OKC Locks Up One Of Their MVPs; The Gasols Infiltrate The NCAA

The NBA transaction wire might be moving slower than Ben Roethlisberger running a 40-yard dash right now, but this is also the time of year when teams make those overlooked moves that lead to championships — or at least keep them out of the lottery — down the road. The Oklahoma City Thunder, for example, quietly locked up defensive sparkplug Serge Ibaka yesterday with a four-year, $48 million extension. That should keep the NBA’s reigning shot-blocking leader happily spiking basketballs all over the court for the next half-decade while Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook keep OKC in the title hunt … So now what about James Harden, who has one year left on his rookie deal? Thunder GM Sam Presti — who is so dedicated to his job that he finalized the Ibaka deal and met with the media about it on his wedding day — says the franchise is all about keeping Harden long-term and doesn’t plan to lose him. If you have a short attention span, don’t let Harden’s NBA Finals disappearing act or his status as Team USA’s Christian Laettner turn you against him. He’s still one of the game’s most explosive scorers from the two-guard position, and absolutely vital to what the Thunder are putting together … Deron Williams stopped by the new Brooklyn Nets arena and showed off his Olympic gold medal to the construction workers. We read that D-Will has actually been to the construction site five times already. Is he a budding construction-company magnate after he retires from the NBA? Or considering that D-Will just inked a $100 million contract, maybe he’s scoping out the Nets arena for something close to the size of his next house … On that note, does anybody else miss MTV’s Cribs? OK, we don’t really miss it either. But if you could pick three current NBA players whose houses you’d want to see, who would be on the list? We’re thinking Amar’e Stoudemire (his New York spot), JaVale McGee (next year, after he has a chance to spend some of that big money), and Dwyane Wade (just to see his closet) … Exhibit A that talent and size aren’t everything in the NBA: Andray Blatche still doesn’t have a job. Meanwhile, P.J. Tucker — who is basically an undersized bundle of hard work and resiliency — recently signed a multi-year deal with the Suns. Blatche is working out in Houston with noted human-being repairman John Lucas, so if he gets another chance, hopefully he makes it count … The Magic have hired recently-retired Anthony Parker as a scout. The sad part is that Parker might be one of the five best players on the Magic roster right now. The sadder part is that his sister, Candace Parker, might be one of the three best players on the roster … Don’t feel too bad for Orlando, though, because you KNOW they’re getting the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft next year. It’s not even a question. Whether it’s Shabazz Muhammad or Nerlens Noel or Cody Zeller or whoever, all of the top prospects had better scout out real estate in central Florida just in case. If we had to put money on it, we’d predict that Noel ends up in that No. 1 spot and becomes the Magic’s third try at a franchise center who the team can build around for a decade. First Shaq, then Dwight Howard, and next Noel. And of course another top pick for John Calipari to put on his resume … Did you know there’s another Gasol brother who plays ball? Adria Gasol is a 6-10 forward who played high school ball in Memphis and has trained with Spain’s under-18 national squad. He is going to UCLA now and will go out for the basketball team as a walk-on. And just like his big brothers, Adria had a full beard when he was eight years old … We’re out like Blatche …

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