Zach Lowe of Grantland on OKC’s free agency: “Hey, remember these guys? They’re still awesome. They’ll miss Kevin Martin’s shooting and chemistry with Nick Collison off the bench, but those things are always less important in the postseason, when Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant will play damn near every meaningful minute. The Thunder are about $1.4 million under the tax line, which means the full midlevel exception was never really in play. They could slide about $1 million further under the line by waiving one or two nonguaranteed guys (Hasheem Thabeet, Daniel Orton, DeAndre Liggins), meaning they could nab an extra shooter — Mike Miller, perhaps — without incurring a big tax bill. The use of the amnesty provision on Kendrick Perkins’s bloated $8.7 million deal would have helped in the search for wing depth, since the Thunder could easily find a minimum-salary replacement who could do 90 percent of whatever it is Perkins does. But the Thunder view Perk as a crucial locker-room voice, and so here he stays. Continued development from Jeremy Lamb, Reggie Jackson, and Perry Jones should soften the impact of Martin’s loss. Bottom line: We should still view this bunch as among the three or four favorites for the title.”
Kevin Martin: “After playing with Kevin Durant and Russell, I wasn’t going to another team without a superstar,” Martin said on Saturday. “It just elevates your game and makes your life a lot easier.”
David Aldridge of NBA.com: “But it occurs to me that a team like Oklahoma City, which needs a perimeter player in the worst way after losing Kevin Martin (who was supposed to replace James Harden, after all), should really be looking at a vet like Steven Jackson. Isn’t a guy like Jack, who’s been in a million playoff games, and made a bunch of big playoff shots, exactly what a team like OKC could use when things get tough in the playoffs and defenses load up on Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook? And Jackson certainly knows this is not the year for him to break the bank financially. Better to sign a minimum tender with a contender like the Thunder and come back next summer in a much stronger negotiating position. Isn’t that the definition of a “win-win” for both the player and the team?”
Important note for Mike Miller: You can’t have a monkey in Memphis.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com: “In the wake of Dwight Howard’s departure, the Los Angeles Lakers have been looking forward to 2014, when their options could be wide with a deep free-agent class and perhaps as much as $50 million in salary-cap room. But there could be another huge player in free agency next summer, another destination team with a championship pedigree: The Miami Heat. That may be hard to fathom at the moment because the Heat currently have a payroll of more than $80 million and a large luxury-tax bill that forced them to waive Mike Miller last week. But as of now, there is a possibility that every player on the Heat roster could be a free agent next summer. The Heat are an example of the difference between a team with a full cap as opposed to a team that is capped out.”