Facing its first back-to-back since Russell Westbrook’s latest return, the Thunder rested its All-Star point guard against Dallas on Sunday.
The move is pure precaution, according to coach Scott Brooks, and Westbrook will start against the Bulls on Monday in Chicago.
Beyond that, Brooks wouldn’t reveal the specifics of Westbrook’s maintenance program for the rest of the season. OKC has five more back-to-backs.
“We’re just going to stick with these two and let you know at the appropriate time,” Brooks said.
THUNDER SIGNS MUSTAFA SHAKUR TO 10-DAY CONTRACT
The back end of the Thunder roster continues to shuffle.
On the same day that Reggie Williams’ 10-day contract expired (and wasn’t renewed), OKC replaced him with another Tulsa 66er, Mustafa Shakur, inking him to a 10-day deal.
Shakur comes in at a time when the Thunder need a bit of point guard help, with Westbrook expected to rest a batch of games in the final month.
“He’s going to give us some coverage at the point guard spot,” Brooks said of Shakur. “He’s an experienced player, played in the NBA some time, played in the D-League, played overseas. So he’s had some good experience.”
Shakur has played 22 career NBA games, all with the Washington Wizards. But he was once a member of the Thunder, near the end of the 2009 season, never seeing the floor.
This season with the 66ers, Shakur was averaging 18.6 points, 6.7 assists and 4.6 rebounds.
“Don’t know how many minutes he’ll play, if any,” Brooks admitted. “But he’s a guy we can use in practice and give some guys some reps off.”
CARLISLE ON BUTLER
The best stretch of Caron Butler’s career came in Washington. But the most successful, from a team standpoint, came in Dallas, where he won his only NBA title.
On Sunday, Rick Carlisle, the Dallas coach then and now, spoke about what Butler can bring to a team.
“He’s a great spot-up shooter,” Carlisle said. “When you have guys that can penetrate and attack and get defenses in rotation like Oklahoma City, having a guy like Caron standing out there is a great luxury.
“He’s extremely dependable, a big-shot maker, always plays better when he’s relied upon. If you’re a team who’s a playoff team, getting a guy like that is very important.”
The Thunder heads back out on the road this week for a three-game trip to Chicago, Cleveland and Toronto. OKC gets the Bulls on Monday, before facing the Cavs on Thursday and Raptors on Friday.
66ERS LOSE TO BAKERSFIELD
Jerel McNeal had 32 points for Bakersfield, which trimmed the Tulsa 66ers 118-113 in a D-League game Sunday at SpiritBank Event Center. Isaiah Wilkerson had 22 points off the bench for Tulsa. The Sixers’ Mario Little added 21 points in a game that featured 22 lead changes.
Tulsa (20-24) will host the Texas Legends at 7 p.m. Thursday.