Oklahoma City Rumors
Before home games, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s top security representative will personally deliver the game ball to star point guard Russell Westbrook in the locker room. Westbrook then takes it, inspects it, rubs it, dribbles it, holds it, smells it and, after approving it, passes it to each of his teammates, a sacred ceremony before the players circle up and sprint out of the tunnel. The league’s history is littered with such tales, especially of how far some players go to make sure the game ball is precisely to their liking. This is the story of game balls, from their calculated creation all the way to their NBA debuts — and then what they face once there.
The Oklahoma City Thunder has joined hundreds of local businesses, civic groups and individuals who have made a commitment to continuing to uphold the Oklahoma Standard, as the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing approaches. As part of its commitment, the team will highlight the newly renovated Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum during its game on Sunday, April 5, and will distribute special wristbands to fans in attendance that feature the Oklahoma Standard values.
Kevin Durant made some of his strongest comments yet about his future free agency, going as far to say he wants to have his jersey retired in Oklahoma City. “I love it here, man. I love my teammates, I love the city, I don’t really think about anywhere else,” Durant told Revolt TV in a recent interview. “I hear it all the time, don’t get me wrong, and once you hear it you’re kind of like [looks up, thinking]. But for me, I love staying in the moment, and I’m one of those guys that would love to stick it out with one team my whole career.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Detroit will send Kyle Singler to Oklahoma City, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Chris Mannix: In addition to sending Reggie Jackson to Detroit, Oklahoma City is close to a deal to acquire Utah’s Enes Kanter, per two NBA sources.
The original deal would have sent Stephenson to Brooklyn, Nets center Brook Lopez to the Oklahoma City Thunder and various Nets and Thunder players – possibly point guard Jarrett Jack and shooting guard Jeremy Lamb – to the Hornets. A knowledgeable source told the Observer Friday morning that the deal was dormant, if not dead. The Nets pulled away from negotiations and are now exploring other options to move Lopez’s contract.
The New York Knicks, by signing Louis Amundson to a 10-day contract Saturday, have just expanded the NBA’s all-time 10-team club to an even dozen. Amundson was promptly waived by the Knicks earlier this week after they acquired him from Cleveland as part of the three-team swap with Memphis and Oklahoma City headlined by J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Dion Waiters. But by resigning him, New York has given Amundson the opportunity to join the following exclusive list Below are the only 12 players in league history to have played for at least 10 different teams: 12 teams: Chucky Brown, Jim Jackson, Tony Massenburg and Joe Smith. 11 teams: Mike James and Kevin Ollie. 10 teams: Lou Amundson, Earl Boykins, Mark Bryant, Drew Gooden, Damon Jones and Aaron Williams.
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant rejected recent criticism directed at teammate Russell Westbrook’s late-game management during the Thunder’s two recent losses in Durant’s absence. “Who cares what people say?” said Durant, who missed his fourth straight game Thursday. “[He should] just play his game. From watching the last two games, he’s the reason why we had a chance to win — his aggressiveness, getting his teammates involved. “Sometimes it’s kind of hard in those situations, knowing exactly what to do when teams are making runs and playing you different ways. But I think he’s handled it well. Of course, he’s not going to be great every game, but that’s how the dice rolls sometimes. I think he’s handled it well to lead the team like he’s been doing.”
Memphis came out of the gates strong and dominated the competition in the 10Best Readers’ Choice category of ‘Best NBA Destination.’ The Memphis Grizzlies make their home in FedEx Forum near Beale Street, and the lively nightlife in the Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll adds to the overall fan experience. In a close race for the runner up spot were Oklahoma City (home of the Thunder) and Dallas (home of the Mavericks), but OKC came out ahead in the end. Denver and San Antonio rounded out the top 5.
League sources say that the following players are all in the midst of active extension negotiations with their respective teams as the end of the window — and restricted free agency for those who aren’t extended — draws ever closer: San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, Golden State’s Klay Thompson, Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson, Oklahoma City’s Reggie Jackson, Milwaukee’s Brandon Knight and Orlando teammates Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris.
Kobe Bryant took a shot at Oklahoma City on Sunday. Sort of. At Richard Sherman’s charity softball game in Seattle, Bryant said it was his first time back to the city since the departure of the SuperSonics for Oklahoma City after the 2008 season. “I’ve always enjoyed coming here. I’d much rather come here in the postseason than Oklahoma,” Bryant said.
There are a number of potential destinations for the in-demand Pau Gasol, but sources close to the process continue to say that Oklahoma City is an unlikely suitor for the Spaniard, despite repeated links to the Thunder.
Adams can get under the skin of opponents, but he seems to have found the good graces of his teammates. He has two clear endearing qualities: a quirky sense of humor and an absence of pretension. He once auditioned for a theater production of “The Hobbit” in Wellington. “Sometimes you’re mad, and when you see him you start to smile because he cannot stop making people smile,” said Serge Ibaka, whose disposition is not always so sunny.
At 13, he had two life-changing events. His father, who was in his 70s and whom Adams lived with on a farm in Rotorua, died. He acted out, skipping school, which he never saw as a means to an end, until his brother Warren, who lived in Wellington, took him in. It was then that he committed to basketball. “I just played it by ear,” said Adams, 20. “I played basketball seriously at 13, but I didn’t know where it would take me. I thought I’d be a rugby player. It turns out I’m not. “
The following statement was issued today by Oklahoma City Thunder Chairman Clayton I. Bennett. “The Oklahoma City Thunder strongly supports the decisive action taken today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Ours is a league of inclusion, tolerance and fairness. The Thunder organization will continue to work to foster the tenets of diversity and respect, and build on that standard moving forward.”
The Memphis Grizzlies finally landed in Oklahoma City Monday evening more than three hours after their plane departed from Memphis. Normal air travel between the cities is one hour, seven minutes. However, severe thunderstorms that produced dark clouds, rain and high winds prevented the team’s chartered flight from landing at its scheduled time. Memphis will play the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of their NBA playoff series Tuesday night at 8 p.m. in Chesapeake Energy Arena. League rules require road teams to arrive in the city it will play a day before the scheduled tip-off.
When asked about Allen a few minutes later, a more agitated Durant again paused before responding. “It’s not like I’m just totally getting locked down,” Durant, who is averaging 34.5 points in the series, said. “He’s making it tough. It’s not like I’m just non-existent. I don’t know what you guys have been watching. He’s just making me work, like everybody else will.”
Durant, the NBA’s scoring champion, went on the defensive Tuesday afternoon. When asked about Allen’s effort, he paused five seconds and chuckled before answering. “He’s good,” Durant said. “He’s good at dodging screens. He’s physical. Everybody plays the same way with me, though.”
“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.”
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Because however low the conversion percentage is for individuals, it’s still better than the alternative for their teams. This season alone, 51 points have resulted from halfcourt prayers. “A shot not taken is a field goal missed,” Caron Butler said.
While the Los Angeles Clippers and Knicks were known to be discussing a deal involving Shumpert, the Oklahoma City Thunder were also reported to be interested. According to a person with knowledge of the Thunder’s situation, though, Shumpert is not expected to be dealt their way in these final minutes.
The Sears Shooting Stars contest features one current NBA player, one current WNBA player and an NBA Legend on each team. […] Two teams representing the Western Conference and two teams representing the Eastern Conference will compete in the 2014 Sears Shooting Stars. Joining Durant, the three-time NBA scoring champ (2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12) on one Western Conference team are Hall of Famer Karl Malone and the No. 3 overall selection in the 2013 WNBA Draft, Skylar Diggins of the Tulsa Shock. Curry is joined on the second West team by his father, NBA Legend Dell Curry, and six-time WNBA All-Star Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Stars. The East stand-ins for one team are Tim Hardaway Jr. from the New York Knicks, his father and NBA Legend, Tim Hardaway Sr., and 2013 WNBA Rookie of the Year Elena Della Donne. Two-time NBA champion Bosh is joined by Hall of Fame member Dominique Wilkins and three-time WNBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Swin Cash of the Chicago Sky.
All around laughed, while waiting to see if the potential league MVP would provide an actual answer. He did, sort of. “I haven’t given it any thought,” Durant said. “Growing up here, taking the train to down to Gallery Place, Chinatown to come watch these games as a kid, I never really thought about coming home to play. I love Oklahoma City. I love coming here and visiting. Hopefully…we can get a win tonight. That’s all I’m thinking about.”