Carlson: Night moves by the Thunder aren't always kind on deadline
If you’re a reader of the printed version of The Oklahoman, you woke up Tuesday morning to our Thunder preview section and a column by yours truly proclaiming, “Thunder has two Jacksons — and other things you need to know.”
Thing is, that wasn’t true Tuesday morning.
Monday evening, the Thunder waived Frank Jackson. We knew the team had to make a move of some kind to get its roster to the NBA-allowable 17 players, but letting Jackson go was a somewhat surprising move considering he scored 12.3 points in the team’s preseason games. He averaged a little over 20 minutes in those games, too, so he looked like a guy who would get some real minutes during the regular season.
And because Jackson was waived around 9 p.m., we couldn’t change my column or any other references to him in the print version of the newspaper. Our deadlines nowadays are around 7 or 7:30 p.m., so the newspapers may already have been rolling off the presses and onto delivery trucks when the Thunder cut Jackson loose.
Our sports editor Jeff Patterson, who is a master of the GIF, sent one from “The Wedding Singer” when we heard the news. In the words of Adam Sandler’s character, Robbie: “Things that could’ve been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!”
It’s a bummer how the timing worked out, but it’s not the first time Thunder transactions haven’t been reflected in our preview section.
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Back in October 2012 when the Thunder was coming off its NBA Finals appearance, we built our preview section around the paintings of Ray Tennyson, a local artist whose pop-art portraits of Thunder players had become a sensation in those days. He painted portraits of every Thunder, and we created a section around them.
“Work of Art,” we titled it.
We had stories on every starter and rotational player on the roster. I was assigned a piece on James Harden, then the Thunder’s sixth man extraordinaire, and the story was all about “The Art of the Drive.” Harden told me all about how he developed his uncanny ability to drive the lane, disappear through the smallest of openings and score at the rim.
It made him tough to defend, of course, but it also made the Thunder tough because defenses had to choose between stopping Harden or Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant.
Harden was becoming a watched man, not only by NBA opponents but also by Thunder fans.
“Everyone wants to know if the Thunder will be able to re-sign him,” I wrote in that piece.
Our Thunder preview section appeared in the Sunday, Oct. 28 newspaper.
James Harden was traded to Houston on Saturday, Oct. 27.
Back in those days, our deadlines were much later in the evening, but we had done a preprint on the Thunder preview section. That meant the section was put to bed several days before it ran in the newspaper and printed on a weekday when the press wasn’t as busy as it is on a Saturday night.
Alas, according to our Thunder preview section, James Harden was part of the Thunder at the start of the 2012-13 season.
I’m guessing plenty of Thunder fans wish that had actually been the reality.
Frank Jackson being part of the 2020-21 Thunder?
Pretty sure Thunder fans don’t have as strong an opinion about that.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 405-475-4125 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok, and support her work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.