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Ways the Thunder will be affected by the NBA lockout

by Darnell Mayberry Published: July 3, 2011
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Now that the NBA is in official lockdown mode, every team is about to feel the effects of this ugly labor dispute.

The league has placed strict restrictions on its franchises, suspending all business dealings while also prohibiting employees from conducting the most routine actions that annually make up their summer to-do lists.

It's created an awfully challenging and uncomfortable workplace, while devastating the entertainment value of professional basketball for the fans.

Here are the most significant ways the Thunder and its fans have been caught in the thick of the NBA's latest work stoppage.

No communication: Teams are prohibited from using any form of communication to contact players for any reason. That means no telephone calls, email exchanges, text messages, faxes, social media connections or speaking to players' agents. If a team employee sees a player in line at the movie theater, the employee must move to another line or do anything possible to avoid communication. The league is so unyielding about this that it will reportedly hand out fines of up to $1 million for teams in violation.

No player visits: There might not be a team in the league that spends more time than the Thunder visiting players throughout the offseason. For the past three years, Thunder coaches have traveled to cities throughout the country to check in on players and work them out. But that can no longer happen. It was one of the key factors in the Thunder's development. And with the Thunder having a roster filled with 20-somethings, this barrier could be a detriment to such a young team's maturation.

No negotiations: One of the most significant byproducts of this lockout is it has prevented the Thunder from starting important contract negotiations. All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook is eligible for a contract extension this summer, and reserve guard Daequan Cook is a restricted free agent. The Thunder can't enter into negotiations with either player until the lockout has ended. In Westbrook's case, the team would typically have until Oct. 31 to reach an agreement or Westbrook would be a restricted free agent next summer. But it's unclear how a prolonged lockout would affect that timeline.

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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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