Category Archives: Offseason Beat

A look at Thunder happenings during the offseason.

Russell Westbrook undergoes arthroscopic procedure

img_6316The Oklahoma City Thunder announced on Wednesday that All-Star guard Russell Westbrook underwent a successful arthroscopic procedure on his right knee. The statement stated that Westbrook experienced some inflammation in his knee over the weekend and Westbrook, his advisers, and the team decided it would be best to have the “proactive” procedure. The surgery was performed by Dr. Neal El’Attrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, Ca.

Last year, Westbrook missed part of training camp after electing to have a PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injection in his left knee after experiencing some discomfort in that knee. Five years ago, Westbrook suffered a torn meniscus on his right knee in Game 1 of their playoff series against the Houston Rockets when Patrick Beverly ran into Westbrook’s knee going for a steal attempt as Westbrook slowed down to call a timeout.

Complications while recovering from the initial meniscus surgery necessitated a second surgery at the beginning of the 2013-14 season. Westbrook had to go under the knife for a third time in December of that year due to increased swelling in his knee. In total, Westbrook had three surgeries on his right knee over an 8 month period in 2013. He’s been relatively healthy since then, missing only 20 games total since the end of the 2013-14 season.

Since then, Westbrook has had two triple-double seasons, has led the league in scoring twice, and won the 2017 NBA MVP. According to the Thunder, Westbrook will be re-evaluated in 4 weeks. The addition of Dennis Schroder means the Thunder will at least head into the preseason with a viable replacement for Westbrook. Something the team hasn’t had in a while. The Thunder’s first regular season game is October 16th, against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Ca.

 

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Thunder At A Glance – 8.20.18

Steven Adams strumming a guitar because, of course, how could this guy not be more awesomer?????

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Russell Westbrook had himself some fun at the JH (James Harden) Town Charity Basketball Game in Houston. A couple observations: For those of you wanting Westbrook to take it easy in the offseason, he isn’t listening to you. And number two, I’m saddened that we never got to see Westbrook and Harden develop into their primes together.

The Thunder’s Summer of Love

abrines dre weddingIf the Oklahoma City Thunder’s summer could be encapsulated into one word, that word would be “love”. Not that smooshy, Barney-inspired “I love you, you love me” love. No. What the Thunder have shown this offseason is love that is running hand in hand with their maturing nature. This isn’t a bunch of 20-somethings planning how they are going to get laid on a Saturday night. It’s not Thunder U, anymore. The Thunder’s core is past the point where words like love, marriage, and monogamy are just reserved for the 12-year vet at the end of the bench. They are, in a word, getting older.

As fans, we sometimes view athletes as overgrown teenagers with huge allowances. Man-children looking for the next great thrill after the game. A player gets into a bar fight: Oh, that’s just boys being boys. A players ends up with 8 children from 6 different women. Welp, that’s athletes for you. We celebrate the man’s man, living the single, athlete life vicariously through our favorite ball players. Continue reading The Thunder’s Summer of Love

Quick Dive into the Thunder’s 2018-19 Schedule

russ pgAfter releasing their prime time games to begin the season, for Christmas, and for Martin Luther King Jr Day on Wednesday, the NBA finally blessed us all with the complete 82 game schedule of all the teams in the league. Further solidifying their stance on player rest and increased health, the NBA schedule makers have once again blessed teams with a schedule devoid of the four-games-in-five-nights scenario and the even scarier eight-games-in-12-nights atrocity. In addition, back-to-backs are at historic lows, with teams averaging just 13.3 back-to-backs this season (it was 14.4 last season).

The Thunder once again benefit from being in the middle of the country. Their longest road trip is just four games. In addition, they also have four 3-game road trips. They are involved in 11 back-to-back games. Two of those 11 are road/road back-to-backs. Two are of the home/home variety. Five are of the road/home variety. And two of them are of the home/road variety.  Continue reading Quick Dive into the Thunder’s 2018-19 Schedule

Summer League Preview for the Thunder

dakariIt’s that time of year again. A time to dream. A time to hope. A time to….oh, what’s that? The Golden State Warriors acquired DeMarcus Cousins for just $5 million dollars. Oh, well. It’s still a time to play. And for many of us who haven’t seen our teams lace them up in over a couple months, it’s a brief respite into competitive basketball and a slight glimpse into the future. Some of the players that will step foot on the Thomas & Mack Center (or Cox Pavilion) will be the superstars of tomorrow. But for many of the players that will play in the Las Vegas Summer League, the court in the Mojave Desert will be the closest they ever get to donning an NBA jersey.

For the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team will be looking for their youngsters to show improvement from where they were just 2 months ago. Even though the Thunder were one of the most veteran-laden teams in the league last season, they still counted on a couple rookies to provide valuable minutes throughout the season. Terrance Ferguson and Dakari Johnson showed that they belonged in the league last year. Now, the team will be looking for them to be consistent contributors on the roster. Continue reading Summer League Preview for the Thunder

The Offseason Beat : 03 – 09 May 2018

IMG_4136Here on NTTB, during the offseason, we’ll be looking to do a weekly article on the happenings around the Thunder organization. Before the explosion of social media, the offseason was usually a waiting game of news and stories. A signing here. A signing there. Unless someone made the police blotter in a major way, the stories weren’t really there. But now, with most players giving fans access to their lives 24/7, newsworthy events and stories are plentiful.

Here are a couple stories from this past week:

May 3rd – Alex Abrines undergoes surgery to repair a sports hernia.

It’s always been known that when it comes to Alex Abrines, problematic knee issues can sometimes creep to the surface. Last summer, while playing for his native Spain, Abrines had to sit out most of the FIBA EuroBasket tournament  with knee issues. Because of the knee issues, Abrines was unable to fully implement an offseason training regiment and as a result, came to camp a little out of shape. Using the first 2 months of the season as a training camp, Abrines eventually found himself a featured part of the rotation and stayed healthy throughout the season, save for a couple minor injuries here and there. Continue reading The Offseason Beat : 03 – 09 May 2018

Five Takeaways From the Preseason

anthony harden

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s preseason came to a close on Tuesday with a road win over the Denver Nuggets. The Thunder finished the preseason 3-1, losing only to the Houston Rockets in their first preseason game. Also of note in that game was the fact Russell Westbrook did not play.

In the games where all the starters played, the Thunder went undefeated, ushering the era of the Thunder’s Big 3. When it comes to the preseason though, each team has a different objective for what they want to garner out of these practice games. For the Thunder, it was clear they wanted to build chemistry between Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony. And they wanted to see what they had in a couple of their young guys.

There’s not a lot that can be extrapolated from four games. The Thunder likely won’t win 75% of their games this season. And the Big 3 likely won’t average just 21 minutes a game. With that said, there were some takeaways I noticed from this past week. Some are positive. Others are worrisome. Here are five takeaways from this preseason. Continue reading Five Takeaways From the Preseason

Russell Westbrook signs a 5-year extension to stay in OKC


The long-standing national nightmare is finally over. On of all days to sign his extension, Russell Westbrook chose to sign his 5-year Designated Veteran Player Extension (DPE) on Kevin Durant’s birthday. Some may call that petty. I call it military grade psy-ops genius. Including this season’s salary, Westbrook essentially signed a 6-year, $233 million deal. This deal goes through the 2022-23 season.

Westbrook was eligible to sign the deal on July 1st, but instead chose to wait because of scheduling conflicts. Westbrook has been on a bit of a world tour this summer, going from MVP recipient to fashion icon. During media day, Westbrook was asked why he hadn’t signed the deal up to that point. “Man, it’s been a long, long summer. Had a baby, so I’ve been working on a little fatherhood. But like I said before, man. This is the place I want to be.”

As the summer progressed, there were questions whether Westbrook was going to sign the extension. Even with the acquisition of Paul George, many thought George’s cloudy future could have been giving Westbrook pause in signing such a long extension. But the mood during media day felt like this union, to include Carmelo Anthony, could be something that goes on longer than a year. With Westbrook’s extension in hand, that reality is that much closer to coming to fruition. 

“I’m coming!” – The two words that galvanized a franchise.

westbrook durant

“I’m coming! I’m coming!” A simple exchange in what was basically a blowout in February, set the stage for what we’ve seen this offseason from the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder could not do anything when Kevin Durant left them on July 4th, 2016. By the time he made his decision, most of the top notch free agents were already off the board. Instead, the Thunder strategized from that point forward and hoped opportunities would arise from a turbulent NBA landscape. And arise they did.

The summer of 2016 basically set the stage for what happened in Oklahoma City this offseason. When every team was infused with an extra 20 million, moves were made that were almost immediately regretted once the ink dried on those contracts. Finding an extra $20 million in your team’s salary cap is like finding $1000 in between your couch cushions. Some people will make wise decisions with that extra money. But others will treat it like house money and YOLO the hell out of it. Many teams made bad decisions that summer that eventually led to their salary caps being tied up for the next 2-4 seasons. Continue reading “I’m coming!” – The two words that galvanized a franchise.

Thunder sign Isaiah Canaan

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After getting rebuffed by Trey Burke on Saturday, the Oklahoma City Thunder shifted course and signed Isaiah Canaan, as first reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical. The offer is non-guaranteed. This was the issue with Burke, who decided not to sign the Thunder’s offer when they would not budge on the “non-guaranteedness” of the deal.

The 6’0″ combo guard out of Murray State played for the Chicago Bulls last season, where he averaged 4.6 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 0.9 assists on 36/27/91 shooting splits in 39 games. Last season was the guard’s worst season in terms of shooting. He’s a career 35% three-point shooter and the Thunder probably hope they are getting this guy:

Canaan likely heads into camp battling Semaj Christon for the 3rd point guard spot. Raymond Felton is likely the back-up point guard, having signed for the vet minimum earlier this offseason. With Russell Westbrook likely taking it easy this preseason due to a recent PRP procedure on his right knee, look for the other three point guards on the roster to get extended minutes in the preseason.