The Thunder got a very satisfying win last night over the Houston Rockets, at least temporarily cataloging the Rockets into their proper pecking order in the West. Here is the fallout as well as what else is going on around the league.
Kicking things off, Berry Tramel has his buddy and CBA expert Jon Hamm back to comment on the Thunder's situation and whether or not they have the ability to sign anyone to temporarily replace Russell Westbrook. Read the whole thing, but this is the operating section:
"According to information provided by Mark Deeks of shamsports.com, Oklahoma City is far enough under the luxury tax line to safely sign a minimum salary free agent. The pro-rated portion of the veteran's minimum, even for a 10-plus year veteran, shouldn't put the Thunder into the luxury tax. However, the Thunder could wait until Jan. 6 before making a transaction. This is the date that 10-day contracts can be signed. A player can be signed for up to two 10-day contracts. After the second 10-day deal, the team can sign the player for the rest of the season or allow him to become a free agent again. Oklahoma City could opt to sign one player to a pair of 10-day deals and then sign a different player to a pair of 10-day deals to get by while Westbrook recovers.
"If the Thunder are in a hurry, they could sign a player now to a non-guaranteed contract and waive him by Jan. 7. All non-guaranteed contracts become guaranteed for the rest of the season on Jan. 10, and players must clear waivers before then. After clearing waivers, the player could be re-signed to a pair of 10-day contacts as explained above."
Mayberry writes in his post-game notes that Kevin Durant was something special last night, and that is saying something given who we're talking about. What inspired me the most is that it was the rare game when Durant combined his unparalleled talents with the intensity that Russell Westbrook brings on a nightly basis. KD was, for a night, transformed and I was transfixed.
Royce Young ranks the Thunder over this past week, and in his #1 ranking of Kevin Durant, Royce gets it right with this simple quote from Derek Fisher. I can think of only 2 other players - LeBron & CP3, of whom the same can be said.
"Everything that you need and want your best player to be, that’s what he is."
Spurs All-Star guard Tony Parker may be in some hot water after getting photographed displaying what is reported to be an anti-Semitic gesture. His response is the correct one; if he didn't know, he didn't know, and all he can do is never do it again.
The Memphis Grizzlies have a few guys that have a bit of a past and are rough around the edges. That makes it all the more sweet when they do things like this, because it shows that all men can grow up and do things that matter.
Lastly, per Daily Thunder, here is the Thunder bench mob's 3-point celebration. While it doesn't have the geeky awkwardness of the Cole Aldrich Rockettes kick, it's a great group thing, let's call it the fireman's roll (because the shooter is smooookin'!) and you can play along at home.