Berry Tramel on Russell Westbrook’s extension: “The Thunder wants to sign Westbrook to a deal, and Westbrook has indicated he wants to sign a deal. But not even the Thunder’s nerdy brain trust has grasped all the intricacies of the new labor agreement. If we know anything by now, it’s that Presti doesn’t do anything without knowing all the angles. He and his staff must learn all the nuances of the new salary cap and luxury taxes — a master’s degree in quantitative analysis is recommended — because every penny the Thunder spends is deeply considered. So the Westbrook extension very likely will spill over into the regular season. Will that create tension? Doesn’t have to. This isn’t New Orleans or Orlando.”
KD has been nominated for SportsNation’s “Awesomest Dude of the Year” award. KD is taking on Blake Griffin in the first round and you can vote here for KD.
Wesley Morris of Grantland on the rise of the NBA nerd: “For the people who notice this sort of thing — and it must be said that the backpack is something you’re meant to notice — the change Durant encapsulates is both surreal and ironic. The bag is never removed, worn with the safety strap fastened, and rarely acknowledged, as if the affect is actually just natural, as if Durant might be carrying actual homework. In the same way that there are people who never thought they’d see a black American president, there are also people who never thought they’d see a black basketball star dressed like a nerd.”
Nene re-signed with Denver for the next four years. So that means Perk will have his nemesis to battle for a good while now.
Darnell Mayberry on Westbrook and Durant: “Anyone who watched the Thunder for any stretch outside of just the playoffs had long known that Westbrook had a tendency to make questionable decisions and Durant struggled to get open and routinely make high-percentage plays down the stretch. Those traits ultimately became the basis of all the scrutiny. As each player reverted to what came natural, national pundits blasted two young players who were only trying to help their team. Their awkward stares at each other on the court as they attempted to figure things out on the fly only fanned the flames.”
Tramel on the upgrade to Peake Arena: “But that’s a building very few people will get to see. Or care to. Chesapeake Energy Arena is a different story. Over the next few years, a good percentage of Oklahomans will enter the building formerly known as the Ford Center, and when they do, they will be very pleased. The renovations to the ‘Peake are not complete, but the upgrades that already are in place are exceptional. New flooring on the main concourse, with a white, bright tile replacing the old concrete. New lighting and signage. The place looks completely different and is very sharp. You will notice an immediate difference.”
Clark Matthews of The Lost Ogle on Perk’s weight loss: “In addition, now he should be able to run the floor, get off the ground when he jumps, and probably stay healthier now that his every step is putting about 10% less stress on his surgically repaired knees. Regardless, this makes me that much happier that the lockout is over and the season was not lost. All of the Thunder players appear to have focused on preparing for the season that many other players never believed was going to happen. And since they came very close to making the NBA Finals last season…it’s going to be fun.”