Loud Links: 07|10|10

Grading The Deals So Far | Jason Fleming | Hoopsworld
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder – 5 years, $86 million (early extension): This was the biggest no-brainer of the summer. Franchise player, up for extension off his rookie scale contract, willing to stay with no strings attached…and the Thunder made it happen as quickly as they could. No fanfare on either side. Now, some of you may ask what about the waiting strategy I'm saying the Grizzlies should have used with Gay? My response is do you really think Gay is in nearly the same stratosphere as Durant? Not even close. Grade: A+

Fleming gave out only one A+ and KD and OKC earned it. Miami didn't even get an A+ after signing their super trio.

5 Best NBA Offseason Moves Nobody is Talking About | Dime Magazine
1. Daequan Cook to Oklahoma City - The way the Thunder lost to the Lakers in the playoffs made getting a rebounding big man the team’s top offseason priority, but before that, I believe it would have been getting a pure shooter. Too many times when OKC needed a three or somebody to knock down a J, all defensive eyes went to Kevin Durant, and his teammates couldn’t deliver. Before this year’s Draft the Thunder picked up Cook in a trade with Miami for a pick, and got their shooter. The issue now is Cook finding playing time. OKC’s backcourt is loaded with Russell Westbrook and Eric Maynor running the point, Thabo Sefolosha for defense, James Harden for offense, and Mo Pete for veteran savvy. If Cook plays his way into the rotation, he can spread the floor and provide a legit sniper behind the arc.

OKC Thanks You, Ray Allen | Susan Bible | Hoopsworld
Then he gave an account of his early days with the team, touching upon a subject that many have wondered about, as far as Durant's reaction: the trading of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.

"To be honest with you, I'm not gonna lie, I was scared," Durant laughed. "I was 18 and I had to kinda be 'the guy' on (an) NBA franchise. I didn't think it would be like that. I was thinking I was gonna be playing with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, but they were traded and we started over again. "It was time for me to get really focused and locked in and try to become the best player I could be," he revealed. "Since day one, the coaches were on me as a rookie. I was the worst player in camp. I was the worst defender in camp. "To be honest, they could have easily kept Ray Allen."

Thunder's Byron Mullens attracts attention | Darnell Mayberry | NewsOK.com
Instead of camping out on the perimeter and settling for mid-range jump shots, Mullens flaunted his footwork in the post. He played with his back to the basket and finished several plays with jump hooks or dunks. When he didn't finish, he got fouled and earned a trip to the free throw line. Mullens attempted 33 free throws, second most behind James Harden.

"I know what I needed to improve on, and I did it this week," Mullens said. "I'm just trusting my coaches. I was talking to (assistant coach Mark Bryant) the other day on the bench, and he was like, 'See what listening to me can do?'"

Wonders, it turns out.

Jenni Carlson: Kevin Durant knows he's got an $87 million mom | NewsOK.com
The day after Durant signed a contract extension that will keep him in Oklahoma City through 2015-16 and pay him upward of $87 million, the emotions remained strong at a midday press conference.

It wasn't just his mom, either. The Thunder superstar got misty eyed a couple times, too. "I was very emotional... " he said, pausing to collect himself, "... these last couple of days."

Will LeBron Debut Against The Thunder? | Darnell Mayberry | Thunder Rumblings
The Thunder will face the Heat (see why folks hate weather-related nicknames) on Oct. 8 inside the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. It could be the first time Dwyane Wade and new teammates LeBron James and Chris Bosh take the court together in a real (sort of) NBA game. It’s not guaranteed that the Thunder will get the first crack at the league’s newest superpower. The Thunder opened its preseason schedule last season on Oct. 7 at Memphis. This year, the Thunder is scheduled to take on Charlotte in Fayetteville, N.C. on Oct. 6. So it’s possible the Heat has a game scheduled prior to the Kansas City showdown.

Is this a make or break year for Thunder's D.J. White in Oklahoma City? | Darnell Mayberry | NewsOK.com
"I feel that when I do get a chance to get on the court, I'm capable of doing good things," White said Thursday after getting an off day from Game 4 of the team's five-game summer league schedule. "All I can do is go into training camp and try to crack the rotation." Such sentiments are reserved for rookies, not third-year players such as White. Yet that's precisely the predicament in which White finds himself. In his first two seasons, White has appeared in only 19 games, logging a grand total of 231 minutes.

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