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Loud Links: June 15, 2009


In this edition of Loud Links: The Thunder are looking for assistant coaches. Desmond Mason is now 100% healed. OKC is working out 6 more players. Russell Westbrook gets interviewed. Damien Wilkins has a "fun day" in Washington State. A few looks at the future of the Magic (and Gortat). Paul Millsap is to play with Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin? OKC’s growing economy draws folks back from California (not really b-ball related, but interesting). Lawal and Harangody start a law firm… wait that’s not right. Oh yeah, they return to school.

Thunder Notebook: Assistant coaches & Desmond Mason |
Still down one assistant coach because of Paul Westhead’s departure following the firing of P.J. Carlesimo and subsequent promotion of Scott Brooks and hiring of Ron Adams, the Thunder could have one more assistant’s position to fill. The team is expected to move on without one of its four remaining assistants and has already begun interviewing candidates. The new additions could be announced in the near future.

SLAM ONLINE | " To Move or Not to Move?
As bad as the organization has been recently, the Grizzlies are in a rare position to dictate how this draft plays out. Oklahoma City will be faced with a dilemma if the Grizzlies take Hasheem Thabeet. Do they grab Rubio and move Russell Westbrook to the 2? What if the Grizzlies select Rubio? Do you pass on Thabeet—next potential Mutombo—in favor of James Harden? Would New York swoop in to grab Rubio? You see, every other team outside of Clipperland is waiting to see what Memphis will do.

Thunder to work out 6 college players -
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma City Thunder are having a pre-draft workout with six players today.

Q&A: Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook |
How are your workouts going? What are you doing in the gym this offseason? "I’ve been working out every morning. I start school in a couple of weeks, so I’ll be in school. But I’ve just been lifting and working out again late at night, just getting myself right and trying to get prepared for next season."

NBA draft: A big dilemma for Thunder |
The list of centers who had significant impacts on their teams? Well, that cluster is considerably more concise. "The game has changed to where it’s not being played with true centers anymore," said one NBA scout. "But you could give yourself a considerable advantage if you’re one of the few teams that have one."

Washington Daily News Online | Fifth annual ‘Fun Day’ tips off Saturday
Damien Wilkins said after his first "Fun Day" that he wanted the event to get "bigger and better" with each passing year. Wilkins, an NBA veteran who played last year with the Oklahoma City Thunder, has been pleased with the progress. The Washington native will be hoping for the best "Fun Day" yet when he hosts his fifth annual event on Saturday.

How much is too much for Blake Griffin? |
Los Angeles Clippers coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy is "99.9 percent" certain he’s keeping the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft and will use it to select Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin.

NBA Draft is deep with point guards |
The consensus is this year’s NBA Draft is the weakest in years for producing All-Star caliber players. But the 2009 class has one thing going for it — an abundance of quality point guards. - UCLA's Holiday will remain in NBA draft
Holiday averaged 8.5 points and 3.7 assists in his one season with the Bruins, never growing comfortable in the shooting guard position. Coach Ben Howland was planning to move Holiday to the point for his sophomore year, but Holiday's extraordinary athleticism led people around the league to encourage his entry into the draft. When he measured at 6-4 1/4 in shoes at the NBA combine in early June, his ratings improved even more among scouts and draft analysts.

Luke Harangody to return to Notre Dame Fighting Irish for senior season - ESPN
Luke Harangody chose the sure thing of being a potential legend at Notre Dame over the unknown of being a first-round draft pick when he decided to return for his senior season with the Irish. As of midday Monday, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey still didn't know which way Harangody was leaning. But an hour before the 5 p.m. ET deadline, Harangody told Brey he was returning to school. Brey said in a text simply: "Gody to return!"

NBA AM: What Is Next For Magic?
Marcin May Get Mid-Level Offers: At least three NBA teams have made it clear that Magic reserve center Marcin Gortat is "high" on their free agent board. The belief is the Houston Rockets may try and trade into the top of the June 25th NBA draft in order to draft a backup center and if that does not pan out they have Gortat at the top of their board and may be willing to part with a significant chunk of their mid-level exception to get him. The New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings also have eyes for Gortat according to sources. Magic sources said unless someone offers Gortat "starting center money" – a deal upwards of $5 million per year - that Orlando would match the lower offers. If Gortat gets into the $4 to $5 million range the Magic may let him go, although Marcin has been fairly clear that he'd like to stay in Central Florida long-term. Still, the market will dictate his future.

Orlando Magic look to re-sign Hedo Turkoglu, Gortat | Interbasket
We will see how much Orlando values the 6-10 clutch forward from Istanbul this summer. Turkoglu is entering the final year of a six-year, $36 million contract and Hedo is scheduled to make $7.3 million next season under the current terms of that deal.

More Hype: Rubio Or Jennings? - Basketball News & NBA Rumors -
Long before Brandon Jennings put Ricky Rubio on blast after working out for the Sacramento Kings, the kid from Compton made a decision to surpass college and opted for playing overseas instead. Three years ago when Jennings was 16-years-old, he said he wanted to be a USC Trojan. The following year he decided to switch programs, choosing instead to play for the Arizona Wildcats. It never happened. The story has been told before: Jennings failed multiple entry exams to attend Arizona, so he transformed himself into the poster child for skipping college in order to get paid in full like Eric B. and Rakim and ball in Europe.

NBA draft: The latest trade rumors and more - ESPN Insider
Rubio has been pretty adamant that he doesn't want to play in Memphis. Although he doesn't have the same objection to Oklahoma City, it sounds as though the Thunder are leaning toward drafting either James Harden or Stephen Curry. So, if neither team makes a trade, Rubio would be there at No. 4.

Lawal Returning to Georgia Tech
Throughout the draft process Gani Lawal has made it clear that he was going to do whatever was in his best interest and on Sunday he revealed to HOOPSWORLD that he will be returning to school for his junior year. The 6'9 sophomore forward spoke very highly of the experienced he gained throughout the past two months, but after talking with teams and his family he decided the 2010 draft was better suited for him.

Jazz: Millsap to join Brewer in USA Basketball minicamp - Salt Lake Tribune
The Jazz will be well represented at next month's USA Basketball minicamp in Las Vegas, with Paul Millsap set to join Ronnie Brewer and assistant coach Tyrone Corbin in taking part. DeAngelo Simmons, Millsap's agent, said Monday the third-year forward was one of the 24 players invited to the minicamp, which will bring together a group of the NBA's top young players. Among the others expected to participate are Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, Portland's Greg Oden, Chicago's Derrick Rose, Memphis' O.J. Mayo and Blake Griffin, the expected No. 1 overall pick of the L.A. Clippers.

Golden State losing folks as old dust bowl beckons | Penn State News
Enter the Oklahoma City Thunder, the newest team in the NBA. They needed a video guy, and they offered the gig to Higgins just days before their inaugural season began in October. He took it, and has worked almost nonstop since. It's a simple equation for Higgins. "As far as being more attractive than Sacramento - yes, there is a job here for me!" he said.



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