Anthony Slater on Steven Adams: “Money is tight in New Zealand youth basketball. And Steven Adams didn’t have a lot of it growing up. So the towering 7-foot “Kiwi Phenom,” as he’s referred to now, was unable to play the game until he was 14 and was out of the spotlight until he was 17, making the meteoric two-year rise that followed all the more impressive. As of 2011, he was still a relative unknown in New Zealand. But by last Friday afternoon Down Under, Adams was the hottest name in his home country, becoming the first New Zealander ever selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, going 12th overall to the Thunder.”
Berry Tramel: “Martin was in a tough spot, trying to replace Harden, and handled it with grace. Even when his teammates lost their composure – remember the finger-pointing after the Christmas game breakdown at Miami – Martin stayed poised. Also, Martin was fun to talk to. He wasn’t a fantastic quote or anything, but he was honest. Didn’t give canned answers. Didn’t take offense to questions about a shooting slump or a defeat. Just a pro. That’s what Kevin Martin is.”
Per Jerry Zgoda: “KMartin said he’s ‘ecstatic,’ and excited about chance to play with Ricky. ‘I’ve never played with a pass-first point guard before,’ he said.” Slam?
Tony Manfred of Business Insider: “OKC basically traded James Harden for one year of Kevin Martin, a D-Leaguer, a raw prospect who isn’t NBA ready, and two crappy draft picks. The trade was done for financial reasons. The Thunder don’t have the means to pay a huge luxury tax bill, so they had to choose between paying Serge Ibaka or James Harden. They chose Ibaka, and you could still argue that that was the right decision. But the timing of the Harden trade (they could have taken one more shot at the title before Harden became a free agent this summer), and the haul they got for him (horrible), can certainly be questioned. Harden is one of the 20 best players in the league, and they let him walk for as little as you could possibly get for a player that good.”
Site note: That take is completely incorrect. They never “chose” anyone, it just so happened that Ibaka signed first and was willing to take less. Harden had his offer. He turned it down. It’s amazing how people continue to misrepresent and misunderstand the specifics of the Harden deal. It wasn’t a great trade and I’ve never completely agreed with it. But people saying, “That Harden trade looks worse and worse,” it so silly. It wasn’t a basketball trade. It was a financial one.
Greg Howard of Deadspin: “Martin was traded just last year in the blockbuster James Harden trade that sent the former Thunder guard to the Houston Rockets. Harden blossomed last year as Houston’s star, while Martin provided good scoring off the bench for the Thunder. But with Martin gone, Oklahoma City doesn’t have much to show for the Harden trade, and will likely have to turn to an unproven Jeremy Lamb (acquired in the Harden trade), Reggie Jackson, or free agent like Dorell Wright for another offensive perimeter threat.”
According to a Spanish website, the Thunder are interested in Carlos Delfino.
Henry Abbott of TrueHoop: “When your opponent packs the paint like the Spurs did, 3s quickly become even more important. They go from being condiments to survival food. Either you can get the defensive players scrambling far from the hoop to close out shooters or you cannot. Either you can punish opposing coaches for playing two plodding 7-footers (by making them run out to cover someone far from the hoop) or you cannot. Either you can efficiently turn possessions into points even without layups, or you cannot. If you cannot do those things, you’re basically done. That’s why life’s getting harder for players who don’t shoot it. That’s what hangs over this year’s free agency. The Spurs just wrote the book on shutting down lineups with players who can’t shoot. It might not matter all season long, but when you get locked into a playoff series against a determined coach like Gregg Popovich, it could matter more than anything.”