Durant on playing in OKC: “I don’t have any plans to move”

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When Kevin Durant switched agents to Jay Z’s Roc Nation, there were some fans trying to suggest this was KD’s first step out of the NBA’s second smallest market, Oklahoma City.

Durant told OKC fans to chill.

Now he has said again he has no plans to leave.

He is on a tour of Europe to sell some Nikes and while in France he did a Q&A with fans where he was asked directly about his plans to bolt. Royce Young at Daily Thunder found the video of the interview and had Durant’s answer.

“I like where I’m at right now. I enjoy playing for OKC. As of today, I love it there, man. I want to be there. I love the fans, I love my team, I love everything about the city. I don’t have any plans to move.”

First, the facts: Durant is under contract for this season and two more after it. He is on a max deal and is not a free agent until the summer of 2016.

There are two ways to look at this.

First is the version I went with in my headline — he says he has no plans to move. He’s happy. There are plenty of NBA stars who are restless in small and middle sized markets and are looking to bolt at the first chance, but Durant is built differently. He has a personality that works well in the smaller market. If any superstar player could spend his career outside big cities, it could be Durant.

The other way to view it is to blow up his “as of today” comment as a sign he could leave come 2016. If he was frustrated at the cost saving moves of the Thunder had left them without James Harden or Kevin Martin, you could understand that.

The reality here is pretty simple — Durant wants to win. Multiple titles. When he can be a free agent in 2016 he is going to make a decision about OKC based on how the team has done and how it is poised for the future. It will be about how much he trusts the front office of the organization. It’s the same calculation every star player has to make: Kobe Bryant in 2004, LeBron James with the Cavaliers, even Dwight Howard with the Lakers this summer.

Right now, with the team they have in OKC and the opportunities in front of him, it’s hard to picture Durant leaving. But in three seasons things could feel radically different. Three years is an NBA eternity.

I’m sure between now and then Durant will get asked variations of this same question 453,971 times, so we can discuss plenty more over the next few years.

Charles Barkley on new schedule: “These poor babies can’t play back-to-back games”

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Training camp hasn’t even opened yet, but Charles Barkley is already in midseason “get off my lawn” form.

Barkley — the man who can’t stand jump shooting teams, or analytics, or LeBron James asking for better players, or your newfangled technology — went off on another tedious rant at an SMU event Wednesday, this time about the NBA’s decision to start the season a little earlier and have fewer back-to-backs and eliminate four-games-in-five-nights.

Ugh. Like a lot of former players — and a lot of non-athletes, for that matter — Barkley is convinced his peak as a player coincided with the greatest era of basketball ever. Things were never better than the way they did it in his day.

Which means facts — like pointing to the studies that show players both are less likely to be injured and play better and more efficiently when rested — don’t matter. Barkley did it, so players now should have to do it. Who cares if all these packed in games can shorten their careers?

Then again, maybe a few days off would have helped Barkley in the second half of his career.

B.J. Armstrong, former Jordan-era Bull turned agent, told me last year that if teams and players knew in his day what they know now about rest and injury, you would have seen stars like MJ rest. Over time we learn more information, and the smart people and organizations adjust.

Barkley will make far more headlines over the course of the season, he gets paid to be brash, say whatever pops into head, and be generally draw attention to himself. It makes him entertaining, and that’s what Inside the NBA is about. But I will defer to Steve Kerr’s comments from last playoffs on all these old “get off my lawn” players.

“The game gets worse as time goes on. Players are less talented than they used to be. The guys in the 50s would’ve destroyed everybody. It’s weird how human evolution goes in reverse in sports. Players get weaker, smaller, less skilled. I don’t know. I can’t explain it.”

For a couple grand, Warriors fans can have Larry O’Brien Trophy visit their suite

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There’s so much money floating around the Bay Area right now thanks to another tech boom, this price almost seems low.

If you have a suite for the Golden State Warriors home games this season — and those are pretty much sold out, the Warriors draw big from the Silicon Valley crowd — you can have the NBA championship Larry O’Brien Trophy visit your suite. All for just a couple grand. From Gilbert Lee, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

The best part is it includes champagne… do you get to spray each other with it as you hold up the trophy? Now that would be perfect (goggles included, of course).

Have an issue with this? Why? To the victor goes the spoils. The Warriors may be able to sell this package for years.

Sixers new “Spirit of 76” court is fire

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First, the Sixers nailed the Nike “statement” jersey.

Now, they have announced a new “Spirit of 76” promotion, with seven tribute nights this season honoring the history of the franchise and of the Philadelphia area (and there is plenty of history to honor).

The best part — the “Spirit of 76” court with the bell logo.

Here is the promo vid

I just hope the Sixers team can live up to all the hype.

Wizards’ Markieff Morris to have sports hernia surgery, miss start of camp

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When the Washington Wizards open training camp next Tuesday, starting forward Markieff Morris will not be on the court.

That’s because he will have surgery to repair a sports hernia, a story broken by Candice Buckner of the Washington Post and since confirmed by Chase Hughes at CSNMidAtlantic.com.

While we don’t have details on the surgery, often recovery time for this is just a few weeks, and Morris could well be ready for the start of the season.

Morris averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds a game last season, and the Wizards offense was 5.7 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the court last season. With him out, coach Scott Brooks can lean on Jason Smith or Mike Scott for traditional lineups, but don’t be shocked if he tries a little small ball with Otto Porter and/or Kelly Oubre at the three or four.

Morris also is in the midst of a felony assault trial in Arizona (one where he does not need to attend).