• Above video: The closest that many of us will ever get to dunking with ease, via The Basketball Jones.
“When teams have maybe a disgruntled superstar, what are they looking for in return? Well, they’re looking for picks, that’s what they want,” McDonough said. ”I think we’re well positioned to strike if and when the next disgruntled superstar becomes available.”
The most [Oden is] going to get in salary at this point is the mini mid-level. There are not a whole lot of other usable big men at that price point out there. The back-up plan for one team in the Oden mix is Cole Aldrich. Oden will, like Bynum in Philly in 2012-13, draw some attention and maybe some pressure and angst from the fanbase the first time he's in a suit on the bench. But the team that picks him up won't have given up an All-Star, $15 million in salary or any of that.
Bynum hurt Philly so much because he was an all-in bet. Oden is two chips at a low-limit table. Oden is jaywalking across an Old West dirt path. He's skydiving from the top bunk. There's just not much risk at this point because there's not much cost.
• Bucket-getting guard Marcus Thornton has been widely overlooked in the Kings' offseason of change, but Akis Yerocostas of Sactown Royalty writes that Thornton, too, might benefit from the team's fresh start:
Unlike the other two players Sacramento could play at Shooting Guard (Ben McLemore and Jimmer Fredette), Thornton has no issues with creating his own shot. He's able to take the ball to the basket, pull up for jumpers, or come off screens and catch and shoot. One thing he doesn't do often enough is get to the line with just 3.3 FTA per 36 minutes.
Just like with the franchise, this season can be a fresh start for Thornton. Ben McLemore is probably not ready to be the starter just yet, and while he's the future, having Marcus Thornton on hand gives the Kings the opportunity to bring him along slowly while also allowing Thornton the room to do what he does best. Thornton is still an asset to this team, and with Tyreke gone, he'll have every chance to prove it.
• In a piece chock full of detail on the pieces and teams involved in the Brandon Jennings-Brandon Knight swap, Grantland's Zach Lowe lays out Detroit's motivations to complete the deal in exceedingly simple terms:
The trade is a little easier to understand from Detroit’s perspective, even if the $4.5 million difference between Brandon Knight’s 2014-15 salary and Jennings’s could be the difference between big-time cap room and middling space for Detroit next summer — in a potentially crowded free-agency marketplace. Jennings is better than Knight, and the Pistons badly want to make the playoffs this season after four straight lottery trips. They got Jennings at a very nice price — Jeremy Lin money — and concluded three years of Jennings at a reasonable $8 million per is worth more in their current state than whatever progress Knight might make in the final two years of his rookie deal. That’s really it.
• Here's an interesting composite shot chart for the foursome of Jennings, Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, along with some points of statistical reference on Detroit's paint-centric offense. • Just in case John Wall needs any help targeting areas for offseason improvement, Mike Prada of Bullets Forever has him covered. Most are basics, but crucial for a point guard of Wall's caliber to fine-tune in order to make good on his five-year, $80 million extension.