People around the league increasingly believe that Ray Allen already knows the team he would like to play for this season, and that he’s simply deciding whether he wants to play at all, Chris Mannix of SI.com writes. Allen has hinted within the past two weeks that he’s coming back to the NBA, but another more recent report indicated that he’s enjoying time with his family. Mannix has a ton of noteworthy items in his latest weekly column, many of them with a Thunder-centric theme, and we’ll hit the highlights here.
- The Nuggets are still trying to pry Brook Lopez from the Nets with a package centered on JaVale McGee, according to Mannix. Still, Denver doesn’t want to put Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried, Jusuf Nurkic or Wilson Chandler into any deal, Mannix cautions.
- The Thunder are willing to go deep into the luxury tax this season to acquire Lopez, the SI.com scribe writes. Oklahoma City is unwilling to give up any of its top present-day talent, nor will the team make a move that damages its future as the Thunder look for trade partners who are “desperate,” an opposing GM tells Mannix.
- Reggie Jackson turned down an extension offer from Oklahoma City that would have made him the most highly paid backup in the NBA, a source tells Mannix. Just what sort of salary that would have meant is unclear, since Amar’e Stoudemire has made more appearances off the bench than he has starts on a deal that gives him in excess of $23.4MM this season. Some teams believed at the beginning of the season that there was a decent chance that Jackson would command offers of between $13MM and $14MM in restricted free agency this summer, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote in October.
- Several executives from around the NBA believe it’s conceivable that a five-year max deal for Kevin Durant will be worth some $200MM when he hits free agency in 2016, according to Mannix. Durant will be eligible for a max worth about 35% of the salary cap as a 10-year veteran that summer. Those execs also believe that Durant likes playing in Oklahoma City, as he’s said, Mannix writes.
- Markieff Morris believes he and brother Marcus Morris might have made more money in restricted free agency this summer if they hadn’t signed extensions with the Suns, but Markieff can’t envision ever playing without his twin again, as he tells Mannix.