Oklahoma City Thunder – Hoops Rumors Legitimate NBA free agent and trade rumors. 2020-08-04T03:26:28Z https://www.hoopsrumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Luke Adams <![CDATA[Dennis Schröder Leaves NBA Campus For Birth Of Child]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=167553 2020-08-03T20:31:59Z 2020-08-03T20:31:59Z As expected, Thunder guard Dennis Schröder has left the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus in order to be with his wife for the birth of their second child, head coach Billy Donovan confirmed today, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

“It happened this morning so he’s with his family at this point in time,” Donovan said. “I’ll have a chance to probably talk to him and find out a little bit more, if it’s not later today, tomorrow. But right now for at least this game, he’ll be out. We’ll probably be able to gather some more information once we get a chance to spend a little bit more time with his over the phone.”

Shortly after the Thunder arrived at the NBA’s campus last month, Schröder indicated that he anticipated leaving in early August for the birth of his child, so his departure doesn’t come as a surprise.

A Sixth Man of the Year candidate, Schröder has enjoyed the best season of his career in 2019/20, averaging 18.9 PPG, 4.0 APG, and 3.7 RPG with career-best shooting percentages of 46.9% from the floor and 37.9% from beyond the arc.

The NBA’s protocols for leaving and re-entering the Disney campus call for a quarantine period of four days when a player returns. That quarantine period can be extended all the way up to 10-14 days if the player doesn’t test negative for COVID-19 each day that he’s away (or for seven consecutive days leading up to his return, if he’s gone for more than a week). However, it seems likely that Schröder will make sure to get tested daily during his absence.

Even if Schröder’s absence is brief, he’s probably on track to miss at least the Thunder’s games against Denver (today), the Lakers (Wednesday), and the Grizzlies (Friday).

Losing the veteran guard for a handful of their seeding games will create a tougher path for the Thunder as they look to improve their place in the standings. At 41-24, Oklahoma City currently ranks sixth in the West, but is just a half-game behind Utah and Houston and only 1.5 games behind the third-seeded Nuggets.

Luke Adams <![CDATA[Mike Budenholzer, Billy Donovan Win Coaches Association Award]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=167532 2020-08-03T16:37:33Z 2020-08-03T16:37:33Z Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer and Thunder head coach Billy Donovan have been voted the co-coaches of the year by the National Basketball Coaches Association, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

This award, introduced in 2017, isn’t the NBA’s official Coach of the Year award, which is voted on by media members and is represented by the Red Auerbach Trophy. The winner of that award is expected to be announced at some point during the postseason this summer.

The Coaches Association’s version of the award – named after longtime NBCA executive director Michael H. Goldberg – is voted on by the NBA’s 30 head coaches, none of whom can vote for himself.

Budenholzer, who also won the NBCA’s award in 2019, has had even more success with the East-leading Bucks this season. His team has a 54-13 record and – before the season was suspended – had been on pace to surpass the 60 victories that last year’s Milwaukee squad racked up.

As for Donovan, he has exceeded expectations with a Thunder team that was viewed as a borderline playoff contender and a candidate for a full-fledged rebuild. Instead of returning to the lottery following the offseason departures of Russell Westbrook and Paul George, Oklahoma City is 41-24, good for sixth in the Western Conference. A strong finish over the next couple weeks could result in a top-four record in the conference for the Thunder.

Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, widely viewed as the favorite to win the official Coach of the Year award in 2020, was one vote away from finishing in a three-way tie with Budenholzer and Donovan, per Wojnarowski.

Sources tell ESPN that Taylor Jenkins (Grizzlies), Nate McMillan (Pacers), Erik Spoelstra (Heat), and Brad Stevens (Celtics), and Frank Vogel (Lakers) also received votes.

Luke Adams <![CDATA[Tramel: SGA's Upside Makes Full Teardown Unnecessary]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=167340 2020-07-31T21:04:05Z 2020-07-31T21:04:05Z
  • Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman suggests that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander‘s superstar potential should dissuade the Thunder from engaging in a full-fledged teardown in a year or two, since acquiring a player with SGA’s upside would be the goal of such a process.
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    Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Noel Forgets COVID-19 Test, Misses Final Scrimmage]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=167235 2020-07-31T17:27:02Z 2020-07-31T01:49:45Z Backup Thunder center Nerlens Noel missed the squad’s final scrimmage ahead of the NBA season restart in Orlando after accidentally not taking his daily COVID-19 test, according to Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman. The Thunder would go on to win that scrimmage, 131-120, against the Trail Blazers. Any player who misses a daily coronavirus test is required to quarantine in his hotel for at least a day before rejoining his team.

    Noel signed a new one-year, veteran’s minimum contract with the Thunder last summer. He has proved to be a useful rotation addition for the club, averaging 7.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 1.0 APG in 55 games. The Thunder will play their first game of the league’s restart on Saturday against the Jazz.

    • All-NBA Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard will play in the team’s first restart game on Friday against the Grizzlies, per Jason Quick of The Athletic. Lillard missed the team’s final two scrimmage games against the Raptors and Thunder with a sore left foot. “I was able to do everything [normally],” he said after a private 45-minute solo workout Wednesday. “I feel fine. I’m ready to go for tomorrow.”
    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Abdel Nader Placed In Concussion Protocol]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=166690 2020-07-26T21:20:18Z 2020-07-25T19:54:06Z Thunder forward Abdel Nader has entered the NBA’s concussion protocol, the team announced today in a press release. He suffered the concussion during Friday night’s scrimmage against the Celtics.

    Under the league’s concussion policy, Nader must pass through a series of steps to prove he is free of symptoms before being permitted to resume basketball activities. There is no set timetable for a player to complete the protocol. Oklahoma City has one more scrimmage remaining before starting its seeding games next Saturday against the Jazz.

    Nader has appeared in 48 games this season, making five starts, and is averaging 6.0 points and 1.9 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per night.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Northwest Notes: Roberson, Donovan, Porter, Blazers]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=166532 2020-07-24T17:45:24Z 2020-07-24T17:45:24Z Thunder forward Andre Roberson hasn’t been a part of the team’s rotation since the first half of the 2017/18 season, having dealt with a series of knee issues that have prevented him from returning to the court. As Royce Young of ESPN details, Roberson finally appears to be close to making his comeback after more than two years of recovery and rehabilitation.

    “(It has been) basically a big roller coaster of emotions,” Roberson said of his rehab process. “Just being so close, and then something else would happen. Setback after setback. I don’t know man, it was just tough. … (There were) definitely a lot of times I was ready to give up.”

    Roberson, who last suited up on January 27, 2018, says he feels as if he’s “finally ready” to play, though the Thunder won’t raise expectations or put any pressure on the defensive specialist by penciling in for a major role right away. As Young points out, if Roberson plays at all during Oklahoma City’s August 1 restart opener, he’ll have gone 916 days between games.

    Here’s more from around the Northwest:

    • Although Thunder head coach Billy Donovan is on an expiring contract, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman expects the two sides to work out an agreement to keep Donovan in his current role beyond this season.
    • Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. has cleared his initial quarantine period at the NBA’s campus, a source tells Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link). Porter still needs to pass a cardiac screening to be cleared to practice, but the team is taking small steps toward getting its full roster available.
    • The Trail Blazers – and head coach Terry Stotts – were happy with what they saw on Thursday from Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins, who were playing for the first time in 16 months and nine months, respectively. As Jason Quick of The Athletic writes, the team still wants to experiment with frontcourt options in its next two inter-squad scrimmages before deciding on a starting five for the seeding games. “Right now, I would like to see Nurk and Hassan Whiteside out there together and we can make decisions after that,” Stotts said. “At this point, I’m just keeping an open mind about it.”
    Jovan Alford <![CDATA[Presti Believes Dennis Schröder Should Win Sixth Man of the Year]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=166419 2020-07-23T01:01:06Z 2020-07-23T01:01:06Z
  • Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Thunder general manager Sam Presti explained why he believes Dennis Schröder is worthy of winning Sixth Man of the Year. “I think he’s playing the best basketball of his career,” Presti said (via Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman). “He’s all about trying to do what’s right for the team right now, and he’s just an elite competitor. I’m happy that he’s playing so well, and I hope he does get recognized for it.” This season, the veteran guard is averaging 19 PPG while shooting 38.1% from three-point range.
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    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Thunder Notes: Roberson, Dort, Ferguson, Bazley]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165984 2020-07-20T01:46:23Z 2020-07-18T23:32:34Z Thunder forward Andre Roberson continues to make progress in his attempted comeback, writes Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman. Roberson was one of the NBA’s top perimeter defenders before suffering a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee in January of 2018, then an avulsion fracture later that year. Head coach Billy Donovan offered an encouraging update as Roberson tries to return to action for the first time in 30 months.

    “He’s doing great,” Donovan said. “I think he’s gaining confidence. I think he’s got confidence in where he’s at physically. I think he’s trying to gain confidence right now in terms of being out from playing competitive basketball for two years.”

    The injury has kept Roberson sidelined for almost the entirety of the three-year, $30MM contract he signed in 2017. He is earning $10.74MM this season and a strong performance could make him an intriguing name on this year’s free agent market.

    There’s more on the Thunder:

    • Luguentz Dort was effective during his time as a starter, but there’s no guarantee he will keep that role in Orlando, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Dort began the year as a two-way player, but seized an opportunity when Terrance Ferguson missed eight games in January for personal reasons. Dort impressed OKC’s coaches with his defense and started the final 21 games before the shutdown. Dort, Ferguson and Roberson are all candidates for the starting wing spot. “Lu’s done a really good job,” Donovan said. “For me to sit here and say that he’s starting when we get back to playing, I wouldn’t say that. I’m really trying to be open-minded to let these guys play and compete and find out where they’re all at and how well they’re playing with one another.”
    • No Thunder player is enjoying his time at Disney World more than 20-year-old Darius Bazley, Mussatto writes in a separate story. Part of Bazley’s excitement comes from being fully healed after missing the final 11 games before the break with a bone bruise in his right knee.
    • Donovan said his younger players in particular did a great job of staying in shape during the hiatus, telling Paris Lawson of NBA.com that Dort, Ferguson, Bazley and Hamidou Diallo look different than when he last saw them in March. “You can see a physical difference I think when you’re dealing with young players that are 19, 20, 21 years old,” Donovan said. “Their maturation and how much they can develop through four, five or six months can be really amazing.”
    Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Dennis Schröder Intends To Leave Orlando For Birth Of Child]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165532 2020-07-15T22:01:04Z 2020-07-15T01:02:49Z Crucial Thunder backup guard Dennis Schröder has announced that he will leave the NBA’s Orlando restart campus in “three or four weeks” to join his pregnant wife for the birth of their second child, according to Royce Young of ESPN (Twitter link).

    “I love basketball, but the family comes first all the time,” Schröder said of his decision to eventually, albeit temporarily, leave the Thunder during the season’s restart (link). “I’ll try to make something happen with the organization…. I’m not going to leave my wife by herself while she’s [having] the second baby. [Son Dennis Malick Schröder Jr.] is still 17 months old.”

    Missing Schröder for any extended period of time would be a big blow for Oklahoma City as the club battles for playoff seeding in the West’s crowded middle tier. The team, currently the No. 5 seed with a 40-24 record, currently own the tiebreaker over the sixth-seeded Rockets, who possess the same record.

    Schröder, a top contender for the Sixth Man of the Year award, ranks third on the Thunder in average minutes per game (31.0), behind All-Star Chris Paul (31.8) and promising second-year guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (35.1). Coach Billy Donovan has seen great results when playing all three players, each nominally a point guard, together.

    A player who receives permission to leave the Disney campus for a family situation will be required to quarantine for four days upon returning, as long as he’s gone for fewer than seven days and tests negative for COVID-19 each day that he’s away.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Community Shootaround: Western Conference Seeding]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165310 2020-07-13T18:10:24Z 2020-07-13T18:10:24Z As we detailed on Friday when we discussed the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, there will be an opportunity for teams to move up – or down – in the standings when play resumes on July 30.

    With eight “seeding games” on tap, teams are unlikely to make up five- or six-game deficits on the clubs ahead of them in the standings, but there’s a strong likelihood of a shake-up in instances where teams are only separated by a game or two.

    That’s even more true in the Western Conference than it is in the East, albeit not necessarily at the very top of the standings, where the 49-14 Lakers hold a fairly comfortable lead on the 44-20 Clippers. The Lakers’ magic number to clinch the conference is just three, so they’re a safe bet to hang onto the No. 1 seed.

    After that though, there’s some congestion in the standings. The Clippers’ lead on the Nuggets (43-22) is just 1.5 games. Denver holds an identical lead over the Jazz (41-23). Utah, meanwhile, is just a couple losses away from slipping down to the No. 6 seed, as the Thunder (40-24) and Rockets (40-24) are right on their heels. The 40-27 Mavericks round out this group of six teams, a game-and-a-half behind OKC and Houston and just 5.5 games behind the second-seeded Clippers.

    A number of those six clubs bunched up in the middle of the Western Conference playoff picture will face one another when play resumes. For instance, the Thunder – who have the potential to move up or down a couple spots in the standings – will open the restart against the Jazz and Nuggets and eventually finish their season against the Clippers. The Clips will face the Mavericks and Nuggets in addition to OKC. Dallas opens its eight seeding games by playing the Rockets.

    Given the strength of competition in the West, seeding could be paramount in the postseason. The Nuggets, for example, could conceivably face the Jazz, Thunder, Rockets, or Mavs in the first round and would likely prefer some opponents to others in that group. The Jazz, currently at No. 4, could be motivated to avoid the No. 6 Rockets in the first round, since they’ve been eliminated by Houston in each of the previous two postseasons.

    At the bottom of the playoff picture, the No. 8 Grizzlies (32-33) have essentially no chance to move up, since they’re seven games back of Dallas. But they’ll be looking to increase their lead over the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs, and Suns — if they can finish with more than a four-game lead on all those clubs, they’ll avoid a play-in tournament. If the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds finish within four games of one another, a play-in tournament will be necessary to determine that final playoff spot.

    A newly-healthy Blazers squad will be a major threat to the Grizzlies, as will a Pelicans team that faces one of the league’s weakest schedules over the course of the eight seeding games.

    What do you think? Do you think we’ll see much movement in the Western Conference’s top eight? Will the Grizzlies be knocked out by one of the challengers behind them in the standings? What do you expect the West’s top eight seeds to look like by the time the playoffs begin?

    Head to the comment section below to weigh in with your predictions!

    JD Shaw <![CDATA[Andre Roberson Returns To Court]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=165257 2020-07-13T12:19:54Z 2020-07-12T22:00:10Z
  • Thunder forward Andre Roberson joined the team in practice on Friday for the first time in nearly a year, Royce Young of ESPN writes. Roberson, who last saw NBA action over two years ago, first sustained a ruptured patellar tendon in January of 2018. He suffered a setback later in the year that required additional surgery, then experienced another setback six weeks later by sustaining an avulsion fracture in his knee. “He looked really, really good in terms of the way he was moving,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “It was great to see him out there. I was really happy for him. But like we’ve talked about in the past, we’ll see how he can continue to build up and develop here over the next week, but he was out there today and he participated in everything.”
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    Alex Kirschenbaum <![CDATA[Thunder Traveling To Orlando For Restart]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=164797 2020-07-09T02:39:24Z 2020-07-09T01:47:12Z
  • Sixteen of 17 Thunder players are traveling to Orlando for the NBA’s Orlando season restart, as Brandon Rahbar of Daily Thunder details. In case you missed it, forward Isaiah Roby had surgery on his right plantar fascia and will miss the rest of the 2019/20 season.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Thunder’s Isaiah Roby Out For Season]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=164761 2020-07-08T20:08:58Z 2020-07-08T20:08:58Z Thunder forward Isaiah Roby won’t play this summer when the NBA resumes, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman writes.

    A team spokesman said today that Roby is out for the season after undergoing a minor procedure on his right plantar fascia, per Mussatto, who notes that the 22-year-old has dealt with plantar fasciitis since his days at Nebraska.

    According to Mussatto, Roby won’t travel with the Thunder to the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus. The club also can’t sign a substitute player to fill his spot on the roster, since injured players are ineligible to be replaced. Oklahoma City will simply enter the summer restart with 16 players instead of the maximum 17.

    Roby, a second-round pick in 2019, was traded from Dallas to Oklahoma City in January. He appeared in just three games for the Thunder, logging 11 total minutes, so his absence won’t impact the team’s rotation.

    Roby averaged 8.1 PPG and 5.9 RPG in 17 G League games (20.2 MPG) for the Texas Legends and OKC Blue as a rookie. He remains under contract with the Thunder through 2023, though his salary isn’t guaranteed beyond the 2020/21 season.

    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Dort Wasn't Sure He'd Receive Standard Deal]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=164712 2020-07-08T12:23:06Z 2020-07-08T01:40:20Z
  • Luguentz Dort wasn’t sure he’d receive a multi-year deal from the Thunder until shortly before the agreement was reached, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman writes. Dort had his two-way contract converted into a standard four-year, $5.4MM deal late last month. “I had conversations with my agent and everything, but nothing was actually like 100% sure,” Dort said of the negotiations. “It was still unsure until these past couple weeks … and then it happened.”
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    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[And-Ones: Gudaitis, Beaubois, Paul, Robinson, Curry, King]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=164694 2020-07-08T12:21:18Z 2020-07-08T00:10:22Z Lithuanian center Arturas Gudaitis is expected to leave Olimpia Milano and join Zenit St. Petersburg next season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Gudaitis, who played 19 games last season with Olimpia Milano and averaged 7.3 PPG and 4.4 RPG, had been signed through next season with the Italian club. The Sixers used a 2015 second-round pick on Gudaitis but he has never appeared in an NBA regular-season game. The Cavaliers acquired his rights in 2018 via a three-way trade with the Kings and Jazz.

    We have more from around the basketball world:

    • Former Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois has reached a two-year contract extension with his Turkish club Anadolu Efes, Misko Raznatovic tweets. Beaubois, 32, hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2012/13 season. Last season, the French guard averaged 11.1 PPG over 43 games.
    • Chris Paul has made a strong impression as NBA Players Association president, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman details. Players Association executive director Michele Roberts indicates that not all superstar players like the Thunder point guard command the same respect. “I won’t name any names, but there have been other marquee players that have been on the executive committee,” Roberts said. “They haven’t come close, they haven’t come close to providing and demonstrating a level of commitment and time that Chris has. And he’s not only just there, he’s engaged, he understands the issues. … He does insist on hearing all sides, and he brings in the other players.”
    • Joe Johnson, Mario Chalmers, Nate Robinson and Eddy Curry are among the former NBA players slated to participate in 3-on-3 pay-per-view tournament later this month, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype tweets. The “5 Tournament” is scheduled to take place July 19-29, just before the NBA’s planned restart.
    • Former Suns two-way player George King has signed with Bundesliga’s Chemnitz 99ers, Nicola Lupo of Sportando tweets. King, who appeared in one game with the Suns in 2018/19, played in Italy and Poland last season.