Monday And-1 links: Andre Drummond to work out with Hakeem

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like Chicagoans love to boo LeBron James…

• Detroit rookie big man Andre Drummond is going to work out with Hakeem Olajuwon this summer. I LOVE this. Drummond and Anthony Davis are going to be battling for who is best out of this draft class three years from now (sorry Damian Lillard, you’ll still be very good). The pre-draft questions about Drummond were focus and intensity, but he has shown he does have that. And this is a sign of maturity and wanting to develop.

• In what seems to be an annual report: The Celtics will consider trading Rajon Rondo “for the right deal.” Of course, that deal means Russell Westbrook or Derrick Rose or some other trade that would never happen.But we pass along the note anyway.

• Marc Gasol is the most interesting basketball player in the world.

Why Memphis is better without Rudy Gay.

• The NBA players union is not going to meet until August and seems to be in no rush to find a new executive director.

• Pablo Prigioni will be a restricted free agent this summer (once the Knicks make the expected qualifying offer), and there will be interest  around the league, but he says he wants to come back to New York. If he plays anywhere.

What is the best of the available coaching jobs? Ben and I disagree here, I think expectations and reality are way out of line in Brooklyn, and that Detroit is a potentially very good gig with a solid front line in place.

• Along those lines, here’s a good look at some of the top assistants who could be head coaches by next season.

• In a surprise to nobody the Rockets will not pick up the $6.4 million option for Francisco Garcia (but they could re-sign him for less).

• Russell Westbrook talks about his injury and his recovery.

• After a few adult beverages, a random fan just decided to declare for the NBA draft… and got a great response from the league.

• For his first move, Flip Saunders is remaking the scouting department with the Timberwolves.

• Spike Lee couldn’t get the seats near the Pacers bench like he wanted, despite a $40,000 offer.

• How the Warriors rebuild worked better than the Kings rebuild (when the Kings consistently have better draft picks).

• GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, announced it will give Jason Collins its Courage Award at the GLSEN Respect Awards in New York on Monday, May 20.

• One-time NBA champion and the worst dancer in NBA history Mark Madsen is now the head coach of the D-League’s DeFenders (the Lakers affiliate).

• There is a Basketball Time Machine app.

Thunder’s Enes Kanter: ‘I don’t like Golden State, so I want Cleveland to win the championship’

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
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When Kevin Durant left the Thunder for the Warriors, Oklahoma City center Enes Kanter jumped fully on board the pro-Russell Westbrook, anti-Durant bandwagon.

That ride doesn’t stop with his former teammate facing the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

Kanter, via Fox Sports Radio:

I don’t like Golden State, so I want Cleveland to win the championship.

Kanter never misses an opportunity to take a shot at the Warriors – except when Zaza Pachulia laid out Westbrook and stood over him.

Dwane Casey: Masai Ujiri assured me I’ll return as Raptors coach

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Galit Rodan
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Raptors president Masai Ujiri didn’t mince words at his season-ending press conference: Toronto’s playing style had become unacceptable.

It sounded as if he might have been planting the seed for firing Dwane Casey.

But the coach says Ujiri assured him he’d return next season.

Casey on TSN (hat tip: Blake Murphy of Raptors Republic):

I think people mistook Masai’s comments for that. We had a good meeting before that meeting, and we’ve had meeting since then – with all the coaches – as far as plans for next year and the culture reset, which I think every corporation and every team should do periodically to get the culture back in focus and that type of thing. It’s not like we’re in total chaos or anything like that. It’s just good to have roles defined, things we can do better in each of our roles.

We’re doing some good things and some things we can do much better with. And that’s what we’ll plan on doing this summer and also this fall, when we go to training camp.

The Raptors’ offensive rating has dropped from regular season to the playoffs by 8.5, 7.2 and 11.7 the last three years. Their isolation-heavy style is just easier to stop when defenses see it in consecutive games.

The big question: What does Toronto do about that?

It’d be difficult to move on from the two players most responsible for the style, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. DeRozan is signed long-term, and if the Raptors don’t re-sign Lowry, who’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, they won’t have the cap space to land a comparable replacement.

The best bet is probably changing schemes from the bench and hoping the players can adjust – and maybe Casey can handle that responsibility. Hiring a new coach obviously would been the clearest path to a shake up, but maybe Casey can evolve. I’d want to see a plan from him before committing to keeping him, but maybe Ujiri got that.

Casey has played a key role in Toronto’s improvement, it’s nice to give him an opportunity to coach differently before hiring a different coach.

Kevin Durant: Don’t blame me for Nets, Magic and other teams stinking

AP Photo/Adam Hunger
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For the first time in NBA history, the NBA Finals will feature the same matchup for three straight years.

Among those responsible: Kevin Durant, who sunk the title-contending Thunder and gave the Warriors an even stronger grip on the Western Conference.

But don’t blame him for a lack of parity league-wide.

Durant, via Sam Amick of USA Today:

“Like I’m the reason why (expletive) Orlando couldn’t make the playoffs for five, six years in a row?” he said. “Am I the reason that Brooklyn gave all their picks to Boston? Like, am I the reason that they’re not that good (laughs). I can’t play for every team, so the truth of the matter is I left one team. It’s one more team that you probably would’ve thought would’ve been a contender. One more team. I couldn’t have made the (entire) East better. I couldn’t have made everybody (else) in the West better.”

Some teams will always be better than others. The Magic, Nets and more were mis-managed before Durant left Oklahoma City.

But I’m not even sure this is the right debate.

Does the NBA even have a parity problem to blame on Durant?

Cleveland and Golden State aren’t traditional powers. Before 2015, the Warriors hadn’t won a title since 1975 and the Cavaliers had never won one. Their ascension is proof of parity – that sound management and a little luck can lift teams from the basement.

Report: Clippers take Chris Paul-to-Spurs rumor ‘very seriously’

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Want to laugh off that Chris Paul-to-Spurs rumor?

The Clippers aren’t joining you.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Clippers should be concerned. Losing Paul would unravel their entire foundation, dropping them from the fringe of championship contention to out of the title picture completely. It could even help usher out Blake Griffin, who will also be an unrestricted free agent this summer. (To be fair, Paul leaving could also help convince Griffin to stay.)

About a month ago, the Clippers reportedly expected Paul to stay. They even reportedly struck a verbal agreement with him to re-sign before that. But they can’t officially sign him until July, and that leaves the door open for him to leave.

The Clippers should be heartened by their advantages – a prime market and a projected max offer of $205 million over five years.

The most another team projects to be able to offer is $152 million over four years, and San Antonio will have a hard time doing that. Even if they trim their roster to Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Danny Green and Tony Parker, the Spurs would still have to shed two of those players to clear max cap space.

So, never say never, but the Clippers’ concern might be rooted more in the dire consequences of Paul leaving rather than the likelihood of it.