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Loud Links: Oklahoma City Thunder News for July 4, 2009


Happy Independence Day! There is still very little news concerning the Thunder’s free agency targets. There have been reports that the Thunder were interested in David Lee, but since the Turkoglu deal has fell apart Lee is leaning towards Portland. There has been speculation that a retiring Harpring could allow the Jazz enough cap space to match any offer for Paul Millsap. The Deseret News shoots down that notion. Shawn Marion is apparently on the market since the Raptors plan on renouncing his rights. Do you think Presti might be interested?

The Oklahoman has a Q&A with Thunder rookie James Harden. The beard is discussed. Jenni Carlson connects the dots with 66er Moses Ehambe and Serge Ibaka. Both players are from the Congo, and the Thunder needed help translating with Ibaka. Durant praises Harden’s passing skills, and even mentions that Harden could play as a point-forward.


Deseret News | Utah Jazz: No luxury-tax relief if Harpring retires
But because Harpring took part in the playoffs for the Jazz this past postseason, California-based cap guru Larry Coon suggested, a required one-year waiting period before such relief can be granted would squash the notion of the Jazz having Harpring's $6.5 million for next season purged from their payroll. "There is no way they can have his '09-10 salary removed from the books," Coon said.

NBA Basketball Rumors - ESPN Insider
Matt Harpring may retire instead of playing out the final year of his contract that will pay him $6.5M due to an ankle injury that is slow to heal. The Deseret News reports he'll let the Jazz know by late August. "I need to get motion back into that ankle, and if it doesn't happen then not playing is a definite possibility," he said. "I can't function the way. It's not working. I thought this summer would be good for rehab and getting that motion back ... but there's a lot of junk in there.

The Blazers have long lusted after Lee, who also seeks $10 million per season, exactly the amount the Blazers are under the cap. Bartlestein said because Lee is restricted, the Blazers were fearful of waiting 10 days to see if the Knicks would match and instead jumped at the surer thing in Turkoglu.

Hedo Turkoglu pulls out of talks with Portland Trail Blazers, source says - ESPN
Free agent forward Hedo Turkoglu changed his mind Friday and decided not to join the Portland Trail Blazers, opting instead to accept a five-year $53 million offer from the Toronto Raptors, sources told The decision left the Blazers livid and was a huge coup for the Raptors, who have promised Turkoglu all of the salary-cap space they will have from renouncing their rights to Shawn Marion, Anthony Parker and Carlos Delfino, which will likely add up to a starting salary in the $10.1 million range, with eight percent annual raises.

The Q&A with James Harden |
Jenni Carlson: "The Q&A" is all about fun questions, and no subject is more fun than your beard. What’s the story with it? James Harden: My whole freshman year of college, I didn’t have it. It didn’t start growing until maybe the summer going into my sophomore year. It was growing everywhere. And I didn’t feel like shaving. There were times throughout the season where I had to cut it because coach said it was getting too long, but ... it’s my new look.

American dream is alive and well for Moses Ehambe |
The Thunder, the 66ers’ NBA affiliate, drafted Serge Ibaka last summer, but he spent the past year playing overseas. This summer, he came to Oklahoma City to work with the team, but there was a language barrier. Ibaka is from the Congo. The Thunder needed a translator and asked Ehambe if he knew anyone who could speak Lingala. Of the dozens of dialects spoken in the Congo, it just happened to be the one that Ehambe knows.

James Harden is more than a shooter |
"He’s versatile, someone who can play the point through the three," Durant said. "He can pass, play defense, is strong and can get to the basket. He’s going to bring a lot to our team." Harden, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, became just the fifth player to lead the Pac-10 in scoring (20.1) and steals (1.7). He will make his unofficial debut with the Thunder on Monday in the Orlando Summer League.


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June 2009

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July 2009

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