Archive for the ‘ OKC Thunder Blog ’ Category

Thunder sign Reggie Williams

Thunder sign Reggie Williams

The OKC Thunder signed guard Reggie Williams today.

Williams (6-6, 205) spent the 2015-16 season in Russia with Avtodor Saratov, appearing in 16 games and averaging 13.6 points on 58.8% shooting from the field including 40.7% from long distance, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 25.0 minutes per contest.

The guard has appeared in 200 career NBA games (32 starts) with Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Charlotte and Golden State. He holds career averages of 7.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 18.3 minutes. The VMI product has also played internationally for San Miguel Beerman of the Philippines (2014), Caja Laboral of Spain (2011) and JDA Dijon of France (2008-09).

In a related move, the Thunder waived guard Alex Caruso who was originally signed by the club on Sept. 23rd.

Steven Adams dealing with ankle sprain

There are always lots of injuries in preseason, but most of them are day-to-day and usually very minor. Hopefully that’s the case with Thunder center Steven Adams. Here’s the Oklahoman with the latest:

Steven Adams dealing with ankle sprain

The Thunder was back at practice on Saturday after a return trip from Spain. But Steven Adams didn’t participate.

Oklahoma City’s starting center sat out Saturday with what the team said is a sprained right ankle. He injured it in the second quarter of last Monday’s loss to Real Madrid and did not return. He missed Wednesday’s win against FC Barcelona Lassa.

It’s just preseason. The law states that needed to be the first sentence here. Because, it’s true. It’s just preseason, and often in preseason the best players on an NBA team play very limited minutes. It’s just a warmup. But when an NBA team plays an international team, preseason or not, the international team takes it seriously. And then anything can happen. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

Thunder lose preseason game to Real Madrid

Game on the line.

Russell Westbrook on the bench.

It’ll be a regular-season rarity for the Thunder, and should the situation arise in a game that counts, Oklahoma City will hope to handle it better than it did in Monday’s preseason debut.

With Westbrook watching — he played only the first and third quarters — multiple Thunder players tried to fill the go-to role down the stretch of Monday’s 142-137 overtime loss to Real Madrid…

Real Madrid made 20 of 37 3-pointers — many of them clean looks as a result of sloppy defensive rotations — in rallying from 22 points down for an upset win…

Victor Oladipo scored 34 points. Enes Kanter added 29 points and 10 rebounds.

Cameron Payne suffers broken bone in foot

Thunder guard Cameron Payne suffered an acute fracture to his fifth metatarsal (long bone in foot) in Tuesday night’s Blue-White Scrimmage, which took place in front of fans at a high school.

According to News9 OKC, “it’s the same bone he had surgery on in late July.”

The 14th overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft averaged 5.0 points, 1.9 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 57 games during his rookie season.

Payne will see his attending physician and additional specialists this week to determine the next course of action.

Victor Oladipo has big Thunder goals

The Thunder are a very different team coming into this season. Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka are gone, and Victor Oladipo and a lot of question marks are in their place. Russell Westbrook is a star, and the team has some capable big guys. As for Oladipo, there’s an opportunity for him to do big things, even as he shares the backcourt with Westbrook. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

Victor Oladipo has big Thunder goals

“I don’t just want to be a three-point shooter. I don’t just want to be a defensive stopper,” Oladipo said at Thunder media day. “I want to be one of the best players in this league, and in order to do that, you have to affect the game on both ends and do multiple things.”

For two seasons, Andre Roberson started 135 regular season games for the Thunder as the heir to Thabo Sefolosha at shooting guard. While Roberson provides length and athleticism on defense at 6-foot-7, he’s a below-average perimeter shooter and shot creator, scoring just 22.8 percent of his baskets unassisted last season. In contrast, Oladipo scored 51.5 percent of his baskets unassisted last season, which would have ranked fourth on the Thunder behind Westbrook, Cameron Payne and Dion Waiters.

Defensively, Oladipo could improve simply by playing with better teammates. Roberson and Adams proved to be elite defenders in the postseason. Westbrook, when focused, can be a terror. Westbrook thinks he and Oladipo can be the best defensive backcourt in the league. Oladipo agrees…

Last season, Oladipo’s shooting struggles came mostly as a bench player, a role that saw him shoot 27.1 percent from 3 over 20 games. But in 52 games as a starter, Oladipo shot 36.8 percent from 3-point range.

Thunder sign Alex Caruso, Kaleb Tarczewski, Chris Wright

The Thunder today signed guard Alex Caruso, center Kaleb Tarczewski and forward Chris Wright. These were likely all non-guaranteed deals that merely bring the three players to training camp.

Caruso (6-5, 186), enjoyed a four-year collegiate career at Texas A&M where he finished as the school’s all-time leader in assists (649) and steals (276). As a senior, Caruso was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year in addition to receiving Second-Team All SEC honors. During his Aggie career, Caruso appeared in a total of 137 games and averaged 8.0 points, 4.7 assists and 2.02 steals.

Tarczewski (7-0, 250), concluded his four seasons at the University of Arizona with 110 victories, tied for the most in school history. After his senior campaign, Tarczewski was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference 2nd Team and the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. Tarczewski concluded his Wildcat career having appeared in 135 games and registering averages of 8.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 0.87 blocks.

Wright (6-9, 226), spent the 2015-16 season playing overseas in Israel with Maccabi Rishon LeZion where he helped lead his club to the Israeli National Championship. Wright had previously appeared in 32 NBA games with the Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors, averaging 3.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in 9.8 minutes per contest. Additionally, Wright has appeared is 93 career D-League games where he holds career averages of 18.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.45 blocks.

2016 Thunder Blue and White Scrimmage info

Fans will have the first opportunity to see the 2016-17 Thunder squad in action as the team brings its annual Blue and White Scrimmage to John Marshall Mid-High School on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

The Thunder team will take the court at 7 p.m. for an open practice that also includes several Thunder game-night features such as Rumble the Bison, the Thunder Girls, Thunder Drummers and Storm Chasers. Prior to the scrimmage, the team will hold Thunder Alley starting at 4 p.m. outside the school, where fans will be able to enjoy the OG&E ThunderBolt, pop-a-shot, sport court, the Thunder merchandise trailer, appearances by Thunder entertainers, and interactive games and sweepstakes at the U.S. Cellular tent.

“We are thrilled to bring the Thunder experience to John Marshall Mid-High,” said Brian Byrnes, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing. “Our tradition of the Blue and White Scrimmage gives us an outstanding opportunity to connect with communities across the state and show them how deeply we appreciate their support.”

Tickets for the scrimmage are being distributed by the John Marshall Mid-High School administration in order to best serve the school community.

You probably don’t know forward Tomislav Zubcic, and if you’re a Thunder fan, you still won’t know him. OKC gave up the rights to him today, according to the Oklahoman:

The Thunder has renounced the rights to Tomislav Zubcic on Sunday, making the 6-foot-10 forward a free agent.

In June 2015, Zubcic, 26, was acquired along with a $2.85 million trade exception by the Thunder from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Luke Ridnour and cash.

Mitch McGary gets more suspension time

Mitch McGary gets more suspension time

The NBA announced today that Thunder forward Mitch McGary has been suspended without pay for a minimum of ten games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.

His ten-game suspension will begin when he has completed serving his five-game suspension under the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program, which was announced on July 8, 2016.

According to the Vertical, the reason for the 10 games were added to the original five-game suspension is “non-compliance with the league’s drug policy, league sources said.”

According to, “McGary’s contract is guaranteed for next season ($1.52 million), but the Thunder could trade him, or buy him out of his remaining deal.”

NBA: Thunder sign Ronnie Price

Thunder sign Ronnie Price

The Thunder today signed guard Ronnie Price.

He’ll serve as a backup to guard Russell Westbrook, who will have an even bigger role on the team this season than usual now that Kevin Durant left to sign with the Warriors.

Offensively, the Thunder will be a more guard-heavy team than ever next season since they traded power forward Serge Ibaka and landed SG Victor Oladipo.

According to the Oklahoman, “Price and rookie Domantas Sabonis had their contracts finalized in a span of three days, setting the Thunder roster at 15 players – the maximum a team can have on its active roster at any time – but, more importantly, 15 guaranteed contracts for 2016-17. The reported signing of bouncy 6-foot-8 forward Chris Wright to a partially-guaranteed deal will likely place him on the D-League Oklahoma City Blue.”

Price (6-2, 190), spent last season with Phoenix appearing in 62 games (18 starts), averaging career-bests in points (5.3), assists (2.4), rebounds (1.6), steals (1.19) and minutes played (19.5). An 11-year NBA veteran, undrafted out Utah Valley State College (now Utah Valley University), Price has appeared in 530 games (73 starts) with Sacramento, Utah, Phoenix, Portland, Orlando and L.A. Lakers, averaging 3.8 points, 1.8 assists 1.2 rebounds in 13.5 minutes per game.

An eye on the Thunder trade front

Will the OKC Thunder make moves? With Kevin Durant gone, it’s a team built the backcourt of Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo, with help up front from Enes Kanter and Steven Adams. Nice squad, but on paper they aren’t the powerhouse they used to be. Yes, even if they did play well without Durant for stretches in the past when Durant was hurt. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

The Thunder’s history says there’s still a trade coming. The question: Will it be big or small?

In seven of its eight seasons, the Thunder has made a trade during the period between the end of the July free agent moratorium and the start of the regular season. Some have been minor, like the Thunder dealing Perry Jones to Boston for a second-rounder last year. Some have been major, like sending Thabo Sefolosha to Atlanta in a sign-and-trade in 2014, or James Harden to Houston in 2012.

Antsy for a move? It’s getting late, you say? There’s still more than two months before the Thunder tips off on Oct. 26 at Philadelphia. Harden was traded to Houston four days before the Thunder opened the 2012-13 season, so there’s precedent for the team waiting until much closer to the season to make a deal.

Thunder sign rookie Domantas Sabonis

Thunder sign rookie Domantas Sabonis

The Thunder have signed rookie forward Domantas Sabonis.

Sabonis (6-11, 240), was selected with the 11th overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft following his sophomore year at Gonzaga. The forward earned All-WCC First Team honors as a sophomore after averaging 17.6 points on .611 shooting from the field (239-of-391), 11.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 31.8 minutes in 36 games with the Bulldogs. The forward was named to the All-WCC Second Team, All-WCC Freshman Team, NIT All-Tournament Team and NCAA South Regional All-Tournament Team as a freshman. He played in 35 games in 2013-14 for Unicaja Malaga in the Spanish ACB league.

He was acquired by Oklahoma City on the night of the 2016 NBA Draft along with guard Victor Oladipo and forward Ersan Ilyasova from the Orlando Magic in exchange for forward Serge Ibaka.

The 20-year old is currently competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics with the Lithuania men’s national basketball team.

We don’t talk politics, but we’re happy to make observations about the world of political discussion. And that world seems to just… be pulling everyone to one extreme or the other. The result appears to be… more and more division. And, it’s sad. On that front, here’s the Norman Transcript reporting:

Enes Kanter disowned by parents for political disagreement

Enes Kanter has always been outspoken about his opinions opposing the Turkish government. Now, after a recent coup in Turkey, his parents are making their disapproval official.

The father of the Thunder power forward, Mehmet Kanter, published a letter in multiple Turkish publications Monday saying that he and his family have disowned their son.

“I apologize to the Turkish people and the president for having such a son,” he wrote, according to Daily Sabah, a pro-government, anti-Gulen, English-speaking Turkish publication.

The Warriors won 73 games last season, reached the NBA Finals, and then this offseason added superstar Kevin Durant as a free agent. Durant joined the team that beat his Thunder squad in the Western Conference Finals. Here’s reporting Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s words:

Steve Kerr says Kevin Durant is no villain

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr says it’s “absurd” to cast Kevin Durant as a villain because he left the Oklahoma City Thunder as a free agent and joined the Warriors this summer.

“To think of Kevin Durant or Steph Curry or any of our guys as villains, it’s kind of absurd. Especially Kevin,” Kerr said Sunday in an interview on ESPN Radio’s TMI with Michelle Beadle and Ramona Shelburne. “This is one of the most likeable people in this league. He’s just an awesome human being. What he did in Oklahoma City was just amazing for that community.

Kerr added: “Circumstances kind of dictate, I guess, that some people are going to see him as a villain. But it’s only because he decided to go elsewhere to play. He wanted to change his scenery, he wanted a new challenge. More than anything he wanted to play with our guys. He loves Draymond [Green] and Steph and Klay [Thompson] and Andre [Iguodala]. Seeing those guys in New York, he loved seeing the chemistry that exists and he wanted to be a part of it.”

Thunder sign Russell Westbrook to contract extension

The Thunder have signed guard Russell Westbrook to a contract extension, the team announced Thursday.

It is reportedly a three-year deal worth $85.7 million.

“I am grateful to extend my contract with the Thunder and continue to play with the only organization that I have played for and have loved being a part of since I was drafted into the NBA,” said Westbrook. “I’m really excited about moving forward with this group of guys and continuing to play in front of the best fans in the world.”

This past season Westbrook appeared in 80 games (all starts) and averaged 23.5 points (eighth in the NBA), 10.4 assists (second in the NBA), 7.8 rebounds and 2.04 steals (fifth in the NBA) in 34.4 minutes to become just the second player in NBA history (Oscar Robertson) to average at least 23 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for a single season.

“On behalf of the Thunder organization and the entire State of Oklahoma I want to congratulate Russ and offer my sincere appreciation for not only his profound presence and skill as a player, but for his high character, personal integrity and extraordinary leadership,” said Clayton I. Bennett, Thunder chairman. “We are thrilled he will continue with us and we look forward to exciting days ahead for the Oklahoma City Thunder.”

According to the Oklahoman, “Westbrook could have forced a trade. Could have sat tight this coming season, then bolted in free agency next summer. He did neither. He showed that he wants to be in OKC. Doesn’t mean forever. Doesn’t mean for the rest of his career. Durant taught us to tread lightly in looking too far into the future. But for now, Westbrook wants to finish what he started, wants the challenge of doing what he and Durant failed to do together. Wants to fight the good fight.”

During the 2015-16 season, Westbrook recorded 18 triple-doubles, equaling the most in the NBA since Magic Johnson accomplished the feat during the 1981-82 season. Westbrook also notched seven triple-doubles in March, the most by an NBA player in a calendar month since Michael Jordan in April of 1989.

“Russell has been an outstanding leader of this team since he was drafted by our organization eight years ago. His competitiveness, character, and unique athletic ability have propelled him to the forefront of the game,” said Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “Russell personifies many of the traits that are synonymous with Oklahoma and Oklahomans. We are excited that Russell has chosen to continue to build the legacy of the Thunder with us as we move forward together.”

A five-time All-Star and two-time All-Star MVP, Westbrook received All-NBA First Team honors at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season. This past year, Westbrook was twice named the Western Conference Player of the Month, and his 54 double-doubles represented the most for a guard since the 2007-08 season (Chris Paul).

In eight seasons with the Thunder, Westbrook holds career averages of 21.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.73 steals in 34.0 minutes per game. The UCLA product has helped guide the Thunder to the Western Conference Finals in four of the past six seasons.

As a member of the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, Westbrook won a gold medal at the 2012 games in London. Additionally, Westbrook helped lead the USA Men’s National Team to a gold medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

Selected No. 4 overall in the 2008 NBA draft, Westbrook was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team; during the 2014-15 season, Westbrook led the NBA in scoring after averaging a career-best 28.1 points per game.

Westbrook received the 2014-15 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award as a result of his community involvement and philanthropic efforts. Westbrook and his Why Not? Foundation have opened numerous reading centers throughout Oklahoma City public schools. “Russell’s Reading Rooms” provide underserved children with books, engaging students of all ages in reading. Westbrook’s charitable efforts have included hosting Thanksgiving meals, holiday parties and shopping sprees for Oklahomans in need, granting wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and participating in food distribution events, hospital visits and Thunder FIT clinics.

Cameron Payne undergoes foot surgery

Cameron Payne undergoes foot surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Cameron Payne had a procedure today to fix a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot, team Executive VP and General Manager Sam Presti announced.

Selected in the lottery of the 2015 NBA Draft (No. 14 overall) out of Murray State, Payne averaged 5.0 points, 1.9 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 57 games during his rookie season. Payne recently topped all scorers in the Orlando Summer League, averaging 18.8 points to go along with 4.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds in four games.

Payne is expected to be ready for the start of 2016-17 season.

Thunder sign guard Alex Abrines

Thunder sign guard Alex Abrines

The Thunder have signed guard Alex Abrines to a multi-year contract.

Abrines was originally selected by the Thunder with the 32nd overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and this past season, Abrines appeared in 37 games with FC Barcelona where he averaged 8.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists. During EuroLeague competition Abrines shot 41.7 percent from 3-point range.

“We are pleased to welcome Alex to the Thunder organization,” said Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “He brings a unique blend of international experience and skill for his age. He will continue to add depth and versatility to our core of perimeter players.”

At the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, Abrines was named the EuroLeague’s Rising Star, as voted on by the league’s coaches. Additionally, Abrines received All-Spanish Liga Endesa Honorable Mention honors this past year after helping lead FC Barcelona to the Supercup and a spot in the League Finals.

“I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to join an organization like the Oklahoma City Thunder,” said Abrines. “I look forward to meeting my teammates and contributing any way that I can as a member of the team.”

A member of the Spanish National Team, Abrines previously won a gold medal at the 2011 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship and a bronze medal at the 2012 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship.

Mitch McGary suspended for drug violation

OKC Thunder power forward Mitch McGary was suspended without pay by the NBA for five games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.

McGary’s suspension will begin with the next NBA regular season game that he is eligible and physically able to play.

McGary played 15.2 minutes per game as a rookie, averaging 6.3 points and an impressive 5.2 rebounds. But last season, his second in the league, he was mostly an observer, playing just 3.6 minutes in 20 games.

Victor Oladipo added to 2016 USA Select Team

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Victor Oladipo was named to the 2016 USA Men’s Select Team.

Members of the USA Select Team will train daily with the USA National Team from July 18-21 at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center.

Oladipo was named to the 2015-16 USA Basketball National Team and participated in the 2015 USA Basketball Showcase where he recorded 25 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two steals in 23 minutes of action for the USA Blue Team. Named a member of the 2014 USA Select Team, Oladipo trained with and against the 2014 USA National Team that was preparing for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Originally the second overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Oladipo averaged 16.0 points, a career-high 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, a team-high 1.61 steals and 33.0 minutes in 72 games (52 starts) with Orlando this past season. The third-year guard has appeared in 224 games (167 starts) with Orlando, averaging 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.63 steals in 33.2 minutes per game. The Indiana University product was named to the 2013-14 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Oladipo was acquired by the Thunder on draft night last month from the Orlando Magic along with forward Ersan Ilyasova and the draft rights to forward Domantas Sabonis.

Warriors officially sign Kevin Durant

Team that won 73 games last regular season just added a superstar

Warriors officially sign Kevin Durant

The Golden State Warriors officially signed free agent forward Kevin Durant today. The deal is reportedly a $54 million dollar contract over two years.

A six-time All-NBA Selection (five First Team, one Second Team) and four-time single-season scoring leader, Durant was named the league MVP in 2013-14, tallying a career-best and league-leading 32.0 points per game.

Durant, 27, posted averages of 28.2 points, a career-high 8.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.18 blocks and 35.8 minutes in 72 games in 2015-16, earning his seventh consecutive NBA All-Star nod and becoming the first player to average at least 28 points, eight boards and five assists since Michael Jordan in 1988-89. The 6-9 forward led the Thunder to the Western Conference Finals for the fourth time in the last six seasons, falling to the Warriors in a hard-fought, seven-game series. Durant led all scorers in the postseason with 28.4 points to go with 7.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 40.3 minutes over 18 games.

A nine-year NBA veteran, Durant owns averages of 27.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.21 steals, 1.00 blocks and 37.8 minutes in 641 games (all starts) with the Thunder. Durant ranks as the Thunder franchise’s all-time leader in free throws (4,599) and three-point field goals (1,143) while ranking second in scoring (17,566), third in field goals made (5,912), fourth in rebounds (4,518), fourth in blocks (639), fourth in minutes (24,208), sixth in games played (641), seventh in assists (2,363) and eighth in steals (774).

The Washington, D.C., native has shot better than 50 percent from the field in each of the last four seasons and owns career percentages of 48.3 percent from the field, 38.0 percent from three-point range and 88.2 percent from the free throw line. In 2012-13, Durant became the sixth player in NBA history to qualify for the league minimums in the 50/40/90 club (hit at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three and 90 percent from the line), a group that was joined by Stephen Curry in 2015-16.

Originally selected by the Seattle SuperSonics with the second overall pick in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft, Durant captured Rookie of the Year honors in Seattle in 2007-08 before the franchise relocated to Oklahoma City. In his lone collegiate season at the University of Texas in 2006-07, Durant was named the National Player of the Year and earned the Adolph Rupp Trophy, Naismith Award and Wooden Award, becoming the first-ever freshman in NCAA history to win any of those awards.

Durant will wear #35 for the Warriors.

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