Kevin Durant on announcing his deal on twitter: What did you expect?

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durant.jpgIt wasn’t what Kevin Durant did this summer that was a surprise. Everybody knew Oklahoma City was going to offer him a max extension, and everybody knew he was going to sign it.

What made it news was how it was handled was such a contrast to the other big free agent moves this summer. Durant stayed with his team, didn’t make a spectacle of himself and announced the deal quietly on twitter. As much as anything is quiet on twitter. Bottom line — Durant was everything LeBron was not.

Durant himself hasn’t even spoken much about it publicly, but he put his thoughts up on his blog today about the process. It’s all very Durant.

First off, I’ve always said that Oklahoma City is a place I want to be and I couldn’t imagine not playing for the Thunder, especially with these great teammates and coaches and support staff. So when I got approached with a contract extension once negotiations could start, signing it wasn’t a very hard decision. It was really a no-brainer. If people were paying attention to what I’ve been saying for the last three years, then they’d know my heart has always been with the Thunder. This organization has been moving in the right direction since the day I got here.

Now as far as announcing my signing through Twitter…..c’mon, what else would you expect?!?! You all know how much I love Twitter and Facebook and social media in general. I’ve met so many fans through social media. That’s how a lot of us athletes connect with fans in this day and age. I love giving out free tickets or Nike gear and answering all your questions, even the crazy funny ones. So I didn’t think twice to announce my contract extension through Twitter. I wanted to make sure all my fans and supporters were the first to know, and most importantly to get the news straight from me!

Now, the friends and family and fans who know me weren’t surprised that it’s how I let everyone know. But some people keep asking why I didn’t announce it on national television or something like that. I really get a laugh out of that. I keep telling people how my situation was much different from all the other big names out there. First of all, I was just up for a contract extension. LeBron, Chris Bosh and D-Wade, those guys were unrestricted free agents, so there was more hype with their decision, more people who wanted to know what was gonna go down. That’s a big difference.

And as I told someone the other day, LeBron James is the biggest name in sports. Nothing he does is ever going to go quiet. You can’t blame him for what happened and how he made his decision. Again, my situation was totally different.

It was a very different situation. And they are very different people.

Damian Lillard added to Team USA Olympic roster pool

Damian Lillard
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If you’re looking for a point guard who can flat-out score the rock, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many better than Damian Lillard. The Trail Blazers’ guard is averaging 24.2 points and 7.3 assists per game, with an above-average true shooting percentage of 54.6 percent, and a very high usage rate of 30.9.

He’s the kind of guy who might have a place on the Team USA Roster.

Which is why USA Basketball has added him to the pool to be considered for the Rio Olympics summer. The reason for the change is both Lillard’s level of play this season, and the fact he called USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo to ask for a spot, as reported by Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

Lillard deserves consideration, but there are two key reasons he likely doesn’t make the team:

1) He is still a terrible defender.

2) The list of guards for the USA Roster is ridiculous: Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Klay Thompson, John Wall, and Russell Westbrook. And now Lillard. That’s 10 guys for likely five spots. It’s hard to see Lillard making that cut.

But he deserves consideration.

Kings co-owner Shaq: Vivek Ranadivé told me George Karl would coach rest of season

Shaquille O'Neal
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Kings general manager Vlade Divac said keeping George Karl as coach was right move “for now.”

How long is “for now”?

Shaquille O’Neal, a Kings minority owner, shares insight.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

This would mean a little more if Vivek Ranadivé weren’t prone to wild swings. Remember, the Kings said Tyrone Corbin would finish last season as coach before firing him for Karl.

Divac also said in November that Karl would coach the rest of the season, and that came up for debate fewer than three months later.

Shaq’s revelation is as likely to embarrass the Kings in a few weeks as it is to signal Karl’s job security.

Chauncey Billups explains why not every player wants to go home

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LeBron James did it and shook up the NBA — he returned home to Cleveland. That has led to fantasies other players want to do the same thing: Kevin Durant back to Washington D.C.; DeMar DeRozan or Russell Westbrook back to Los Angeles; Blake Griffin back to Oklahoma. And the list goes on.

Not every player wants to do it.

Chauncey Billups did. Billups is a Denver guy who returned to play for the Nuggets — he gets his number retired Wednesday night in Detroit, a much-deserved honor — but in a letter to his young self at the Players’ Tribune Wednesday he explained that going home is fraught with peril.

“But in reality, playing at home as a 23-year-old professional is going to be less blessing and more curse. (There’s perception, again, for you.) It’s as simple as this: you’re just not going to be ready for Denver to be Your City. You’re going to think you’re ready — and they are too — but, trust me, you won’t be. You’re still going to be so young. You’re still going to be hanging out with your boys, doing your old thing. There are going to be those … hometown distractions. And those distractions will add up.”

“And you have to understand, Chaunce: It’s not just that you made it. It’s that your whole neighborhoodis going to feel like they made it. All of Park Hill is going to feel like they made it. And don’t get me wrong — that’s special. But at the wrong age, it can also be tough. It can be a lot to handle. And you’re going to be at that wrong age. You’re not going to be mature enough yet, or developed enough yet, to take on that mix of environments, those responsibilities, that role.

“You’re not going to be ready to lead.”

There are plenty of guys around the NBA who understand those distractions and how those can get in the way of off-season workouts, of time spent shoring up a weakness or developing a new shot, and how during the season they can be another thing that wears the body down.

Some guys can handle it. Some can’t.

Go read the entire letter from Billups. He talks about getting traded from the Celtics his rookie season, about playing for Mike D’Antoni, about how very rarely do veterans want to mentor younger players because they are fighting for the same piece of the pie.  Billups is honest.

And it’s great that Detroit is rewarding him as they should.

Did Marcus Thornton steal free throws from Rockets teammate Clint Capela?

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Leandro Barbosa – guarding Marcus Thornton and fighting through a Clint Capela screen – was called for a foul in the first quarter of last night’s Warriors-Rockets game.

Thornton went to the line.

Should he have? Or should Capela have?

Perhaps, Thornton and Barbosa tangled, but it certainly appeared the contact primarily occurred between Barbosa and Capela. It looks like Barbosa tries to ram through Capela.

It also appears Capela thought he drew the foul. Watch him step toward the line before seeing Thornton there and taking his spot along the paint.

So, why would Thornton step in? He’s making 89% of his free throws to Capela’s 40%.

I’m honestly surprised players don’t try this maneuver more often. Refs have so much to keep track of. The worst consequence would be the refs shooing away Thornton and bringing Capela to the line.

Thornton made both free throws, but it didn’t matter. Houston was playing Golden State, which rolled to a victory.