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Thursday Musings: Bledsoe, Bill Simmons, Where Are We With Rubio?

An NBA D-League team introduced their new logo, Eric Bledsoe signed a contract with the Phoenix Suns and ESPN suspended Bill Simmons. Delightful.

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It's Blue.

Yesterday, Oklahoma City Thunder Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Byrnes revealed the name of their new D-League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue.

"Blue is one of our primary Thunder colors, but it has become more than just a color for us. It has come to represent the passion, loyalty and unity of our fans and our community in their support for our team. Our players wear it proudly on their uniforms, our fans sport Thunder blue shirts, Thunder blue flags fly across Oklahoma and our statewide Blue Alliance fan groups show their connection to our team and what it stands for."

Formerly known as the Tulsa 66ers, the Blue have been in a one-to-one relationship with the Thunder since 2008. It wasn't until this summer the D-League team moved to Oklahoma City before being rebranded.

Logo courtesy of nba dot com slash d-league.


Despite being defaced the moment it hit Twitter (as many ideas often are), there is little to no emphatic outrage over the Blue's new icon. It's harmless. Silly names as such are common among minor leagues throughout professional sports.

The Twins have an affiliate in Cedar Rapids dubbed the Kernels-- yes, that's corn. The D-League would be wise to mimic MLB's minor league baseballs various gimmicks, though, because it would bestow a positive, welcoming atmosphere at the games.

The D-League is dependent on successes achieved by effective marketing and promotional strategies executed by the team staff. It is an entity that, as a whole, is growing. Though the D-League is fragile because it is always competing with leagues overseas for players; talent.

There's no guarantee this attempt build the NBA a minor league infrastructure, a 30-for-30 model, is going to ultimately work.

Yes the OKC Blue is, well, that's a bland name, but at least it isn't corn and the logo won't offend anybody.

It's a logo, and a new start.

Eric Bledsoe signs with the Phoenix Suns.

Yesterday, Eric Bledsoe and the Phoenix Suns reached agreement on a five-year, $70 million contract extension (Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports). This crushed any and all remaining, meaningless hope the Wolves were going to obtain Bledsoe. The trade-talks never had much traction.

Bledsoe predominantly plays point guard, but also has experience playing off-ball. He spent an average of 23 minutes per game on the floor with Goran Dragic last season. Though the sample is small -- Bledsoe only appeared in 43 games last year -- the Suns' two guards established themselves among the league's proficient backcourt tandems. Both Dragic and Bledsoe are versatile in the sense each is capable of playing either the point guard, or shooting guard position.

According to the Arizona Republic, Bledsoe will be paid $13 million per year and get $500,000 raises over five seasons in a contract that has no player or team options, early termination clauses or trade kickers. Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Jeremy Lin, and John Wall are the only point guards who will earn more than Bledsoe this season. He is 24 years old.

How does the Bledsoe signing affect the Timberwolves?

This tweet sent by Jon Krawczynski affirms there have been no developments in negotiations between the Wolves and Ricky Rubio, but perhaps something could evolve closer to the October 31st deadline. Moreover, Rubio could very possibly become a restricted free agent at the end of next season. That's where things appear to be headed, at least for now.

They've arrived.

Mo Williams arrived in Minnesota, yesterday, joining Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Glenn Robinson III, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, Robbie Hummel and Chase Budinger as Wolves who are in town gearing up for training camp.

The team will report to Mankato next week.

Yesterday, in a press release made by the Wolves PR department was a reminder camp starts at 11:00 PM on Monday, September 29th. "Dunks After Dark" will take place at Bresnan Arena inside the Taylor Center. The event is free and open to the public.

The 18 players expected to participate will play three, 12-minute scrimmages followed by a 10-minute freestyle session-- which really just means there will be dunks.

From the release:

Tickets, limit two per person for Minnesota State University, Mankato students and four for the general public, will be available at the Student Union Center, Taylor Center and two U.S. Bank locations (312 Raintree Road & 115 E. Hickory - both in Mankato) beginning , Sept. 25 at 11:00 a.m. A limited supply of tickets will be available at the event. Wolves season ticket members can reserve tickets in the V.I.P section by contacting their Wolves representative by Friday, Sept. 26. Tickets for Wolves season tickets members can be picked up at the Taylor Center will call window on Monday, Sept. 29.

Bill Simmons.

ESPN suspended Bill Simmons three-weeks in response to comments made on the BS Report, an ESPN program/podcast featuring Simmons. The suspension was announced in a statement published at ESPN's website.

This SB Nation post has the audio from that podcast, in addition to the words Simmons used that resulted in his suspension. Here's the juice.

Simmons started his rant by saying, "Not enough is being made of the fact that they knew about the tape and they knew what it was on it. Goodell, if he doesn't know what was on that tape, is a liar."

Simmons ended his rant by daring ESPN to punish him:

"I really hope someone calls me or emails me and says I'm in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell. If one person says that to me, I'm going public. You leave me alone. The commissioner is a liar, and I get to talk about that on my podcast. Please, call me and say I'm in trouble, I dare you."

The subsequent reaction after the news sparked a #FreeSimmons movement, one that is the third-trending topic on Twitter as I write this sentence as 3:33 AM. There is a speculative notion ESPN has taken disciplinary action only to appease the NFL, because, in his statements made on the BS Report, Simmons had some not-so-friendly things to say in regards to Roger Goodell, and how the Ray Rice situation unfolded.