Kevin Durant Comments On James Harden Rumors, Serge Ibaka's Contract

OKC plays it safe while gambling on potential in their offseason moves thus far.

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Hasheem Thabeet Could Still Play For OKC Thunder's Summer League Roster

The Oklahoma City Thunder have released their summer league roster already, but that doesn’t mean that their newest addition will not also show up in a Thunder uniform when the team goes to play in Orlando next week.

Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman had a great reminder that teams cannot sign players yet, which means the Thunder cannot include Hasheem Thabeet officially in anything they do despite word that they’ve agreed to a deal with the center.

"Yes, noticeably absent is a 7-foot-3 center with whom the Thunder recently agreed to terms," writes Mayberry. "That’s because Hasheem Thabeet isn’t officially a member of the Thunder yet. He can’t sign his contract until July 11, when the league’s free agent moratorium is lifted. But that doesn’t mean Thabeet will not compete in Orlando next week. He could sign his contract Wednesday morning and suit up for the Thunder’s noon showdown against ninth overall pick Andre Drummond and Detroit. I suspect he will be in Orlando and he will play later in the week. So don’t rule out that possibility."

Thabeet joined the Thunder a few days ago unofficially after frustrating stints with three other teams. Sam Presti is hoping the culture of the Thunder will help Thabeet turn the corner in the NBA.

For more on the Oklahoma City Thunder check out Welcome To Loud City. For more news and notes from around the NBA head over to SB Nation's NBA page.

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Cole Aldrich Likely Takes On Larger Role With Oklahoma City Thunder After Hasheem Thabeet Signing

Cole Aldrich will likely assume the starting center role on the Oklahoma City Thunder at some point in the near future. His path just got a bit clearer with the newly announced move that center project Hasheem Thabeet has signed with the team.

The team is now likely to move on from Nazr Mohammed, who was one of three internal free agents the team was going to have to make a decision on along with point guard Derek Fisher and guard Royal Ivey. Darnell Mayberry writes that the order has now switched with Mohammed likely out of the way.

Mayberry writes, "The addition of Thabeet all but guarantees veteran center Nazr Mohammed will not return to the Thunder. If not, that paves the way for third-year center Cole Aldrich to step into the primary backup role behind starter Kendrick Perkins. Thabeet is expected to be the third-string center."

Aldrich, a former KU big man, steps up in the rotation but Perkins himself is typically riddled with nagging injuries and could become an issue financially as the team gets closer to long-term decisions with Serge Ibaka and James Harden. Aldrich could find himself becoming a starter if the team decides that Perkins is simply too expensive to keep around as well.

For now, Aldrich will find a bit more playing time and the Thunder will see a bit more of what they have in their former first round selection. Aldrich averaged 2.2 points and 1.8 rebounds per game last season in very limited playing time.

For more on the Oklahoma City Thunder check out Welcome To Loud City. For more news and notes from around the NBA head over to SB Nation's NBA page.

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Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant Make Lakers Potential Power Of Western Conference

The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired one of the biggest prizes in the NBA offseason that several other teams were jostling for, and the payoff is going to cause issues for everyone, including the defending Western Conference Champion Oklahoma City Thunder. Steve Nash is now the new Lakers point guard, and combined with the other storied vets on the team, a new power has been established before the Lakers competitive window is completely closed.

As if the conference weren’t difficult enough (and the Lakers team as well), LA’s Mitch Kupchak pulled off an incredible sign-and-trade with the Suns that gives up two first- and two second-round selections in alternating future drafts for the next four years. That’s a small price to pay considering the Lakers’ first rounders are always near the second round anyway.

Nash, however, will give LA instant championship potential after being swept out of the NBA playoffs this season in the second round by the Thunder. With Nash at the point, the offense becomes incredibly difficult to defend.

ESPN’s Brian Kamenetzky writes, "The Lakers have instantly gone from a staid, struggling team on offense to one with incredible potential. Nash at the point, Kobe Bryant on the wing, with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum up front (at least for now)? Good luck guarding those guys. The potential for spectacularly entertaining basketball is very, very strong."

The Thunder were considered the team to beat in the Western Conference for the next few years and many were calling the Thunder-Heat finale a potential rivalry to be developed. However, the Lakers have answered with another veteran acquisition of their own that should prove tough to beat. Perhaps now the Lakers stand as the biggest competition within the conference for the Thunder to overcome.

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NBA Free Agency: Michael Beasley Signs With Phoenix Suns For 3 Years

It wasn’t too long ago that Kansas State’s Michael Beasley was the second overall selection in the NBA Draft for the Miami Heat. Two years later, the Timberwolves tried a change-of-scenery move to resuscitate his image and potential and that lasted the same amount of time. Now the Phoenix Suns hope they can do the same with a newly announced three-year deal with Beasley.

The Phoenix Suns lost Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers in a sign-and-trade that officially turns the corner for the franchise to a new era. They’re hoping Beasley and potentially Eric Gordon can be the scoring cornerstones of that period. Beasley has had issues in the past, but the Suns clearly like what they see.

Marc Stein of ESPN writes, "Suns general manager Lance Blanks has a history of working with troubled players dating back to his time as an executive with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Blanks was instrumental in bringing volatile guard Delonte West to the Cavs and continues to have a strong relationship with him."

Beasley averaged a career low 11.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last year for the Wolves.

Check out Bright Side of the Sun for more info on the Suns offseason moves.

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Tyshawn Taylor Will Back Up Deron Williams With New Jersey Nets

The mystery has been revealed and Deron Williams told the world himself via his Twitter account that the New Jersey Nets had won the bidding for his services. That means that the greatest player available in the NBA free agent market was returning back to the team that was hoping such good fortune would await them if they would just take a chance on acquiring him in the first place.

That also means that former Kansas point guard Tyshawn Taylor will enter the NBA backing up Williams and his new long-term deal with the Nets as he adjusts to the pro level. Taylor was the Nets second round selection last Thursday in the 2012 NBA Draft. He's a very experienced player with great quickness so he should be able to provide quality minutes for the team from the outset while learning from one of the best in the business.

As for the Nets, they can breathe a sigh of relief now knowing that they have a new stellar backcourt of Joe Johnson and Williams for the long haul with a new addition in Taylor among others to bolster the position. It was the plan they were hoping for — at least minus Dwight Howard — and it’s an incredible display of a franchise truly trying to turn things around.

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NBA Rumors: Ray Allen Visiting LA Clippers, Miami Heat While Celtics Wait

Ray Allen is beginning to make his visits, but they aren’t including the Oklahoma City Thunder, at this point, despite rumors to the contrary when the NBA free agency period began. Instead the Boston Celtics sharpshooter is taking time to reportedly visit the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers as he searches for his new team. Of course, the Celtics are expected to make every effort to re-sign him.

Allen will have to choose between a certified starting spot and financial priorities when it likely comes down to it. A team like the Miami Heat is not going to have a starting slot for him — at least on the surface — unless they make further moves or a promise to do so. The Celtics even replaced Allen down the stretch.

At the same time, the Clippers, who can offer that spot, according to David Aldridge, doesn’t have the financial sway that the Celtics can bring to the table.

Aldridge writes, "The Heat can only offer Allen their mini mid-level exception that starts at $3.09 million next season, the same exception Miami used last year to sign free-agent forward Shane Battier. The Clippers have their full mid-level available at $5 million. Boston has offered Allen a two-year deal for $12 million."

It’s hard to picture Allen signing with anyone but the Celtics after Kevin Garnett re-upped for three more seasons. Then again, the amount of player movement already this offseason shows that anything is possible. Perhaps OKC can even get back into the Allen sweepstakes.

For more on the Oklahoma City Thunder check out Welcome To Loud City. For more news and notes from around the NBA head over to SB Nation's NBA page.

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NBA Free Agency Rumors: Bulls, Heat, Thunder All Interested In Derek Fisher

The Oklahoma City Thunder added a much-needed back-up point guard this spring when Derek Fisher decided to join the team after several years with the Los Angeles Lakers. Since Fisher could choose whichever team he wanted and went with the Thunder, they are the odds-on favorites to sign Fisher up again. However, that’s not a certainty with Eric Maynor returning from injury and other teams in on him.

The Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks are all reportedly interested in bringing in Fisher as a battle-tested point guard with plenty of NBA championship experience. The Thunder are also in, so it remains to be seen which high-profile team will land Fisher’s services.

Fisher averaged 8.7 points and 2.5 assists for the Thunder last season after coming over from the Lakers. He shot an abysmal 34 percent from the field.

For more on the Oklahoma City Thunder check out Welcome To Loud City. For more news and notes from around the NBA head over to SB Nation's NBA page.

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NBA Free Agency Rumors: OKC Thunder Likely To Land Hasheem Thabeet

The Oklahoma City Thunder will not be nearly as active in the open market as other teams, especially with the Dwight Howard and Deron Williams sagas playing out in the media. However, Sam Presti, the team’s general manager, will make some moves and it seems he’s taking a chance on a big center who’s failed to realize his potential with former No. 2 overall selection Hasheem Thabeet.

Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick has the story and writes, "First the Perry Jones "gamble," now Hasheem Thabeet? Source says Oklahoma City is the most likely landing spot for the 7-3 center who was taken No. 2 by Memphis in 2009 and will be playing for his fourth team (assuming he doesn’t sign with Portland, Houston or the Griz)."

The height and potential is always something to consider on a player like this, but a change of scenery is something that he’s had many times around. It’s unlikely that Thabeet would ever turn into anything for the Thunder, yet OKC is definitely the type of team that can take a chance on such a project. There are zero expectations for Thabeet and yet he has the one thing you cannot teach in the NBA: size.

For more on the Oklahoma City Thunder check out Welcome To Loud City. For more news and notes from around the NBA head over to SB Nation's NBA page.

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