Plenty of teams got better this offseason, either via trade or by the signing of promising free agent acquisitions.
The Oklahoma City Thunder was not one of them.
While Western Conference clubs like the Clippers and Rockets made multiple moves to fortify the roster for a run deep into the postseason, the Thunder did nothing of the kind, and actually let their one decent offensive threat off the bench in Kevin Martin get away in free agency.
Not that Martin was good, or that the Thunder should have shelled out the dollars that the Timberwolves did to retain him. But he was the one guy who could randomly get you 20 points in a reserve role, and now there doesn’t appear to be anyone on the team that can fill that void.
It won’t be veteran forward Ryan Gomes, who OKC just added to the team on a one-year deal according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Gomes played overseas last year, and before that played seven NBA seasons with the Celtics, Timberwolves, and Clippers. The last time he played meaningful minutes was with L.A. during the 2010-11 season, when Gomes averaged 7.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 27.6 minutes per game.
Filling out the roster with a veteran for a likely league minimum deal is fine. But the Thunder haven’t gotten better while many other teams have, and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook can only take the team so far essentially all by themselves.
Hassan Whiteside recorded a triple-double last night against the Hornets, and his tenth block was particularly impressive. He didn’t so much block Marvin Williams‘ layup attempt as pluck it out of the air with one hand. It almost looks like it should count as a block, rebound and steal at the same time.
The NBA world has taken notice of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In Thursday night’s home game against the Knicks on TNT, Pistons players wore warmup shirts that read “FLINT NOW,” and the organization announced a $500,000 donation towards providing clean water for residents of the town.
Former Pistons great and general basketball legend Rasheed Wallace went even further, according to a tweet from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina:
Sheed obviously has a connection to Michigan, having played in Detroit for six years (including on the 2004 title team) and serving as an assistant coach for the Pistons during the 2013-14 season. This was an incredible gesture by him for the residents of a town that has been without drinkable water for a long time.
The Kings are a complete mess right now. After a loss to the Nets on Friday night, the team is reportedly considering firing head coach George Karl, who has been with the team for just about one year, and DeMarcus Cousins says they have “a bigger issue than the players.”
But, on the bright side, Cousins is still a monster on the court. During the Nets loss, he posted a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, showing why he’s the one thing about this franchise that is going to be worth talking about long-term.
Russell Westbrook has been wearing the new Air Jordan XXX on the court for nearly a month now. Considering he’s averaging a triple-double in his last 10 games — 22 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds — I’d say he’s pretty comfortable in them.
Continuing a trend of using the respected Jordan brand name with modern players to sell the shoes, this latest ad for the Air Jordan XXX shoes features a young hypeman who describes Westbrook as “the new Big Bang,” and asks people to “make room – as the man is about to take off.”
The Air Jordan XXX hit retail stores on Feb. 12. Westbrook will be wearing them next weekend in Toronto for the All-Star Game.