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After leading UConn to a national championship in just his second year after replacing Jim Calhoun, Ollie’s stock as a head coach has never been fired. The program was only willing to give him a year long contract for several hundred grand they when originally appointed him to succeed Calhoun. Now he’s one of the highest paid coaches in college basketball. UConn had to pay up because there were several teams across the league that were interested in Ollie, including the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, they were all rebuilding projects. Ollie has already led UConn back to prominence and is young enough to where he can pass on the NBA now knowing that plenty of offers will come in the future if he maintains the current pace that he’s on.
The deal is not official yet and buyout terms are unknown, but with it verbally agreed to we can take Ollie off of all the potential candidates lists he was on.
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From the Thunder’s perspective, they’re talking and preparing as if he’s done for the postseason. However, the Spurs are not allowing themselves to be caught off guard by a surprise return. Even going into Game 1 they questioned whether he was legitimately going to be out, but he was and they took advantage of his absence in a major way. They dominated in terms of points in the paint, shot a scorching 57 percent from the field and easily handled the Thunder 122-105.
This is the second year that the Thunder have been without a starter in the playoffs after losing Russell Westbrook in the first round last season. Even if Ibaka can just get out there and play some spare minutes every here and there, it could give the Thunder a boost in moral. Barring a miraculous recovery, it’s hard imagine him being able to provide much more than that.
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