• Kevin Durant wants to be 'totally focused' playing defense

    Erik Horne | Updated: Tue, Sep 29, 2015

    When Kevin Durant comes back to the Thunder lineup, the offense will undoubtedly see an improvement. What often gets overlooked is how Durant will impact the defensive end for the Thunder. “I think that’s an underrated part of my game,” Durant said Tuesday. “I feel like I can guard 1 through 4. I can switch with bigs and point guards, and I can use my length a lot.” Durant’s 6-foot-10 frame and athleticism will be welcomed with open arms by a Thunder defense that saw its shotblocking and steals numbers drop off last season. From 2013-14 to 2014-15 Thunder’s total blocks decreased from 501 to 454, and total steals from 678 to 598.

  • Happy birthday wishes pour in for Kevin Durant

    darnell mayberry | Updated: Tue, Sep 29, 2015

    Today is Kevin Durant's 27th birthday, and the internet world went out of its way to wish the Thunder star a happy birthday. While a who's who of celebrities, companies and corporations weighed in, Durant's teammates sang him happy birthday following the first day of training camp Tuesday. Apparently, a few Thunder players can sing, too. Here's a sampling of those who  wished Durant a happy birthday today via Twitter. Check out the cool photos and graphics of Durant that accompany many of the birthday wishes. Happy birthday today to Kevin Durant! pic.twitter.

  • Kevin Durant says it'll 'take some time' to get comfortable, hasn't lost 'feel'

    Erik Horne | Updated: Tue, Sep 29, 2015

    Kevin Durant celebrated his 27th birthday on Tuesday with the opening of Thunder preseason camp, and after one practice, the feel is there, even if his body isn’t completely. “I feel great, actually,” Durant said, wiping sweat from his face. “It’s really different being out there in a practice setting. I haven’t been there in a while. It’s definitely going to take me some time to really get comfortable out there again.” Durant’s conditioning will be in focus early this season as he continues his return from a broken right foot. Durant hasn’t played in an NBA game since Feb. 18, and has spent a majority of the summer resting and rehabbing.

  • Kevin Durant on the Royal Ivey hiring: "If I wasn't here, he'd still be on the staff"

    Anthony Slater | Updated: Tue, Sep 29, 2015

    This offseason, the Thunder promoted former player Royal Ivey to its staff.  He's a former Longhorn and one of Kevin Durant's best friends. So the connections to KD's lingering free agency decision were made.  Was Ivey hired to keep Durant happy? Durant resents that sentiment.  "Royal has been putting in work," Durant said. "He's been in this league for more than a decade, worked for the Blue last season. He knows us. He's been here for awhile. So I don't like when guys say I'm the reason he's on the staff. He deserves it. If I wasn't here he'd still be on the staff.

  • The Oklahoman changes Thunder coverage team

    Mike Sherman | Updated: Tue, Sep 29, 2015

    After 10 seasons covering the NBA, including nine as a beat writer, Darnell Mayberry is moving into a new role. He'll coordinate Thunder coverage while serving as the NewsOK Sports web editor. This new role will allow The Oklahoman to continue to leverage Darnell's experience and knowledge covering the Thunder and NBA while extending his skills to other topics vital to readers. Anthony Slater, who previously worked with Darnell on the Thunder beat, moves into a more prominent role covering the Thunder. Anthony will be joined on the beat by Erik Horne, who previously covered the Thunder and other sports as our NewsOK Sports web editor. Erik is a strong writer with excellent ideas and judgment.

  • Thunder signs guard Michael Qualls

    Erik Horne | Updated: Tue, Sep 29, 2015

    The Oklahoma City Thunder announced the signing of guard Michael Qualls on Tuesday, bringing the team's training camp roster to 19. Qualls will not participate in training camp, however, as the 6-foot-6, 205-pounder is recovering from an ACL tear he suffered in pre-draft workouts. Terms of Qualls's deal were not disclosed. Qualls reportedly agreed to a 1-year free-agent deal with the Thunder in July. Qualls went undrafted out of the University of Arkansas. In his final collegiate season, Qualls averaged 15.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists, earning second-team All-SEC honors as a junior.

  • Nick Collison no stranger to coaching changes

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Mon, Sep 28, 2015

    Nick Collison was the 12th pick of the 2003 NBA Draft, taken by Seattle SuperSonics. Collison was injured and missed all of that first season, but his coach was Nate McMillan. McMillan was Collison’s coach for his rookie season, 2004-05. The next year, Bob Weiss was Seattle’s coach, for 30 games. Then Weiss was fired, replaced by Bob Hill for the final 52 games. At that point, Collison had played two NBA seasons and gone through three coaches. That summer, Clay Bennett’s ownership group bought the Sonics. Hill coached the Sonics for the 2006-07 season, then was fired, along with general manager Rick Sund. Bennett hired Sam Presti, and Presti hired P.J. Carlesimo as coach.

  • Former Thunder guard Jeremy Lamb looking to showcase skills, stick in Charlotte

    Published: Tue, Sep 29, 2015

    When the Thunder traded Jeremy Lamb to Charlotte in June, all Oklahoma City could get for the 12th overall pick in 2012 was a conditional 2016 second-round pick. That's how much Lamb's value had plummeted in only three years. It was a result of joining the wrong team at the wrong time, receiving a lack of consistent playing opportunities and struggling with inconsistency at both ends of the floor. But with the Hornets, Lamb is now entering his fourth season looking to showcase his skills. "It feels good to have a fresh start," Lamb said. "I put a lot of work in over those three years. It's in my hands. It's definitely important to prove to myself that I can play in this league." Lamb appeared in only 148 games during his three seasons with the Thunder, averaging seven points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 15.7 minutes per game. The Hornets, however, think Lamb's mix of size, perimeter shooting and passing could make him a versatile weapon off the bench this season. He will be competing for reserve minutes with fellow wing players Troy Daniels, P.J. Hairston and Jeremy Lin. "He's big, can really shoot and he can pass. I would say if he does those things he can be a big part (of this team) and have a good year," said Charlotte coach Steve Clifford. "He's been around great players. He wasn't involved in those big games, but he's seen it. He's put himself in a good place and I think he can really help us." Lamb said he learned a lot during his three years in OKC but admitted his lack of playing time was tough to swallow. "At times it was frustrating, but I learned a lot from those guys," Lamb said. "They were NBA All-Stars; they were leaders. I played with a lot of people who taught me a lot: Derek Fisher, Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison, Anthony Morrow, of course KD, Russ and Reggie Jackson." The Hornets can offer Lamb a contract extension before the Nov. 2 deadline. If no deal is reached, Charlotte has the right to extend Lamb a qualifying offer in June and make him a restricted free agent next summer. "I'm not really worried about the contracts and stuff like that," Lamb said. "If I play my game that stuff will take care of itself. I just want the chance to compete for my position."

  • Enes Kanter had 'tough' three days waiting for Thunder to match Blazers

    Erik Horne | Updated: Mon, Sep 28, 2015

    The Thunder had a short window of three days to match the Portland Trail Blazers's free-agent offer sheet this summer for Enes Kanter. Sam Presti and Co. eventually did, signing Kanter to a four-year, $70-million contract, but it was a tense time for the 23-year-old. "The three days was definitely tough, because I really wanted to be here," Kanter said. "That three days was really tough, really difficult. I never experienced anything like that before. "In the end, it worked out. (I'm) really happy to be here. It's really nice your team's trust in you. It means a lot." Kanter's reply when asked if he gave Kevin Durant any advice on his free agency going into 2016: "That's his

  • Kevin Durant watched the NBA playoffs, even though he said wouldn't

    Erik Horne | Updated: Mon, Sep 28, 2015

    Kevin Durant said he wasn't going to watch the NBA playoffs after the Thunder was eliminated from postseason contention. Well, he lied. He admitted so Monday at media day. "I did even though I lied and said I wouldn't," Durant said. "It sucked. I hated seeing someone else win, but (there were) great basketball games being played. I've gotta respect it, but I hate seeing those guys win." "But it was good to sit on my couch with my friends and watch some basketball. When it was over it really kinda sucked. We got to see some good ball out there, but it's a new year. Around this time, everyone's excited, so I'm looking forward to this season.

  • OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant explains his partnership with The Players Tribune

    Anthony Slater | Updated: Mon, Sep 28, 2015

    Last week, Kevin Durant announced a partnership with The Players Tribune, a website built around first-person accounts told through the athlete's eyes. His official title is deputy publisher. But his role will be to create content, starting in the next few weeks. In the press release announcing the agreement, Durant said he was happy to have a place to express his thoughts without "distortion." At Media Day on Monday, he was asked to clarify. "I know you guys have to do a job," Durant said. "But sometimes our message isn't portrayed the way we want it to. I think it'll be a cool outlet. I'm not using it just to bash the media or get into some major stories.

  • Kevin Durant on free agency fan reaction: "I'm not looking for people to lobby me"

    Anthony Slater | Updated: Mon, Sep 28, 2015

    Wizards fans are gearing up for their final come home recruiting pitch. Heat fans are banking on some Pat Riley voodoo magic. Laker fans hope the bright lights of Hollywood can lure Kevin Durant to L.A. Thunder fans are desperate for a long-term commitment. All season, through chants and signs and social media posts and random public run-ins, Durant is sure to face pleas from every angle of the country. How will he handle it? "That's something I can't control," Durant said at Media Day on Monday. "I'm not one of those guys looking for praise or looking for people to lobby me or whatever it is. I never look for stuff like that.

  • Former Thunder forward Perry Jones seeking fresh start with Boston Celtics

    Published: Sun, Sep 27, 2015

    After three largely uneventful seasons with the Thunder, Perry Jones is now looking for a fresh start with Boston. The 28th overall pick in 2012 was traded to the Celtics in July for a future second-round pick. "There's excitement, like last year when I had good games," Jones said. "I'm ready to get back to that type of basketball with my new teammates. It's going to be good, man. I'm excited about this year. I'm excited about my new teammates. I just want to match that intensity and effort on the court." Jones averaged 3.4 points in 143 games with the Thunder, never quite finding his way into the rotation. But with a crowded frontcourt in Boston, there’s no guarantee the 6-foot-11-inch forward will even make the Celtics roster. Jones' situation will be one of the more intriguing questions in Celtics training camp. "The toughest part for Perry right now is coming into a new situation with a whole new team and a whole new system and having to guard two positions," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

  • Wizards point guard John Wall planning to recruit Thunder star Kevin Durant to Washington

    Published: Sun, Sep 27, 2015

    Washington point guard John Wall continues to openly admit that he will recruit Thunder star Kevin Durant to play for the Wizards. In a sit-down interview with Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Wall said he will "throw a pitch" at Durant when the time is right. "It's going to be an opportunity where you have an opportunity to try to throw a pitch at him and try to get him to come back home," Wall said. "But I know - one thing of just knowing him, he's going to be very focused on taking care of the Oklahoma City Thunder this season. I'm going to be focused on taking care of the Washington Wizards. But when the time is right and you can get away from all that, yeah, you probably do have some conversations and throw your pitch. But I know what he's focused on and I know what I'm focused on." This isn't the first time Wall has stated his intentions to lure Durant into signing with his hometown team. In February 2014, Wall told The Washington Post he had already begun planting seeds in Durant's ear . "I throw a little slick shots here and there," Wall was quoted as saying. "Try something." Durant will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1 but has repeatedly expressed his satisfaction with the Thunder, even saying he loves playing in Oklahoma City. But that hasn't stopped teams from positioning themselves for Durant's services. The Wizards essentially rolled out the red carpet for Durant during the Thunder's lone visit to Washington last season, hoping the allure of his hometown and teaming with Wall and Bradley Beal will be enough to entice him to leave the Thunder. Durant, however, said this past spring that he hasn't entertained thoughts of playing anywhere other than Oklahoma City. "I love it here, man. I love my teammates. I love the city. I don't really think about anywhere else," Durant told Revolt TV. "I hear it all the time, don't get me wrong, and once you hear it you're kind of like (looks up thinking). But for me, I love staying in the moment, and I'm one of those guys that would love to stick it out with one team my whole career. "Kobe (Bryant), Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki type. That's awesome. But you never know what the future holds sometimes and how teams may feel about you after a while. But I love it here, and I would love to get my jersey retired here." The Thunder kicks off the 2015-16 season Monday with media day at 11:30 a.m. inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. Training camp opens Tuesday.

  • Live Coverage: Thunder Media Day

    From Staff Reports | Updated: Sun, Sep 27, 2015

    The Thunder kicks off the 2015-16 season with media day today at 11:30 a.m. at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

  • NBA TV to report live from Thunder media day

    Darnell Mayberry | Updated: Fri, Sep 25, 2015

    Thunder media day is Monday, and we'll have full coverage right here on NewsOK.com and in Tuesday's paper. But NBA TV also will be in town to provide live reports on the Thunder. Oklahoma City will be among seven teams featured on the network during Monday's media days, as NBA TV offers comprehensive coverage that will include live interviews and player and coaches press conferences. Matt Winer will host Monday's in-studio coverage, alongside analysts Steve Smith, Isiah Thomas and Brian Shaw, and reporter Vince Cellini. LaChina Robinson will report live from Chesapeake Energy Arena. The show airs from noon to 4 p.m. Monday. NBA TV also will televise a media day recap show at 8 p.m.

  • PHOTO: Thunder goes orange on social media, hinting at alternate jerseys

    Erik Horne | Updated: Fri, Sep 25, 2015

    On Thursday, Kyle Singler posted a really close-up photo of what he said was a new Oklahoma City Thunder jersey. That jersey was definitely orange. The team pretty much confirmed Singler's post on Friday, with an orange barrage on its social media accounts. There were posts of orange "O-K-C" close-ups and the team changed its Twitter avi and Facebook background photo to that bright orange look. #GetUpGetLoud pic.twitter.com/SVvvLLIYSZ — OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) September 25, 2015 The reviews on the Thunder Facebook page have been mostly good, with some apprehension and dislike mixed in.

  • Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Updated: Fri, Sep 25, 2015

    Ready to talk college football, Thunder basketball and more with Jenni Carlson? Bring your best questions to the Power Lunch chat at 11 a.m.

  • PHOTO: Kevin Durant throws passes on sidelines of Redskins-Giants

    Erik Horne | Published: Thu, Sep 24, 2015

    Kevin Durant is a major Washington Redskins fan, so much that the Thunder star was spotted at a 'Skins road game on Thursday night. Durant was on the sidelines in pregame in his custom No. 35 Redskins jersey, tossing some passes at MetLife Stadium in New York City.

  • Thunder Buddies Podcast: What intrigues you most about the start of training camp?

    Anthony Slater | Updated: Thu, Sep 24, 2015

    Welcome to the home of our Thunder Buddies podcast, named, in part, from Universal Studio’s highly-acclaimed comedy ‘Ted’, but inspired by our continued hope for wall-to-wall coverage of the Thunder. Below is our list of episodes (click the link to listen). If you prefer iTunes for your podcast listening experience, click here and subscribe. Hope you enjoy: Thunder […]