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Liggins signs with Oklahoma City Thunder

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With nearly two dozen players with opportunities to make opening NBA rosters, offseasons are always going to be busy for former Kentucky Wildcats now playing professionally.

The latest news on that front was the signing of DeAndre Liggins by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. Liggins just finished his rookie season with the Orlando Magic, averaging 1.9 point, 0.9 rebounds and 6.8 minutes in 17 games during 2011-12. Liggins joins former UK and Magic teammate Daniel Orton in Oklahoma City after the big man signed there earlier this offseason.

Liggins joins a team expected to contend for a championship this season and will be fighting for a roster spot. Oklahoma City has scorers like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden on the perimeter, so Liggins will be asked to focus on a defensive role, one in which he flourished during his final two seasons in Lexington.

With Liggins' new contract, the only player among the 17 Wildcats to play in the NBA last year and six new draftees without a deal is Josh Harrellson. After impressing as a rookie with the Knicks, Harrellson found himself in a big-man logjam after being traded to Houston. He was released and is looking for a team.

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