In this edition of Loud Links: Hoopsworld evaluates the likelihood that the Thunder will draft Thabeet. CBSSports ranks the top free agents of the summer. A look into Big 12 basketball and the NBA draft. Gortat says he loves Orlando, and whether he stays depends on what happens with Turkoglu. Orlando claims they will try to resign Turk despite the luxury tax. Rubio’s draft stock fluctuates. And even a few mock drafts (shocking I know). Read on…
NBA PM: Oklahoma City And Thabeet?
At HOOPSWORLD we've had some informed sources tell us the Thunder are interested in drafting a point guard and moving Russell Westbrook over to the two. If that's the case, you would think the Thunder are probably interested in, say, Stephen Curry, Jonny Flynn, or maybe Ricky Rubio. Then there's been the ongoing rumor that Sam Presti really likes James Harden (and what's not to like?), who would play the two next to Westbrook.
2009 NBA Free Agents - CBSSports.com
This is the list of the top unrestricted NBA free agents for the 2009 summer. As we saw during this season's trade deadline, this off-season will be a little bit different, as most teams will not want to spend big money on free agents due to the economy or in preparation for The Summer of 2010 (coming to a theater near you!). The top players on the list will have no problem getting their money but the players at the end of the list or not on the list will have a hard time getting what they feel is their just due and may have to look towards Europe.
Oklahoma City explores its options
The Thunder pick third, so they’re likely looking at Ricky Rubio, Hasheem Thabeet and James Harden. The Rubio/Harden decision comes down to what the team has planned for Russell Westbrook. Is he the point guard of the future (as Chad Ford keeps reporting)? If so, it doesn’t make sense to draft Rubio. If they feel that Westbrook is better suited for off guard, then a Rubio/Westbrook backcourt could also be formidable. I’m guessing that the Grizzlies are going to go with Thabeet at #2, so OKC may very well have to make this decision later this month.
NBA AM: Basketball News & NBA Rumors
Hansbrough In The Lottery?: It's highly unlikely that UNC's Tyler Hansbrough goes in the top 13 picks, but there continues to be talk that at least one team in the top 13 has Hansbrough high enough on their board that he could get an invite to the NBA Draft's green room. The opinions on Tyler vary, most scouts say he is far better as a player than his reputation and that his workouts have been strong and his resume makes him attractive to coaches that need toughness. It should come as no surprise that Tyler seems locked in at Utah at #20, but there is talk should the draft board shake up as expected he could tumble into the second round. The NBA really has not had much draft day drama recently, so having Tyler in New York might make for interesting theater. If Tyler gets the invite keep in mind there is at least one lottery team giving consideration to drafting him.
Number One and No One Else from the Big 12?
On the eve of this year’s NBA draft I am amazed at what a difference a year makes when it comes to the difference in number of potential players drafted out of the Big 12 as opposed to how many were drafted last year. However, one thing remains the same and that is there is the possibility of having a player out of the Big 12 being named the number one pick for the third straight year.
NBA Draft: Blake Griffin's career still in infancy | NewsOK.com
Blake Griffin is in the early stages of his NBA odyssey. There was the combine in Chicago and a workout in Los Angeles and a trip to New York, but he won’t be drafted until next week. Won’t report to training camp until September. Won’t play his first game until October.
Orlando Sentinel - Marcin Gortat wants to stay in Orlando, but Turk's contract situation will play role by
"Everything depends from Turk, what’s going to happen with Turk. That’s what I think. I would like to stay in Orlando. I love Orlando. I love the coaching staff. I learned a lot with Coach Van Gundy, and he made me a player. Basically, he taught me a lot of discipline. He gave me a lot of experience. I’m just happy that I had this opportunity to play for this town, for the team, for this organization, for the fans. I can tell you one thing: I feel great here; I feel really awesome. I think fans liked me, and I like the fans. I like everything about the Magic."
Orlando Magic say luxury tax won't hinder re-signing of Turkoglu - ESPN
Chief operating officer Alex Martins said the team is prepared to go over the luxury tax for the first time in its history, perhaps giving the Magic the space they need to re-sign the soon-to-be free agent Turkoglu and remain a contender to return to the NBA finals. "The luxury tax won't be a hindrance," Martins said.
Omri Casspi Ain't No Punk, Austin Daye Quickly Learns -- NBA FanHouse
New Jersey hosted a massive workout over three days, inviting a whole slate of first round prospects and just about every NBA front office. Who stole the show? Austin Daye's fat lip. Or bloody lip, actually. Israeli prospect Omri Casspi reportedly manhandled the twiggy Daye in 5-on-5 competition. DraftExpress reported Daye ended up with a cut lip requiring stitches.
Spain's Ricky Rubio to stay in draft, gauge interest - ESPN
While NBA executives are in love with Rubio's skill set, they are worried about his lack of strength, inconsistent shooting and a looming war with his Spanish team, DKV Joventut, over Rubio's whopping $6 million-plus buyout. Rubio has filed a grievance with the Spanish league looking to reduce the buyout. A complicated situation with the Spanish IRS and the team have only muddied the waters.
The Dawgfather Makes His Return : Kitsap Sun
Nick Collison joined Brent Barry, Sam Perkins, Desmond Mason and Jim McIlvaine as former Sonics at the Classic. Collison, a 2003 draft choice by Seattle who made the move with the team to Oklahoma City last season, said playing for the Thunder (23-59) provided its share of ups and downs.
Is James Harden a perfect fit for Oklahoma City Thunder? | NewsOK.com
The draft workout buzz has labeled the 6-foot-5 swingman as a player with deceptive athleticism and a high basketball IQ. "He's one of those kids that's a throwback from a different era," one NBA general manager was quoted. "His background came back as clean as it gets. His coach and teammates rave about him. He's all business on and off the court."
DraftExpress: Word on the Street, June 16th
No GM in the NBA is apparently more active right now than Minnesota’s David Kahn, as he’s apparently set on "making a big splash in his first draft" according to one NBA executive, and is "talking to everyone" at the moment. One rumor that is making the rounds has Minnesota sending Memphis Kevin Love in exchange for the #2 pick (and filler). Minnesota would then draft Ricky Rubio, which could help them significantly with their ticket sales, and still have the #6 pick at their disposal, which they could use to take someone like Jordan Hill.
THUNDER: A Look At: Stephen Curry
The son of former NBA guard Del Curry, Stephen made the switch from shooting guard to point guard this past season and responded by dishing an average of 5.6 assists per game. Curry’s points and assists improved from a season ago despite him averaging not even a minute more per game this season.
2009 NBA Mock Draft
Oklahoma City Thunder - James Harden (6'5" 215, Guard) Sophomore, Arizona State Analysis: A line-up including Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green should have fans in Oklahoma City ecstatic about the future. The biggest knock on Harden leading up to the draft was his athleticism, but his results at the Pre-Draft Combine in Chicago eliminated those concerns.
KIAT: 2009 NBA Mock Draft : Scouting The Sports
James Harden is an excellent scorer and defender who knows how to fill out the stat sheet. He can give the Thunder an additional scorer and become the second or third option behind Durant and Green. The combination of those three players with Russell Westbrook at the point can make the Thunder a force to be reckoned with next season.
NBA Offseason 2009: Mock Draft 1-10 | Sportable, Where Sports are a Lifestyle
3. Oklahoma City Thunder – James Harden, Arizona State. In a word, smooth. Harden’s left handed stroke is NBA ready. His athleticism isn’t great, but he strikes me as a guy that’s going to be a real steady NBA player. He’s a bit undersized at 6′5, but I think he’d do fine as a shooting guard in the league. Ricky Rubio is a tempting pick here, but the Thunder are confident in Russell Westbrook. Pairing Harden up with Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green will make the Thunder’s young nucleus even more impressive.