Mark Cuban in a fascinating blog post: “Then came the lock out. As we had planned the contracts of some of our older players were ending, as well as Tyson’s expiring contract. We had some tough decisions to make. Did we keep the team together for another run or go in another direction ? It wasn’t an easy decision. Our plan all along had been to have the contracts of our older players expire this year and next. But winning the championship obviously made us re-think everything. We debated and discussed it long and hard. The final decision was going to be mine. I take all the input from everyone involved, players, coaches, donnie , anyone willing to provide me with an informed position. But this was such a big decision, it was going to have to be mine for better or worse. But this wasn’t an ordinary off season for another reason. The lockout happened. There was a chance that we were going to be champs for two summers in a row , if only by default, because there was a very real risk that the 2012-13 season would not be played.”
Berry Tramel on Clay Bennett who’s being inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame: “Twenty years ago, Oklahoma City was a sleepy capital city. A home on the range. Nice place to live, especially if you were allergic to excitement, but you wouldn’t want to visit there. Stagnant population. Sluggish economy. Dead downtown. Now, Oklahoma City has been transformed. Thriving economy. Rejuvenated downtown. Young people engaged in a variety of ventures. A certain basketball team did not do all that by itself. But the Thunder has brought a spotlight to a city that now is wide-awake and bouncing off the walls. The Thunder was the vehicle for Oklahomans to express their bootstrap accomplishments.”
Buy the Lockout Musical album. And enjoy my wonderful pretend announcer skills on the opening track.
Offseason review for the Thunder. I gave them a C.
Bradford Doolittle of ESPN Insider ranks shooting guards and two former Thunderers make the list: “The winner of the most improved player award is often just the guy who got the opportunity he always deserved. Harden finished seventh in that voting last season, so there wasn’t as much recognition for how good he was in Oklahoma City as there should have been. The biggest uptick in his game was the fact that he played nearly 1,000 more minutes than he ever had before. This season, I wouldn’t expect that playing time to dip, and while a high-volume perimeter player would be hard-pressed to be more efficient than Harden already is, it will be fascinating to see if Dwight Howard’s presence propels him to the front of the MVP race.”
Joe Kaiser of ESPN Insider: “As for Harrington, his future could ultimately depend on the health after suffering through a painful stretch that included surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and a scary staph infection that limited him to only 10 games last season with the Magic. What teams might be interested? Lets take a look. Oklahoma City was in the market for a veteran perimeter shooter before it inked Ryan Gomes and Derek Fisher to one-year deals, and if they make room for him on the roster Harrington could fit there. Chicago is a team rumored to be interested in Antawn Jamison, and could certainly use some more depth and perimeter scoring out of its frontcourt. That being said, the Bulls just might emerge as an option.”