Kevin Durant responds to LeBron James’ ‘jealous’ comment: ‘LeBron can do whatever he wants’

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LeBron James recently expressed his jealousy of how much Kevin Durant shoots.

LeBron attempts 16.2 shots per game (19th in the NBA) to Durant’s 19.5 (third in the NBA), so there is a certainly a significant difference for the leading MVP candidates. Neither player is putting up empty numbers – nothing close to that. Although I think he meant to honestly reveal the downside to his own situation, LeBron also – implicitly and only slightly – discredited Durant’s scoring average (30.0 to LeBron’s 25.9). After all, it’s easier to score more when you can shoot more.

It was only a matter of time until Durant was asked to respond.

Durant, via Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:

“What he say?” Durant asked, rhetorically.

“How can I not see it? It’s been on CNN. It’s been on ABC, FOX Sports. Man, it’s been everywhere. Ya’ll blowing that out of proportion, man. I mean, I’m pretty sure, matter of fact, I’m 100 percent sure LeBron can do whatever he wants.”

That is a great answer.

LeBron can do whatever he wants. With a clever comment, Durant spins this back on LeBron, whose initial comments now seem like a humblebrag. Ugh, I wish I could score more, but I’m just too good a teammate.

Of course, that’s only one portion of what LeBron said.

I mostly agree with the rest of Durant’s comment, that some are blowing LeBron’s comments out of proportion. They’re certainly interesting and worthy of discussion, but I don’t think they’re a call for change.

As I said before, I think the denigration of Durant’s numbers was only a side effect of LeBron’s main purpose: to discuss his internal conflict. LeBron wants to play within the Heat’s system, a system that admittedly makes him the focal point, and he also wants to shoot more. That’s fine, and LeBron clearly chooses the former more than the latter.

We all face dilemmas like that in our own lives. I want to eat all the ice cream in my freezer right now (peanut cup and pretzel), but I also want to be relatively healthy. I have to choose between two things I want, and LeBron does the same with playing within Miami’s system and shooting more. It’s compelling to hear him discuss the road he’s not taking.

It’s just unfortunate Durant was painted as doing something wrong, because he’s certainly not.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

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The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).

Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.

But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.

So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.

But at least he has that opportunity.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

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Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.

Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.

LeBron James: Reporter warned me about question on Gregg Popovich’s wife before live TV interview

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In her on-court interview with LeBron James following the Cavaliers’ Game 2 win over the Pacers last night, TNT sideline reporter Allie LaForce asked him about the death of Gregg Popovich’s wife.

LeBron appeared emotional as he gathered his thoughts.

That prompted some to criticize LaForce for ambushing LeBron on a sensitive subject on live TV. But that’s not what happened.

Uninterrupted:

LeBron:

I’m not on social media right now, but I was made aware through some friends through texts that a question was asked to me postgame, and a lot of people feel I was blindsided. That is absolutely false. Allie LaForce told me that she was going to ask the question and if it was OK.

And once I started talking about it, once we were on air, actually my emotions kind of took over. And that was just my emotions coming straight from my heart about the late Erin Popovich.

It’s unfortunate. It’s a tragic loss. My thoughts, my prayers, once again goes out to the Popovich family, to Gregg, to the Spurs family, to the whole Spurs fan base.

And also guys, please get off Allie LaForce’ back, because she followed the proper protocol and she warned me. So, get off her back, man. She’s very professional, and she does a great job at her work.

Like I said, thoughts and prayers to the heavens above. We all know the man above never makes mistakes, even when we question it. But it’s a sad, tragic time right now for the NBA family, and we’re all praying and hoping for the best.

It would have been surprising if LaForce hadn’t done that. Somewhere between nearly nobody and absolutely nobody in her position is trying to embarrass players.

PBT Extra: If Portland is going to turn series around it starts with Damian Lillard

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This was the year the Trail Blazers were going to break through. They were defending better as a team. There was some depth on offense. And Damian Lillard was playing at a level that will get him on many voters’ MVP ballots.

Instead, they are down 0-2 to Anthony Davis and New Orleans, having dropped both games at home to open the series. Portland is on the verge of being bounced in the first round for the third time in four years.

If Portland is going to turn this series around, it starts with Lillard, something I discuss in this latest PBT Extra. C.J. McCollum needs to get more buckets, Jusuf Nurkic needs to contribute more on both ends, but for Portland it all begins and ends with Lillard and it’s on him to start the turnaround.