Thunder Rumors: Waiters, McGary, Harden, Durant

Dion Waiters feels “comfortable” with his situation in Oklahoma City as he waits to see if he will receive an extension, writes Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman. Waiters said there is a “brotherhood” among the Thunder, as teammates spend a lot of time together off the court. “I’ve never been a part of a team that did that as a whole, as everybody,” said Waiters, who was traded from Cleveland to Oklahoma City last season. “That’s great for me.” Teams have until Monday to extend rookie scale contracts for players who’ve completed three seasons of those deals.

There’s more tonight from Oklahoma City:

  • Mitch McGary hasn’t played in the first two games, but he hasn’t dropped out of the rotation, Slater writes in a separate story. The second-year player is being brought back slowly after going through concussion protocol. “Mitch had a good training camp,” said coach Billy Donovan. “He had a good summer. Once he gets back into a rhythm, he can really help us.”
  • The 2012 trade that sent James Harden to Houston looks worse with each passing year, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. Not only has Harden blossomed into an MVP candidate with the Rockets, but the NBA’s changing payroll landscape has made the deal even more distasteful for Thunder fans, Tramel writes. GM Sam Presti was worried at the time that the franchise couldn’t afford a max deal for Harden while hanging onto Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. However, a jump in TV money and overall revenues has created a rapidly escalating salary cap, and Enes Kanter is getting more from the Thunder than Harden would have.
  • As Durant heads toward free agency, Howard Beck of Bleacher Report wonders if he will be able to get back to an MVP level. The 2014/15 season saw Durant undergo three foot operations, with the last one coming in March. The Thunder insist the foot is fine now, and people close to Durant see no decline in his skills or athleticism. “I don’t think he wants people to feel that this is a comeback year for him,” said Brice Plebani, a childhood friend. “I think he wants to feel like there was never anything that he needed to come back from.”
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5 thoughts on “Thunder Rumors: Waiters, McGary, Harden, Durant

  1. Hobbie

    They will regret that Kanter contract. We loved him in Utah at first because of his offensive talent, we referred to him as “kancer” by the time he got traded. Nothing is ever good enough. He never gets enough time, or shots, never plays defense.

    • Arthur Hill

      His defense is the biggest concern. You saw the trouble they had defending the basket when Ibaka was hurt last year. Now you have maybe the best rim protector in the league in Utah.

      • Hobbie

        Agreed. Defense become best in league after we traded Kanter. In time he will begin to complain about playing time and not being larger part of offense (maybe not because you have 2 best offensive players in the game).

  2. Dana Gauruder

    The Thunder’s trade of Harden may be the biggest ‘What If?’ in the league over the past decade. OKC might have had its first championship by now, despite the untimely injuries it has suffered.

    • Arthur Hill

      It really is a “What If?” Would Harden have developed into the same player if he were the third option in OKC? Would he have gotten frustrated and demanded a trade? The Thunder would probably have been better, but there’s no way to know how it would have turned out.

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