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Loud Links: 05|29|10

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Budget for Oklahoma Thunder arena upgrade clearing up - ESPN
Members of the city board were told Tuesday that the final budget for the renovations will be $112 million, or about $9 million less than anticipated when voters approved a one-penny sales tax intended to upgrade the arena and lure the Thunder away from Seattle.

The 15-month sales tax actually produced about $103.6 million in funds for the renovation, with the final check arriving last week. The city also can draw from an additional $8.4 million tax fund to cover part of the shortfall, but the board has been working for months to scale back the upgrades of the Ford Center and a new Thunder practice facility to keep from overspending.

Hassan Whiteside: Work In Progress - Hoopsworld
Rather than slipping out of the lottery altogether, there is a good chance that the Houston Rockets grab him at fourteen if he's available. After spending a week working out with Hakeem Olajuwon, the legend gave his approval. With Yao Ming's health and future in question and the Rockets are looking for a young replacement and there's a good chance that Whiteside is their guy. This is why Whiteside hasn't scheduled any workouts with teams outside of the lottery and is confident that he won't free fall on draft day.

SLAM ONLINE | " Video: Is Ryan Richards NBA Material?
Ryan Richards presents a problem. Reports from the NBA Draft Combine heaped praise on the 19-year-old center, after two days of strong workouts. ESPN’s Chad Ford reported that he "shot the ball well, was very fluid running up and down the court and showed a sound basketball IQ." His measurements were just as impressive — he’s the third-tallest prospect at 6-11¾, and has a lithe frame that could comfortably carry another 20 pounds. Richards also turned 19 years old on April 24, making him the youngest player in the 2010 Draft. He’s aggressive and intense, something European players are not known for. His potential is huge, but so is his enigma.

Draft Measurements Rundown: Larry Sanders, Paul George impress | NBA Draft Insider
A few players always tend to stand out in the measurement department and in this year’s class those players are Larry Sanders and Paul George. Both were already highly considered and their measurements only helped them. Sanders, a Serge Ibaka/Tyrus Thomsa type, is 6′9.25" without shoes and he has a ridiculous 7’5.75 wingspan. He is already a versatile forward who can do a lot of things defensively, and he should be able to adapt to the NBA game well with his height/length combo. He will be a presence on the weak side immediately, and Sanders also checked in with the best body fat percentage (4.6%) for a big man.

SLAM ONLINE | " 2010 Power Forward Prospects, Vol. 2
Greg Monroe | Georgetown | Sophomore - Greg Monroe also measured quite well at the combine, coming in at 6-11 in shoes with a 7-2 wingspan. Combine that with his basketball smarts, passing ability and great skill set and you can see why his stock is on the rise once again. While there are some concerns over his toughness and athletic ability, he’s still poised to go in the top 10 this year and should further enhance Georgetown’s reputation as Big Man U.

Alan Cutler " Why Rip Daniel Orton?
Daniel Orton is getting ripped by some True Blue Fans and media. It not only hardly seems fair, but it makes no sense. There are those who are asking questions because Orton didn’t play much at UK, when obviously he could have logged a lot of minutes at just about any other school. And, inspite of the fact that he spent most of the season on the bench, many expect to see him picked in the first 15 in the upcoming NBA Draft.