Kevin Durant isn’t going anywhere.
Well, isn’t changing shoe companies, I mean.
Happy Saturday. Thank you for your support of Daily Thunder. Touchdown.
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant did cool things in the playoffs. This is a video showing those things. It’s good.
Per Brian Mahoney of the AP: “The NBA is expanding the area that must be clear behind the basket and cutting the number of photographers along the baseline in an effort to improve player safety. The new regulations, calling for an extra foot of open space on both sides of the basket stanchion, were sent to teams Tuesday by league president of operations Rod Thorn and executive vice president of team marketing and business operations Amy Brooks in a memo that was obtained by The Associated Press.”
Ben Golliver of SI.com has OKC No. 2 in the West: “The franchise’s first championship of the Oklahoma City era is within reach if it can simply avoid the bad luck that piled up throughout last season. A career year from Kevin Durant, who surpassed James in both the MVP race and Player Efficiency Rating, carried the team through Russell Westbrook’s multiple absences, but it wasn’t enough to make up for Serge Ibaka’s devastating calf injury that limited him during the conference finals. Still, it took a vintage performance from Duncan to slay the Thunder in six games, and Oklahoma City can take heart knowing that it posted a 6-2 record against San Antonio last season when Ibaka played.” Keep Reading…
Sam Amick of USA Today on KD’s shoe deal: “Profitable Under Armour might be less interested in making money on Durant deal than it is increasing its exposure in the basketball shoe and apparel market. Temporary financial losses might be worth it for Under Armour if it is ultimately able to gain a bigger percentage of that market. Landing an NBA MVP possibly can help Under Armour achieve that. The fact that Under Armour is based in Durant’s backyard has led to inevitable speculation that the Seat Pleasant, Md. native may be looking to head home when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2016, as the Washington Wizards’ hopes of landing him are widely known around the league.”
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com on yesterday’s blockbuster: “Oklahoma City had kept Thabeet as an emergency center, but with Steven Adams’ emergence and the drafting of Mitch McGary, OKC just didn’t need him around anymore. Thabeet goes down as a testament to two factors: One, you can’t teach size but you also need to be able to teach some skill. And two, there are some players who really need two legit years in the D-League just to be serviceable. Who knows what would have happened if the Grizzlies had sent Thabeet down and stuck with a plan to develop him, but that’s where the league needs to get to.” Keep Reading…
The Thunder have traded Hasheem Thabeet, along with cash considerations, to the 76ers who absorb his contract into their cap space, creating a $1.25 million trade exception.
Why did the Thunder do this? With the emergence of Steven Adams, plus the addition of Mitch McGary, Thabeet is firmly the Thunder’s third center and nothing more than an insurance policy. His contract for next season was non-guaranteed ($1.2 million) and was likely to be waived in training camp anyway. The Thunder have 14 players on guaranteed deals for next season and prefer to keep the last spot open for flexibility purposes. So Thabeet was going to be waived for nothing, but the Thunder, as they tend to do, created an asset, albeit small, for the future.
Thabeet appeared in 89 games over the last two season with the Thunder, averaging 1.2 points and 1.7 rebounds. He did record his first career double-double with the Thunder with 13 points and 10 rebounds against the Bobcats in 2013.
My two other favorite Thabeet moments with the Thunder, with No. 1 being the video up above: Keep Reading…
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook may not be playing in the World Cup, but Serge Ibaka sure still is.
Against Argentina in a final warm-up before the tournament, he did his thing, blocking a runner and then taking off on the fast break marauding down the floor with those giant strides. Ibaka opening it up like that in the open floor is probably one of the most thrilling things to watch, especially in person. A man of that size kicking it into gear just waiting for the right lob to come his way… about the time he hits the 3-point line, you’re on your feet and you don’t even know why.
Ibaka finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and two blocks in 22 minutes in Spain’s 86-53 win.
Berry Tramel: “So the West just keeps getting tougher, while the East shuffles deck chairs. A mediocre West team gets better by trading its superstar and improves its long-term prospects as well. That’s potentially a trade for the ages. And that’s why it’s better to be in the West. I know, that sounds counter-intuitive. The East offers an easier path, both to the playoffs and in the playoffs, once you’re there. But the West is the fast lane. The West is the fast heat. You’ve got to be sharp in the West. Got to be fine-tuned to stay tough in the West. Teams find out how good they really are, playing in the West. You keep up, or you get run over. Get better, or get lost.”
Via the Norman Transcript, Russell Westbrook hung out with some Moore athletes: “Russell discussed his workout routines, gave advice to the students wanting to play at higher levels, gave advice to coaches about how to get the best out of their players, disclosed what his first purchase was after he signed his contract (a house for his mom), talked at length about his fashion decisions and everything in between. A recurring theme in his answers was the importance of education, focus and family. He told the crowd about graduating high school with a 3.9 GPA, how his father taught him the importance of focusing on achieving his goals. He also talked about his parents teaching him that faith and family were always top priority, followed by academics then basketball. He credits his ability to successfully balance all of the areas of his life to that lesson.” Keep Reading…