OKC Thunder In the News: New Paul George suitors emerge

Paul George OKC Thunder (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
Paul George OKC Thunder (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder in the news features suitors for Paul George surfacing and a stark reminder of what could’ve been for original OK3.

The 2018 NBA Draft lottery is set to take place this evening along with Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. And while the OKC Thunder will not be among the 13 teams involved in the draft or still alive in the postseason these two events serve as a reminder of how precarious positioning is in the NBA.

Add the 76ers to the Paul George Sweepstakes:

Paul George will be highly coveted this summer when free agency hits. This isn’t news for Thunder fans or the star himself. The LA Lakers have long been in the mix of teams who’ll actively recruit George. LA is the stars home town and was already a possible destination even prior to George coming to Oklahoma.

But, there will others — many others who attempt to sign George to their squads in an effort to build their talent. One team who is expected to be active is the Philadelphia 76ers. Unlike other teams with ample salary cap room the 76ers are unique in that they’ve already achieved some success. To wit, the process moved out of the rebuilding phase this season into contender status. This occurred due to the combination of youthful talents Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric worked with vets JJ Redick, Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli to land the East’s third seed.

76ers making intentions clear:

It’s been widely reported the 76ers will actively recruit LeBron James. Recently reports surfaced the 76ers will also pursue Kawhi Leonard. Well, add Paul George to the list.

Daily News, Philly.com writer Keith Pompey notes George will be among the top stars Philly pursues.

"The Sixers can’t publicly say so until July 1, but it doesn’t take an engineering degree to realize the team is prepared to do whatever it takes to sign James, a four-time league MVP. Oklahoma City small forward Paul George is another free agent the Sixers  have interest in, according to folks around the league. He would be a great fit because of his ability to shoot the ball and defend."

Expect to see more articles, social media commentary and podcasts with several teams noting interest. This will be the situation until George makes a decision in July. For now it’s best to remain positive and hope OKC did enough this season to warrant landing atop his list.

Constant Reminders:

Sometimes a simple tweet knocks the wind out of you. Case in point, coming across Ben Golliver’s tweet only served to remind of what could have been.

Of the six active players who have produced seven or more 40 point games in the postseason three names jump out. Yes, the original OK3 trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Notably, Harden and Durant have had more opportunities given the number of playoff games they’ve played. Last night represented the 99th playoff game of Harden’s career and 117th of Durant’s career.

Whereas Westbrook has played 93 playoff games. This is partly due to a cheap shot by Patrick Beverley and partly because the OKC Thunder haven’t played as many games since Harden and Durant left the team.

Conference Finals:

If there was ever any doubt the Golden State Warriors were the cream of the NBA crop they answered it last night. All season pundits spoke of how the Houston Rockets were the one team who presented the Dubs biggest challenge. It’s no secret I’ve not bought into that narrative. Houston plays far too much isolation ball, doesn’t pass enough and haven’t their defense is still questionable. It’s not that the Rockets haven’t improved defensively. Rather the best defensive players aren’t necessarily the best offensive players on the Rockets.

PJ Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute definitely moved the bar upward. Yet, as the pair discovered Monday night the playoff version of the Warriors is a different beast altogether.

Many pointed to the season series success of Houston vs Golden State and the 2-1 edge. But, one of those games took place on opening night. Each of the other two games were missing vital core contributors.

More from Thunderous Intentions

The Game 1 loss feels eerily similar to the Raptors Game 1 loss to the Cavaliers. Both squads restructured with a specific target (Cavaliers/Warriors) in mind. Furthermore, losing home court also feels more like a series loss is inevitable. Toronto lost by a single point in overtime, but the Rockets loss felt more definitive. It’s only one game, so Houston is by no means out of the series.

To reiterate if fans want a competitive series cast your eyes to the East which will likely provide a more competitive series. To that end, Boston hosts Game 2 vs. Cleveland tonight. LeBron James will be seeking to even the series knowing fully well having to win four of the next five games would put Cleveland in a tough spot.

The Draft Lottery occurs at 7:30 p.m. ET (6:30 CT) and the game follows at 8:30 p.m. (7:30 CT).  Everything you need to know about the draft lottery can be found here.

For the OKC Thunder they should be paying close attention to the Western Conference Finals as it will offer insight for what the team needs will be in order to be more competitive next season.