Wednesday Bolts – 4.19.17

Oklahoma lawmakers want to tax Thunder tickets: “Lawmakers could tap into Oklahoma City Thunder’s loyal fan base as a way to raise revenue. House Bill 2350 would reinstate sales tax for professional sports tickets, which could raise $1.8 million for Oklahoma’s budget. The legislation and four other bills that would raise revenue were quickly introduced Monday just hours before lawmakers were called to vote on them. After passing the committee stage, the bills are now just one vote away from reaching the governor’s desk. Lawmakers are wrestling with an $878 million shortfall that will decimate next year’s budget without a fix.”

Erik Horne explores whether the Adams-Kanter combo will see time in this series: “I don’t know mate, that’s for people much smarter than me,” Adams said when asked if he and Kanter together can work against the high-octane Rockets. “My coach, if he determines we can get a really good advantage as well as not give up as much, if he sees sort of an advantage there, then yeah. “But we’ve just gotta wait and see, mate.” The Kanter-Adams combination only played four minutes in four games against the Rockets in the regular season. In those minutes, as Adams said, the Thunder and Rockets traded baskets. “That’s not good,” the 7-footer said Tuesday at the University of Houston after Thunder practice.”

Billy Donovan explaining his “Kanter can’t play” comment: “It’s certainly true that Kanter offers them some scoring punch off the bench, but his liabilities as a defender put them in a tough position, especially against the pick-and-roll crazy Rockets. Kanter essentially did what he was supposed to do on that particular possession. It was a lose-lose situation once Beverley beat his man, but Kanter’s cement feet in those scenarios are what potentially make playing him heavy minutes untenable. He logged just 16 minutes in Game 1, and it’ll be interesting to see just how much action he sees moving forward.”

Berry Tramel looks at the curious history of Game 1’s for the Thunder.

Ten years in, Seattle is still looking for ways to build a new arena: “Impressed at the sheer magnitude of the projects and the financial commitment both are willing to make. And disappointed that the word “Sonics” wasn’t used a single time. To be fair, “NBA” is used a number of times – and the Sonics are prominently displayed in Seattle Partners arena renderings. So maybe it’s just semantics that neither used the team name. But from Day One, that’s been our goal: Bring ‘Em Back – Bring The Sonics Back. And not seeing those specific words in either summary was a reminder that we have two groups here who are technically outsiders. Businesses who likely prioritize making the balance sheet work before “Bringing The Sonics Back.” As investors, I don’t fault them one bit. And maybe their plans and partnerships and relationship with the NBA ultimately result in a Sonics return.”

Ramona Shelburne on Westbrook’s relationship with James Harden: “Much had been made about his friendship with Rockets star James Harden coming into the series. Westbrook said that wouldn’t factor into anything on the court because when he’s on the court, his only friend is the basketball. Tuesday, while dribbling said basketball, Westbrook said:”I think y’all misunderstood what I was saying. Y’all don’t understand the importance of what I was saying. Y’all think it’s a joke or some s—,” Westbrook said. “I think y’all think, ‘Oh, you only have one friend. The basketball is your only friend.’ “All these guys are my brothers. My teammates are my brothers. James is a friend of mine. There’s other friends that I have in the league. But, at the same time, when I get on the floor this is the most important thing for me and how I do what I need to do. So it’s actually not a joke. It’s some real s—. Just to make that known.”