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Loud Links: Oklahoma City Thunder News for June 24, 2009



The Loud Links just keep coming. In this edition: Thabo Sefolosha is mentioned in possible trade talks. Ridiculous Upside predict OKC’s 25th pick. Rubio’s best friend lives somewhere near Oklahoma City. Is Presti’s interest in Rubio just a smokescreen? Perhaps OKC just hired the lawfirm to handle Ibaka’s contract? Curry says some nice things about our young squad. Portland and Dallas trade picks. Daily Thunder examine how Westbrook and Rubio could co-exist. " Chad Ford: Cleveland is in Trouble
"Sam Presti seems to kind of understand, ‘I need to surround Kevin Durant with young talent that can grow together.’ They’ll continue to get better and better gradually, and right when it’s time for Kevin Durant to leave or not to leave is right when they’re going to start to make their run as a real contender. And that’s going to be too alluring for him to walk away from.

Young guns: NBA teams with young, productive trios |
Ten times in NBA history, a team has had a trio of scorers which averaged at least 57 points a game and were a combined age of younger than 70. The teams, with their cumulative age:

Ricky Rubio, Hasheem Thabeet among key NBA draft figures - Ian Thomsen -
1. Who goes for Ricky Rubio? Not only has the 18-year-old point guard made it clear he'd just as soon avoid going No. 2 in the draft to Memphis, but he also faces a troublesome buyout worth as much as $8 million to his Spanish club, DKV Joventut. A further complication is that the buyout is now held by the Spanish IRS in lieu of old tax debts incurred by Rubio's club. Does Memphis risk taking him at No. 2? (Not likely.) Does Oklahoma City use the No. 3 pick on him after taking promising point guard Russell Westbrook at No. 4 last year? Does Sacramento grab him with the fourth pick despite the doubts raised by his buyout? Do concerns about his Spanish contract cause him to slide, or does another team trade up for Rubio at No. 2 or 3?

Could Ricky Rubio and Russell Westbrook co-exist in the backcourt? | Daily - Where Thunder Happens
Rubio is the distributor. The guy that wants to pass, wants to make teammates better. And Westbrook could continue to do what he likes doing - driving recklessly at the bucket and scoring and creating. Just because Russ would technically be penciled in at shooting guard in the box score doesn’t mean he would have the ball in his hands. They can feed off each other. If Presti took Curry I think the same thing would happen. Heck, if he took James Harden I think Westbrook and Harden would share a lot of the ball-handling duties. Even if OKC goes with Thabeet, you’ll see a lot of Livingston-Westbrook, Thabo-Westbrook, Weaver-Westbrook anyway. Scott Brooks said one time that he sees five point guards playing together in the NBA in 10 years. Maybe that’s the vision they have now.

THUNDER: A Look at Draft Night for the Thunder
What was the number of draft prospects you began the season with? "Good question. All in all I’d say close to a thousand names. But again, if you can dribble and you have both arms and legs and you play in, like Slovakia, somehow that guy’s name is on our list. It will take us two seconds to cross him off the list, if that makes sense. To start it’s a pretty big group. But we eliminate guys pretty quickly."

DraftExpress: Fifteen Questions with Jonathan Givony
I think he (Rubio) will need some time to adjust because the style of play in the NBA is so radically different than where he has been playing the last few years. He's the youngest prospect in this draft, but that being said, he is the most experienced, which makes for a very unique combination. I like him a lot as a prospect in this draft. He has All-Star potential as a point guard. There are some things that he can do that very few point guards in the NBA can do. He has tremendous vision and anticipation as well as great ability to see the court and make great decisions. These are the characteristics that set him apart. He will have to get stronger and adapt his game, but he is smart enough, talented enough and young enough that this won't be a major issue. He is clearly the most talented point guard in this draft, just ahead of Brandon Jennings in my view.

Portland Trail Blazers deal 3 picks to Dallas Mavericks for No. 22 in draft - ESPN
The Portland Trail Blazers acquired the 22nd pick in Thursday's NBA draft from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the 24th and 56th picks in this year's draft, and worst of their second round picks in 2010.

Minnesota Timberwolves still trying to deal after first trade official - ESPN
The Grizzlies aren't seriously talking with any other team about the No. 2 pick, but did have an initial discussion with Oklahoma City for the No. 3 pick and Thabo Sefolosha, but that deal was rejected by the Thunder. The Grizzlies had an initial discussion with the Sacramento Kings to move No. 2 for No. 4 and Jason Thompson but that was declined, as well. The source said New York is not pursuing the No. 2 pick, but the Knicks and the Grizzlies have talked about a straight up trade with the Grizzlies sending Darko Milicic to New York for Quentin Richardson. Both players have expiring contracts.

Quad Q.& A.: Blake Griffin - The Quad Blog -
Blake Griffin is widely expected to be selected by the Los Angeles Clippers with the first pick in Thursday night’s N.B.A. draft. After a short but dominant career at Oklahoma, Griffin has been on the radar of the Clippers since they secured the No. 1 pick. But, on Tuesday, Griffin was in New York to take care of some other obligations for one of his new sponsors. So, between making a footlong roasted chicken sandwich at Subway and playing a game of H-O-R-S-E (actually, S-U-B-W-A-Y) with the ubiquitous company spokesman, Jared Fogle, at the West Fourth Street courts in Greenwich Village, Griffin sat down to answer a few questions about how he has been preparing for Thursday night.

NBA Draft buzz - NBA - Basketball
If the Thunder keep the third pick and wind up with Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, the team's current point guard -- Russell Westbrook -- will be none too pleased. Asked by ESPN The Magazine about moving to shooting guard to allow Rubio to play the point, Westbrook's response was as follows: "You trippin'."

More draft rumors, three top 18 picks? | NBA in OKC
There also is a report the Thunder likes Rubio and plans to sign him and keep him, not trade him. Seems a little far-fetched but maybe Presti feels Rubio is a special player and will worry about shooting guard and center later in this draft, free agency or next season. Again, it could be a smoke screen or legit. Combined with the rumor that OKC might be trying to obtain Phoenix’s No. 14 pick in exchange for the Suns unprotected pick for 2010 to try and get B.J. Mullens, there’s no telling what spots the Thunder drafts.

Latest Minnesota rumor | NBA in OKC
The latest rumor out of Minnesota, according to a source that follows the Timberwolves, is they might want to trade the No. 5 and 18 picks to Oklahoma City for the No. 3 pick. The latest twist is Minnesota’s target is Tyreke Evans, not Ricky Rubio or Hasheem Thabeet.

Deal heats up race for Ricky Rubio |
Just as the Thunder appeared to step up it's pursuit of Ricky Rubio, a new suitor may have entered the chase. The Minnesota Timberwolves, who reportedly are now armed with four first-round picks in Thursday's NBA Draft, may be in prime position to make a play for the Spanish point guard sensation.

UConn's Thabeet Unsure What To Expect --
NEW YORK - Hasheem Thabeet doesn't know what to expect Thursday at the NBA Draft, which through trades and 11th-hour decisions by team executives can change in so many ways before a player hears his name called. But Thabeet, the UConn center who decided to skip his senior season, knows his name will be called by Commissioner David Sterns early on -- and he knows he won't get much sleep in the meantime. "I don't know what its going to be like," Thabeet said Wednesday at the Westin Times Square, where 14 of the top prospects gathered for media availability in advance of the Draft. "I'm excited wherever I end up going. It's an opporunity for me to play ball and for people to see what kind of person I am."

Chat: Chat with NBA prospects - SportsNation - ESPN
Stephen Curry: It's a group you can build on. They've established themselves as great player. As a point guard and facilitator I feel I can play with those guys. Westbrook's athleticism. KD overall stardom. Jeff Green can score and do a lot of things. Four guys who can do things all over the court ... that can work. Kevin and Russell have really got the city excited about what's going on. If they can cement themselves as a good team early next year, that could lead to all kinds of good things, and keep the enthusiasm at a high level.

Ricky Rubio in Oklahoma City? - TrueHoop By Henry Abbott - ESPN
There is one other possibility here: Maybe Sam Presti would take Rubio simply because it's the value pick. There are some GMs in love with him, and the offers could be good. Let's say you're Sam Presti and you really want James Harden. If the rumors are true, and Minnesota's David Kahn is really hot for Rubio, then you might be able to trade Rubio to him James Harden and another first-round pick, likely the eighteenth pick.

Sources: Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors near Jamal Crawford trade - ESPN
NBA front-office sources say that the Warriors and Hawks will soon complete a deal sending Crawford to Atlanta for Acie Law and Speedy Claxton.

NBA draft: The latest trade rumors and more - ESPN
I'm told OKC will take Hasheem Thabeet at No. 3 if he's there, though there are concerns that he'll struggle on a team for which he's the No. 1 post option. I'm also told that if Thabeet's not there, the Thunder will take James Harden. GM Sam Presti loves Ricky Rubio, but he knows Russell Westbrook will be angered to the point of wanting out if OKC drafts another PG. In a video that will be on TrueHoop shortly, he also was asked to react to various NBA cities. His gut reaction to the word "Minnesota" was: "Too cold." Oklahoma City earned a "My best friend lives nearby." And when Rubio thinks of Sacramento, the first thing that comes to mind is: "Nice weather."

DraftExpress: Word on the Street, June 24th: The Latest
Oklahoma City has already reportedly offered Minnesota to trade the #5 and #6 picks for the #3 selection, where Ricky Rubio is sure to be available for the Timberwolves. Oklahoma City appears to be sending out signals that Rubio is the player they covet at #3, although this could very well be a smokescreen to force Minnesota to trade up if they indeed covet Rubio as much as people think. Another rumor that is making the rounds is that Oklahoma City may be working on a deal with the New York Knicks that would involve drafting Rubio and then shipping him to the Knicks in July in a sign and trade for David Lee. The tricky part would be coming to terms with Lee on an appropriate contract figure before the pick is made, since technically they are not allowed to negotiate, and Lee likely does not yet know what his true value on the open market. He is reportedly looking for around 11 million dollars a year.

SBNation NBA Mock Draft, Pick #25: Oklahoma City Thunder - Ridiculous Upside
So with a comparison to James Posey and his ball-hawking defense, the Thunder get Young at the back-end of the first round and a remedy for a lack of toughness and defense. His body is definitely NBA ready, as he boast a 6'6" frame with a 6'10" wingspan and is certainly one strong dude. I think he's a steal here for a guy that could be in the mold of Posey/Bowen. Simply put he could be the glue guy and defender that every championship contender needs, on a team that is streaking towards contention.



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