With Andre Roberson now out until at least December, the Thunder won’t rush into the free agency market to find a replacement, according to Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. Coach Billy Donovan plans to give closer evaluation to players who have either been injured or haven’t been used in prominent roles during training camp, such as Abdel Nader, Alex Abrines and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.
“That’s something [general manager] Sam [Presti] and I will probably talk about together with [assistant GM] Troy [Weaver], the three of us would,” Donovan said, “but right now having the number of players that we have on the roster for training camp, there’s enough.”
Oklahoma City has 14 players with guaranteed contracts, so a roster spot is available if the team opts for the free agent route. The Thunder are well over the luxury tax line with a team salary in excess of $145MM, but they cut their tax bill by about $20MM by waiving and stretching Kyle Singler. OKC has its entire $5.6MM taxpayer mid-level exception available.
There’s more tonight from the Northwest Division:
- Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau isn’t willing to brush aside his team’s slow starts as a product of the preseason, relays Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Minnesota’s first unit fell behind 34-22 in Wednesday’s game against the Clippers and 31-20 after one quarter Friday against the Thunder. “You can fall into a trap thinking it’s preseason, we’ll get it, we’ll get it,” Thibodeau said. “That fact of the matter is, we open in 12 days. So the urgency has to be there.” Part of the problem, of course, is that the Wolves are missing a key member of their starting five as Jimmy Butler has remained in limbo since issuing his trade request.
- Jazz forward Joe Ingles believes he’s among the league’s best shooters, relays Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News. He has the statistics to back up that statement, shooting 44% from 3-point range over the past two seasons. “The numbers I’ve shot, the percentages, they obviously are what they are and people are going to dissect everything,” Ingles said, “but, I honestly feel like they’re all going to go in when I shoot the ball.”
- The Timberwolves have announced a few promotions, naming Todd Checovich as scout/GM for the G League Iowa Wolves, Nick Restifo as senior basketball operations analyst and Troy Sutton as head strength and conditioning coach.