John Schuhmann of NBA.com on Team USA: “You get the feeling that Durant, who scored 24 points against the Dominican Republic on Thursday, is going to be this team’s leading scorer, even though he’s got more talent around him than he did in 2010. But most of his shots are coming off feeds from his teammates. He doesn’t need to control the ball much, and can be that weak-side shooter that makes defenses pay for loading up on James or the point guards.”
Michael Lee of the Washington Post on Team USA: “Krzyzewski was honest and direct with Durant, who was the breakout star and leader of the gold medal-winning world championship squad in Turkey two years ago. After the United States thrashed the Dominican Republic by 54 points, with Durant scoring a game-high 24, the District native joked with his Oklahoma City and U.S. teammate James Harden, the NBA sixth man of the year last season, that he was going to ask Thunder Coach Scott Brooks to come off the bench next season in the NBA.”
It’s looking unlikely the Knicks will match the Rockets on Jeremy Lin, and it’s only out of fear for the luxury tax in 2015. Adam Silver is fistpumping somewhere, but then again, what does that say for Oklahoma City if the Knicks are that afraid of the tax?
Russell Westbrook talking Team USA. Riveting stuff.
Tom Ziller of SB Nation on the amnesty: “We should have known that instead of using the amnesty clause as a sort of “get out of jail free” card, teams would leverage it to maximize the amount of money they could offer free agents in one-time deals. That’s the whole problem with pretty much all of the cost-saving measures that the league pushed for during the lockout: they aren’t cost-saving measures at all, because no team — well, except for the Sacramento Kings — can help itself when offered the opportunity to spend more money to get better. When you think about it (and as was written when the amnesty clause was first publicized during labor negotiations), all the rule does is allow teams to spend more money on free agents. That’s all it was ever meant to do.”
There was a completely ridiculous report out there late last week claiming the Thunder were “offering” Serge Ibaka and James Harden for Dwight Howard. First of all, the person reporting this has been letting fly on outrageous Howard rumors the last few months and is batting roughly .125. Secondly, I’ve been assured by multiple league sources the Thunder are not trading James Harden, which would make this deal difficult to consummate. Thirdly, if the Thunder were actually offering Orlando that package, don’t you think Rob Hennigan would’ve yelled “YES” so loud we would’ve heard it here in OKC? This rumor is beyond nonsense, or as Sam Presti would say, rubbish. Disregard entirely.
Matt Conner of SB Nation on OKC’s offseason: “It’s not as if the new additions are purely economical savings. Thompson adds a nice three-point threat off the bench and Thabeet has the upside of a former No. 2 choice if he could ever apply the work ethic to take advantage of such size at 7-3. As for Jones, he’s the wild card as a celebrated player filled with potential in college who never quite put it all together. A quick glimpse during the Orlando summer league, however, and everyone was all smiles about his pro future.”