No surprise: Green wants to stay in OKC

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Is there anyone in OKC who doesn’t want to stay with the Thunder? They’re the closest thing the NBA has to an “it” team: a young, talented core, a smart, upcoming coach, a new NBA city with an energized fan base, and what could, should, and likely will be the first playoff appearance in Thunder history.

So Jeff Green’s declaration that he’d like to stay with the team via a contract extension, however important in terms of the team’s success, isn’t exactly noteworthy for the shock factor. From Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:

Jeff Green on Thursday expressed his desire to sign a contract extension this summer and continue his career with the Thunder. “I’d love to,” Green told The Oklahoman. “It’s a great thing going here.”

The Thunder can re-sign Green to an extension of up to five years…Green’s situation…in some ways will hold more significance to the Thunder’s long-term building. Durant’s deal is expected to be an open-and-shut maximum contract. How much money Green will command after this season could have a long-lasting impact on the team’s salary cap and the caliber of players the Thunder can sign this summer with the future financial state always in mind.

That final note that Mayberry makes is an important one. Durant will receive the maximum offer from the Thunder, and he’s worth every penny. But how much is Jeff Green worth? Supplementary players are always difficult to appraise, and Green’s unique talents and skill set make Sam Presti’s job that much more difficult.

So while Durant’s extension could conceivably be signed and official sooner rather than later, Green’s deal will likely take some more prolonged negotiations, despite the fact that neither party wants Green going anywhere.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.