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Loud Links: 06|22|10

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A Hectic Month! | KD
It’ll be a great chance to make sure fans know all about the World Championships. That’s a main goal, so the World Basketball Festival should be a blast. I can’t wait to play hoops outside in Times Square and I hope everyone else is, too. I know it’s not the Olympics, but hopefully people will get excited for us when we go over to Turkey. We’re all looking forward to that experience.

Also, I’ve been getting a lot of questions as to why I chose jersey No. 5. Well, I took the KG concept: there’s five guys on the floor so I want that number five to represent every guy on the floor. USA Basketball is a team thing. It’s not just me. It’s not just about the point guard or the small forward, it’s about everybody. It’s not about what I can do, it’s about how our team can operate together, so that’s why I picked it.

NBA Elite 11 Cover Athlete - Kevin Durant
Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) announced today that Oklahoma City Thunder small forward, Kevin Durant, will be the cover athlete for NBA ELITE 11. A 2010 NBA All-Star, Durant became the youngest player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring this past season, and he helped lead the Thunder to an impressive 50 win season and an NBA Playoffs berth.

NBA ELITE 11 is currently in development under the EA SPORTS™ brand by EA Canada in Vancouver, B.C. and will be available worldwide this October. NBA ELITE 11 introduces significant gameplay changes that promise to revolutionize the basketball videogame experience. Hands-On Control is an innovative new control scheme that allows for one-to-one responsiveness of a player’s movement and actions on the court, as opposed to predetermined animations from the past that require users to wait while a scenario played out before making the next move. Hands-On Control is unique to NBA ELITE 11 and it is used to manage everything within a player’s offensive and defensive arsenal, including: dribble moves, dunks, drives to the basket, fadeaways, mid-air adjustments, blocks, steals and more.

Kevin Durant on free agency: 'I expect to get something done.' |
"I’m expecting to get something done," Durant told The Oklahoman when asked about his expectations for his first contact negotiation, which can begin in earnest at midnight Eastern on July 1. "Hopefully I’ll have a deal done and something set."

NBA PM: Maggette To Bucks | Hoopsworld
Corey Maggette is headed to the Milwaukee Bucks for Dan Gadzuric and Charlie Bell according to Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times. The Bucks also get the Warriors second-round pick (#44 overall) as well. This is a trade that had been rumored for a while off and on, but John Salmons decision today to exercise his Early Termination Option and become a free agent likely led to the Bucks pulling the trigger.

2010 NBA Mock Draft, Version 6.1 - ESPN Insider
21. Solomon Alabi - Analysis: The Thunder will have a tough call to make here between Alabi, Daniel Orton and Kevin Seraphin. The Thunder have been high on Orton all year, but a so-so workout in OKC, along with concerns about his knees, have given them and everyone else in the league pause.

The Thunder, meanwhile, have been high on Alabi for a while. He may seem like a bit of a reach to some, but he appears to be one of the hotter names in the draft at the moment. The Raptors, Celtics, Spurs, Thunder, Heat and Blazers are all showing interest. Those are all teams with historically good draft track records, so watch carefully. Alabi measured as one of the tallest and longest players in the draft, and he showed a nice skill game and a terrific motor in the drills. Some scouts are comparing him to Dikembe Mutombo.

I don't think Alabi has the same sort of rebounding and shot-blocking ability, but he does have a similar demeanor and presence on the court.

[26. Daniel Orton, 32. Tibor Pleiss, 51. Nemanja Bjelica]

THUNDER: Solving the Puzzle that is the NBA Draft
And Presti’s response was probably in line with just about every other GM in the league.

"I don’t think you really know until you see exactly who’s going to be in it at the end," Presti said then. "But it should be pretty deep. I think the draft is always about expectations as to what you’re trying to get out of that pick and how that player fits and what you’re trying to gain from that acquisition. And everyone’s drafting for different reasons and different systems, so I think we’ve just got to figure out the best way to use that, whether it’s trading the pick, drafting a player, packaging picks. That’s the puzzle."

2010 NBA Draft: Source: Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves close to swapping draft picks - ESPN
The Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves are close to swapping first-round draft picks, a source with direct knowledge of the situation tells's Andy Katz. The Grizzlies would send their 25th and 28th overall picks to Minnesota for the Timberwolves' 16th pick.

The New York Knicks' Draft Plan | Hoopsworld
The Knicks realize that it is unlikely Hobson would fall to them in the second round, and, as a result, they have been working the phones in order to determine what it would cost them to move up. There are multiple teams rumored to be shopping their late-first-round picks; potential partners might include the OKC Thunder (#21), Minnesota Timberwolves (#23), and/or the Orlando Magic (#29).

Revisiting Draft Rater - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN
With the draft a couple days away, it’s time for a quick update on my Draft Rater, which we had introduced a month ago. Normally at this time the last bit of business left over is to rate the prominent internationals, but since none in this draft played any significant minutes in the Euroleague last season, I have absolutely nothing to add on that topic.

2010 Green Room Attendees | Thunder Rumblings
The NBA has released the names of the 15 players who have been invited to attend Thursday’s NBA Draft. None of the names come as much of a shock. But what the list does do is provide a clearer idea of who is not likely to be available to the Thunder at 21 if OKC doesn’t attempt to move up. The league does extensive research on players’ projected draft range before inviting them to the event as to ensure no one is embarrassingly sitting around forever waiting for their name to be called. On the other hand, if the Thunder trades up Thursday, it’s a safe bet that one of these 15 names will be in Oklahoma City in 2010-11.