Fanhouse looks at 10 NBA players under 30 fighting for their NBA lives: “Robert Swift (Oklahoma City) — The former lottery pick has never been able to stay healthy and has never developed into a dependable NBA center. He is a legit 7-footer and does have a decent touch around the basket, but his knees have failed him and he doesn’t have much of a resume. Swift has played 97 games in five years and has had two major knee surgeries. The market for him will be thin.”
One man dares to doubt the genius of Sam Presti: “Which leads me to ask, is Sam Presti really the genius he is portrayed as? From a transaction standpoint, I can’t argue with the results. He turned a going nowhere roster into a team with a lot of potential, but I still think he has botched the last two drafts. Considering his laurels rest in how great he is at talent evaluation, that scares me. Perhaps he’ll make some trades or make a shocking free agent acquisition in the next couple of weeks that will change my mind, but right now, I think there is more myth to Presti’s mystique than a lot of fans want to admit.”
Reminiscing about the Thunder’s move: “It took 61 truckloads to carry the 786,000 pounds of freight the franchise moved halfway across the country – piling up 110,000 miles. The franchise also paid to relocate the employees who wanted to stay with the team, which wouldn’t reveal the total cost of the move. The early days of the Oklahoma City NBA franchise – then without a new name or colors – were centered in a plain, second-floor conference room at the Skirvin Hilton downtown. What would become the Thunder’s office at the Leadership Square building was still unfinished, with wires hanging from the ceiling.”
Just in case you’ve been asleep for the last 24 hours, Trevor Ariza to the Rockets, Ron Artest to LA, Marcin Gortat to Dallas and Rasheed Wallace has been offered a 2-year deal by Boston. Free agency is fun.
Chris Silva with Nick Collison: “What have you been focusing on? “I really want to work on my jump shot, kind of the balance of my jump shot. I feel that last year I didn’t shoot the ball as well as I would have wanted, so it’s something I’m really focusing on. I’m always working on my body and strength. Kind of everything. We play a lot of 1-on-1 and different basketball stuff. It’s pretty basic.”
More on the anniversary (with pictures!): “In the ensuing months — a total of 146 days — the Thunder franchise would: launch its community initiative to help welcome the holiday season to Oklahoma; announce a partnership for a Thunder youth basketball league; unveil the Rolling Thunder Book Bus; and introduce its mascot, Rumble the Bison. This list, too, goes on. Along the way, Thunder fans have strengthened their reputation as the best in the NBA. The Ford Center not only is loud, but filled to more than 97 percent of its capacity. But it is just not about decibel levels. There is unified passion. And compassion.
Henry Abbott on the Artest deal: “But my gut reaction to the news that Artest is the newest Laker is: I can hardly imagine a better player for the Lakers to add, nor a better team for Artest to join. There’s a 20% chance the whole thing combusts in dreadful fashion. 80% likely, in my view, is that the NBA has the makings of its next dynasty.”
Dime doesn’t think the Rubio thing is completely over: “The report that Ricky Rubio was officially headed back to Spain appears to be more of a rumor than a report. Team Rubio is insisting that no decision has been made.”
David Berri looks at one dimensional players like Ben Gordon: “Of course, if all we focus upon is scoring, then Gordon and Villanueva are above average players. But once we move past scoring we see that Gordon was below average last season with respect to rebounds, steals, turnovers, blocked shots, and assists. And Villanueva was below average with respect to steals, turnovers, and personal fouls (and not really far above average with respect to anything else).” Remember how people thought OKC should sign him? Yeah, wasn’t gonna happen.
Darnell Mayberry on Gerald Green: “It’s low-risk, high-reward players like Green that Thunder general manager Sam Presti has become known for targeting. Green turned only 23 in January and figures to be four years from entering into the prime of his career. For now, he’s seemingly a cost-effective option that potentially could provide Oklahoma City with another perimeter shooter and rangy defender on the wing.”