Early yesterday morning we broke the news that Shaun Livingston was getting the call up to join the Oklahoma City Thunder. 24 hours after WTLC broke the story, it still remained unconfirmed until earlier today when it was announced that Shaun signed a multi-year contract to officially join the Oklahoma City Thunder. Terms of the deal were not announced, but the phrase "multi-year" can be misleading. More than likely the remaining 9 games of the season are considered one year, and a team-option for next season is probably the "multi-year" part of the deal. Basically this gives the chance for the Thunder to evaluate him at the NBA level for the remainder of the season and keep him with the team through summer workouts.
His signing almost certainly guarantees that we've seen the last of Earl Watson stepping on the court in a Thunder uniform, at least in my estimation. Over the last 9 games of the season, the Thunder will be able to evaluate Livingston against NBA competition. What they learn from these nine games will help determine what moves will be made during the offseason. If he plays well, I look for Earl Watson to be moved as soon as possible after the season concludes, for no other reason than to dump his oversized 6 million dollar salary. Shaun will almost certainly be evaluated against the performances of both Watson and Atkins this season, all while keeping in mind the ridiculous upside that Shaun has if he can stay healthy and improve during the summer.
I've seen Shaun in action quite a bit for the 66ers and I've been thoroughly impressed with his tremendous court vision, and ability to make crisp clean passes. At the same time, his shooting has been a little hit or miss, and at times, it seems like he's been reluctant to take shots, and instead preferring to pass the rock. One game in particular the 66ers had a chance to win the game and Shaun had an open shot at the free throw line but chose to pass down low in traffic which ended up in a Tulsa turnover. To me, it definitely looked like someone was in his ear telling him to focus on assists and not worry about trying to score points. One thing is for sure, he definitely had a focus on playing unselfish team-first style of basketball that will fit well with what the Oklahoma City Thunder are trying to do.
In other call-up news, The Oklahoma City Thunder have also recalled rookie DJ White who is now expected to finish out the season on the Thunder Roster. He's gotten mixed reviews in his short stint in Tulsa, but one thing is for sure, while he was there, the team was winning. He still has a ways to go to be in full game shape, and we won't likely see that before the end of the season. Perhaps the Thunder just want to go ahead and get him some live NBA experience while there are still a few games left this season.
Shaun Livingston was at the Shootaround earlier today, and it looks like both he and DJ White could play tonight for the Thunder. With only 9 games remaining, I doubt they'll waste much time before getting these guys on the court to evaluate their play. Livingston will wear #14 for the Thunder. You can see a few pics below of the boys in action for the 66ers earlier this season.