Archive for the ‘ OKC Thunder Blog ’ Category

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers, will be moving to Oklahoma City, the Thunder announced today.

The 66ers have played home games the last two seasons at the SpiritBank Event Center in Bixby, Okla., but team officials were notified recently that the facility will no longer offer arena space for lease. The move will take place prior to the start of the D-League regular season, which begins in mid-November and extends through early April.

“Our two seasons in Bixby were successful and we were pleased to be there, but circumstances beyond our control made it necessary to look for a new home for our Development League team,” said Danny Barth, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of the Thunder.

“We explored several potentially viable options, but were unable to find a facility in the Tulsa area that meets all of our business and basketball needs, so we made the decision to bring the team to Oklahoma City,” Barth said. “We offer our sincere thanks to the communities of Tulsa and Bixby, and to all of the 66ers fans and sponsors in the area for their loyal support over the past few years.”

The Professional Basketball Club, LLC, which owns the Thunder, purchased the 66ers in 2008.

Thunder officials are currently in discussions with the City of Oklahoma City to play the team’s 24 regular-season home games at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City, directly across the street from Chesapeake Energy Arena. Along with the move of the team, the business and basketball operations of the D-League team will also relocate to Oklahoma City. The team will train at the Thunder Community Events Center in Edmond, the original training home of the Thunder from 2008-11. The move of the 66ers is subject to NBA D-League approval.

Thunder sign Anthony Morrow

Thunder sign Anthony Morrow

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.

“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.”

Morrow (6-5, 210), shot 45.1 percent from three-point range last season (4th in the NBA) while averaging 8.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 18.8 minutes in a career-high 76 games (nine starts) with New Orleans.

An undrafted rookie out of Georgia Tech, Morrow shot an NBA-best 46.7 percent during the 2008-09 season becoming the first rookie in NBA history to lead the league in three-point field goal percentage. The six-year NBA veteran owns career averages of 10.4 points on 42.8 percent shooting from three-point range (3rd highest amongst active NBA players), 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 23.7 minutes in 373 games (129 starts) with Golden State, New Jersey, Atlanta, Dallas and New Orleans.

Thunder sign-and-trade Thabo Sefolosha to Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks completed a sign-and-trade deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder that will bring guard/forward Thabo Sefolosha to Atlanta, as well as the draft rights to Giorgos Printezis, in exchange for the draft rights to Sofoklis Schortsanitis, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Danny Ferry.

“Thabo is an unselfish, competitive and playoff-tested player, and does many things well on both sides of the ball,” Ferry said. “He also fills a need, giving us more size and depth at the wing position. He’s been a part of winning programs and will fit our culture well.”

Sefolosha, 30, played and started in 61 games last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, averaging 6.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals in 26.0 minutes (.415 FG%, .768 FT%). In his eight-year career, Sefolosha has appeared in 551 games with the Thunder and Bulls (407 starting assignments) and has averaged 5.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.1 steals in 23.4 minutes (.442 FG%, .348 3FG%, .746 FT%). He was selected to the NBA’s All-Defensive second team in 2009-10.

He has also played in 78 playoff games, starting 67, averaging 4.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.0 steals in 19.9 minutes.

Sefolosha was originally selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 13th overall pick of the 2006 NBA Draft, and was traded to Chicago in exchange for the draft right to Rodney Carney, a second-round pick and cash considerations. He spent two-and-a-half seasons with the Bulls before going to the Thunder on February 19, 2009 in exchange for a first-round pick.

The native of Vevey, Switzerland has also played for Tege Riviera Basket (Switzerland), Elan Chalon (France) and Angelico Biella (Italy). He also played briefly for Fenerbahce Ulker in Turkey in 2011.

Printezis was originally selected by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round (58th overall) of the 2007 NBA Draft.  He currently plays for Olympiacos Piraeus in Greece.

Atlanta acquired the draft rights to Schortsanitis from the Los Angeles Clippers on July 30, 2012 in a sign-and-trade transaction for Willie Green, after he was originally selected by the Clippers in the second round (34th overall) of the 2003 NBA Draft.  He currently plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.

Steven Adams working on low-post game

Here’s the Oklahoman with an update on young Thunder big-man Steven Adams:

Steven Adams working on low-post game

But between trips to the foul line, Adams also will spend ample time down on the low block.

The Thunder throughout this week in Orlando has been working on Adams’ back-to-the-basket game, and if for whatever reason Pau Gasol passes up the Thunder, the team could turn to Adams to solve its longtime search for a low-post scoring threat.

“That’s exactly what we’re working on,” said Thunder assistant/summer league coach Darko Rajakovic. “We want to see Steven be able to get the ball on the low post more and create from there.”

Adams has all the tools to be successful.

At 7-feet, 250 pounds, he has ideal size and mixes that with strength, timing and footwork. He put all that and more on display throughout Wednesday’s game.

The Oklahoma City Thunder has named Darko Rajakovic as assistant coach, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Rajakovic has spent the past two seasons as the head coach of the Tulsa 66ers, the Thunder’s NBA D-League affiliate.

“Darko’s diverse basketball background, knowledge of the game and ability to develop players at a high level were clearly apparent during his time in Tulsa, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to add him to our staff,” said Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks. “His understanding of the core tenants of what we do, thanks to his time in Tulsa, will maintain a level of consistency that we value and his various head coaching experiences internationally will provide another layer to our coaches.”

A Serbian native, Rajakovic was the first head coach in NBA D-League history born outside of North America. Rajakovic led Tulsa to a combined 51-49 record over two seasons, including a 27-23 record and NBA D-League Semifinals appearance in 2012-13.

During his time with the 66ers, Tulsa was assigned seven players from Oklahoma City a total of 50 times (the most in the league during that stretch), including current Thunder players Reggie Jackson, Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb and Andre Roberson. Rajakovic has also seen five of his 66ers players receive call-ups to the NBA, including four to the Thunder (Grant Jerrett, Daniel Orton, Mustafa Shakur and Reggie Williams). He coached 11 Tulsa players over the past two years who were on an NBA roster in the 2013-14 season.

Prior to joining the 66ers, Rajakovic spent the previous three years as the head coach of Espacio Torrelodones of the Spanish EBA League. In his first season (2009), Rajakovic led Torrelodones to the Primera Division de Baloncesto title, promoting the team to the Liga EBA.

Rajakovic began his coaching career at 16 years old with BC Borac Cacak in Cacak, Serbia. Following his three-year stint in Cacak, Rajakovic was named the head coach of the U-20 and U-18 teams of Red Star Belgrade. During his eight years in Belgrade, Rajakovic led Red Star to two Serbian championships. Rajakovic received a basketball coaching degree from the Belgrade Basketball Academy in 2004 and a degree in sports management from BK University in Belgrade in 2006.

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on the Thunder:

The Oklahoma City Thunder will be without forward Grant Jerrett for the Orlando Summer League.

Jerrett sustained an ankle injury that will keep him out of Orlando, as reported by Darnell Mayberry. The 6-foot-10 Jerrett was a revelation in the Summer League for the Thunder last season, shooting 50 percent from 3-point range while averaging 10.8 points per game.

Sebastian Telfair to join Thunder

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on the Thunder:

Sebastian Telfair to join Thunder

Looking to add depth and experience at the lead guard position following the departure of Derek Fisher, the Thunder has agreed to terms with veteran point guard Sebastian Telfair.

Telfair, 29, was the 13th overall pick in 2004. He’s played for seven teams in nine seasons but spent last season in China. In 548 career NBA games, Telfair has averaged 7.4 points, 1.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 21.6 minutes.

The deal is a one-year contract at the veteran’s minimum, about $1.3 million.

Nick Collison undergoes knee surgery

Thunder forward Nick Collison undergoes knee surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, the team announced today.

This past season, Collison appeared in 81 games and averaged 4.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 16.7 minutes per game.

Collison is expected to miss 4-6 weeks before returning to normal offseason activities.

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on the Thunder:

Kendrick Perkins has suggestion for Kevin Durant

Kendrick Perkins, Durant’s most outspoken teammate, didn’t mind offering up a specific suggestion.

Hit the weight room.

“I feel like he could get stronger, in my opinion,” Perkins said. “I think that would help him a lot. I told him all the good and great players that played the game, from Jordan, Kobe, LeBron, they all put size on them, and it helped them.”

More strength, Perkins said, will only benefit Durant’s body and set the stage for him to succeed in demanding times. For Durant, those include the need to be a better and more consistent defender, a more dependable low-post scoring threat and to persevere through seasons like this past one in which Durant’s minutes piled up to an outlandish league-leading tally.

“Seems like there was possessions he was tired,” Perkins said of Durant. “But, like I said, I think that’s (when) getting in the weight room plays a factor. Cause then you could let your body take over.”

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on the Thunder, who finished the regular season with a 59-23 record, second best in the league behind the San Antonio Spurs. OKC wound up losing to those Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

Thunder general manager Sam Presti says coach Scott Brooks is coming back

In his first public comments since the conclusion of the Thunder’s season, Sam Presti on Thursday ended all speculation surrounding Scott Brooks.

The general manager said the coach is coming back.

“Scotty, I think, did an excellent job,” Presti said at his annual season-ending news conference. “I understand we all have a tendency to look at the last game or the last series. I respect that. That’s part of sports. I can’t do that. I’m looking at a body of work. I’m looking at an understanding of what drives our success and the way in which we’ve gotten to this point.”

Brooks, Presti believes, is a big part of the reason.

The Thunder has won at least 61 percent of its games in each of Brooks’ five full seasons at the helm, and the team improved its winning percentage in five straight seasons before this year.

Spurs beat Thunder in OT, advance to NBA Finals

San Antonio fought off Father Time, the league MVP and an injury to its best player to return to the NBA Finals.

The Spurs beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-107 in overtime Saturday night in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals to set up a rematch with the Miami Heat.

San Antonio will host Game 1 on Thursday night and will try to avenge last year’s heartbreaking loss. San Antonio led Miami 3-2 before losing Game 6 in overtime, then dropping Game 7…

San Antonio pulled this one out despite All-Star point guard Tony Parker missing the entire second half and overtime with left ankle soreness. Popovich said Parker had been struggling with the ankle since Game 4 of the series. The Spurs overcame it the way they have for more than a decade — with teamwork, passing and great performances by role players…

Russell Westbrook had 34 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals, and MVP Kevin Durant added 31 points and 14 rebounds for the Thunder. But Oklahoma City committed 20 turnovers that led to 33 points for the Spurs. Westbrook and Durant each had seven turnovers.

– Associated Press

Here are video highlights of the top plays from Spurs vs Thunder Western Conference Finals Game 6. The Spurs won 112-107 in overtime to advance to the 2014 NBA Finals, where they will face the Miami Heat in a rematch of last year’s matchup.

The Spurs won Game 5 of their Western Conference Finals series against the Thunder, 117-89 Thursday. Here are video highlights of some of the game’s best plays:

Here are video highlights of the top plays from Spurs vs Thunder Game 3, which took place in OKC last night. The Thunder won, 106-97:

Video: The playoff return of Serge Ibaka

Sunday in Oklahoma City, the Thunder won Game 3 of their Western Conference Finals series against the San Antonio Spurs. OKC got a lift from the unexpected return of power forward Serge Ibaka, who in 30 minutes shot 6-of-7 for 15 points, seven rebounds, four blocks and a steal. Here are some video highlights of Ibaka’s playoff return:

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka was supposed to be out for the rest of the 2014 NBA playoffs. Yet, he’s back, and played well in Game 3, helping OKC grab a win. After the game, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich cracked a good joke, which you can listen to here:

The Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs Sunday night in OKC. The Spurs still lead the Western Conference Finals 2-1, but the with the return of Serge Ibaka, a shakeup in the backcourt, and a much-needed win, the Thunder have to feel better about the series. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on a change at the shooting guard spot:

reggie jackson

Serge Ibaka was back, which meant Serge Ibaka was starting. That was a no-brainer for Scott Brooks.

But there were two changes to Brooks’ starting lineup before Sunday night’s 106-97 momentum-shifting win for the Thunder — the second not as loud or heroic but nearly as impactful as Ibaka’s triumphant return.

For the first time in his career, Reggie Jackson started alongside Russell Westbrook. He replaced the previously ineffective Thabo Sefolosha and injected some needed offensive punch into the lineup, playing a game-high 37 minutes and scoring 15 points — six more than three OKC starters combined for in the first two games.

serge ibaka

The following statement was issued today by Oklahoma City Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti regarding the status of Serge Ibaka’s left calf injury:

“The abundance of blood and therefore swelling in Serge’s calf has reduced substantially and unexpectedly, allowing a level of movement and stability not thought possible after the initial diagnosis. Based on both imaging and physical exam, the considerable swelling in the calf indicated the likelihood of a certain degree of injury, and that established the original time frame for recovery.

At present, Serge has yet to complete a full basketball workout, but is walking and doing light basketball drills. With this new information, and in an effort to keep his status current, we are now listing him as day-to-day with the understanding that there is a possibility for him to play in this series.”

Wednesday in San Antonio, the Spurs easily beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-77 to take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference Finals series. Here are video highlights of the game’s top plays:

Thursday night in Los Angeles, The Oklahoma City Thunder eliminated the Clippers in the sixth game of their second-round NBA playoff series. Kevin Durant shot 12-of-23 for 39 points and 16 rebounds in the win. Enjoy these video highlights of Durant doing his thing:

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