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Oklahoma City Thunder highlights

April 19, 2014 Updates

“Everyone in the league knows about her,” said Caron Butler, a 12-year N.B.A. veteran who stayed at the Skirvin many times before he joined the Thunder this season. “Hopefully, she’ll haunt all the teams that come for the playoffs.” The legend holds that Effie was a housekeeper during the early years of the Skirvin, a luxury downtown hotel, before its 10 brick floors were expanded to 14 in 1930. W. B. Skirvin, the hotel’s widowed owner, supposedly had an affair with Effie and, when she became pregnant, ordered her to stay locked inside a room on an upper floor, even after she had the baby. At some point, the story goes, Effie went crazy, grabbed the baby and jumped, killing herself and the child. New York Times

Large men unafraid of attacking the lane, diving headfirst into the seats or lobbing pressure-packed shots shudder at the mere thought of Effie. More important, perhaps, they lie awake the night before a game, their prescribed rest undone by phantom pains. Is it any wonder that the Thunder had the league’s second-best home record? In the past few seasons, the Knicks blamed creaks and groans for a sleepless night before a loss. A Bulls player could not explain why his bathroom door slammed shut. A member of the Phoenix Suns woke to find his bathtub filled with water. New York Times

“I don’t think Effie exists,” said Steve Lackmeyer, a reporter for the newspaper The Oklahoman who co-wrote a book, “Skirvin,” about the hotel’s colorful history. That past includes the mysterious death of its first general manager, but years of research have found no record of a housekeeper named Effie, or of any housekeeper who leapt to her death, with or without a baby. “If you had a maid suffer a bloody ending, it would not have been kept quiet,” Lackmeyer said. “This was a small town.” New York Times

His teammate Eddy Curry said he slept just two hours one night. He was the only player assigned to the supposedly spooky 10th floor, and he spent most of his time in Nate Robinson’s room, afraid to be alone. “I definitely believe there are ghosts in that hotel,” Curry told The Daily News, which illustrated its article with a photograph not of the Skirvin but of the Bates Motel. New York Times

Weeks later, Chicago’s Taj Gibson said that his bathroom door at the Skirvin had slammed in the middle of the night for no reason. His teammate Derrick Rose was among the Bulls who heard strange bangs and bumps and became a believer. “It was scary last night,” Rose said. New York Times

Employees know all about the legend, though, greeting inquiries with a smile. (The hotel is known for its service, after all.) Some laugh it off as nothing but a story; others insist it is true. One banquet worker said she sometimes heard a crying baby, mostly in the basement or on the 10th and 14th floors. It is not scary, she said, because it is something she only hears, not sees. New York Times

Accordingly, we learned yesterday that Tulsa businessman, and certified billionaire, George Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors to become a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club, LLC, the limited partnership which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Chairman and CEO of the team Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement today. Kaiser is buying out the ownership interest of a selling partner, Thomas Ward. “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.” Jewish Business News

April 18, 2014 Updates

Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser is the newest co-owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder after buying out the ownership interest of Tom Ward. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett announced the changes Friday after Kaiser received approval from the NBA Board of Governors to buy the stake in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City basketball franchise. “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said in a statement Friday. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder. Oklahoman

April 17, 2014 Updates

Kevin Durant's travel agent claims she secretly booked flights and hotel arrangements for "numerous women" on behalf of the "KD entourage" for years ... and all she got in return was a lawsuit. TMZ Sports has obtained a lawsuit Durant filed against Lynn Swanson back in September -- claiming she overcharged him by at least $500,000 for work she did from 2007 to 2012. But Swanson fired back in docs of her own, filed in March, claiming she earned every penny from KD -- by taking all of Kev's high-maintenance requests ... including late-night calls, last minute requests and confidential arrangements for special ladies. TMZ.com

April 16, 2014 Updates

James Harden wouldn’t shave his beard for a million dollars. $10 million? That’s another question. But the former Thunder guard does confess he would have stayed in Oklahoma City had money not been a factor. In this interview with Hannah Storm of ESPN, Harden says if the 5-year, $80-million extension he signed with the Houston Rockets in 2012 wasn’t a factor, he’s still be in Thunder blue. Storm: If money wasn’t in the equation, do you think you’d still be there? Harden: Definitely. Definitely, no question. Oklahoman

Adidas went all in on Derrick Rose, giving him one of the more lucrative deals in the shoe business, but due to two seasons of injuries, they have failed to really capitalize on their investment. The D. Rose line has done OK in terms of sales, but given that Rose hasn’t played, adidas hasn’t exactly dominated the market as they hoped they would with Rose. Fortunately for adidas the Rose line has sold well both domestically and internationally, but it hasn’t been the runaway hits that the LeBron or Kevin Durant shoes have been. Basketball Insiders

April 15, 2014 Updates

Thunder forward Nick Collison and New Orleans guard Austin Rivers were ejected in the second quarter of the Thunder’s 101-89 loss to the Pelicans on Monday night. The two exchanged shoves and had to be separated before coming to blows. The incident began on a Thunder offensive possession. Collison attempted to set a screen on Rivers, who took exception to the contact and pushed Collison. Collison threw both arms in the air and looked around for the refs to make a call. It didn’t come. As the two transitioned to the other end, Collison then took matters into his own hands, delivering a forceful forearm shove into Rivers’ back. Rivers turned and charged at Collison, who appeared to briefly cock back his fist. The two were then separated and a double technical foul was called before referees reviewed the incident and upgraded it to double ejections. Oklahoman

April 14, 2014 Updates
April 13, 2014 Updates

Turns out that, since November, Durant has been working with Adam Harrington as his personal trainer beyond his daily duties with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Which is the same Adam Harrington who briefly played alongside Nowitzki with the Dallas Mavericks more than a decade ago and has been studying the unorthodox coaching techniques hatched by Nowitzki's longtime mentor and shot doctor from back home, Holger Geschwindner, ever since. "It's a lot more than just trying to copy the one-legger," Durant said, explaining that he's not merely focused on trying to mimic Nowitzki's signature shot. "Dirk's got a lot of moves I'm trying to steal." ESPN.com

Dirk, you see, is Durant's favorite active player. "It's probably a tie between him and Kobe," Durant said after giving it some extra thought. Yet there's no disputing who's the more natural role model for KD. It's that 35-year-old, that 7-footer, who plays three hours away down Interstate 35 ... and who just shot his way into the top 10 on the league's all-time scoring charts in his 16th season. You figure Durant will get there even faster at his current pace, given the insane levels of efficiency he's hitting -- sporting a PER of 30.2 for the season -- and blessed with that extra dose of athleticism Dirk has always dreamed of. ESPN.com

April 12, 2014 Updates
THE TOP 50 PLAYERS
IN SUPERSONICS HISTORY
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Kevin Durant may end up claiming the No. 1 spot, but for now it belongs to Gary Payton.

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