Kendrick Perkins says Thunder will keep James Harden

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Kendrick Perkins is not the Thunder general manager, talking in qualifiers about financial realities.

Kendrick Perkins is a guy who believes in team whole heartedly. He did in Boston and it was hard on him when he was traded. But he’s found it again in Oklahoma City.

And he can’t see anyone letting that go over a few dollars. Or a few million. Remember that as you read this quote from him, via the twitter of the Thunder beat god Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman:

“We’re getting close with James, and we’re getting close to keeping our unit together… Once James gets here, it’s nothing to be said. He’ll see his family and that’s all he needs… So once he sees everybody’s faces that’s enough said.”

Harden has made it clear his preference is to stay with the Thunder. But as always, it’s about money. OKC management and owners would like a discount (to save them tax dollars) but Harden is a max player looking for a max deal — and if the Thunder won’t pay him that someone else will.

As I have said before, the Thunder know the price. They have known it before they signed Serge Ibaka to his extension at the start of this off-season. The only questions remaining is will they pay it, and if so when? And eventually I think they will.

By the way, Perkins also said that Eric Maynor looked good. Maynor is a good backup point guard who went down with an ACL tear last season, which is what prompted the Thunder to bring in Derek Fisher. Having Maynor back would be huge because he is such an upgrade in that role behind Russell Westbrook.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

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Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

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The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

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Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.

Report: ‘Tremendous concern’ for Jeremy Lin’s knee injury

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The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?

Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:

If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.

The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.

It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.

Aaron Gordon throws himself alley-oop off backboard (video)

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Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?

The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.

There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.