A couple plans to spend their honeymoon with the Thunder: “Wedding bells and shot clocks can sound more alike than you might suspect. At least they do for Andrew Bartucciotto. The Australian native and his fiancée, Magda, are slated to marry this fall in their home city of Perth before jetting off to the U.S. for the highlight of their honeymoon: seeing the Thunder play. What, you think Niagara Falls has a monopoly on newlywed bliss? “I managed to convince Magda that watching the Thunder would be a perfect way to spend our honeymoon — with a side serve of Hawaii,” said Andrew, a 33-year-old architect.”
Sekou Smith ranks the West and OKC is at No. 2: “You think this is too big of a jump for a team was the 8th seed last season, don’t you? Well, too bad. If you’re not ready to drink the Thunder Kool-Aid we’ll handle it for you. As long as Kevin Durant is healthy and Russell Westbrook continues to evolve into one of the league’s elite point guards, the Thunder will be a force … Of course, everything here starts with Durant, who signed a five-year extension this summer. The Thunder will be among the West’s elite for as long as he is in uniform.”
Chris Mannix of SI on OKC’s offseason: “There won’t be many off the court distractions, either. Had Durant elected to play out his existing contract and become an unrestricted free agent in two years, his availability would have created a LeBron-like circus around the team. Every city the Thunder visited, Durant would be peppered with questions about his future, a constant distraction for a young team. But by signing a five-year, $82 million extension earlier this month, Durant answered all questions about his future, redirecting the spotlight to the team’s on-court success.”
Jeff Green is still holding out hope for an extension, says Mannix. “It’s a long summer. These things take time,” Green said.
An interesting quote from Green in that article: “You could see in the playoffs, when we lost, Pau Gasol was all over the rim,” said Green. “Another rebounder like Cole could put us over the top.”
Royal Ivey is on Twitter if you’d like to follow him. Also, so you can sound smarter than your friends, his first name is pronounced Roy-AL. As in, in France they call a cheeseburger a Royale with cheese.
Fran Blinebury of NBA.com has a song for a couple teams. OKC got Signed, Sealed Delivered: “The Thunder say let LeBron and Bosh jump to Miami, Amar’e bolt for New York and Boozer make tracks for Chicago. Kevin Durant is staying right at home in Oklahoma City, where the future is so bright you need sunglasses. Here I am baby. Oh, you’ve got the future in your hand. Signed, sealed delivered, I’m yours.”
Rob Mahoney of Hardwood Paroxysm with a brilliant breakdown on if KD can lead Team USA.
Chris Silva fills us in on how Coach K is digging Russell Westbrook: “USA Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski wants the calling card of this summer’s Men’s National Team to be its pressure defense. And when it comes to ball hounds, Krzyzewski ranks Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and Boston’s Rajon Rondo among the game’s elite. Only two days in and Westbrook has already stood out for his defensive prowess, which drew praise from Krzyzewski. “Russell is a top-percentile athlete who wants to be outstanding,” Krzyzewski said. “The more I’m around him the more I love him because he loves to pressure the ball. But I think he can defend off the ball, too. I think he’ll do whatever you want him to do to win. The fact that he has that off the ball experience helps.”