Hello Melo And Other Moments From Media Day

New Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony posing for photos and videos at at Chesapeake Arena during Thunder Media Day. Photo By: Randy Renner/InsideThunder.com

New Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony posing for photos and videos at at Chesapeake Arena during Thunder Media Day. Photo By: Randy Renner/InsideThunder.com

By Randy Renner, Senior Writer

Thunder Media Day tends to take up a lot of time and space and story lines. This year it was overflowing on all counts.

First we may have misjudged Carmelo Anthony, turns out he may not be a seeker of bright lights and big cities, at least not anymore.

The first question he was asked was about the assumption most everyone had...that the 10-time All-Star wouldn't want to play in a place like OKC, right smack in the middle of "fly-over" country. But before Berry Tramel could even finish setting up his question Anthony had an answer for him.

"That's because nobody really knew me."

He ended up sounding like someone who could be VERY happy in this neck of the woods and had in fact been thinking about it for a while as his friendship with Russell Westbrook grew.

Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook answers questions from reporters during Thunder Media Day in Oklahoma City. Photo By: Randy Renner/InsideThunder.com

Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook answers questions from reporters during Thunder Media Day in Oklahoma City. Photo By: Randy Renner/InsideThunder.com

Second Westbrook says he still loves Oklahoma City, "this is a place I want to be," he said Monday afternoon. "I love being here."

So why hasn't he signed that long term extension?

Well he said he's been busy with family, especially that brand new baby boy. 

"You know having a new son can be a little difficult, you know what I mean?"

But now that training camp has arrived and Westbrook can focus in on basketball he may decide to pick up a pen and sign his name.

And third the Thunder's new Big 3 (Westbrook, Anthony and Paul George) could end up being a Big 4.

"It would be great to get D-Wade," George said when asked about the All-Star shooting guard bought out over the weekend by Chicago. "I got a chance to work out with him a little bit ago late in the summer, and, man, he looks really good. So, it would be great to get D-Wade here."

Wade is being pursued by at least three other teams, the Cavaliers, Spurs and Heat. It could come down to which of his close buddies Wade would prefer, Lebron James or Anthony and Melo is already recruiting Wade.

When asked about the possibility of convincing his friend to join him Melo said "I'd love to have him here in Oklahoma City," then he looked right into a TV camera lens as if he was looking Wade right in his eyes and said "D...c'mon...c'mon D, you know you belong here."

 

 

 

 

 

'Melo To OKC' Proves Many Critics Wrong

By A. Suave Francisco

Last year was Russell Westbrook's "Prove Them Wrong" year and he succeeded. If there were any doubts regarding his ability as a teammate, they were taken care of last season. 

There have been two narratives revolving around the Thunder organization since they relocated to Oklahoma City: No big-name players choose to play professional basketball in Oklahoma City and definitely, not to play with a "selfish" Westbrook. 

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That may have been true in the past but after Carmelo Anthony chose to be traded to the Thunder specifically to play with Westbrook and Paul George, that isn't the case anymore. 

Anthony is known for being a big city type of player based on his personality, history, and lifestyle but he's chosen to sacrifice that in order to win a championship in the late stages of his career. 

He's never played alongside another superstar unless it was during Olympic play. There's a peculiar coincidence there as well. He's had some of his best performances during the Olympics. He's actually arguably the greatest Olympic men's basketball player to ever play and the most obvious reason is that of the talent that's been around him. 

That's exactly why 'Hoodie Melo' will be a great fit in Oklahoma City. There's not as much pressure to be THE guy, with no real help. With the NBA's reigning MVP that averaged a triple-double last season and a player in Paul George that averaged 23.7 points per game last season, one can only imagine how Anthony's 22.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists will translate for the Thunder. 

There are three distinctlively different dominant personality types on this team now. How will that work? That's the biggest question. Well, at least for Melo, he wanted to come here and the two other teams he listed as possible destinations had an alpha, so that alone shows that he's willing to take a backseat role in his 14th season. 

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Westbrook has been connecting all summer. Don't think those pickup games over the offseason we've all seen on video are a coincidence. Russell has been talking. He knew Melo's predicament and lured him right into Oklahoma City and apparently, so did Paul George. All three of these guys want to be in this situation, so it's hard to confidently say there will be a chemistry issue on this team.

Sam Presti continues to amaze the NBA with his mysterious work over this summer and with the season less than a month away, his work stil may not be done. He's placed the Thunder right back to big three status and now they are a direct threat to the Golden State Warriors and their crown. 

Melo Daze For OKC

By Randy Renner, Senior Writer

The Summer of Sam just got an extension into the Fall which could last all the way to the start of next Summer with GM Sam Presti's reported trade for 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony.

15 months ago all seemed lost for the Thunder when Kevin Durant abandoned franchise. But Russell Westbrook re-upped (at least for the short term) and stopped the bleeding.

The Summer of Sam started heating up and produced a stunning trade for All-Star Paul George to go along with the signings of Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton.

And just when it seemed the Thunder were done shaking things up Presti went out and snagged Anthony for fan fave Enes Kanter plus Doug McDermott and a 2nd round draft pick.

The trade won't be finalized and become official until Monday but Kanter and McDermott flew to New York on a private jet around noon on Sunday and Anthony was flying in to Oklahoma City at mid afternoon to be welcomed by hundreds of Thunder fans.

And as this year of pushing all the Thunder's chips to the middle of the table continues another big move could be looming.

Since sending out two players for one the Thunder have an open roster spot and there seems to be building momentum (at least in the media) that All-Star sharpshooter Dwyane Wade could be the next Presti target.

Wade and the Chicago Bulls have been working on a contract buyout. Wade is good buddies with Anthony and has good relationships with George and Westbrook plus (and who knows what this really means) if you check out some of what Wade is posting on Twitter and Instagram it would appear he's following the Thunder moves closely and approves.

So could a Big 3 turn into a Big 4? One thing this Summer of Sam has taught us is we should never under estimate what Presti has up his sleeve.

Media Day on Monday and the opening of training camp on Tuesday should be "lit" as the kids say these days.

 

Presti Hits Several Subjects In Preseason News Conference

Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti speaks to reporters during his annual preseason news conference. Photo By Randy Renner/InsideThunder.com

Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti speaks to reporters during his annual preseason news conference. Photo By Randy Renner/InsideThunder.com

By Randy Renner, Senior Writer

Thunder general manager Sam Presti hit on a wide range of topics during his annual preseason news conference this morning at the INTEGRIS Thunder Development Center perhaps the most surprising was the news that Russell Westbrook had undergone platelet rich plasma treatement on his right knee.

Presti stressed this was not related to any previous injury and was really more like a preventive measure. He said Westbrook would likely be held out of the first few days of training camp.

Westbrook's unsigned (so far) contract extension also came up (Presti is still hopeful it will be signed before the October 16th deadline).

He also talked about Kevin Durant's Twitter stumble (not a bad word to say about KD)...his excitement for the upcoming season (the team's 10th in OKC)...and how impressed he is with Paul George (the guy not just the basketball player).

You can hear the entire news conference by clicking the box below.

Steven Adams Loves Getting "Thunder Fit" With Kids

A recent Thunder Fit Clinic at Oklahoma City's Taft Middle School. Photo By Randy Renner/InsideThunder.com

A recent Thunder Fit Clinic at Oklahoma City's Taft Middle School. Photo By Randy Renner/InsideThunder.com

By Randy Renner, Senior Writer

Thunder center Steven Adams may be in a new tax bracket but he assures he's the same fun-loving (but also very serious) guy he's always been.

He returned to Oklahoma City last week from a summer full of fun and work and got right back into doing both at a Thunder Fit clinic at OKC's Taft Middle School.

Over the summer he hosted several of his own basketball camps back home in New Zealand, they were attended by more youngsters than ever before.

Thursday's clinic was pretty mild compared to that but it gave Adams a chance to connect with the kids and gave them a chance to see an NBA player up close.

Steven Adams chats with students during a Thunder Fit Clinic at Taft Middle School. Photo By Randy Renner/InsideThunder.com

Steven Adams chats with students during a Thunder Fit Clinic at Taft Middle School. Photo By Randy Renner/InsideThunder.com

Thunder training camp begins next week, but Adams and many of his OKC teammates have already had several informal workouts.

Adams says its especially important to begin building chemistry early with new players Paul George, Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton.

As far as what George being on the team could do for Adams, the big Kiwi said he's thinking more about what he can do for the team.

The most obvious improvement will likely come in floor spacing. with a sharpshooter out on the wing opponents won't be able to pack the paint like they did at times last season.

Now back to that new contract.

Adams agreed to it early last season, a 4-year, $100 million deal. His salary zooms from about $3.1 million in the third year of his rookie scale contract to $22.4 million this season. The raise means the Thunder will be paying Adams more than George or anyone else on the Thunder roster except for Mr. Triple Double. Russell Westbrook is set to earn $28.5 million.

Steven Adams working with Taft Middle School Students during last week's Thunder Fit Clinic. Photo By Randy Renner/InsideThunder.com

Steven Adams working with Taft Middle School Students during last week's Thunder Fit Clinic. Photo By Randy Renner/InsideThunder.com

Does that mean he's putting more pressure on himself to have a great season?

Well not really, the way Adams looks at it the goals are all team oriented.

Everyone has the same goal..the big goal...the ultimate goal...winning the NBA Championship.

And Adams admits this season's version of Thunder basketball should be a good one, a really good one.

We should begin to see some of the evidence of that once camp gets going on the 26th.