By Randy Renner
When I took off for the mountains last week to spend time with family I really thought I'd keep track of things around here and maybe even write a blog, certainly fire off some tweets.
But, as perhaps you've noticed, I ended up unplugging for the most part and just enjoyed my time in the lovely Wasatch Range of northern Utah.
And just in case you were wondering the air temperature when I was down in the Salt Lake Valley was hotter at times than it was here in Oklahoma City last week but 100 degrees seldom has felt so cool.
No humidity out there, so while the air temp hovered around 95 to 100 degrees most days in the valley it felt like 85 to 90 degrees, not bad at all. Up in the mountains it was generally 75 to 85 and again no humidity.
Now it's time to get back to basketball, at least as far as this blog is concerned and there are some things going on.
Team USA begins training camp today in Las Vegas and those of you with NBA-TV can watch Kevin Durant and company from 2 o'clock till about 4:30 tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon. NBA-TV will also air the Team USA vs. Dominican Republic game on August 20th.
KD's teammate, Russell Westbrook, was supposed to be there too but has pulled out of team activities so he can rest his surgically repaired right knee for the coming NBA season.
Durant's former teammate James Harden is there though and still causing a bit of a stir with his comments last week. He said then that he and Dwight Howard are the cornerstones of the Rockets and that all the other Rockets were role players.
You might remember Durant was asked last season about OKC's role players, to which KD famously responded, "we're all role players."
Of course both Durant and Harden are right they just said things differently. Durant focused his remarks more on the team, even though he and Westbrook are as much cornerstones of the Thunder as Harden and Howard are with the Rockets. Harden focused the spotlight on himself which is the main reason he wanted to leave OKC.
Harden wanted to be the star, not a role player. Durant calls himself a role player even though he is the star.
No better illustration of that than KD's MVP speech.
The NBA Players Union has given its blessing to the deal the Thunder has reached with their second 1st round draft pick Josh Huestis. Huestis' agent revealed last week that he actually proposed much of the deal that will have Huestis signing a D-League contract with the 66ers instead of a nearly $1 million NBA deal with the Thunder.
Huestis essentially becomes a "draft-and-stash" guy but instead of playing in Europe he'll be playing ball across the street from The Peake at the Cox Center with the 66ers.
If Huestis progresses he'll be in line for that million dollar deal, similar to one that was given to last season's second round pick Grant Jerrett.
Let's see what else...Thunder Girl auditions are happening Saturday and once again dozens of girls (more than a hundred I think) have registered. The finals will be a week from Thursday night (August 7th) at Riverwind Casino south of Norman. The final round is open to the public.
Our own Sam Murch will be covering the auditions and will post a story about some of the girls and what it takes to be a Thunder Girl later here on InsideThunder.com.
And Kevin Durant made another MVP move while I was outta town. His basketball camp in Norman next week sold out pretty quickly and left a few hundred kids disappointed they couldn't get in. So what did KD do? He opened up another camp of course! The second one will be in Moore and will be going on at about the same time as the one on the OU campus in Norman. Durant will go back and forth between the two and you can expect some other Thunder players to be involved as well.
Wonder how Harden handles issues like that?