Nike unveils its latest signature shoe for Kevin Durant, the KD VI

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Nike held an event on Thursday in Seat Pleasant, Md. (just outside of Washington, D.C.) to launch its latest signature shoe for Kevin Durant, the KD VI.

The location was significant, as the shoe’s design was inspired by Durant’s hometown, and (as pointed out in the video clip above) the precision craftsmanship of a watch.

More details, from the official release:

“As designer Leo Chang began the process of designing the KD VI 18 months ago, he found inspiration in the precision craftsmanship of a wristwatch. Like a premium watch, which is meticulously crafted, the KD VI features fine-tuned details that include:

  • Ultra-thin two layer upper with Flywire for lockdown support
  • An optical illusion logo on the tongue revealing “35” and “6” in negative space
  • Radial brushed texture marks on the midsole, KD logo and Nike Swoosh
  • A multi-layered hexagon traction pattern

Similar to Durant’s controlled fluidity on the court, a watch operates with precise movements.  Small nuances in Durant’s style of play and the KD VI design mirror the micro details of a wristwatch.  Classic minimalism suggests less is sometimes more.

“When Kevin and I first discussed his sixth shoe we wanted to create a simplified design that was bold, beautiful and told a story,” said Chang, Nike Basketball Footwear Design Director.

The KD VI will drop first in D.C. on June 29, then will have a wider release on July 3. Check out the photos below and let us know if you plan on copping a pair — these are definitely one of the more unique signature shoes that we’ve seen.


KD VI from Nike Basketballslideshow

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.