Jenni Carlson on Caron Butler: “Caron Butler signed with the Thunder because he wanted to be part of another championship team. A bigger part. Butler already has a ring, won three years ago when he was in Dallas. But an injury kept him from playing even a single minute during the Mavs’ playoff run. So, when Milwaukee bought out his contract earlier this season, Butler wanted the chance at another title, but he also wanted more than a roster spot, a seat on the bench and a chair in the team photo. That’s why he’ll be in Oklahoma City on Thursday night for a showdown with the Spurs, not in Miami on an off day.”
Derek Fisher on the Knicks coaching rumors: “I congratulated (Knicks president Phil Jackson) and we’ve spoken,” Fisher said. “But he hasn’t said anything to me about it, and I haven’t said anything to him about it. And so the reports that I have been reported to about, I’ve found them pretty funny myself because it’s not something that’s happened directly between the people that are being mentioned.”
DeSean Jackson says KD actually called him to recruit him to the Redskins: “I’m gonna put it like this: Wale is a good friend of mine as well,” Jackson said. “He’s a good rapper, he does his thing out here in D.C., puts on for the city. It was a little influenced by Wale. Another influence was my boy Durant. Kevin Durant been calling me, he been calling and saying man you know how I’d go crazy for you to be in D.C. I mean, what better place is there for me to be? I’m happy to be here. I’m glad, man, honestly I can say that.”
Reggie Jackson and Kendrick Perkins are nearing a return, and could possibly play tonight.
Kevin Pelton on if last year’s draft was the worst ever: “The 1990 draft (3.7 WARP as rookies) and 2007 draft (2.8) also were relatively weak, though they’d eventually yield superstars Gary Payton and Kevin Durant, respectively. But the 2000 draft had been the only rookie class since the ABA-NBA merger to leave the league worse off than if no rookies had played at all — until now. With two weeks to play, there’s still an outside chance this season’s rookies can get out of the negatives. For now, their minus-3.3 combined WARP is the second-worst mark in modern NBA history.”
Anthony Slater on OKC against the Spurs: “In the past, OKC’s rare athleticism and freaky length has acted as a deterrent to the Spurs’ typically deadly 3-point success. More than other teams, the Thunder has been able to close out quicker, get a hand up higher and contest better. It’s a dash of kryptonite to an attack that relies almost solely on ball movement and open shots. But that only applies when the Thunder defense is active, healthy and making the extra effort. Since the All-Star break, that consistently hasn’t been the case. Good news for the Thunder: It usually reappears in big games. And showdowns with the Spurs have always qualified in that category. Another one comes Thursday, with another chance for the Thunder to put the kibosh on an extended Spurs streak.”