It’s been an emotional week for the Thunder and that’s only going to continue through the weekend as Carmelo Anthony makes his return to New York for a battle with the Knicks. As Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports writes, the week could help give the new-look Oklahoma City squad much-needed closure.
“We can focus on what’s ahead of us. We can focus on being [the] Thunder. It’s no more Pacers. It’s no more Knicks,” Anthony’s newest superstar teammate Paul George said, having narrowly defeated his own former squad in his first game back in Indiana on Wednesday. “We can focus on what we have to do, to get better as a team and get better as Thunder players. That story, that chapter, and that book is over with.”
One difference between Anthony’s exit and George’s exit is that there was somewhat of an understanding between all parties that his tenure in the Big Apple had run its course. George’s hasty departure, the trade request that triggered his deal to the Thunder, left plenty of Pacers fans betrayed.
“At the end of the day, it’s business to me. But I’d be lying if I said I’m not ecstatic to be going back and playing there,” Anthony, who has averaged 17.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game for the Thunder, said. “Like I said, I got a different feeling with New York. A different relationship, different bond with the city, with the fans, with the people. It’s a little bit special for me.”
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- While there’s no direct indication that the Hawks are shopping Marco Belinelli, the veteran would be an excellent fit for the Nuggets, Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype writes. Belinelli has connections to Denver’s front office and the 95% free-throw shooter could provide support in one area that the team particularly needs it.
- Injured Timberwolves forward Nemanja Bjelica could still be a week or so away from making his return, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. Bjelica has been out with a foot injury since November 22.
- The Timberwolves considered signing veteran point guard George Hill over the offseason, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee tweets, but ultimately signed Jeff Teague to man the position.