Loud Links: Oklahoma City Thunder News for July 18, 2009

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4D back with Loud Links. So the Thunder and Earl Watson have parted ways. Watson’s departure didn’t happen the way I expected, but in hindsight waiving Watson does make sense. Darnell Mayberry covers  the reasons to waive Watson in a few articles for NewsOK. There is more coverage from the Las Vegas Summer League. There are a few more articles concerning Shaun Livingston's improvement. Kevin Durant speaks about the Thunder’s goal to reach the playoffs next year.

Watson Released, Thunder Falls To 0-4 | Thunder Rumblings
So the Thunder saved some money, added an additional roster spot and got rid of a potential locker room cancer. All in all, it’s not a bad day at the office. I don’t know how much the Thunder saved, but teams generally don’t do things like this unless a player makes it worth their while. And the Thunder had the upper hand because Watson was desperate to get out of OKC. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gave up half of his $6.6 million to get out of his deal. His agreement with the Pacers might be a good indicator of how much he forfeited. For example, if he signs a one-year deal worth $3.3 million, it likely means he gave up $3.3 million with the Thunder but is coming out even with his new contract with the Pacers.

Thunder guard Earl Watson is cut, signs with Pacers | NewsOK.com
As bad contracts and bad headaches go in the NBA, the Thunder is on the league’s lighter end of the spectrum. But Oklahoma City parted with one of its few unhappy players and its most expensive contract on Friday when it waived reserve point guard Earl Watson. Watson has agreed to sign a one-year deal with Indiana. But under league rules, he can’t officially ink his name with the Pacers until the seven-day waiver period ends next week.

Thunder notebook: Shaun Livingston to shed knee brace | NewsOK.com
Shaun Livingston has overcome another small obstacle in his recovery from a career-threatening knee injury. The Thunder’s point guard said he received clearance last month to play without a knee brace over his left leg, explaining why he’s played with only a sleeve over his leg during summer league games in Orlando and Las Vegas. "I feel less restricted, and I’m going out there and feeling like I have a little bit better bounce than playing with that brace," Livingston said. "My explosiveness still isn’t at the point of what I want because I know what I have. So that’s different. But laterally, I feel like I’m about to (move) faster and I wasn’t able to with that big brace."

THUNDER: Davis Checks In: Harden Special On, Off Court
What does Romar see in Harden’s game? "He already has a veteran-like mentality, the way he plays. Guys who play at their own pace are special. You never see him rush anything." How did Washington game plan for him? "You have to have someone big enough, and strong enough, to guard him," Romar said. "With his size, he can beat down a quick guy, but he’s so quick that he can drive around a big guy."

Vegas: It's Personal for Livingston - HOOPSWORLD
Livingston is not out to prove anything by playing in these summer leagues. "For me, it's all personal," he said candidly. "There's nothing really that I'm proving to anybody. Obviously I feel like I'm moving better, a little but stronger. This is an opportunity for me to improve, not only my game but my physical condition with my knee. It's a positive opportunity for me, so I'm trying to take advantage of it."

Tulsa World: Tulsa may gain WNBA team
A group of investors from Oklahoma City and Tulsa are expected to have a press conference Wednesday announcing an effort to bring a team from the Women's National Basketball Association to Tulsa, according to a source familiar with the situation. As reported Friday on tulsaworld.com, WNBA president Donna Orender will be in Tulsa in conjunction with the announcement that will reveal investors and the remaining issues they face in bringing a team to Tulsa, the source said.

D.J. White making up for lost time | NewsOK.com
White delivered perhaps his best performance in Las Vegas in Friday night’s 80-74 loss to Chicago. He scored 15 points with eight rebounds and two blocked shots in 25 minutes. He made six of 11 shots from the field and perhaps most impressively was whistled for only one foul, a sign of solid, fundamental defense.

Thunder notebook: Kyle Weaver gets extended duty at point guard | NewsOK.com
Kyle Weaver saw his biggest challenge to date in his summer-long trial at point guard. The second-year guard started at the point for the Thunder in Friday’s 80-74 loss to Chicago and played 35 minutes.

Day Eight Summer League Roundup - TrueHoop By Henry Abbott - ESPN
In eight days, James Harden has yet to take a truly questionable shot. He's the most measured rookie in his class on the court. Even his turnovers are of the "... but it was a good idea" variety.

Durant Optimistic For Playoffs - HOOPSWORLD
"Individual accolades aren't as important to me as team accolades," he says. "I'm just looking to get better, progress, build on what we did last year, and have some fun. This games all about fun. I think we get away from that a lot, but if we do that and get better as a team we can go from there."

The Knicks Blog " Paul: I Can Be Traded
Perhaps OKC has the pieces. Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, the cap space to take on a massive contract, and multiple future draft picks. That’s a decent starting point, especially given that Westbrook is going to be a future star in this league. Hell, averaging 15 ppg, 5 apg, and 5 rpg as a rookie PG might already make him a star. OKC might be a place to start looking if Paul was actually on the block.

THUNDER: Mullens Talks About Transition, Vaden About Defense
Mullens is a realist. He acknowledged this is just the start of his career. He won’t be judged based solely on these two weeks, where the competition has mostly been against first- and second-year players as well as a fair share of those who will not be on an NBA roster this season.

NBA Summer League: Day 7 | NBADraft.net
Mullens finished 2/8 but did have a few nice entry passes from the high post and picked up three assists. He’s young and will need to work on his strength, as he was bullied out of position a couple of times. He hasn’t got bad hands and his length also cut off some pick and roll options. One rebound in 24 minutes isn’t what you want from a 7 footer however.

Day Seven Summer League Roundup - TrueHoop By Henry Abbott - ESPN
Thunder general manager Sam Presti is collecting versatile pieces to round out an increasingly mature Oklahoma City roster. To that end, Kyle Weaver's game is hard not to like. He wasn't the Thunder's top scorer Thursday, but he gave his team a reliable handle, solid on-ball defense for most of the night on George Hill, and some timely shooting. The Thunder's backcourt is standing room only, but in Weaver, Scott Brooks has a guy who knows his way around the court.

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| 07-14-09 | 07-15-09 |

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