When Paul Geroge told Sam Presti, he would rather play for the Clippers than stay in Oklahoma City, new free-agent signees Alec Burkes and Mike Muscala were given the option to stay or seek employment elsewhere. Burkes took the fist train to San Fransico to play with the Warriors who were coming off an appearance in the NBA finals. Muscala chose to stay put, whether it was Sam Presti's visit to his home state of Minnesota or his relationship with Dennis Schroder from their days in Atlanta or the organization's attention to detail all parties seem to be happy.
In the Thunder's last two games Muscala and Schroder have been hanging out in the mutual admiration club. In seven of Muscala eight threes, Shroder has assisted. Muscala was four of six from beyond the arc on Friday as the Thunder whipped the Hawks 140-111. Schroder would not be specific on what he wanted but did say that Muscala does owe him for all the open looks he's been getting. Muscala agreed.
The 140 points is a season-high for the Thunder as seven players hit double digits in the win. Despite Oklahoma City never trailing, the Hawks managed to cut the lead to 77-76 with 6:18 to go in the third quarter. By the end of those 12 minutes, the Thunder would have a 14 point lead and cruise.
Coming into Friday's game, Billy Donovan was concerned about Atlanta All-Star Trae Young's ability to get to the free-throw line. Young, while not having a good night shooting, did finish with 26 points and went 10 of 12 from the charity stripe.
This was the Thunder's 12th win in their last 16 games. Now it's on to Minneapolis to face the Timberwolves in the second of a back to back. Tipoff is Saturday at 7 pm on Fox Sports Oklahoma.
In more trade news, ESPN's Bobby Marks gives us three names to keep an eye on as we get closer to the February 6th deadline. Danilo Gallinari (not much of shock there,) Mike Muscala and Andre Roberson. That last name is the most intriguing. The Thought behind trading Roberson is someone might be willing to take him off Presti's hands because of his expiring contract if the Thunder were willing to part with a first-round pick. Not having to pay the rest of Roberson's 10.7 million dollar contract could allow the Thunder to be buyers at the trade deadline.
Gallinari and his expiring deal will be attractive to contenders, and Muscala's two-million-dollar one year deal could also garner interest. If you're worried about the Thunder breaking up what has been the most fun season since 2011-2012, Marks points out that Presti has only made (including tonight) four trades during the season. In case you missed it. Oklahoma City shipped Justin Patton to the Mavericks for forward Isaiah Roby. The move gets the Thunder's tax bill from 2.3 to 2 million.