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OKC Thunder notebook: Sam Presti to serve as keynote speaker at international leadership summit

The summit is a closed-door, invitation-only event that features a strong representation from those who operate high-level soccer clubs in the English Premier League.
by Anthony Slater Published: October 7, 2013

And as they prepare to face the Thunder on Tuesday in a preseason game in Manchester (tip at 2 p.m. Oklahoma time on NBA TV), they'll get an up close look at a superstar and franchise that went through the same thing not too long ago.

One night after Kevin Durant was drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics in 2007, his new team shipped future Hall of Famer Ray Allen to Boston and, less than two weeks later, lost sharpshooter Rashard Lewis to the Orlando Magic.

“It was tough for me, especially coming in as a young player,” Durant told The Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday. “I thought I was going to play with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis when they were All-Stars every year.”

Because of that, Durant said he can empathize with some of the young Sixers, who are entering a year that might mirror the 20-62 record that KD and the Sonics went through in 2007-08.

“Every game, it was tough knowing that it was going to be hard for us to win,” Durant told the paper. “But what we did was come in and work hard every day, and know that it was going to be a process and maybe a tough year ... You just have to keep pushing through it.”

 VEGAS PEGS THUNDER AS WESTERN CONFERENCE FAVORITE

 Las Vegas doesn't seem too worried about Russell Westbrook's lingering knee issues. Here are SportsBook's current odds to win the Western Conference:

1. Oklahoma City Thunder — 11/4 odds

2. Los Angeles Clippers — 4/1 odds

3. San Antonio Spurs — 9/2 odds

4. Houston Rockets — 11/2 odds

5. Golden State Warriors — 13/1 odds

6. Memphis Grizzlies — 15/1 odds

7. Dallas Mavericks — 15/1 odds

8. Denver Nuggets — 22/1 odds

9. Los Angeles Lakers — 35/1 odds

10. Minnesota Timberwolves — 50/1 odds

11. New Orleans Pelicans — 50/1 odds

12. Portland Trail Blazers — 65/1 odds

13. Sacramento Kings — 90/1 odds

14. Utah Jazz — 90/1 odds

15. Phoenix Suns — 250/1 odds

QUOTABLE

Kevin Durant, when asked if he'd spoken to Russell Westbrook about his rehab recently: “The only conversation I had with him is about his (Dallas) Cowboys taking a 'L' last night.”

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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