Lost in the seemingly endless discussion and speculation about the upcoming contracts of
Why? In any other season, the Thunder would simply give the blossoming superstar a maximum extension -- likely for around five years and $80 million, similar to what Denver's
And so the organization must weigh this question: Does it wait until a more fiscally responsible time to sign Durant at the risk of alienating a third-year player who, at 21, is already in the running for MVP?
"I never pictured myself with another team," Durant told SI.com during Oklahoma City's weekend visit to Golden State. "I like these guys so much. I like being around them. But I know this is a business here. A lot of different things happen. As far as being on the basketball court, these are the guys I envision myself playing with. But we'll see what happens."
"If it doesn't happen, maybe they forgot or whatever," Durant said. "I don't know. I don't know, maybe they got some other things going on."
Though general manager
So even if Presti gives Durant the extension that, under the circumstances, he probably deserves, how does he avoid insulting Green by potentially waiting until a new CBA is in place before negotiating his extension? It is these questions that make the Thunder such an interesting case study for franchise-building and management in the New Age NBA. Well, that, and the team's recent history.
In 2006, the
In the end, it worked out for everybody. Lewis opted out of the final two years of his contract and signed a $118 million deal with Orlando. The Thunder acquired Durant and Green as their foundation and now they're on the precipice of making the postseason for the first time since relocating.
Bennett, however, has a history of handling extensions in a similar manner. Granted, it is not an apples-to-apples comparison, and things back then were much more fluid then they are now, with the team planted firmly in Oklahoma City, where Durant said he is happy despite
"I don't understand why people think about that," Durant said. "Especially players. If you are playing well, the market is going to start to go because of who you are. I don't worry about that. I didn't worry about that when I was 9 working hard in the gym each day trying to get to this level. The market stuff is bogus to me. Technology is everything now. Just turn on the TV and you will see where Oklahoma City is. If we win and continue to play well, that will take care of itself."
Perhaps. But will the Thunder take care of Durant?
After catching up with
His retort: "According to the collective bargaining agreement, the max salary is not going to go from $18 million a year to $8 million a year."
Of course, that could be the case if a hard cap is installed.
"No. No. I got confidence in the players' association that it is not going to drop that low," he said. "I have great confidence in those guys. I have been doing some studying myself in terms of what the salary cap is going to be; it won't be that harsh."
"I'm learning," he said. "Something I can say in five minutes it takes me 20 minutes to text."
Gentry said he is learning about social networking from his daughter, who lives in Denver. Not only is she getting him to text, she got him to open a Twitter account -- briefly.
"I was like, 'Why would anyone care that I am eating BBQ in Memphis?' She said, 'Watch this.' So I said, 'OK, I'll get on.' And the first day I had 500 followers. And three days later I had like 6,000 people on. And I was like, 'No, uh uh, I don't want 6,000 people to know what I'm doing.'
"That was scary."
There was in item in the
The Rockets better hope it is not the case.
Zipfel, who previously worked for Portland and was recruited by the Rockets two years ago, is one of the more forward-thinking behind-the-scenes minds in the league and at least part of the reason the Rockets have overachieved this season.