We use the phrase here regularly: Kevin Durant is the second best basketball player walking the planet earth right now.
Durant is sick of having that title. He has said it before and he said it again in an interview set to air on “60 Minutes Sports” which will air on Showtime tonight (10 ET). You can see a highlight of the interview below, but here is the money quote he gave James Brown.
“…People would just always say that it’s cool, you’re top three, that’s cool. That’s good to be there. It’s alright to be a top-three player in the world…I mean…I’m just tired of settling for that, tired of saying that, tired of hearing it,”
The piece appears to chronicle just how popular Durant is in OKC. Something he certainly is. Durant also projects a humble, everyman image that plays well in the midwestern market. Durant is pretty much that guy and they talk to his mother about how she raised him and worked to not let his ego get too big.
Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $90,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Wednesday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Wednesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Durant likes Oklahoma City and the team a lot, and he’s under contract for two seasons after this one. We’re a long time away from the summer of 2016 when he can be a free agent, it’s too early to speculate on how he might choose to handle that, too early to have an idea where the Thunder will be as a team at that point.
For now, Durant just wants to start racking up some of that hardware LeBron James has been hoarding the past couple seasons.
The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?
Royce Young of ESPN:
I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Center Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics for host Brazil because of a herniated disc in his lower back.
The Golden State Warriors announced the injury Wednesday and say that Varejao should be ready for the start of training camp but will not be healthy enough to play in the Olympics. Varejao recently experienced back pain while training with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins earlier this week.
Varejao averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 22 games after signing with the Warriors on Feb. 22. He re-signed with the team earlier this month.
PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson completed his staff Wednesday, naming Jay Triano associate head coach and Tyrone Corbin and Nate Bjorkgren assistant coaches.
Triano spent the last four seasons as assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers, including Watson’s final season as a player in 2013-14. The first Canadian-born head coach in NBA history when he directed Toronto, he also is the coach of Canada’s national team.
Corbin was Sacramento’s interim head coach for 28 games in 2014-15. He played the Suns in 1987-89.
Bjorkgren remains with the Suns after spending last season as assistant coach/player development coordinator. He also was head coach of the Suns’ NBA Summer League team the past two years.
The Suns also named Marlon Garnett assistant coach/player development coordinator, and Scott Duncan and Jason Fraser player development coaches.
The Los Angeles Clippers still have Paul Pierce under contract. Not many minutes for him, but he has a roster spot.
Pierce probably wants come back but is thinking it all over, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
Pierce has been debating this with himself for a while now.
Pierce saw a dramatic drop off in production and how much he was used last season by Rivers. Pierce averaged a career-low 6.1 points per game on an also career low 48.9 true shooting percentage. His PER of 8.2 was also a career low. You get the idea. By the end of the season Pierce was mostly an afterthought for Doc Rivers (although he did start one game after Blake Griffin was out and the Clippers’ playoff dreams were toast).
Pierce would be more mentor than a key player on the court, but he would be on probably the third best team in the West, a team that capable of making a deep playoff run. Does he want to do that for one more season? You know Doc would welcome him.