Report: Gordon Hayward, Jazz talking contract extension

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Gordon Hayward has developed into a solid wing player for the Utah Jazz, and has shown improvement in each of his last two seasons since entering the league in 2010.

Hayward will finish up the final guaranteed year of his rookie deal next season, which means he’s currently eligible for a contract extension — and the two sides are engaged in discussions to make it happen.

From Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star:

Hayward and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, are currently in talks with the Jazz to extend his contract this summer. If no deal is reached, he’ll become a restricted free agent next summer.

“It’s crazy that this is already going to be my fourth year and we’re already talking about that,” Hayward said. “But I’m definitely happy in Utah and love playing there and would love to continue my career there.”

Hayward would appear to be a perfect fit in Utah, given both his quality of play as well as the fan demographic in Salt Lake City. However, it’s unclear what the Jazz personnel plan is for the foreseeable future.

Utah let two talented players in Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap walk this summer as unrestricted free agents, and did so without getting anything in return. It may have been by design, because getting worse in order to eventually get better is becoming a more and more popular strategy among NBA general managers.

But if they knew that was the plan all along, they could have dealt one or both players at last season’s trade deadline for future picks or young assets in return. That decision — or possibly indecision — makes it tough to predict how the front office will let the Hayward situation play out.

The Jazz have until October 31 to sign Hayward to an extension. But if the team doesn’t believe the dollars being requested are worth the asking price, then Utah can simply let the market dictate value next summer when they can match any contract offer Hayward receives as a restricted free agent.

Kevin Durant reverses course: Playing Thunder ‘just a regular game for me now’

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Kevin Durant said last season playing the Thunder is “never going to be a regular game for me.”

Now, the Warriors star, who’s questionable for tomorrow’s game in Oklahoma City, is singing a different tune.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic:

Durant:

Just a regular game for me now. I learned how to tune out the crowd. I learned how to tune out the bulls— and just play. Just keep at basketball, and I’ll be alright.

Durant is entitled to change his mind, and maybe that’s all that happened.

But this strikes me as yet another chasm between how Durant actually feels and how he wishes he felt – all while facing immense public scrutiny.

Durant spent eight years in Oklahoma City. Many of his former teammates, including Russell Westbrook, are still there. Durant might want to move on, but how could there not be a different feeling when playing the Thunder, especially in Oklahoma City?

Tony Allen: Russell Westbrook flopped to draw DeMarcus Cousins

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DeMarcus Cousins got ejected from the Pelicans’ win over the Thunder last night for elbowing Russell Westbrook in the head.

Afterward, Tony Allen came to his New Orleans teammate’s defense.

Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript:

Did Cousins elbow Westbrook in the head? Yes. Did Westbrook create and/or embellish the contact? I don’t know.

Westbrook stuck his head in close, and he might have been baiting Cousins into a foul. But that doesn’t give Cousins carte blanche to commit a foul.

And even if Westbrook were baiting Cousins, the elbow still might have hurt. Westbrook’s reaction could have been genuine.

Did Cousins’ reputation as a flagrant fouler influence Westbrook’s strategy and how officials perceived the play? It’s much easier to convince me of that.

Ray Allen tells Orlando court he was ‘catfished’

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Retired NBA star Ray Allen believes he is a victim of “catfishing,” and has asked a court to throw out a case where he is accused of stalking someone he met online.

Allen says Bryant Coleman “pretended to be a number of attractive women interested in” him. In documents filed Tuesday, Allen acknowledges he communicated with who he thought were those women and that he eventually entered into an agreement with Coleman to not disclose details of those conversations.

Allen says that agreement was violated.

It was not clear if Coleman has an attorney, and a working phone number for him could not be found. Coleman told the court in a filing Monday that Allen is stalking him; in Allen’s request for an injunction, he says “the reverse is true.”

Klay Thompson interviewed about scaffolding on local news (video)

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Man-on-the-street interviews are a staple of local news.

They just don’t usually include Warriors star Klay Thompson.

But here’s Thompson – in town for Golden State’s win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday – talking on Fox 5 New York about walking under scaffolding in the wake of a couple recent scaffolding collapses:

Thompson is the only NBA star who could do this interview so earnestly.