Jeff Latzke on the celebrity rise of Kevin Durant: “Kevin Durant seems to be everywhere these days. There he is on TV, sporting a Jheri curl and doing his best ’70s rap impersonation. He spent three days in Hong Kong as an ambassador during the NBA Madness 2009 event. He’s back in Texas taking college classes, trying out for the U.S. national basketball team in Vegas and shuttling back and forth between his childhood home near Washington, D.C., and his in-season home in Oklahoma City. And in between, the Thunder’s star is in the gym every chance he gets to work on improving a team that won only 23 games last season.”
ESPN’s Rumors page picked up the Krstic/Gortat thing and had this to say: “We’ll just say, for the record, that the last time we got wind of the possibility that Marcin Gortat could end up in Oklahoma — and went public with it — we nearly crashed the ESPN servers. But, alas, we’re committed to the cause. Information, strap on thy wings … We don’t care if it involves a Croat relaying information to Serbs while hanging in Warsaw. Krstic and Gortat … together? Duncan and Robinson? Never heard of ’em.”
HoopsWorld on the Kings signing Mason: “The swing positions are already fairly tight. Kevin Martin is locked in as the starter at shooting guard, plus Francisco Garcia behind him. Rookie Omri Casspi, Donte’ Greene, and Andres Nocioni can all play small forward. Rookie Tyreke Evans may also see some time at the two, though he’s officially listed on the roster as a point guard. Mason will bring a good veteran voice though, joining power forward Kenny Thomas as the only players with more than five years of NBA experience.”
Cowbell Kingdom: “I’m all for this signing because I’ve always been a fan of Desmond Mason. He’s never been a very skilled basketball player. He doesn’t take many outside jumpers and has only made 66 three-pointers in his career at a 26% clip. But his defense has often been solid and his athleticism is still something to be marveled at. The Kings won’t get the dunk champion version of Mason by any means but he can still occasionally spring up out of nowhere and put the ball down on a player’s head.”
Tom Ziller doesn’t get the signing: “The Kings are worse than the Thunder, have more developing wings in desperate need of court time than the Thunder and are in worse financial shape than the Thunder. Yet the Thunder passes on the local favorite, while the Kings sign him. The intangible benefits of Mason in OKC greatly outweigh those he’ll offer in Sacramento (where he has played with none of the players previously). Yet, here he is, taking up a roster spot. And what’s the best-case scenario? Dez magically imparts the infinite wisdom of nine mediocre NBA seasons onto the youngsters, immediately making them All-NBA candidates? Mason teaches Donte Greene this one really sick dunk which will definitely turn some heads during a pre-game warm-up at Staples Center?”
Rumor had it a month ago that Oklahoma City was interested in Brent Barry. Word is now that Barry will not be back with the Rockets and will either be traded or retire. I think it’s fairly unlikely that Barry ends up in OKC though.
Eddie Johnson of HoopsHype ranks the top 25 players and Kevin Durant checks in at No. 20. I’m not saying anything.
Serbia wins again as Nenad Krstic scores 10 and grabs two boards in 18 minutes.