Consider this our version of the equal time rule.
Thursday we told you the Brooklyn Nets planned to go hard at Kevin Durant in 2016 when he can become a free agent. They will not be alone — it is likely the Knicks, Lakers and a host of other teams that could have cap space that year will be lined up at Durant’s door.
That doesn’t mean he’s leaving. Every time he speaks publicly he sounds like a guy who likes it in Oklahoma City and doesn’t want to bolt.
Like what he said on Spike Lee’s new SiriusXM NBA Radio show “Spike Lee’s Best Seat in the House”
“I love playing there. The city fits me. I’m one of those guys that just likes to chill. That’s exactly how the town is. The people are supportive. The fans are there all the time at the games. Every game feels like it’s a sellout. They just support us so much.”
Two points here.
First, it is impossible to say what Durant will be thinking in 2016 — Durant doesn’t know what he will be thinking in 2016. He gets max money anywhere, he’s the level of international star who doesn’t get a big boost in endorsement deals in a big city because everyone is knocking on his door already. He can base his choice on where he wants to live and where he can win titles, with the latter part of that holding a lot of sway.
If I were to bet I would bet he stays put in Oklahoma City. If they have Russell Westbrook under contract, Serge Ibaka under contract and some good role players around them this is a core that can compete for a title. They’ve been to one Finals and they are contenders this season. If they remain contenders, Oklahoma City can offer the most money guaranteed, and he likes living there, why is it again he’s going to bolt?
But we’ll see in a couple years.
NEW YORK (AP) — TNT will use broadcast teams featuring only former players and no traditional play-by-play men during five NBA doubleheaders later this season.
The “Players Only” schedule runs Monday nights from Feb. 27 to March 27 and includes matchups such as Golden State-Oklahoma City on March 20 and Cleveland-San Antonio a week later.
Brent Barry will serve as the primary host of one team with Derek Fisher and Grant Hill, while Greg Anthony partners with Kevin McHale and Richard Hamilton on the other.
Lisa Leslie and Dennis Scott will serve as reporters.
Turner Sports says Thursday that Chris Webber will anchor the studio coverage with Isiah Thomas and Baron Davis, and that additional NBA players will contribute to the five-week program.
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden took some time out after the Houston Rockets’ win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks to give a fan a present on a her 100th birthday.
Video shows Harden signing a ball for the woman and spending a few moments sitting next to her in her courtside seat and posing for pictures Wednesday night.
Harden told ESPN’s Doris Burke in an interview that he told the woman how “blessed” he was to be able to have a chance to meet her.
The Houston guard also put on a good show for the fan during the game, scoring 38 points in a 111-92 victory over the Bucks.
Kings center DeMarcus Couins appears set to become the first player to sign as a veteran designated player. The Pacers hope Paul George will follow.
But in the Pacers’ win over the Kings yesterday, George beat Cousins.
Not even Cousins thwacking George in the face could stop this dunk.
The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.
He might get back far sooner than that.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.