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Loud Links: Oklahoma City Thunder News for June 22, 2009


Loud Links return! Does it seems that a lot of young talent would rather play ball in OKC (versus Memphis)? Hasheem doesn’t work out for the Grizzlies. Harden gives them a poor workout. Do I really have to mention Ricky Rubio? Speaking of the Spanish wunderkind, Ricky’s contract situation seems to be almost over. The Las Vegas Summer League schedule is released. Blake Griffin is to bless the cover of a video game. The Oklahoma interviews ESPN’s rumor-maker Chad Ford. There is also sighting of Damien Wilkins, Shaun Livingston, and Rumble.

The Hoops Report | Ricky Rubio Meets With Oklahoma City Thunder
According to sources, the Oklahoma City Thunder, who currently own the No. 3 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, met with Ricky Rubio on Saturday in Los Angeles to discuss Rubio's buyout situation and their interest in the Spanish point guard, among other things.

NBA Draft: OKC Thunder's Sam Presti might be in the mood to deal |
Trying to figure out Presti’s intentions is like trying to predict Oklahoma’s weather. Based on reports around the league, Presti is leaning toward James Harden or Stephen Curry.

Former Clipper Shaun Livingston works out in L.A. | The Fabulous Forum | Los Angeles Times
Former Clippers first-round draft pick Shaun Livingston was spotted working out today at the Hawthrone Athletic Xchange as the NBA Development League held its pre-draft camp tryouts. Livingston, whose career was derailed following a near-career-ending injury in 2007, was shooting around and going through light drills on the other half of the facility with Oklahoma City Thunder Coach Scott Brooks.

Minnesota is desperate to land Hasheem Thabeet | - A Basketball Fans Dream
The Washington Times reports this weekend that the Timberwolves have reached out to the Wizards about acquiring the 5th pick in the upcoming draft. Minnesota is intrigued with moving up to the number 2 position so they can select Hasheem Thabeet, but in order to do so, Memphis may want a mix of players and picks. The Wizards would reportedly receive Wolves forward Mike Miller, guard Randy Foye, and the 28th pick in the first round for the fifth pick. Miller’s expiring contract entices Washington, as does Foye. The 28th pick could be used to add depth to the front court.

What Does It Take to Make the NBA? :: Cover Story :: Philadelphia City Paper
It is 4:17 on a Thursday afternoon and Dionte Christmas and I are standing underneath the northernmost basket on the main court of Temple's McGonigle Hall, talking hoops. He's just come from the final class of his senior year, and he's decked out in a blue and white button-down and dark navy slacks. The outfit covers up his newly-filled-in 6-foot-5 frame and, if it weren't for a pair of dark basketball sneakers poking out from under his business-casual clothes, you might forget the fact that, in one week, Christmas will officially be a professional athlete.

THUNDER: Thunder to Play in Vegas Summer League
Oklahoma City will also play the newly crowned NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers on July 14, the San Antonio Spurs on the following day, the Chicago Bulls on July 17 and will close its schedule against the Dallas Mavericks on July 18. 2009 NBA Summer League presented by EA Sports announced
NEW YORK, June 22, 2009 -- Twenty-one NBA teams, including the 2009 NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers, will compete in this year's NBA Summer League presented by EA SPORTS in a 55-game schedule that was announced today. A team of NBA Development League Select players will also participate in the action taking place at the Thomas & Mack Center and the COX Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas July 10-19.

Kings Blog and Q&A: Rubio buyout situation almost resolved
Ricky Rubio's situation is about to get less complicated. According to a source close to Rubio, the $6.6 million buyout of the Spanish point guard's contract with his current team, DKV Joventut, will likely be reduced today or tomorrow to an amount where "he knows he'll be able to make the payments," the source said. The resolution of that element of the Rubio equation will, in effect, clear a major obstacle for teams that are considering drafting him Thursday but have concerns about when he would join their team. And that, of course, includes the Kings.

PBN | Coach's draft notes
I love this quote from Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti, as it is so true: "Decisions in the NBA follow you, and each one you make limits options that may present themselves in the future." This will hold true for each pick come Thursday night.

Q&A with Chad Ford: A draft expert's view of Sam Presti, Blake Griffin |
DM: What are your impressions of how Sam Presti has built this team thus far? CF: I think he’s one of the brightest, most intelligent GMs in the league. He’s innovative. He’s willing to experiment. He’ll look at different things rather than the way it’s kind of always been done. If you look at what he’s done in short order to teams in comparison to when he took over the Sonics, he went from a team that was just a disaster to a team that I believe is one of the best up-and-coming teams in the league and a team that’s going to be very well-positioned to be a legitimate title contender. And that’s not easy to do.

More From The Chad Ford Q&A | Thunder Rumblings
Q: If you were Sam Presti in this draft you would…..? A: Take Ricky Rubio if he was there. I think he’s special, and I think special players figure it out. I think he’s got such a great feel for the game and makes people better that he would be a fit. I think Russell could play both the 1 and the 2. But the other reason I take Ricky Rubio is because he’s an asset. And who knows what team will come after him and what they might offer to the Thunder in return. Now who do I think they’ll take? They’re very quiet in that front office. You have to kind of rely a little bit more on hearsay with the Thunder than other teams. But I think if they don’t trade the pick they’ll probably take James Harden.

Camby To OKC? Presti Meets Rubio. Thabeet To Memphis? | Thunder Rumblings
Meanwhile, Hasheem Thabeet, who along with Rubio and Griffin could be the top three picks Thursday, reportedly canceled a workout with Memphis on Saturday because of a shoulder injury. But the Grizzlies, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, flew to L.A. on Saturday and met with the 7-foot-2 center from UConn…for the third time! That level of interest could be a sign that the Grizzlies will take Thabeet with the second overall pick and leave Rubio for the Thunder, which could spark all kinds of scenarios. A good profile of Thabeet also in the Commercial Appeal.

Draftbusters: What makes up a bust and who is likely to be one | Daily
Come Friday morning every team and every fan of that team will have a a new player on their roster. And while they may not agree with the pick, most everyone will be excited and have high hopes for it. But the reality is, only five or six of these guys will probably be big-time contributors. Maybe two or three will be All-Stars. In five years, what guys will we be looking at and laughing that they went in the top 10? Sure there’s tell-tale signs and things we could peg, but you’ve also got the can’t-miss players. The guys that there’s no way they’ll bust. But it happens. Even though people can scout, do tons of homework, interview players and whatever else, in the end some of it comes down to luck. You can’t really know how a player will pan out. Right now, we all say Blake Griffin is a lock for stardom. It’s a no-brainer. But in four or five years, will we be laughing at the fact he went in front of Jordan Hill? It may sound crazy now, but it’s entirely possible.

Brandon Jennings' Roma Teammate on Jennings vs. Rubio - ESPN
Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings are both credited with have having undeniable gifts. For Rubio it's a story of uncommon vision, handle, passing, leadership, creativity and commitment to defense. For Jennings: Speed, handle, commitment to defense, and athleticism.

Draft Notes: Harden Workout, Thabeet Pull-Out, Heisley Talks | Beyond the Arc | Memphis Flyer
Harden had, frankly, a terrible workout, missing an avalanche of jumpshots while dealing with the stifling defense of small orange cones. Arguably worse than all the missed shots was how clearly frustrated Harden got.

THUNDER: A Look At: Hasheem Thabeet
Thabeet averaged 13.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.2 blocks a game during his junior season at the University of Connecticut. He was named Co-Big East Player of the Year alongside Pitt's DeJuan Blair, and is a two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year award winner. Thabeet recorded 415 career blocks and tied the Connecticut single-game record for blocks in a game (10) three times.

THUNDER: A Look At: James Johnson
Johnson averaged 15.0 points on 54.2% shooting to go with 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.5 blocks per game, despite being the No. 2 option for the Demon Deacons. He led Wake Forest in rebounding in each of his two seasons. Johnson, who holds a martial arts background in kickboxing, has a seven-foot wingspan to go with an 8’9 ½" standing reach.

THUNDER: A Look At: Ricky Rubio
Rubio spent this past season playing for DK Joventut in both the Spanish ACB League and Euroleague. In five Euroleague games, he averaged 2.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.8 steals. In the 22 games he played in the ACB, Rubio averaged 10.0 points, 6.1 assists and 2.2 steals in 23.0 minutes per game, nearly double the playing time he saw in the Euroleague. The 18-year-old helped the Spanish National Team to a silver medal in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

DraftExpress: Word on the Street, June 22nd
Speaking of Rubio, do we have a second player openly telling the Grizzlies that they aren’t interested in playing in Memphis? From what we can gather, it doesn’t seem like Thabeet’s camp is all that enamored with the direction Memphis is heading in, and there seems to be strong indications that he feels very good about his chances of being drafted by Oklahoma City, with one NBA source going as far as to say that the chances of him being picked there if available are "100%." 2009 NBA Mock Draft: Version 6.0 - ESPN

NBA Draft: After Blake Griffin, a lot of unknowns |
Minnesota, armed with three first-round picks, appears the team best capable of meeting Memphis’ asking price. If the Timberwolves trade up to draft Ricky Rubio, what kind of domino effect could it have?

NBA Draft: Rumor mill |
Boston could be trying to trade up to No. 2 (Grizzlies), No. 3 (Thunder), No. 4 (Kings), No. 5 (Wizards), No. 9 (Raptors) or No. 11 (Nets). Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen are players they might be willing to trade. The Celtics don’t have a first-round pick.

NBA Draft: The draft's great eight |
Stephen Curry: Last month, most felt Curry would be available at No. 8 to go to the Knicks, which is where he wants to play. A straw poll of general managers ranked Curry the No. 2 point guard in the draft. Oklahoma City, Washington and Golden State are believed to be big Curry fans. He could go in the top five

NBA draft: The latest trade rumors and more - ESPN Insider
This comes on the heels of Rubio spending the weekend with Thunder GM Sam Presti in LA, where Rubio and his camp shared physicals, contract information and personal time with Presti, who walked away "intrigued." However, Rubio didn't walk away with a promise from Presti that they'd draft him at No. 3.

Oklahoma City Thunder 2009 Draft Preview - The Sports Network
Oklahoma City has two first round picks to work with, the third overall and No. 25. Arizona State guard James Harden may be the most NBA-ready player in this draft and should be a steady and consistent wing player very early in his career. He has gotten a lot of attention from the Thunder and Washington Wizards. Now, the Grizzlies have put him in the mix and are apparently enamored with what a three-man rotation of Harden, O.J. Mayo and Conley could do. In the end, I think the Grizzlies go big, leaving Harden to team with Durant and Westbrook in Okie City.

Blake Griffin to grace EA Sports game cover |
Blake Griffin will wear an Oklahoma jersey for one more year. However, he will be wearing it on the cover of EA Sports' NCAA Basketball 10.

The Player to Root for on Draft Day - TrueHoop By Henry Abbott - ESPN
It might seem like Blake Griffin -- the likely top overall pick -- has a lot on the line this week. But he'll be in an NBA uniform with a salary to match no matter what this fall. He has nothing at risk compared to Christmas, who doesn't know if he'll be playing in the NBA, the D-League, overseas, or trying to make use of his college degree.

Hasheem Thabeet (shoulder injury) nixes Memphis Grizzlies workout - ESPN
"Thabeet was a combination of he's had some shoulder situations and he wanted to talk to some other teams," Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace said of the 7-foot-3 center out of Connecticut. "It's also what goes on this time of the year with guys showing, not showing, that type of thing. The gamesmanship of the draft."

Analysis: NBA Draft's first round -
Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder do more homework than about anyone and they seem to have done the most homework on Hasheem Thabeet and James Harden, a swingman from Arizona State. But they may not be able to pass on Ricky Rubio if he's there. Some also think they like power forward Jordan Hill from Arizona.

Rumble Excites Kids at a Day Camp | KSBI-TV | News
More than 100 kids capped off three weeks of camp with a day of fun and a special guest helped get the party started.

Washington Daily News Online | Special Father’s Day for Wilkins’
This weekend’s camp and "Fun Day" was extra special to Damien Wilkins because his father, 15-year NBA veteran Gerald Wilkins, was on hand to watch and help out. It just so happens that the NBA-duo got to spend some quality time together on Father’s Day.

NBA Draft preview: The Thunder's first draft |
Oklahoma City's first NBA Draft is just three days away, and we have your guide to Thursday night's action. We're giving you the three best players at selected skills as they pertain to the Thunder's needs as well as the biggest values, sleepers, question marks, teams to watch and a projection of who could end up where when all the first-round picks are in.


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