To gather ideas for a new practice facility, Thunder and city officials the past year visited the San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Anaheim Ducks, Duke Blue Demons and Baltimore Ravens.
Team chairman Clay Bennett said the Integris Health Thunder Development Center, which broke ground Thursday, will be unique. Officials, though, toured highly regarded NBA, NFL and NCAA facilities before giving HOK Sports design specifications.
"We feel it will be one of the best in the league,” said general manager Sam Presti. "That’s been the commitment from the outset. We’re confident this building will be an elite development center.”
Located near Broadway Extension and Britton Road, the $13 million project is scheduled to be completed before the start of the 2010-11 training camp.
"The development center concept is players will want to be here,” said city manager Jim Couch. "When heading down Broadway they’ll drive by McDonald’s to eat at the facility, work with a trainer, watch some film and work out with teammates.”
The development center will include two full length practice courts, a 27-seat team meeting room, team offices, state-of-the-art video weight and video equipment and a hydrotherapy area to assist rehabbing injuries.
"Having two practice courts will be significant for us, especially during training camp,” Presti said. "It gives coaches a lot of flexibility what they can do. Everything is geared towards the improvement of our team. Clearly, we’ve invested in young, driven, passionate players that work to get better.”
Dallas owner Mark Cuban gained notoriety by giving Mavericks players DVD players and flat screen TVs in their lockers.