Berry Tramel with a look at OKC’s future: “Let’s say the Thunder signs Harden and Ibaka, keeps a good roster together and goes a little over the cap. In summer 2016, if the Thunder has been over the cap for three years, and is $13 million over for 2015-16, the Thunder would be taxed $36.75 million. Did you catch that? Not only would the Thunder be spending big on salaries, it would have to write a check to the NBA for $36.75 million. From where does that money come? And here’s the sobering part. Busting the cap by $13 million probably isn’t enough. ESPN’s Tom Penn, an expert on NBA economics, said most league champions in recent years have been around $20 million over the cap. Maybe that will change when Mark Cuban and the Buss family and Micky Arison study that escalating tax. But whatever the case, this is a sobering summer for the Thunder.”
Holly MacKenzie for NBA.com on Perry Jones: “Things will also be different for Terri Jones and her family. The Jones family will experience a much more substantial kind of different, though. Earlier this season, in an ESPN feature written by Jason King, we learned some of the struggles that Jones and his family had survived. His mother’s health issues, bouncing around from one $70-a-week hotel to another, and trying to be strong for his family while continuing to pursue his hoop dream despite the distractions, Jones has had a path more rocky than most. Helping to smooth it out is a mother who has only ever asked her son to seek out his own happiness.”
Darnell Mayberry says the pressure is on Scott Brooks now: “The only way Brooks can rise above the questions and quell the criticism is to continue to show improvement. But don’t confuse Brooks’ improvement with team wins. Those things are not one in the same. Brooks has been blessed with the league’s most talented roster. Some already are under the impression that it’s the players who are carrying Brooks as opposed to the coach putting the players in a position to succeed. Quite frankly, it’s a classic chicken-or-egg riddle for which the front office might not even have the answer. How else can you explain Presti’s original hard-line stance? Perhaps the initial three-year deal Presti reportedly offered was nothing more than a negotiating tactic. Or maybe it was a tell-tale sign of exactly where the organization’s belief in Brooks lies as the right man for the job going forward.”
The Bulls, Heat, Mavericks and Thunder are said to be the top contenders for Derek Fisher.
Darnell Mayberry on Hasheem Thabeet: “Thabeet could soon be the biggest case study. The big man has a reputation for being more in love with the lifestyle than the game. Shopping and partying for Thabeet has trumped suicides and pull-ups. But the Thunder would be banking on what’s become the backbone of its development: its culture of hard work. Maybe if Thabeet is surrounded by Durant and Westbrook and Nick Collison and Kendrick Perkins, he’ll have no choice but to work hard or stand out like a 7-foot fish. It will be by far the most challenging aspect of bringing in Thabeet in hopes that he turns out to be anything valuable.”
If you missed it, some player movement yesterday. Joe Johnson to the Nets, Marvin Williams to the Jazz and Devin Harris to the Hawks.