Orlando Magic v Atlanta Hawks - Game Three

Report: Warriors aren’t giving up on the Dwight dream

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The Warriors are not storming the gates of playoff heaven. They’re barely within sight of the pearly wrought iron structures that guard May and June at 11-16, on a two-game losing streak after some progress this month. But that doesn’t mean they think they’re lost in the wilderness. Quite the contrary, they think they’re good to go, so much so that they still believe they’re in play for Dwight Howard. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

But the Warriors like the flexibility that comes with their 14-man roster and are convinced that they’re still players in a potential deal for Orlando’s Dwight Howard. Warriors sources said they believe the Magic could eventually deal their big man without receiving a draft pick in return, if there are enough players involved – a deal like David Lee, Monta Ellis and either Udoh or Klay Thompson for Howard and Glen Davis.

“We’ve been aggressively pursuing a number of big people who would help us. We’ll stay right on top of anything we can do to bring an effective big man into our organization,” said Riley, who is not allowed by league rules to address specific players from other teams. “We would give up a lot to get somebody like that. Joe Lacob’s whole process since he’s taken over has been to be very aggressive. I would say that we have the likelihood of being more aggressive than we might have been a few years ago.”

via Warriors shopping for a big man.

Golden State will not give this up. Despite Howard reportedly only being interested in L.A., New York, or Dallas, and despite the Magic having not pushed for such a deal, there the Dubs are, waving enthusiastically like the guy with the crush on the girl who doesn’t even know he exists.

It could actually work, though, you know. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Dorrell Wright, Davis, and Dwight Howard? That’s not bad. It’s not great, but it’s not bad. The Magic have said they want capable veterans, and Lee and Ellis comprise quite a bit of production. If anything, it’s good that the Warriors are trying to be aggressive in making a big move like this. The problem is that new ownership has talked a really big game so far without actually having made contact on a swing for the fences. Safe to say landing Howard would be such a home run, but that pitch is pretty far outside right now.

Report: Celtics re-sign Tyler Zeller for two years, $16 million

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 19:  Kyle Korver #26 of the Atlanta Hawks grabs a rebound against Tyler Zeller #44 of the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 19, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.

Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.

Watch Charles Barkley struggle to pronounce “Jonas Valanciunas” last season

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The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.

Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.

This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.

Watch highlights of USA’s 111-74 rout of Argentina in exhibition game

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Argentina isn’t considered a medal contender heading into the Rio Olympics. Their golden generation — led by Manu Ginobili — has picked up a lot of speed on the downhill side of their careers at this point.

They didn’t provide much of a challenge for Team USA in an exhibition game Friday night in Las Vegas, one won by the USA 111-74. Kevin Durant impressed playing with his new teammates in dropping 23 points, Paul George had 18, and the Americans had their way in the game.

Which is what we’re going to see a lot of in Rio — the USA’s talent level is just steps above any other team in the tournament.

Kevin Durant: Nobody has said something negative to my face about joining Warriors

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 07:  Kevin Durant speaks to the media during the press conference where he was introduced as a member of the Golden State Warriors after they signed him as a free agent on July 7, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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When Kevin Durant chose the Warriors, he received criticism from all angles.

Fans burned his jersey. Charles Barkley decried the decision. Markieff Morris said, “That ain’t right.” Durant’s former Thunder teammates leaked their displeasure with the process.

Durant was so reluctant to face the backlash, he stayed in his bed luxurious rental house for two days.

It, uh, worked.

Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports:

Though he has heard some criticism from Barkley and fellow Hall of Famer Reggie Miller, various talking heads and people in social media who believe he has cheated the system and cut corners to a ring, Durant said the reaction to his choice hasn’t been too bad: “All that stuff happens on the Internet. I haven’t had one person come to me and say anything negative. … It’s easy for the critics on the outside to tell you what to do, to tell you how to play. I’m the one that’s going through it, so I can’t really worry about the outside noise. The work don’t stop. Everything stays the same.”

This is a good reminder how insulated NBA players, especially stars, can be.

And it adds to why Durant signing with Golden State makes sense. While we’re debating his legacy and discussing the backlash (and the backlash to the backlash and the backlash to the backlash to the backlash and the…), he’ll be playing high-level basketball with his friends in a desirable city for a max salary.

Sure, it’s not all rosy. Durant altered his relationship with his friend Russell Westbrook, and Durant will have to return to Oklahoma City for a game. There, he’ll face plenty of booing fans.

But, all in all, Durant should have little trouble tuning out the critics.

They’re too far away for him to hear them much.