Happy Wednesday. Let’s get it.
Oklahoma House Passes Professional Sporting Event Ticket Fee: “The bill by Republican Rep. Leslie Osborne of Mustang imposes a $1 fee on the sale of tickets of less than $50 and $2 for tickets of $50 or more. Professional sporting events covered by the measure include hockey, baseball, basketball, football, arena football and soccer. Osborn says the bill will raise an estimated $2.6 million to help fill a projected budget hole of $878 million next year.”
Two OKC Blue guards invited to Elite Mini Camp: “Oklahoma City Blue guards Alex Caruso and Dez Wells will participate in the eighth annual NBA Development League Elite Mini Camp, May 8 at Chicago’s Quest Multisport Gym. The camp is an opportunity for players to showcase themselves in front of NBA team personnel prior to Summer League and training camps.”
Washington Post on the Thunder’s Offseason: “The expectation is that the Thunder will meet with Westbrook at the start of free agency and offer him that five-year extension. If he takes it, he’ll solidify himself as the face of the franchise, and the hub around which Presti will try to reconstruct a championship contender. But if Westbrook isn’t willing to commit, it would almost certainly set off a frenzied bidding war for Westbrook’s services — and, in doing so, give Presti the chance he didn’t have with Durant: to get something in return for a departing star.”
USA Today on how OKC can keep Russ and build for the future: “That’s why it wasn’t fair to blame Westbrook or coach Billy Donovan for this playoff mess or the way the regular season went. The roster simply made no sense, and that’s on general manager Sam Presti. Westbrook can hit free agency in 2018 — it was going to be this offseason, but he signed an extension — meaning that Presti in theory has a year to give Westbrook reason to believe Oklahoma City is a place where he can win at the level he wants to. But Presti’s situation is pretty convoluted, too. The Thunder are already over the NBA salary cap for next season thanks to extensions for Westbrook, Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo kicking in.”
Bleacher Report’s 10 things the playoffs have made crystal clear: “That doesn’t prove Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder have a good thing going. They don’t. They flamed out of the playoffs in five games—an exit that is mostly owed to the minutes they played without him, but also due to what’s happening with him. Westbrook hijacked the Thunder offense down the stretch. He shot 14-of-49 (28.6 percent) through 45 fourth-quarter minutes and 4-of-14 in crunch-time situations. Whether this was by Oklahoma City’s design or Westbrook’s own judgment doesn’t matter. Either trigger leads to the same answer: He needs more help.”
Hoops Habit – Can the Jazz can beat Golden State using the OKC/Cleveland model?: “Their ability to keep up on the perimeter and in transition while monopolizing the boards has a ton of Steven Adams/Serge Ibaka potential. Utah’s size extends to the perimeter, which also correlates to last year’s OKC team. Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson and Kevin Durant were used to contain Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson while laser-alarming passing lanes, and that strategy is workable for Quin Snyder. It is important to note, however, that no one defender on Utah has the defensive skill of Roberson, the monstrous length and versatility of Durant, nor the ability to convert turnovers into points like Westbrook.”
Tramel grades the rookie season from Alex Abrines: “May has arrived with no Thunder playoff series, which means it’s time for our annual tradition. A Thunder a Day in the month of May. Four times, of course, the Thunder has made the Western Conference Finals, meaning our series on all 15 Thunder players is pushed back to June.”
Ethan Strauss on KD, Steph and marginalizing a superstar: “Today, if you look down at the floor during a Golden State practice or game, you’ll notice that the most commonly worn shoe on the team is Kevin Durant’s KD 9. There’s a reason for this, beyond the shoe’s inherent appeal. In training camp, Nike sent a shipment to every player on the roster. And while the Curry-Durant dynamic is cooperative on the floor, off the floor it’s conquest. Nike, quite logically, wants to destroy Curry’s brand and does not mind using Durant as a proxy. Or as Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted over the summer, “For Nike, this is a coup: It wanted to slow Under Armour’s momentum with Steph Curry and Warriors. Now, KD promises to impact Curry’s star.”
This tweet has been prophecy.”
A year ago yesterday. Miss you forever, Dion.