Thunder Lightning Round
By Randy Renner
As we head into the weekend just thought I'd throw together a few notes from the Thunder and from around the NBA so here we go with another Thunder Lightning Round...
Team USA Scrimmage
Thunder superstar Kevin Durant, the face of Team USA, will lead his teammates through a full-scale scrimmage tonight in Las Vegas. Training camp has been going on all week in Vegas and tonight we'll be able to see what they've been working on.
The scrimmage will be televised by ESPN and will tipoff just after 8 o'clock Oklahoma time.
Normally this sort of thing would be great fun but if you watch it just be advised you're going to have to listen to all sorts of speculation about what Durant will do in 2016.
Will he stay in OKC? Will he go home to DC? Will he opt for the beaches of Miami or the bright, big spotlights of New York or Los Angeles?
Just remember while you listen to all those guys with "sources" that none of them, NONE OF THEM, know what's going to happen.
The main reason they don't know is because KD doesn't know. So no need to wring your hands over what might happen just enjoy the next two Thunder basketball seasons and then we'll all find out about Durant's decision.
Thunder Pre-Season Games
The Thunder's pre-season schedule appears to have another couple of dates locked down and OU fans should be especially excited about one of them. The Thunder so far have only formally announced two of their preseason games, in Wichita (versus Toronto) on October 17th and in Tulsa (versus Minnesota) on October 19th but word is leaking out about two more games.
According to the Star-Telegram newspaper in Ft. Worth and Ticketmaster.com, on Friday, October 10th, OKC will make a quick trip down to Dallas to play the Mavericks at American Airlines Center. A lot of OU football fans will already be in Big-D because the next day, Saturday October 11th, the Sooners and the Texas Longhorns play their annual football grudge match in Cotton Bowl Stadium.
Neither the Thunder nor the Mavs have said if the game was scheduled as an added attraction for football fans from Oklahoma and Texas but that would be a good guess and it ought to be a regular part of OU-Texas weekend in Dallas in the future.
The Utah Jazz have announced their full preseason schedule and it includes a game against the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Tuesday, October 21st.
The full pre-season schedule should be out very soon and the NBA is expected to announce the full regular season schedule within the next couple of weeks or so.
Durant Deal Expiring, No Not THAT one
It seems like everyone's been chattering about KD's long term deal with the Thunder expiring in two years but his long term deal with Nike expires this week. Durant may play in a small market but he is in huge demand as a commercial spokesman.
When he wasn't at Team USA training camp in Vegas he was spending part of his time in that desert oasis speaking with various companies wanting to sign him up.
KD may be considered the second best basketball player in the world, but he is Number One when it comes to likeability ratings among athletes. His Q-Score, which advertisers use to gauge how effective an athlete or celebrity might be as a spokesperson, went through the roof after his emotional MVP acceptance speech.
"I didn't do that to be marketable, to be looked at as one of the more marketable guys," Durant said in an interview with ESPN. "Was just being myself, and, if people like for me being myself, then I'm cool with it. I'm not trying to be nobody else or act a different way. I'm still a work in progress just like everybody else so I'm just going to continue to keep being who I am, and I enjoy all the partners that partner with me. I just try to do my best to represent them and do everything in authentic ways."
One of the companies making a big push for Durant is Under-Armour, which is based in Maryland. I'm sure conspiracy theorists will assume if Durant moves from Nike to Under-Amour that's another sign he'll be moving to the Washington Wizards too when he becomes a free agent in 2016.
Have I said it's gonna be a looooong two years between now and then?