Loud Links: 06|10|10

Kevin Durant is a superstar whether he likes it or not - Ball Don't Lie - NBA  - Yahoo! Sports
No matter how hard you try, you're not going to get Kevin Durant to admit how good he is. Tell him he's a top-3 player in the league, and he'll say, "that's bold," and then shout-out several other guys he'd rank ahead of himself. Tell him he'll be the biggest draw on this summer's version of Team USA (of which he has been confirmed as a member) and he'll explain how many great players there are around him and that he "won't be the only guy getting attention."

But if you ask Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder forward will gladly tell you what he thinks about being named among the NBA's best players: "I'm not a superstar."

Sorry, Kevin, but you're wrong. You're a superstar, like it or not.

SLAM ONLINE | " What’s My Name?
Standing 6-3, Russell Westbrook isn’t the most intimidating of players—until he steps on the court. Besides Kevin Durant and the rest of the Thunder’s young squad (check SLAM 138 if you haven’t), RW runs the point for a high-energy offense. He averaged 16.1 ppg and 8 apg during the regular season and is a major reason why the Thunder went from 23 to 50 in the win column since his arrival from UCLA in ’08. The dude is balling and we need a nickname to accommodate him.

THUNDER: Catching Up With: Eric Maynor
What are some things you’re working on this offseason? "I just want to get stronger and put on more weight. I’ve been working on my jumper, working on being better defensively. Stuff like that. Just the little things. My plan is to get better every day. Get better every day and put more trust in my teammates and coaches."

Where’s your offseason home, back in North Carolina? "No, in Virginia, right near my old school (Virginia Commonwealth)."

The Thunder’s going to play a preseason game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, where you played your senior year of high school. Have you played there before? "I just found that out. I played there in high school for a holiday classic that goes on during Christmas time. All the teams are there. It’s a good tournament."

NBA Draft Blog - ESPN Insider
It's looking like 7-1 German center Tibor Pleiss is likely to stay in the draft, as well. I spoke to someone close to him at the camp and it's clear that, while he could be selected at the end of the first round, an early second-round pick gives him the financial flexibility to remain in Europe until he is ready to contribute in the NBA. This has become a smart strategy for international players who do not want to be bound by the NBA's first-round salary scale.

In fact, Pleiss is represented by Bill Duffy, who orchestrated the Spurs' selection and trade of Dragic to the Suns as a second-round pick. The 24-year-old point guard, who stopped by the camp, is poised to make a lot more money as Steve Nash's heir apparent than if he had been a late first-round selection.

Orlando Summer League Schedule Announced - Ridiculous Upside
Which teams, you ask? The Orlando Magic (obviously), New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics and the Charlotte Bobcats. This means two of the top three picks (provided the 76ers don't trade down) will be in attendance to make a total of four lottery picks (What up, Pacers and Jazz fans!?).

I've attached a full schedule after the jump [link above] - you'll never guess who's leading off (hint - top picks). We'll also have full coverage, as well as developing rosters, in the weeks leading up to tip-off on July 5th.

NBA Free Agency: 25 Bold Predictions for the Summer of 2010
Expect the Thunder to trade up to the lottery to grab Orton before it's too late, pairing their No. 21 pick with one of their second rounders.

 


 

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