MARK YOUR CALENDARS
The Oct. 31 deadline is best known as the final day guards James Harden and Eric Maynor can sign contract extensions with the Thunder.
If that doesn't occur, Harden and Maynor will become restricted free agents on July 1, 2013. Restricted free agents are allowed to negotiate with other teams, but the player's current club can retain his rights by matching another team's offer.
Halloween also holds significance for center Cole Aldrich, guard Reggie Jackson and forward Lazar Hayward. That is the final day NBA teams can exercise their team option on players.
If a team opts not to pick up a player's option, that player will become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Unrestricted free agents are free to sign with any team, including the Thunder.
If OKC decides to pick up Aldrich's option, he would make $3.2 million next season. Jackson would make $1.3 million next season, and Hayward would make $2.1 million.
It's worth noting that because of the league's new collective bargaining agreement, more teams are not doing extensions and not exercising options due to more severe tax penalties.
ESPN FILM ‘BROKE' RESONATES WITH PLAYERS
Maynor was among several Thunder players that watched Tuesday night's broadcast of “Broke,” an ESPN production as part of its “30 for 30” series. The 1 1/2 hour documentary interviewed several current and former athletes who have had significant problems with money.
Maynor said the messages in the film were critical for professional athletes in all sports.
“I think that was a good show for a lot of people (Tuesday) night, and I hope everybody was watching it,” Maynor said.
“With all the money that guys get, not just in this league but in any sport, you got to be careful with the people around you. You got to be careful about how you take care of your money if you want to have some money after you play.”
The league annually addresses potential financial pitfalls during the rookie transition program and at mandatory NBA meetings before the start of every season.
“They talk to us about it, just about the gambling and spending your money at clubs and stuff like that; buying cars that you don't really need. All that stuff plays a part (in losing money),” Maynor said. “And before you know it, you're looking at your bank account like, ‘Where did all that money I made go?' Because you're trying to look out for everybody else.”
THE SUMMER LEAGUE EFFECT
Reggie Jackson consistently credits this year's summer league experience for restoring his confidence. He first pointed out summer league's impact at media day on Monday and did so again Wednesday.
“Tremendously,” Jackson said when asked how much this summer helped. “I can't talk about it enough. It was great. Most players really don't want to do summer league. You want to just go hang out and chill. But for my confidence, just getting out and playing again and just getting to be myself and probably getting a little more trust from the coaches helped a lot.”
Brooks said he's noticed a more confident Jackson.
“Reggie's really improved his game,” Brooks said. “He's confident. It's a learning curve in this league, and sometimes it takes longer than others, some players.”
Brooks said Wednesday that the backup point guard spot is an “open” competition between Maynor and Jackson. Maynor is coming off an injury, and Jackson is going into his second season. “Going into a new season, I think the minutes have to be earned,” Brooks said. During the season, if (Maynor's injury) happened and he came back, then that would be something different.”…Brooks said he plans for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to sit out one preseason game. Brooks has yet to determine which one it will be … This exhibition season, Fox Sports Oklahoma will broadcast only the preseason finale against Dallas on Oct. 24. All seven preseason games can be heard on 98.1 WWLS-FM. … Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha both sat out at least the final portion of practice (shooting drills) to nurse injuries.
By John Rohde and Darnell Mayberry