The NBA’s plan to put gold tags on the back jerseys for all franchises with NBA championships seems sort of cool and mostly inconsequential.
But it did lead to one big question: Will the Oklahoma City Thunder honor the 1979 Seattle SuperSonics’ NBA championship?
For the most part, the Thunder have built their own identity in Oklahoma City, a strategy made easier by heavy roster turnover around the time of the 2008 move. But might ignoring the title be seen as a(nother) slight to Seattle?
There’s no perfect way to handle this. Which way will the Thunder go?
Cody Stavenhagen of The Oklahoman:
Christopher Arena — the NBA’s vice president of outfitting, identity and equipment — told The Oklahoman in a phone interview Monday the Thunder will not honor the Seattle SuperSonics’ 1979 NBA title with the league’s new championship tags.
This is the right move.
The Thunder, after an acrimonious split with Seattle, have distanced themselves from their Sonics legacy. I bet Oklahoma City would even give a new Seattle franchise, if there ever is one, the Sonics’ history and records, a la New Orleans and the Hornets.
If Seattle would have gotten a new team before Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook led the Thunder to a championship, would they have removed the gold tag? That would have been ridiculously awkward. Better to just avoid the problem now.
When the team wins a title in Oklahoma City, add the gold tag. Until then, save it for the next Seattle franchise.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.