Thunder Notes: Anderson, Payne, Abrines

Virginia small forward Justin Anderson and Murray State sophomore Cameron Payne are among the players interviewing with the Thunder at this week’s combine, The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry reports (Twitter link). Payne, who spoke with Zach Links of Hoops Rumors, and Anderson project as mid-to-late first-rounders, according to Chad Ford of and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. The Thunder will pick 14th unless they have astounding lottery luck, as the odds show, though after losing Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and others for significant time this season, Oklahoma City might be due for a change in fortunes. Here’s more on the Thunder:

  • Thunder draft-and-stash prospect Alex Abrines has signed a deal with Barcelona of Spain that runs until 2019, reports Jose Ignacio Huguet of Mundo Deportivo (translations via Jon Hamm of The Oklahoman and Enea Trapani of Sportando). Hamm suggests the deal includes a high-dollar NBA buyout clause. The shooting guard who was the 32nd overall pick from 2013 had been under contract only through 2016, as Mark Porcaro notes in our Draft Rights Held Players Database. The Jazz have shown interest, and he’s drawn raves for his play overseas.
  • What Enes Kanter gives the Thunder offensively is often negated on the defensive end, though he was a major force on the boards, as The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater examines. Regardless, the Thunder and their midseason trade acquisition have mutual interest in a new deal as the center hits restricted free agency this summer.
  • Steve Pierce of Daily Thunder stumps for the Thunder to hire ousted Pelicans coach Monty Williams as an assistant in large measure because of the similarities between Williams and former Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks. Williams could help ease the transition in the locker room, Pierce argues, though it appears the Thunder would have competition for Williams from the Raptors and that Williams is more likely to wait for the next head coaching job to open, as Marc Stein of reported.

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