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News » Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-02-18

Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-02-18

Oklahoma City Thunder Getting Inside 2009-02-18
The Thunder made a significant move in the push for relevancy in the Western Conference with Tuesday's trade for New Orleans center Tyson Chandler. Oklahoma City parted with forwards Chris Wilcox forward Joe Smith, along with the draft rights to DeVon Hardin, in a deal motivated by finances.

The Hornets, looking to avoid the luxury tax, had to shed a big contract, and Chandler is owed $12 million next season. Smith and Wilcox both had expiring deals. The Thunder, with significant cap room, was more than willing to substantially upgrade its frontline with the athletic and defensive-minded 7-footer.

"This move is a strong statement from our ownership group as toward their commitment to put an elite basketball operation together," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said.

Chandler also knows Oklahoma City, having played 71 games there during the Hornets' relocation after Hurricane Katrina.

Chandler (7-1, 235), currently in his eighth season, brings career averages of 8.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 27.9 minutes per contest while appearing in 524 games. He has appeared in 32 games this season for the Hornets, averaging 8.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while playing 31.1 minutes per game.

Chandler fits in nicely with the young nucleus of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green. Chandler doesn't need the ball to be effective, which is important considering Durant, Westbrook and Green are the Thunder's three leading scorers.

HORNETS 100, THUNDER 98: The fans of Oklahoma City had a soft spot in their hearts for Chris Paul, but they probably didn't like what they saw Tuesday night. Paul, back in the city where his NBA career began, hit a game-winning shot with 2.7 seconds left to lift visiting New Orleans.

The Thunder dropped to 13-41 overall and 1-7 in games decided by two or less points. Kevin Durant continued to ride the momentum of his stellar All-Star weekend with a career-high 47 points, including a game-tying three-pointer with 13.8 seconds remaining. Paul, who never hit a game-winner during his Oklahoma City stay, didn't call timeout after Durant's tying scorer and was able to knife through the Thunder's defense.

Jeff Green (24 points) and Russell Westbrook (12) were the only other Thunder players in double-figures.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: February 18, 2009


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