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Thunder Unveil Pre-Season Schedule, Durant Gets Comfortable at Team USA Camp, and Michael Jackson May Have a Love Child

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Well, well, well, look who showed back up to do today's edition of Loud Links! Who? Oh yes, it's me, Mr Pappagiorgio, back and ready for action. In todays edition of Loud Links the Oklahoma City Thunder unveil their 2009 pre-season schedule which includes a stop in Tulsa's BOK Center excatly 1 year and 1 day after the Thunder made their Oklahoma debut there against the Rockets. Also, Kevin Durant seems at ease in Team USA's camp, Hoopsworld grades Byron Mullens #24 selection, a former 66ers gets an NBA deal, and an investment group is making an attempt at bringing another professional sports franchise to Oklahoma, this time to Tulsa with a WNBA team.

I'm also going to stray from the format a bit and give you a few other links from around the net which seem to be burning up the charts. Those include Michael Jackson's 25 year old love child, info on how to get some cash for that clunker you've been driving around, and also a pretty funny wedding video in which Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinze dance down the aisle. Good times, and if that's not enough, its National Tequila day, and Cabo Wabo wants you to enjoy some of their goodness at happy hour tonight. That should keep you busy until I actually get a new post up sometime tomorrow. Yes, you read that right, Mister P will have something new to read tomorrow for the first time in way too long of a time. But for now, make the jump and clicky clicky all the purty links.

Thunder unveil preseason schedule -
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma City Thunder have announced their 2010 preseason schedule, beginning with a road game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Oct. 7. Only two of the Thunder's preseason games will be played in Oklahoma City, with others scheduled at New Orleans and Miami and at neutral sites in Austin, Texas; and Tulsa.

HOOPSWORLD Grades Draft Picks 20-24 (Byron Mullens)
Nobody is really expecting anything from young Byron next season, so the fact that he wasn't overly productive this summer should come as no surprise. Although his numbers may have been modest at best Byron impressed a lot of people with his size and skill set. He's got all the natural talent needed to be a starting center in this league, he just has to focus and really dedicate himself to learning the game. Being with a patient team like the Oklahoma City Thunder could allow Mullens to finally grow into his full potential. Where his career goes from here is solely up to him.

Former Tulsa 66ers gets a Multi-year deal with the Bucks
Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - The Milwaukee Bucks agreed to a multi- year contract with forward Ersan Ilyasova on Thursday. The contract is subject to a clearance letter from his former Spanish League team, Regal FC Barcelona.

The Edmond Sun - Edmond dancer in running for Thunder Girls
The Oklahoma City Thunder announced the two Thunder Girl hopefuls, Stacy White of Edmond and Erica Hatchell of Midwest City, who were chosen to participate in the first ever "People’s Choice" Thunder Girl vote on Beginning today fans can visit, view photos and videos of the two finalists and cast their vote for either Hatchell or White. Voting ends at noon Monday and the "People’s Choice" Thunder Girl will be announced shortly after on the Thunder site.

Investors announce plan to bring WNBA to Tulsa
TULSA, Okla. — A group of investors unveiled plans Wednesday to bring a WNBA franchise to Tulsa, even as the league president warned that there is a Sept. 1 deadline to firm things up for the beginning of the 2010 season. "Tulsa is certainly well down the road in terms of their diligence and exploratory work necessary to bring a franchise," WNBA President Donna Orender told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. The WNBA is an equal-opportunity league. "I would say to Tulsa, 'What's the size of your heart? Are you willing to stand behind the things that the city says are important?'" said Orender, who was in town meeting with potential investors.

Each small step for Livingston is giant leap of an accomplishment - NBA - Basketball
He still wears a padded brace on the left knee and says he has overcome the doubt about whether the devastated joint will hold up. There's no way to prove that; Livingston, 23, must merely take it one dribble at a time. His chances of cracking the rotation in Oklahoma City -- where Russell Westbrook and No. 3 pick James Harden represent the future -- are slim at best. One NBA front-office executive who watched Livingston during summer league games in Orlando and Las Vegas said he's come a long way and plays much smarter than he did before the injury. Still, the executive said, "He has a long way to go."

ATS Summer League Microscope - James Harden - Oklahoma City Thunder - Pounding The Rock
The last person under the ATS Summer League Microscope was #3 pick James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was a bit tough to evaluate in this 73-54 loss against the Dallas Mavericks. His team was playing their last game of Summer League. They all appeared tired and disinterested and understandably so. The team was playing their 10th game in 12 days. I know Harden sat out at least one of them, but that is still a lot of basketball. So, take this with a bigger than usual grain of salt.

Team USA looking for players with intensity, strong defense - Chris Mannix -
Enter Kevin Durant, the 6-10 Oklahoma City forward who nearly made the team in 2008 and is considered a lock to make the 2010 squad. Durant's strong play was singled out by Triano after practice and his perimeter skills -- he was one of the few U.S. players knocking down jump shots in drills on Thursday -- combined with his ability to play multiple positions have made Durant a favorite of Krzyzewski and Colangelo.

Getting One’s NBA Fix in Vegas Pt. 2 – Rafu Shimpo
James Harden: LA native who played at Artesia High School and over the course of his three years on varsity compiled a 94-8 record and led the team to two state titles. You may have also seen him suit up against UCLA and USC as he was named the Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year balling for the Arizona State Sun Devils. Harden was the third overall pick by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2009 NBA Draft, and he did nothing but show why during his time in Vegas. He’s got an old man’s game in a young man’s body. He’s very cerebral and rarely makes mistakes though he did average three turnovers per game (1-1 assist-to-turnover ratio). He never looked out of control and got the ball where it needed to go while also deleting any signs of poor shot selection from his game’s refi ned repertoire. And he shot fairly well, 47 percent overall, 36 percent from three and 86 percent from the stripe. Of course, a lot of players shoot well in summer league, especially guards. Basically, he’s the epitome of solid. If his game translates to the NBA as well as it looks like it will the Thunder will be a playoff hopeful team. Especially if the next guy can regain some of his previous "magic."

Durant comfortable at Team USA camp - Sports -
He said part of the challenge this week is blending in with so many new faces. There are many first-time participants at the minicamp, and Durant is being viewed as the leader because of his experience. "I'm comfortable with that role," he said. "We've got a lot of talented guys out here. Some of us know each other from the Select team, but there are a lot of new guys and we just have to work at blending together."

PBN | Tweet emotion
My All-Summer League Team: C - JaVale McGee, Washington; PF - Anthony Randolph, Golden State; SG - James Harden, Oklahoma City; PG - Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City.


Fun Minnesota couple Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz dance down the aisle at their wedding
Who says wedding ceremonies have to be boring? One fun couple from Minnesota chose to have a party and boogied down the aisle. The couple, Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz, both 28, surprised wedding guests when the entire bridal party danced to Chris Brown's "Forever" instead of the usual snooze-fest procession.

Does Michael Jackson Have a 25 Year-Old Son? - Michael Jackson - Gawker
Michael Jackson may have a secret child, Billy Joel gets a rebound girl, Ruth Madoff travels in ripped jeans and a baseball cap, Britney Spears' father pronounces his daughter completely sane and Sienna Miller goes off on an interviewer. The Mirror is claiming that Michael Jackson had a fourth child—a 25 year-old Norwegian named Omer Bhatti. Bhatti bears a striking resemblance to Jackson and was seated on the front row with Jackson's family at his funeral in LA a couple of weeks ago.

Cabo Wabo says Friday, July 24 is National Tequila Day
What's that mean to you? Well, if you're headed to happy hour, you could start your Friday off with one of their suggested beverages to commemorate this less-than-momentous-but-fun-to-celebrate occasion:

'Cash for clunkers' program rules released | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Dallas Business News
The program provides incentives of $3,500 to $4,500 for consumers to trade in a qualifying vehicle and lease or buy a new one. To qualify, the trade-in vehicle must get 18 mpg or less and be a 1984 model or newer. Congress approved the program to boost auto sales and retire cars and trucks with poor gas mileage. Rebates will be available until the first of November or until funds are no longer available.

Trans Mayor's Skirt Too Short  | News |
Mayor Stu Rasmussen, the country's first openly transgender mayor, is under fire for apparently violating Silverton, Ore., city council's dress code. A complaint was filed against the mayor for wearing a short skirt and halter top to speak to a group of teenagers. Rasmussen called the dress code, which was adopted by the city council in 2006, unnecessary.


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