The Oklahoma City Thunder have some hard choices coming in the next few years as they try to keep this core together — but Russell Westbrook just made that a little bit easier.
Westbrook has reached a max extension deal with the Thunder, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.
All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook has signed a five-year, $80 million contract extension with the Oklahoma, league sources told Yahoo! Sports….
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, Westbrook could’ve been eligible for a maximum deal worth 30 percent of the Thunder’s salary cap next season. To do so, he needed to satisfy requirements that included him being named to the All-NBA team twice in four years. Nevertheless, Westbrook gets an extension that pays him 25 percent of the Thunder’s cap and preserves space that allows the franchise to construct future deals for James Harden and Serge Ibaka.
That last part is key — Westbrook could have gotten a “Derrick Rose” rule deal (if he makes the All-Star Game again this season), which is what the Thunder modified Kevin Durant’s deal to be. It would mean more money in Westbook’s pocket (about $15 million total over five years), but would also means 60 percent of the Thunder’s cap space would be tied up in two players and keeping guys like Harden would have been difficult.
The Yahoo report says Westbrook did not get that kind of deal, he got the 25 percent of the salary cap deal he can sign now. If he does not get a bump up to a Rose rule size contract — and it appears he is not — this is a great deal for the Thunder.
They apparently sold him on this as a way to keep the core of this contending team together and he accepted the sacrifice. It still will not be easy — Harden in particular is coveted by other teams and he could see tempting offers — but now the Thunder stand a better chance. OKC hopes to sign Harden to a deal around $11-12 million a year. They already have Kendrick Perkins at $9 million plus, and there is Serge Ibaka who will need an extension.
How much the small market Thunder owners are willing to spend and pay in luxury tax (especially after the more onerous provisions kick in after a couple years) remains to be seen.
Bottom line, the Thunder now have Westbrook and Durant locked up. With that they are going to be very good for the next five years, regardless.
The Los Angeles Lakers are having a pretty good January.
The team has a losing record overall but is 6-5 in 2018, despite the noise from the Ball family and the need for public confidence for Luke Walton as coach.
Still, I’m not sure they’re having as good a time as the guy who won $100,000 by banking in a halfcourt shot on Sunday.
The fan’s name is apparently Suni Strong, and he’s from Palmdale. He played high school basketball, works at Space-X, and was on a canceled A&E show about bounty hunting.
Via OC Register:
“When I first walked in I said have my check ready,” he said. “I knew I was going to make it. I had to.”
Asked if he called “bank,” Strong replied, “Why would I do that? I called money.”
That’s some serious scratch.
Spencer Dinwiddie was once a member of the Detroit Pistons. They traded him to the Chicago Bulls back in 2016 for Cameron Bairstow, and the Bulls promptly waived him less than a month later. That same day, Bairstow was waived by the Pistons.
On Sunday, Dinwiddie got his revenge on Detroit by ending their matinee matchup with a step-through jumper that two Pistons failed to defend.
The play came with 4.7 seconds left and the Brooklyn Nets trailing, 100-99. Dinwiddie ran across the far side of the floor to receive the ball from the sideline, then to the near elbow before putting on a series of moves to get his shot off.
The play gave Detroit just 0.09 seconds left, and they couldn’t get an attempt off.
Brooklyn beat the Pistons, 101-100.
Meanwhile, Dinwiddie continues to have the best season of his career. He’s averaging 13.2 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per-game, all career-highs. He’s also boosted his VORP to 1.1, another personal best.
Enes Kanter likes to inject himself in situations he doesn’t belong in.
The New York Knicks forward likes to take aim at the biggest star in the game, LeBron James, and has said in the past that he would fight LeBron if he had to.
Some previous comments from LeBron riled up members of the Knicks organization, and there’s been animosity between the two sides ever since.
So it wasn’t too much of a surprise when Kanter had something to say on Twitter about his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, dropping 148 points during a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. Heck, even former Cavaliers coach David Blatt jumped in on that one, albeit immediately before his own team got 151 scored on them.
Kanter took to Twitter, using LeBron’s own catchphrase against him:
Of course, that’s probably not the best idea. Kanter is a role player and LeBron is one of the best who ever played. Even if the Cavaliers are stinking it up lately, you can’t go after the King like that. You just might miss.
“One texted [teammate] me just to say — I’m not going to say who — but he texted me ‘You’re about to get 50 dropped on you, boy.'” Kanter said before Sunday’s matinee against the Los Angeles Lakers. “I responded something back, but I’m not going to say what it is.”
Kanter added that he’s just “having fun” and wanting to put “a smile on people’s face” with his constant prodding.
We’ll see if he ends up smiling the next time Cleveland and New York meet on April 9 at MSG.
David Blatt, perhaps sensing his time to pounce as rumors swirl around Tyronn Lue’s departure, decided to troll the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. It did not go so well.
Blatt, who was fired from the head coaching spot in Cleveland in 2015, now heads Darüşşafaka S.K. in the Turkish Super League.
Blatt was also coaching Team Europe vs. Team Asia in the Turkish BSL All-Star Game on Sunday. During the game Blatt joked during a TV interview that he was just hoping his team didn’t give up as many points as the Cavaliers did to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday. That game ended with a score of 148-124.
So what happened to Blatt’s Team Europe in the All-Star Game?
According to Erik Gundersen over at LeBron Wire, Team Europe promptly got rolled on with a tally of … 151 points.
The final total in the Turkish All-Star matchup was 151-142 in favor of Team Asia.