Thunder Notes: Anthony, George, Collison, Donovan

Scratch the idea of Carmelo Anthony accepting a reserve role if he decides to return to the Thunder next season. The veteran forward emphatically rejected the idea during today’s exit interviews, tweets ESPN’s Royce Young.

“I’m not sacrificing no bench role,” Anthony responded when asked about the possibility. “So that’s out of the question.”

Anthony has a player option for next season worth nearly $28MM that he is considered likely to exercise because he’ll have difficulty getting that amount in free agency. After averaging a career-low 32.1 minutes in his first season in Oklahoma City and sitting for extended stretches in the playoffs, there was speculation that he might be might be transitioned into a bench role for 2018/19, but today’s comments make it clear he wouldn’t be a willing participant.

There’s more from the Thunder’s exit interviews:

  • Paul George addressed his impending free agency again today, saying that playing at home in Los Angeles won’t be the “only option” when he hits the open market (Twitter link). George is considered a lock to opt out of his $20.7MM salary for next season and has long been rumored to have a desire to join the Lakers. George had an All-Star season during his first year in OKC, but his scoring, rebounding and shooting percentage from the floor all declined from last season with the Pacers.
  • Veteran big man Nick Collison, who has been with the franchise for his entire 14-year career, said, “I think I’ve decided,” when asked about his NBA future, relays Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). However, the 37-year-old added, “Today’s not the time to make any of those decisions final.”
  • Head coach Billy Donovan provided a brief answer when asked if he expects to be back with the team next season (Twitter link). “Let me say I’m excited about the organization,” he replied. “I love working with [GM] Sam [Presti], the people that are here. I haven’t given any thought to that. My total focus is how do we get better and improve.” Donovan still has two seasons remaining on the five-year contract he signed when he was hired in 2015, but the Thunder have suffered first-round playoff eliminations in the past two seasons.
  • Free agent guard Raymond Felton, who played for the veteran’s minimum this season, said he wants to return to the Thunder (Twitter link). “I don’t know what my future may hold,” the 33-year-old told reporters. “I would love to be back.”
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16 thoughts on “Thunder Notes: Anthony, George, Collison, Donovan

  1. D-NBA

    Donovan was downright terrible, never managed to get Westbrook,Anthony, and George on the same page but can you blame him? Westbrook does not run his stuff so might be time to fire him and get a coach who can actually coach Westbrook. I think Russ would listen to a coach like Messina who’s coached under Pop.

      • D-NBA

        Ultimately I blame him for not being able to coach Westbrook. But if he even tried to go against Russ he might get the ax so it’s a lose lose situation.

  2. Z-A

    Every team with cap space can offer PG13 4/170 so, really it will come down to basketball a change. A sign-n-trade probably will involve a lot of garbage players. Old or bench players. Which doesn’t do anything for the Thunder short or long term unless there are several picks involved. And if they do that, they basically have given up. I think he is gone. LA. Philly. OKC. Dont see cap capable Chicago, Dallas, & Sacramento as destinations for him.

    • D-NBA

      The Thunder will be just fine, Roberson is coming back next season and there are a lot of shooters they can go and chase this off-season. Check out some of the prospects:

      1. Danny Green
      2. Will Barton
      3. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
      4. Mario Hezonja
      5. Joe Harris
      6. Wayne Ellington
      7. Austin Rivers

      Just to name a few.

      • padam

        Danny Green isn’t a free agent. If you’re suggesting they could trade for him, $10m is quite reasonable – thus the Spurs keeping him. Plus Parker’s $18m is done with, so the Spurs aren’t desperate to deal him (Green).

        • D-NBA

          Danny might be gone dude, must be sick of Pop berating him after every timeout.

          • padam

            Pop berated Duncan during his days. Tough love but gets the best out of them, and thus the reason why players love playing for him. Green is very much liked here in San Antonio.

  3. afsooner02

    The thunder need to take that melo statement and run with it to get him to opt out.

    “Melo, you sign that option. You’re coming off the bench.”

    “No way, I ain’t comin off no bench. I’m melo. Bye thunder!”

    “Whew…..he’s gone. Now we have $ for PG13”

    • I think it was the Heat of the Moment. He sacrificed a lot and been a good teammate for the good of the Thunder.

  4. padam

    Couple of things…

    First, it’s their first year together, and the star of the team handles the ball. Chemistry won’t happen overnight, nonetheless first season.

    Second, Westbrook is at his best in transition. That’s where the offensive games of PG and Melo don’t compute. They’re both half court offensive players, moreso Melo.

    Third…this group of players should’ve never been put together to begin with. It’s not the right mix. Bad GM move, and most likely a reaction to the Rockets.

    Lastly, I don’t know how many players could actually coexist with Westbrook. He’s a talent and has got the best motor in the NBA, but his style of play isn’t condusive for a winning environment (championship). It takes a team – and he’s just a player.

  5. omar jimenez

    Westbrook and Donovan are terrible. Donovan can’t coach and Westbrook is a state chasing diva. Westbrook forces bad shots and is selfish. This big 3 would never work. Anthony is delusional and horrible team player, past his prime, and George is very good and thinks he’s great. Westbrook has so much talent but he just doesn’t make others better.

  6. formerlyz

    They need at least another wing shooter. I always thought they’d add someone late in the season, but they never did. Would be nice if Terrance Ferguson can fill some of that in his 2nd season

  7. Donovan can’t coach Russ because very few coaches have the ability to do so. He’s a guy that needs to be like D12 during his Orlando glory days. Surround Russ with low usage shooters and quality defenders, and let him be the only alpha dog. PG nor Melo are the types of players you line up beside Russ, a Kyle Korver from an offensive standpoint, Danny Green would be great as a two way (though he’s not declining his $10M option), and Roberson fits what the Thunder need to put around him.

    As for Melo, let’s see how serious he is about not being willing to be a bench piece. Have the Thunder tell him that’s how they envision his role, and let’s see if he walks away from $28M for a fraction of that to find a starting role somewhere.

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