Kevin Martin won’t play without a superstar anymore

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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.

Report: Clippers hiring ex-Cavaliers executive Trent Redden

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The power dynamics within the Clippers are shifting, and the ground apparently hasn’t settled yet.

Doc Rivers has been stripped of his presidency. Jerry West became a consultant. Lawrence Frank now holds the most prestigious title in the front office, and newly hired Michael Winger will report to him. Also falling under Frank in the organizational chart? Trent Redden.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

Longtime Cleveland Cavaliers executive Trent Redden will join the LA Clippers’ front-office staff as assistant general manager, league sources said on Monday.

Redden was ousted in Cleveland with David Griffin. He’ll help the Clippers simply by providing another capable executive. They’ve long needed to add front-office employees (and pay for them).

But Redden also exacerbates the issue of Frank’s underlings having far more front-office experience than him. As the Clippers try to establish their new setup, we’ll see whether that creates complications.

Warriors’ Steve Kerr: I expect to coach all season and for many years ahead

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Warriors coach Steve Kerr has missed significant time the last two seasons due to complications from back surgery.

Could those issues derail his career?

Kerr, via Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“I fully expect to coach all year,” Kerr says in a no-nonsense tone. “That’s my expectation. And for many years to come.”

On the most basic level, it’d be good if Kerr feels well enough to coach. The headaches sound miserable, regardless of his job.

But it’d also be ideal if the NBA didn’t lose one of its best coaches just as he’s getting started. The 51-year-old Kerr might wind up the greatest coach of all time. Obviously that’s a long way off, but he has that potential – health permitting.

Quinn Cook signing two-year contract with Hawks

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The Hawks began last season with just two point guards, one fewer than most teams – especially notable because neither starter Dennis Schroder nor backup Malcolm Delaney was experienced for his role.

Schroder and Delaney return, but Atlanta is adding another option – Quinn Cook.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Cook is a borderline NBA player. He might not make the regular-season roster. He also might supplant Delaney for a rotation spot.

A 24-year-old who has spent most of the last two years in the D-League (also getting stints with the Mavericks and Pelicans), Cook is a good outside shooter. He’s also steady, if unspectacular, in his lead-guard duties.

This is a solid flier at a position the Hawks could use depth.

Knicks sign Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jamel Artis

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The Knicks signing Nigel Hayes leaked first.

But New York didn’t stop there.

Knicks release:

The New York Knickerbockers announced today that the team has signed forwards Jamel Artis and Nigel Hayes and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

Like Hayes, Artis (Pittsburgh) and Rathan-Mayes (Florida State) went undrafted this year – making them eligible to be waived and assigned to the Knicks’ minor-league affiliate. That’s likely all three’s fate.

But first, each will have an opportunity to make the regular-season roster. The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one roster spot for someone on a standard contract. Chasson Randle (unguaranteed) is the incumbent choice, but these three could supplant him.