We went from *it’s happening gif* to *it’s not* meme real quick. I broke down the smoke-without-fire deadline for the Thunder.
All-Star updates: Chris Paul was picked to play for Team LeBron in the game itself, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been selected to replace Derrick Rose in the Skills Challenge.
Joe Mussatto (The Oklahoman) gathers comments from the Thunder about the move from Terrance Ferguson to Lu Dort in the starting lineup. Chris Paul didn’t appreciate the questions: “We’re very respectful of everything and we answer questions and stuff, but I don’t know who just asked that question to Ferg about him not starting tonight,” Paul said. “That’s tough. You know what I mean? As a team, don’t do that to him. Selfless guy like that who wants to win and stuff like that. I know y’all got a job to do, but respect him enough too to not try to pit him against his teammate like that.”
If you were unduly worried about Presti filling the opening to run the team in New York, Mike Vorkunov (The Athletic) reports that you can rest easy: James Dolan has already picked CAA agent Leon Rose as the new boss.
In breaking down the Thunder’s deadline, Sam Amick (The Athletic) notes that Danilo Gallinari has been pleasantly surprised as a member of the Thunder: “Gallinari is known to be extremely fond of this Thunder team and all the surprising success that it has been enjoying. If OKC (31-20) wasn’t sitting here in the sixth spot in the West, with just a game-and-a-half separating the Thunder and Houston in the fourth spot that earns you homecourt in the playoffs, then a free-agent-to-be like Gallinari might have been a whole lot more motivated to push his way out of the Thunder’s program.”
Erik Horne (The Athletic) on the marginal impacts of the no-deal to the Thunder’s cap sheet: “Contrary to beliefs in league circles, the Thunder’s concern with getting under the tax isn’t high because they don’t anticipate being a taxpaying team in the years to come. Will the Thunder add a buyout player? Possibly. The Thunder have an open roster spot, but two-way player Luguentz Dort has impressed enough in 16 games to indicate he’ll be signed to a fully guaranteed contract. Dort must be signed to a guaranteed deal to be playoff-eligible.”
On the latest Bill Simmons Podcast, Ryen Russillo joins Simmons for a trade deadline conversation that includes the Thunder’s non-activity, a theory on the Russell Westbrook/James Harden trade, and Chris Paul overrulling OKC’s minutes management plan for him when he joined the team:
Dennis Schröder attended the latest leg of Black History Month activities for the Thunder, giving books to students at Britton Elementary School:
You may have missed it with all the deadline day excitement yesterday, but we have some new weather forecasters who will be helping you bet on the Thunder. And they’re always right: