I don’t mean to impart on my own personal tastes on you fine people, but today my favorite band, Dave Matthews Band, releases a new album – Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King. And that’s not something that happens all that often either. I’m sure some people hate DMB and that’s fine – we all have our tastes. I’ve seen DMB 11 times and so it’s safe to say I enjoy their work. And I’m stoked about the new album, so if you don’t like it, soo-oorrrrry.
Malik Rose says the Thunder needs some nastiness: “On the flip side, practices were too fun. A little elbow or a little fight here or there in practice, being physical, pushing and shoving is good. But when you step off the court, it’s great to get back to being best friends, being close, hanging out and joking.” Some call it grit. During this year’s NBA playoffs, “nastiness” was a term used to describe the Houston Rockets’ and Denver Nuggets’ ability to go toe-to-toe with the highly favored Los Angeles Lakers. Call it what you want, but Rose, who won two NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs, said developing toughness is essential.”
Designs for the Thunder’s new scoreboard were released and let me tell you – awesome. Just awesome. I don’t know if I’m more excited about next season because of the team, or because I get to see the new scoreboard: “It weighs 46,000 pounds, is 31 feet tall and 35 feet wide and features a dozen video panels as well as an LED ring. Indeed, the new Ford Center scoreboard will be one of the biggest and best in the NBA. After months of research, backing from Oklahoma City taxpayers and the underlying goal of upgrading the fan’s in-game experience, the Thunder on Monday unveiled designs for its new $3.9 million scoreboard that will be one of the leading scoreboards in NBA and NHL arenas.”
Stephen Curry with Sporting News: “CL: What can you tell me about your interviews? Who wanted to talk to you? Who did you want to talk to? SC: I had teams like Houston, Washington and Oklahoma City; teams in need of a point guard. Of course the New York teams were there. A lot of teams that are planning to trade up and move up in the lottery wanted to talk to me to see how I felt about their team. Of the 14 teams, they’re all equally excited to get to know me a bit.”
Draft Express reports that OKC and Detroit are talking trade: “Jonathan Givony of Draft Express is also reporting that the Detroit Pistons could be looking to move Amir Johnson before the draft and are talking with the Oklahoma City Thunder about a deal that would send Johnson and Detroit’s #15 selection to OKC in exchange for the Thunder’s #25 and cash. Thunder sources said they are evaluating a lot of options and that nothing is close on any front, but that they expect to be active on draft night. The logic being reported by Draft Express is that the Pistons are looking to shed enough cap space to make a run at Paul Milsap and Ben Gordon in Free Agency and still have a decent selection in the first round at 25. The Pistons are current looking at $19 million in cap space, shedding Amir’s $3.6 and moving down ten spots, could get the Pistons at roughly $22 million under the projected salary cap and enough to make sizable offers to free agents they covet.” Moving up 10 picks and all you have to shed is a little cash and take on a contract? Doesn’t sound all bad.
A new spin on a mock draft: ”Oklahoma City Thunder-Neon Boudreaux, Blue Chips: The Thunder need a big man to complement Kevin Durant, and Boudreaux, despite allegations of a recruiting violation, can lead the team to glory. Only problem is his shooting from the free-throw line, which could lead to teams hacking him. It’s a controversial move to take him no matter what, as word on the street is he has already began to question if Durant could win a ring without him.” I just don’t see how you pass on Jimmy Chitwood here or even Scott Howard. No way Presti goes with the questionable character issues of Bourdreaux.
Dime’s new mock: “Oklahoma City — James Harden, SG, Arizona State: Assuming they stay in this spot, OKC lands a solid two-guard who can ease some of Kevin Durant’s scoring load.” Amazing how many of these have changed from Thabeet to Harden. With a lot of them having us pass on Rubio.
A lot of mock draft’s have OKC taking Sam Young with the 25th pick and he had a workout yesterday: “According to several observers who saw the two afternoon workouts, Pittsburgh’s Sam Young was the most impressive player. Young, a 6-foot-6 swingman, was in Group 1, and played with/against Luke Harangody (Notre Dame), Joe Ingles (Australia), Damion Jones (Texas), Jeff Pendergraph (Arizone State) and Marcus Thornton (LSU).” I don’t know who this Damion “Jones” character is, but if he’s anything like Damien James, then I assume he’s a quality player.
HoopsWorld’s new consensus mock: “With Blake Griffin all but gifted wrapped for the Clippers and with the Grizzlies’ liking selling the #2 overall pick to the team that covets Ricky Rubio the most, the Oklahoma City Thunder could find themselves with a number of attractive options at #3 and really the lynch pin team of the 2009 Draft. Reports that the Thunder were considering James Harden with the #3 selection, are not necessarily false, however the Thunder’s interest is not as substantial as some would have you believe. Sources close to the situation list Rubio, Jrue Holiday and Jordan Hill among the Thunder’s top prospects. Hasheem Thabeet however does not seem to be on the Thunder’s radar at all meaning he could slide pretty significantly if Memphis does not grab him at #2.” Not even on the radar. That’s good news.
Anderson Varejao apparently is opting out: ”Anderson Varejao did not meet with the media Sunday, but a league source said that he intends to opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. This option was part of three-year offer sheet Varejao signed with the Charlotte Bobcats that the Cavs matched in 2007. Varejao will likely leave $6.2 million on the table coming off a season in which he set career highs in starts (42), points (8.6) and field goal percentage (.536). The Cavs retain his rights so they can exceed the salary cap to sign him. But unlike 2007, they will not be able to automatically match an offer such as the one the Bobcats extended. Varejao has said he wants to remain with the team and the Cavs are believed to be interested in bringing him back — if they can come to terms.”
HoopsWorld’s complete list of workouts: The Clippers have yet to work out anyone. That should tell you something.
Chad Ford on the draft’s top point guard prospects: “The first-ever NBA draft combine is a wrap, and the outcome wasn’t as bad as many had predicted. No, there weren’t any 5-on-5 games. And yes, several of the top players refused to participate in light drills. But the combine did provide some clarity in several key areas. The first — and, arguably, the most important — was a better understanding of the top point guard prospects. While the draft is weak overall, the point guard class is strong, and seeing all the top prospects on the floor (with the exception of Ricky Rubio and Tyreke Evans) was the most interesting part of the combine. Before the combine, a number of NBA executives I spoke with said they were struggling to get any real separation in the group after months of scouting. But after watching the players on the court together, getting real measurements and spending 30 minutes interviewing the players one-on-one, a number of NBA GMs said they felt more confident in ranking the top point guard prospects.”
UPDATE: Chad Ford’s new mock: “Ricky Rubio: Once again, the Thunder are proving to be a tough nut to crack. Last year, we heard them attached to five or six guys in the draft. This year is no different. In Chicago, rumors were flying all over the place about who the Thunder are after. I heard Rubio, Thabeet, James Harden, Jordan Hill and even Stephen Curry mentioned this week. I’m told the Thunder like Rubio and that Rubio isn’t averse to playing in OKC. The issue for the Thunder is fit and opportunity. Many on the team see Russell Westbrook as their point guard of the future and aren’t sure how he’d fare without the ball in his hands. Maybe more importantly, Thunder GM Sam Presti is an opportunist. If he can get a couple of good assets in return for the No. 3 pick, he won’t be afraid to pull the trigger. If Rubio is off the board, this will be a tough decision. Thabeet gives them the shot-blocking they desperately need. Harden gives them the savvy of a veteran. Curry gives them shooting. Hill gives them rebounding and energy. They could use all of those things.”