No news is good news?
Thunder fans may think so.
So might Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan, who was asked following Wednesday’s 109-106 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers if coaching around the trade deadline came with any additional challenges.
“This time of year there’s always a lot of speculation, there’s a lot of things that go out there,” he said. “I respect and appreciate that [general manager] Sam [Presti] and the front office don’t inundate me with every call that comes in.”
Or, perhaps, any call.
“I have had no conversations about anything,” said Donovan, before finishing his postgame availability.
If he received no calls before between 10 p.m. and waking up Thursday morning, he may have received none whatsoever.
Earlier Wednesday, there were reports of the Los Angeles Lakers being interested in reserve point guard Dennis Schroder, who later that evening netted 30 points against the Cavs.
There was also a report of the Atlanta Hawks inquiring about OKC center Steven Adams. Yet, by the time Wednesday became Thursday, the only open question appeared to be whether forward Danilo Gallinari would make it past Thursday’s 2 p.m. trade deadline remaining a member of the Thunder.
Oklahoma City will enter today’s 7 p.m. home-court tip against Detroit with the identical roster with which it dispatched Cleveland.
“We’ve just got a really great group of guys,” point guard Chris Paul said after practice on Monday. “Obviously, winning helps, but … we enjoy playing together, hopefully we can stay together.”
He got his wish.
When the Thunder, 31-20, take the court tonight, they’ll do it as the No. 6 team in the Western Conference, sharing the position with the Dallas Mavericks.
They’re also breathing down the neck of both Houston and Utah, both of which entered Thursday night’s slate of games with identical 32-18 records.
Through much of Wednesday evening, Gallinari’s name was being attached to an in-progress three-team deal that definitely included Miami and Memphis and might include Oklahoma City, too.
The Heat wanted to land both Andre Iguodala and Gallinari, and they received the former from Memphis.
Two different sticking points regarding Gallinari heading to South Beach were reported.
Wednesday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Thunder were balking, trying to convince Miami to unprotect the 2023 first-round draft pick that originated with the Heat, yet has resided with the Thunder ever since it was sent to them by the Los Angeles Clippers in the trade that sent Paul George to LA and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Gallinari to Oklahoma City.
Currently, the Thunder will be able to exercise that pick only if it falls between the Nos. 15 and No. 30 selections, meaning it’s top-14 protected.
Another issue, reported The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor via Twitter on Thursday, was Gallinari’s unwillingness to sign a two-year deal with a team option with the Heat.
Gallinari’s current contract, paying him $22.6 million this season, runs out at season’s end.
The lack of moves made by the Thunder leaves them slightly above the luxury tax threshold.
According to spotrac.com, which tracks salaries and payrolls of every major North American sports league, Oklahoma City’s payroll remains at $133.428 million, putting it about $800,000 above the threshold. Should that payroll not change by regular season’s end, the Thunder will owe about $2 million in luxury taxes.
OKC’s payroll will increase if two-way-contract player Lu Dort were to receive a full NBA contract. It could also decrease should the Thunder choose to waive anybody.
“I think this group is together,” Donovan said after practice on Monday.
It’s staying together, at least.