Today has been declared Kevin Durant Day in Austin. Safe to say, KD is excited to return to Austin: “It’s a love affair rarely seen between school and one-and-done stars like Durant. Making it even more extraordinary is the love goes both ways. With no morning shoot-around scheduled for Tuesday after tonight’s game in Houston, Durant will have all day to catch up with old friends. “I’m going to the gym to see the guys,” Durant said. “I’ll go see the people in academics. Go to the basketball office. I just might carry my game clothes to the gym because I might be there for the whole day.”
A Thunder preview from the Seattle PI.
Dime previews the Thunder: “Everybody loves what OKC is doing — even a bitter Sonics fan has to admit they’ve got a nice foundation in place and seem to have found a winning formula based on patience and smart spending.”
Men’s Fitness has some article about Kevin Durant’s trainer and his workout: “Created by University of Texas basketball strength and conditioning coach Todd Wright, the Vertical Core Training System specifically conditions players like Kevin Durant for the movements that his sport requires. Here are a few principles of the program.”
A nice Shaun Livingston feature: “There is, however, an underlying tone: Livingston isn’t satisfied in just getting back. It’s his career he wants back. Playing without pain, appearing once again on an NBA roster, those things are fine – he won the battle, but it’s the war he wants. Those dreams that disintegrated with his knee two seasons ago have been rebuilt. Hopefully, this time, it stays that way.”
Mickael Gelabale was cut by the Lakers last week, but Elie Seckbach found him and asked him what’s next.
A Northwest Division preview: “Oklahoma City struggled in its first season in a new city. The team formerly known as the Seattle SuperSonics had a roller-coaster year as its slew of young talent developed. With another year under his belt, Kevin Durant showed why NBA critics across the league are touting him as a future superstar. He’ll join teammates Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook, and rookie James Harden to try to improve on the 23-win season of last year. That shouldn’t be too hard. The Thunder might be a ways away from becoming a playoff team, but they’re on track.”
It’s looking more and more like Desmond Mason will start against the Thunder opening night: “And Westphal also claims he hasn’t ruled out Andres Nocioni — despite acknowledging that he likes Nocioni off the bench. But if you’ve been watching the Kings in the preseason, it’s starting to seem apparent who’s going to get the nod for the regular-season opener against Oklahoma City: Desmond Mason.”
Greg Oden is hurt again cough cough cough.
Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press on the Shock’s move: “This is not fun to write, but it’s the truth: The Shock is going where it belongs. I don’t say that because I want the WNBA out of here. I say it because I want the league to succeed. When a team in any league wins three championships in 11 years and still can’t find a sizable audience, it is time to move on. The WNBA is a niche product. And for a niche product to succeed, it needs to find an audience and grow.”
Also, the Free Press wasn’t pumped about some of the comments on the Tulsa World’s story: “You know, they’re just not very grateful people in Oklahoma. Look at some of the fan postings at the Tulsa World as word spread that the Detroit Shock will move there: Iflyfast: “In other news … Vegas just set the over/under for number of years the team will be here at 2.” Ryanoceros: “There is a WNBA?” sr71v3: “Let’s hope the only thing coming from Detroit is the team.” StringerBell: “2020 is a lock now. I heard the IOC told Tulsa if we got a WNBA team, then the Olympics is ours.” To be fair, there were some positive postings, such as: Edelweiss: “Great news for Tulsa!!! Me and my family look forward to attending some games! Thank you to those that made this happen. Tulsa is on the move again!!! YeeHaw!” Awesome that they lumped all of Oklahoma with three anonymous comments. Journalism!
One last thing about it. It looks like former Tulsa and Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson will be the coach and GM.
Eight freaking days. (I think I got off a day yesterday.)