Kevin Martin’s phone hummed with text messages this week inquiring about a national kerfuffle that erupted on the Internet blogosphere and sports-network commentary shows where the hosts shout to pull in ratings.
At issue was something Martin said after Sunday’s victory at New York: “This is such a fun team to play on. Nobody’s trying to lead the league in scoring.”
Many tweeted, retweeted and recast Martin’s words, interpreting it as criticism of former Oklahoma City teammate Kevin Durant. Martin said he called Durant on Monday to tell Durant he meant nothing of the sort.
“Usually, I let things like that go, but it just didn’t sit well with me, especially when it involved Kevin,” Martin said Wednesday. “He was the first guy who texted me when I got traded there. I won’t forget how the team and community from top to bottom accepted me and made me feel at ease after a big trade like that. I kind of felt like somebody was making an assumption between me and my family.”
Asked why he felt the need to call Durant, he said: “We’re good friends. That’s the sad part. It was just the right thing for me to do, to say how much I respect him, everything he did for me last year. He made me want to continue playing ball at a high level just from being around him. I’ve got too much respect for him and the Thunder organization to say anything like that.”
Martin said his words were meant as a compliment to Wolves coach Rick Adelman’s passing offense and the team’s collective unselfishness. The irony: Kevin Love led the league in scoring with a 29.7-point average after that game.
Wednesday’s game was Corey Brewer’s first this season against the team that might have completely changed his career course.
Brewer was in Denver last season, a big part of a Nuggets team that won 57 games, finished third in the Western Conference … and then was upset by Golden State in the first round of the playoffs.
That 4-2 loss to Golden State was a breakthrough for the Warriors, who have become a team to watch. But it was the precursor to the breakup of the Nuggets. In the wake of that upset, Denver coach George Karl was fired, Nuggets vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri left for Toronto and the Nuggets began a rebuilding operation.
“I had no idea,” said Brewer, who returned to the Wolves as a free agent over the summer. “We won 57 games. We figured we had a pretty good future. But then [Andre Iguodala] goes to Golden State, I don’t come back, Coach Karl gets fired and the vice president goes to Toronto. Kind of crazy. But I think it worked OK for everybody.”
For the record, Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio was not upset about not playing in the fourth quarter of the team’s loss in Cleveland on Monday.
Rubio struggled from the floor, going 0-for-7. But with J.J. Barea running the point, the Wolves rallied from a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit, rallying to within a point before the game ended. Adelman stuck with his hot hand, meaning Rubio didn’t play at all in the final quarter.
And he’s OK with that.
“It’s tough, it’s tough,” Rubio said. “But they were playing great. They had a great comeback. It was awesome watching the effort they put into it.”
When asked what would ensure his not having to sit out a fourth quarter again, Rubio said: “Make shots.”