Posts Tagged ‘Jenni Carlson’

Will Finances Force Thunder’s Hand With Harden?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — This isn’t about scare tactics or some sort of negotiating ploy on the part of the Thunder or anyone else.

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s quandary regarding reigning Kia Sixth Man of the Year James Harden is real. They have to figure out how to keep him in the fold when he’s set to cash in with a new contract while the franchise is already somewhat strapped due to big deals it handed out to its other young stars (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka).

The luxury tax is a very real factor for some teams. If you paid attention during the first five minutes of Junior Achievement in middle school, you’d know that the numbers simply do not add up in favor of the team trying to keep a handful of young stars in their primes with generous contracts. The Thunder — a proud, small-market titan — happen to be one of those teams.

And there is a growing concern in Oklahoma City that Harden could end up being a casualty of the financial dilemma the Thunder will face at the end of the 2012-13 season. Thunder general manager Sam Presti addressed the topic Monday, courtesy of Jenni Carlson of the Oklahoman:

So, what about Harden?

“James is somebody we value,” Presti said Monday afternoon. “We think he’s an important part to what we’re trying to do with our team and we’re hopeful that he’ll be with us.”

No doubt about that. Harden is super talented, a rare combination of shooter, slasher and distributor. His offensive skills provide an amazing complement to those of Durant and Westbrook.

“By the same token, we’ve been very upfront and transparent with everybody that we have some inherent challenges that we face as an organization as a result of the new collective bargaining agreement,” the Thunder general manager continued. “I know we’d love to have him here. I think James would like to be here as well. But at the end of the day … you have to find a way to make it work for everybody.”


Hang Time Podcast (Episode 40)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Here at the hideout we pride ourselves on bringing you the very best innovators, agitators and prognosticators we can find to wax poetic about the people who coach, play and observe the game we all love.

We hit for the trifecta on Episode 40 of the Hang Time Podcast, delivering the best of all these things with a superb lineup for this week’s show.

We finally caught up with the guys from The Basketball Jones, and just in time for their five-year anniversary party, which will go down Friday in Toronto. TBJ founders and editors J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas joined us to discuss how they got started, their recent move to The Score and exactly how they are going to celebrate their fifth birthday, among plenty of other things.

Speaking of fives …

TNT’s Charles Barkley is usually the one laying down challenges, but Jenni Carlson of the Oklahoman called the Chuckster out last week for not making good on his promise to visit Oklahoma City. Five years ago he dropped the hammer on the entire state, calling it a “vast wasteland.” (For the record, we vehemently disagree with Charles on that one). Carlson and the rest of Oklahoma (City and state) are still waiting on the big man to make to his way to Bricktown to hang out with the locals.

Again, Episode 40 is one you will not want to miss:


As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine, our super producer Micah Hart of’s All Ball Blog and your host Sekou Smith on Twitter.

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About Last Night: The Mighty Thunder

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — In a half season filled with salacious story lines, we’d almost forgotten about those young cats in Oklahoma City.

Sure, they were the cover boys on all the preseason magazines and everyone’s trendy pick to challenge the Lakers in the Western Conference. But when the season started, their elders in San Antonio and Dallas stole their thunder.

Seeing Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green and the boys go toe-to-toe with the Magic last night, reminded us just how mighty the Thunder can be. Whatever they lack in experience, they seem to make up for in energy, effort, determination and chemistry. Not even a dominant showing from Dwight Howard could stop the Thunder last night.

Winners of four straight games, the Thunder sit fourth in the Western Conference, behind the Mavericks, Lakers and Spurs. That top spot might be a couple of years away. But they are heading in that direction. Everyone can see that.

“Obviously, we couldn’t stop them,” said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who also complained about his team’s defensive effort. “There wasn’t one possession all night that I liked our defense on. Not one.”