Enjoy this video showcasing the explosiveness of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook:
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Here’s ESPN.com with an update on an NBA superstar who you haven’t thought about much lately. But he’ll be back. Just you wait.
Four months after his latest foot surgery, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant says that he “can go 100 percent” but hasn’t played in any 5-on-5 games yet as he takes a measured approach to this latest comeback.
“I’ve got to play against the guys to really see, but I feel like I’m back to myself,” Durant said after the first day of training at this USA Basketball minicamp.
Asked if he could play in a game if needed, Durant laughed and said, “I haven’t played since February, so of course, I’m human, I’d go through some rust. But I think after two trips down I’d be all right.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder have signed forward Josh Huestis to a contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.
“We are excited to add Josh to our roster as he allows us to continue to increase our depth through his athleticism and versatility,” Presti said. “Josh knows our culture and our organization as a result of his time with the Blue and we look forward to his continued development with the Thunder.”
Huestis (6-7, 230) joins the Thunder after spending the past season with the Oklahoma City Blue where he appeared in 44 games (43 starts) and averaged 10.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.57 blocks (13th in NBADL) in 33.1 minutes per game.
The Thunder selected Huestis with the 29th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
The Great Falls, Mont. native spent four seasons at Stanford and averaged 7.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.41 blocks in 135 career games. During both his junior and senior seasons, he was named to the Pac-12 Defensive Team and at the conclusion of his sophomore season, he received Pac-12 Defensive Team Honorable Mention honors.
The Oklahoma City Thunder acquired a trade exception and a protected 2018 second round draft pick from the Boston Celtics in exchange for forward Perry Jones, a 2019 second round draft pick and cash considerations, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.
Jones III, a 6′11″ forward, appeared in 43 contests for the Thunder during the 2014-15 regular season and averaged 4.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 14.7 minutes per game. He recorded a season-high 32 points on 10-17 (.588) shooting from the field, seven rebounds, three assists and one block in 42 minutes of action on October 30, 2014 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
He was originally selected with the 28th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder and is averaging 3.4 points and 1.8 rebounds in 11.7 minutes on his career.
The Thunder will have one year from today to exercise the trade exception.
The Oklahoma City Thunder has exercised its right of first refusal and matched the offer sheet extended to center Enes Kanter by the Portland Trail Blazers, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.
“We traded for Enes last season with the intention of keeping him as a member of the Thunder for several years to come, and we are excited that he will continue with us,” said Presti. “He adds valuable depth to our roster, diversity to our frontcourt and the dimension that he brings offensively will positively impact our team.”
In 26 games this past season with the Thunder, Kanter averaged 18.7 points to go along with 11.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 31.1 minutes per contest. Since being acquired from the Utah Jazz on Feb. 19, the 23-year-old Kanter registered 17 double-doubles, including a Thunder record eight straight double-doubles in late March.
Originally selected third overall in the 2011 NBA draft, Kanter recorded at least 20 points and 10 rebounds 11 times with Oklahoma City this past season. Prior to Kanter’s arrival, no Thunder center had ever recorded a single 20-point/10-rebound game.
Including his career-high 30-point effort on Apr. 1 vs Dallas, Kanter scored 20 or more points in 12 of his 26 appearances this past season with the Thunder. On March 24 against the LA Lakers, Kanter became the only player in the NBA this past season to record 15+ points and 10+ rebounds in the first quarter alone.
Kanter has appeared in 291 career games and owns career averages of 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in 21.4 minutes.
Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today that the team has signed rookie guard Cameron Payne.
As a first round draft pick, Payne was guaranteed to receive a contract. This signing is standard.
Selected by the Thunder with the 14th pick in last month’s NBA Draft, Payne (6-2,180) appeared in 69 games in two seasons at Murray State, averaging 18.5 points, 5.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.81 steals in 32.4 minutes per game.
As a sophomore, Payne was named the Lute Olson Player of the Year, an award given to the top NCAA player with at least two seasons of experience, after leading the Racers to a 29-6 season, which included an Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) regular-season championship and a pair of wins in the National Invitational Tournament.
During his sophomore season, the guard led the Racers to a 25-game winning streak (second longest in the nation) while averaging 20.2 points (13th in NCAA), 6.0 assists (15th in NCAA), 1.94 steals and 32.2 minutes in 35 games. He was named OVC MVP and Honorable Mention AP All-American. The Memphis, Tenn. native, appeared in 34 games as a freshman, averaging 16.8 points, 5.4 assists and 1.68 steals in 32.6 minutes per game. He was named All-OVC First Team, OVC Freshman of the Year and earned an MSU record nine OVC Freshman of the Week awards.
The Oklahoma City Thunder has signed forward Kyle Singler to a multi-year contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.
“Kyle Singler has consistently demonstrated a selfless, hard-working and committed approach that we are always working towards for the identity of Oklahoma City Thunder Basketball,” said Presti. “His size, shooting, willingness to accept various roles and solid fundamental base will help us continue to build the overall depth of our team.”
This past season, Singler appeared in 80 games (58 starts) with Detroit and Oklahoma City, averaging 6.0 points while shooting .398 (96-of-241) from beyond the arc, 2.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 21.8 minutes. In 26 games (18 starts) with Oklahoma City, the forward averaged 3.7 points and 2.1 rebounds in 17.6 minutes per game.
Singler was acquired from Detroit on February 19, 2015 along with guard D.J. Augustin in exchange for guard Reggie Jackson. He was originally selected by the Pistons with the 33rd overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft after a successful collegiate career at Duke.
The Medford, Ore. native spent four seasons with the Blue Devils, setting career records for games played (148), consecutive games played (148), games started (147), minutes played (4,887) and finished his career fourth in points scored (2,392). Singler led Duke to an NCAA title his junior season and was named NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
Singler spent the 2011-12 season in Spain with CB Lucentum Alciante (10 games) and Real Madrid (32 games). In 10 games with Alciante, Singler averaged 14.4 points on .467 shooting from the field and 3.4 rebounds. In 32 games with Real Madrid, he averaged 7.8 points on .560 shooting from the floor and 2.2 rebounds.
He has appeared in 244 career NBA games (168 starts) and owns career averages of 8.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.0 assist on .378 shooting (260-of-687) in 26.1 minutes per game.
Again, a reminder: Backups and bench depth are important, too. Teams in free agency go after the big stars first, generally, but locking up the supporting cast is important as well. The Oklahoma City Thunder will keep Kyle Singler. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:
On the opening day of free agency, the Thunder swiftly accomplished one of the two things it set out to do this summer.
The team agreed to re-sign restricted free agent Kyle Singler, coming to terms with the reserve forward on a five-year deal worth more than $24 million on Wednesday. The deal could keep Singler in Oklahoma City through the 2019-20 season, although the fifth year of the deal is a team option.
At first glance, the contract might appear to be a bit steep for a player who is projected to be the Thunder’s 11th man next season. But when compared to deals other players received around the league it begins to look more like fair market value.
Mike Dunleavy, for example, re-signed with Chicago for three years and nearly $15 million. Al-Farouq Aminu landed a four-year, $30 million deal with Portland. Danny Green re-signed in San Antonio for four years, $45 million.
It’s happened again.
IT’S HAPPENED AGAIN.
Veteran NBA guard Luke Ridnour has been traded yet again.
The Oklahoma City Thunder acquired a trade exception and the rights to forward Tomislav Zubcic from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Ridnour and cash considerations, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.
The Thunder will have one year from today to exercise the trade exception.
The Oklahoma City Thunder has named Monty Williams, Maurice Cheeks and Anthony Grant as assistant coaches and Billy Schmidt as quality control coach, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. They join Mark Bryant and Darko Rajakovic as assistants on Head Coach Billy Donovan’s bench, along with shooting coach Adam Harrington and Vin Bhavnani, who will return as manager of advance scouting/player development.
“I’m really excited about the vast experience that this staff will bring to our team,” Donovan said. “The opportunity to bring these coaches together will help us work towards our goal of having a defensive identity, sharing the ball and playing efficiently on both ends. The group delivers an incredible set of individual skills, knowledge and background to the table, and I believe that the impact of their collective efforts will be very beneficial as we continue to build the tradition of the Thunder.”
Williams joins the Thunder after spending five seasons as the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans from 2010-2015. This past year, he guided the Pelicans to their first playoff berth since the 2010-11 season. Prior to his time in New Orleans, he spent five seasons as an assistant coach on the Portland Trail Blazers’ bench and one season as a coaching staff intern with the San Antonio Spurs where he earned a championship ring with the 2005 championship squad. Additionally, Williams serves as an assistant coach with the USA Men’s National Team.
The 24th overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft, Williams averaged 6.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 16.7 minutes in 456 games over nine seasons with New York, San Antonio, Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia.
Cheeks, who spent four seasons on the Thunder bench from 2009-2013, returns to Oklahoma City after serving as the head coach of the Detroit Pistons during the 2013-14 season. Overall, he has amassed a head coaching record of 305-315 (.492) with the Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers (2005-2008) and Portland Trail Blazers (2001-2005). Cheeks was also an assistant coach with the 76ers from 1994-2001.
A 15-year NBA veteran, Cheeks retired from the NBA as its all-time leader in steals after playing with Philadelphia, San Antonio, New York, Atlanta and New Jersey. He helped lead the 76ers to the 1983 NBA Championship and his teams went to the playoffs in 13 of his 15 seasons. The Chicago native was a four-time All-Star and appeared on the NBA’s All-Defensive team five times.
Grant arrives in Oklahoma City after serving as the head coach of the University of Alabama’s men’s basketball program from 2009-2015. In his six seasons in Tuscaloosa, Grant amassed a record of 117-85 (.579) while guiding the Crimson Tide to the 2012 NCAA tournament, their first tournament berth since the 2006 season. Before that, he spent three seasons as the head coach of the Virginia Commonwealth University’s men’s basketball team. During his time at the helm, the Rams went 76-25 (.752) and won three consecutive Colonial Athletic Association Championships.
From 1996-2006, Grant served as an assistant coach under Billy Donovan at the University of Florida. During his 10-year stint in Gainesville, the Gators amassed a record of 226-98 (.698) and reached the NCAA tournament in eight consecutive seasons, capped by their national title in 2006. He has also served as an assistant at Marshall University and Stetson University.
Schmidt comes to the Thunder after spending last season as the assistant to the head coach at the University of Florida under Donovan. Prior to that, Schmidt was an assistant coach at Georgia Tech for three seasons (2011-2014) and spent eight seasons at the University of Dayton (2004-2011). Additionally, he has worked on the men’s basketball staff’s at the University of Michigan, Seton Hall University, Northwestern University and the University of Tennessee.
After graduating with honors from Wake Forest in 1992, Schmidt began his coaching career at Oak Hill Academy, serving as an assistant coach to Steve Smith. During his two year stay at Oak Hill Academy, his teams won back-to-back national championships.
The Oklahoma City Thunder selected guard Cameron Payne with the 14th pick and center Dakari Johnson with the 48th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, it was announced by Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.
Payne (6-2,180) appeared in 69 games in two seasons at Murray State, averaging 18.5 points, 5.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.81 steals in 32.4 minutes per game. As a sophomore, Payne was named the Lute Olson Player of the Year, an award given to the top NCAA Player with at least two seasons of experience after leading the Racers to a 29-6 season, which included an Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) regular-season championship and a pair of wins in the National Invitational Tournament.
During his sophomore season, the guard led the Racers to a 25-game winning streak (second longest in the nation) while averaging 20.2 points (13th in NCAA), 6.0 assists (15th in NCAA), 1.94 steals and 32.2 minutes in 35 games. He was named OVC MVP and Honorable Mention AP All-America. The Memphis, Tenn. native, appeared in 34 games as a freshman, averaging 16.8 points, 5.4 assists and 1.68 steals in 32.6 minutes per game. He was named All-OVC First Team, OVC Freshman of the Year and earned an MSU record nine OVC Freshman of the Week awards.
Johnson (7-0, 255), who helped Kentucky reach two consecutive Final Fours, appeared in 78 games during his two-year career in Lexington, averaging 5.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game. As a sophomore, the center helped UK to a 38-1 record including both the Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament crowns, after averaging 6.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 16.3 minutes in 39 contests.
The Brooklyn, NY product, played in 39 games as a freshman averaging 5.2 points and 3.9 rebounds in 14.1 minutes per game. He tallied 10 points and seven rebounds to help UK get past Wisconsin in the 2014 National Semifinal.
Thunder trade Jeremy Lamb to Hornets for Luke Ridnour
The Oklahoma City Thunder acquired guard Luke Ridnour and a conditional 2016 second round draft pick from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for guard Jeremy Lamb, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.
Ridnour (6-2, 175), a 12-year NBA veteran, has played in 830 career games (493 starts) with five teams, averaging 9.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.00 steals in 26.1 minutes. The University of Oregon product spent the 2014-15 season with the Orlando Magic, appearing in 47 games and averaging 4.0 points, 1.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 14.5 minutes. Ridnour was acquired by the Memphis Grizzlies on June 24, 2015 before being traded to Charlotte in a separate transaction earlier today.
Lamb appeared in 47 games (eight starts) for the Thunder in the 2014-15 season, averaging 6.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.5 minutes. In three seasons with the Thunder, Lamb saw action in 148 games (eight starts) and averaged 7.0 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 15.7 minutes.
Monty Williams may go from Anthony Davis to helping lead Durant, Westbrook
Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on the OKC Thunder, who reportedly may hire former Pelicans head coach as their new lead assistant coach:
Monty Williams appears destined for Oklahoma City.
The former coach for the New Orleans Pelicans is expected to join Billy Donovan’s staff as the lead assistant, according to multiple reports.
Yahoo Sports reported late Tuesday night that Williams, who was fired last month after five seasons with the Pelicans, has agreed to become Donovan’s top assistant. ESPN.com first reported Tuesday night that Williams likely would end up on the Thunder’s bench.
Williams, 43, has 10 years of coaching experience. Prior to joining the Pelicans, he spent five years as an assistant coach with Portland. Williams also served as a coaching staff intern with San Antonio during the Spurs’ championship 2004-05 season. Thunder general manager Sam Presti was a front office executive with the Spurs at the time.
Oklahoma City Thunder hire Billy Donovan as head coach
The Oklahoma City Thunder named Billy Donovan the team’s new head coach, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Donovan becomes the third head coach in Thunder history after spending the past 19 years at the University of Florida where he led the Gators to two National Championships and four trips to the Final Four while amassing a record of 467-186 (.715).
“We are thrilled to welcome Billy and his family to the Oklahoma City Thunder organization. When we began the process of identifying the next head coach of the Thunder, we started with a vision and the identifiable qualities that we felt were necessary for our organization as well as the ever evolving role of the head coach in today’s NBA. We wanted to identify a person with the traits associated with high achieving leaders in their respective fields; a continuous learning mentality, the ability to adapt, evolve and innovate, intrinsically motivated, humility, and great tactical competence,” Presti said. “While we created a comprehensive analysis regarding the qualities we were looking for, it became quite evident that Billy was the ideal fit for the Thunder as we look to transition our team into the future. Billy has achieved an incredible level of success and experience within his 21 years as a head coach and has shown the unique ability to not only create but sustain an elite program. His emotional intelligence, commitment to the concept of team, and relentless approach to incremental improvement have allowed him to bring his players together and establish lasting relationships through competitive success. Billy’s core values and alignment with our culture and community, as well as his proven tactical abilities, make him an ideal addition to the Thunder organization.”
Billy’s core values and alignment with our culture and community, as well as his proven tactical abilities, make him an ideal addition to the Thunder organization.
During his tenure at Florida, Donovan led the program to 16 straight 20-win seasons, three 30-win seasons, 17 consecutive trips to the postseason and six SEC Championships. Under Donovan, Florida has advanced to the Elite Eight in six of the past 10 seasons.
“We warmly welcome Billy and his family to Oklahoma City,” said Clayton I. Bennett, Thunder Chairman. “He is the perfect fit for our organization and for our community and we look forward to a long and successful relationship.”
After winning back-to-back national championships (2006 and 2007), Donovan led Florida to 18 straight postseason wins, the longest run for any program since John Wooden led UCLA to 28 straight postseason wins. This past season, Donovan became the second youngest coach in NCAA history (Bob Knight) to claim 500 career wins.
“I am honored and humbled to be named the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder. I knew that it would take a unique opportunity to leave the University of Florida and that is clearly how I look at this situation,” said Billy Donovan, Thunder Head Coach. “The Thunder represents so many of the values that I embrace as a head coach; the commitment to the team above oneself, the dedicated pursuit of excellence, the commitment to organizational culture, the identity they have established and the fact that the Thunder and the community are so intricately woven into the fabric of one another. To have the ability to work with such a talented and high character group of players is also rare, and I am excited to forge ahead creating those relationships. It is of course bittersweet as the University of Florida will always hold a very special place in my heart and in my family’s. I’ve had the good fortune of working with the best athletic director in the country in Jeremy Foley over the last 19 years, and I’ll be forever grateful and thankful for the opportunity and his friendship. Countless players, students, and other people in the administration were responsible for our success and for the meaningful connection we had with the Gainesville community. I have a deep appreciation for what the University of Florida will always mean to me and I’ll forever be a Gator.”
Donavan has been the recipient of numerous collegiate coaching awards including ESPN.com’s National Coach of the Year (2001), the Wooden Award’s “Legends of Coaching” Honor (2010) and SEC Coach of the Year (2011, 2013, 2014).
In addition to his responsibilities at Florida, Donovan has served as head coach of USA Basketball’s U18 and U19 National Teams in each of the last three summers. As a head coach with USAB, Donavan’s teams have captured three gold medals while going a perfect 19-0 during national team competition. Prior to leading the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Team to the gold medal last summer in Colorado Springs, CO, Donovan guided the 2013 USA U19 World Championship Team to a perfect 9-0 record and the gold medal in Prague, Czech Republic and the 2012 USA U18 National Team to a 5-0 slate and gold in Sao Sebastiáo do Paraiso, Brazil.
Donovan’s coaching experience dates back to the 1989-90 season where he served as a graduate assistant coach at Kentucky. After five years with the Wildcats, Donovan was hired as head coach at Marshall where he spent two years before leaving for Florida.
Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Donovan enjoyed a four-year playing career at Providence where he helped lead the Friars to their best season in school history and a trip to the Final Four in 1987. In addition, Donovan appeared in 44 games as a member of the New York Knicks during the 1987-88 season.
Nick Collison undergoes knee surgery, out 4-6 weeks
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison underwent a successful arthroscopic procedure today on his right knee, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced.
The procedure was performed by the Thunder’s Head Orthopedic Physician, Carlan Yates at the McBride Orthopedic Hospital in Oklahoma City. Collison is expected to miss 4-6 weeks before returning to normal offseason activities.
This past season, Collison appeared in 66 games (two starts) and averaged 4.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 16.7 minutes per game.
Billy Donovan is getting the OKC Thunder head coaching job
The Oklahoma City Thunder have made a decision as to who should lead Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter and friends into the future. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:
A coaching search that started with Thunder general manager Sam Presti saying he wouldn’t limit the scope of candidates he would consider ended Thursday with Oklahoma City getting the one man it seemed to be after from the start.
Billy Donovan will become the third coach in Thunder history after agreeing to a multi-year deal with the team just one week after Oklahoma City fired Scott Brooks.
Complete terms of the deal are unknown at this time. Yahoo Sports reports the deal is for five years.
Donovan, 49, is a two-time national championship coach at Florida, the program he’s leaving after 19 seasons.
OKC Thunder fire head coach Scott Brooks
The Oklahoma City Thunder announced today that the organization has parted ways with Scott Brooks as head coach.
“This is an extremely difficult decision on many levels. Scott helped establish the identity of the Thunder and has earned his rightful place in the history of our organization through his seven years as a valued leader and team member,” said Sam Presti, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager. “As we all know, this past year we had unique and challenging circumstances and as I have conveyed, not many people could have accomplished what Scott and this team were able to. Therefore, it is very important to state that this decision is not a reflection of this past season, but rather an assessment of what we feel is necessary at this point in time in order to continually evolve, progress and sustain. We determined that, in order to stimulate progress and put ourselves in the best position next season and as we looked to the future, a transition of this kind was necessary for the program. We move forward with confidence in our foundation and embrace the persistence and responsibility that is required to construct an elite and enduring basketball organization capable of winning an NBA championship in Oklahoma City.”
According to the Oklahoman, “after an injury-plagued season, the Thunder finished 45-37 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Reigning MVP Kevin Durant missed 55 games due to foot and ankle injuries, Serge Ibaka missed the season’s final 18 games and Russell Westbrook missed 15 games.”
Brooks was named head coach of the Thunder on April 15, 2009 after serving as interim head coach during the 2008-09 campaign. Over the course of the last seven seasons, Brooks accumulated a 338-207 (.620) record with the Thunder and was named the 2009-10 NBA Coach of the Year. An NBA veteran of over 24 years as a head coach, assistant and player, Brooks helped guide the Thunder to three appearances in the Western Conference Finals (2011, 2012, 2014), and a trip to the 2012 NBA Finals.
“We have a deep appreciation for all that Scott has contributed to the Thunder organization over the last seven years,” said Clayton I. Bennett, Thunder Chairman. “He helped us build the foundation of this team and led us to much success. While a very hard decision, I support the need to transition to a new coach that will allow us to continue the growth and progress that will help us reach all of our goals. We wish Scott and his family only the best as he moves forward.”
The Thunder will initiate the search for a new head coach immediately.
Fan reaction to this news: OKC has fired Scott Brooks.
Kevin Durant had bone graft surgery today
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant underwent bone graft surgery today for the fifth metatarsal of his right foot, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced.
The procedure was performed by Dr. Martin O’Malley with Thunder medical personnel present at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Durant will miss the remainder of the 2014-15 season and is expected to return to full basketball activities in the next four to six months.
The reigning NBA Kia Most Valuable Player appeared in 27 games (all starts) during the 2014-15 campaign, averaging 25.4 points on 51.0 percent shooting from the floor (238-of-467), 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 33.8 minutes per game.
Enes Kanter playing well for Thunder
Here’s the Oklahoman discussing Thunder center Enes Kanter, who is playing very well and appears to be a keeper for OKC — if the team can make it happen:
Enes Kanter has been with the Thunder only five weeks. In that time, he’s wowed observers with his inside play on offense, the kind of play that hasn’t been seen in the state since Big Country.
The soon-to-be free agent is also causing some fans to suffer some heartburn about his future with the team. Fears are percolating that the Thunder may not be able to keep its new inside presence past this season. While you never know what crazy events could unfold, the Thunder is in position to offer Kanter long-term security if he wants it.
Kanter is in the last season of his four-year rookie scale contract, so the Thunder will have the ability to make him a restricted free agent. All that requires is tendering what’s called a Qualifying Offer, which is a 1-year offer that, in Kanter’s case, would be worth over $7.4 million. As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the Thunder will do this.
Kevin Durant removed from basketball activities
This is bad news. Bad for Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the NBA in general. We all want Kevin Durant back in action. But his foot isn’t cooperating with us. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:
Kevin Durant is being removed from basketball activities and will be out indefinitely, Thunder general manager Sam Presti announced Friday.
Durant has experienced multiple setbacks from an October surgery to repair a fractured bone in his right foot. He was expected to return to the lineup next week.
“He’s not making the progress that we had hoped and anticipated him making,” Presti said. “He still has some soreness in his foot, and the protocol that’s in place calls for him to be able to compete on the floor without that at this stage.”
Durant underwent a second surgery on Feb. 22 to alleviate persistent swelling, which was said to have stemmed from the screw that was initially placed in his foot pressing against another bone in the foot. In the second surgery, the original screw was replaced with a new screw that didn’t have a head that would push against the other bone.