July 4, 2016, 4:17 pm
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.
January 27, 2020, 11:48 pmDonovan MitchellSG, Utah Jazz
Donovan Mitchell did his best to carry the Jazz in Monday's 117-126 loss to the Rockets with 36 points on 14-of-25 shooting to go with three boards, four assists, three steals and three 3-pointers.
Mitchell tried to keep the Jazz in the game and the lack of numbers outside of scoring were due to the fact that no one on the Jazz had it going on offense besides him and Bojan Bogdanovic. The good news is that he kept up his efficiency with his high-volume scoring tonight. The rest of the stats will trickle in soon.
January 27, 2020, 11:48 pmRudy GobertC, Utah Jazz
Rudy Gobert double-doubled on Monday with 12 points and 14 rebounds to go with a steal and two blocks.
Gobert did his best against a Rockets offense that sought to drag him out on the perimeter. He was still able to grab double-digit boards, but he didn't look comfortable all game against Houston's small ball lineups.
January 27, 2020, 11:47 pmJoe InglesSF, Utah Jazz
Joe Ingles started on Monday, but his shot was off as he scored seven points on 2-of-8 shooting to go with two rebounds, six assists and a 3-pointer.
Ingles drew the start again on Monday, but was off the mark with his shot again. He's getting enough minutes to keep up his top-100 play, but he just isn't producing as of now. He's worth holding on to for a few more games as he was too good prior to this stretch to let go of after a few bad nights. Mike Conley () had a decent stretch as well, but the bench role will severely limit his upside. It's hard to imagine a world where both players produce high level fantasy lines.
January 27, 2020, 11:47 pmBojan BogdanovicSF, Utah Jazz
Bojan Bogdanovic was one of the few Jazz players to hit any shots on Monday, scoring 30 points on 10-of-18 shooting to go with one rebound, two assists and seven 3-pointers.
Bogdanovic was able to put up his usual scoring numbers alongside Donvoan Mitchell. He'll continue to be a solid source of points and triples.
January 27, 2020, 11:47 pmEric GordonSG, Houston Rockets
Eric Gordon drew the start on Monday and responded by setting a new career-high with 50 points on 14-of-22 shooting (16-of-20 FTs) to go with six rebounds, three assists, two steals, a block and six 3-pointers.
Gordon was the trigger man tonight and did his best James Harden impersonation. The Jazz just couldn't stop him on the pick-and-roll dives and couple that with his hot shooting from deep and you have what may be his best game of the season. His value goes back to 3-point streaming specialist when the Rockets are healthy as Gordon usually doesn't handle the ball this much.
January 27, 2020, 11:46 pmDanuel HousePF, Houston Rockets
Danuel House started and logged a game-high 45 minutes on Monday, scoring 21 points on 6-of-14 shooting to go with 11 boards, two assists, five steals and two triples.
House looked much more aggressive out there tonight on both ends of the floor, as displayed by his stocks. Maybe this game will snap him out of his cold spell as the Rockets desperately need him to stay this aggressive on offense.
January 27, 2020, 11:46 pmAustin RiversPG, Houston Rockets
Austin Rivers started on Monday and scored a season-high 21 points with four rebounds, one assist, one steal, two blocks and two triples.
Rivers drew the start and was in attack mode from the beginning. He was comfortable out there as the main pick-and-roll ball handler, seeking out mismatches and attacking the rim. His fantasy value dips back to irrelevancy when either Russell Westbrook (rest) or James Harden (thigh) return, but his streaming appeal is there when either sits.
January 27, 2020, 11:46 pmPJ TuckerSF, Houston Rockets
P.J. Tucker scored nine points on 2-of-4 shooting to go with 10 boards, five dimes and a triple-one line on Monday.
Tucker continues to play through his stinger, but his minutes were much lower than usual tonight as Coach D'Antoni ran a nine-man rotation. This is actually good news as Tucker can still provide a triple-one in around 30 minutes a night.
January 27, 2020, 11:43 pmKris DunnPG, Chicago Bulls
Kris Dunn was active as usual in the Bulls' 110-109 win over the Spurs on Monday as he produced 10 points (5-of-9 shooting), six rebounds, eight assists, three steals and one block in 35 minutes.
Dunn played tough defense on DeMar DeRozan, though nothing seems to be able to stop him at this point. With Otto Porter Jr. out, Dunn has carved out a good role this season. Fantasy-wise, he's most valuable for his elite steals and decent assists. In fact, this marks six straight games with at least two steals for Dunn. Most fantasy teams could use an elite specialist like him.
January 27, 2020, 11:36 pmLuke KornetPF-C, Chicago Bulls
Luke Kornet had a strong game on Monday in a win over the Spurs with 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting, nine rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes.
Kornet has been hit-or-miss since he joined the starting lineup, mainly due to low minutes. In this game, however, he showed some of his Knicks magic from last season. He should have a handful of games left in the starting lineup, so if you're looking for some blocks and threes, give him a look. Thaddeus Young was solid in his starting effort as well, putting up 13 points, nine rebounds, two assists and a pair of threes in 29 minutes in the win.