Exactly when Russell Westbrook will be back from the torn meniscus that ended his — and essentially Oklahoma City’s — playoff run is not clear. The Thunder are part of the NBA’s new “we don’t give timelines” trend (which became popular in the wake of Andrew Bynum and Derrick Rose last season).
But we know this much — he is not cleared for basketball activity yet, likely will not be by the start of camp and could potentially miss the start of the season.
Westbrook was his usually brash self talking with the Oklahoman on Monday, but that doesn’t mean there was a timeline for his return.
“I’m going to come back and be better,” Westbrook said matter-of-factly Monday, with the same unshakable swagger he’s always shown….
Westbrook has not yet been cleared to resume full basketball activities, and neither him nor team officials are providing a timetable for when that final obstacle will be overcome.
As an organization, the Thunder have long been cautious with bringing guys back from injury, particularly young players they see as long-term parts of their foundation. The Thunder need a healthy and explosive Westbrook in April and May, so if that means he misses some games in November so be it. OKC is focused on the big picture.
GM Sam Presti said the plan is to see how he responds to workouts once training camp opens next week, then go from there. They are not going to rush anything.
The bigger question is Westbrook when he does return — will he play with that same fearless, attacking style? Probably, that’s who Westbrook is. But it may take a little time for him to fully trust his knee again.
Still, it’s about the playoffs. The Thunder want to get back to the NBA Finals and they need the old Westbrook to have any shot at that.
Is the Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler relationship nothing but puppy dogs and rainbows? No. There will be sparks between two intense competitors.
Have those sparks started a fire Bulls fans should be concerned about? A report on Wednesday said the core problem was Butler doesn’t respect Rose’s work ethic, which provided some kindling for that spark to catch.
However, as you would expect, Butler said this was all much ado about nothing, that he and Rose are all good. Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Spin this however you wish: Their relationship is fine and someone in the media is making this up; or their relationship has been rough, and this is all just leaking out now.
This is a Bulls team in a bit of a transition as Rose declines some and Butler has grown into a top-flight player. Clearly that dynamic has some people around the team — likely the people in one of one of the players’ camps doesn’t like the power struggle or where it leaves his buddy — talking out of school to the press.
But as Butler noted, winning cures all ills. If Chicago can get off to a fast start, nobody will be asking chemistry questions.
For now, however, tounges are wagging.
The NBA is still investigating and can take its own action. In theory people involved in the incident could decide to file a civil lawsuit (although Fisher said he would not).
However, Memphis’ Matt Barnes is not going to face any criminal charges for an altercation he instigated with Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher at the home of Barnes’ estranged wife in Los Angeles, according to police, who talked to TMZ.
Matt Barnes will NOT be charged with a crime for allegedly attacking Derek Fisher over the weekend … the Redondo Beach Police Department tells TMZ Sports.
Cops tell us they did respond to an incident and a police report was filed regarding the altercation — but officers say the case “was reviewed and there is no basis for criminal charges.” As we previously reported, a witness at the home says Barnes struck Fisher in the face and a fight ensued. However, the NY Post is reporting that Fisher did not want to pursue charges against Barnes.
Fisher has been seeing Gloria Govan — Barnes’ estranged wife and star of the “Basketball Wives” reality series — for several months, and was over at her house in the South Bay of Los Angeles Saturday night, along with other friends. Barnes said he got a call from one of his two sons, who “looked distressed” that Fisher was over, and that caused Barnes to drive over to the house. Once he arrived an altercation broke out between the two men, with Barnes allegedly texting a friend that he beat up Fisher and spat in his wife’s face. That’s not going to scar the young boy any further, well done.
If Barnes did this as described (and we don’t know the details), the NBA has to look hard at this. Barnes does not get to decide for a woman he is no longer seeing who she can and cannot see, and who she has over to her home. She is not property. That is the level of control seen in domestic abuse situations, and the league can’t sit back and tolerate it.