Oklahoma City Thunder: Wikis

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For current information on this topic, see 2009–10 Oklahoma City Thunder season.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City Thunder logo
Conference Western
Division Northwest Division
Founded 1967
History Seattle SuperSonics (1967–2008)
Oklahoma City Thunder
(2008–present)
Arena Ford Center
City Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Team colors Light Blue, Orange-Red, Navy, Gold, White
                        
Owner(s) Professional Basketball Club LLC (Clay Bennett, Chairman)
General manager Sam Presti
Head coach Scott Brooks
D-League affiliate Tulsa 66ers
Championships 1 (1979)
Conference titles 3 (1978, 1979, 1996)
Division titles 6 (1979, 1994, 1996,

1997, 1998, 2005)

Official website
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Home jersey
Kit shorts oklahomath.png
Team colours
Home
Kit body oklahomata.png
Away jersey
Kit shorts oklahomata.png
Team colours
Away

The Oklahoma City Thunder is a professional basketball franchise based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They play in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA)[1] with their home arena at Oklahoma City's Ford Center.[2] The Thunder's NBA Development League affiliate is the Tulsa 66ers, which it also owns.[3]

Formerly the Seattle SuperSonics, the Thunder were established in 2008 after a dispute between owner Clay Bennett and lawmakers in Seattle, Washington. As the Seattle SuperSonics, the club qualified for the NBA Playoffs 22 times, won its division six times and won the 1979 NBA Championship. In Oklahoma City, the team has yet to qualify for the playoffs.

Contents

Franchise history

The final logo of the SuperSonics
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1967–2008: Seattle SuperSonics

The Thunder's previous incarnation, the Seattle SuperSonics, were formed in 1967 and appeared in two consecutive Finals against the Eastern Conference champion Washington Bullets (now Washington Wizards), losing in seven games in 1978 and winning in five in 1979.[4][5] Seattle's victory remains the only modern era championship in major Seattle sports history. That team included renowned players such as Spencer Haywood, Fred Brown, Jack Sikma and Finals MVP Dennis Johnson and were coached by Lenny Wilkens, who holds several historical NBA coaching records. During the course of the next decade, Seattle had moderate success until it drafted the duo of Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton in 1989 and 1990 respectively. Alongside Nate McMillan, coach George Karl and other notable players, the Sonics rose up among the rank of title contenders in the early 1990s. The team qualified for the playoffs every year between 1991 and 1998.

In the 1995–96 NBA season, the Sonics established the franchise mark for most wins, 64–18 (.720) and earned their third NBA Finals berth. Seattle met the record-setting 72–10 Chicago Bulls in the 1996 NBA Finals and lost in six games.[6] The Sonics' fortunes slowly spiraled after that season, with most of the core retiring or departing from Seattle. The next decade would not fare better as the franchise, aside from a surprising 2004–05 NBA season in which the Sonics won 52 games, disappointed with playoff futility. The Sonics drafted cornerstones Kevin Durant and Jeff Green in the 2007 NBA Draft.[7] Despite their talent, the club endured the worst season in franchise history in the 2007–08 NBA season, losing a team-record 62 games.[8]

In 41 years that the SuperSonics spent in Seattle, they compiled a 1,745–1,585 (.524) win–loss record in the regular season and 107–110 (.493) in the playoffs. The franchise's titles include three Western Conference championships and one NBA title.

Creation of the Thunder

The Ford Center began hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008.[9]

In the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans, Louisiana, and surrounding area, the New Orleans Hornets temporarily relocated to Oklahoma City, playing the majority of their home games at the Ford Center during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons. In due time, the city showed it could support the uprooted Hornets and NBA commissioner David Stern commented that Oklahoma City could support a franchise of its own.[10]

In 2006, the SuperSonics franchise was sold to a group of Oklahoma City investors led by Clay Bennett for $350 million, a move approved by NBA owners the following October.[11] Terms of the sale required the new ownership group to use a "good faith, best effort" for the term of 12 months in securing a new arena lease or venue in the Greater Seattle Area.[12] Bennett then spent much of 2007 attempting to gain public funding for a new arena, or a major renovation of the KeyArena. However, e-mails between Bennett and co-owner Aubrey McClendon revealed that Bennett and partners did not intend to keep the team in Seattle, WA. Quoted in the e-mail McClendon wrote, "We didn't buy the team to keep it in Seattle. We hoped to come here."[13] After 12 months, he announced that the franchise would move to Oklahoma City as soon as the lease with KeyArena expired.[14]

In June 2008, a lawsuit between the City of Seattle and Bennett went to Federal Court and nearly a month later the two sides reached an agreement to settle. The terms would award the city of Seattle $45 million to get out of the remaining lease at KeyArena, and could provide an additional $30 million payment to Seattle in 2013 if certain conditions are met. The owners agreed to leave the 'SuperSonics' name, logo, and colors in Seattle for a possible future NBA franchise;[15] however the items would remain the property of the Oklahoma City team along with other "assets," including championship banners and trophies.[16] On September 3, 2008, the team name, along with logo and color, was announced.

2008–2009: Inaugural season

Oklahoma City defeated Minnesota on November 2, 2008 for their first win.

The Thunder participated in the Orlando Pro Summer League featuring their second-year players, potential free agents and rookies. The players wore generic black-and-white jerseys reading "OKC-NBA" against an outline of a basketball. The temporary practice facility for the Thunder was at Southern Nazarene University's Sawyer Center. This was the same facility was used by the New Orleans Hornets when they relocated to Oklahoma City after Hurricane Katrina.[17]

The Thunder played several pre-season games before the 2008–2009 regular season, but only one of those games was in Oklahoma City. The Thunder made its first appearance in Billings, Montana on October 8, 2008 in an 88–82 preseason loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves.[18] The Thunder had its first Ford Center game on October 14 against the Los Angeles Clippers.[19]

In its regular season home opener, Oklahoma City faced the lost to the Milwaukee Bucks. Earl Watson scored the first points of the season with a layup. Three nights later on November 2, the Thunder won its first game as a franchise by defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves, improving its record to 1–3. Unfortunately, the team then went on a 10-game losing streak before deciding on November 22 to fire head coach P.J. Carlesimo and assistant Paul Westhead. Assistant coach Scott Brooks then took over on an interim basis.[20] Oklahoma City would lose its next four games to tie the dubious franchise losing streak of 14 set the previous season in Seattle. But fortunately, it managed to prevent history by winning their next game on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies.[21]

As the season continued, the Thunder began to improve. The team ended its first season in Oklahoma City with a win against the Los Angeles Clippers, bringing their record to 23-59 and actually improving upon their record of 20-62 from the team's final season in Seattle. The late-season successes of the Thunder contributed to the signing of Scott Brooks as the team's official head coach.

2009-2010: Signs of Progress

After an inaugural season filled with many adjustments, the Thunder hoped to improve during their second season in Oklahoma City. From the outset, the young team looked determined and cohesive. The increasing leadership of Kevin Durant, along with the growing experience of the team's younger players, were encouraging signs that the Thunder were improving. The 2009-2010 season included several victories over the NBA's elite teams, including a 28-point blowout over the Orlando Magic and victories over the San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, and Miami Heat on their own courts. Though they hovered around .500 for the first half of the season, they eventually went on a 9-game winning streak that set them into serious playoff contention. Kevin Durant leads the team averaging 28 points per game.

The Thunder currently stand at 41-24, a 18-game improvement over last season. They are currently third in the Northwest Division and fifth in the Western Conference playoff standings.

Franchise accomplishments and awards

Home arenas

Note: All arenas used before 2008 were part of the defunct Sonics franchise.

Seattle arenas had hosted two NBA All-Star Games; the 1974 edition in Seattle Center Coliseum and 1987 in the Kingdome, where Sonic Tom Chambers grabbed MVP honors.

Players

Current roster

Oklahoma City Thunder roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht. Wt. From
G/F 8 United States Anderson, Antonio 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Memphis
F/C 4 United States Collison, Nick 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 255 lb (116 kg) Kansas
G/F 35 United States Durant, Kevin (C) 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 230 lb (104 kg) Texas
F 22 United States Green, Jeff (C) 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Georgetown
G 13 United States Harden, James Injured (IN) 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 220 lb (100 kg) Arizona State
F 9 Republic of the Congo Ibaka, Serge 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Republic of the Congo
C 12 Serbia Krstić, Nenad 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 240 lb (109 kg) Serbia
G 6 United States Maynor, Eric 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 175 lb (79 kg) Virginia Commonwealth
C 23 United States Mullens, Byron (IN) 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 275 lb (125 kg) Ohio State
G 7 United States Ollie, Kevin (IN) 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Connecticut
G/F 2 Switzerland Sefolosha, Thabo 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Switzerland
C 36 United States Thomas, Etan 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 260 lb (118 kg) Syracuse
G 5 United States Weaver, Kyle 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 201 lb (91 kg) Washington State
G 0 United States Westbrook, Russell 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 187 lb (85 kg) UCLA
F 3 United States White, D. J. 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 251 lb (114 kg) Indiana
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
Athletic trainer(s)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (IN) Inactive
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

RosterTransactions
Last transaction: 2010-02-22

Former players

For the complete list of Seattle SuperSonics and Oklahoma City Thunder players see: Oklahoma City Thunder all-time roster.
Gary Payton won the franchise's only Defensive Player of the Year in 1996.

Hall of Famers from the Seattle SuperSonics era

  • Patrick Ewing – Center best known for playing for the New York Knicks; traded from the Knicks to the Sonics in an early season trade during the 2001 season. Inducted in 2008.[28]
  • K.C. Jones – After being inducted in 1989, Jones coached the Sonics to two deep playoff runs in the 1991 and 1992 seasons.[29][30]
  • Bill Russell – Notable for winning 11 championships for the Boston Celtics, Russell coached and led the Sonics to their first playoff appearances his time in Seattle from 1973 through 1977.[31] Inducted in 1975.
  • Lenny Wilkens – Played point guard for four years in Seattle, becoming a player-coach for his last three. He returned in 1977 for eight straight seasons, coaching the Sonics to their only championship in 1979. Wilkens holds two notable NBA records for coaches: most wins with 1,332 and most losses with 1,155.[32] He was inducted into the Hall of Fame twice, in 1989 as a player and in 1998 as a head coach.[32]

Retired numbers

While the Oklahoma City franchise has yet to retire a jersey, the Seattle SuperSonics retired six numbers and an honorary microphone to longtime-servicing broadcaster Bob Blackburn, who had called the majority of games from 1967 through 1992.[33]

Seattle SuperSonics retired numbers
Players
No. Player Position Years
1 Gus Williams Guard 19771984
10 Nate McMillan Guard 19871998
19 Lenny Wilkens Guard 19691972
24 Spencer Haywood Forward 19711975
32 Fred Brown Guard 19711984
43 Jack Sikma Center 19781986
Coaches
No. Coach Wins/Losses Years
19 Lenny Wilkens 121–125
357–277
19691972
19781985

Staff

Head coaches

Other

General managers

Logo and uniforms

The Oklahoma City Thunder unveiled its first logo on September 3, 2008, showing a shield with a basketball on it. According to majority owner Clay Bennett, the team's logo takes several of its elements from local Oklahoma sports teams such as the Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys.[citation needed] The uniform design was unveiled on September 29, 2008.[34][35]

Television and radio

Radio

All Thunder games are broadcast on the Thunder Radio Network [36], led by the flagship stations WWLS-FM 98.1 and WWLS AM 640, "The Sports Animal".[37] Matt Pinto is the radio voice of the Thunder.[38]

TV

The Thunder's TV broadcasts are split between Fox Sports Oklahoma (a regional fork of FS Southwest), which broadcasts most of the games, and independent station KSBI (channel 52), with around 65 Thunder games airing during the season and more than half of the games available in HD on FS Oklahoma, along with other team-related programming such as pre-game shows. Around 15-20 regular season games are broadcast over-the-air on KSBI, which has a network of rebroadcasters spanning the entire state. All televised games are called by Brian Davis on play-by-play and Grant Long as color commentator.[39][40] Beginning with the 2009-2010 season, KSBI will telecast the Oklahoma City Thunder games it airs in high definition (KSBI had previously aired the first regular season game played in Oklahoma City at the Ford Center on October 29, 2008 against the Milwaukee Bucks in HD, while all other games during the 2008-2009 season were telecast on KSBI in standard-definition).

References

  1. ^ Darnell Mayberry (2008-04-21). "Thunder will stay in division". The Oklahoman. http://newsok.com/article/3232776/1208751773. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  2. ^ "City Preparing Ford Center For NBA Team". The Oklahoman. 2008-07-03. http://www.koco.com/news/16785490/detail.html. Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  3. ^ "OKC's NBA franchise buys Tulsa's d-league team". NewsOK. 2008-08-01. http://newsok.com/okcs-nba-franchise-buys-tulsas-d-league-team/article/3277505/?tm=1217566194. Retrieved 2008-08-01. 
  4. ^ "'Fat Lady' Sings Victorious Tune for Bullets". NBA.com. http://www.nba.com/history/finals/19771978.html. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  5. ^ "DJ Leads the Way for Sonics". NBA.com. http://www.nba.com/history/finals/19781979.html. Retrieved 2008-09-27. 
  6. ^ "Bulls' Record-Setting Season Ends in Victory". NBA.com. http://www.nba.com/history/finals/19951996.html?source=rss. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  7. ^ Pelton, Kevin (2007-06-28). "Selections of Durant, Green Herald New Era for Sonics". Yahoo Sports. http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=ap-supersonicsfuture&prov=ap&type=lgns. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  8. ^ Washburn, Gary (2008-04-16). "Positive finish for young Sonics". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/basketball/359412_sonx17.html?source=rss. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  9. ^ "Ford Center / Oklahoma City, Oklahoma". Arena Digest. 2008. http://www.arenadigest.com/visits/ford_center.htm. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  10. ^ "Stern: Oklahoma City top candidate if team moves". ESPN. 2005-11-09. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2219124. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  11. ^ "NBA approves sale of Sonics, Storm". ESPN. October 24, 2006. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2637335. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  12. ^ "Sonics' 'good faith efforts' never materialized". Seattle PI. June 17, 2008. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/thiel/367444_thiel18.html. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  13. ^ "Sonics timeline: From sale to settlement". Seattle PI. July 3, 2008. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/basketball/369513_sonicstimeline03.html. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  14. ^ Johns, Greg (2007-11-02). "Bennett says Sonics going to Oklahoma". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/basketball/337871_arena03.html?source=mypi. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  15. ^ "SuperSonics, Seattle reach last-minute settlement". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3471503. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  16. ^ "Seattle and Oklahoma City will share the Sonics' franchise history". 2008-07-06. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sonics/2008035531_soni06.html. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  17. ^ SNU Sawyer Center
  18. ^ Sites, Phil (2008-10-08). "T'Wolves Play Spoiler". Billings Gazette. http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2008/10/09/sports/local/18-wolves.txt. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  19. ^ Oklahoma City NBA team to face hectic pace in preseason
  20. ^ Sheridan, Chris (2008-11-22). "Carlesimo fired; Brooks to take over Thunder in interim". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3718961. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  21. ^ Associated Press (2008-11-22). "Thunder snap 14-game losing streak behind Durant's 30". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2008-11-29-thunder-grizzlies_N.htm?csp=34. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  22. ^ ESPN - Allen breaks NBA season record for 3-pointers - NBA
  23. ^ Springer, Shira (2007-02-23). "Dennis Johnson, ex-Celtic star, dead at age 52". Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/articles/2007/02/23/dennis_johnson_ex_celtic_star_dead_at_age_52/. Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  24. ^ a b c d Sonics' 40th Anniversary Team NBA.com, retrieved 07-26-2008
  25. ^ a b Associated Press (2007-12-07). "Sonics, Magic complete sign-and-trade for Rashard Lewis". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2932827. Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  26. ^ Gary Payton NBA.Com Bio NBA.com. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
  27. ^ Percy Allen (2008-04-14). "Fans show love for The Glove, for perhaps one last night". Seattle Times. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sonics/2004347142_allen14x.html. Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  28. ^ Pubin, Roger (2008-08-04). "Patrick Ewing elected to Hall of Fame". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/2008/04/07/2008-04-07_patrick_ewing_elected_to_hall_of_fame_.html. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  29. ^ Goldaper, Sam (1989-04-11). "Wilkens and K. C. Jones Elected to Basketball Hall of Fame". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE2DE133EF932A25751C0A96F948260. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  30. ^ "K.C. Jones Coaching Record". basketball-reference.com. http://www.basketball-reference.com/coaches/joneskc01c.html. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  31. ^ "Bill Russell Coaching Record". basketball-reference.com. http://www.basketball-reference.com/coaches/russebi01c.html. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  32. ^ a b Lenny Wilkens Coach Info NBA.com retrieved July 23, 2007
  33. ^ Raley, Dan (2006-02-15). "Where Are They Now? Blackburn gave Sonics a voice". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/basketball/259504_where15.html. 
  34. ^ Thunder 'flashes' new uniforms, September 29, 2008
  35. ^ Kelly Dwyer, Introducing your Oklahoma City Light Blue Knicks, September 29, 2008
  36. ^ (PDF). http://www.nba.com/media/thunder/tunein_081031.pdf. 
  37. ^ Mayberry, Darnell (2008-07-30). "NBA team reaches deal with local radio station". NewsOK.com. http://newsok.com/nba-team-reaches-deal-with-local-radio-station/article/3276819/?tm=1217456631. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  38. ^ "'Thunder' roars into OKC". News9.com. 2008-09-08. http://www.news9.com/Global/story.asp?S=8945631&nav=menu681_2. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  39. ^ "FS Oklahoma to air Thunder games". The Oklahoman. 2008-09-29. http://newsok.com/fs-oklahoma-to-air-thunder-games/article/3304544/?tm=1222733614. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  40. ^ Mel Bracht. "KSBI to air Thunder games". The Oklahoman. http://newsok.com/ksbi-to-air-thunder-games/article/3306605. Retrieved 2008-11-04. 

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