• AP source: Bucks lock up Henson for 4 years, $44 million

    Updated: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    John Henson's statistics from his first three seasons in the NBA don't really jump off the page. The Milwaukee Bucks see so much more from Henson than any stat line, and so much more room for the 24-year-old to grow. And they want to be in position to reap those benefits as Henson continues to develop with the up-and-coming Bucks. Henson signed a contract extension Friday, a four-year, $44 million deal that could reach $48 million if certain incentives are reached, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement of the terms has not been made.

  • Wiggins headlines NBA's annual preseason Canada Series

    Updated: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    The Toronto Raptors and their passionate fans will kick off the NBA's Canada Series of preseason games in Vancouver on Sunday against Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers. In some ways, that will just be the undercard. The league has scheduled four preseason games in Canada this year, the largest slate a games in the short four-year history of a series aimed at growing the game the hockey-mad country. Playing a headlining role in the festivities this year is Minnesota Timberwolves star Andrew Wiggins, a Toronto-born sensation who has captivated the Canadian masses like no other player since Vince Carter was dunking all over the league with the Raptors more than a decade ago. The Timberwolves will play

  • Thunder notebook: Kevin Durant denies L.A. rumors; Stephen A. Smith responds

    By Erik Horne and Anthony SlaterStaff Writers | Published: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    Earlier this week, Stephen A. Smith went on ESPN's First Take and said he's been hearing rumblings that Kevin Durant could head to the Lakers in free agency. “Regardless of how senseless it may (sound)," Smith said. "In one breath I'm hearing that if Kevin Durant doesn't stay in Oklahoma City, L.A. is his primary objective and landing spot as opposed to South Beach or even his home of Washington, D.C.” After Friday's practice, Durant, speaking for the first time since those rumors have bubbled across the Internet, strongly denied them. Here's the interaction: There was the first of these unnamed sourced free agency reports that we're expecting to come out throughout the season.

  • Cavs' Thompson declines qualifying offer, still free agent

    Updated: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — Tristan Thompson has gone from boxing out to holding out. He's taken his contract standoff with the Cavaliers to another level. The backup power forward declined to sign a one-year, $6.8 million qualifying offer for this season and didn't report to training camp Friday as the Cavaliers practiced at Cleveland Clinic Courts. Despite optimism from the Cavs and LeBron James that a deal could be reached, Thompson remains at odds with the team over a long-term deal. Thompson had until 11:59 p.m. EDT Thursday to accept the offer, but let the deadline pass and the Cavs chose not to extend it. Cavs coach David Blatt joked that he was sleeping when the deadline came and went.

  • Russell Westbrook: 'Definitely more space' in Thunder offense

    Erik Horne | Updated: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    Anthony Morrow said it on Thursday. Russell Westbrook backed him on Friday. The Billy Donovan offense is opening up scoring opportunities for every Thunder player, not just the shooters. “Definitely. Definitely more space," Westbrook said. "Guys are in positions where they can score the basketball. The space is especially good for myself and it’s also good for guys that shoot the basketball really well, roll to the basket, whatever it is, can use their strengths really well.” Donovan said he's "really, really happy" with how the team is learning the new system. “I’ve said this before: When you’re coming in and you’re putting new things in,

  • Thunder picks up pace on Day 4

    Erik Horne | Updated: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    Thunder coach Billy Donovan has said he's not holding any players back in practice - Kevin Durant included. But after Friday's session, Donovan went more into how the practices have been paced. "Some of the stuff we were doing 5-on-5 was controlled," Donovan said. "Today, we got up and down a little bit more in terms of letting them play consecutive minutes in a row. "Before, we were just doing three trips, two trips and stopping, trying to teach. But we haven’t held those guys back at all. We’ve let those guys go out there and compete and play.” Russell Westbrook called Friday's faster pace a "great scrimmage.

  • LeBron James: 'There's no room for guns'

    Updated: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James was at home with his three kids when news broke that a 5-month-old girl had been killed in a drive-by shooting — the third fatal shooting of a child in Cleveland in the past month. Aavielle Wakefield's death moved James to speak out on social media, where he used the platform to make an immediate plea for calm and change in the wake of more senseless violence. On Friday, the NBA star went further, stating his support for stricter gun laws. "There's no room for guns." James said.

  • Update: Stephen A. Smith responds to Kevin Durant's "he's lying" comment

    Anthony Slater | Updated: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

      Update 2:15 p.m: Stephen A. Smith has responded to Durant's claim that he's making up stories. "At NO time did I ever say I SPOKE to K.D. Or his family. Or his brother, friends, teammates, etc. (although I can assure you all I have on several occasions in the past)," Smith posted on his Twitter account. "I said I HEARD from folks I know -- in a league I've been covering for 19 years -- that if he were to leave OKC as a free agent, these are the cities I was told he was considering. OKC. LA. Miami. DC. NY. I stand by it all. And that is that. His assertion that I was lying is not only FALSE, but totally uncalled for. Especially from a player who receives nothing but praise not only from me, but from

  • Steven Adams questionable for Thunder scrimmage

    Erik Horne | Updated: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    Steven Adams was back on the court Friday, but his status for the Thunder's scrimmage on Sunday remains in question. Adams (back soreness) was held out of contact for the second day in a row at Friday's practice, but was on the court post-practice with teammates walking through some instruction from assistant coaches Monty Williams and Mark Bryant. “I think it’s progressing in a really, really good, positive way," Billy Donovan said about Adams' back. "When they actually tell him he can come back, I’m not quite sure. "He actually did some stretching and running earlier in practice with the guys, but I think the contact part they wanted to give him an extra day.

  • Hornets have big expectations for G Nicolas Batum

    Updated: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Coach Steve Clifford is intrigued with what he's seen in training camp from guard Nicolas Batum and expects the seven-year NBA veteran to play a major role with the Charlotte Hornets this season. Clifford anticipates that Batum's scoring output will increase noticeably, and expects him to be one of the team's top three scorers along with center Al Jefferson and point guard Kemba Walker. "Why not? I know I can," Batum said with a simple shrug of the shoulders. Batum has often been the fourth option in Portland. The Hornets acquired Batum in an offseason trade from the Trail Blazers for Gerald Henderson and 2014 first-round draft pick Noah Vonleh. He's scheduled to open the season at the No.

  • Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    From Staff Reports | Updated: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    Got questions, comments or concerns about OU, OSU, the Thunder or high schools? Submit them to Jenni Carlson during her 11 a.m. chat.

  • NBA changes should expedite replay review

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    The NBA has taken an excellent step toward improving the replay review for games. The league’s board of governors has unanimously approved modifications that include the staffing of current NBA referees to the Replay Center in Secaucus, N.J., making decisions on certain replay situations and facilitating the on-the-court review of others. According to an NBA press release, “all replay reviews will continue to be triggered by the referees on the court. Once triggered, though, the final determination of certain reviews will be made by the referees in the Replay Center and then communicated back to the on-court crew chief for administration of the call.” That’s a great development.

  • Former Joint Chiefs chairman Dempsey joining NBA as adviser

    Updated: Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — Gen. Martin Dempsey, the recently retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was appointed special adviser to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Friday. Dempsey, the highest-ranking U.S. military officer the past four years, will participate in NBA functions and serve as chairman of the newly formed Jr. NBA Leadership Council. His position begins Jan. 1. Silver called him "one of our country's most respected leaders, as well as a brilliant strategist." "General Dempsey's unwavering commitment to a life of service reflects the values that we strive to embody as an organization, and I am delighted he will continue his work with the league," the commissioner said in a statement.

  • Media notes: Gideon Hamilton and Bobby Thompson named as Thunder Radio Network hosts

    By Mel Bracht Staff Writer mbracht@oklahoman.com | Published: Thu, Oct 1, 2015

    Gideon Hamilton is replacing Craig Humphreys as host for the Thunder Radio Network pregame, halftime and postgame shows, and Bobby Thompson, who had previously worked for the network, will be co-host, Sports Animal radio network program director Chris Baker has announced. Hamilton graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2005 with a degree in broadcast journalism and has worked at WWLS for eight years, the last seven with the afternoon-drive team of Jim Traber and Al Eschbach. Thompson previously worked for WWLS for eight years, including three years on the Thunder Radio Network, before resigning to become a student recruiter at Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College in Moore. He attended the University of Oklahoma and

  • OKC Thunder: A look ahead to 2017

    Jon Hamm | Updated: Thu, Oct 1, 2015

    Kevin Durant's pending free agency in 2016 is no secret. But teams are looking ahead to 2017, and fans should, too.

  • Thunder notebook: Billy Donovan praises ‘cerebral’ Russell Westbrook

    By Erik HorneStaff Writerehorne@oklahoman.com | Published: Thu, Oct 1, 2015

    Donovan emphasized that Westbrook has a “good pulse” of the team — for example: who might need extra attention and understanding of the new offense.

  • Former Milwaukee Bucks cheerleader sues team over pay

    Updated: Thu, Oct 1, 2015

    MILWAUKEE (AP) — A former Milwaukee Bucks cheerleader has sued the team, saying the flat-rate pay system dancers work under leaves them earning far less than minimum wage. The lawsuit is believed to be the first of its kind on behalf of dancers against an NBA franchise, and it comes after several similar filings against NFL teams recently. Lead plaintiff Lauren Herington says she and others haven't been fairly compensated for games, practices, team functions or photo shoots. She also says the team's appearance policy required mandatory workouts, regular salon visits and tanning sessions, for which the dancers weren't reimbursed. Attorney Ryan Stephan said Thursday it's a "clear-cut example of these women being exploit

  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr to take leave of absence

    Updated: Thu, Oct 1, 2015

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr will take a leave of absence as he recovers from back surgery and will be replaced on an interim basis by Luke Walton. The Warriors announced Thursday that Kerr will need time off for rehabilitation and recovery. Kerr underwent back surgery to repair a ruptured disc in late July and had follow-up surgery in September. "After the first two days of training camp, I realized I need to take a step back and focus on my rehabilitation in order to be ready for the grind of another NBA season," Kerr said in a statement. "As I noted last week, my summer was difficult and no fun due to the multiple back surgeries. At this point, I simply want to get healthy and back to my

  • Steven Adams misses Thunder practice with back soreness

    Erik Horne | Updated: Thu, Oct 1, 2015

    In training camp, players will pick up bumps and bruises, but Thunder camp has been relatively injury-free for the first three days. But third-year center Steven Adams was held out on Thursday. Adams was experiencing some minor back soreness and didn't practice on Day 3 of camp. The team didn't commit to calling Adams "day-to-day," but said it's nothing serious.

  • Wizards will play up-tempo game with small and big lineups

    Updated: Thu, Oct 1, 2015

    TOWSON, Md. (AP) — Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman doesn't like to use the term "small ball" to define his team's style of offense. Just because the Wizards intend to use an up-tempo attack, that doesn't mean he can't go with a bigger lineup. "You can play with bigs in the same manner and we're going to do that," Wittman said Thursday after a practice session at Towson University. "We have the ability to play a lot of different ways. We are going to be able to utilize our strength and physicality, as well as being able to play the other way. It's not necessarily small for us, small. It's spread the floor, and get into your spots, penetrate and play off each other." Wittman saw promise in the up-tempo strategy d