Thunder in the news is your one-stop shop for everything OKC Thunder; today we take a look at a couple big men in Oklahoma City.
Here at Thunderous Intentions we cover every aspect of the team, even those old-fashioned back-to-the-basket big men. Today two of our stories has to do with the dying breed; one centered around an established big and the other cheap nba jerseys authentic focusing on a highly-touted G-League prospect in Dakari Johnson. Our third story? I’ll wait for you to read through and find out. Steven Adams calls Melo speculation “fantasizing”
Leave it to the Big Kiwi to drop a one-liner like this one. Not only did Adams compare Carmelo Anthony to Michael Jordan, but he did so with his patented Kiwi charm. Whether Melo will end up in Oklahoma City is doubtful, but it does indicate that Sam Presti is up to something. I mean seriously – when are the Thunder ever in trade rumors unless it’s to target somebody else?
I rest my case.
On Friday, TMZ Sports passed along comments from Adams, who brought up a certain Chicago Bulls legend as part of the Melo conversation.
Dakari Johnson is ready to step up this season
I’ve been on the Dakari bandwagon since he was drafted in the second round back in 2015. Now it looks like he’s finally getting his chance to prove himself to the Big Leaguers. In fact, Dakari didn’t even get invited to training camp last season. But here he is now, a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
You know it’s official when Nick Gallo writes a feature story about you.
The Thunder recently signed Johnson to a contract, clearly impressed by his work in the G League with the Oklahoma City Blue, where he was named to the All-NBA G League First Team and was selected as an NBA G-League All-Star. He’ll have a chance to make the roster and compete for NBA playing time, starting in training camp this fall.
The benefit of keeping Kyle Singler around
This one had to have made you do a double-take. How can Singler, the subject of an infamous Reddit post, be a positive for the Thunder? If you give Joshua Lea’s article a gander you’ll see exactly why.
Nearly a month after Charlotte Hornets rookie Malik Monk was ruled out of summer league with a sprained ankle, he still hasn’t been cleared for full basketball activity.
But that should change in the next few days
Monk, the No. 11 overall pick last month, said his target date to return to the court is Tuesday. He injured his left ankle in a pre-draft workout, and the Hornets ruled him out of Orlando summer league games and practices.
Monk spoke with media Saturday at an autograph signing in Simpsonville, Ky., near Louisville. Monk starred at shooting guard for Kentucky in his one college season before turning pro.
Monk was so frustrated by sitting out that he avoided watching summer league games.
“If I’m not playing, I can’t watch,” Monk said. “I was mad the whole time. So, yeah, I was super mad.”
The Hornets told Monk it was more important to heal the injury than try to play through it in Orlando. With Monk out, the Hornets’ other rookie, second-round pick Dwayne Bacon from Florida State, had a couple of big games starting at shooting guard.
The Hornets had hoped to experiment with Monk some at point guard in summer league, where there are not stakes as big as cheap jerseys winning or losing games that count. Monk is somewhat undersized at 6-3 to be an NBA shooting guard. He didn’t play the point at Kentucky, but believes he has the skills for either guard position.
“I think they want me to do both,” Monk said. “I think I can do it pretty good.”
Monk averaged 19.8 points and shot 40 percent from the college 3-point line last season. However, he might struggle defensively against players who will generally be taller than him.
Monk said he looks forward to playing alongside Hornets starting point guard Kemba Walker. Monk sees similarities between Walker, an All-Star last season, and former Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, the fifth overall pick to the Sacramento Kings.
“Kemba does everything just like Fox,” Monk said.
Monk showed his cocky side Saturday, repeating that he’d beat Hornets owner Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one. Jordan might have been the greatest player of his generation – maybe ever – but, as Monk noted, he is 54.
“He’s pretty old right now,” Monk said of Jordan. “I think I can get him.”
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – San Antonio 10-year-old Logan Gonzalez will receive a brand new pair of Jordans as his prize for winning an “around the world” shooting competition at Michael Jordan’s basketball camp.
“A shooter was eliminated if they missed two shots at one spot. Logan got the furthest and was the youngest shooter chosen,” Logan’s father Sam Gonzalez said.
Logan is attending the Michael Jordan Flight School camp in California this week.
Gonzalez posted a video of his son during the competition on his Facebook page. Logan wanted to represent the Spurs by wearing his Kawhi Leonard jersey.
He kept his cool in front of MJ himself. He and his teammates from camp expect to receive the Jordan shoes in the mail soon.
“I’m cheap authentic jerseys proud of him for staying calm and seeing his hard work pay of. You can hear Jordan tell him to “stay in your range” before the first three-point shot,” Gonzalez said in the post.
The camp ends Tuesday, and Gonzalez said Logan is still hopeful the young players will get to meet a Team Jordan NBA athlete, maybe even Kawhi Leonard.
With Ivan Drago-like hair and a late-career dragon tattoo covering his back, Andrei Kirilenko was one of the more intimidating forwards in basketball. His nickname, “AK-47,” and tendency to swat shots into the stands didn’t soften his image.
But these days, Kirilenko is a disciplined family man who moved on to the next phase in his life after finishing his playing days two years ago. While some of his contemporaries have decided to spend their post-basketball lives somewhere warm, Kirilenko, content with how his career panned out, is still working. And when he gets the time, he thinks of Utah, too.
Once the proverbial face of Russian basketball on the hardwood, Kirilenko has become the literal face of the Russian Basketball Federation as the organization’s commissioner.
Unlike in the United States, where the NBA has been resourceful with the national basketball program in providing assistance, the Russian Basketball Federation operates as an independent entity.
Kirilenko’s day-to-day operations as commissioner aren’t outlined like they are for Adam Silver. From managing the people who referee the games to making sure the program’s relationship with the government is consistent, Kirilenko does it all.
“It’s a lot of work, and there’s a lot of challenges,” Kirilenko said in a recent interview with the Deseret News. “Being responsible for a basketball program for the whole Russian nation is challenging. There are a lot of directions, and it starts with mini basketball, with children. Then it goes all the way up to the national team.”
Beginning Aug. 31, Kirilenko will be in charge of running two Russian national teams for the 2017 FIBA EuroBasket tournament with hopes of earning a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The responsibilities are demanding, but Kirilenko finds it fulfilling.
“I knew I couldn’t be a coach. I can coach for a day or two but not for an entire season,” he said while chuckling. “I never thought I’d be in this kind of position, but I knew I’d always be around basketball.”
Instead of taking a year or two off from the game, Kirilenko knew he had to thrust himself into a high-pressured situation immediately after retiring as a player. As his friend who retired from the NHL at 40 told him, “when you retire, go work right away.”
“When you take a year off anything, you don’t want to come back,” Kirilenko said. “When you’re still playing, you have that work ethic. You’re used to waking up early, going to work and being on a schedule. That was really good advice. It’s helping me right now because I’m still in work and practice mode.”
Now that he’s not focused on X’s and O’s, defending Kobe Bryant in the 2009 NBA playoffs or finding a way to integrate himself in the Utah Jazz offense while knowing Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer would remain go-to guys, Kirilenko has taken a philosophical approach to life.
As an NBA All-Star, All-Defensive First Team member, Euroleague MVP, Olympic medalist and his country’s flag bearer, Kirilenko doesn’t look back on his career with regret or think about “what ifs.” He simply recognizes the sheer luck it even took for him to get noticed in the first place.
“For a kid that grew up in the streets of St. Petersburg, Russia, to come all the way to the NBA and become an All-Star, to go to the Olympics and get a medal, I did a pretty good job,” he said.
“But it really depends on your perspective. If you look at it from Michael Jordan’s perspective, I didn’t do anything. But if you look at it as a kid who started playing basketball, it was an exceptional career. I was lucky enough to be the flag bearer in the Olympics for my country. I had basketball represent the whole country. That’s a big deal.”
Kirilenko, who plays pickup basketball and practices from time to time, isn’t frustrated by the way his career ended — riddled by injuries, an unforeseen league-wide lockout and a last-minute trade to the historically awful Philadelphia 76ers.
“It’s just a career coming to an end,” he said. “Anything you do, whether it’s in business, sports or entertainment, comes to an end. At that point, I just had to finish it. I had a great career, an exceptional career. But it was time to stop and start something else.”
Kirilenko, who splits his time between Los Angeles and Moscow, still owns a home in Salt Lake City and reflected on the times he had with the Jazz but more so on the experiences he had away from the games.
“My time with the Jazz is a chain of memories, starting with off the court,” he said. “I always mention, my kids were born there. I spent 10 years of my life there and made so many friends. I came to the United States at the age of 20 and didn’t know anything. I got married right before I moved, so I lived a family life in Salt Lake City. It’s a lot of factors. I played in a gym that was legendary. It’s a lot of little memories that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Salt Lake became my second home.”
Last year, the Jazz honored Kirilenko at center court alongside his wife Masha and their kids, presenting them with a jersey in front of thousands of standing fans and Bryant, who greeted Kirilenko and his youngest child after the small ceremony.
“The Jazz have always been so wonderful to me, and they’re doing a great job right now,” he said. “I want to wish them luck. They did a great job this season. It’s like a family. It’s a basketball franchise that keeps a certain character. Players that used to play for the Jazz still come back and support each other. It’s very important.”
Focused on Russian basketball, Kirilenko doesn’t spend much time thinking in hypotheticals, such as how he would’ve done against Kevin Durant in his prime or what he could have done differently in his decade-long run with the Jazz.
“If I changed anything, I wouldn’t have went the path I went,” Kirilenko said. “Those challenges created a chance for me to get better. Those challenges changed my priorities and shifted my mindset. If cheap nba jerseys authentic I could go back, I would put my money in Apple stock,” Kirilenko said with a laugh.
“You can’t think about things you should’ve done. If I changed anything, I might’ve not come to this point. It’s important to live through the tough times and go through frustrations.”