Jerami Grant may be the new guy in the Thunder locker room, but he has a lot of connections already, writes Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. Grant has been friends with guard Victor Oladipo since middle school, and he played for Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan for two years on the Under-19 USA Basketball team. Grant, who was traded from Philadelphia to OKC on Tuesday, is familiar with the area because his father, Harvey, played college ball at Oklahoma. “I love the state. I love the city,” Jerami Grant said. “I definitely have a good feel for the area.”
There’s more out of Oklahoma City:
- The strong personalities of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were destined to doom their relationship, Horne contends in a separate piece. The former teammates will meet for the first time Thursday night when the Thunder travel to Golden State to face Durant’s new team. Many observers felt it was a slight when Durant sent a text to Westbrook to inform him that he was signing with the Warriors, and they haven’t discussed the situation since Durant announced his decision. “We’ve been together eight years,” Westbrook said. “You don’t throw that away. Obviously, he’s now with a new team. But we definitely will talk. Eventually. But, obviously, now we haven’t.”
- There was little opportunity cost to giving extensions to Steven Adams and Oladipo, writes Michael Pina of Real GM. The deals cost OKC about $184MM, but the Thunder weren’t in position to get two better players at that price. The team needs to stay competitive to keep Westbrook from leaving in free agency in two years, so it made sense to spend the money to keep two important players in place. The only downside is that Oklahoma City can’t chase elite free agents next summer.
- Giving $84MM to a player like Oladipo is the kind of deal that can backfire, warns Real GM’s Colin McGowan. Oladipo is a shooting guard without a dependable 3-point shot, McGowan writes, and he could create salary cap problems in Oklahoma City if he can’t blend his game with Westbrook’s.