Thursday Bolts -5.21.09

So here’s some semi-disturbing news – (allegedly) Ricky Rubio wants nothing to do with a small market: “Rubio doesn’t thunderbolt2314want to go to Memphis, and he especially does not want to pay money out of his own pocket with that huge buyout for the honor of doing so. Fegan [Rubio’s agent] wants him in L.A., and if he can’t have him there, he wants him in Sacramento. Definitely not Oklahoma City. ” Unlike Griffin or Hasheem Thabeet, who don’t really have any choice where they will play next season if a team decides to play hardball, Rubio has a reasonably attractive alternative option at his disposal-returning to Spain. “He’ll pull out if he doesn’t like what he’s hearing,” the NBA source tells us. “Or he can stay in and force the Grizzlies to call his bluff-would they really take him knowing that he may never come over? That’s one way to get him to fall to three.” All that is is an “NBA source.” So who knows. Believe me, sources have been incorrect about those type of things a lot. But a couple scenarios could come out of this: 1) Rubio is serious and the Clips take Blake and Rubio pulls out of the draft. 2) Clips posture with Blake, take Rubio and leave Blake somewhere to be had at No. 2. 3) Rubio is serious but Memphis/OKC go ahead and take him anyway and we’re stuck with another Yi Jianlan situation (also Fegan’s client) or 4) It’s all just talk.

Also, within that article is some interesting stuff about Blake Griffin and the Clippers: “While it may seem strange for the Clippers to so quickly anoint Griffin as their choice before really possessing a full picture of what’s on the table, many in the league think Dunleavy (also the Clippers GM in addition to their head coach) wants to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that Griffin is going first, in an effort to get teams to make their best offers. “The Clippers need a point guard more than anything. They can easily trade Baron Davis back to the Warriors if they want to. I think they are going to move down to 3 or 4 and try to get Rubio there.” There’s no attribution to that quote, so I’m going to just assume it’s from the “source.” I guess we’ll hold off on calling this over. I think more than anything it is over and this is just sort of an effort to keep us interested.

Another random mock draft: “OKC Thunder- Tyreke Evans, SG Memphis. If Thabeet is still here, then I’ll go with Thabeet. But if Memphis takes him, then I am not sure if OKC would take Rubio and keep him (*see LA trade scenario above). There is talk that OKC would move Westbrook off the ball, but why? We all saw first hand what Westbrook can do when he has the ball in his hands. Why fix what is not broken? OKC covets length and defense. Evans would provide that at the 2, along with elite scoring capabilities. His athleticism and potential on both sides of the ball seem like a good fit.”

Newsday on OKC’s situation: “The Worldwide Leader’s draft dude, Chad Ford, is reporting that the Grizzlies, at No. 2, might resist drafting yet another guard and pass on Ricky Rubio to go for 7-3 center Hasheem Thabeet. If that’s the case, Rubio falls to Oklahoma City at No. 3 and the Knicks can kiss adios to any hopes of getting La Pistola. Rubio would fit well with Russell Westbrook in the backcourt and would be a dynamic offensive tandem with Kevin Durant. People would quickly get over missing out on the Sooner Son. And all the Thunder would need now is a quality big who can defend the rim and rebound.”

Chris Bosh via Twitter:  “Everyone, please stop asking me to come and play for the team in your city. I get that question everyday now. I just want to enjoy my summer.”

Darnell Mayberry on the questions regarding Thabeet: “What we know about Thabeet is he’s a game-changing interior defender. We know his 4.2 blocked shots per game and 10.8 rebounds at UConn last season only begin to tell the full story of how much of an impact he has at the defensive end. But we don’t know whether those skills alone are enough to win over the Thunder. Don’t know whether Thabeet will ever develop into anything more than a defensive presence. And don’t know whether he has the heart and hunger to be all he can be or is simply an example of a big man who had the game forced upon him.”

You know why everybody does mock drafts? Because people like me have to see what they say. And here’s another random one: “Oklahoma City Thunder – Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn. This is the first really interesting spot in the draft. Oklahoma will be faced with a choice between Arizona State SG James Harden and Thabeet. A good case could be made for choosing either. Without having any information yet about their thinking, we’re putting Thabeet in this spot based on GM Sam Presti’s San Antonio pedigree. The Thunder already have some talented, young players who can score it (and Kevin Durant looks like he could average 30 someday). A defensive anchor would really help balance this roster. Arizona PF Jordan Hill could also be a possibility.”

Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World writes that if Clay Bennett can pull off the impossible and bring a team to Oklahoma City, why can’t he turn water into wine again and land Blake Griffin?: “And it’s not like Bennett doesn’t have some leverage. The Thunder has multiple first-round picks in the next two drafts. It also has some excellent young talent in Westbrook and forwards Kevin Durant and Jeff Green. Again, those hoops deep thinkers in OKC look down their noses (or is that up?) at us ignorant Tulsans who dare suggest Bennett put together whatever package of picks and players the Clippers demand for Griffin. Riddle me this you roundball Einsteins: Who would the Thunder have the best chance of holding onto when Durant, Westbrook, Green and Griffin become unrestricted free agents? Perhaps the smart money will be right. But as for now, us Bennett believers are betting our man doesn’t consider this Griffin mission an impossible one.” Kind of have to wonder, what’s the deal with that tone there? Roundball Einsteins? Is Sittler starting a Tulsa-Oklahoma City war of words? I THINK HE IS! 

Empty the Bench likes Hasheem Thabeet with OKC or possibly trading the pick: “Here’s a thought: how about calling Detroit Pistons GM Joe Dumars, who’s open to trading just about anybody on his roster not named Rodney Stuckey, and talking about Richard Hamilton? Hamilton is exactly the kind of All-Star caliber talent with a proven track record of winning that could have a positive influence on the young Thunder team, not to mention help them win some games. At 31 years old, the well-conditioned Hamilton still has a good 4 years left in him; if Ray Allen can still do it at 34, Hamilton can at 35. A package of Hamilton, Jason Maxiell, and the Pistons’ first second-round pick (35th overall) for a player (Robert Swift?) and the third-overall pick–a pick which the Pistons would use on Rubio, shifting Stuckey over to Hamilton’s vacated spot at SG–might make sense for both teams. Of course, that’s just one possible trade scenario. But when it comes down to the words that come out of David Stern’s smug little mouth on June 25, here’s what Oklahoma City Thunder fans should be hoping for: “With the third pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Hasheem Thabeet from the University of Connecticut.” Hmm, that trade scenario sounds strangely familiar

Ian Thompson’s mock draft and me likey: “Thunder – James Harden: Not so much a go-to scorer as he is a blend-in player, Harden will fit well with this developing team. Even if the Thunder eventually use cap space to acquire a star free agent at shooting guard, they’ll still be glad to have Harden as an all-around sixth man.”

The Hoop Doctors have the top 10 undrafted NBA players: “Ben Wallace, who is nicknamed Big Ben, is a 6′9″ center/power forward for the NBA’s best team currently, the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has received countless awards recognizing his defensive ability. He was an NBA champion in 2004, is a 4 time All-Star, 4 time Defensive Player of the Year (a record which he shares with Dikembe Mutombo), a 6 time All-Defensive Team member, and a 5 time All-NBA Team member.”

This video (via The Lost Ogle) is pure gold. It features Al Eschbach and current Fox Sports columnist Charley Rosen. And as Patrick says, the Thunder need to replicate this. Now.

SLAM’s second pick of their mock draft – Hasheem Thabeet: “Every time I see this Ricky Rubio mix or this one or that one, I fleetingly convince myself into selecting the 18-year-old savant. He’s got more flair than Brian from Office Space. You gotta use words like “uncanny” and “special” and “brilliant” to describe some of the moves he pulls out of the crack of his narrow @$. Rubio, like his fellow SLAM coverboy Brandon Jennings, captures the imagination-he’s arresting. Meanwhile, my current point guard, Mike Conley, doesn’t exactly have me caught up in rapture. So why then, am I passing on Rubio-who could be one of the defining players of his generation-for a dude who has been described as Dikembe Mutombo, at best, and Brad Sellers, at worst? Because, I’m all about composition, balance and identity; and Mutombo is exactly what I need.”

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