George Kaiser bought an ownership stake of the Oklahoma City Thunder and has become the newest co-owner.
“We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Clay Bennett said in a statement Friday. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.
“I also appreciate the commitment and leadership provided by Tom Ward as a member of our ownership group from the beginning.”
Kaiser is president, CEO and primary owner of Tulsa-based GBK Corp., parent of Kaiser-Francis Oil Co., which he has managed for 40 years.
The San Antonio Spurs finished the 13-14 regular season with the best efficiency differential in the NBA with a mark of +8.1. The Spurs scored 110.5 points per 100 possession while allowing 102.4 points per 100 possessions.
The Los Angeles Clippers ranked second, followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors.
The Indiana Pacers, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Raptors and Phoenix Suns round out the top-10.
James Harden was adamant that he saw himself spending his entire career with the Oklahoma City Thunder before turning down a contract extension offer and subsequently being traded to the Houston Rockets in 2012.
“I thought we were going to be together forever," Harden said in a sit down interview. "Russell Westbrook. James Harden. Kevin Durant."
When asked whether he would still be in Oklahoma City if money was not a factor, Harden said: "Definitely. Definitely. No question.
"I felt like I already made a sacrifice coming off the bench and doing whatever it takes to help the team, and they weren’t willing to help me."
Monty Williams compared the style of Kevin Durant to Len Bias, who was the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft out of Maryland.
“(Durant)’s a very unique player, reminds me of what Len Bias would have been if he played in the league,” Williams explained. “(At) 6-8, 6-9, can shoot it and run, can dunk and defend, play many positions. I’m just impressed by the way he gets better every year and his passion for the game.”
Williams also added two more players to the Bias comparison.
“I think he’s the most unique guy I’ve seen, like Alex English, Glen Rice, Len Bias, all these guys all in one,” Williams said of Durant. “He does everything. You just can’t recall a guy that long who can do what he does every single night. Shooting from 30 feet on the floor with confidence, then driving to the basket and dunking on guys and then go post up. To top it off, he’s a great teammate and a good kid.”
Russell Westbrook has played with an increased chip on his shoulder since returning from his latest knee injury.
"For anybody who gets hurt, you come back with a bigger shovel," Westbrook said. "You want to compete, come back better and compete at the level before you got hurt.
"It's made me even more meaner. But that's normal for me."
Westbrook and his teammates believe the point guard was able to learn from sitting and watching the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"He looks like he is more explosive and he's making good decisions," Kevin Durant said. "It looks like he learned a lot just sitting there watching. You think the game more just sitting and watching.
"He always plays with a chip on his shoulder," Durant said. "Angry could be good and bad. But it's on the good side for Russ. He doesn't like anybody he is playing against. He plays with that edge and he plays at a high level."
"Just watch his court awareness. He's very selective about his shot selection now," Kendrick Perkins added. "He is still being aggressive, but he is picking and choosing when to be aggressive, which is helping us."
LeBron James all but conceded the Most Valuable Player award to Kevin Durant on Wednesday, praising the Oklahoma City Thunder forward as the most deserving candidate.
"I think K.D. has had one heck of a season, and if he was rewarded with the MVP, it would be great," James said. "It would be awesome for him, for his family. It would be a great thing for him. He has played MVP-type basketball. The most consistent basketball player as far as MVP this year. He has put up some great numbers."
Durant has averaged 32 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists this season while James has averaged 26.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists.