Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets - Game Six

Kevin Martin won’t play without a superstar anymore


In nine NBA seasons, Kevin Martin has six times led a team in scoring – the Rockets thrice and Kings thrice. Martin, a dependable outside shooter with an ability to get to the free-throw line, has even scored up to 24.6 points per game.

Last season, as the Thunder’s sixth man, Martin had to settle into a different role. Playing with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Martin averaged just 14.0 points per game – his lowest total since his second season.

He didn’t mind. In fact, that experience played a crucial role in his free agency.

Martin, via Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press:

“After playing with Kevin Durant and Russell, I wasn’t going to another team without a superstar,” Martin said on Saturday. “It just elevates your game and makes your life a lot easier.”

Martin signed with the Timberwolves, who have Kevin Love. Love is not on the Durant level, or maybe even the Westbrook level, but Love meets my superstar threshold nonetheless.

Love’s scoring is certainly part of his superstardom, but his rebounding and passing for his size are also key components of making him worthy of the “superstar” tag. Love is the rare superstar who can score less than a non-star, let alone non-superstar, on his own team.

Though he’ll have competition from Love and Nikola Pekovic (assuming he re-signs), Martin has a good chance to lead the Timberwolves in scoring next season. If playing with a superstar is so important to Martin, Minnesota provides the opportunity for him to have the best of both worlds.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.