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Thunder notebook: Cole Aldrich sent to Tulsa 66ers

Former ‘OKC Hornet' Tyson Chandler saw many familiar faces in crowd

 
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com    Comment on this article Leave a comment
Published: November 24, 2010
Modified: November 25, 2010 at 7:03 am

Thunder rookie center Cole Aldrich on Wednesday was assigned to the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Developmental League.

Aldrich and second-year center Byron Mullens are expected to alternate back and forth to Tulsa throughout this season. Rookies and second-year players are the only members on NBA rosters permitted to play in the D-League. A player is allowed a maximum of three assignments per season.

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“Cole is a big part of our future and right now wasn't seeing a lot of playing time,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “This just gives him an opportunity to go to Tulsa and play. We'll work with him. We'll still go there as much as we can to help him practice and watch games.”

The 11th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Aldrich has appeared in five games this season, averaging 1.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 9.6 minutes per game. He joins the 66ers for their home opener against the Iowa Energy on Friday at the Tulsa Convention Center.

CHANDLER REFLECTS

Mavericks center Tyson Chandler quickly became a fan favorite in Oklahoma City while playing for the relocated New Orleans Hornets in 2006-07.

He nearly joined the Thunder in a trade two seasons ago but failed a physical exam with a bum toe. Chandler finished with 17 points and 18 rebounds in Wednesday night's 111-103 victory over the Thunder.

“I loved it here. I still love the fans here,” Chandler said. “Amazing fans, great people out here in Oklahoma City, just walking in here and seeing so many familiar faces in the arena and at the hotel.”

Asked if ever thought about what might have been with the Thunder, Chandler said: “The only time I thought about that was in the summertime, playing with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, two good friends of mine. I really enjoyed playing with them. I was here for I don't know how many hours, then I went back to the Hornets.

“Sometimes life throws you lemons, and you've got to make lemonade. It was one of those cases where I was a little baffled about the situation. I didn't understand it, but everything happens for a reason.”

COLLISON'S NUMBERS

Details of Nick Collison's four-year extension have been reported.

The 30-year-old Collison will receive the Thunder's available cap-space money of approximately $6.5 million as a signing bonus, which will be added to his salary of $6,750,000 for a total of roughly $13,250,000 this season. Collison reportedly will then make $3,272,997 next season; $2,929,332 in 2012-13; $2,585,668 in 2013-14; and $2,242,003 in 2014-15.

JUST A KIDD

Brooks played point guard for Dallas from 1994-96, which were Jason Kidd's first two seasons in the NBA. Now in his 17th season, Kidd once again is the Mavericks' starting point guard.

“I didn't do well (against Kidd),” Brooks admitted. “He's taller than me; he's stronger than me; he's tougher than me; he could pass better than me; he jumps higher. He couldn't shoot better than me, but now he's going to end up being the third (best) 3-point shooter in NBA history, so he probably can do that better than me.”

Kidd ranks No. 5 on the NBA career list for 3-pointers (1,686) and trails Reggie Miller (2,560), Ray Allen (2,476), Dale Ellis (1,719) and Peja Stojakovic (1,714).

“Scott was a flat-out shooter,” Kidd recalled of Brooks. “He made a lot money in our shooting game (at practice).”

When told that Brooks said he had nothing over him, Kidd smiled and said, “Scott still has that championship ring (from 1993-94 with Houston). He's such a competitor. I'm happy about what he's done, not just as a player but also as a coach.”

Kidd has yet to win an NBA championship.

BRIEFLY

The Thunder shot a season-low 73.9 percent (17 of 23) from the free-throw line against Dallas, the first time all season it has failed to shoot 80 percent or better. It was only the third time the Thunder was outscored from the line (30-17). … The Thunder outscored the Mavs 56-32 in the paint and 17-3 on fast-break points, but was outrebounded 49-36, its worst deficit of the season.

QUOTABLE

“I think they couldn't put us away because of the way we were fighting … Even though they built a lead, I still felt real comfortable with the way we were playing. These are the type of games you should win because you leave it all on the floor." — Chandler, on overcoming an 11-point Thunder lead in the third quarter

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