Berry Tramel on Mike Miller choosing Memphis: “I don’t really buy it. Memphis and OKC staged a five-game playoff series won by the Grizzlies in May. All five games went down to the final minute or final possession. The Grizzlies won four. And Russell Westbrook didn’t play a second in the series. As far as additions, the Grizzlies have added Miller and Kostas Koufos, who is a solid backup center. They retained their core of Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley. But Memphis lost its coach, Lionel Hollins, who wasn’t retained, apparently over philosophical differences. The Thunder retained its starting lineup but lost sixth man Kevin Martin. OKC is relying on young players — the proven Reggie Jackson and the unproven Jeremy Lamb — to take up the slack. But the Thunder’s real ace in the hole is Westbrook, Durant and Serge Ibaka. The former two will be 25 this coming season; the latter will be 24. The Thunder stars are getting better.”
Coach K, via SI.com: “The thing [Durant] told us, he said, ‘Coach, I wanted to come here and look you in the eye and tell you I’m doing it,” Krzyzewski said. “I get chills just thinking a guy of his stature and his accomplishment, these two guys, to come here shows what they think of the program and the people involved, to do it face-to-face. We appreciate that very much.”
Derek Fisher says this will be his last season: “I am excited to announce that today I signed on to play my 18th season, my final season, with the Oklahoma City Thunder. I have thought about this decision for some time and I cannot think of a better way to end my playing career than playing for one of the best franchises in the league today, led by one of the smartest and brightest GMs, a great coaching staff, and teammates that have become like family. As I wrap up my on court career, I want to thank everyone that has been a part of my journey. My family and friends, the fans, every teammate, each opponent, even the people that had doubt in me; you made me a better player, a determined champion, a stronger man, and helped me to live out my childhood dream.”
Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider has OKC No. 1 in the West right now: “There are questions to be answered in Oklahoma City, specifically how the Thunder will replace Kevin Martin’s scoring punch off the bench. Is Jeremy Lamb ready to step into that role after winning MVP of the Orlando Pro Summer League? Can Reggie Jackson pitch in after starting in place of Russell Westbrook in last season’s playoffs? And might Mike Miller help provide an answer? Assuming Scott Brooks can figure that out, the Thunder return the rest of a rotation that had the NBA’s best point differential last season (+9.2 PPG), making Oklahoma City the slight favorites in the West.” And that was before they signed Derek Fisher.
LeBron reportedly is done with Team USA meaning the torch has officially been passed and KD is Captain America.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “Because of the long-term money invested in Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City made the decision to settle for creating a trade exception to salvage something from Martin’s free-agent exodus to Minnesota. The Thunder, by limiting themselves to low-cost moves in free agency, are thus putting the onus on Westbrook’s recovery from knee surgery and the continued development of youngsters such as Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb to enable their star trio to be sufficient to keep the club inching closer to a championship. Yet it has to sting to hear the latest rumbles in circulation about Miller — personally recruited by Durant to come to OKC after Miami let him go via the amnesty clause — choosing Memphis in part because Miller sees the Grizzlies as closer to getting to the Finals than the Thunder. We repeat: This is Durant. So it’s a bit of a leap to outright say he’s dismayed with developments in OKC on the basis of one walk-off answer. Many of the reporters around him, truth be told, broke out into laughter when Durant brought a halt to the question-and-answer session so abruptly. Thunder officials can only hope Durant was simply in a rush to do what always wants to do most. Which is to say … play.”