Tom Ziller of SB Nation on the Lakers: “But a team with that profile wouldn’t be anything like an overwhelming title favorite. A team with that profile probably wouldn’t rate higher than the team that smoked them in the playoffs this spring, the Thunder. Or higher than the team that smoked the Thunder, those pesky Miami Heat. Unless something derails those two clubs, you can keep the dynasty talk in your back pocket. The Lakers would be a legit title contender so long as Nash (38 years old) and Kobe (closing in on 34) were highly productive, but they wouldn’t likely be a championship favorite in any season, let alone multiple seasons. Landing Nash and Howard would be great, but wouldn’t renew the Lakers dynasty.”
Hasheem Thabeet on what the Thunder coaching staff has told him: “They just told me that I have to be ready to work. That’s my focus right now, just come in and be able to work each day and get better every day.”
Mel Bracht of NewsOK: “Two exhibition games involving the USA Basketball men’s team, which includes Thunder stars Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, both fared well in the ratings. Monday night’s game against Brazil on ESPN2 earned a 4.9 rating to lead the way.”
Matt Conner of SB Nation: “The Thunder do have a couple of assets to work with, so expect the team to continue to look around for a free agent bargain wanting a ride on a roster filled with elite level talent. The team still has a $3.3 million mid-level exception remaining as well as a bi-annual exception and even a $1.3 million trade exception to offer. That gives general manager Sam Presti at least something to work with. That’s likely all he needs with so many pieces already in place.”
The Lakers have definitely improved the most this offseason of all Western challengers to OKC. Adding Steve Nash and now Antawn Jamison makes them much tougher than the team the Thunder walked over in the second round last postseason.
Kobe said Team USA’s “citizenship will be revoked” if they don’t bring home gold.
Nick Collison went 17th overall in The Lost Ogle’s Oklahoma celebrity fantasy draft. To which I say, that’s about 16 spots too low. And here’s rounds five and six too.
KD on his potential relationship with Letoya Luckett: “No comment.”
Berry Tramel on how JaVale McGee impacts Ibaka: “So anyway, that at least gives the Thunder some foundation to work with. McGee is a true center, which increases his value. Ibaka is younger, 20 months younger. He turns 23 in September. McGee turned 24 in January. So Ibaka’s upside is bigger. The Thunder offers Ibaka the chance to be part of a special run of championship contention, which the Nuggets can’t match. Add it all up, and you could argue that if McGee is worth $11 million a year, Ibaka is somewhere in the neighborhood. I’ve been telling you that anything over $20 million a year combined for Harden and Ibaka is going to make things tough on OKC, but if they can get Ibaka for $11 million, a bullet might be bitten.”