Maurice Cheeks and Rex Kalamian have been hired as an assistant coaches by the Thunder. It was previously reported that Dale Osbourne, a former assistant with the Utah Flash, has taken a job with Oklahoma City. But it appears Osbourne will join the Tulsa 66ers, the D-League affiliate of the Thunder, in some capacity.
Cheeks most recently was the head coach of the 76ers (2005-2008) and has been the head man with Portland as well. He was also a 15-year veteran in the NBA playing point guard and was actually teammates with Scott Brooks at one point. I must say that I’m thrilled with Cheeks coming on staff. He’s a great person and a great basketball mind. Not to mention he was named NBA All-Defense five times and was a four-time All-Star. The Thunder’s got some players that can certainly benefit from Cheeks’ defensive wisdom.
Kalamian was an assistant with Brooks in Denver and was most recently an assistant in Sacramento. He’s spent time in Minnesota, Los Angeles (Clippers) and also two seasons in Philly before Cheeks was the head coach there. I must say I don’t know much about him. He “specializes” in player development, which is right up the Thunder’s alley.
Kevin Durant was name-dropped in an article: “Prince George’s County youth filled the floorboards and their brains Saturday at the 18th annual Hoops for Peace Anti-Violence Youth Summit in Seat Pleasant. The event, held at the Seat Pleasant Activity Center, was a partnership between the Community Kinship Coalition Inc., a nonprofit centered on community outreach, and NBA player Kevin Durant, who frequented the center as a teenager. Today Durant plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder.”
The Hoop Doctors grade each team’s offseason: “The Thunder were downgraded due to their lack of a true starting PG, as Russell Westbrook is a beast but is better served at the off guard position. OKC’s star G/F Kevin Durant is a top five NBA player and is a lock for the 2012 Team USA roster and rookie James Harden is great guard prospect. This will be the last season the Thunder do not make the playoffs for a long time.”
Somebody help Nick Collison out here: “Is there anyone out there who saw GIJoe &liked it?nothing but bad reviews from my friends. I want to know because knowing is half the battle.”
Russell Westbrook and James Harden were scrimmaging against some big names this week: “Former Rocklin High basketball star Brendan Lane is learning quite a bit about being physical during his first summer at UCLA. The 6-foot-10 freshman recently found himself guarding San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman. Merriman, 6-4 and 265 pounds and very physical, is regarded as one of the top defensive players in the NFL … Two of Merriman’s teammates in that particular game were NFL wide receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson. Lane and his future UCLA freshmen teammates have also played against lots of NBA guys throughout the summer. Lane rattled off a list that included Ron Artest, Jalen Rose, Earl Watson, Kevin Love, Craig Smith, Russell Westbrook, Brandon Jennings and James Harden, among others.” Keep Reading…
The film is called “Sonicsgate” and was made by Seattle-based filmmaker Jason Reid. The movie has an 80-minute runtime and is going to be released online only.
After watching the trailer it appears the film is going to be as non-partisan as it possibly can be and actually looks really interesting. I realize there’s still bad blood and bitterness about the situation, but regardless of emotions, there’s a history to how the Thunder came to be. And while we can try and ignore it all we want, it’s still there and we might as well embrace and understand it. You have to be careful because nobody wants to stir the pot and I as much as anyone want to move on away from it all, but this film will have a lot of information and it directly involves the team I now call my own.
For more on the film, check out www.sonicsgate.org.
Some important Thunder people spoke at Edmond’s Rotary Club recently: “Sam [Presti] is the guy to do it, Sam is one of the best basketball minds in the country and we have total confidence in him that he’s putting the pieces together and developing the team,” said Dan Mahoney, Vice President of Community Relations and Corporate Communications, who also spoke to the Edmond Rotary Club Wednesday afternoon.”
Jeremy Tyler has officialy signed to play overseas: ”Jeremy Tyler completed his jump from high school underclassman to pro basketball player on Wednesday when he signed a one-year, $140,000 contract with Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Premier League. Tyler, 18, is the first American-born player to leave high school early to play basketball professionally overseas. The 6-foot-11, 260-pound Tyler announced in the spring that he was skipping his senior season at San Diego High because prep basketball had become boring.”
Chris Silva takes a look at potential impact rookies: ”James Harden, Thunder. He’s a clear no-brainer. The Thunder nabbed Harden with the No. 3 pick, and as head coach Scott Brooks said during Summer League, minutes will have to be earned. For all the ways Harden can score the ball – with his jumper, off the dribble – it’ll be just as interesting to watch him learn how to get others involved, something Harden has said he prides himself in. Plus, it’ll be fun just to see the different lineup combinations the Thunder can create with Harden in the mix.” Keep Reading…
There’s about 49 days until training camp gets underway and while we’re stuck in NBA purgatory right now, stuff can still happen. Maybe not necessarily big, huge important things, but it’s not like the entire basketball world stops. So what would be good news for Thunderfans from now until then? Let’s look.
Kevin Durant lifts car, rescues child. Not only would it be a good deed, but it would definitely clue us in to the supposed strength KD has added this offseason. He’s reportedly put on 10 pounds of muscle, which is a great start. Last season he was easily bumped off the ball and didn’t take contact at the rim all that well. He was solid posting up, but he had trouble getting good position on the block. With the added strength, hopefully KD becomes a better defender and is basically offensively illegal.
Byron Mullens changes name back to B.J.. I just can’t get used to “Byron” Mullens. It doesn’t feel right. Though with it, he’s locked himself into a sure roster spot on the Reggie Cleveland All-Stars. But more than anything, now he doesn’t have to regret those tats he got on each arm that say “B.J.”.
Shaun Livingston continues his journey back. Because it never gets old reading about how Livingston has overcome a devastating, gruesome, awful, horrific, face-numbing, throw-upping knee injury. I’m a sucker for comeback stories and there’s not too many in the NBA better than Livingston’s. Not just for the team-I-happen-to-root-for’s sake, but also for Livingston, I hope he has a fantastic year, exceeds every expectation and returns to the player he was prior to the injury.
Dime thinks they know five things about the Northwest Division: ”I think I know that the Thunder will be a sleeper team. Kevin Durant is going to have one of those seasons that will be shake-your-head good. I consider him a superstar already, but he gained a type of confidence last season that is essential for him to truly put himself at a level above the rest of the league. He’ll also have more help with the drafting of James Harden, a jack-of-all-trades type player and an improved Russell Westbrook to guide the offense. Jeff Green has also worked to become a better player each year he’s been in the league, and next season will be no different. Ultimately, what really showed me the Thunder could sleep on some people this year is the confidence they played with at the end of last season. Though they only won 23 games, they lost almost 10 games by less than 6 points which is an obvious sign of a young, inexperienced team. I’d expect closer to 35 wins by the Thunder in ‘09/10.”
John Hollinger looks at the order of the West (Insider): ”OK, hungry fans, it’s time to turn our attention to the Western side of the menu, after Monday’s look at the new pecking order in the East. I’m not sure the pecking order in the West is quite so “new;” less changed in these parts since the end of last season. But I’m here to break it down all the same. Much like the East, the West can be broken into five distinct groups. Make that five and a half, actually, as there’s one additional category we didn’t have in the East.”
The Nick Collison-Jenni Carlson Twitter War came to a head yesterday. Nick tweeted late yesterday: “DISCLAIMER(the following is in no way shape or form commentary on Oklahoma City)…….but….. its another beautiful day in Seattle.” Before that, after asking him about it, Nick said: “an example of incentive for athletes to be boring and full of cliches,” in reference to Jenni calling him out for things. Jim Traber ranted on the radio about both people and in the end, NONE OF IT MATTERS. Why does anyone care where Nick Collison lives in the offseason? And so what that he evidently enjoys living there? Is that not allowed? You can’t like where you live? Next time Kevin Durant tweets, “Wassss up alll my dc peeeps holla,” should we interpret that as, “Oh, well I guess KD wishes he was playing basketball in DC instead of OKC”? Sheesh. Keep Reading…