Remember how the head of the EuroLeague said the elite teams of Europe were not going to get in the “rent an NBA star” game, that they needed stable rosters? (To be fair, I had heard similar noises from some agents.)
You can pretty much throw that out the window.
Kevin Durant’s agent is in talks with Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow, according to a report on the Russian Web site championat.com (via HoopsHype). He reportedly would make a $1 million a month salary and of course would have an opt-out to return to the Thunder should the lockout end.
Durant’s agent Aaron Goodwin laid out the other day how a player could make NBA money overseas, if the right team came along with the right marketing plan. This is one of the teams big enough to pull that off — this is a powerhouse of Europe, the winner or EuroLeague two of the last four seasons, the team that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov used to own. This also is the team Nenad Krstic plays for, a guy Durant knows as a teammate from OKC.
Durant has said he would make his decision on playing overseas by Oct. 1.
In addition to Durant maybe going overseas, EuroLeague power Maccabi Tel Aviv has brought in Jordan Farmar and is reportedly trying to woo Amar’e Stoudemire. If there is going to be an arms race other teams may jump in as well.
Markieff Morris made a lot of noise this summer about being unhappy in Phoenix and wanting out, after the Suns traded his twin brother Marcus to the Pistons as part of a salary dump. He openly demanded a trade, and said on the record several times that his long-term future is not with the team. He’s changed his tune since training camp started, once he realized he has no choice but to play for the Suns unless they decide to trade him. But according to the Detroit Free Press‘ Vincent Ellis, there is interest from the one team he would be guaranteed to want to play for:
Markieff’s unhappiness with the Suns started when they traded his brother, so he would obviously jump at the chance to reunite with Marcus. And they don’t have much in the way of power forward depth beyond the other Morris twin and Ersan Ilyasova, so it would be a good fit from a basketball standpoint. But with the brothers’ felony assault charges pending, reuniting them on the same roster might not be the best idea, and it also opens up the possibility of having to trade one of them in the future and the other one being unhappy. So far, the Suns have shown no inclination to trade Markieff, but if that changes, the Pistons are an interesting destination to keep an eye on.
Gregg Popovich’s habit of resting key players at times has become the norm around the league as more and more studies have shown it helps players perform at higher levels plus helps reduce injury risk. Still, Popovich is the poster child.
New Spur LaMarcus Aldridge wasn’t used to this but got introduced to it in a very Popovich way, reports Jeff McDonald at the Express-News.
LaMarcus Aldridge missed his first workout of training camp today with leg tightness. Or rather, the Spurs — being the Spurs — held him out for precautionary reasons.
“We sat him out,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He didn’t want to do it. I said, ‘Welcome to the Spurs. Go sit.’”
He might as well have added “get used to this.” Aldridge is going to get some rest this season. Not as many as Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker, but he’s going to get some nights off.
Remember, Aldridge is a guy who played through a torn ligament in his thumb last season because he thought the Blazers could make noise in the playoffs (and they might have had Wesley Matthews not gotten hurt). He’s not a guy used to being told to sit and rest.
It’s his “Welcome to the Spurs” moment.