Thunder still waiting on roster exception, hope to qualify by Wednesday

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The Thunder began Monday night’s contest against the Nets with just nine healthy players, with injuries to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeremy Lamb, Anthony Morrow, Mitch McGary and Grant Jerrett decimating the roster in the early portion of this season.

When it was over, they were down to just eight, as Andre Roberson left with a foot injury that saw him leave on crutches.

The team applied for a roster exception in order to go out and get some help, but it’s a bit of a complicated process that involves an independent physician’s evaluation, and because of that, Oklahoma City is still waiting for league approval, which it hopes will come by Wednesday.

From Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:

Previously, the Thunder had expected to receive an additional roster spot following Saturday’s game against Denver due to what the league calls a hardship, when four or more players are out at least two consecutive weeks with injuries. Each injured player must miss three straight games within the two weeks.

But because league rules mandate that an independent physician must determine whether the injuries will keep each player out for two consecutive weeks, and the outside doctor didn’t see it that way, the Thunder did not qualify for the exception. The player in question is Anthony Morrow, who is nursing a sprained MCL.

Of course, that means Morrow has a chance to return sooner than the original four-to-six week timeline placed on his recovery. Since that is a possibility, and the rule prohibits players who return early from playing, the Thunder doesn’t want to eliminate a potential opportunity to get Morrow back sooner.

The Thunder are expected to target a point guard once the exception is granted, with names like Ish Smith, John Lucas III, Diante Garrett and Michael Jenkins reportedly at the top of their list.

Oklahoma City is in real danger here, considering the strength of the other teams in the Western Conference. Fall too far behind in the standings, and it may be too late to climb back into the playoff hunt once Durant, Westbrook and the rest of the team finally make it back to full strength.

Kyrie Irving (shoulder) out for Nets-Pacers

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Kyrie Irving missed the Nets’ win over the Bulls on Saturday.

He’s not healthy enough to play the Pacers tonight.

Nets public relations:

Kyrie Irving (right shoulder impingement) is OUT.

Brooklyn (5-7) lags behinds Indiana (7-6) in the Eastern Conference’s middle morass. The Nets must try to catch up in the playoff race without their best player.

But it’s a long season. Brooklyn has plenty of time to gain ground. Spencer Dinwiddie is capable in relief, and the unselfish Nets can create ball movement while Dinwiddie rests.

I’m more concerned about next week. A segment of Brooklyn’s schedule:

  • Nov. 24 at Knicks
  • Nov. 25 at Cavaliers
  • Nov. 27 at Celtics

That’s the team Irving spurned in free agency, the team Irving requested a trade from and the team Irving just left after pledging to re-sign. Those are juicy matchups. Hopefully, Irving is healthy enough to play in all three.

Ray Allen says he would’ve returned to Celtics if they signed Kevin Durant in 2016

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Ray Allen left the Celtics on bad terms in 2012. He finished his career with the Heat in 2014.

But Allen apparently could have come back with Boston in 2016… if Kevin Durant signed there first.

Allen, via Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston:

“I had a conversation with (Ainge) and I told him this was my last-ditch effort. I would’ve went back,” Allen said on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria” radio show.

“This was when Kevin Durant was a free agent. He was thinking about going to Boston. And I said, ‘Hey, if you guys land Kevin, I would certainly look at lacing them back up one more time and try to make something good happen here in Boston.’ “

This is a fascinating “what if?” – for the Celtics on the court and for Allen’s legacy in Boston.

But it also probably didn’t come close to happening. Durant said his top two choices in 2016 free agency were the Warriors and Thunder. Even Allen himself said he never neared a comeback.

Still, it’s interesting – after all the animosity – Allen even spoke to Celtics president Danny Ainge about returning.

European coach berates his players: ‘You’re good guys. F— you’ (video)

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Remember Luigi Datome? He spent a couple seasons with the Pistons and Celtics.

He makes an appearance in this wild video featuring Fenerbahce coach Zeljko Obradovic (warning: profanity):

A partial transcript the best I could muster:

YOU’RE GOOD GUYS. IN YOUR EYES, YOU’RE GOOD GUYS. F— YOU, EVERYBODY! F— YOU, OK!

F— YOU, GIGI DATOME. OK? SHAME ON YOU. AND YOU…

Festivus isn’t for another month, but someone is already ready for the airing of grievances.

Report: Rockets waiving Ryan Anderson

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To facilitate a trade from the Rockets to the Suns last summer, Ryan Anderson reduced the guarantee of his 2019-20 salary by $5,620,885. Anderson barely played in Phoenix, got traded to the Heat, barely played in Miami and got waived. He again signed with the Rockets this summer.

Now, after barely playing in Houston, Anderson will continue his odyssey elsewhere.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Anderson was guaranteed $500,000 on his minimum-salary contract this season. By the time he clears waivers, he will have earned $434,704. So, assuming Anderson goes unclaimed, Houston will be on the hook for the remaining $65,296.

This might end the career of the 31-year-old Anderson. Once a premier stretch four, he no longer stands out in a league where 3-point shooting has become a common skill for power forwards. He’s also a major defensive liability.