Kevin Martin registered his lowest points per game average in nine seasons last year with the Thunder, though his role there was a bit different than it had been with other teams in seasons past.
Martin was tasked with a sixth man role in Oklahoma City, after playing starter’s minutes essentially his entire career before getting there. He had a largely up and down season, and ultimately opted to take the cash by signing a four-year deal with the Timberwolves.
But it appears he at least considered staying with the Thunder for less money, due to the fact that they are near the top of the list of teams that are in the championship conversation.
From Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune:
[Martin] chose the Wolves’ four-year offer worth nearly $28 million over a Thunder proposal that was significantly restricted by the luxury tax. Asked if he seriously considered returning to Thunder for relatively little money but the chance to win a championship, he said, “Always. I also feel like I found the same thing with Minnesota being younger. They’ve had some injuries over the years, but they’re a good team, too. I made a decision and I think it’s a great one. I learned from Oklahoma CIty, they’re a great organization. The way KD and Russ approach the game, I think that’s something I’ll bring to Minnesota.”
Minnesota has a lot of interesting pieces in Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, and potentially Nikola Pekovic if he re-signs as expected. But they’re nowhere near the level of proven success that the Thunder have achieved — at least not yet.
It’s hard to blame Martin for taking the higher-dollar offer that was presented, but let’s not pretend that the Timberwolves are anywhere near as close to contending for a title as a healthy Thunder team would be with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook both firmly in the picture.
The New York Knicks couldn’t get out of their own way on Thursday night, even with a historic performance from Carmelo Anthony. With the Washington Wizards in town, it was John Wall‘s finishing ability that pushed the Wiz over New York, 113-110.
The final 45 seconds were hectic, as Wall took the lead for Washington with just 32 seconds left after drawing a foul on Carmelo.
Down by 1, Anthony then missed a jumper with 18 seconds left and the Knicks allowed Wall to do this:
Wall would go on to steal the final possession from the Knicks, and the Wizards left MSG with a win.
Gregg Popovich can be a fiesty dude, and sometimes he just wants to get his team pumped up. After news that Pau Gasol was going to be absent from the San Antonio Spurs’ lineup against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, perhaps this was his way of doing that?
Late in the second quarter in Denver, Popovich was seen arguing with a baseline official as play continued on. Pop was hit with an initial tech, and as the officiating crew walked away he blasted ’em with the best dad insult I’ve heard in a long time.
“You’re a terrible referee!”
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Mudiay was more than happy to assist with the second technical and ejection portion of Popovich’s tirade.
Long Live Pop.
Kristaps Porzingis is “The Unicorn” perhaps in part because of his high basketball awareness on the offensive end of the floor. On Thursday night against the Washington Wizards, the New York Knicks big man had an incredible putback dunk that surprised even his teammates.
Thanks to a missed Courtney Lee 3-pointer, Porzingis was able to fly in from beyond the arc to slam home two points.
Yeah, that’s crazy.
There’s putback dunks and then there’s flying in from beyond the 3-point line like this one. Wild.
The San Antonio Spurs will have to make do without PF/C for a while Pau Gasol thanks to a recent fracture in his left ring finger.
That’s according to a press release from the team, who said Gasol fractured his fourth metacarpal — the bone that connects the ring finger down to the carpal bones in the wrist area — during warmups before a game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
No word yet from the team on recovery time, but estimates given similar recent NBA player injuries suggest anywhere from 4-8 weeks.
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward missed the first month of the season after fracturing his finger in early October. Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving missed around a month in 2012 with a similar injury.
Here’s hoping Gasol can make it back to the court quickly for the Spurs.