Game 4 of the 2012 NBA Finals will get underway in a little over seven hours, and it's essentially a must-win game for the Thunder. No team in Finals history has ever come back from a 3-1 defecit to win the series.
According to John Hollinger of ESPN.com (Insider link), the key to the game for Oklahoma City will be its big-man rotation. Hollinger argues that some of Kendrick Perkins' minutes should be allotted to Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka. As Scott Brooks and his team prepare for tonight's contest, let's round up a few more Thunder-related items….
- Expanding on a series of tweets from yesterday, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld says the Thunder have explored trading their first-round pick, since "that's what you do," but that the team doesn't expect to move it.
- Within the same piece, Kyler says the Thunder aren't worried about losing James Harden and Serge Ibaka, and won't view it as a real issue until the summer of 2014. Harden and Ibaka are eligible for restricted free agency next summer, rather than in '14, so I'd think the issue will arise sooner than Kyler says. Either way, his point remains: The effects of the new collective bargaining agreement won't really become clear for another year, so it's impossible to say yet how much flexibility the Thunder might have.
- Royce Young of Daily Thunder passed along a Russian report yesterday suggesting that the Thunder may be preparing to sign CSKA Moscow's Andrey Vorontsevich this summer. Today, ESPN's Fran Fraschilla reports the same thing, noting that the Thunder recently worked out Vorontsevich. Franschilla adds, however, that the CSKA buyout for the forward could be a roadblock (Twitter links).
- Free agents are expected to be willing to take discounts to sign with the Thunder, tweets Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio.