Could New York be a destination for Jeff Green if he doesn’t stay with the Thunder?: “Green isn’t a star but could be on the verge and I remember a player who the Knicks signed as a venerable bargain back in 96 who worked out very well for them for the rest of the decade. Not my call, but you can bet that the Knicks, just like last summer, are prepared to go all in, with several buy-ins locked in a big fat briefcase as insurance.”
Forbes says KD is the second most underpaid player in the NBA: “Durant, an explosive forward who played more minutes and scored more points than any player in the league while grabbing seven rebounds a game last season, contributed 19.7 wins (worth $33.7 million in salary by the league-wide average) to the Thunder. His 2009-’10 salary: $4.8 million.”
ESPN Award Watch still has Russell Westbrook in the MVP discussion: “The Western Conference POW has been sensational, but he slid due to his failure to take care of the ball (5.8 turnovers in his past five games). OKC has lost two of three.”
Same on NBA.com: “MVP candidates love them those triple-OT opportunities. Against New Jersey, 21 of Westbrook’s 38 points came after regulation, including all 13 of the Thunder’s points in the third overtime. Also getting 15 points and nine assists, he became only the sixth player in the last 20 years to have a game of at least 35 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists.”
Shaun Powell of NBA.com: “The Thunder’s MVP candidate is … Russell Westbrook? OK, nobody’s saying Westbrook is the most important player in basketball, or even on his own team. But he’s making a serious bid to join the elite at his position. With Kevin Durant on the mend, Westbrook came alive against the Nets in an OT thriller, with 38 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists and massive plays in the clutch. All told, Westbrook is averaging nearly nine assists, and only three fewer points and one rebound less than Durant. That’s quite the 1-2 punch in Oklahoma City. If they find another punch, that would be the KO they need.”
SI’s power rankings: “It’s simply not as much fun to watch the Thunder play this year as last season: They lack a natural rhythm to their switches and rotations on defense; Kevin Durant’s offense isn’t coming nearly as easily; and Russell Westbrook is more indomitable than ever, but his improvement and Durant’s brief injury absence have given the point guard more sway over the offense — a mixed blessing as he leads the league in turnovers and has taken the third-most shots with a below-average accuracy of 43.7 percent, yet also ranks third in free-throw attempts and converts 87.2 percent at the line. But to heck with aesthetics when you can have victories: OKC has actually been outscored by nine points overall but is two games ahead of last year’s 22-game mark of 12-10.”
CBS Sports: “Why the fall: This wannabe contender has fallen into the alternating-results trap — not a good thing when the “odd” foes have included the Rockets and Raptors.”
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