Archive for the ‘ OKC Thunder Blog ’ Category

The OKC Thunder are 5-3 this season, but are currently without the services of Kevin Durant, who through eight games is averaging 28.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg and 3.0 apg. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting the latest:

Thunder coach says Kevin Durant injury is not serious

Thunder coach Billy Donovan said Thursday that Kevin Durant’s injury is “nothing too serious” and that Durant hasn’t been frustrated by his latest injury setback.

On a day when Durant was not made available to the media, Donovan was asked about Durant’s mood since straining his hamstring against the Washington Wizards this week. Durant was third in the league in scoring (28.1 points per game) before the strain, which will keep him sidelined at least 7-10 days.

Kevin Durant out with hamstring injury

Kevin Durant out with hamstring injury

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) today that confirmed he has a strained left hamstring that he sustained during the second quarter of last night’s 125-101 victory at Washington, the team announced today. Durant will be re-evaluated in 7-10 days at which time a further update will be provided.

This season, Durant is averaging 28.1 points (fourth in NBA), 7.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.25 blocks and 34.7 minutes in eight games (all starts).

The Oklahoma City Thunder waived forward Michael Cobbins and guard Mustapha Farrakhan, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

The Oklahoma City Thunder roster now stands at 15.

The Oklahoma City Thunder exercised its fourth-year options on center Steven Adams and guard Andre Roberson in addition to its third-year option on forward Mitch McGary, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

In two seasons with the Thunder, Adams has appeared in 151 games (87 starts) and averaged 5.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 19.7 minutes per game. This past year, Adams registered 10 double-doubles and scored in double-figures on 22 occasions. Adams was named to the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge as part of All-Star Weekend in each of his first two seasons.

Over two seasons with Oklahoma City, Roberson has seen action in 107 games (81 starts) while compiling averages of 2.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0.7 steals in 15.7 minutes per game. With Roberson in the starting line-up, the Thunder has gone 53-28 (.654) during the past two seasons.

During the 2014-15 season, McGary appeared in 32 games (two starts) and posted averages of 6.3 points and 5.2 rebound in 15.2 minutes per game. After registering back-to-back double-doubles in early February, McGary became the first Thunder rookie to accomplish such a feat since Russell Westbrook posted consecutive double-doubles during the 2008-09 season.

Thunder sign Michael Cobbins and Mustapha Farrakhan

The Oklahoma City Thunder signed forward Michael Cobbins and guard Mustapha Farrakhan, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

We will assume the deals are non-guaranteed.

Cobbins (6-8, 230), joins the Thunder after a collegiate career at Oklahoma State where he appeared in 105 games and averaged 5.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 25.4 minutes per game. A two-time member of the Big 12 All-Defensive Team, Cobbins ranked second in the conference in blocks per game (1.83) during his senior season.

Farrakhan (6-4, 175), spent the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons in the NBA D-League, averaging 8.0 points, 1.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 18.3 minutes in 70 games with four teams. The University of Virginia product most recently played overseas with Melbourne United in Australia in 2013-14, recording averages of 10.4 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 20.8 minutes.

The Oklahoma City Thunder roster now stands at 17.

The Oklahoma City Thunder waived guards Michael Qualls, Julyan Stone and Dez Wells along with forward Talib Zanna, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Stone appeared in one preseason game with the Thunder and recorded one rebound while logging four minutes of action.

Wells saw action in one preseason game and tallied one point and one steal in five minutes of play.

Zanna played in four preseason games for Oklahoma City and averaged 2.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in 5.9 minutes.

Qualls did not make a preseason appearance for the Thunder.

Oklahoma City’s roster now stands at 15.

Kevin Durant looks healthy in preseason

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on Thunder star forward Kevin Durant, who is coming off major injury and fortunately looks like himself again so far:

Kevin Durant looks healthy in preseason

The first dunk was uncontested, the kind he’s done in practice gyms for weeks. During the third quarter of his first game inside an OKC arena in more than seven months, Kevin Durant jumped a passing lane, sped by a retreating defender and dropped in a dunk with the type of ease that comes when you’re 6-foot-11 with an even longer wingspan.

But the second jam was much more powerful and encouraging.

Two possessions later, Durant shook a defender with a lefty in and out dribble, darted into the paint and, after spotting the rotating big, gathered with both feet, rose and hammered one through, landing, posing and pausing to enjoy the crowd’s roar.

It served as the final two of his 13 points during the Thunder’s 111-81 rout of Fenerbahce Ulker on Friday night and the greatest sign that the star forward is rounding into athletic form this preseason.

Thunder add Michael Qualls to training camp roster

The Oklahoma City Thunder signed guard Michael Qualls, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. It’s likely a non-guaranteed deal that merely brings Qualls to training camp.

Qualls (6-6, 205), joins the Thunder after a three-year collegiate career at the University of Arkansas where he appeared in 100 games (56 starts) and averaged 11.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 23.8 minutes per game. This past season, Qualls received Second-Team All SEC honors after averaging 15.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game during his junior year.

The Oklahoma City Thunder roster now stands at 19.

Sunset-colored Thunder alternate jerseys

The Oklahoma City Thunder today revealed a third alternate uniform for 2015-16. The team will first wear its new sunset-colored alternates on Sunday, Nov. 1, at Chesapeake Energy Arena against the Denver Nuggets.

The new uniform’s bold color pairs with “OKC” in navy block lettering on the front to showcase the team’s hometown pride and reflect the saturated, blended colors of the Oklahoma skies at sunset.

On the back of the jersey, player names sit below the numbers. The shorts display a sunset base with navy panels down the side showcasing the Thunder logo on each leg.

“This new uniform not only features another of our primary team colors, it also reinforces the strong connection our team has to our hometown and home state,” said Brian Byrnes, Thunder senior vice president of Sales and Marketing. “The ‘OKC’ on the front of the jersey echoes the chant that rings through Chesapeake Energy Arena during Thunder home games. This sunset-colored uniform adds a fresh perspective on the identity our team has built over the past seven seasons.”

The Thunder will wear the sunset alternates for 18 games this season, including all 13 of its Sunday matchups. This marks the fifth Thunder uniform in regular rotation. The home white and road Thunder blue uniforms will remain the team’s primary options, while fans will also see the team in the navy alternates and the sleeved white uniform for select games.

You forgot — at least a little — about Kevin Durant. Not totally. You remember he existed, of course. But the domination he regularly unleashes on the court hasn’t been on your mind in a while. Well, if all goes well, he’ll soon serve up some helpful reminders. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

Kevin Durant cleared to play without limitations

In 2011, Nike leveraged Durant’s obsession into an ad campaign labeled Basketball Never Stops. At the time, for KD, it so rarely did. His most serious NBA injury was a minor ankle sprain.

Then the foot fracture happened last October. Then the setbacks followed. Then the bone graft ended his season. Then a summer of rehab and reflection and careful progression bled into this upcoming, all-important nine months for both Durant and his franchise.

Sam Presti unofficially opened it on Wednesday afternoon with his preseason state of the Thunder address. In it, he said Durant has received full medical clearance for training camp. He’s been doing non-contact court drills since late July. But that recently progressed to full-speed 5-on-5 scrimmages, the last step in his long road back.

“In terms of limitations, he doesn’t have any,” Presti said.

But that doesn’t mean there won’t be precaution.

Video: Russell Westbrook explosiveness

Enjoy this video showcasing the explosiveness of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook:

Kevin Durant being careful in return

Here’s 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.”

Thunder sign forward Josh Huestis

Thunder sign forward Josh Huestis

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.

Thunder trade Perry Jones to Celtics

perry jones traded to celtics

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.

Thunder match offer sheet, retain Enes Kanter

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 sign rookie Cameron Payne

Thunder sign rookie Cameron Payne

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.

Thunder re-sign Kyle Singler

kyle singler

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.

Thunder will keep Kyle Singler

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:

thunder kyle singler contract

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.

Thunder trade Luke Ridnour to Raptors

It’s happened again.


Veteran NBA guard Luke Ridnour has been traded yet again.

luke ridnour traded

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.

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