• David Aldridge of NBA.com reported on Monday that he was “told emphatically” by a league source that there is “no chance” Russell Westbrook will do a renegotiation or extension of his contract.

    Aldridge rarely misses reports so the next shoe to drop here is Oklahoma City trading the superstar — or risk losing him for nothing.  With one year left on his deal there is a lot of meat on the bone for the league to chew on as well as his Bird Rights.

    Westbrook will have major say over where he can be traded and this turns into a Carmelo Anthony type situation where the player and team have to have some synergy, but not too much synergy, as Melo and James Dolan got half the team traded away when there wasn’t any real reason to do so.  Everybody knew he was going to the Knicks and there were no other good competing offers in that particular case.

    With only a puncher’s chance to beat the Warriors now — a rip the band aid off approach could end up being the best for the Thunder.

    Losing KD is a massive gut punch — a Draymond Green kick to the balls if you will — but can Sam Presti lose not just one, but two of the league’s best players without getting anything in return?  On a gamble that Russ will stay?

    Either Presti gets Westbrook’s word that he’s staying or the Thunder turn the page.

    A move of this significance, the creation of a 73-win team that adds Kevin Durant, and the ending of a chapter in OKC is all very hard to process.  It was just weeks ago that the Thunder almost cemented their future with a win over the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

    Over time we’ll grapple with a mythological historic context.  The Thunder were easily good enough to win a championship but ultimately a team that squandered its chances through a variety of blunders.  Scott Brooks’ coach by narrative philosophies, the team keeping Kendrick Perkins instead of James Harden, and playing Kendrick Perkins in actual playoff games were all major problems easily seen by any astute observer of the game.

    Don’t waste your time with talk of Serge Ibaka’s calf injury in the playoffs and when you mention the season-killing injuries to Westbrook and Durant, realize those are the reasons your organization can’t blow it when the window is open.  That window is never open very long and it can shut at a moment’s notice.

    When a half-decade has passed and you have not developed your superstar tandem into a cohesive on-court match, those seeds are planted during many years of inaction.  Durant sees that cohesiveness with the Warriors.  We got to see glimpses of that cohesiveness in the playoffs on the Thunder side.

    Unfortunately it was a case of too little, too late.

Fantasy News

  • Nicolo Melli
    PF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Pelicans forward Nicolo Melli underwent knee surgery and will not participate in Italy’s training camp at the end of July, ahead of the FIBA World Tournament.

    This comes out of nowhere and the only relative information we have is that Melli will be re-evaluated on a week-to-week basis. The Italian big should be fine for the Pelicans training camp where he will compete for the backup power forward minutes as long as the surgery is not anything too serious.

    Source: Sportando

  • Bam Adebayo
    C, Miami Heat

    Bam Adebayo is envisioning himself as a better all-around player, with averages of 16.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists this upcoming season.

    Adebayo, who turns 22 on Thursday, averaged 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 23.3 minutes while playing in all 82 of the Heat’s games last season. With the Heat trading center Hassan Whiteside to the Blazers earlier this month, Adebayo is expected to be the clear-cut choice at starting center and a fantasy breakout candidate.

    Source: Miami Herald

  • Reggie Bullock
    SG-SF, New York Knicks

    Reggie Bullock has agreed to sign a two-year deal with the Knicks for less than the $4.7 million exception.

    It was reported that Bullock intitally had an offer for two years and $20 million so this is a considerable drop on the monetary terms. The two parties had to rework their agreement after unanticipated health issues that almost made the deal fall through. This is also the end of the domino that had Marcus Morris back off his initial agreement with the Spurs and sign a deal with the Knicks instead. New York seems to be loaded in the forward positions and it’s anyone’s guess who earns the minutes to become fantasy relevant next year.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Dragan Bender
    PF, Phoenix Suns

    As Dragan Bender continues to explore the NBA market, the Cavs and the Raptors are among the teams that have inquired about the former lottery pick.

    The European market also remains an option for the Croatian forward as CSKA Moscow and Fenerbache are monitoring his situation. Bender is still only 21 years old and teams around the NBA could still take a chance on him after what has been a disappointing NBA career so far with averages of 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 131 career games.

    Source: Orazio Francesco Cauchi on Twitter

  • Raul Neto
    PG, Philadelphia Sixers

    Raul Neto could end up being Ben Simmons' backup to begin the 2019-20 season.

    Right now, the two candidates to be the backup to starter Ben Simmons are Neto and former two-way player Shake Milton, a second-year combo guard who earned a lot of minutes at the point in the NBA Summer League. Neto started 53 of the 81 games in which he appeared as a rookie in 2015-16, but only started once over the past three seasons. He has averages of 4.8 points, 1.9 assists and 37.7 percent shooting from 3-point range in 14.2 minutes and it’s highly unlikely that he gains fantasy value even if he earns the backup job.

    Source: Bucks County Courier Times

  • Chris Paul
    PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Brian Windhorst of ESPN is reporting that the Heat are open to the idea of teaming up Chris Paul with Jimmy Butler, but what has hung the entire negotiation up is the discussion of picks.

    The Thunder holds two of Miami’s future first round draft picks, an unprotected selection in 2021 and a protected one in 2023. The Heat want those included in a potential deal and Oklahoma City has no shortage of assets as, since draft night, Sam Presti has acquired a remarkable eight first-round picks. Windhorst also added that the Heat seem to be CP3’s preferred destination and if he actually ends up in South Beach, he could retain his strong fantasy value.

    Source: NESN.com

  • Kyle Lowry
    PG, Toronto Raptors

    Josh Lewenberg of TSN is hearing that the Raptors have no intention of moving Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka, at least not before the season.

    All three veterans are on expiring deals and Masai Ujiri will give this group an opportunity to sink or swim before choosing a path and deciding what comes next. With those three and Fred VanVleet hitting the open market next summer, the Raptors will have over $90 million coming off their books and plenty of flexibility. It’s clear that there won’t be a fire sale in Toronto anytime soon while this group has proved that it is capable of winning games even without Kawhi Leonard. Things could change quickly though and Ujiri has never been shy of pulling the trigger so the future looks murky for the veteran champions.

    Source: TSN

  • Daniel Theis
    PF, Boston Celtics

    The Celtics have rescinded their qualifying offer to big man Daniel Theis, making him an unrestricted free agent.

    This is move is to maximize the team's remaining cap space. Theis will eventually be signed to a deal using his Early Bird Rights. Theis will have value as a deep-league source of blocks. He will be competing with Robert Williams to back up starting center, Enes Kanter.

    Source: Keith Smith on Twitter

  • Kelan Martin
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Kelan Martin led the Wolves in their 92-95 loss against the Grizzlies on Monday with 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting while adding three 3-pointers, five rebounds and an assist.

    Martin helped the Wolves claw back into the game with a big third quarter, but the team just fell flat. He was by far the best player on the Wolves tonight, but it's still uncertain as to whether or not tonight's performance was enough to push him onto an NBA team to start next season.

  • Keita Bates-Diop
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Keita Bates-Diop scored 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting with four rebounds, an assist and a 3-pointer in Monday's loss to the Wolves.

    Bates-Diop was outplayed by his fellow benchmates in this one, but nailed a clutch 3-pointer to bring the Wolves within a single possession late in the fourth. He's struggled with consistency which is why it'll be hard to envision him having an impactful role to start next season.