Aug 30, 2007 4:21 AM EDT
The Seattle SuperSonics continued the overhaul of their basketball front-office on Wednesday hiring Bill Branch as their director of pro player personnel, along with two new scouts.
Branch comes to the Sonics from the Denver Nuggets, where he was an assistant coach/director of scouting for the past five seasons. Branch had been with the Nuggets since 1997, and previously worked for the Charlotte Hornets for 10 years.
Seattle also added Gerald Madkins as its director of West Coast scouting and Frank Ross as the East Coast scouting director. Madkins previously worked for the New York Knicks, while Ross has spent the last four seasons as a scout for the Charlotte Bobcats.
"I am excited to welcome Bill, Gerald and Frank to the Sonics organization, and I look forward to their contributions as we move forward." general manager Sam Presti said in a statement. "They each bring unique experiences and perspectives to our scouting and personnel systems."
Aug 29, 2007 6:48 PM EDT
Mayor Mick Cornett said the suggestion that Oklahoma City officials have spoken with members of the SuperSonics' ownership group about a possible move is "preposterous."
Cornett told The Associated Press the city's official position regarding its attempts to land an NBA franchise have not changed.
"We're not proactively pursuing any specific franchise right now and don't feel like it's appropriate to do so," Cornett said. "... We are poised and ready (and) if a franchise becomes available, we will pursue it vigorously."
Aug 23, 2007 6:22 PM EDT
The SuperSonics added Scott Brooks, Mark Bryant and Ralph Lewis to their coaching staff Thursday and hired Brian Keefe as a player development assistant.
"I'm really happy with the diverse coaching and playing experience of our staff," new coach P.J. Carlesimo said in a statement. "I know it will be an extremely hard working staff, and we're all really looking forward to continuing the development of our veteran players and working with the rest of our talented young roster."
Aug 23, 2007 7:30 AM EDT
Sonicscentral.com has learned that former UCLA assistant coach Gerald Madkins has accepted a position with the Sonics to be their head scout.
Madkins also played at UCLA during his college career and played for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 1993-94 NBA season. He also spent short stints with the Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors during his NBA career.
Aug 23, 2007 3:57 AM EDT
The NBA fined Sonics minority partner Aubrey McClendon $250,000 for comments he made last week in The (Oklahoma City) Journal Record about his hopes of moving the team to Oklahoma City.
Reached Tuesday night, league spokesman Tim Frank confirmed the punitive action.
McClendon, chief executive of Chesapeake Energy, came under fire after he told the Journal: "We didn't buy the team to keep it in Seattle, we hoped to come here. We know it's a little more difficult financially here in Oklahoma City, but we think it's great for the community and if we could break even we'd be thrilled."
In a statement following the Aug. 13 story, Sonics and Storm majority owner Clay Bennett said McClendon was "not speaking on behalf of the ownership group."
Aug 22, 2007 4:00 AM EDT
Coaching the USA Men's Select Team for the past week has forced Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo to juggle his duties with his new team while preparing Team USA for the FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which begins today.
Upon returning to Seattle, one of Carlesimo's top priorities is finalizing the coaching staff. According to several NBA sources, former Sacramento assistant Scott Brooks and former Orlando assistant Mark Bryant have accepted offers to join the Sonics coaching staff.
Aug 21, 2007 12:52 PM EDT
After his final practice Monday with Team USA, Jeff Green planned to go to Seattle to find a place to stay. He hasn't decided whether to buy a house or rent an apartment, with the SuperSonics' future in the city still in limbo.
Kevin Durant is in the process of closing on a home in the Seattle area.
Durant said Seattle already feels like home with Green and another Maryland native, Delonte West, acquired in the deal with Green. "Going through the lottery experience, I thought I was going to be out there all by myself," Durant said. "God works in mysterious ways."
Aug 21, 2007 1:55 AM EDT
Kevin Durant was one of two players cut Monday night as the United States got down to the 12-player limit for the Olympic qualifying tournament that begins Wednesday.
SuperSonics teammate Nick Collison also was dropped when the Americans announced their decisions about two hours after practising at the Thomas & Mack Centre. The final roster needs to be submitted Tuesday, a day before the U.S. opens the FIBA Americas tournament against Venezuela.
?We knew exactly what we felt we needed in terms of adding certain components to our roster, and the good news is we were able to accomplish that,? USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said.
When Durant was added to the national team roster in May, it was thought that he was a pick for the future. Then he showed he was a legitimate candidate to make the team this year when he scored 22 points last month in the intrasquad game to close mini-camp.
But the Americans were looking for more experience after the average age of the players on last year's world championships team was 24.5. This squad averages 26.2, largely because of the additions of veteran point guards Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups.
?With Kevin, one year in college and 18 years old and he's made giant progress and he's going to be one of the faces of the NBA and USA Basketball who will be considered next year because 10 months from now he's only going to get better,? U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Aug 17, 2007 4:29 AM EDT
Quietly, as the Sonics franchise moves toward slow-simmering success on the court and uncertainty off it, Robert Swift has rehabilitated his torn right anterior cruciate ligament in near anonymity. Not yet considered a bust because he was robbed of his opportunity to showcase his skills by the catastrophic injury, Swift has not played in an NBA regular-season game in 16 months, and he's hoping to make it to Oct. 31 at Denver's Pepsi Center with his rebuilt knee intact.
While many of his teammates were lying on tropical islands with umbrella drinks, Swift was begging the Sonics' strength and conditioning coach, Dwight Daub, to stay at the Furtado Center for more work. He arrived here Thursday at 11:30 a.m. as the Storm was practicing and worked arduously in the weight room while construction workers were milling around.
Swift ignored them, flipped on an AC/DC compact disc and went to work.
"It's been exactly the opposite," Swift said when asked whether he's had to be coerced to rehab. "There are times when things are tough at home or I just want to be here, and I have to beg Dwight to stay here and he would say that I was done and to go home. I sometimes have been working too much."
Aug 13, 2007 2:48 PM EDT
The Professional Basketball Club is issuing the following statements today in response to comments made in an interview with a local business journal by Sonics & Storm owner Aubrey McClendon.
?As the controlling owner, I admire my fellow owners and appreciate their support," said Clay Bennett. "While they are excited about the basketball operations and the future of the team on the court, they, like me, have been disheartened by the lack of progress we have made to secure a new arena for the Sonics and Storm. Aubrey expressed his personal thoughts and, in context of the story, was not speaking on behalf of the ownership group. It is my hope we will see a breakthrough in the next 60 days that will result in securing a new arena for the Sonics and Storm in the Greater Seattle area.?
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