Welcome to the Monday edition of Loud Links! Now is the time of the year that the NBA news crawls done to nearly nothing. Free agency doesn’t seem to be a big plan for Presti and boys this summer. So I don’t expect to hear much on that front, but we still have a few players that can be traded. Atkins anyone? At least we have the U.S. Olympic team mini-camp this week. With Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and Russell Westbrook all expected to represent the Thunder. Maybe we can add James Harden to that list next year?
On a side note, I have been impressed with OKC’s dealings with players that are leaving the organization. Joe Smith got his buyout so he could play with a contender during the playoffs. When traded Chris Wilcox was allowed to showcase his talents and secure a decent contract with the Pistons. Earl Watson was given the opportunity to play free agent instead of being buried deep on our bench next year. All three moves show that the Thunder knows how to treat their players.
Kevin Durant talks nicknames, Twitter, Thunder expectations - Ball Don't Li... - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
BDL: I heard you in an interview — right after the season ended — where you were talking about how the Thunder needed to add some backcourt depth. Of course, OKC drafts shooting guard James Harden(notes). What are your thoughts on his game? Durantula: The first thing that jumps out at you is how much of a team player he is. He's a great, great teammate. And he can do it all on the offensive end. He can shoot the ball, he's aggressive at getting into the lane — he's a talented offensive player.
The good and bad from this year’s Vegas summer league - Sporting News
The project. It was well-known before the draft that any team selecting B.J. Mullens would have to be patient. After seeing him in summer league, though, that might have to be upgraded to very patient. Mullens averaged just 5.8 points and 2.6 rebounds, shooting 39.4 percent.
Main event: 1989 Olympic Festival a turning point for Oklahoma City | NewsOK.com
Clay Bennett wondered sometimes what he’d gotten himself into. He was leading the charge to bring a monumental event to Oklahoma City. The sports scene in his hometown had never seen anything like it, and there were moments he questioned if it would come together.
Playoffs? It’s a possibility for the Oklahoma City Thunder | NewsOK.com
Talking about playoffs following a 23-win season might be premature for the Thunder. But that’s exactly what star forward Kevin Durant has been doing this summer, saying the postseason needs to be Oklahoma City’s goal in 2009-10. "Anything less than the playoffs is a failure for us," Durant said on June 30 while in town for his youth basketball camp.
THUNDER: Brooks Pleased With Progress Made At Summer League
Well, a couple of things I’d like to highlight are Russell (Westbrook) making the commitment coming out here. He played a lot of minutes for us last year, did a lot of incredible things for us last season. A lot of guys in his position did not come to Summer League. He not only played one game but he played five games. That says a lot about his leadership and development and I’m proud of it. And also, Kevin Durant coming out here supporting his team – that’s huge. He’s one of our better players. For him to come out here and show support, that’s another guy who’s building his leadership skills. For the most part I’m proud of the way our coaching staff and BK (Brian Keefe) has handled our team playing in two summer leagues. It takes a toll on the mind and your body but we’ve done a good job managing that. And guys are playing hard. We see a lot of improvement. D.J. (White)’s had some good spots, Kyle (Weaver)’s played well and Serge (Ibaka) has come on and Byron (Mullens) and James (Harden) have done a good job. It’s been a great experience for a lot of our guys and this is a time when it helps. It helps them show us what they can do and what they’ve improved on and it also helps us work on what they need to work on. It gives us a reference point to where they need to continue to work on things in the summer, and I think the guys really gave a good commitment, a good effort and I’m proud of that."
Thunder notebook: Scott Brooks gets two-year deal with option for 2011-12 | NewsOK.com
The terms of Scott Brooks’ contract have become a little clearer. The Thunder coach signed a two-year deal that could keep him in Oklahoma City at least through the 2010-11 season, The Oklahoman has learned. The Thunder, per team policy, does not divulge contract details and announced on April 15 that Brooks signed a "multi-year" deal. But the team has an option clause written into the contract that could keep Brooks with the Thunder through the 2011-12 season.
NBA.com: USA National Team minicamp set to open in Las Vegas
The USA Basketball Men's National Team mini-camp will feature practice sessions on July 23 and July 24 at Valley High School, and the mini-camp will be capped by the USA Basketball Showcase, a Blue-White intra-squad game, on Saturday, July 25, 8 p.m. (PDT) at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV.
U.S. begins search for next Olympic team - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
He can envision some of the younger players from last summer’s gold-medal team competing seven years from now. But even if most of the veteran U.S. stars return for the 2012 London Games, there will be at least four new players on the roster. Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant(notes) is expected to be a lock. Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy(notes), who isn’t expected to participate in the minicamp, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose(notes), Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger(notes) and Los Angeles Clippers rookie forward Blake Griffin(notes) should be also among the top candidates competing for roster spots.
Timberwolves, Clippers swing 4-player deal - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
Minnesota forward Mark Madsen(notes) said Monday that he has been traded along with Sebastian Telfair(notes) and Craig Smith(notes) to the Los Angeles Clippers for Quentin Richardson(notes). Madsen said his agent confirmed the deal, which was first reported by YahooSports.com.
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