On a wild final night in the NBA, the Thunder won twice, once on the court and once for the future.
With the Raptors and Bulls losing, giving each 24 defeats on the season, it secured Dallas as having a top-10 record in the NBA this season.
As part of the James Harden trade, OKC received the Mavericks’ first-round pick, which was top-20 protected.
The Thunder now holds the 21st and 29th overall picks.
Fay Bailey enjoys first Thunder game
On her 93rd birthday, Fay Bailey enjoyed her first live Thunder game.
For Friday’s OKC-Detroit regular-season finale, Bailey’s family bought tickets as a birthday present and shuttled her up from Choctaw.
A die-hard Thunder fan, Bailey never misses a game.
“I watch every game with her,” Gail Morgan, her niece, said. “She can’t sleep when they lose.”
Bailey sat a few rows up from the court and was hoping to meet some of the players.
“If I have to (run) across the court to get there attention, I will,” she joked.
Harden: (Thunder) weren’t willing to help me
James Harden wouldn’t shave his beard for a million dollars. Ten million? That’s another question.
But the former Thunder guard does confess he would have stayed in Oklahoma City had money not been a factor. In an interview with Hannah Storm of ESPN, Harden says if the 5-year, $80-million extension he signed with the Houston Rockets in 2012 wasn’t a factor, he’s still be in Thunder blue.
“Definitely,” Harden said. “Definitely, no question.”
Storm asked Harden what those final moments were like for Harden when he was deciding whether or not to stay in Oklahoma City.
“Nervous…mixed emotions…not knowing what to do,” Harden said. “It was tough. I felt like I already made a sacrifice as far as coming off the bench, doing whatever it takes to help the team. They weren’t willing to help me.”
Gary Payton says KD, Westbrook part of new era
Former Seattle SuperSonics point guard and NBA Hall of Famer Gary Payton has never been shy on or off the court.
“The Glove” still isn't short of words even post-career, as he told TMZ Sports that Kevin Durant is the new era of the NBA and there aren't many real point guards in the league anymore.
“Durant deserves it right now,” Payton said of the MVP award. “He's been doing his thing. It's going to be a new era.”
Payton counted Russell Westbrook as well.
“It's shooting guards now,” Payton said of the point guard position, counting Chris Paul, Tony Parker and Rajon Rondo as the only true point guards in the league. “You’ve got shooting guards now playing point guard. Steph Curry, Westbrook.”
Brooks on Cheeks
When the NBA schedule was released this past summer, the season finale was supposed to mean the return of former Thunder assistant Mo Cheeks, who took the Detroit head coaching job.
But Cheeks didn’t make it to the All-Star Break before the Pistons fired him. And when talking about his friend and former colleague, Scott Brooks seemed a bit peeved about it.
“When you give somebody 50 games, it’s hard to comprehend,” Brooks said. “You obviously wanted to hire him and to give him 50 games, it’s tough … I don’t think that was deserved.”
Brooks said he still talks to Cheeks on a regular basis, mostly through text, and that Cheeks is in good spirits.
“He took the job with the understanding that he was going to get a fair opportunity,” Brooks said. “Unfortunately he didn’t. He’s moved on, like he does. He’s as classy as a human being can possibly be.”