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Loud Links: Oklahoma City Thunder News for July 1, 2009


Here is some more summertime Oklahoma City Thunder info. The Celtics decline Leon Powe, but are considering Robert Swift. Wilkins will be returning next season. Presti seems to have an interest in Paul Millsap, Marcin Gortat, and David Lee. Moses Ehambe a forward from the 66ers has been working out with the team. The Trailblazers seem close to signing Turkoglu. The Pistons are seeking to add Gordon and Villanueva to their team. The Thunder are ranked the 57th best sports franchise by ESPN.

Leon Powe is Unemployed - TrueHoop By Henry Abbott - ESPN
What does it say when a player like Leon Powe, a great human being, who played through injury and pain for three straight years for the Boston Celtics, including in a playoff game after tearing his ACL, is rewarded by the team saying to him "we only have a short window to win, and you are not a part of our plans because you are now injured."

Damien Wilkins returns to Oklahoma City Thunder - ESPN
Wilkins' agent, Mark Bartelstein, said in an e-mail Tuesday that the guard would not terminate the player option on his contract. Wilkins averaged a career-low 5.3 points last season as he fell out of the rotation and played in only half of Oklahoma City's 82 games. Before then, he had been a regular in the lineup during the franchise's days in Seattle. He played in every game for the SuperSonics over a two-year span and averaged 9.2 points in 76 games in the team's final season in Seattle.

Blic Online in English | Krstic is getting married on July 20th
Nenad Krstic, the NBA Oklahoma basketball player and his girlfriend Tanja, with whom he has been in a relationship for six years, are getting married on July 20th in Belgrade, seven days after the beginning of preparations of the national team.

OKC Thunder: One player away | Dime Magazine
With the third-lowest payroll in the League, Oklahoma City not only has itself in good position to make a big move this summer, they’ve also got a lot of money to play with in 2010, when Grade-A talent becomes available. (Does Grade-A talent want to play in OKC? That’s another story.)

Scouting James Harden | Thunder Rumblings
He has a maturity to his game that’s rarely seen in 19-year-old ballplayers. His court vision is excellent, his decision-making is terrific and his all-around impact is invaluable. It could be that I caught Harden on a great night, a 74-67 home win over the Bruins in which he nearly recorded a triple-double with a team-high 15 points and a career-high 11 assists to go with seven rebounds. But considering the point total was five below Harden’s Pac-10-leading scoring average and he finished with eight turnovers, I’d say his performance was closer to average than great.

NBA Basketball Rumors - ESPN Insider
The Oregonian reports Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard and assistant general manager Tom Penn called agent Lon Babby last night to begin the courtship of Hedo Turkoglu. "Kevin Pritchard and Tom Penn called me at the earliest possible moment and expressed enthusiasm for engaging in discussions about Hedo becoming a Trail Blazer," Babby said late Tuesday night. "We have begun that process."

Rudy Fernandez of Portland Trail Blazers draws interest from Europe - ESPN
A league source told that Fernandez has already been courted informally by European powerhouses Olympiacos, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and CSKA Moscow as word spread that the Blazers had become the apparent front-runners to land free agent Hedo Turkoglu. Fernandez, who paid more than $500,000 of his own money to buy his way out of his contract with DKV Joventut, believes he can earn 5 million euros per season if he signs a three-year contract in Europe. He is due to make $1.1 million from the Blazers next season.

Thunder enters preliminary talks with Utah's Paul Millsap |
Oklahoma City entered into preliminary talks with Millsap's camp about 30 minutes into the start of free agency late Tuesday night. Teams were permitted to begin negotiating with free agents at 11 p.m. Central Time.

NBA Free Agency Live- 7/1/09 Sporting News
11am- Oklahoma City is preparing a large offer for Paul Millsap and the Mavericks are interested in Marcin Gortat, says ESPN's Marc Stein.

Twitter / Darnell Mayberry
Add the Thunder to the list of teams interested in Gortat. I'm told OKC officials made contact with Gortat's camp shortly after midnight.

Who's Got Cap Space? - Basketball News & NBA Rumors - HOOPSWORLD
The Thunder will likely use some of their cap space, but probably not all of it. They are rumored to be interested in restricted free agents Marcin Gortat and Paul Millsap, but they have to consider how such a signing impacts their roster down the road when they have to give extensions to the likes of Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and Russell Westbrook.

THUNDER: Thunder Treats Special Olympics Athletes To Clinic
Westbrook and Shaun Livingston arrived in town Monday, while guard Kyle Weaver and forward D.J. White got here on Saturday to welcome draft picks James Harden, B.J. Mullens and Robert Vaden, all of whom were also present on Tuesday. Centers Serge Ibaka and DeVon Hardin both played overseas this past season and have been working out in Oklahoma City this summer, as has Tulsa 66ers forward Moses Ehambe, who was also present.

Dented Cans In NBA Free-Agency - Basketball News & NBA Rumors - HOOPSWORLD
Robert Swift - As someone who is a connoisseur of tattoos and interesting conversation, Swift has always been a cool cat to interact with. Unfortunately, he's proven to be very underwhelming as a basketball player. Swift showed some signs in the 2005-06 season and was named the starter at center for the Seattle SuperSonics heading into the 2006-07 campaign. In a terrible turn of events, Swift ruptured his ACL after playing just a little over one-minute in the team's first preseason game against the Sacramento Kings in October of 2006. Swift suffered a torn meniscus in the same knee in 2008 and has struggled to regain his form since. Swift won't turn 24 years of age until December, so he has youth on his side. However, given the fact he was routinely torched on a night in and night out basis when he was given the opportunity to play last season, it's hard to see another NBA team viewing him as anything more than an insurance big off the bench moving forward. - Sweetney joins Celts for summer league
The Celtics also added free agent center Robert Swift to the roster. The former Oklahoma City/Seattle seven-footer, who joined the league straight out of high school, has always intrigued Ainge.

State Of The Cap: Oklahoma City Thunder |
Oklahoma City didn’t win many games this year, but they are making all the right moves in their rebuilding process. Their draft picks have panned out nicely, and the additions of B.J. Mullins and James Harden fill holes at the center and shooting guard postions - especially Harden, who is exactly the type of heady talent the Thunder want to pair with their existing hyper-althletic core. Kevin Durant looks like a superstar that might be capable of carrying his team to a title someday. They have unloaded all their bad contracts and are well under the cap, especially in the summer of 2010 where they currently have just nine players under contract, and that is if you include player and team options. They also made some nice pickups during the season. In December, they signed Nenad Krstic to a small contract so he could help them out at center and he played decently well coming back from an injury last year. The Thunder also traded a late first round pick for Thabo Sefolosha, a young wing player from the Bulls. All of their decisions the past few years have given the team youth to develop and cap space to work with. They are now in position to turn the corner and become a winning franchise again.

THUNDER: Catching Up With Kevin Durant
What do you think about your new teammates (guards James Harden and Robert Vaden, and center B.J. Mullens) added in the NBA Draft? "I love the guys. I met them yesterday, and first off they seem like great guys off the floor and they’re players we need in our locker room. On the floor, they play hard on both ends. That’s what you need. So I like how they fit in with us."

NBA free agency: Detroit Pistons in talks to sign Ben Gordon - ESPN
Sharp-shooting Bulls guard Ben Gordon and his ex-Connecticut teammate, Charlie Villanueva, were in Michigan on Wednesday for talks with the Detroit Pistons about joining the team. The meetings are considered a shared visit, sources told Like Gordon, Villanueva, formerly of the Milwaukee Bucks, is a free agent. Villanueva is believed to be high on the wish list of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who embarrassed the Pistons by sweeping them in the opening round of the playoffs. Villanueva's agents declined comment.

Ultimate Standings 2009 - No. 57 - Oklahoma City Thunder - ESPN
Looks like the move from the Emerald City was a fan-friendly one. Clay Bennett may have been the worst owner in last year's Standings, but Oklahoma City fans have given their new franchise a 59-spot overall bump and an increase in nearly every category. The fans are excited by a future that includes young talent (Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook) and community initiatives such as the Rolling Thunder Book Bus and fitness clinics run by the players themselves. And with tickets, soda, beer and parking going for less than the league average (though the price of a hat is tied for most expensive, at $22), fans are more than okay with OKC, declaring the Thunder the eighth-most affordable franchise in sports and the cheapest of any NBA team. The only negative is their home, the Ford Center, which lacks luxury amenities, well-lit concourses and leg room. But even that negative has a positive upside: The Thunder will sink $100 million into the facility over the next two years, adding restaurants, bars, premium seating and a new scoreboard. As Oklahoma City proves, there really is no place like (a new) home.


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