Northwest Rumors: Martin, Thunder, Lopez

The Northwest Division is home to the NBA’s only winless team, the 0-7 Jazz, along with a struggling 1-4 Nuggets outfit. Still, the Thunder are one of a pair of teams in the league with just a single loss, and the Trail Blazers and Timberwolves are off to 4-2 starts. Here’s news on the three Northwest clubs who’ve impressed so far:

  • The Wolves made Kevin Martin a much better financial offer than the Thunder did this summer, but that’s not the only benefit of his decision to sign with Minnesota, writes Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. The Wolves are giving Martin a chance to start and play more than just a complementary role on a team with other marquee players.
  • Martin’s departure seemed to leave the Thunder‘s bench in disrepair, but Steven Adams and Jeremy Lamb, fruits of the James Harden deal, have combined with Derek Fisher to outperform three of the team’s starters, notes Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard tell Chris Haynes of they feel more freedom to play aggressively on defense now that offseason trade acquisition Robin Lopez is protecting the rim for the Trail Blazers.
  • Lior Eliyahu is nearing a three-year deal with Hapoel Jerusalem in Israel, according to Roey Gladstone of Israeli Channel 5 TV (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). The Wolves own the 28-year-old’s NBA rights, but it’s unclear if Eliyahu’s deal would allow him to leave for the NBA before the three years are up.

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