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July 28, 2014 Updates
July 25, 2014 Updates

The Thunder selected Stanford's Huestis with the No. 29 pick in this year's draft, a spot where players normally receive immediate guaranteed contracts for two seasons with two team option years thereafter. But in this case the Thunder are sending Huestis to their D-League affiliate for a year to play on a significantly reduced salary -- an estimated $25,000 instead of $750,000 -- with the potential of starting the standard NBA rookie contract a year or two later. (The D-League's 66ers were moved from Tulsa to Oklahoma City this offseason.) In essence, the Thunder are treating Huestis like an international player that stays overseas for years before coming stateside. Except in this case he's being sent to the D-League, where wages are minimal, instead of Europe or China, where they often exceed $1 million a season. (First-round pick Dario Saric, for example, is being paid just shy of $3 million to stay in Turkey this season in lieu of joining the Sixers.) SB Nation

This arrangement wasn't the Thunder's call alone. In fact, Huestis' agent Mitchell Butler tells SB Nation that the player's camp proposed it during the pre-draft process. "This was the perfect team and the perfect storm," he said. "This isn't for everyone." The prospect's two agents -- Butler and fellow former UCLA player Toby Bailey -- were concerned Huestis wouldn't even be selected. He wasn't receiving much interest in the first round and was at risk of dropping out of the draft entirely given the depth in this year's class. SB Nation

July 23, 2014 Updates

Zach Lowe: Talked earlier today with Mitchell Butler, agent for Josh Huestis. Said D-League deal was pre-arranged before the draft with OKC. Butler was not sure if Huestis would get drafted in either 1st/2nd round, viewed D-League promise as best means of guaranteeing being picked. Butler insisted arrangement did not violate rules against pre-draft discussion of player compensation. A gray area, but seems like semantics. Huestis, Butler says, was fine w/ arrangement. Didn't want to go to Europe, would do D-League thing only for two franchises: OKC, Spurs. Twitter @ZachLowe_NBA

Jordan Schultz: Kevin Durant on OKC Thunder title hopes next season: "I feel like we're just a piece or two missing. I feel like we're close." Twitter

July 22, 2014 Updates
July 21, 2014 Updates

It’s no surprise, but the Oklahoma City Thunder is making a firm stand in establishing an independent identity. Christopher Arena — the NBA’s vice president of outfitting, identity and equipment — told The Oklahoman in a phone interview Monday the Thunder will not honor the Seattle SuperSonics’ 1979 NBA title with the league’s new championship tags. Beginning in 2014-15, the NBA and Adidas will add small gold mark on the back jersey collar of teams that have won an NBA championship. The mark features a depiction of the Larry O’Brien Trophy along with a notation indicating how many times the franchise has won the NBA Finals. Last week, a leaked PDF of an Adidas catalog showed Thunder jerseys appearing without the tag, but the organization has yet to confirm or deny the decision. “As of right now, they are not wearing it,” Arena said. “They actually would have had to have told us that some time ago, and that was their choice. We have several teams who have a lineage that exists prior to the city that they’re in ...Some teams embrace that past, some teams don’t. Whether it’s because of ownership changes or perhaps the lineage is too great of a distance or the team nickname changed or whatever it may be, that’s their decision.” Oklahoman

July 19, 2014 Updates

But with Josh Huestis, a first-round selection, the Thunder could be on the verge of breaking ground. As the 29th overall pick, Huestis would become the first player selected in the first round to forgo his rookie season to sign in the D-League. In other words, he’d be the first-ever domestic “draft-and-stash” player. NBA teams have long drafted international players and left them overseas, developing on someone else’s dime. But if Huestis signs with the 66ers as expected, he’ll be an American-born, American-bred prospect who, as a first-round pick, could be the flag-bearer for how the NBA envisions the future of the D-League. Oklahoman

Committing to this route requires some sacrifice on Huestis’ part. His rookie scale contact would pay him slightly more than $1 million next season. His D-League deal will pay him approximately $25,000. But Huestis, a Stanford grad whose maturity and presence wowed those in attendance at his introductory press conference, likely is looking at the big picture and taking a more long-term approach. Joining the Thunder would guarantee more money, but it wouldn’t come complete with playing time. He’d likely be stashed in the D-League anyway or, worse, drafted much later (or not at all) and subject to a non-guaranteed contract in the second round. He’d then have to fight to make a roster or head overseas in search of a professional playing career. Oklahoman

However, a Thunder spokesman has not confirmed whether the Thunder will or won’t wear the tab. The Thunder does have rights to Seattle’s history and records, though the organization doesn’t typically take advantage of it as part of branding a new identity. The Atlanta Hawks franchise won a title in 1957-58 as the St Louis Hawks, and the Sacramento Kings won in 1950-51 as the Rochester Royals. Both team’s jerseys do feature the tab in catalog photos. Oklahoman

July 18, 2014 Updates
July 16, 2014 Updates

Royce Young: Talked with Anthony Morrow on the phone. He has no expectations about starting. "Whatever the staff, whatever the team need me to do. I'm going on my seventh year. I've started, I've come off the bench. It really doesn't matter to me at all." Twitter @royceyoung

Jeff Goodman: I've known Adkins for more than a decade -- and he'll be very good in the NBA. He's also CLOSE with Kevin Durant. Smart move by Wizards. Twitter @GoodmanESPN

The Oklahoma City Thunder has signed free agent guard Anthony Morrow to a contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. “Anthony Morrow has demonstrated that he is amongst the most consistent and efficient three point shooters in the NBA over his career, and we are pleased to welcome him to Oklahoma City and the Thunder organization,” Presti said. “With his body of work, we feel Anthony is a unique addition to a diverse roster, while also possessing the toughness and selflessness that we are consistently seeking in Thunder players.” NBA.com

 

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