Thunder GM Dismisses Kendrick Perkins Amnesty Talk

ImageThe Oklahoma City Thunder organization made it clear in end-of-season interviews that they are not going to  amnesty Kendrick Perkins.

After his horrific playoff performance, many fans are begging for Thunder management to use the one-time exception. According to the team website, the 28-year-old center averaged just  2.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.4 blocks while playing 19.1 minutes in the Thunder’s 11 postseason games.

The amnesty clause is pretty complex, but Jon Hamm, a salary cap expert, breaks it down in an article on NewsOk.com.

“Each team can cut one player and, while still having to pay the player, not have it count against the salary cap and luxury tax.”

 So to amnesty Perkins, the Thunder would have to pay out his full contract. He is owed roughly 18 and a half million dollars over the next two seasons. Then, they would have to find a replacement through free agency and pay that player as well. 

In his exit interviews with the media, Thunder general manager Sam Presti had this to say when pressed about Perkins’ fate with the team.

“Obviously I know that’s a topic that’s been talked about, and for us, the amnesty application is not something we really have ever considered as an organization. I understand that it’s something that’s been talked about quite a bit, but organizationally that’s not something we’ve considered.”

After their final loss of the season to the Grizzlies, NewsChannel 4 Sports in Oklahoma City reported that Perkins told the media he wasn’t worried about losing his spot.

“I’m pretty comfortable and I’m pretty sure I’ll be back here next year,” he said. “They said they were going to amnesty me last year or trade me last year, but whatever. I know what I bring to the table, and I’m cool with myself. I’m going to go to sleep tonight.”

According to Royce Young, a writer for CBSSports.com, Presti not only dismissed amnesty rumors, but defended the center’s abilities.

“We think Perk has a lot of value to our team. He’s a member of a team that won 60 games and helped us to our third division title in three years. I don’t know that we can discount that. I”m sure he’d like to have had a better postseason. But I’m sure that’s pretty universal for the whole group. And we accept that.”

The Thunder brass apparently still find value in Perkins, or more likely, don’t want to pay out that much money only to lose him and gain nothing in return.

The arguments for Perk have always been: his leadership abilities, championship experience, tough attitude and physical presence defensively.  At what point do you decide that maybe leadership and toughness isn’t quite worth 9 million dollars a year though? Maybe they need to bring someone in that can make a shot right at the rim.

After watching him play the past few seasons, I can tell you that he is a shell of the player who sported a Boston uniform. During the playoffs, I was trying to telepathically get through to Kevin Durant and beg him not to pass Perkins the ball. Almost every time he touched the rock, it resulted in a blocked or missed shot from less than five feet out, or a turnover.

If the Oklahoma City Thunder want to win a championship, they are going to have to either trade Perkins or reduce his minutes significantly and try to draft a young, big guy. They cannot keep up with a Miami Heat, or as we saw recently, even a Memphis Grizzlies team, with Perkins as the starting center. It’s just not going to happen.

Disagree with me? Check out this stat. Darnell Mayberry of Newsok.com reported that During the Memphis series, the Thunder was outscored by 40 points when Perk was on the floor. He had the worst player efficiency rating (PER) of anyone in the playoffs ever.

The amnesty clause has been ruled out, but Presti has been known to make some gutsy moves and trades with the franchise. Keep watching because I suspect this isn’t the final decision regarding the Thunder roster, no matter how many positive comments are being issued right now.

 

 

THE NEW OKC THUNDER

 

 

Ok… so by now, news of the James Harden trade that shook up the NBA world is old news… if you don’t already know about it, you’re probably not a basketball fan and probably not reading this blog. But a few details…

OKC traded the Bearded One along with three-point specialist Daequan Cook, center Cole Aldrich, and guard Lazar Hayward in exchange for Houston Rockets players Kevin Martin, rookie Jeremy Lamb, 2 future first round picks, and a future second-round pick.

So with all these new changes… some of you that tuned into the first three games of the season may have  found yourselves wondering… who’s that guy on the court?? Pretty much everyone in the state of Oklahoma is a Thunder fan.. and not everyone keeps up with sports news like myself (many of my girlfriends for example… a few of whom watch because they have crushes on certain players), so I am going to quickly introduce each of the new additions to the Thunder roster. Ladies, pictures are included. Remember these faces.

The player who brings the most potential for immediate impact to the team is Kevin Martin, or K-Mart, who in a sense fills Harden’s 6th man role. Don’t expect him to be just like Harden though… he doesn’t have the same play-making ability but is a tremedous spot-up three-point shooter and free throw shooter. The ninth-year veteran was the leading scorer for the Thunder Sunday against Seattle with 28 points. He is hungry for an NBA title and happy to be in OKC.

Jeremy Lamb is a rookie and most likely won’t see much playing time this year… but his athletic ability and potential for the future of this team is crazy. He was a lottery pick, taken 12th overall by Houston in the draft this year. The 20-year-old played college ball at Connecticut. And if you were watching in his debut on the court for the Thunder.. in the one minute he was in against Portland.. he stepped up and drained a three from about 25 feet out like it was nothing. Yeah… he’s gonna be good.

Perry Jones III was the Thunder’s lone draft pick this season… but a total steal! Because of a rumored knee injury, the former all Big-12 player from Baylor fell to the 28th pick and we quickly snatched him up! His knee looks to be fine, and at 6-11 he is the most versatile player on the Thunder roster. He can play every position ( besides point maybe) but is listed as a small forward. Kevin Durant is mentoring the rookie. Look to see Scott Brooks using him in different rotations this year.

Deandre Liggins is a former Kentucky player (which says enough these days) that came to the league after his junior year. He played his rookie year in Orlando before signing with the Thunder this season. He beat out four other players for the coveted fifteenth spot on the roster (before the trade went down) by pure hustle and athleticism. He has amazing work ethic. Watch out for this guy.

Since Cole Aldrich got shipped off to Houston, this guy became pretty important. Hasheem Thabeet is the new back-up center. With Perkins’ health always in jeopardy, he could definitely see some court-time. OH YEAH… AND THE GUY IS SEVEN FOOT THREE.. MAKING HIM THE TALLEST PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE!!!

He played for Connecticut in college and was drafted 2nd overall by the Grizzles in the 2009 draft. James Harden was drafted third!!

 

 

The Thunder sign their first ever hometown boy!! Daniel Orton played for Bishop Mcguiness here in OKC before playing one year for Kentucky and then getting drafted by the Magic in 201o . He played for the Thunder during summer league and exhibition games.. then got cut. But when the trade went down and OKC lost Cole Aldrich.. they brought the OKC native back!! He is currently the third-string big man.

Well there they are! Get familiar so when you go to the games you can cheer on the new-comers! And make sure to tune in tonight when the Thunder take on the Raptors at home at 7 pm.

NO. 5 Oklahoma stunned by NO. 15 Kansas State- Whose fault was it?

STUNNED SILENCE.

That was the reaction to OU’s 24-19 loss to Kansas State Saturday night at my family watch party… followed by a lot of ranting and playing the blame game.

Yeah sure, everyone says that one player can’t lose a game for you, but I think this game may have been an exception. Because Landry Jones, in my opinion, cost them this game.

Yes, Blake Bell had the fumble in the red zone that cost OU a touchdown, and yes the defense couldn’t pass rush for the life of them, allowing Colin Klein to have an average of 6 seconds to throw the football.( In the defense’s defense, they were on the field way more than the offense… may have been a bit tired) And  you can make the case that the offensive line is a little weak after losing some starters, but I’m gonna ultimately give this loss to the Senior QB who was projected to be a Heisman candidate coming into the season.

LANDRY JONES IS NOT GETTING BETTER. His numbers look pretty great on paper. He has broken some records. But he’s also been a starter for FOUR YEARS… much longer than star OU QB’s Bradford, Heupel, or White. Those three had confidence in big-game situations and Landry just doesn’t have that. He crumbles under the pressure.

Those three also led Oklahoma to national championship games… something Landry hasn’t come close to doing. If you average out his losses per year as a starter it comes out to about 3. For a program as prestigious as the University of Oklahoma.. is this ok?? Should we accept an average season when we are used to being national championship contenders every year??

You could tell from the beginning that his game was off. He is lucky that K-State only picked him off for one interception.. because he threw about three or four right into the defense’s hands… not to mention the fumble that resulted in a touchdown for the Wildcats.

So why did he stay in the game!? He has a history of performing badly in a few games every year… and he never improves as the game goes on. I guess the coaching staff just decided to go down with the sinking ship.

And the part that bothers me the most is that he just looks like he has NO PASSION OR FIRE INSIDE HIM while leading this team. The great leaders get fired up and inspire their teams to victory. He looks stoic to me all times.

SIDENOTE: Sterling Shepard, perhaps the only positive note in this game, looked outstanding. He should be a star at Oklahoma for a long time and I honestly hope he gets alot more PT. It’s sad when your true freshman receiver is the only one that looks like they are playing with heart.

And you have to give some credit to K State. They played decent and Klein is a good quarterback. Not great.. but pretty darn good. His run game is tough. But OU and Jones handed them this game on a silver platter.

The bottom line: Maybe we are spoiled as OU fans, but we have a right to be. This program has worked too hard for too long to make itself what it is today, and that performance was as pathetic of a display as I have seen in a long time.

Let’s hope this doesn’t happen in Lubbock next week, where we already have problems playing Texas Tech at home and then at the Cotton Bowl against Texas. If it continues this way, things could get ugly Sooner fans.

METTA WORLD PEACE PREDICTS LAKERS WILL RULE OVER ALL THE WEST

 

 

For Thunder fans, Metta World Peace instantly became the ultimate villain after throwing the elbow heard ’round the world, which luckily did not critically injure 6th Man of the Year James Harden. Well… Mr. World Peace does not shy away from any topic… and is in the media today making some extreme predictions for the 2012/2012 season with the new additions to the Lakers roster.

 “We definitely want to beat the Bulls record and go 73-9, that’s definitely something that I want to do. Whoever is out there at the beginning of the season then we gotta get it. It’s as simple as that. We just have to go get it. (Host: So that Bulls record is something you’re thinking about?) No question. You try to snatch records before you leave this earth. You gotta try to do a lot of great things so it’s definitely a goal. With Dwight Howard, (Steve) Nash, Kobe (Bryant), myself, Pau (Gasol) and then (Antawn) Jamison and a lot of great additions it’s something that’s possible.”

My humble opinion… IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN.

The new Lakers have yet to prove they haev team chemistry with a new point guard and new center so to say that you think his team will beat the winning record of Michael Jordon’s team is a little arrogant… but hey, what else can we expect from Metta?

He also has a pretty high opinion of himself, if there was any doubt of that.

“To me, I know I’m definitely one of the best players in the league, there’s no question. I proved that when I got into shape so I don’t need to be, I’m definitely one of the best defensive players to ever play the game so people can deny it if they want but it’s okay. I do my own thing, I market myself in my own way so I really don’t need to be marketed or talked about throughout the outlets because I do that on my own. On this team nobody plays defense like Metta World and nobody in the league plays defense like Metta World so I don’t really need to prove that.”

Thunder fans- I wouldn’t start worrying about your reign as the best in the West just yet… let the Lakers prove themselves before we make them out to be a huge threat.

James Harden close to signing deal with Thunder?

 

Switching pace from college football for a short minute…The OKC Thunder’s starting center Kendrick Perkins met with the media today and I’ve got the full audio for you guys to listen to. The most widely talked about portion of the interview- Perk’s opinion that James Harden is very close to being signed to the team for years to come. Check it out.

Perk%209-12-12.mp3

THERE’S ONLY ONE…OKLAHOMA!

If you have never had the fortune to attend a University of Oklahoma football game, then you have probably never seen the intro video. And that’s a shame… because they are pretty great! Their now famous slogan “There’s Only One Oklahoma” captures every fan’s heart in just two minutes’ time.

And this year’s video is the best yet. Not gonna lie… I may have teared up a little while watching it on the jumbotron last Saturday. Something about seeing the legends of the past with the stars of the present and future just gives you chills.

I rounded the video up for those of you haven’t seen it! Enjoy and let me know what you think!!!

The girl behind the writing..

Hi. My name is Tori Nichols, and this is the first and last time I will be talking about myself in this blog. I want to introduce myself for those of you want to know the person whose opinions you are reading every week(wishful thinking J).

I work for KFOR Channel 4 as a news writer. I am working towards becoming a sports reporter. I am an unbiased professional there. I do not express opinion in my writing. I report the news. THAT IS NOT WHAT THIS BLOG IS. These are my opinions and conclusions drawn from my love of watching our Oklahoma sports teams. I will say WE when referring to my teams, because you know… I feel that the fans are a part of the team. If that bothers you… you probably just don’t understand.

I am a sports enthusiast. I thought I would be in the WNBA at this point in my life, but my basketball career sadly ended after high school. My love for sports never faded. I am a die-hard Sooner fan. My dad was a walk-on tight end in the eighties and I’ve been going to games since before I could sit up on my own. The Oklahoma City Thunder have brought out a level of devotion in me that I didn’t even know I could have for a team. They ambushed and surprised me with how fast I fell for them. I now refuse to miss a game. And although I am a Sooner fan, I have a lot of respect for Oklahoma State. They are a quality organization and deserve all the success they have received the past few years.

So these are the teams I will mainly be covering in this blog. Use it for updates. Use it if you missed the game. But I hope you will get some entertainment and hopefully a unique opinion while reading it. Oh- and I love debate and discussion, so if you disagree with me… comment! You won’t hurt my feelings.

Looking forward to many games, playoffs, and championships… and discussing them with you all!

Tori Nichols

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