4 min read

Wednesday Bolts – 7.1.09

Wednesday Bolts – 7.1.09

Chris Sheridan looks at cap killers: “Nick Collison ($6.25 million against Oklahoma City’s cap) Collison also is on the


books for $6.75 million in 2010-11, meaning he’ll earn nearly as much money in the next two seasons as Kevin Durant will have earned over the first three seasons of the rookie contract he currently is playing under. The good news for the Thunder: Earl Watson’s $6.6 million salary comes off the books next summer, and Collision will come off the cap a year later when Clay Bennett and his partners have to start digging deep to pay veteran money to Durant, Jeff Green and then Russell Westbrook and James Harden. (Another positive note for OKC fans: The Thunder own Phoenix’s unprotected 2010 draft pick, which means they could have two lottery picks next June.)”

Darnell Mayberry watched some tape on James Harden and wrote down some notes: “He has a maturity to his game that’s rarely seen in 19-year-old ballplayers. His court vision is excellent, his decision-making is terrific and his all-around impact is invaluable. It could be that I caught Harden on a great night, a 74-67 home win over the Bruins in which he nearly recorded a triple-double with a team-high 15 points and a career-high 11 assists to go with seven rebounds. But considering the point total was five below Harden’s Pac-10-leading scoring average and he finished with eight turnovers, I’d say his performance was closer to average than great.”

Tim Kawakami ranks the Western Conference: “The Thunder, with smart GM Sam Presti, has about $17M in available cap space, if they want to go chasing one or two free agents, which they probably will. Potential problems: Defense is not their speciality, and may not be for a while, given their roster. But give Presti (a Spur product) a little time.”

The Clippers extend Steve Novak a qualifying offer: “The Clippers extended Steve Novak a qualifying offer Tuesday, which makes him a restricted free agent. The Clippers will have the opportunity to match any contract offer made to Novak by another team. Novak’s number is $1,030,189. Given the reasonable price tag and the fact that there are only a handful of players in the league with true shooting percentages greater than 60%, it’s very likely Novak will get a bite from a team in need of some perimeter shooting.”

Andrew Katz of Dime tells the Thunder to say no to Ben Gordon: “That’d be a mistake. OKC has built one through three through the draft. They have solid role players behind those guys in Thabo Sefalosha, Kyle Weaver, Earl Watson, and Damien Wilkins. There’s no need to create a traffic jam for Harden to get on the court.”

Kevin Durant appears to be enjoying his first camp: “Durant spent much of the camp Tuesday toting around a microphone and talking over the loudspeaker. At one point, he stopped in a hallway between the high school’s two gyms and was surrounded by kids asking him questions as he passed the microphone back and forth. “I wanted to be very involved,” Durant said of his first-ever camp. When Durant got done on Monday, he squeezed in a different kind of workout session — playing some hoops with No. 3 overall draft pick James Harden and some other Thunder players. Durant came away impressed with Harden’s strength and athletic ability, and said the rookie’s passing skills might even qualify him to play point guard part time in addition to his normal spot at shooting guard. “He’s unbelievable,” Durant said.”

Jenni Carlson had a nice little sit-down with KD at the camp:

I hate regurgitating rumors because most times, they ain’t true. That whole David Lee thing? Yeah, the Knicks are about to offer him a multi-year deal: “A team source claims the Knicks will offer Lee a four-year deal worth $32 million, which is below his asking price of $10 million per season. The Knicks have the right to match any offer given to Lee, as well as Robinson, but the club wants to remain fiscally responsible as it pertains to the summer of 2010.”

HoopsWorld looks at the teams with cap space and what they’ll do: “The Thunder will likely use some of their cap space, but probably not all of it. They are rumored to be interested in restricted free agents Marcin Gortat and Paul Millsap, but they have to consider how such a signing impacts their roster down the road when they have to give extensions to the likes of Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and Russell Westbrook.”

Ian Thompson: “Oklahoma City could have at least $13 million in space, but the Thunder are unlikely to make a major signing for a couple of reasons: This is a relatively weak free-agent market, and they are committed to a disciplined salary structure (similar to Detroit and San Antonio of recent years), which they’re unlikely to upset by overspending — the inherent danger of outbidding rivals for a free agent on the open market. But the Thunder remain capable of making an inspired move to fill a long-term need — remember their midseason trade-in-vain for Tyson Chandler — and maybe Ben Gordon could emerge as a scorer to pair with Kevin Durant.”