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OKC Loud Links: The Off-Season Begins

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Well, not quite. We'll still soon be posting the Finals series' final grades and a post-mortem, but for intents and purposes the players have returned home, cleaned out their lockers, and begun to make summer plans. Some of those plans will include Olympic basketball (which we'll be covering), some will include rehab (Eric Maynor, Kendrick Perkins), and some will involve practicing leg kicks after 3-pointers (Cole Aldrich). A busy time for all, so stay tuned.

What Now? | Daily Thunder

Personnel predictions:

My feeling? Harden gets an extension, and everything he wants. Ibaka goes into restricted free agency. Pending Maynor’s recovery, Fisher is gone. I think he’d love to be back, but I also think he wants to play. And with a healthy Maynor, there’s not much need for Fisher. Mohammed will depend on Cole Aldrich’s development. And Ivey, I kind of expect him to continue his role a token veteran bench guy.

Rite of Passage | SB Nation

Perrin writes that 2013 is going to be the sweet spot, where the urgency of the situation comes together with the experience gained.

Durant, Thunder Still Right On Time | ESPN

The end to the Thunder's season was disappointing, but the Thunder are still matriculating at breakneck speed.

LeBron Makes LeLeap | Grantland

LeBron James finally put his entire body of work together for one outstanding playoffs run, and for the rest of the league, that should send shivers down their collective spines since James is only 27 and entering the prime of his career. Note this passage however:

Brooks pulled Harden a few seconds later. He wandered over to the corner to stand with Westbrook, with Durant eventually joining them. They stood there with their arms wrapped around each other, watching their season tick away, soaking in every image for those days in July and August when you're tired of shooting jumpers in an empty gym and need a trigger to keep pushing yourself. It was my favorite moment of the series.

Brooks Has to Take Some Heat | Sheridan Hoops

Scott Brooks did not coach a great Finals, just like some of his players did not play a great Finals. The challenge for all of them is not to simply put it behind them, but to self-evaluate, self-correct, and be better the next time out.

Brooks Stays Classy | Ball Don't Lie

Scott Brooks rallied his troops in the end, not to pull of a miraculous comeback, but to remind them of the privilege and duty they have to represent themselves and the team in a time of loss.

James Finally Gets It | ESPN

Windhorst has been covering Lebron James for a long time, and he has a unique perspective on how James has evolved to this moment.

Harden Sees Dynasty | NewsOK

To which Sam Presti retorted, "I didn’t realize James was such an aficionado of 80s television."

Getting to Yes | The Superficial

The Heat are now champions. What are we all supposed to do with that? For me personally, it doesn't quite rise to the level that I felt when the Lakers were winning all of those championships in the '00's, but it comes close.

Thunder's Top 20 Plays | Daily Thunder

Relive the biggest moments of these playoffs. Anyone notice that Durant can go from the 3-point line to the rim in 2 steps?