Weekend Bolts: Rumblings in OKC and Afar

Weekend Bolts: Rumblings in OKC and Afar

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Thursday Bolts

There’s not a lot to pass along that is new for Thunderland, but you’ll notice in the bolts that the rest of the league is getting antsy. As the trade deadline approaches and the standings solidify, buyers and sellers are getting serious. I’ve tended to overestimate how active OKC will be in-season during this rebuild, but I still won’t be surprised to see multiple deals involving Oklahoma City in the coming weeks.


Sunday Bolts

There’s trouble in paradise for the Lakers. This summer, Russell Westbrook got to (finally) go home as a pro and LeBron got a more reliable minutes/playmaking innings eater to lighten his load. Carmelo Anthony signed up for the minimum and the rest of the ring chasers followed suit.

The timing even made it so that Oklahoma City fans, patiently enduring a rebuild at home, could cheer Russ on abroad as he played for the big bad market that we had feared would steal him from us in the past. But most everyone outside of Los Angeles and Westbrook World was placing bets that this superteam marriage was doomed for drama before the honeymoon even began.
 
With a sub-.500 record, Frank Vogel’s seat reaching approximately 200° Fahrenheit, and Westbrook getting benched, LA found themselves in peak LeCrisis mode like some of James’ past title contenders have. While I don’t think they will become strong title favorites this season, I do think the leadership of James and attitude of Russ are shining through an ugly on-court storm. Westbrook is saying all the right things rather than pouring more gas on the fire, and is at least paying lip service to altering his playstyle in ways that his defenders and critics alike have found unlikely for years.
 
Hanging onto the seventh seed with a win against Orlando isn’t much of a statement, but if they start to figure the hardest stuff out before Anthony Davis returns this could mark a promising turning point for the boys in purple and gold. I’m rooting for Russ to have a breakthrough, modifying his game under the realization that he can either complement star cores to win chips or become the focal point of lesser rosters to chase the play-in round.
 
It may sound crazy, but if Carmelo can change, #whynot Russ?