Thunder Rumors

Thunder Claim Jawun Evans Off Waivers

The Thunder have claimed point guard Jawun Evans off waivers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

This comes as a surprising development, as the Rockets were expected to claim Evans after the two-way player was waived by the Suns on Saturday. Oklahoma City, which has tumbled to sixth in the Western Conference standings, made a preemptive strike to prevent Evans from going to Houston. The Rockets are currently third in the West.

It’s a kind of homecoming for the 22-year-old Evans, who starred at Oklahoma State. He made seven brief appearances with Phoenix this season.

Oklahoma City had a two-way opening after converting Deonte Burton‘s two-way deal to a standard contract earlier this month. Two-way players are not eligible for the playoffs.

It’s unlikely Evans will get any significant playing time with Russell Westbrook, Dennis Schroder and Raymond Felton at point guard.

Houston was looking to fill a two-way slot after promoting Danuel House to its 15-man roster.

Evans spent a good portion of this season with Northern Arizona in the G League, posting a 15.1/3.8/5.8 line in 32 games.

The Clippers waived him in October just before the start of the regular season, although he had a guaranteed $1.378MM deal.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls 3/20/19

Here are Wednesday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Pistons assigned Khyri Thomas and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk to the Detroit Drive as the G League team tries to wrap up a playoff spot, tweets Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.
  • The Spurs recalled  Chimezie Metu and Lonnie Walker from their Austin affiliate, the team announced on its website. Metu is averaging 14.2/7.5/2.2 in 24 G League games, while Walker is posting a 16.4/3.0/1.8 line in 27 games.
  • The Grizzlies recalled Jevon Carter and Tyler Dorsey from the Memphis Hustle, according to a tweet from the team. Both players played key roles in helping the team clinch a playoff berth last night.
  • The Jazz recalled Grayson Allen from the Salt Lake City Stars (Twitter link). The first-round pick is averaging 17.5/2.8/2.4 in 11 games with the Stars.
  • Hamidou Diallo has been recalled from Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder announced in an email. He scored 26 points last night in a win over Sioux Falls.

NBA G League Assignment/Recalls 3/19/19

Here are Tuesday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • Frank Ntilikina, who was nursing a sore groin, has been cleared to practice. He’ll get some run with the Westchester Knicks, as New York has assigned him to the G League for part of his rehab (announcement via Twitter).
  • We’ve written about Hamidou Diallo every evening this week, as he was sent to the G League on Sunday and recalled by Oklahoma City on Monday. He’s on the move again, as the Thunder have assigned him to the Oklahoma City Blue today, according to a team press release.
  • The Heat have assigned Charles Cooke to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, per the team’s Twitter feed. Cook is active for the G League tilt against the Blue tonight.
  • The Spurs have assigned Lonnie Walker and Chimezie Metu to the G League, per the team’s Twitter feed. The pair of rookies are active for the Austin Spurs tonight.

Pacers Execs Revisit Paul George Trade

  • In a pair of recent pieces by Sam Amick and Scott Agness of The Athletic, Indiana executives revisited the Paul George trade that turned into a rare win-win for both the Pacers and Thunder. “I think it worked out good for Paul, and I think it’s working out pretty well for us,” consultant Donnie Walsh said of the deal, per Amick.
  • In Agness’ story on that trade with the Thunder, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard raves about Domantas Sabonis, who gets somewhat overlooked as the only non-All-Star (so far) involved in the swap. “When we looked at all the deals, once we heard ‘Sabonis’ is when I said, ‘I’m in. I want to do this,'” Pritchard said. “And I asked everybody around the room, ‘Is everybody on board?’ As soon as that happened, we got pretty excited about that.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls 3/18/19

Here are Monday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Clippers have assigned Justin Bibbs and Jerome Robinson to the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, according to the team’s Twitter feed. The pair were recalled from the G League on Sunday.
  • The Heat have recalled Charles Cooke from the Sioux Falls Skyforce, according to the team’s website. Cooke, who was signed to a 10-day deal last week, has spent the majority of the season with the team’s G League affiliate, appearing in 39 games with the Skyforce.
  • The Thunder have recalled Hamidou Diallo from the Oklahoma City Blue, according to a team press release. Diallo has played in five G League games this season and he’s averaging 17.8 points, 7.2 rebounds

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls 3/17/19

Here are Sunday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Thunder have assigned Hamidou Diallo to the Oklahoma City Blue, according to a team press release. Hamidou has appeared in 47 games for the Thunder this season, averaging 4.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in 11.1 minutes per contest.
  • The Clippers have recalled Justin Bibbs and Jerome Robinson from the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, according to the team’s Twitter feed.
  • The Grizzlies have assigned Tyler Dorsey to the Memphis Hustle, per the team’s Twitter feed.
  • The Bucks have recalled Christian Wood from the Wisconsin Herd, per the team’s Twitter feed. The latest assignment was Wood’s 15th in the G League this season.

Northwest Notes: Westbrook, Jokic, Jazz, Exum

Thunder star Russell Westbrook will be suspended one game after picking up his 16th technical foul of the season on Saturday, the league announced today. Westbrook will serve his one-game suspension on Monday night against the Heat.

League rules mandate that any player who receives his 16th technical foul receive a one-game suspension and a $5,000 fine. For Westbrook, every other technical foul between now and the end of the regular season will result in another one-game suspension.

Westbrook, known as a highly expressive player during his 11 NBA seasons, was upset over a questionable no-call in the team’s game against Golden State. Westbrook attacked the basket and drew some contact from Klay Thompson, receiving a technical shortly afterward.

The Thunder are battling for a high playoff seed in the Western Conference, currently leading the No. 6 Spurs by one game and trailing the No. 4 Blazers by a half-game. Westbrook’s poor shooting could’ve played a role in his frustration on Saturday, with the 30-year-old scoring just seven points on 2-for-16 shooting.

In addition to his fine, Westbrook will lose $245,891 in salary by sitting Monday’s game, ESPN’s Royce Young tweets. The Thunder will save $522,518 toward the luxury tax.

There’s more from the Northwest Division today:

  • Nuggets center Nikola Jokic was ejected Saturday after accruing two technical fouls, expressing his frustration to the media after the game. “It’s extremely hard because it’s not equal for everybody,” Jokic said, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Jokic was adamant that he didn’t say anything to referee Tony Brothers, who assessed Jokic his second technical. “I didn’t say nothing, I don’t know what he was talking (about).”
  • Jazz owner Gail Miller sent an important message to Utah fans following the incident with Russell Westbrook and a disruptive fan last week, sharing the importance of keeping a respectful atmosphere while attending home games. “We do not permit hate speech, racism, sexism or homophobia,” Miller said as part of a larger statement. “We also do not allow disruptive behavior, including bullying, foul or abusive language, or obscene gestures. Violators may be subject to ejection and other penalties, including a lifetime ban.”
  • Jazz players have rallied around Dante Exum after the 23-year-old suffered yet another injury last week. Exum, who already missed 25 straight games due to injury this year, suffered a torn patellar tendon in his right knee and will be out indefinitely. “They’ve been very supportive,” Exum said, as relayed by Aaron Falk of Jazz.com. “Just every day they wanted to make sure I was right.” Exum, the No. 5 pick in 2014’s draft, has only appeared in 42 games with the team this season.

Thunder Become Final Team To Secure Jersey Sponsor

All 30 NBA teams have now reached agreements to feature a sponsored advertisement patch on their uniforms, with the Thunder announcing today in a press release that they’ll wear jersey ads for Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores. Oklahoma City had been the only club without a jersey sponsorship deal in place.

[RELATED: Full list of NBA jersey sponsors]

According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the deal between the Thunder and Love’s – an Oklahoma-based retail chain – is for four years and will rank among the top 10 jersey sponsorship deals in terms of annual average value. The club will wear the patch for the first time this Saturday night at home vs. Golden State.

A report last month indicated that the uniform advertisements have been a major success for the NBA, generating more than $150MM in new annual revenue. The lower-end sponsorship deals are reportedly worth approximately $5MM per year, while the most lucrative one – the Warriors‘ deal with Rakuten – is said to be worth $20MM annually.

As Lowe writes, many of the jersey sponsorship agreements around the NBA were three-year deals that were finalized in 2017, meaning they’re due to expire in 2020. League observers are curious to see if the market for those patches will have improved when they’re up for renegotiation, according to Lowe.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/13/19

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Sixers have re-assigned Zhaire Smith and Justin Patton to their G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, the club announced (via Twitter). Smith was available to play for Philadelphia on Tuesday night, but didn’t get a chance to make his NBA debut.
  • After scoring a game-high 28 points to help lead the Capital City Go-Go to a Tuesday win, Chasson Randle was recalled from the G League today by the Wizards, per the team (via Twitter). Randle is part of Washington’s rotation tonight vs. Orlando.
  • The Suns recalled rookie guard Elie Okobo from the G League in advance of their game tonight vs. Utah, the team announced in a press release. Okobo had 19 points, five assists, and five rebounds for the Northern Arizona Suns on Tuesday.
  • Rookie forward Chimezie Metu was assigned to the G League today by the Spurs, according to a team release. Metu is active for Austin’s game tonight vs. Iowa.
  • The Thunder recalled dunk contest champion Hamidou Diallo from the G Leauge today, tweets Brett Dawson of The Athletic. Diallo, who is active tonight for the Thunder, recorded 18 points and nine rebounds for the Oklahoma City Blue on Tuesday.

Russell Westbrook Fined $25K; Jazz Ban Fan Involved In Heated Exchange

Thunder guard Russell Westbrook has been fined $25,000 for “directing profanity and threatening language to a fan,” the league announced in a statement on Tuesday. The fan, who made derogatory remarks towards Westbrook during the heated exchange has been permanently banned from Vivint Smart Home Arena in Utah, the Jazz announced.

The incident occurred during Oklahoma City’s win over Utah on Monday between Westbrook and the fan, later identified as Shane Keisel. Westbrook said that Kiesel made comments about his family and at one point, told the former MVP to “get down on your knees like you’re used to.”

“For me, I’m just not going to continue to take disrespect for my family,” Westbrook said to reporters, including Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman, after the game. “I just think there’s got to be something done. There’s got to be some consequences for those type of people that come to the game just to say and do whatever they want to say. I don’t think it’s fair to the players — not just to me, but I don’t think it’s fair to the players.

Speaking to KSL 5 TV, Keisel gave a more subdued account of the incident, saying that he believed the exchange to be all in “good fun.”

“It was actually having fun, to be honest,” Keisel said of the encounter. “He was smiling at one point.”

“I told him, ‘Sit down and ice your knees bro!’ And he turned to me and is like, ‘That’s heat, that’s heat!’…I never said a single swear word to him, not one. Initially, I was like, ‘Oh, I’m talking to Westbrook, he’s one of the greats.’ But he’s classless.”

However, in the Jazz noted in their statement that Keisel violated the NBA’s Code of Conduct and that the organization would not tolerate such behavior moving forward.

“The organization conducted an investigation through video review and eyewitness accounts,” the Jazz said in the statement. “The ban is based on excessive and derogatory verbal abuse directed at a placer during the game that violated the NBA Code of Conduct. The Utah Jazz will not tolerate fans who act inappropriately. There s no place in our game for personal attacks or disrespect.”