Still down one assistant coach because of Paul Westhead’s departure following the firing of P.J. Carlesimo and subsequent promotion of Scott Brooks and hiring of Ron Adams, the Thunder could have one more assistant’s position to fill. The team is expected to move on without one of its four remaining assistants and has already begun interviewing candidates. The new additions could be announced in the near future. According to one league source, the positions could be filled before the June 25 draft, and at least one of the hires is likely to be an offensive-minded coach.
MASON FULLY HEALEDDesmond Mason’s right knee is 100 percent healed, and the Thunder forward can resume all basketball activities. Mason, who is awaiting the birth of his second child at his offseason home in Portland, Ore., will not play pick-up games this summer for precautionary reasons. His workouts are expected to include running drills, weigh-lifting and other weight-bearing activities. The Thunder has continued to work closely with Mason as he rehabs. Mason remains under contract until his $5.3 million salary comes off the books July 1. Mason turns 32 on Oct. 11 but has repeatedly expressed interest in remaining with the up-and-coming Thunder. Negotiations, which can’t begin until July 1, will be the determining factor of whether the fan favorite returns. Mason missed the final 36 games of the season after hyper-extending his right knee in a game against Memphis in late January. He needed minor arthroscopic knee surgery to remove bone chips from the knee but has been ahead of schedule in his recovery since mid-February.
LET’S MAKE A DEALWith just 10 days remaining until the June 25 NBA Draft, one league source said there has been an unusual silence around the league regarding substantial trade talks. The source said the economy is likely the culprit, with the majority of teams primarily interested in shedding high-dollar contracts. "Dumping contracts is going to be the principal thing in this draft as far as trades go,” the source said. "You’re not going to see pick-for-pick (trades). You’re going to see pick and bad contract for pick.” By Darnell Mayberry