Beckley Mason of ESPN.com on OKC and markets: “Seems like this is a good time to reflect on the fact that Durant, he of “small market” stardom, is the basis of a movie at all and that the movie is named for a team in Oklahoma City. That team just extended Serge Ibaka and sounds ready to dive into the luxury tax to keep James Harden, another young star. Hardly sounds like the behavior of a small market franchise to me.”
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com on KD’s talk on the Lakers: “Durant’s right that there are a multitude of ways for the Lakers to not be as good as they are “on paper.” Injuries, chemistry, Mike Brown’s approach, Kobe’s mentality, all of these things play a part. But the paper does matter, because the paper is determined by results. And the results say that the league is in trouble when the Lakers take the court. Of course, if we’re talking about not being able to get past a team, it could very well be the Lakers singing that tune at year’s end. Which is why this will be so much fun to watch.”
KD and Russell Westbrook are on a short list of players that could spend their whole careers with one team.
Lakers Nation on KD’s comments: “The Thunder also have a plethora of talent on the roster with Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden leading the way. In addition, Oklahoma City has Serge Ibaka, a player that can cause the Lakers a lot of problems due to his athleticism. At this point, it looks like a Lakers-Thunder Western Conference Finals is all but guaranteed. No disrespect to the other teams in the conference, but Los Angeles and Oklahoma City are clearly the two best teams in the conference.”
Sekou Smith of NBA.com: “With Durant, Russell Westbrook and Harden all returning to the locker room with gold medals (Ibaka earned a silver with Spain in London) to go along with their experience from The Finals, The Thunder will begin this new season in the same place they finished the last one: right behind the Heat in the championship pecking order. Even with all of their superstar additions, we’re not ready to vault the Lakers past this Thunder crew.”
Tom Ziller of SB Nation ranking the top 50 free agents of next summer as Daequan Cook comes in 47th: “The Thunder’s designated shooter will wrap up his second contract in 2013, hitting free agency as James Harden and Eric Maynor do. Because of those two other names, expecting Cook to be a priority is dicey. But other teams see the value of a one-trick pony when that trick is shooting threes. However, Cook’s just a career 36.5 percent shooter from deep; he was incredible in 2011-12 (42 percent) but reverted to mediocre at 34 percent last season. That’s not Kyle Korver shooting. That’s, like, Damon Jones shooting. He needs a bounceback season to earn another multi-year deal.”
Pau Gasol wants Serge Ibaka to stay with Spain: “We were very talented and we were very deep. There’s so many other great players,” Gasol said. “Some days you’ll play a little more. Some days you’ll play better. Some days you won’t. But at the end of the day, what matters is the team success. He’s only 22 or 23. He has many years ahead of him. It’s good he has a desire and hunger. But he needs to understand the facts and circumstances of the moment and the needs long-term.”
KD tells the official site he’s going to mentor Perry Jones: “Perry and I got close over the last few months after we drafted him,” Durant said. “I was happy that he reached a goal, a dream that he had been wanting for a long time…We have a good relationship and I’m looking forward to taking him under my wing and also learning a lot with him as well. I’m just trying to help him become the best and I’m sure he’s going to try to help me become the best as well. It’s going to be a fun relationship.”