Introducing the OKC Thunder, Chalmers and Arthur get in trouble, and Pat Riley isn’t done

09.04.08 9 years ago 48 Comments
Jeff GreenJeff Green (photo. David Deal)

It wasn’t much of an “unveiling” due to the numerous leaks that had happened dating back almost a whole month, but the Oklahoma City NBA franchise officially revealed their name and logo yesterday. “Thunder” won out over the Energy, Wind, Marshals, Barons and Bison, and like everyone’s been saying, the blue/orange color scheme and logo has some definite WNBA/D-League undertones. Desmond Mason and Damien Wilkins were on hand at the unveiling press conference, which looked like it was held at a mall. We were expecting Kevin Durant and Jeff Green to come out wearing the new uniforms, but no dice … Clay Bennett gets the Elephant Balls award for using his speech to talk about his franchise embodying “character,” “community” and “dignity.” Is he serious with that? … And how’s this for cruelty: As soon as the OKC press conference was over and NBA TV went back to its original program, the very first image to show up on screen was from KeyArena, showing the highlights from a Sonics/Kings game this past season (the one where Kevin Martin hit a game-winner). Immediately after that, the next shot was of Ray Allen playing for Boston. That was just wrong on so many levels … So Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur get busted with weed and girls in their room during the NBA’s rookie transition program, and their punishment is that they get sent home early? Shouldn’t that be even more reason to make them stay? Chalmers and Arthur will have to repeat the program next year (under extra surveillance, no doubt), they were fined a reported $20,000 a pop, and might be suspended as well. But at least Chalmers is getting the hang of the whole Miami lifestyle early on … The drama surrounding Monta Ellis‘ ankle injury is getting even more complicated, now with reports that cuts and abrasions were identified on Monta’s ankle that aren’t consistent with a typical basketball injury. Was Monta playing on the asphalt when he got hurt? Did he crash something (motorcycle, scooter, unicycle) into some bushes? Since the injury isn’t too serious yet — although we have yet to see if it’ll have Grant Hill-ish repercussions — the worst the Warriors would probably do is fine Ellis. Suspending him when he’s already gonna miss a month of their season and put them behind the eight-ball before New Year’s doesn’t help the team at all … Meanwhile, Manu Ginobili‘s ankle surgery yesterday went well. He’ll be on crutches for a few weeks, and will be out for at least the first 2-3 weeks of the regular season. Spurs fans are praying this doesn’t turn into a D-Wade/Heat situation, but that would only happen if Tim Duncan suddenly falls off a la Shaq … Speaking of the Heat, Pat Riley claims he’s done with coaching, “Unless it had to do internationally, with the Olympics or something like that,” he told the Palm Beach Post, “I don’t think there’s any question I’ve seen my last practice, my last game.” We’ll believe that when the Heat are on pace for 50 wins at the All-Star break and Erik Spoelstra is still walking around with a healthy jugular vein … Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace to the Memphis Commercial Appeal: “We picked up some size with a variety of big men who have different skills.” In other words, Marc Gasol is good at fouling, Hamed Ehadadi is good at being tall, and together they might form a halfway decent ballplayer … On the same day our readers crowned Reggie Miller the best three-point shooter of the last 20 years, NBA TV aired Game Seven of the ’94 Eastern Conference Finals, when Reggie dropped 25 on the Knicks but took an L thanks to Pat Ewing‘s 24-point, 22-board, 7-dime, 5-block performance. You’d think that with all the media bias toward NY, Ewing’s follow dunk with less than 30 seconds in the fourth quarter that gave the Knicks the lead would be all over those “NBA’s Greatest Moments” highlight packages, but you hardly ever see it … Watching that game, wasn’t Derek Harper basically Sam Cassell before Sam Cassell was Sam Cassell? All he was missing was a Clay Bennett dance … We’re out like buying Thunder jerseys …

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