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Northwest Notes: Thunder, Harden, Batum, Blazers

Thunder star Kevin Durant will likely wind up a distant second in MVP voting to LeBron James, but he just completed the most efficient and remarkable campaign of his career, writes Michael Lee of the Washington Post.  This past season placed Durant in the exclusive 50-40-90 club with the likes of Larry Bird and Reggie Miller while also showcasing his versatility and expanding game.  Here's more on the Thunder and the rest of the Northwest..

  • Oklahoma City's James Harden/Kevin Martin swap with Houston worked out for both sides, writes Sam Amick of USA Today.  Despite all the focus that there will be on Harden, the fascinating part of the upcoming series is the fact that the Thunder are, as surprising as it may be, a better team with Martin playing Harden's role. 
  • Blazers star Nicolas Batum is thinking big for 2013/14, writes HoopsWorld's Joel Brigham.  “This year we showed we could beat good teams. We beat New York. We beat Miami. We beat Memphis,” Batum said. “But then we lost against Sacramento, Detroit, Washington. If we focus, have a good training camp, and don’t do the same mistakes we made this year, it won’t be crazy if we’re in the top five in the Western Conference next year.”
  • Blazers GM Neil Olshey explained the reasoning behind the team's decision to waive Jared Jeffries, and said adding rim protection will be a priority this offseason as he spoke to reporters today. Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge has the transcript.

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