Kevin Martin's high praise for Aaron Brooks


I’m honestly very, very happy for Kevin Martin and Aaron Brooks. We always knew those two kids would get together in a guard rotation, and I couldn’t be more excited for them and theirs during this incredible time. There’s nothing quite like it, and though the dark clouds that inevitably come for everyone will put a damper on things, no one can take this honeymoon away from them.

Isn’t love just grand?

Kevin Martin seems to think so, and he’s beyond smitten with his new team and his new backcourt mate, per Dan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

On a night he and Brooks scored 28 points apiece, Martin went a bit over the top.
“I knew he was good,” Martin said. “I never got a chance to see him play this much, but he is amazing. He is a scoring point guard. Most shooting guards don’t really like that but I love it, just the way he gets everything and by the end of his career he is going to be the greatest six foot and under scorer that this game has ever seen.”

Despite the incredibly popular criticisms to the contrary, scoring point guards (like Aaron Brooks) can find a lot of success on the right team and in the right system. I wouldn’t say that pairing Brooks with Martin, a natural scorer who has never really demonstrated much playmaking ability, is necessarily a natural fit. But both are atypical athletes who have found success in unique ways. They can work it out, they can work it out.

Besides, Houston is just glad to have finally found the scoring threat that Trevor Ariza never was, and Martin is thrilled to be in a winning situation. There’s nothing wrong with being a bit lovey-dovey right now, and though the Rockets aren’t exactly competing for the title this year, everything’s still coming up roses.

LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.

Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.

But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.

LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.

However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.

For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.

Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.