No member of last year's Thunder team has spent more time in Oklahoma City during the NBA lockout than shooting guard Daequan Cook.
What makes this particularly interesting is the fact Cook no longer is on the Thunder roster. Not yet, anyway.
Cook is the only unsigned player from last year's Thunder roster. The 14 other players are under contract, including late-season signee Robert Vaden. Also unsigned is 2011 first-round draft choice Reggie Jackson of Boston College.
Cook is a restricted free agent and can sign with any team that offers him a contract, but no free agent or rookie can sign until the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement is finalized.
"This summer has been real tough for me," Cook said of being in double limbo with the lockout and free agency. "The good thing is I got to state my case during my exit meeting (on May 27) with (Thunder general manager) Sam Presti."
On June 27, three days before the league's previous CBA expired, the Thunder extended a qualifying offer to Cook believed to be worth $3,126,764.
Because Cook is a restricted free agent rather than unrestricted, the Thunder has the right match any team's offer in order to re-sign Cook.
Shortly after last season, Cook made clear his affection toward the Thunder.
"Like I've always said, I love it here. Who wouldn't?" Cook said during an appearance at the Thunder Youth Basketball Camp on June 16.
Approached Wednesday morning after a two-hour workout at Tru You Fitness in Bethany, Cook smiled and shared the same message.
"I've always loved this city, the fan base and all their support of the players," Cook said.
Wednesday's bargaining session between the league and the players' union was viewed as the most critical to date.
Cook admitted he worked off some nervous energy during his morning session. "Today is a very important day," Cook said. "We're hoping something can be solved, or we make another step forward."
Cook said he has followed CBA talks "very closely." He even has stayed apprised via the Thunder, thanks to e-mails from Nick Collison.
"We're all in this together," said Cook, who added he has been impressed with the solidarity of the players' union. "Even though we play for separate teams, at the end of the day we're all together."
Cook would have been foolish not to explore his options as a free agent. This is the expiration of his rookie contract and his first opportunity to test the market.
The free-agent process hasn't even begun, and won't until the new CBA is reached. When the lockout officially ends, free agency will have high priority and is expected to move very quickly in order the get the season started, much like what happened with the NFL in early August.
Exactly how long the NBA free-agent process will take – and whether or not it will run concurrently with the beginning of training camp – has yet to be decided.
Cook's affinity for the Thunder stretched from coast-to-coast during the off-season:
* Cook did some individual training and shooting drills in the Los Angeles area, where he had a chance to spend time with Thunder guards Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
* Two weeks ago, Cook went to Austin, Texas, for a four-day voluntary camp orchestrated by former University of Texas product Royal Ivey. Nine current Thunder players participated. "Had a great time in Austin," Cook said. "A lot of guys came out. It was very intense."
* On Thursday, Cook will fly to Miami, where he will spend time with Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Eric Maynor, Westbrook and Harden.
* From there, Cook will fly to Lexington, Ky., for another Thunder four-day voluntary camp, which was set up by former University of Kentucky player Nazr Mohammed.
* Soon after that, hopefully, the new CBA will be in place, the free-agent process will begin and training camps will commence.
But which training camp will Cook choose?
"No matter what happens, I'm attached to Oklahoma," Cook said. "Oklahoma is great for me."
Cook left after his freshman season at Ohio State and was drafted No. 21 by the Miami Heat in 2007. He was acquired by the Thunder in a trade the day before the 2010 Draft.
As the 2009 Three-Point Shootout champion at All-Star Weekend, Cook's area of expertise is no secret. Durant said he considers Cook to be one of the league's best pure shooters.
Cook took 154 shots from 3-point range last season, and just 27 were from 2-point range. He finished 11th in the league in 3-point shooting (.422), despite a 3-for-18 start and being 10th in the Thunder's rotation.
A Presti factoid: Cook was 10th in the league off the bench last season in terms of points per shot.
John Rohde: 475-3099. John Rohde can be heard Monday-Friday from 6-7 p.m. on The Sports Animal Network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. Follow him on Twitter @RohdeOK.