Thunder ownership chairman Clay Bennett watched the Sacramento Kings on Friday, but it was in New York City in his role as head of the NBA's relocation committee and not at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
A tentative deal for a new arena in Sacramento is falling apart, leaving open the possibility the team's owners could again try to move to Anaheim, Calif.
The Maloof family has balked at terms of the deal that was reached last month and though they said they want to remain in Sacramento, mayor and former NBA great Kevin Johnson said he isn't convinced after meeting with the owners Friday and hearing a new list of concerns. "It just feels like they were coming up with reasons of why not to do the deal," Johnson said.
During their Friday news conference, the Maloofs said they liked Sacramento but insisted the arena project was too expensive.
The Kings are scheduled to play at PowerBalance Pavilion next season. NBA commissioner David Stern wouldn't speculate where they would play beyond that, and said if they sought to relocate, approval would be left to the relocation committee headed by Bennett.
Sixth man James Harden did not dress for the Thunder's 115-89 victory over the Kings on Friday night because of a sore right knee, which initially felt tender the morning after Wednesday's 100-98 loss against the Los Angeles Clippers.
It was only the second game Harden has missed this season. He is listed day-to-day and his status for Saturday's 7 p.m. game at Minnesota is uncertain.
Reserve forward Lazar Hayward also did not dress Friday night because of the flu and is considered day-to-day. Hayward said he thought he would be ready to play against the Timberwolves.
Though severe weather was in the immediate area three hours before tipoff and there were a few empty seats, Friday's game officially was a sellout because all tickets were sold.
It pushes the Thunder's home sellout streak to 45 straight games, including the final 14 games last season.
Thunder players and coaches admittedly are ill at ease whenever tornadoes are in the area.
"Without a doubt I'm scared of them," two-time scoring champ Kevin Durant said. "I got a storm shelter, so hopefully if they (tornadoes) want to come, I can hide in there. Of course, I'm scared of them."
Durant said he has yet to personally experience any tornadoes. "No I haven't. I wish I could knock on some wood,' said Durant, who then knocked on the massive door of his locker room stall. "We've been dodging them since I've been here. We've missed like two or three of them. Hopefully, I keep missing them."
Will Durant ever feel comfortable enough to step in his front yard and observe a tornado? "I don't care how long I've been here, I don't think I could do that," Durant said. "That's not me."
Asked if he felt uneasy about tornado warnings, OKC coach Scott Brooks said: "There's no question. With me, growing up in California, just seeing all the news reports, it kind of bothers you. You're worried about your family. You're worried about the people in the community, and our players are no different. We have guys who are concerned, but we still have to come in here and do our jobs and hope for the best that everything is going to be all right.
"It's scary. I'm not scared of earthquakes, but I'm scared of tornadoes."
New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson agreed Friday to purchase the Hornets for $338 million, a move which is expected to keep the NBA franchise in New Orleans.
Sacramento Kings coach Keith Smart was born and raised in Baton Rouge, La.
"It's great for the city because you've still got a lot of people wanting to support that team," Smart said. "A lot of people who still want to know for sure if it's still going to be there."
The Thunder shot 47.8 percent from the field, which is not bad considering it started the game 0 for 8. … Despite not having Harden, the OKC bench scored 46 points. … Thunder reserve guard Derek Fisher is starting to find his shooting touch and shot 6 for 9 against the Kings, finishing with 14 points. In the last three games, Fisher is 12 for 20 from the field and also has made three straight 3-pointers. … Isaiah Thomas, the Kings' 5-foot-9 rookie point guard out of the University of Washington, led Sacramento with 21 points and shot 8 for 12 from the field. His career high is 28 against San Antonio.
A five-game road trip ensues: At Minnesota on Saturday; at the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday; at Phoenix on Wednesday; at Sacramento on Friday and at the Los Angeles Lakers a week from Sunday.
Thunder forward Serge Ibaka on the possibility of experiencing a tornado: "Oh, man. We never see that kind of stuff in Congo. It's kind of crazy. It's my first time and it's kind of too much for me."