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Thunder Add Alex Caruso, Kaleb Tarczewski, Chris Wright To Camp Roster

Sep 23, 2016 1:13 PM

The Oklahoma City Thunder signed guard Alex Caruso, center Kaleb Tarczewski and forward Chris Wright.

Caruso (6-5, 186), enjoyed a four-year collegiate career at Texas A&M where he finished as the school’s all-time leader in assists (649) and steals (276). As a senior, Caruso was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year in addition to receiving Second-Team All SEC honors. During his Aggie career, Caruso appeared in a total of 137 games and averaged 8.0 points, 4.7 assists and 2.02 steals.

Tarczewski (7-0, 250), concluded his four seasons at the University of Arizona with 110 victories, tied for the most in school history. After his senior campaign, Tarczewski was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference 2nd Team and the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. Tarczewski concluded his Wildcat career having appeared in 135 games and registering averages of 8.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 0.87 blocks.

Wright (6-9, 226), spent the 2015-16 season playing overseas in Israel with Maccabi Rishon LeZion where he helped lead his club to the Israeli National Championship. Wright had previously appeared in 32 NBA games with the Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors, averaging 3.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in 9.8 minutes per contest. Additionally, Wright has appeared in 93 career D-League games where he holds career averages of 18.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.45 blocks.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Kaleb Tarczewski, Alex Caruso, Chris Wright, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

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Kevin Durant Disagreed With Criticism Of His Character Following Decision

Sep 22, 2016 3:56 PM

Kevin Durant was asked about a narrative that emerged when he signed with the Golden State Warriors that he's impressionable and that he had people pushing him to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"It did," said Durant when asked if it bothered him. "I can't go in a studio and express myself through words and it be a normal day. If I were to come out and Tweet something or Instagram or whatever, a video of me disagreeing with what a write said would be career suicide."

Durant announced his decision on July 4th in the Players Tribune.

"Once I made the decision, I knew I had to take a lot of stuff on the chin. I knew I had to keep rolling iwht the punches. It upset me. It upset me coming from people I spent time with. Obviously they were upset.

"When they called me weak, I think I'm the total opposite. There was plenty of times I could have quit in this whole life. There's plenty of times when I lost, I could have just said 'well, that's it for me, let me move on.'

"How am I weak if I'm at the elite level of my profession and I chose to play for a different team."

Bill Simmons/HBO

Tags: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA

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Thunder Renounce Rights To Tomislav Zubic

Sep 19, 2016 11:57 AM

The Oklahoma City Thunder have renounced their rights to Tomislav Zubcic.

In June 2015, Zubcic was acquired along with a $2.85 million trade exception by the Thunder from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Luke Ridnour and cash. The aforementioned deal helped the Thunder create roster space for Cameron Payne, who was drafted that same month in 2015.

Zubcic played 36 games for the D-League Oklahoma City Blue last season, averaging 7.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 19.8 minutes per game.

Zubic is now eligible to be signed by any team, but if he isn’t signed, he could wind up back with the Blue to start the 2016-17 season. The Blue still retains Zubcic's returning rights in the D-League.

 

Erik Horne/Oklahoman

Tags: Tomislav Zubcic, Oklahoma City Thunder, Oklahoma City Blue, NBA, D-League, D-League Teams

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Sam Presti: We're Uniformly Excited About What Lies Ahead For Thunder

Sep 18, 2016 12:18 PM

The Oklahoma City Thunder rebounded from losing Kevin Durant in free agency by signing Russell Westbrook to an extension.

Westbrook was set to be a free agent in 2017 but he can now opt out in 2018.

“It’s been a tremendous opportunity for us as an organization and obviously Russell and his commitment and a lot of the young players we’ve had in place, we’re really excited about the opportunity to continue to build what is an unwritten legacy,” Sam Presti said. “We will be going on our ninth season in Oklahoma City and we see this as another point in time to continue to build on our principles and vision for what the Thunder stands for and is about. We’re uniformly excited about what lies ahead, knowing full well that there’s going to be ups and downs. Part of building a sustainable and enduring organization is encountering different things along the way and figuring out how to turn them into opportunities to grow. That’s our mentality.”

Westbrook will now be the unquestioned leader of the Thunder.

“The first thing is Russell is a tremendous competitor but also highly intelligent,” Presti said. “He understands that the approach that we have to take in order to maximize ourselves is going to be one first, making sure we’re sound fundamentally and we’re continually growing through the season. That’s always kind of been a staple of the organization.

“One of the reasons why we have a lot of optimism and excitement frankly about this season upcoming is the fact that [coach] Billy Donovan has demonstrated a tremendous ability to be creative, adjust and evolve different styles of play, and utilize a lot of our personnel.”

Gary Washburn/Boston Globe

Tags: Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA

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Victor Oladipo Expects Some NBA Players To Protest During Anthem

Sep 15, 2016 1:21 PM

Victor Oladipo expects Colin Kaepernick's decision to protest during the national anthem to spread to the NBA this season.

"Oh, no question," said Oladipo. "I truly believe it will. Because at the end of the day it’s a sport, and people are gonna be looking at some guys in the NBA to see what they’re gonna do as well. At the end of the day you just control what you can control, so your opinion is your opinion, that’s the beauty of the United States, so, do whatever you feel is best that will help you do whatever you believe."

Oladipo was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder this offseason and was asked if he's discussed it yet with his teammates.

"Not yet, but a few people just in general I’ve had conversations with about that, I tell ‘em the same thing, people’s beliefs are people’s beliefs, you know what I mean, you can only control so much, you can only control what you can control, and the most things you can control is yourself. So whatever you believe, believe in to the utmost. But I think definitely, we’ll see a few guys in the NBA doing the same thing."

Russ Bengtson/Complex Sports

Tags: Victor Oladipo, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA

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Aubrey McClendon's 20 Percent Stake In Thunder Could Soon Be Sold

Sep 13, 2016 4:34 PM

Aubrey McClendon's 20 percent stake in the Oklahoma City Thunder is getting closer to becoming available.

Lenders to McClendon have claimed in court that the oilman, who co-founded Chesapeake Energy Corp, left behind more debt than his assets could repay as oil prices cratered.

McClendon had used his interest in the Thunder to personally guarantee the loan from Oaktree, whom he owed $85 million. A judge overseeing McClendon's estate approved a land deal that will pay off that loan.

McClendon has other creditors and they view his stake in the Thunder as his most valuable asset.

McClendon died in a single car accident earlier this year.

Ben Fenwick, Jessica DiNapoli/Reuters

Tags: Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA

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Mitch McGary Suspended For An Additional 10 Games

Sep 13, 2016 11:02 AM

Mitch McGary has been suspended by the NBA for an additional 10 games for non-compliance with the league's drug policy.

The violation isn’t believed to be another positive test, but rather a failure to live up to procedural guidelines set forth in the program.

McGary was suspended five games for violation of the league’s policy in July.

He will serve a 15-game suspension without pay to start the 2016-17 season.

McGary left the Thunder for the final few weeks of the season for what the franchise termed “personal reasons.” McGary essentially left the team on his own.

Positive tests have trailed McGary, who failed a drug test at the University of Michigan that would’ve cost him his junior season had he not entered the 2014 NBA draft.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Tags: Mitch McGary, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA Suspension

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Kevin Durant On Russell Westbrook: We're Still Cool

Sep 10, 2016 7:37 PM

During an event at the University of Texas, Kevin Durant was asked about his relationship with Russell Westbrook.

“We’re still cool. We’re going to compete against each other at the highest level. We’re gonna have fun against each other. We’re still cool.”

Following Durant's exit, a report quoted "a person with insight into Durant's thought process" as saying Durant had been frustrated with Westbrook's play within the Thunder offense.

At a Nike event in China in early July, Durant said he and Westbrook's relationship "probably won't ever be the same again."

Upon signing his extension with the Thunder on Aug. 4, Westbrook said "we've been together eight years. You don't throw that away.

"Obviously he's now with a new team. But we definitely will talk. Eventually. But, obviously, now we haven't.”

Erik Horne/Oklahoman

Tags: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA

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Dunc'd On Pod: Season Outlooks On Thunder With Fred Katz, Pistons With Dan Feldman

Sep 1, 2016 9:40 PM

Dunc'd On's Season Outlook series begins with Fred Katz (@FredKatz) of the Norman Transcript and the Locked on Thunder podcast. Nate Duncan and Katz analyze how the Thunder will look in the absence of Kevin Durant, how their new additions fit in, potential breakout and regression candidates, overrated and underrated players, playing time and lineup issues, key questions for success this year, and finally give our predictions for the Thunder season.

At 1:01, we give the same treatment to the Detroit Pistons with Dan Feldman (@DanFeldmanNBA) of NBC Sports and the Locked on Pistons Podcast.

Subscribe to the Dunc'd On Podcast via RSS feed or iTunes.

More Season Outlook episodes from the Dunc'd On Basketball Podcast.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Detroit Pistons, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, Dunc'd On

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Serge Ibaka 'Never Asked To Be Traded' But 'Thrilled To Be In Orlando'

Aug 31, 2016 11:24 AM

Serge Ibaka was traded by the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Orlando Magic on draft night while he was sleeping in Paris.

"Then came June 24, Thursday night, and my phone started buzzing with alarming frequency," said Ibaka. "We were at dinner when I started to get text messages, tweets — all types of people reaching out and asking about the rumors. At first, I had no idea what anyone was talking about. Then I recalled it was draft night, and saw talk that the Thunder, the team that drafted me in 2008 and the only NBA team I’ve ever played for, were thinking about trading me.

"Still, I assumed the rumors were just, well, rumors. We live with these kinds of things all the time, and there are always rumblings around draft time, so I was confident that this was nothing of substance. I was so confident, in fact, that I decided to turn my phone off, and after dinner went straight back to the hotel to go to sleep."

After the trade, Ibaka spoke with Rob Hennigan and he says "that conversation made me feel good about my new opportunity and the future."

Ibaka had a somewhat disappointing 15-16 season individually with a lesser role within the Thunder but his continued value as a defensive player and floor stretcher were clear in the playoffs.

"I never asked to be traded, even though there was a lot of media conjecture that I was unhappy with my role," said Ibaka. "I had an exit meeting with Billy Donovan and Sam Presti after the season, and it went well. But this is still a business, everybody has to do what’s best for them, and I let my agent deal with the business side of things. I just focus on basketball. I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to go in and ask for a trade, and I would have been happy staying with the Thunder.

"Playing in the NBA was my dream, and I’d be happy playing anywhere.

"Still, I’m really going to miss Oklahoma City. The fans love basketball there and the Thunder is one of the best organizations in sports. It’s been a tough summer for them for sure. I didn’t know what Kevin was going to do but I know it was a big decision for him, and if it makes him and his family happy then I’m happy for him. I have the utmost respect for both him and Russell Westbrook. Obviously, I’m disappointed that our group was never able to bring the city a championship, but I had some great times there, and so many moments I’ll never forget.

"Right now, though, I feel like a rookie again. I’m thrilled to be in Orlando. I know that might sound crazy to some people, that I’m excited to go from a contender like the Thunder to a rebuilding team, one that hasn’t made the playoffs in four years, but playing now for Frank Vogel, a coach who prides himself on defense, is very exciting for me. We have a core of like-minded, young, athletic players, which is going to be very fun. We are an old-school, smashmouth team, and I can’t wait to don a Magic uniform on opening night.

"The trade has given me a renewed opportunity to show you all of what I can do, and I can’t wait to see what happens in Orlando. We’re going to make some noise. It’s been a crazy summer, and I’m very ready for the fall to begin."

The Cauldron

Tags: Serge Ibaka, Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA

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Nuggets Trade Joffrey Lauvergne To Thunder For Two 2nd Rounders
The Nuggets have traded Joffrey Lauvergne to the Thunder for two future second-round picks.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Russell Westbrook In 'Some Run, Some Make Runways' Ad For Air Jordan
Russell Westbrook stars in a new ad that could be referring to Kevin Durant.

Erik Horne/Oklahoman

Billy Donovan Appreciated How Kevin Durant Handled Free Agency During Season
Billy Donovan coached Durant for just one season, joining the Thunder from Florida in the 2015 offseason.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Thunder Sign Semaj Christon
Semaj Christon spent the 15-16 season playing in Italy with VL Pesaro where he appeared in 30 games and averaged 14.3 points, 3.7 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 33.2 minutes.

RealGM Staff Report

Domantas Sabonis Signs Rookie Deal With Thunder
Domantas Sabonis was acquired by Oklahoma City on the night of the 2016 NBA Draft in a deal involving Serge Ibaka.

RealGM Staff Report

Ronnie Price, Thunder Finalize Two-Year, $5M Deal
Ronnie Price has played in over 500 career NBA games despite going undrafted in 2005.

Shams Charania/The Vertical

Chris Wright Agrees To Partially Guaranteed Deal With Thunder
Chris Wright played for Maccabi Rishon LeZion last season, averaging 12.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals.

David Pick

Kevin Durant's First Game Back In Oklahoma City Scheduled For Feb. 11th
Kevin Durant will first play the Thunder on Nov. 3rd in Oakland.

Marc Stein/ESPN

Russell Westbrook Listed At 4 To 1 Odds To Win 2017 MVP
With Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder in the offseason, Russell Westbrook figures to post improved counting stats.

Erik Horne/The Oklahoman

Thunder Expected To Pursue Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin is originally from Oklahoma but has played his entire NBA career for the Clippers.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Russell Westbrook: No Need To Wait If You Know Where You Want To Be
Russell Westbrook was eligible for free agency in 2017.

ESPN

Kevin Durant Happy For Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City
Kevin Durant hasn't had a chance to actually sit down with Russell Westbrook to discuss the situation.

Michael Lee/The Vertical

Russell Westbrook Agrees Upon Three-Year, $85M Extension With Thunder
Russell Westbrook is no longer a free agent in the summer of 2017 and can instead enter free agency as early as 2018.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Russell Westbrook, Thunder Make Progress On Three-Year, $85M Extension
Russell Westbrook would have a player option for the 18-19 season.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Ronnie Price Agrees To Deal With Thunder
Ronnie Price played for the Suns last season, his seventh stop in 11 years.

Eric Pincus/BasketballInsiders (via Anthony Slater/Oklahoman)

Monty Williams Expected To Take Job With Spurs
San Antonio has opened the door to Monty Williams to either a coaching and player-development role or a front-office position, or possibly a hybrid job.

Marc Stein/ESPN

Kevin Durant Dismisses Speculation He Changed Course Once Free Agency Started
Kevin Durant refuted a report that was later clarified about telling Russell Westbrook or giving him the impression he planned to re-sign with the Thunder.

Shams Charania/The Vertical

Video: Russell Westbrook Sarcastically Laughs When Asked About Durant
Russell Westbrook has been silent so far this offseason following the departure of Kevin Durant.

Up The Thunder

Clippers Were Told They Were In Top-3 On Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant was reportedly "blown away" by the presentation of the Clippers.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

ESPN Clarifies Report Of Durant Telling Westbrook He'd Re-Sign With Thunder
Royce Young has clarified a remark made in a podcast on Tuesday about what Kevin Durant supposedly said to Russell Westbrook during their dinner before the start of free agency.

Royce Young/ESPN