Please add to All-Star Weekend. Thanks. Keep reading »
Kevin Durant, James Harden and Paul George, all battling 1-on-1 to be king of the court. Add this to All-Star Weekend. Stat.
Ben Golliver of SI.com picks the 12-man USA roster: “A friendly reminder: At 23, Durant averaged a team-high 19.5 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 52.3 percent on three-pointers during the 2012 London Olympics. Every time he steps on the court, the four-time scoring champion creates a “pick your poison” dilemma for defenses: defend him with single coverage and pray, or send the extra defender and cross your fingers. During scrimmages, both methods have run into some trouble, as Durant has undressed Kenneth Faried in the post with a series of shake moves, and also zinged crosscourt passes to Harden for wide open corner threes when two defenders collapsed. What’s more, the players who are best equipped to slow him down — LeBron James, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard — aren’t available to any of the USA’s international opposition.”
Zach Lowe of Grantland on lottery proposals: “The tournament is a fun idea, and it would tweak the incentives at least a bit away from late-season tanking. Ditto for another popular idea, though one that might not be part of any official proposal sent to the league: putting at least the two last playoff teams in each conference into the lottery. Shortening playoff series would be the best way to make just getting in more appealing, but the league isn’t going there. It’s healthy to consider other methods to reach the same goal. Any lottery system limited to only a portion of the league will have some built-in demarcation point around which tanking at least a game or two becomes optimal. Proposals like The Wheel and the leaguewide lottery with even odds recognize that reality by obliterating all of those lines in the sand.” Keep Reading…
Jeff Caplan of NBA.com: “If he were to leave OKC, it’s not a stretch to suggest that community will be more devastated than D.C. will be elated. With Durant, 25, in a Thunder uniform, the championship window is open-ended. But hey, a lot can happen in two years. The Thunder could win a championship. Or two. Or maybe they don’t and Durant’s patience runs thin, after all he’ll be nine years in by the summer of ’16. Maybe the Durant-Westbrook relationship sours. Maybe Brooks gets fired. Maybe Durant ultimately decides he wants to play for a billionaire owner more responsive to spending when the moment calls.”
Andrew Sharp of Grantland: “Soon Durant is going to leave Vegas, he’ll go back to Oklahoma City, where’s treated like a god, and then the season will start. He’ll win 60 games again, probably finish first or second in MVP voting, and go to at least the conference finals. Kevin Durant is not Kevin Love. Winning cures almost anything in sports, and OKC is going to win a lot over the next two years. This is the biggest reason Wizards fans shouldn’t be that excited. If Oklahoma City wins a title or maybe even just makes the Finals in 2016, there’s simply no way Durant leaves. And given all the talent in Oklahoma City, it’s hard to imagine it comes up short for each of the next two years.” Keep Reading…
It’s just how things are now. We don’t talk about 2014. We talk about 2016. As soon as a presidential election ends, we immediately talk about who could run four years later. There’s often more interest in what might happen and who might go where than what is happening and who is where.
With LeBron James now in place for at least the next few seasons, and the Kevin Love trade talk simmering a bit, attention has turned back to Kevin Durant and his pending free agency two seasons away. It seems ridiculous, but really, it’s relevant. Durant will be 27 and likely the best or second best player in the world. He’ll be the biggest free agent since, well, LeBron.
Durant is currently at Team USA training camp in Las Vegas and so far he’s had just a handful of questions about Spain and the Gasol brothers and a whole lot about Washington D.C. and the summer of 2016. He was asked about LeBron’s move back to Cleveland — he called it “classy” — and then things turned back to him. Keep Reading…
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com on Durant: “Now, James has gone home and opened up a whole new avenue for stars to follow. Durant’s commitment to Oklahoma City is about to enter a two-year window that will test all the boundaries. Durant has felt the love in OKC, and OKC has received plenty in return. How long that can last is the great unknown as the NBA’s free-agent merry-go-round approaches the next stop.”
Ben Golliver of SI.com: “Put all of those elements together — his personality, his sterling track record, his devotion, his skill, his desire to win and the Thunder’s bottom-line decisions — and it’s clear that there will be no possible justification for begrudging Durant should he decide to leave Oklahoma City. Like James and Carmelo Anthony, who explored his options this summer before re-signing with the Knicks, Durant seems keen on the flexibility that free agency will afford him. On Monday, and then again Tuesday, Durant refused to commit himself to the Thunder past his current deal, even if doing so — even indirectly or through a bit of lip service — would alleviate some of the questions that he is already facing about his future.” Keep Reading…
“For me once I go out there to America I’m pretty much representing all of New Zealand because most people haven’t met New Zealand people, so I have to take that into consideration. If I’m like a dick, then they’re like New Zealand guys are dicks. If you’ve just got a normal Kiwi attitude then they’re fine with it. That’s one of the key things.” — Steven Adams
I’m not sure how, but I totally missed this interview with Kevin Durant from Lang Whitaker of NBA.com at the KD VII shoe release. It’s like a month old, but I figure if I missed it, then some other folks probably did as well.
There’s a lot of interesting stuff, but probably the most interesting, is Durant’s comments on 2016.
“Way too far, way too far,” he said. “I’m glad I didn’t have an opt out in my contract so I don’t have to say anything about it. Every player wants to go through [free agency] I’m sure, but I love where I am, I love what’s going on there in Oklahoma City, so I can’t speak on the future. You never know what happens. And I just want to live in the moment.”
Mitch McGary: “This is the fit for me and I’m happy overall with where I ended up. Hopefully we have a bunch of veteran big guys that I learn from, Nick Collison, Kendrick Perkins, Serge [Ibaka] and even [second-year center] Steven [Adams]. He taught me how to play defense against [Brooklyn’s] Mason Plumlee [in the summer league.] It helped out.”
Amin Elhassan of ESPN Insider on the 2015 free agent class: “Gasol’s impending unrestricted free-agent status also sets him apart from Love and Aldridge. Memphis still has the inside track to retain Gasol, given an ability to offer a 7.5 percent raise and a fifth year. But Gasol, who will find plenty of teams interested once he hits free agency next summer, might find it difficult not to test the market. The New York Knicks will try to lure Gasol with the promise of the triangle offense, the scheme that helped Pau transform from a Memphis outcast into a champion. Heading to New York would also allow Gasol to play alongside an elite scorer in Carmelo Anthony as well as Spanish national teammate Jose Calderon.” Keep Reading…