Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird this week empathized with the Thunder's limitations under the collective bargaining agreement.
Bird, speaking at the Orlando Pro Summer League, said small-market teams like Indiana and Oklahoma City simply can't ignore the ramifications of being a tax team.
“Because we can't afford it,” Bird said. “It's like buying a used car and a new car. If you got the money to buy a used one, you better get the used one.”
Like the Thunder, the Pacers have a payroll approaching $70 million. The projected tax threshold is $71.6 million. But Bird has said the Pacers will not go into the tax “for any reason” this season.
“Our owners went out and have done everything they could this year so we could be up close to the tax,” Bird said. “We just can't fight the tax. It's always going to be a disadvantage for us. I feel bad for Oklahoma. They had a great team and they had to make a trade. They were right there. But we're going to have to do the same in the future. We're always fighting an uphill battle with revenues. But that's part of who we are. And we do the best we can with what we have.”
KENDRICK PERKINS UNDERGOES SURGERY
Thunder center Kendrick Perkins underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday morning, The Oklahoman has learned.
Perkins is expected to resume full basketball activities in two weeks.
The scope, while considered routine and more of a “clean up” for players with previous surgeries, is not something Perkins envisioned needing this summer. He insisted at his exit interview in May that he didn't require any type of surgery this offseason. Perkins also said last month that he was “excited” about the prospects of finally going through a summer surgery-free.
“To be honest with you, I was excited about this summer, being able to work on my game,” Perkins said during an appearance at a team-sponsored youth camp. “This my first summer without having surgery, so I'm just excited about it. I definitely didn't like how I finished the season this past season, or the postseason. I was kind of embarrassed about the way I played. So the only way to go about it is to go back to the drawing board and I'm just treating this summer like I'm a rookie again.”
This is the second straight summer that Perkins underwent surgery after saying he wouldn't require it. Last July, Perkins had surgery to repair a partially torn right groin that plagued him throughout the 2012 postseason. He had previously said the injury wouldn't require surgery. One week later, Perkins had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist.
Perkins also sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in February 2011 and had surgery in July 2010 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
The latest procedure, which was performed in Oklahoma City, was done during what is customarily downtime for Perkins so that it wouldn't interfere with his workout schedule.
Perkins, 28, averaged 4.2 points, six rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 blocked shots last season. His postseason production dipped to 2.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.5 blocks.
THUNDER UNVEILS HONORARY T-SHIRTS
The Thunder wore white T-shirt-styled jerseys for Tuesday's game. They had an outline of the state of Oklahoma on the front with a Thunder logo in the center of the state.
The jerseys were in honor of those impacted by the May tornadoes and were intended to represent the strength and resiliency of the Oklahoma community.
The only problem was the Thunder struggled through three quarters in them and trailed by 11 heading into the final period.
“I loved them,” said Thunder coach Rex Kalamian. “But I thought the first three quarters they didn't work for us because we were like 1-for-11 (from the 3-point line). And then it seemed like the fourth quarter we got used to the uniforms and started making some 3s.”
After making eight of 13 3-pointers through the first two days, Thunder forward Grant Jerrett missed all four of his 3-point attempts Tuesday. … Thunder center Steven Adams scored 11 points with six rebounds in 32 minutes Tuesday. … Jeremy Lamb (rest) and Daniel Orton (mild concussion) did not play Tuesday.