Oklahoma City Thunder

Thunder Recall Dakari Johnson From G League

  • Dakari Johnson‘s latest stint with the Oklahoma City Blue didn’t last long. After sending him to the G League on Tuesday, the Thunder announced today in a press release that they’ve recalled the big man to the NBA. Johnson continues to play sparingly for the Thunder, with 19 appearances (five starts) so far this season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/16/18

Here are Tuesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

8:54pm:

  • The Warriors have assigned Damian Jones to their G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, the organization announced in a press release. Jones appeared in one game with Golden State this season, with most of his play coming in the G League. In 26 games with Santa Cruz, Jones has averaged 15.6 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 2.1 APG while shooting 68.6% from the field.

6:59pm:

  • The Bucks have recalled Jabari Parker from the Wisconsin Herd, according to the team’s Twitter feed. The former No. 2 overall pick has yet to play in an NBA game this season, though it was previously reported that he hopes to return to the court before the All-Star break.
  • The Thunder have assigned Dakari Johnson to the Oklahoma City Blue, according to the team’s website. The center made one G League appearance earlier this season where he scored 21 points and nabbed 11 rebounds.

Rockets Sign Markel Brown To Two-Way Contract

10:15pm: The Rockets officially signed Brown to a two-way deal and cut Weber, the team announced tonight in a press release.

5:51pm: The Rockets plan to sign Markel Brown to a two-way contract and release guard Briante Weber, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets.

Brown has been playing for the Thunder’s G League team, the Oklahoma City Blue, after getting waived by the Thunder during training camp. Brown appeared in 22 games with the Blue, averaging 17.4 PPG in 31.4 MPG. Brown hasn’t played in an NBA game since the 2015/16 season. He saw extensive action for two seasons with the Nets, appearing in 109 games and averaging 5.3 PPG, 2.1 RPG and 1.2 APG in 16.2 MPG.

Brown will give Houston a little more depth at the two-guard spot.

Weber had used up a good portion of his 45-day limit of NBA service. Houston decided to bring in another player with NBA experience who could restart the clock in terms of service time. Weber appeared in 13 games with the Rockets, averaging 2.0 PPG in 9.1 MPG. All but four of those appearances came over the last 11 games after James Harden was sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Nikola Mirotic, 15 Others Become Trade-Eligible

Today is January 15, which means that trade restrictions have lifted for most of the rest of the NBA’s 2017 offseason signees. While the majority of those ’17 free agents became trade-eligible on December 15, there was a small subset of free agent signees whose trade ineligibility lasted for another month.

The 16 players whose trade restrictions lift today meet a specific set of criteria: Not only did they re-sign with their previous teams this offseason, but they received raises of at least 20%, their salaries are worth more than the minimum, and their teams were over the cap, using Bird or Early Bird rights to sign them.

The most notable name in this group is Bulls power forward Nikola Mirotic. He’s not the best player on the list — Blake Griffin and Kyle Lowry would be among those vying for that honor. But Mirotic is the most likely player to be dealt out of the 16 guys becoming trade-eligible today. He has been linked to a handful of teams already, including the Jazz, Pistons, and Trail Blazers.

Here are the 16 players becoming trade-eligible today:

With three and a half weeks left until this season’s February 8 trade deadline, nearly all of the NBA’s players are now eligible to be dealt. The only players still ineligible to be moved are those who signed free agent contracts later than October 15, plus certain players who signed contract extensions in the offseason.

Hawks guard Isaiah Taylor (January 17), Nuggets forward Richard Jefferson (January 19), and Pelicans guard Jameer Nelson (January 22) are now the only remaining players who will become trade-eligible between today and February 8. For the full list of players who won’t become trade-eligible before this year’s deadline, click here.

Huestis Lands Role As Defensive Stopper

  • After spending most of his first two seasons in the G League, Josh Huestis may have found a role with the Thunder, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. Terrance Ferguson has taken over as the starting shooting guard with Andre Roberson injured, but coach Billy Donovan has turned to Huestis as a late-game defensive stopper. Huestis, who played just seven combined NBA games during his first two years in the league, is enjoying the opportunity. “It comes down to defense,” he said.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/13/18

Here are the G League moves from around the NBA today:

  • The Knicks recalled guard Damyean Dotson from their Westchester affiliate, the team tweeted. Dotson has appeared in 20 NBA games during his rookie season.
  • The Hornets recalled rookie guard Dwayne Bacon from their affiliate in Greensboro, the team announced on its website. Bacon is averaging 26.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists with the Swarm.
  • The Thunder recalled rookie center Dakari Johnson from the Oklahoma City Blue, according to the team website. Johnson has played 19 games for the Thunder, averaging 2.6 points and 2.1 rebounds in 14.6 minutes.

Thunder Struggle Against Sub-.500 Teams

  • The Thunder seemed to have fallen back into slump after finding a sweet spot last month, Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman writes. A glaring takeaway from Oklahoma City’s first half of 2017/18 is that they struggle against sub-.500 teams. Where the four top teams in each conference are a combined 134-32 against teams with losing records, the Thunder are just 12-9.

Kyler’s Latest: Fournier, Jordan, Mirotic

The NBA’s G League Showcase is playing out in Mississauga, Ontario this week and the event has brought a plethora of league executives under the same roof. With next month’s trade deadline looming, it’s inevitable that the celebration of the NBA’s affiliate league also doubles as an unofficial chance for teams to discuss possible deals.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders has a number of updates from the Showcase, the highlights of which we’ll get into below. For a full breakdown of the trade chatter going down north of the border, check out the full feature here.

  • The Magic aren’t committing to the notion of “blowing the team up” but that’s the impression that teams on the other end of the phone seem to be getting. The club is supposedly going to be active ahead of the deadline and they want to make changes that help them shed salary. Kyler notes that guard Evan Fournier seems to be the player most teams have an interest in.
  • There remains a sense that DeAndre Jordan will be moved ahead of the deadline and the Bucks continue to be mentioned as the team most likely to make that happen. Kyler writes that a possible Jordan-to-Milwaukee deal could yield the Clippers John Henson, a young player and a draft pick. The Clips apparently like Malcolm Brogdon but his inclusion seems to be a non-starter.
  • The Jazz and Pistons are in pursuit of Nikola Mirotic and the deciding factor could possibly come down to Mirotic’s ability to veto a deal. Mirotic supposedly likes the idea of the Jazz and playing for Quin Snyder. At the end of the day, however, a Mirotic-to-Utah deal would likely require a first-round pick heading from the Jazz back to the Bulls, something Utah seems currently reluctant to part with.
  • Kyler notes that there’s belief that Joe Johnson will seek a buyout from the Jazz after the trade deadline if he isn’t dealt to a playoff-bound squad.
  • There isn’t any sense in NBA circles that Pelicans big man DeMarcus Cousins or Thunder forward Paul George could be move ahead of the deadline, although some teams may make an “11th hour run” at George.

Team Misses Andre Roberson's Defense

  • Shooting guard Andre Roberson has missed the last three Thunder games with a left knee injury and their defense is suffering without him, as Erik Horne of The Oklahoman explains. The Thunder’s defense has allowed 12 fewer points per 100 possessions with Roberson on the floor this season and he’s particularly adept on pick-and-roll coverage, Horne continues. “We 100 percent need the guy because of that reason,” center Steven Adams told Horne. “And it’s just the small things that just start snowballing. He makes that extra one step that’ll stop that player and that possession. He’ll just cut off that whole play.” Roberson is expected to miss at least two more games.
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