Hey you guys! Brett Favre is back! Now, on to more important things.
A builder was selected for the new practice facility: “Atlas General Contracting won a $10 million contract to build the Oklahoma City Thunder’s new practice facility in northeast Oklahoma City. The city council approved the contract Tuesday, with the winning bid coming in at $10,009,000. “We budgeted between $15 million and $16 million for the project,” City Manager Jim Couch said. “That’s really good news because our revenues are down, and this will help us fill that gap.”
Basketbawful looks at December’s Worsties and as you would assume, OKC made the list: “The Thunder’s franchise-record losing streak: Mike Miller hit the game-winner with 0.1 seconds left as the Timberwolves sent the Thunder to a franchise record-tying 14th straight loss. That’s some historic suck, right there. Said Kevin Durant: “It’s definitely frustrating when you lose at the buzzer. It doesn’t matter if you’re not on a win streak. Any team would hate to lose like this.” Yeah. But especially when the phrase “franchise-worst losing streak” is stamped on the loss, right Kevin?”
This is a few days old, but I never saw it: “The Tulsa 66ers, members of the NBA Development League and affiliate for the Oklahoma City Thunder, announced today the franchise has completed a contract to play at the Tulsa Convention Center, beginning in the 2009-10 season. The 66ers will also relocate the team’s business office and staff to 2727 E. 21st St., Suite 500 in Tulsa.” I think it’s a great move to bring the team actually in to Tulsa. Hopefully that means better fan support and helps build a better system.
Zach Harper of Talk Hoops looking at the luxury tax: “There are only four teams in the league right now that could eat a contract without giving up a player because of their remaining salary cap room: Oklahoma City Thunder – ~ $12.5 million; Sacramento Kings – ~ $6.8 million; Portland Trailblazers – ~ $4.4 million; Memphis Grizzlies – ~ $3.75 million. These teams could essentially take back a contract that falls within their cap room for a draft pick and give their trading partner a bit of potential trade flexibility with a trade exception for the amount of the contract. For example, the Nuggets traded Steve Hunter to the Grizzlies this off-season for essentially a second round pick and ended up receiving a trade exception in the amount of $3.9 million.”
Dime gives you 21 reasons to get NBA League Pass and No. 1 is a pretty good one: “Kevin Durant — Before the age of the Internet and developments like League Pass, KD could’ve went through a Mitch Richmond-like career, secretly getting a ton of buckets while not enough people got to enjoy the experience.”
Russell Westbrook was at UCLA yesterday playing around with the football team. Insert eligibility joke here.
Vince Thomas of NBA.com with a really interesting look at small market exposure: “When I saw the commercial for the first time, I remember rewinding it back a couple times. I ran it back the first time to squeeze a couple more chuckles out of it. But during that second viewing, once I got past all the sonic and aesthetic overloads (like Ice-O tattooing an older woman the size of John Goodman), something dawned on me…”Wait a second, who are these dudes?” Other than Kevin Durant — who was the least made up in his Velvet Hoop character — I couldn’t make out the other three stars. I guess they weren’t that recognizable … So much for all that “small market” rhetoric. Unlike Iguodala (who plays in Philadelphia, the country’s sixth largest city and fifth largest metro area), his three co-stars don’t ball in a Top 10 media market or Top 20 metro area. Durant plays in freaking Oklahoma City. Lewis balls for the Orlando Magic. And Williams runs with the Cavs in Cleveland. Yet, every little kid on the playgrounds will think of them while they sing “We be hyperizing/while y’all be criticizing.”
Some paper in Delaware looks at “Mo-klahoma Cheeks”: “Turns out former Sixer coach Maurice Cheeks has resurfaced as an assistant with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Scottie Brooks, coincidentally, was Cheeks’ backup during Cheeks’ final seasons as the Sixers’ point guard. Anyway, Cheeks is still being paid by the Sixers this season, so he’s got that going for him…which is nice.”
NBA.com put out its first power rankings and OKC is up seven spots since the end of last year: “Kevin Durant is ready to blow up and James Harden is a good fit. But the biggest key for the Thunder in the next two seasons will be the maturation and decision-making of Russell Westbrook, who has the talent, but needs to slow it down a bit.”
The Ford Center’s renovation is near complete: “Less than two months before it is to be unveiled to Oklahoma City Thunder players and their fans, the Ford Center’s overhauled interior sits waiting like a present ready to be unwrapped. Under thin layers of plastic wrap and paper are the new toys being bought with millions of dollars in tax money: rows of new leather seats near courtside, hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances in the suites, and tiles to line the walls of a lush courtside club.”
And finally, RIP to LeRoi Moore, the saxophonist for Dave Matthews Band who died one year ago today.