening, and I just can’t wait. I’m happy, but I’m just impatiently waiting.” Keep Reading…
When the draft process started and it was official the Thunder were picking 14th, Stanley Johnson was my guy. I loved his defensive ability and two-way NBA potential. Strong, tough, physical, and a little Jimmy Butler-ish.
Nothing has really changed to sway me, but problem is, it looks less and less likely the Thunder would have a chance to take him.
It’s not that Johnson’s stock has soared from impressive workouts or draft buzz. He’s just steadily been in the top 8-10 of the draft, leaving the Thunder with an unlikely chance to grab him. Still: He’s probably my favorite fit for the Thunder in the range they’re picking. Keep Reading…
Anthony Slater on Billy Donovan’s draft influence: “This season, he faced Oubre and Kansas, Bobby Portis and Arkansas and, during the SEC slate, loaded Kentucky three separate times. After those games, Donovan called Trey Lyles a ‘major problem’ because ‘there is no one in college basketball who can match up with him’ and labeled himself a ‘huge fan’ of Devin Booker’s. Both are considered possible Thunder targets at the 14th pick. Over the next few years, Donovan’s fingerprints are expected to be all over the future of the Thunder. The first ripple may materialize on Thursday night, where his advice may help lead to OKC’s newest player.”
Rob Mahoney of SI.com on draft needs: “Regardless, perimeter defense needs to be a bigger teambuilding priority. Center Enes Kanter, who will be a restricted free agent, puts a strain on Serge Ibaka and the Thunder’s interior defense. Alleviating the pressure coming from the perimeter seems the best way for OKC to vault back into the top 10 in defensive efficiency after a shaky showing on that end last season. Waiters, Morrow, D.J. Augustin, and even Russell Westbrook create problems within the Thunder defense. Should Oklahoma City enter next season with the same basic perimeter rotation, it risks running so many potential liabilities as to burden its title contention.” Keep Reading…
While so many focused in on the soaring stock of Cameron Payne, with rumor-y rumors linking the Thunder with the Murray State guard, there hasn’t been much talk about Jerian Grant, who would appear to be a strong fit for Oklahoma City.
And the fact is, he looks pretty nice on the Thunder’s roster.
Grant was a four-year player at Notre Dame, blossoming last season into a scoring point guard that led the Irish to an ACC Tournament win and within a whisper of upsetting Kentucky. He attacks the basket extremely well, has solid defensive potential, and the biggest thing, as the Draft Express video lists, is size at his position. That’s a big Presti checkmark. Keep Reading…
Berry Tramel: “That’s why I find free agency much more interesting. A bunch of players swapping teams. The occasional superstar — this year, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol are on the market — but even far less-talented players make a difference. For instance, restricted free agents make a deal, then the original team has to counter (Enes Kanter). Or role players branch out (Anthony Morrow arrived in OKC last July).”
ESPN Stats and Info: “According to ESPN Stats & Info’s NBA Draft Projection Model, Payne is projected to have a statistical plus/minus of minus-0.60 in years 2 through 5 of his NBA career. Statistical plus/minus is an estimate of a player’s contribution to his team’s point differential per 100 possessions. An SPM of zero is considered league average (weighted for minutes), and replacement level players have an SPM of about -2.” Keep Reading…