Wednesday Bolts: 8.16.17

Enes Kanter played pickup with KD, LeBron and Melo in NYC: “Enes Kanter and Kevin Durant … playing pickup basketball … together? That was the scene Tuesday at New York City’s Life Time Athletic Sky, where Kanter and his former Thunder teammate were videoed playing a 5-on-5 game on the same court along with LeBron James, J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony.”

Fred Katz on what you need to know about the Thunder’s schedule: “The Thunder play their first of 14 back-to-backs Oct. 21 and 22 against the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves. The first of those games is home. The second is on the road. Of the 14 back-to-backs, both games are away for four of them and both games are home for zero of them. They travel in the middle of a back-to-back all 14 times.”

Berry Tramel on how OKC is the fourth-most marketable team in the NBA: “The Thunder is the fourth-most marketable team in the NBA for the upcoming season. We know that by the best of metrics: television appearances. The NBA schedule was released Monday, and OKC’s national television appearances rank fourth, behind only Golden State, Houston and Cleveland. And the Thunder actually is tied with Cleveland in one of the metrics you can use.”

Grant Hughes of B/R on the Warriors chasing Paul George next summer: “A hypothetical transaction situated a full year into the future could obviously take several forms. The particulars of getting George would depend on whether he opted into the final year of his deal, opted out or angled for a sign-and-trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Warriors could move any number of players to clear space or match salaries in a trade, but the likeliest player to go would be Klay Thompson.”

Chad Johnson (Ocho Cinco) challenged Russell Westbrook to a game of 1-on-1: “The man once known as Chad Ochocinco confirmed that he wants to face Westbrook in a game of hoops. Per Johnson, Westbrook has “no excuse” to not put everything else on hold because the 39-year-old has a case of the Basketball Jones.”

Shea Serrano lists the most interesting three-pointers of the 2016-17 season: “It was Game 4 of the Rockets-Thunder series. Steven Adams was at the line with one free throw left, his team down four, and 21 seconds left in the game. He missed it on purpose, and the ball bounced perfectly back to him. He caught it, immediately turned around, saw Russell Westbrook, and zipped it out to him. Westbrook began shooting it as soon as it touched his hands. It went in (FROM ABOUT 35 FEET, MIND YOU), the arena went bonkers (BECAUSE RUSSELL WESTBROOK HAD JUST MADE A SHOT FROM 35 FEET), and all of a sudden it looked like we might be headed toward magic.”

The Undefeated has Paul George’s Thunder debut as the #7 game that should be on your radar in 2017-18: “One of the biggest surprises of the offseason was George being traded from the Indiana Pacers to the Oklahoma City Thunder. There is a good chance the Thunder could lose George for nothing, as he will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. Keep in mind that George is joining forces with 2017 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook, who has yet to sign an offered contract extension with the Thunder. George and Westbrook, who debut against the Knicks, should be fun to watch, but will it last beyond next season?”

Tom Haberstroh on how the NBA is protecting its marquee games with schedule tweaks: “Responding to a record number of missed games due to rest last season — ballooning to more than 200 instances by the tally of InStreetClothes.com injury tracker Jeff Stotts — the NBA decided to cut back on preseason and start the regular season a week earlier, beginning Oct. 17 as opposed to last season’s Oct. 25 start. The upshot? The number of back-to-backs have been snipped from 16.3 per team last season to 14.4, marking a record-low for the NBA for the third straight season. Teams can also rest easy knowing that the dreaded four-in-five — a staple of NBA schedules for decades — is history.”