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Not OK in OKC?

Gazette staff October 11th, 2011

Everything was coming up roses last season as the Oklahoma City Thunder made it to the NBA’s Western Conference Finals. Now things are in limbo with the lockout, and one report is raising questions about the inner workings of the big league franchise.

New York Daily News scribe Mitch Lawrence, a longtime NBA reporter, wrote Sept. 17 that head coach Scott Brooks chafes at the meddling of General Manager Sam Presti, but that’s not all Thunder fans should be worried about. It has something to do with its center easing up on its point guard a tad bit.

“The organization is a lot more concerned with how Kendrick Perkins treats Russell Westbrook,” Lawrence wrote.

“After arriving from the (Boston) Celtics last season and being looked at as the veteran leader Oklahoma City needed to take the next step to compete for a title, Perkins went hard at Westbrook with his verbal criticisms, often saying that the Thunder’s playmaker couldn’t match Rajon Rondo as a playmaker. Those words didn’t sit well with Westbrook, who already had been criticized for shooting too much and was the subject of a benching heard-round-the-NBA when the Thunder played the (Dallas) Mavs in June.”

Despite any internal squabbling, Perk stated during a recent chat on that the Thunder’s future is so bright that he must wear shades.

“I think we’re really close to winning the championship,” Perkins wrote.

“We just lacked a little experience this year. We’re very close. We just have to stay home and keep on with the hard work. The sky is the limit. We have a big scorer in Kevin Durant. We have an all-star in Russell. As long as guys keep working and staying together, we’ll be good.”

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