Tag:Oklahoma City Thunder
Posted on: February 19, 2012 6:54 pm
 

Cuban would support Seattle return

NEW YORK -- Mark Cuban always holds court with the media when his Mavericks make their annual visit to Madison Square Garden. On Sunday, he said he'd support Seattle's efforts to return to the NBA.

"As long as it’s not an expansion team, yes," Cuban said. "... I voted against the move because I thought it was wrong to leave Seattle. I’d be all for a team going back to Seattle. But it would have to be a team that moves. I’d be against any type of expansion."

Plans for a $490 million arena aimed at attracting an NBA and NHL team to Seattle were unveiled this week, with a $290 million commitment from investors led by Seattle native and hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen. The balance of the funds would come from tax revenues generated by the building and rent paid by the teams, according to the plan.

But with the NBA already in a state of overexpansion, the irony for Seattle is that its path back to the NBA would have to entail doing what Oklahoma City did to Seattle in 2008: luring a team from somewhere else. The likely suspects are Sacramento and New Orleans, where both NBA teams are facing uncertain arena situations.

"Teams go in cycles," Cuban said. "When you're at the top of the cycle, like Sacramento when they were winning, they were selling out every game and it was one of the hardest places to play. But it’s really how the market supports the team when you suck."

A vote by the Sacramento City Council is expected by the end of the month on a funding plan for a new downtown arena for the Kings. Sources say the NBA has narrowed its list of potential buyers for the league-owned Hornets to a handful of groups -- possibly two -- that would keep the team in Louisiana. The announcement of a purchase agreement could come soon after All-Star weekend, pending the resolution of talks between the league, Gov. Bobby Jindal's office and the Louisiana legislature on a new arena lease.

"We continue to work with the Hornets to reach a long-term leasing agreement," Frank Collins, Jindal's press secretary, said in a statement provided to CBSSports.com.

Cuban also weighed in on the new collective bargaining agreement, which he helped negotiate as a member of the owners' labor relations committee. Asked when it will be known whether the owners got a good deal or a bad deal, Cuban said, "We'll find out over the next three or four years. We’ll see what happens when we have a chance to opt out of it in six years.

Asked what criteria should be used to evaluate the new CBA, Cuban said, "Are all the teams making money? ... If all the teams have a chance to compete, then you have a better chance of making money. If you have a better chance of retaining your star players, you have a better chance of making money. So they all go hand in hand."
Posted on: March 27, 2010 12:18 am
Edited on: March 27, 2010 12:21 am
 

Speed kills the Lakers again

OKLAHOMA CITY – With a signature win for a franchise on the rise, the Oklahoma City Thunder forced the defending champs to look into the future and cringe. 

The Lakers won’t know for a couple more weeks who they’ll be facing in the first round when they begin their title defense. If it’s the Thunder, who ran them out of the gym Friday night in a 91-75 rout, things could get a little uncomfortable. 

“It’s disappointing we didn’t respond to the challenge,” said Kobe Bryant, who had 11 points and nine turnovers before sitting the entire fourth quarter with fellow starters Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher. “That being said, when the playoffs start, it’s a different situation.” 

Probably so. But the Lakers were reminded Friday night of a weakness that was exposed in the conference semifinals last spring against the Rockets: Quick teams and quick guards cause them problems. 

A year ago, Ron Artest was playing for the Rockets and Aaron Brooks was forcing Lakers coach Phil Jackson to protect Derek Fisher in that matchup by putting quicker guards Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar on Brooks for long stretches. 

“The death knell was ringing for us last year in the Houston series when Brooks was lighting us up, and we actually had to make a change a little bit in our rotation,” Jackson said. “In fact, Derek helped us out by getting suspended a game, otherwise I would’ve stuck with him. But we started playing a little different, with speed on speed in that situation. Before you know it, Fish is right back in the lineup and contributing the rest of the playoffs, and I anticipate that’s going to be his role.” 

But on Friday night, it was Russell Westbrook playing the role of Aaron Brooks, and Jackson was never able to find an answer for his speed. Westbrook had 23 points and six assists on 10-for-13 shooting with only two turnovers – despite leaving the court briefly in the second quarter with what appeared to be a badly turned ankle that caused him to miss only three minutes. 

“I tried everybody but Sasha [Vujacic] in the backcourt on him,” Jackson said. “We tried to match him and see what we could get done. And he got in a zone there in that lane, and that’s his strength.” 

Kevin Durant, who had 28 points, called Westbrook “one of the toughest players I have ever played with. … He won the game for us. He was incredible.” Oklahoma City snapped a 12-game losing streak against the Lakers -- a streak that dates to the franchise's final days in Seattle.

These are problems the Lakers could very well have to contend with again in a month or so. The Thunder (44-27), currently in the sixth playoff spot, are only 1 1-2 games ahead of eighth-place Portland. San Antonio and Phoenix are in that mix, too. But until now, the Thunder were the biggest unknown – a team the Lakers hadn’t played since November, when L.A. handled them easily. 

This time, Oklahoma City built as much as a 33-point lead against a Lakers team that offered little resistance. What was billed as a marquee matchup of Kobe vs. Durant wound up being a layup drill with D.J. Mbenga getting posterized by Jeff Green and Durant on consecutive trips in the fourth quarter. 

“We know what San Antonio is; we know what they’re going to come out and do,” Jackson said. “We sort of have a dance that we do between us. This team is a young team with a lot energy, somebody we’re not aware of – we haven’t seen them in four months – and those things change up how you play.” 

Pau Gasol took issue with Jackson’s assessment that he played soft, but didn’t have much more to say. He discouraged the traveling analysts from reading too much into this one. 

“You don’t want to search too deeply into it,” Gasol said. “There’s nothing to search for.” 

Nor was Bryant in an inquisitive mood. Asked by a nemesis in the L.A. media if he got caught up in the competitive challenge of playing against Durant, Bryant shot him a puzzled look and said, “That’s a silly question.” 

Earlier, he was asked the same questions he’s asked every time the Lakers serve up a clunker like this: Do you have a feel for your team? Do you know what you have? 

“I will when the playoffs come around,” he said.
Posted on: February 19, 2009 2:15 pm
 

Wilcox to Knicks for Rose, cash

On the heels of acquiring Larry Hughes from Chicago, the Knicks have completed a deal sending Malik Rose to Oklahoma City, an exchange of expiring contracts pending league approval, CBSSports.com has learned. Oklahoma City also gets cash out of the Wilcox deal, according to a source.

 

Posted on: February 18, 2009 11:32 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2009 12:28 am
 

Hornets-Thunder trade rescinded (UPDATE)

Tyson Chandler is going back to New Orleans after the Hornets-Thunder trade was rescinded late Wednesday night because the 7-1 centerpiece was not cleared by Oklahoma City doctors.

In a stunning development announced shortly after 11 p.m. EST, the trade sending Chandler to the Thunder for the expiring contracts of Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox, plus the rights to 2008 second-round pick DeVon Hardin, was voided. It wasn't clear what issue Thunder doctors discovered, but it doesn't matter. The deal's off.

"We welcome Tyson back with open arms," Hornets general manager Jeff Bower said in a statement released by the team. "We went into this trade to garner more frontcourt depth to add to our team as we continue our push towards the playoffs. We expect Tyson and the rest of our big guys to step up to the challenge."

Thunder GM Sam Presti said in a statement: "During the course of the physical examination and outside consultations, some questions arose that gave us cause for concern. We felt that this course of action was the best for our organization.”

UPDATE: Yahoo! Sports reports that the injury in question is turf toe, which Chandler had surgically repaired a couple of years ago. Regardless, the next question is this: Where do the Hornets turn now to get the luxury tax and payroll savings they thought they'd achieved with the Chandler deal?

The cash-strapped Hornets thought they were going to save almost $12 million next season and close to $25 over the next two years by trading Chandler. The only way they can clear that much money without tearing up their team is to part with Peja Stojakovic, who is due almost $30 million over the next two years. The trade deadline just became a lot more interesting.

 

 

Posted on: January 12, 2009 9:59 pm
 

Felton in demand, but trade on hold

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A three-team trade that would send Raymond Felton from Charlotte to Dallas is on hold partly because of D.J. Augustin's injury and could take a different form when it's revived in a week or so. That's because both the Mavericks and the third team, Oklahoma City, wanted Felton in the deal.

The key pieces involved were Felton going to Dallas, Earl Watson and DeSagana Diop to Charlotte, and Jerry Stackhouse from Dallas to Oklahoma City along with a second-round pick, according to a person with knowledge of the agreed-upon parameters. Talks cooled last week when Charlotte point guard D.J. Augustin was shelved for 10 days with an abdominal injury, making coach Larry Brown and G.M. Rod Higgins reluctant to part with Felton, who will be a restricted free agent after the season. But even before Augustin's injury, there was not complete agreement as to which team would be getting Felton, who has also been rumored to be going to Golden State in a proposal that died on the rumor mill. There was reluctance in some segments of the Warriors' front office to part with one of the team's young forwards, Anthony Randolph or Brandan Wright.

The Thunder, playing in New Jersey Monday night, are believed to have been planning to buy out Stackhouse after the trade. Stackhouse's $7.25 million contract for next season includes only $2 million guaranteed. So Oklahoma City, clearing cap space and assembling young assets under G.M. Sam Presti, would have another draft pick to add to its growing arsenal and would get Watson's $6.6 million contract off the books for 2009-10 at a fraction of the cost. Charlotte would get the defensive-minded big man (Diop) Brown has craved. Dallas would get another bench scorer and a potential successor to Jason Kidd at point guard.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
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