Thunder chat: Darnell Mayberry talks offseason plans, free agency and the NBA Draft

Darnell Mayberry went into overtime on the Power Lunch, talking Thunder offseason moves, free agency and the NBA Draft. Here's the full transcript:
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: June 11, 2014 at 9:59 am •  Published: June 11, 2014
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/span> Hi Darnell, am I wrong to be skeptical of the "the Thunder needs to play agenda free basketball" opining from the exit interviews? There was rarely anyone beyond Russ and KD on the floor that could make a shot. I saw plenty of passes to Perk, Thabo, Fisher, etc where good looks were missed. Should there be more of an offensive system and different personnel on the floor? Maybe, but aren't those are Brooks and Presti problems?
Darnell Mayberry 11:29 a.m. I think it all goes hand in hand. The personnel can't work if the system doesn't put players in positions to be successful. And the system can't succeed if players don't trust it. In this case, I don't think we've ever seen the players really fully trust for a full season. We can say what we want about the personnel, but the fact is role players are better when they're comfortable and know what to expect. Guys like Sefolosha, Perkins, Butler and even Ibaka to some degree could never be sure when their next touch, their next shot, was coming. It doesn't build confidence. You'll never catch me criticizing the personnel. I think the Thunder has the most talented roster in basketball. I think the issue is more the lack of structure and players not committing to consistently making everyone a threat.
Henry 11:30 a.m. Thoughts on bringing in CJ Miles, Vince Carter, or Patrick Patterson?
Darnell Mayberry 11:30 a.m. Of that group, Miles might be the most likely target.
Shane 11:30 a.m. Shabazz or Patty Mills? Which is a better replacement for Dfish?
Darnell Mayberry 11:31 a.m. Shabazz. Mills is clearly better than a third stringer at this point. But Napier could fill that role for now while he learns the NBA game.
imran 11:31 a.m. Hey Darnell. Any truth to the renewal of the Shumpert talks? If so, what possible trades are being discussed?
Darnell Mayberry 11:32 a.m. I appreciate the question. But I couldn't begin to tell you what trade discussions Presti is having. In fact, if anybody puts one out there I tend to be skeptical. This team is that close to the vest.
tom 11:34 a.m. Would Affalo really be a good fit personality wise with OKC? He seems to *need* to take a lot of shots. In the starting lineup he'd be 4th banana.
Darnell Mayberry 11:37 a.m. I don't think that's the case at all. He's never averaged more than 14 shots. Two years ago in Denver, he averaged 15 points on 11 shots while playing on a balanced Nuggets team. I think he would fit in just fine. And, remember, there are 18 1/2 shots freed up by the departure of Fisher and likely departures of Sefolosha and Butler. Of course, some of those will go to Jackson and some to Lamb. But Afflalo can get 10 or so shots a game, supply solid defense and be satisfied being a part of a championship team.
Mike 11:37 a.m. If we were to draft a guy like Kyle Anderson from UCLA how do you think he would fit in? Would he start? And what position?
Darnell Mayberry 11:42 a.m. I'd be shocked if the Thunder has any interest in Kyle Anderson. My guess, I repeat, guess, is the front office would be more interested surrounding Durant and Westbrook with players who specialize in something. They don't need a do-it-all type. They have those guys. While they're looking at the best fit, this team also has a history of plugging holes and filling needs. While I'm not intimately familiar with Anderson's game (I didn't see him enough this year), he just doesn't strike me as the kind of guy the Thunder is looking for at this time.
ErnieV 11:42 a.m. Do you think this draft will be a wheeling and dealing type of draft? Where we will see a lot more trades and swaps than in past drafts.
Darnell Mayberry 11:43 a.m. I think so. You'll have teams trying to clear cap space, teams' trying to shed picks to get veterans and teams that want a piece of these ultra talented prospects. That's a potent mix. Could be a wild night.
Guest 11:43 a.m. Utah is allegedly interested in Abrines. If they want Abrines we'll take Alec Burks
Darnell Mayberry 11:44 a.m. I soured on Burks this season. I used to be high on him, thinking he could blossom into a really nice player. But I've seen nothing from him that makes me think he'll get to that point. Still a talented guy, though.
Nix 11:44 a.m. Yes! A Mayberry chat...Thanks for all your work this season. What's more likely...trade up, trade out or keep both picks?
Darnell Mayberry 11:45 a.m. Thank you. Trade up would be my guess. If that can't happen, I'd say plan b is to select someone at 21 (probably a point guard) and then trade 29 for someone still on a rookie deal.
Luke 11:45 a.m. I really like your Arron Afflalo idea. Do you think acquiring a player of that caliber is realistic though? Would the Thunder have to give up more than Presti is willing to part with, or do we even have enough to entice Orlando?
Darnell Mayberry 11:46 a.m. Unfortunately, I think it's unrealistic given the steady, methodical cost-conscious and process-oriented approach this franchise takes (and rightfully so for the most part).
Jacob 11:46 a.m. Who do you have taking Game 4?
Darnell Mayberry 11:47 a.m. I've got Miami. Several Heat players would really have to have off nights for them to not win tomorrow night, in my opinion. I don't see that happening two straight times at home.
Nix 11:47 a.m. Okay, there were rumors we were talking with Rudy Fernandez agent, and it was clear at the time it wasn't for this postseason. Think that is still a possibility?
Darnell Mayberry 11:47 a.m. I spoke with someone close to Rudy and was told that was a bunch of smoke.
Henry 11:48 a.m. Afflalo is only possible if the Magic take Exum at 4.
Darnell Mayberry 11:49 a.m. Perhaps. But what if Reggie Jackson is the guy Orlando wants? Hmmm? (I'm just joking, people. I'd give that a zero percent chance of happening.)
Nix 11:49 a.m. How about D'Antoni as an assistant? :D HA...
Darnell Mayberry 11:49 a.m. Can't see him being an assistant, especially not under Brooks.
Tommy 11:49 a.m. There was an article on bleacher report yesterday about off-season moves and two names I hadn't heard before were cj miles from the Cavs and pj Tucker from the suns, do you see them as good fits or do you disagree?
Darnell Mayberry 11:50 a.m. I think Miles could be a great fit. Tucker is more of an energy guy. I'm on record of loving his game. But he's nothing special. He's a hustle player who can do a few different things. But I don't think he'd crack the rotation in OKC.
Oksooner 11:50 a.m. What is it going to take for the thunder to get over ' the championship hump'
Darnell Mayberry 11:50 a.m. A lot.
Mike 11:50 a.m. Which position(s) do you like to be addressed in the draft?
Darnell Mayberry 11:51 a.m. Point guard and power forward.
Nix 11:51 a.m. If RJ is saying he wants to start...and he wants to lead the team..Doesn't that just basically mean he is gone? That can't happen here. Would you trade RJ for say...Marcus Smart (if he fell to Lakers or Celts?)
Darnell Mayberry 11:52 a.m. I'm sure a lot of people around here would do that in a heartbeat. But I wouldn't want to start over with Smart, even though he's a sharp and extremely talented young player. I'd stick with Jackson.
Anne 11:52 a.m. Would a starting five of a pass-first PG and Westbrook as SG be possible?
Darnell Mayberry 11:53 a.m. No way. Now how. They're not moving Westbrook off the ball for any reason. There will be times Jackson will be the man with the ball in his hands. But Westbrook is the point guard from now until he's no longer here.
JJ 11:53 a.m. Have u checked out Spencer Dinwiddie? I could see him as a potential starting two guard if we draft him and his health permits. What do you think?
Darnell Mayberry 11:53 a.m. No.
Josh of Ish 11:53 a.m. The Thunder need a legit 2/wing player to start. Jackson may not like it but he is needed off the bench in my opinion. That leaves Lamb as the only other guy that could really start, and I don't know that he is ready.
Darnell Mayberry 11:54 a.m. I think they're going to get someone to fill that slot. The more I think about C.J Miles, the more I think the Thunder will make a play for him. This offseason could be as simple as drafting a third-string point with the 21st pick and bringing in C.J. Miles for $3.5 mil/per
Guest 11:54 a.m. Why would the Thunder avoid the tax this year? Does Presti realize KD is going to be a free agent in 2 years? Is he going to want to stay if this cheap franchise never wins a title because they are too cheap to pay the tax?
Darnell Mayberry 11:56 a.m. I wonder if when people say this they realize that the Spurs are within two victories of winning the title without paying the tax. I wonder if they realize that the Thunder was within six victories of a title (and three two years ago!!) without paying the tax.
Darnell Mayberry 11:58 a.m. But to answer your question, the reason is simple. The Thunder is trying to delay the start of the clock on the repeater tax for as long as possible so that when Durant is eligible to re-sign (a massive extension, remember), it can then go into the tax to keep its core together while the stars are in the prime of their careers.
Darnell Mayberry 12:00 p.m. One more thing. The Thunder has a top 10 payroll in a bottom three market. It's time for people to stop saying this franchise is cheap, especially just because it's shrewdly avoiding the tax and still winning at an elite level while doing so. Paying the tax doesn't guarantee you anything. Ask Brooklyn and Los Angeles.
Carole 12:00 p.m. Gaylord (Bennett's wife's family)and Kaiser are two of the richest people in America. If they want to keep KD and an elite Thunder team, they had better bite the bullet soon. I've felt KD would go to the Knicks when Phil Jackson arrived, and now that my beloved Fish is there - well, I think it is an ever greater possibility. I love KD, but everyone who listens to everything he says about OKC should watch "Bull Durham" paying close attention to the advice that Kevin Costner's character gives to Tim Robbins' character on how to talk to the media.
Darnell Mayberry 12:04 p.m. Carole, I agree with your premise. Most everything professional athletes say to the media must be taken with a grain of salt. I'm not naive enough to think it's a guarantee that KD will remain here for his entire career. But I also don't think it's a foregone conclusion that he's taking off. Why would he? The thing that's important to remember is he has to go somewhere that will give him a better chance at winning than the opportunities he has right here. Name me one place that can provide him that. Just one. It's impossible. The core that has been built around Durant can keep him in contention for a championship for his entire career if players decide to stick it out. Where else can he go that can provide him that opportunity?
brob 12:05 p.m. #whynot Jimmer? I think he was drafted by a bad team which stunted his development. Could easily play as a #3 PG or scoring threat off the bench. Just needs the pressure taken aware from him outside by a Reggie, Russ, KD driving to the bucket. Spot up 3PT shooter, 48% last year...
Darnell Mayberry 12:07 p.m. I don't know. It's a good question. I know Presti likes big guards who can play both ends. And Jimmer definitely is not that. So those could be two reasons.
Podirk 12:08 p.m. I looked to the future and Presti signs Miles for the starting 2 and Morrow and Miller off the bench with Reggie and Lamb...You happy or sad?
Darnell Mayberry 12:08 p.m. I'd take that. Like I said, I don't think this team will rock the boat this summer despite scores of fans thinking it should.
Podirk 12:08 p.m. Only two players I wanna draft (besides stashes) Rodney Hood and his 40% 3pt shooting and Shabazz Napier and his 40% 3pt shooting. Thunder have 1 GLARING need...floor spacing.
Darnell Mayberry 12:09 p.m. It definitely is a need, and those two players definitely could help, although I don't think Hood would see the floor for a while on this team.
Jacob 12:09 p.m. What are your thoughts on this whole KD/The Game bet thing?
Darnell Mayberry 12:10 p.m. I just hope Durant pays up if he owes. The Game is probably not somebody you want to owe 20 large. And that's nothing to KD. If he owes, my advice would be to pay up and keep your legs.
Tulsa 12:10 p.m. We have 11 guys currently on the roster. We need at least 13. Do you see OKC spending more money on two players? Or do you see them spreading the money between 3 to make it 14 guys? I'm assuming there is almost no way we sign a 15th guy unless it's someone like Jerret.
Darnell Mayberry 12:11 p.m. What you said. I don't see the Thunder going into the season with 15 guys. Thirteen would be my guess. A rookie and C.J. Miles. See, I'm already on board. :)
Podirk 12:12 p.m. Do you think Adams starts to begin the season? Does he by the all star break?
Darnell Mayberry 12:12 p.m. I think he should. But I have my doubts.
Dustyn 12:12 p.m. What's the likely of Mike Miller's interest in the Thunder? I would both love to have a sharpshooter to spread the floor of the bench and not have to face him on another team.
Darnell Mayberry 12:12 p.m. Don't see why he would leave Memphis after going through all that last summer to get back there. Never know, though.
Guest 12:13 p.m. Does Presti know that we'd be okay with a regrouping period after going all in for a title run? We know there would be a cost to pay that is more than money and it would cost assets that he hates to give up like draft picks and young players. But it would be worth if it if a banner was hanging in the Peake
Darnell Mayberry 12:13 p.m. Would you rather hang one in 10 years or two or three in 10 years?
Tulsa 12:13 p.m. To answer imran, Presti "reportedly" tried to offer OKCs 1st round pick for him at the trade deadline. The Knicks declined. Don't you think the 21st pick could get the thunder pretty close Darnell?
Darnell Mayberry 12:14 p.m. Yes. But I'm not sure the Thunder is interested.
Kevin 12:14 p.m. Hello Darnell since Fisher has moved on Glad he is coach. That 3rd string PG do you think a good pick would bring in another somewhat Vetran player like Steve Blake he will be available in free agency he is not terribly expensive the team is expected to have more money with the leageae making money hand over fist this year. I heard the caps will have a little more room next season.
Darnell Mayberry 12:15 p.m. I've always admired Blake's game. But I don't see him as a real option. He's aging and could be looking for more than what the Thunder can offer (financially and as far as his role, and even perhaps locale).
John 12:20 p.m. Darnell- First off- you, Tramel and Slater did tremendous work this season and I think you found a tremendous outlet to discuss Thunder in the Buddies podcast. Now my question- what is your logic behind Thunder not going into tax? Other than the fact they haven't in recent years? At this point they have avoided repeater tax moving forward (I think) so shouldn't they be more open to crossing that line now?
Darnell Mayberry 12:20 p.m. Thank, John. I've tried my best to explain above.
larry 12:27 p.m. why not glen robinson III at 21? skills and never appeared to be selfish.
Darnell Mayberry 12:27 p.m. I loved him in college, and not just because I'm a Michigan fan. He's got a lot of great tools. But, again, I'm not sure the Thunder is interested in a jack of all trades type.
Dustyn 12:28 p.m. Is the front office worried too much about the future and not enough about this current championship window? A draft and stash at this point in the game would be such a wasted asset when we already have so many overseas players, and we keep letting trade exceptions expire.
Darnell Mayberry 12:30 p.m. I don't think so. Again, this team is contending for championships already. So it's not like a ton is needed. They've just got to be better in some areas. And if you can contend and keep the championship window open for as long as possible, why wouldn't you? Spending $100 million doesn't guarantee a title. If it did, I'm sure the Thunder and most every other team would spend $100 million.
Josh of Ish 12:30 p.m. So the Thunder is going to stick with specialists over 2way players? That is disappointing.
Darnell Mayberry 12:31 p.m. For those that listen to our podcast, you know my take on the "two-way player" argument. There aren't many of those guys, and they ones that are most of the time cost major money. I think the Thunder has plenty of two-way caliber players. They just underperformed this season. And until they take responsibility for playing both ends, this team will never be as good as it's capable of.
Dustyn 12:32 p.m. You say we were within 3 victories of winning the title two years ago, but that it would take "a lot" to get over the championship hump. Are you optimistic we will get there?
Darnell Mayberry 12:32 p.m. Yes. I think the Thunder will eventually win a championship with this group of players.
Guest 12:33 p.m. There is no way around it, if the Thunder absolutely refuse to pay the tax the Thunder is a cheap organization. That comparison to the Spurs is unfair because their main guys took pay cuts. This season and the next is when they need to go all in to get a title. If not now, they are never going to do it. THis is infuriating, we understood the Harden decision, it wasn't time to go into the tax, now it is and they are going to mess up having KD and Russ because they are cheap. Quit being a homer Darnell, they are being cheap
Darnell Mayberry 12:37 p.m. Three trips to the Western Conference Finals (one to the NBA Finals) in four years isn't enough to prove to you that the Thunder is on the right track? Here's a question. Would you rather have the Thunder paying the tax now and putting the stars' future in jeopardy, or pay it when Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka are in their primes and keeping them for a third contract? The answer is simple to me. And to your point about the Spurs, the Thunder tries to foster that culture of sacrifice (Harden, Roberson) and people like you call them cheap for doing it.
Adam 12:37 p.m. If avoiding the repeat offender tax is the ultimate goal (and it appears to be), why hasn't the Perkins amnesty happened? Sure you still pay his contract, but that $9MM could potentially allow you to pick up an Afflalo level player and not be a repeat offender.
Darnell Mayberry 12:39 p.m. Adam, that is the best question when it comes to the tax situation. I've asked it myself. It's even more relevant now that Adams appears to be an impact player in the making. But the Thunder believes it sorely needs Perkins. Presti even insinuated at his season-ending interview that the Thunder would have lost in the first round had it not been for Perk. So there's that, whether you agree with him or not.
Josh of Ish 12:39 p.m. To me Morrow>Miller, not from an experience standpoint, but he can drill 3s and he is a much more live body.
Darnell Mayberry 12:40 p.m. Yeah, but in the playoffs, I'd much rather have Miller on the wing than Morrow. It's a matter of who I'd trust more to not succumb to the pressure and supply big shots.
Sean 12:40 p.m. Will you make sure slater and you have a one on one game taped this summer
Darnell Mayberry 12:41 p.m. Me and Slater played the other day and his team got schooled by mine even though I had a 14-year-old with me. Ask him about it when you get a chance. Seriously.
Guest 12:41 p.m. What good would it have done to avoid the repeater tax if KD and Russ are gone because this cheap franchise wouldn't do what it took to win a championship? They don'
Guest 12:41 p.m. t get Afflalo because Presti doesn't want to pay the tax or give up a precious young asset or draft pick and we end up with CJ Miles and another trip to the conference finals but no championship. Is everybody happy with that?
Darnell Mayberry 12:42 p.m. Where is KD and Westbrook going to go that gives them a better chance to win than OKC? Why do you assume they've got one foot out the door. They know how much talent is here. They know that even if they fell a little short the future is still bright and, with health on their sides, they'll have many more cracks at it.
John 12:43 p.m. Sorry about the repeat question. How about this one? Who do you see improving most defensively next year? Jackson, Durant, Westbrook or Adams?
Darnell Mayberry 12:44 p.m. Great question, John. My answer is Jackson. I think he has the most room to grow and he doesn't have to carry nearly the offensive load that Westbrook and Durant do, which should allow him to focus more on defense. Adams has proven to be a quick learner, though.
Henry 12:44 p.m. Are you going to do a Thunder Buddies podcast previewing the draft?
Darnell Mayberry 12:44 p.m. Definitely.
Darnell Mayberry 12:45 p.m. Thanks for joining us today. Sorry I couldn't get to everyone's question. Enjoy the rest of your week. Talk to you again soon.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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