Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes gets snarky with Warriors fans

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Most athletes and coaches make nothing but mundane comments after games. They just watched the same game as everyone else, and although the athletes and coaches often have more nuanced observations, they rarely offer to share those insights. So, the insiders often end up providing basic, fact-based quotes that could come from anyone.

For an example, just look at a few Warriors after their 109-103 win over the Lakers last night.

Golden State coach Mark Jackson:

We’ve played 72 games and the survey says that we are the better basketball team. That can’t be debated – through 72 games.

Makes sense. The Warriors are 41-31, and the Lakers are 36-35.

Klay Thompson:

“When you hold a team under 40 percent shooting it’s a good night. They’re a good team and we just played our defense.”

Exactly. The Lakers shot 39.6 percent, so Thompson speaks the truth.

Jarrett Jack:

We stopped being an aggressive, attacking team. We started playing half-court basketball and it’s kind of a tale of two halves.

Golden State scored 63 points in the first half and 46 in the second half, supporting Jack’s straight-forward claim.

Harrison Barnes:

Thanks to all the Warrior fans that came out to support is tonight. Big time road win!

Again, right on. Golden State won for the 24th time at Oracle Arena in Oakland, home of the – hey, wait a minute!

Very tricky move, Mr. Barnes.

According to the NBA, the Warriors played a home game Tuesday. According to the mood in the California arena, well, it’s up for a little more debate.

Barnes is following the lead of Pacers guard George Hill, who also voiced displeasure with hometown fans supporting the Lakers. Hill ended up clarifying and softening his comments, and I suspect Barnes will eventually do the same.

There’s no perfect way for Barnes – who comes across a little hypocritically, unless he’s willing to accept less money on his next contract to show his loyalty to the Warriors – to voice his displeasure with Warriors fans selling their tickets to Lakers fans. The Lakers are more popular than the Warriors due to years of winning and marketing, and it’s unfair to ask Warriors fans to sacrifice money to instantaneously change that. If a Lakers fan offered significant money for a ticket and I were a Warriors fan, I’d sell my ticket. Because the Lakers have such a large fan base, it’s more likely there will be Lakers fans willing to pay whatever amount the hometown fans consider significant.

Barnes just has to realize his tweet reflects poorly on the fans who did support him. The Warriors fans in attendance are the ones who come out looking badly, as they’re blamed for being inadequate, but it’s not their fault other Warriors fans didn’t show up or sold their tickets to Lakers fans.

Enes Kanter on claim nobody wants to play with Russell Westbrook: ‘Wrong!!!’

SAN ANTONIO,TX - MAY 10:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrates with Enes Kanter #11 after a win against the San Antonio Spurs in game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 10, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.  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 Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
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Kevin Durant might have left the Thunder, in part, because he grew tired of playing with Russell Westbrook.

But does that mean nobody wants to play with Westbrook?

Presented with that claim, Oklahoma City center Enes Kanter refuted it strongly:

Of course, many players want to play with Russell Westbrook. He’s a great player and even better competitor. People want to be around someone so maniacal about winning and capable of delivering.

But there’s an obvious difference between Kanter and Durant. It’s much easier for a pick-and-roll big man than a superstar wing to play with Westbrook.

Westbrook tends to over-dribble, and he can be selfish. I’d understand Durant preferring a team with more ball movement like the Warriors.

Kanter doesn’t have the cachet to pick any team at any salary like Durant did. Of his options, Kanter is probably genuinely happy to play with Westbrook. And the Thunder should be happy to have Westbrook (as long as they do). His strengths far outweigh his flaws.

No scoring star seamlessly blend with each other. Even LeBron James and Dwyane Wadeclose friends and one an elite passer — struggled to mesh early in their Heat days. It’s just hard when there’s one ball.

So, it’s unfair to kill Westbrook for this drawback to his game. Maybe he’d click better with another star who’s more aggressive than Durant. And it’s not even as if Westbrook and Durant failed together. Oklahoma City won a lot of games with those two.

Plenty of players would sign up to replace Durant as Westbrook’s partner in crime.

Report: Amar’e Stoudemire wanted to play for Suns next season

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the Phoenix Suns looks at the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 19, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. 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 Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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Amar’e Stoudemire — despite spending more time and having more success with the Suns — signed with the Knicks to retire.

Why not Phoenix?

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Stoudemire was linked to the Suns last year, but a return never happened.

It didn’t make more sense now. Phoenix already has 15 players, the regular-season roster limit. John Jenkins and Alan Williams have unguaranteed deals, but why waive one for Stoudemire? The Suns are semi-rebuilding, and Tyson Chandler already serves as a veteran big.

There’s a reason Stoudemire retired rather then sign somewhere. Maybe nobody wanted him.

But it’s also only July, and teams are still filling out their rosters. If Stoudemire wants to keep playing, he might have opportunities later, especially after the trade deadline. He’s just 33. There’s now reason to believe his retirement won’t stick.

Thunder renounce Derek Fisher

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 25: Oklahoma City Thunder Derek Fisher #6 runs up the court against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Three of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 25, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Derek Fisher is already stumping for his second head-coaching job.

Fisher has done plenty since retiring as a player — getting hired by the Knicks, getting fired by the Knicks and in between being attacked by Matt Barnes and finding another controversy about player relations.

All the while, Fisher counted against the cap for the Thunder, his last NBA team.

Oklahoma City finally renounced him to sign Alex Abrines.

Albert Nahmad of Heat Hoops:

This is one of my favorite salary-cap quirks, explained in further detail here.

These are becoming fewer and further between, because teams are using cap room more frequently as the salary cap skyrockets. Gone are the days of a team operating above the cap for a dozen straight years.

There’s also even less utility in old cap holds now that a player must have played the prior season for a team to be used in a sign-and-trade. (Not that these holds were useful except the rarest of occasions prior, anyway.)

Fisher’s quick transition from playing to coaching helped make this an exception, allowing this weird (and trivial) transaction.

Report: Las Vegas also in contention for 2017 NBA All-Star game

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 25:  Bushwacker, a world champion bucking bull, appears at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign prior to the final ride of his legendary career on October 25, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for Professional Bull Riders)
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Where will the NBA hold the 2017 All-Star game?

Charlotte? No.

New Orleans? Probably.

New York/Brooklyn or Chicago? Maybe.

One more maybe: Las Vegas.

Scott Kusher of The Advocate:

The NBA held All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas in 2007. By all accounts, it was wild.

I’d be surprised if the league returned the event to Las Vegas, but at this point, I’d really be surprised by any option besides New Orleans.