Thunder in the news: Westbrook serves up salty rap, LeBron’s shortlist will define free agency

Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, OKC Thunder (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, OKC Thunder (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Social media offered OKC Thunder Russell Westbrook’s salty singing post and early recruitment from NBA players of the King.

Although the OKC Thunder began their offseason weeks ago with the NBA Finals complete all teams jump into preparations for next year in earnest.

For OKC Thunder fans it was a disappointing campaign given the ups and downs. Losing Andre Roberson will always hang over this season’s squad, especially if Paul George doesn’t choose to return this summer. Adding extra angst is the fact Kevin Durant is now a two-time champion and repeated as NBA Finals MVP.

Although it can’t be confirmed this message was meant as shade, it was very in line with the type of salt Russell Westbrook likes to toss out.

Collison Retirement Party:

Westbrook was busy this weekend as he also reportedly attended Nick Collison‘s retirement party. Danielle Gehr of The Des Moines Register reported on the event. As per Gehr there were approximately 100 people in attendance.

"Co-owner of Hello, Marjorie Nick Tillinghast confirmed via email Saturday morning that Westbrook, along with Thunder teammate and Iowa native Nick Collison, was  at the bar Friday night for Collison’s retirement party. He said the private party went from 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. and 100 people were in attendance."

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic /

ESPN first take of 2019 Power Rankings:

Last week early predictions by Westgate placed the OKC Thunder at 60-1 odds to win the 2019 Championship. With the season wrapped ESPN provides their initial power ranking assessment.

Notably, what Paul George decides will play a big part in where OKC ranks moving forward. Other factors which will affect the team’s initial middle of the pack (14th) placement are all based on free agents. Will Carmelo Anthony opt in and if not can Sam Presti move him or negotiate a buy out. In addition, where free agents Jerami Grant and Raymond Felton sign will also affect the team’s ranking.

"It’s another summer of unknowns that could swing the franchise forward or set it back once again. This time the only difference is there are no contractual questions around Russell Westbrook, but if he’s left alone in the wake of George departing, and with an uncomfortable Carmelo Anthony situation, the Thunder will be in an awkward position for the foreseeable future. If George re-signs, other issues will sort of resolve themselves, and they can view last season’s self-admitted disappointment as Year 1 of plan to return to Western Conference contention. — Royce Young"

Recruitment of King is in full swing:

Despite the hopes of 29 teams the inevitable Warriors championship now feels like it was destined. Moreover, as much as the Cavaliers reaching the finals was predictable this season what happens this summer will make for an interesting debate of the East’s representative next year.

More specifically The Decision Part III will no doubt determine much. As LeBron moves towards his answer it’s expected much of free agency will hinge on his choice.

Former OKC Thunder player Enes Kanter was one of the first to target James on  social media:

Also sending out an initial tweet was Spurs Dejounte Murray.

James shortlist will feature Eastern elite with Paul George playing a factor:

And based on Marc Stein New York Times article, Murray isn’t the only Spur coveting a Texas size version of the King.

"The prominent ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith reported recently that James planned to speak to six teams in addition to the Cavaliers. Philadelphia, Houston, Miami and the Lakers were all mentioned — as were the juggernaut responsible for James’s 1-8 record in his last nine finals games (Golden State) and his longtime Eastern Conference nemesis (Boston). I’ve also been advised that the ever-persuasive San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich is bound to try to force his way into the conversation to sell James on the merits of South Texas."

More from Thunderous Intentions

Smith suggest the Cavs, 76ers Rockets, Heat, Lakers, Celtics, Warriors and Spurs are the eight teams. But, there are also reports earmarking the Raptors as a dark horse. I wouldn’t count out the Pelicans (who would be a good fit) or Blazers trying to get a meeting too. Additionally, sources indicate James and Paul George will meet to discuss mutual benefits So, pairing up with the Thunder can’t be ruled out.

Personally, I still think James will look to remain in the East. This so he can avoid the Warriors until the Finals (and an easier schedule).

Given the poor fit with the 76ers and the Heat’s roster that may give credence to the Celtics and Raptors moving up the Kings list. But, with Kyrie Irving in Boston, could he serve as a deterrent?

I never imagined I’d be typing these words, but the Raptors may offer the deepest roster and best fit in the East for James. And, the team has assets and contracts they can move such as Serge Ibaka and Norman Powell if Cleveland wanted to pursue a sign a trade.

Bottom line, interesting days lie ahead with LeBron James and Paul George in the middle of the offseason storm.