Posts Tagged ‘NBA Basketball’

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As rumors swirl that Kevin Durant is upset with the Golden State Warriors over the way they handled his injury, the New York Knicks continue to be mentioned as a likely landing spot for the superstar.

NBA insider Ric Bucher was a guest on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, and he reported Durant prefers to sign with the Knicks. Additionally, Bucher said that Durant and Kyrie Irving have “met a couple of times” since Durant’s calf strain injury and also met following Durant’s surgery for his ruptured Achilles.

“MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THEY’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT POTENTIALLY PLAYING TOGETHER FOR YEARS SINCE PLAYING ON THE NATIONAL TEAM TOGETHER,” BUCHER SAID.

He also said that Irving prefers the Brooklyn Nets (which is something that seems like a done deal now) and that ultimately Durant is not likely to pull the trigger to join Irving in Brooklyn.

Bucher then broke down the many reasons that he’s hearing Durant is going to sign with the Knicks in free agency:

“HE HAS SO MANY TIES TO THE KNICKS ORGANIZATION. HE’S THE GODFATHER OF ROYAL IVEY’S DAUGHTER, A TEXAS ALUM, AND A FORMER TEAMMATE AT OKC. THOSE GUYS ARE REALLY GOOD FRIENDS AND HE’S STILL AN ASSISTANT COACH WITH THE KNICKS. THERE IS EVEN A REPORT THAT DEANDRE JORDAN, WHO PLAYED FOR THE KNICKS LAST YEAR AND IS CLOSE WITH KD, COULD ADD FODDER.”

The Warriors are expecting to meet with Durant this week ahead of free agency, along with Klay Thompson. However, given the explosive allegations levied against the organization by Andre Iguodala as it relates to covering up injuries, one wonders if Durant will struggle to trust the Warriors going forward.

Now that the Los Angeles Lakers have gotten their blockbuster trade to pair Anthony Davis with LeBron James out of the way, they can move forward and figure out what other stars they’re going to try to bring to L.A. to join them, and there are increasing signs that Kyrie Irving might be a possibility.

Irving and the Lakers have been linked a few times, with reports that Irving has spoken to people about playing for L.A., and other rumors that James is already recruiting him.

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While the Brooklyn Nets still appear to be the favorites for Irving, it may not be safe to rule out the Lakers just yet, especially after Saturday’s trade for Davis, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic (emphasis mine):

If Davis waives his $4.7 million trade kicker, the Lakers will be able to add another star in free agency on a max contract. Whether it’s Kemba Walker, whom the New York Times’ Marc Stein reported as a potential Lakers target, or Kyrie Irving, whom sources have maintained for months wants to play with Davis, someone dynamic will likely be on the ball next season in L.A. (Cap guru Albert Nahmad pointed out Saturday that the Lakers might wait 30 days after the June 20 draft to officially execute the trade so Davis could keep his trade bonus.)

According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, the Lakers will have either $27.8 million in cap space, or $32.5, depending on when they finalize the deal for Davis, and if Davis keeps or waives his $4 million trade kicker. The latter number is only a hair under the max contract that Irving is eligible for, meaning that he might not have to sacrifice much financially to leave the Boston Celtics for L.A., or at least not compared to leaving for any other team, as Boston can still offer him an extra year and more money annually.

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Who could have pictured this after Kawhi Leonard was traded from the San Antonio Spurs to the Toronto Raptors, the first ever championship for Toronto with Kawhi leading the way winning the Finals MVP and taking down the back to back champions, the Golden State Warriors.

However, after all that, there’s still some debate that the Raptors champion may still move away in the offseason. It was never Kawhi’s intention to play in Toronto and at the beginning of the season, it was almost certain that he would play just one season there before moving to Los Angeles.

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The championship title may have changed the two-time Finals MVP mind as may have just leaked his decision while under the influence of alcohol.

According to FTNSY Sports Network’s Gabriel Morency, Kawhi told his teammates during celebrations that he plans on heading back to Toronto to try for back to back championships.

The next couple months around the NBA will be filled with teams attempting to dethrone Kevin Durant and the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.

After that, it’s going to be all about free agency. Durant joins a stacked group of impending free agents that includes teammate Klay Thompson as well as All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard, among others.

It’s been widely speculated that Durant might leave Golden State for the bright lights of NYC— passing up on the opportunity to play in San Francisco’s brand new Chase Center in the process.

While Durant has not wanted to talk about his FA, he has seemingly dropped a few hints.

Here’s the latest example of that.

The reigning NBA Finals MVP was just featured on a video presented by his Thirty Five Ventures showing the forward driving around some of the iconic sights in San Francisco.

It’s his comments about the community that are rather interesting.

“I WAS WATCHING THIS JANIS JOPLIN DOCUMENTARY LAST YEAR, AND IT WAS TELLING ME HOW ROCK AND ROLL AND JUST THE HIPPIE MOVEMENT KIND OF STARTED HERE, RIGHT IN SAN FRANCISCO,” DURANT SAID IN THE VIDEO. “AND I WAS JUST LIKE, MAN. TO KNOW THAT MUCH CULTURE AND HISTORY IS IN THE SAME CITY THAT I’M ACTUALLY PLAYING AND LIVING IN, THAT MADE ME FEEL REAL PROUD TO BE A PART OF THIS COMMUNITY.”

Does that sound like a man that’s ready to leave a community he has embraced for nearly the past three years? We’re not too sure. Though, it’s cryptic messages like these that can play into a thought process. It’s also possible to read too much into this.

The funny thing here is that Durant and his Warriors don’t play in San Francisco quite yet. They are relocating from Oakland next season.

Only time will tell on this front. For now, Durant’s focus is on bringing a third consecutive NBA championship to the Bay Area. Whatever happens after that is anyone’s guess.

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The Celtics have so many talented players.

Yet, they started Gordon Hayward – whose play clearly didn’t merit it – his first 15 games this season.

Boston went just 8-7 during those games. Its main starting lineup – Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford – scored only 91.1 points and got outscored by 3.9 points per 100 possessions during that span.

Why were the Celtics so invested in Hayward?

Several reasons:

He’s earning $31,214,295 this season and is due $66,887,775 the next two years. He was going to factor significantly into the team’s roster construction, regardless. There was plenty of financial pressure to get Hayward on track.

Hayward suffered a season-ending injury in Boston’s first game last season. He didn’t get healthy until shortly before the season. Hayward reaching full speed was always likely to require a rocky transition into gameplay at some point.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens coached Hayward at Butler. It always helps to have the coach so personally believe in you.

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN:

And then there’s the element of Boston, Massachusetts. They don’t just want a star. Of course, they’ll take any star that they can get, because their priority is winning. But everybody and their mother knows that particularly when it comes to Boston if we can have a white superstar, that would be even better. And they view Gordon Hayward as having that kind of potential.

So, all of those things considered, the players recognize this, were aware of this. And ultimately those who were compromised by having to be on a court with Gordon Hayward were sensitive to it.

Not because they don’t like him. Not because he’s not a good guy, because he is a good guy. It’s just that they know he hasn’t fully recovered 100 percent from his injury. So, he’s not the same as he used to be. They know he’s going to be a step slower. They know he’s going to be compromised. I have spoken to people in the league who literally have said, “Look, man, no disrespect to Gordon Hayward, nice guy, but he’s really, really compromised right now. He’s not the same guy that he was.” And they said, “We actually kind of feel sorry for him, because he is a nice guy, and we know he’s trying to come back from injury.”

Are there Celtics fans who’d prefer a white star? Yes.

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When the Bulls named Michael Reinsdorf chief operating officer and president in 2010, Jerry’s son vowed to be hands-on and accessible.

The former has been apparent over the last eight-plus years, and the latter is happening with more frequency. Michael Reinsdorf sat down with the Tribune for a lengthy interview on the eve of this season and did so again by phone Monday.

Over the course of 30 minutes, he touched on a wide variety of topics, including the futures of John Paxson, Gar Forman and Jim Boylen. Here’s a partial transcript of that conversation, edited for space and clarity:

Will John Paxson and Gar Forman be back next season?

Absolutely. We believe they’ve done a great job. I know that in this market, with some of our fans and some in the media, they look at it differently. That perplexes me. Let’s talk about them individually because that’s another thing I don’t understand — why they’re referred to as “GarPax” when they have different job responsibilities.

John, as our vice president of basketball operations, he took over in 2003 and orchestrated our first rebuild. He inherited a team and made a lot of different trades. He drafted Kirk Hinrich. We spent $3 million in a trade with Phoenix so we could draft Ben Gordon and Luol Deng in the same draft. He added Joakim Noah. We signed a top free agent in Ben Wallace in 2006. A lot of people forget he was the No. 1 free agent that year. And we ended up sweeping the defending NBA champion Miami Heat in the first round and played Detroit in a tight, six-game series. We were on our way.

Otto Porter Jr. has had a massive impact on the Bulls’ soul.

Their 5-3 record since he came on board is an obvious consequence. His attitude, his shot-making, his size — which makes switching seamless — and his dog mentality on defense have generated a true esprit de corps.

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“I can’t say I did,’’ coach Jim Boylen said Thursday when asked if he thought Porter would be so influential so quickly. “I would not be telling you the truth. I’m thankful for it, but I didn’t see it coming.’’

That’s because a player’s intangibles often aren’t felt until he’s in that locker room.

Jabari Parker was signed to a two-year, $40 million contract during the summer and boasted that he wasn’t paid to play defense, which he backed up once training camp and the regular season started.

Parker and Bobby Portis were sent packing to the Wizards for Porter, who came in with playoff experience and a contract that pays him $26 million this season and $27.2 million next season with a player option at $28.4 million for the 2020-21 season. Big money, no doubt. But the new highest-paid Bull is willing to dive after loose balls, wants to defend the best players and plays the game unselfishly.