Archive for the ‘ OKC Thunder Blog ’ Category

Serge Ibaka out 4-6 weeks after knee surgery

Serge Ibaka out 4-6 weeks after knee surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka underwent successful arthroscopic surgery today to address right knee soreness, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced.

“After monitoring the soreness in Serge’s knee and having taken several intermediate steps to assess and manage the discomfort, it was determined that the necessary next step in the evaluation was to see a specialist to discuss options to help alleviate the soreness and swelling he had been experiencing,” said Presti. “During the consultation with Dr. David Altchek, his recommendation, in agreement with Thunder medical personnel, Serge and his representatives, was for Serge to have arthroscopic surgery to remedy the problematic area.”

Ibaka will be out approximately four to six weeks.

According to the Oklahoman, “the team initially treated Ibaka’s discomfort with medication and a modified practice schedule to allow him more time to rest. Ibaka then had his knee drained earlier this month to address what Presti called “roughening underneath his kneecap,” but that process resulted in swelling, stiffness and limited mobility.”

This season, Ibaka has recorded 17 double-doubles, while averaging 14.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.42 blocks and 33.1 minutes in 64 games (all starts).

mo williams

Charlotte Hornets guard Mo Williams and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, March 2, through Sunday, March 8.

Williams led the Hornets to a 4-0 week, which included two road wins and a home victory over the Toronto Raptors. Williams’ 19.5 ppg was tied for 10th in the East, while his 10.8 apg led the conference. He scored 20-plus points in three of four games, and posted two point-assist double-doubles. On March 6, he connected on four three-point field goals en route to 23 points and added seven assists during a 103-94 win over the Raptors.

russell westbrook

Westbrook averaged a triple-double as he led the Thunder to a 2-1 week. His 40.7 points led the league, while his 11.3 assists placed third in the West. Westbrook also averaged 11.3 rebounds - good for fifth in the conference, and his 3.0 steals were second-best in the conference. Westbrook recorded his seventh triple-double of the season on March 8, posting 30 points, 17 assists and 11 rebounds during a 108-104 win over the Raptors.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Houston’s James Harden, the Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul, Miami’s Dwyane Wade, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, Orlando’s Victor Oladipo, Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio’s Tony Parker and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan.

Steven Adams back in action for Thunder

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on the Thunder:

Steven Adams back in action for Thunder

Four Sundays after breaking his hand against the Clippers, Steven Adams returned to the Thunder lineup

In OKC’s win over the Raptors, Adams was relatively effective in his 16 minutes. Adams entered to a rousing ovation from the home crowd and immediately blocked a shot on his first possession.

For the game, Adams finished with six points, six rebounds and two blocks. He nailed a pair of floaters with that surgically repaired right hand – which was covered by a protective glove – including a smooth buzzer-beater to end the third quarter.

“He’s still getting his timing back,” teammate Anthony Morrow said. “But he did a great job defensively tonight.”

For the first time this season, though, Adams came off the bench. Enes Kanter started and played extremely well, compiling 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Frank Vogel

The Indiana Pacers’ Frank Vogel and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Scott Brooks today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in February.

Vogel led the Pacers to the Eastern Conference’s best record in February at 7-2 (.778). He became the franchise’s all-time NBA coaching wins leader thanks to the Pacers’ second win of the month over the Cleveland Cavaliers, a 93-86 victory on Feb. 27. Indiana also topped the NBA-leading Golden State Warriors. The Pacers shot 47.2 percent from the field to lead the NBA in February, and also held opponents under 100 points in six-of-nine contests.

scott brooks

Brooks guided the Thunder to the best record in the Western Conference in February at 9-3 (.750). The Thunder recorded a seven-game winning streak from Feb. 8-24, winning by an average of 15.6 points during that span. On the month, Oklahoma City’s 111.8 ppg led the league, while its 46.8 field goal percentage placed third. The Thunder went from one game under .500 to five games over thanks to its February performance.

Other nominees for Coach of the Month were Boston’s Brad Stevens, Cleveland’s David Blatt, Houston’s Kevin McHale, Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers, Milwaukee’s Jason Kidd, and Portland’s Terry Stotts.

Blazers survive monster game from Westbrook

Here’s the Oregonian reporting on the Portland Trail Blazers, who were able to come away with a win despite Russell Westbrook unleashing yet another monster game for the OKC Thunder as Kevin Durant continues to miss time due to injury:

Nicolas Batum looked over the stat sheet searching for something he could point to explain the Trail Blazers comeback win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“We…stepped up defensively,” Batum finally said after an extended pause. The Blazers’ small forward sat in front of his locker with ice on both of his knees after he was tasked with slowing Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook down the stretch of an exhilarating victory.

“That was a playoff game,” Batum said. “That was a playoff game.”

The Blazers rode the postseason atmosphere inside the Moda Center to a 115-112 win over the Thunder on Friday night, overcoming an 13-point fourth quarter deficit in the process.

Westbrook was electric. He ended his historic February with his third straight triple-double, finishing with 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. But the Blazers slowed him just enough in the closing minutes to escape with the win.

Russell Westbrook says Thunder do not need to consult him on roster moves

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on Thunder star point guard Russell Westbrook, who is content to stick to his role as a star player and not someone that helps make roster decisions:

Years from now, Thursday’s blockbuster trade will likely stand as one of the most important decisions this franchise made over its first decade in Oklahoma City.

And hours before general manager Sam Presti pulled the trigger, Russell Westbrook – one of the franchise’s two cornerstone – said he and Kevin Durant had no desire to be consulted on the decision.

“Not my job,” Westbrook said. “My job is to come out and play. We have a great general manager, great owner and great coach who have done a great job thus far putting this team together. So I’m pretty sure they know what’s best for us.”

When asked if Presti ever comes to them to gather their opinion, Westbrook reiterated his previous answer in the most Westbrook way possible.

“I don’t want to repeat the same answer, so whatever I just said last time use it as that answer,” he said.

Westbrook scores 34, Thunder smack Mavs 104-89

Here’s the Dallas Morning News reporting on the Mavs, who now have Amar’e Stoudemire to add depth off the bench once they decide to utilize him, which is good, but were treated rudely by the Thunder as the NBA regular season resumed Thursday:

Russell Westbrook scores 34

[The Dallas Mavericks] were manhandled 104-89 by the Oklahoma City Thunder, who had traded away four players earlier in the day, none of whom were named Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook or Serge Ibaka.

That Big Three – and mostly Westbrook and Ibaka – were more than enough to pummel the Mavericks, who looked out of sync in the first game back from injury for Rajon Rondo. They never led and trailed by 20-something much of the night.

Worse, Rondo was glued to the bench for a long stretch in the third and fourth quarters. Clearly, the Mavericks offensively remain an unfinished product. They struggled to get their shooting above 35 percent against the Thunder.

When the Mavericks closed the gap to 10 in the fourth quarter, Westbrook scored eight points and assisted on a Nick Collison bucket to rebuild the lead to 99-83 with 2:24 to go. Westbrook finished with 34 points and 10 assists. Ibaka had 21 points and 22 rebounds.

Russell Westbrook wins 2015 All-Star MVP

Russell Westbrook wins 2015 All-Star MVP

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who went nuts in the 2015 NBA All-Star exhibition and won the game’s MVP award:

The Thunder point guard scored 41 points in the Western Conference’s 163-158 victory at the Garden, highlighted by an alley-oop dunk that left Westbrook rubbing his head because he knocked it on the bottom of the backboard. With his final free throw just before the buzzer, Westbrook surpassed Michael Jordan’s 40-point performance in the 1988 game. He couldn’t quite catch Wilt Chamberlain’s 42-point record from 1962.

But clearly, he’s in elite company. The upstaged LeBron James was impressed.

“He’s unbelievable. He’s an unbelievable talent in our league. His motor, his athleticism, his demeanor about how he approaches the game, it’s all great,” said James, who led the East with 30 points. “And it’s great for our league. And he showed that tonight, showcased it on the big stage.”

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on Thunder star Kevin Durant, who appears to be getting annoyed by a bunch of reporters these days (he’s perfectly friendly to InsideHoops.com, though. Just saying.)

Kevin Durant is getting sick of reporters

Kevin Durant is making his feelings about the media clear at All-Star Weekend.

On Friday morning, Durant made national headlines when he expressed his opinion about the media having too much power in selecting postseason NBA awards.

On Saturday, he took things a step further when asked about rampant speculation surrounding Thunder coach Scott Brooks’ job security.

“You guys really don’t know (expletive),” Durant told reporters in his final interview session before Sunday’s All-Star Game.

Durant was later asked what stories he would like the media to focus on more.

“To be honest, man, I’m only here talking to y’all because I have to,” Durant said. “So I really don’t care. Y’all not my friends. You’re going to write what you want to write. You’re going to love us one day and hate us the next. That’s a part of it. So I just learn how to deal with y’all.”

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook doing big off-court things

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who are stars on the court but also in the world of marketing and sponsorship opportunities:

In addition to his NBA responsibilities, Durant served as host of an outdoor concert with Kanye West as the headliner Thursday night, was the guest of honor at a Manhattan shoe store Friday afternoon as part of his partnership with Nike and had Good Morning America Weekend host Paula Faris riding along with him nearly every step of the way for a feature that is scheduled to air Sunday. Westbrook, meanwhile, took part in a Wall Street Journal subscriber event, made an appearance at Barneys New York, home to his clothing line and filmed a promotional spot for an upcoming major motion picture.

Westbrook is quickly shooting up the list of the NBA’s most sought after players. In addition to his clothing line, Westbrook XO, and his signature eyewear, Westbrook Frames, he also has a signature Jordan Brand shoe set to release in June. Westbrook also has partnered with Subway, U.S. Cellular, Mountain Dew, Zenith Watches, True Religion, Six Star Pro Nutrition and King and Jaxs, a designer underwear company. He’s also endorsed Ozarka Water and BancFirst.

Kevin Hart says Russell Westbrook wears pants that are way too tight

Here’s the Oklahoman with a fun item featuring some hard-hitting analysis from funnyguy Kevin Hart about Russell Westbrook’s fashion decisions:

Comedian Kevin Hart jumped on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike on Friday morning, and in one part of his interview with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic was asked about the funniest guys in the NBA.

Hart said he’s spent some time with Thunder All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

“The funniest? I was with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook last night. We had a good time,” Hart said. “Russell had some pants on that I believe made his butt bleed. I’ve never seen jeans tighter in my life.”

Jusuf Nurkic replaces injured Steven Adams in 2015 Rising Stars Challenge

Denver Nuggets rookie center Jusuf Nurkic will replace injured World Team selection Steven Adams of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2015 NBA Rising Stars Challenge event that will take place Friday, February 13, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The NBA’s annual showcase of premier first- and second-year players at NBA All-Star 2015 features a new format that pits first- and second-year NBA players from the United States against first- and second-year NBA players from around the world.

Nurkic, the 16th overall pick of the 2014 draft, who was acquired by the Nuggets in a draft-day trade with Chicago, has appeared in 39 games this season, averaging 6.8 points, 6.2 rebounds (second among rookies) and 1.26 blocks (third) in 16.7 minutes. The 20-year-old Bosnia-Herzegovina native spent the 2013-14 season playing in Croatia.

Adams underwent successful surgery on Monday to address a fracture in the fourth metacarpal of his right hand. In 50 games this season, he has averaged 7.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.22 blocks in 24.3 minutes.

Steven Adams out at least three weeks after hand surgery

Steven Adams out at least three weeks after hand surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams underwent successful surgery today to address a fracture in the fourth metacarpal of his right hand, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced.

The procedure was performed by Thunder team physicians at McBride Hospital in Oklahoma City. Adams will be re-evaluated in three weeks, at which time a further update will be provided.

In 50 games this season (all starts), Adams is averaging 7.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.22 blocks in 24.3 minutes per game. He was recently selected to participate in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge for a second consecutive season as part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend festivities.

Thunder sign Nick Collison to contract extension

Thunder sign Nick Collison to contract extension

The Oklahoma City Thunder has signed forward Nick Collison to a multi-year contract extension, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

According to Yahoo Sports, it’s “a two-year extension paying close to $8 million.”

“We are excited that Nick Collison will continue his tenure with the Thunder. Since our arrival in 2008, Nick has helped us establish the standards on and off the floor that we work by on a day-to-day basis,” said Presti. “He has accepted various roles, demonstrated professionalism in all aspects of his craft, and shown a commitment to an organizational philosophy that is rare in sports today. Nick is the type of player that will always be valued in Oklahoma City, and we are thrilled he will continue to be a foundational member of the Thunder moving forward.”

Collison, the longest tenured member of the Thunder organization holds career averages of 6.4 points and 5.5 rebounds in 791 career NBA games. Collison ranks among the franchise’s all-time career leaders in rebounds (3rd, 4,370 career rebounds), blocks (6th, 439 career blocks), field goal percentage (2nd, .537) and games played (2nd, 791 career games). The 6-10 University of Kansas product is currently averaging 3.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 15.9 minutes per game this season.

“I’m excited to continue my career with the Thunder, playing here in Oklahoma City. I feel fortunate to be a part of a great organization and to play with a great group of teammates,” said Collison. “Playing in Oklahoma City is unique, it’s a rare combination of a lot of things; great people in the organization starting with ownership, the most loyal fans, the opportunity to win at a high level and a true community impact. It’s been a great professional experience for me since the day I arrived. I’m proud of what we have built together and am grateful to be able to stay with the club and continue our work together.”

Drafted 12th overall in 2003 by the Oklahoma City franchise, Collison was an Associated Press First Team All-America selection and Big 12 Player of the Year as a senior at Kansas. He was also named to the 2003 NCAA All-Final Four Team after leading Kansas to the Championship Game. The Iowa Falls, IA native left KU as the second leading scorer (2,097 points) and third leading rebounder (1,143 rebounds) in school history.

jeff teague

Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant on Monday were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Dec. 29, through Sunday, Jan. 4.

Teague led the Hawks to a 3-0 week, behind a conference-leading 23.7 ppg, and his 8.3 apg and 2.67 spg were both good for second in the conference. Teague shot .500 or better from the field in all three games, and handed out at least six assists in each contest. On Dec. 30, during a 109-101 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Teague scored 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field, and added 11 assists, five rebounds and three steals. At 25-8 (.758), the Hawks stand alone atop the Eastern Conference.

kevin durant

Durant helped the Thunder to a 2-0 week, which included wins over the Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards, behind a league-leading 39.0 ppg. He added 9.0 rpg and 4.5 apg, and ranked eighth in the West in three-point field goal percentage with a mark of .556 (10-of-18). On Dec. 31, Durant scored 44 points on 13-of-23 shooting from the field and a perfect 12-of-12 effort from the foul line, as the Thunder topped the Suns 137-134 in overtime.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Dallas’ Monta Ellis, Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired guards Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith from the New York Knicks and a protected 2015 first round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder. In exchange, the Cavs will send guard Dion Waiters to the Thunder, and Lou Amundson, Alex Kirk and its own 2019 second round pick to the Knicks. New York will also receive forward Lance Thomas from Oklahoma City.

In addition, Knicks center Samuel Dalembert has been waived.

“As our journey moves through this season, we will search for the type of players that fit the style we hope to exhibit for our fans. Our desire is to improve our ability to compete,” Knicks President Phil Jackson said. “In addition, these transactions improve our flexibility to the current roster and the salary cap for future seasons.”

“We wish Dion the best as he continues his career with the Thunder and thank him for his effort and work here with the Cavaliers. Dion is a talented player with potential ahead of him. Trades like this are always difficult to make because there are relationships and bonds built and that was the case with Dion,” said Cavaliers general manager David Griffin. “At the same time, we’re very excited to welcome Iman and J.R. to Cleveland. With their size and versatility, we think both Iman and J.R. can help our team on both ends of the court and we look forward to them joining us.”

Currently in his fourth NBA season, Shumpert has appeared in 202 games (162 starts) with the Knicks, averaging 7.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 26.2 minutes per game. The 6-5 guard has ranked among the NBA’s Top 20 in steals-to-turnover ratio in two of his three pro seasons (15th with 0.91 in 2011-12; fifth with 1.16 in 2013-14). He holds a .348 career three-point percentage and was an All-Rookie First Team selection in 2012. This season, Shumpert is averaging 9.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 26.0 minutes over 24 contests (all starts).

Smith, an 11-year veteran, has played in 716 career games (173 starts) with averages of 13.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 26.1 minutes for New Orleans, Denver and New York. The 6-6 guard is also a career .370 shooter from the three-point line and .736 from the charity stripe. He has made at least 100 three-pointers in seven of the last eight seasons and was named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year following the 2012-13 season. This season, Smith is averaging 10.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 25.8 minutes through 24 games (six starts) with New York.

The pick from Oklahoma City is protected 1-18 in 2015 and 1-15 in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Should the pick not convey during this period, the Thunder would send the Cavaliers its second round draft picks in 2018 and 2019.

“Dion Waiters is a player that we’ve tracked and liked since his time at Syracuse, in the NBA, and with USA Basketball. Dion provides another proven scorer that positively impacts our roster and adds depth and flexibility,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “We have a lot of respect for his toughness and competitiveness, and believe that he is a physical playmaker who will enhance the versatility of our team. We are excited to welcome Dion to Oklahoma City and the Thunder organization.”

Waiters was originally drafted by the Cavaliers with the fourth overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft. In 164 games (75 starts) in three seasons with the Cavs, Waiters averaged 14.3 points on .420 shooting from the field, including .328 from beyond the arc, 2.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.0 steal in 28.1 minutes per game. He was named to the All-Rookie First Team in 2013. Through 33 games (three starts) this season, the 6-4 guard is averaging 10.5 points, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 23.8 minutes per game.

Kirk, an undrafted rookie out of New Mexico, originally signed as a free agent by the Cavaliers on August 11 and played in five contests for Cleveland in 2014-15. Amundson, who was part of the 2014 Cavs training camp and preseason roster, appeared in 12 games for the Cavs this season.

Kevin Durant health update

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on Thunder forward Kevin Durant, who is still recovering from injury:

Kevin Durant health update

On the night it occurred, Kevin Durant’s right ankle sprain was listed as ‘mild’ by the team. After the game in Oakland, he said he pushed to play the second half against the Warriors and hoped to play the next night against the Lakers.

But more than a week later, Durant still hasn’t returned to action. And the Thunder has made sure to let people know it is no longer listing it as a ‘mild’ sprain. It ended up being more significant than originally expected.

But that said, Durant does seem to be nearing a return, maybe as early as Sunday in Dallas.

Here’s the Oklahoman with the latest on Kevin Durant’s ankle injury:

Kevin Durant remains out with ankle sprain

Kevin Durant missed his fourth straight game Thursday at San Antonio due to a mild ankle sprain he sustained just before halftime at Golden State last week.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks announced before the game that Durant “could not go if he wanted to go.”

Brooks labeled Durant as day-to-day. But the mounting number of missed games due to what the team diagnosed as a mild sprain has now become a mild concern — especially since the injury is to the same foot Durant recently underwent surgery on to repair a fractured bone.

It’s always fun to hear which exact adjectives NBA stars use when discussing other stars. Here’s Kobe Bryant discussing Russell Westbrook, as reported by ESPN Los Angeles:

Kobe says Westbrook plays with rage, aggression

Recently, Kobe Bryant said there’s only one other active NBA player whose intensity matches his own: Russell Westbrook.

“He just plays with a rage that’s not very common,” the Los Angeles Lakers star guard said of Westbrook this week. “He just plays with a lot of aggression.”

The two will face off Friday (ESPN, 7:30 PT) when the Lakers (8-17) host Oklahoma City Thunder (12-14) at Staples Center.

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News blog reporting fun futuristic dreaming type stuff:

Plenty of time awaits before the 2016 offseason strikes. Plenty of circumstances could determine how the free agency sweepstakes play out.

But with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant becoming a free agent in 2016, consider him as the Lakers’ top player they will pursue.

“That’s safe to say,” said a league source familiar with the Lakers’ thought process.

So with the Lakers having their sights on Durant in 2016, has Kobe Bryant made an early free agency pitch?

“No, I think we know each other pretty well,” Bryant said on Thursday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “I don’t think it’s a discussion that you have in terms of coming here. But I think it’s more of an understanding how to play with each other.”

Basketball blog