Injury note: Darius Bazley left yesterday’s game with what the team called a right knee sprain. Bazley did not return and his status for Tuesday’s game is unknown.
A part of some trade speculation, Steven Adams demonstrated his value against Detroit, writes Dorian Craft (USA Today). “Adams was one of the players that Sam Presti made available, and there was significant chatter leading up to the Feb. 6 deadline that the Atlanta Hawks could make a run at securing the veteran center. But the rumors never turned into anything significant, and as such, Adams is staying in OKC. And the benefit to keeping him was on display immediately on Friday night against a Detroit Pistons team that had just traded away Andre Drummond.”
By not trading for Danilo Galliarni, the Miami Heat went against their typical aggressive instincts, says Sam Quinn (CBS Sports). “Miami knows what they’re doing. They have a track record, and they know what Gallinari isn’t: Giannis or LeBron. He is a very good player but not a superstar, and as much as his presence would help the Heat, he hardly assures victory over the Los Angeles teams or Milwaukee.”
Ira Winderman (South Florida Sun-Sentinel) argues that the Heat were smart to not trade for Gallinari. “Had Danilo Gallinari not been linked to the Heat, I think there would be a far different response to the Heat’s trade for Andre Iguodala. Instead, there is a frustration and disappointment of what didn’t happen, instead of the Heat being able to offload a pair of burdensome contracts (Dion Waiters, James Johnson), while not having to dispense of any further draft capital. Putting aside the Iguodala-Justise Winslow debate (which we get to below), the Heat were able to reset their future without any harm to their present situation. That typically is the definition of a smart move.”
The Gallinari-to-Miami trade fell apart because Danilo and the Heat couldn’t agree on a contract extension, and John Hollinger (The Athletic) says that Miami may have let the summer of 2021 dictate their negotiation too much. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned about free agency, it’s that you don’t necessarily need the actual max cap space to get a player. Miami did that exact thing in the offseason with Jimmy Butler, using Josh Richardson’s contract to give themselves enough room to get the All-Star forward. So if the Heat had signed Gallinari to a two-year extension rather than a one-year deal with a team option, they wouldn’t have the $40M or so in cap room that would have been required to sign their whale in 2021. But they would have roughly $25-30M in space (this number is slightly conjectural since it depends on cap holds, future draft picks, and a Gallinari contract that was never actually signed), and that almost certainly would put the Heat in position to get the rest of the space if they really needed it.”
Per Erik Horne (The Athletic), the Thunder are glad that a quiet deadline allowed them to keep the “family” together. “Dennis Schroder, the most candid Thunder player in the days leading up to the deadline, said he was happy the team stayed intact. ‘It felt pretty good,’ Schroder said of the deadline going by without any trades. ‘It’s a business. There’s a lot of talking. But like I said before we’re a whole family. Sometimes it’s bigger than basketball. We are really good friends off the court as well.'”
Luguentz Dort hasn’t been practicing with the team, reports Maddie Lee (The Oklahoman), keeping his NBA days limited under his two-way contract. “Dort’s contract allows him to spend time with both the Thunder and its G League affiliate, the OKC Blue. But as a two-way player, Dort is limited to 45 days of service with the Thunder. That includes both games and practice days. The number of days he has already used is not publicly available, but Dort has played 17 games with the Thunder. By holding Dort out of Thunder practice, the team can stretch his available days deeper into the season.”
Berry Trammel (The Oklahoman) says that the difference between Boston and Oklahoma City on Sunday was that Boston had an elite player in Marcus Smart. “But the Thunder is not an elite team. OKC is one of the NBA’s 13 winning-record teams and now is 7-15 against the other 12, while feasting (25-6) against the other squads. Stevens heaped praise, pre- and post-game, on the Thunder, talking about how savvy this team has become. Savvy, fun, lovable even. But not great. The Thunder is one player shy of that status, and Sunday, that player was Marcus Smart.”
On the All the Smoke podcast, Kevin Durant threw some major shade at his former Thunder teammates, calling them unskilled players who couldn’t shoot. Durant even went so far as to admit that, before the 2015-2016 season (KD’s last in OKC), he had decided he was going to leave the Thunder.
Author’s note: Before some of you in the comments say that Thunder fans need to get over Durant leaving, this is a friendly reminder that the reason the conversation continues is because Durant keeps talking about his decision while trying to justify why he left.