Dwight Howard silly season opens up. The Thunder? Will not happen.

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With all Dwight Howard trade action — to the Rockets, to the Lakers in a three-team deal with Cleveland, to anyone — in a holding pattern, speculation is starting to run wild.

Not rumors. Not “hey, GM X talked to the Magic to put in a bid.” But rather random, rampant speculation from the media and fans about things that are never going to happen.

Case in point, some fans and media are running with what John Rhode of the Oklahoman wrote.

OKC could throw its name into the Howard hopper and offer Kendrick Perkins, James Harden and Eric Maynor in a Howard sign-and-trade with Orlando, but doing so would abandon the Presti Plan and give the perception he had gone about things all wrong.

Then again, it potentially could result in an NBA title or two with a starting lineup of Howard, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka, not to mention a season record for blocked shots and a high-dollar existence above the league’s luxury tax. Presti is booking that slow and steady eventually will win the race to the NBA crown, which is why the Thunder is a tortoise in a league filled with hares.

Rhode’s piece is just saying that the Thunder have stuck to their plan — a plan that has worked out pretty well. If there are  Thunder fans not happy with how things are set up in Oklahoma City I know 28 other fan bases who would trade spots with you. Tomorrow. Sorry if it wasn’t fast and sexy enough for you, but what you have now is the model most teams try to build on — smart drafting of a powerful core. Each year they got better and this time made it to their first NBA finals.

OKC, you have not had a team for that long, so let me give you some advice — enjoy the journey. If your mentality is “title or bust” you’ll come off as arrogant, entitled Lakers fans. You have as good a young core as there is in the game, good players and good people who are fun to watch. Savor that, it is too rare. The titles will come. They will. Let them and enjoy the journey because that is the fun part, not the end result.

As for the people who want to jump on this idea, know there is no way this happens. No. Way. It will not even be discussed. Because neither side would do it.

First, you have title chemistry in OKC and that is hard to get, and there is no way GM Sam Presti blows that up to go way over the cap to win. Does that mean you don’t get to play the game like the Knicks financially? So what, how has that worked out in NYC? The NBA is not the MLB — smart drafting and management wins, not buying a team. (And don’t say the Heat bought a team, they drafted Wade and took a huge risk stripping their payroll to make their play. Are you going to tell me Pat Riley wasn’t the smartest guy in the room?)

Secondly, the Magic wouldn’t do this.

What does Orlando want in a deal? Well, that’s been a little hard to tell, but apparently it is cap relief, young players and picks. OKC doesn’t have a lot of great picks. And while Harden is good and Maynor is nice, but the Magic are not taking Perkins back. And they want you to take on Jason Richardson and or Hedo Turkoglu in a deal. This isn’t about getting talent for Howard, it’s about stripping the team down to the foundation and rebuilding. Using the Thunder model. This deal doesn’t offer that.

We’re going to see a lot random speculation now as the Magic have let this drag on and on and on. I just hope it ends soon. I fear if the Mayans were right, the world could end before this saga does.

Thunder give P.J. Dozier No. 35, Kevin Durant’s old number

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The Thunder signed P.J. Dozier, who went undrafted out of South Carolina, to a seemingly innocuous two-way contract.

Then, they let him pick No. 35 – previously worn by Kevin Durant.

Erik Horne of The Oklahoman:

Honoring Reggie Lewis seems like a valid reason for Dozier, who probably didn’t want to get swept into what has become a minor controversy.

Personally, I don’t mind a player wearing any unretired number. Even numbers that will clearly be retired can be fair game until the jersey goes into the rafters. This is a non-issue to me.

But people care about this stuff. Many see it as a sign of disrespect to Durant, who left Oklahoma City on bad terms when signing with the Warriors. The Thunder lose deniability about not caring, considering they told Dion Waiters he couldn’t wear No. 13, which was previously worn by James Harden.

Will Oklahoma City eventually retire Durant’s No. 35? He spent a fantastic eight years there (and another season with the Seattle SuperSonics before they moved). Time will ease the bitterness of his exit. It’s certainly possible he’s honored that way.

In the meantime, let Dozier wear No. 35 in peace. It should have nothing to do with Durant.

Cornrowed Joel Embiid calls minute limit f—ing BS

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76ers center Joel Embiid made clear yesterday he disliked the minute restriction placed on him, which Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said would keep Embiid below 20 minutes per game.

Today, sporting a new hairstyle, Embiid upped the rhetoric.

Embiid, via Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

“That’s f—ing BS,” he said after practice Tuesday. “I wish I was playing more minutes. I think I’m ready for more than I don’t know whatever number they have.”

“I think the concept of minute restrictions is kind of complicated,” Embiid said. “I don’t think there should ever be minute restrictions. I think it should always be about how my body feels and how it’s reacting.”

“They know that I’m frustrated, but once again you’ve got to trust the doctors,” Embiid said. “They care about me. It’s all about the long-term view.”

“Like I always say,” he said, “you’ve got to trust the process.”

We’ve been here before – an injury-prone Philadelphia center rocking cornrows (at least Embiid went all the way with them) and Embiid lashing out at his minute limit.

Embiid is incredibly competitive, and he can’t just turn it off. It’s an attribute that contributes to his on-court excellence.

Embiid appears to have just enough trust-the-process perspective here, but Brown will also likely have his hands full keeping Embiid from getting too frustrated throughout the season.

At least Embiid has his contract extension and isn’t restless to get on the court and earn his big payday.

LeBron James game-time decision for Cavaliers-Celtics opener

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James may miss Cleveland’s opener Tuesday night against Boston because of a sprained left ankle.

James injured his ankle in practice on Sept. 27 and played in just one exhibition game. He participated in the team’s morning shootaround, and a team spokesman said it will be a game-time decision whether he faces the Celtics. James is officially listed as questionable.

James took some outside shots but did very little lateral movement when the media was permitted to watch the Cavs work out.

It’s hard to imagine James missing the first opener of his career and a chance to play against former teammate Kyrie Irving, who was traded this summer to Boston after telling Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert that he wanted out. James and Irving had a sometimes rocky relationship during three seasons together, but they made it to three straight NBA Finals and won the title in 2016.

 

Why did Kyrie Irving request trade from Cavaliers? ‘I will never pinpoint anything, because that’s not what real grownups do’

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Kyrie Irving said he requested a trade from the Cavaliers because he wanted to be happy and maximize his potential.

But why did he feel that couldn’t happen in Cleveland?

Irving hasn’t come close to directly answering that question, saying things like, “My intent, like I said, was for my best intentions.” Returning to Cleveland with the Celtics, Irving was again pressed to explain.

Irving, via MassLive:

Going forward, I kind of wanted to put that to rest in terms of everyone figuring out or trying to figure out and dive in and continue to dive into a narrative that they have no idea about and that probably will never, ever be divulged, because it’s not important. This was literally just a decision I wanted to make solely based on my happiness and pushing my career forward. I don’t want to pinpoint anything. I will never pinpoint anything, because that’s not what real grownups do. They continue to move on with their life and and continue to progress, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.

Perhaps, Irving is just following Dwyane Wade‘s advice and taking the high road. But that won’t ease our collective curiosity. Fans will continue to speculate about why Irving wanted out, and reporters will continue to dig into it. Reporting and speculation have both centered on LeBron James.

If Irving eventually wants to set the record straight – and he doesn’t sound interested, lending credence to the theory he wanted to leave LeBron behind – everyone will be all ears.