Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN.com writing about Kent Bazemore: “The longer a player’s arms, the lower the shot tends to start. The lower it starts, the longer the motion, and the greater the margin of error. Not only that, but a lower shot means more opportunities for defenders to block or steal. But the lengthy among us have someone to look up to, someone to emulate. ‘Look at Kevin Durant. Look at his release,’ Bazemore says. Kevin Durant, despite his considerably long arms, manages to tuck the ball and shoot quickly right up from his chest. ‘You look at all the great shooters, they catch the ball and it’s all one short motion. They don’t catch it and bring it down. They catch it right into their shooting pocket and let it go.’ Warriors video coordinator Joe Boylan has been working constantly with Bazemore on shortening that form in pursuit of the Kevin Durant ideal. The stretchy shooting guard will never get there, because, well, no one gets to where Durant lives. But getting a little bit closer would all but assure Kent Bazemore a place in this league for a long time.”
From Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: “[Martin] chose the Wolves’ four-year offer worth nearly $28 million over a Thunder proposal that was significantly restricted by the luxury tax. Asked if he seriously considered returning to Thunder for relatively little money but the chance to win a championship, he said, ‘Always. I also feel like I found the same thing with Minnesota being younger. They’ve had some injuries over the years, but they’re a good team, too. I made a decision and I think it’s a great one. I learned from Oklahoma CIty, they’re a great organization. The way KD and Russ approach the game, I think that’s something I’ll bring to Minnesota.’”
The Nuggets are trying to make a push for Mike Miller. I’m told a decision by Miller should be coming very soon, possibly even today. It’s down to the Thunder, Grizzlies, Rockets and Nuggets.
John Rohde: “Non-guaranteed contracts become fully guaranteed on Jan. 10 each season. Before the deadline, non-guaranteed pay is prorated. If Thabeet, Orton, Liggins and Jerrett make the 2013-14 roster, the Thunder would have the full allotment of 15 players and a team salary of approximately $70.9 million, which is safely under the league’s punitive tax threshold of $71.7 million. Those non-guaranteed deals also give OKC the flexibility to waive Thabeet, Orton and/or Liggins before Jan. 10, which would free up salary and make room for someone like veteran guard Derek Fisher, who has been a late addition the previous two seasons. Orton, who turns 23 on Aug. 6, is 31/2 years younger than Thabeet and is easily the Thunder’s most talented offensive center. With the hefty contract of starting center Kendrick Perkins expiring after the 2014-15 season, Thabeet, Orton and Adams have an opportunity to line up as far more affordable replacements. Who knows, Orton might already be next in line.”
KD went to Cole Aldrich’s wedding, which is just such a cool thing to do.
Complex says Russell Westbrook is underpaid: “It’s pretty simple here: Westbrook is one of the 10 best players in the NBA, but this year he will not be compensated in that range. We saw just how vital he is to Oklahoma City when he went down in last year’s playoffs, as the Thunder pretty much instantly fell apart without their dynamic point guard. Westbrook’s incredible speed and ability in the open court makes him one of the game’s brightest young stars, a guy who with his athleticism alone can change the future of an entire team and franchise. So long as he recovers from his torn meniscus and returns to full strength, he’ll be one of the league’s best for a long time.”