After weeks of speculation, the Oklahoma City Thunder's coaching staff will indeed be affected by the hiring of Tom Thibodeau as Chicago's newest head coach. Ron Adams, the man many have credited for being instrumental in building up the Thunder's defense, will join Thibodeau's staff with the Bulls.
Adams, who resides in Chicago, came to Oklahoma City from the Bulls midway through the 2008-09 season. It's unclear if Oklahoma City will replace Adams, who was the lead assistant to Scott Brooks. Thunder general manager Sam Presti and Brooks are expected to make a joint decision on a replacement over the next several weeks.
The Thunder will not, however, lose Maurice Cheeks to the Bulls as well. Cheeks, who arrived last summer, for awhile was rumored to be a candidate for both the head coaching job and a possibility for Thibodeau's staff. Thibodeau even mentioned Cheeks by name in his introductory press conference last week. But Cheeks will remain with the Thunder for the 2010-11 season.
Durant nominated for ESPY
Kevin Durant has been nominated for a ESPY Award, the annual honor presented by ESPN. Durant is one of five players nominated for the “Best NBA Player” category,' joining Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Durant won a 2007 ESPY for Best Male College Athlete. His 30.1-point average in 2009-10 led all players in scoring, making him the youngest player ever to win the scoring title.
The ESPYS will air live Wednesday, July 14 at 8 p.m.
Summer league roster taking shape
The Thunder is expected to release its roster this week for the 2010 AirTran Airways Pro Summer League in Orlando. But the spots are already filling up.
James Harden, Eric Maynor, Serge Ibaka, Byron Mullens, D.J. White, Kyle Weaver, Robert Vaden, DeVon Hardin and this year's second-round picks, Latavious Williams and Ryan Reid, are all expected to compete. It's unclear whether 31st overall selection Tibor Pleiss will play.
Cole Aldrich will not be available to compete throughout much of the week. Because the trade that will bring the No. 11 overall pick to OKC can't be finalized until July 8, Aldrich won't officially be a member of the Thunder.
The league runs from July 5-9.
Mo Peterson has stated his desire to join the Thunder's roster rather than negotiating a buyout. And one possible benefit for the Thunder is the potential impact he could have on Harden, the 2009 No. 3 overall pick. In addition to both players being represented by agent Rob Pelinka, Peterson and Harden are both left-handed. The soon-to-be 33-year-old Peterson could pass along a few tricks of the trade to Harden...With picks Nos 18, 21 and 26 in the first round, the Thunder was slotted too low to entice Aldrich and his agent to agree to a workout in Oklahoma City. As a result, the Thunder saw Aldrich only once on the pre-draft circuit, at the NBA Combine in Chicago, before trading for him. And OKC was limited to a 30 minute interview session...One of the more impressive returning players this summer has been Mullens, who has turned heads with his hard work and dedication to his development. Although the Thunder traded up to grab Aldrich, the Kansas center isn't expected to affect Mullens' standing with the team.