Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.
And as the son of a veteran, thanks to all of you serving our nation this Memorial Day.
• Russell Westbrook made a statement with his shirt worn to the post-game press conference Sunday night (see photo to the right). I’m not sure what that message was, it was a loud one. And a confusing one for sailors everywhere as it was just a mashup of maritime flags. But Darren Rovell tweets if you like it you can own it, stop by Urban Outfitters. I’m not sure why you would, but you can.
• Fun bit of speculation: If the Sixers decide to amnesty Elton Brand, they will make a run at Kris Humphries.
• The Bulls are expected to pick up the option on C.J. Watson for $3.7 million next season. You bet they are. That’s a good deal and Watson could play a big role at the start of the season when Derrick Rose is still recovering from knee surgery.
He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.
Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.
So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.
Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency
Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.
There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.
Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.