Kevin Durant, Thabo Sefolosha

Thabo Sefolosha unsure about future in Oklahoma City


Thabo Sefolosha had been solidified as a starter for the Oklahoma City Thunder in his first five and a half seasons with the team, coming off the bench just once in 390 regular season appearances.

But this postseason was different. Scott Brooks used a better scorer and more athletic player in Reggie Jackson over the defensive-minded Sefolosha, who was essentially relegated to the bench for the last four games of the Western Conference Finals, save for some garbage time work in Game 5.

Sefolosha is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the prospect of him returning to Oklahoma City is anything but certain.

From Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:

“It was very frustrating,” Sefolosha said during his exit interview on Sunday afternoon. “It’s never easy. I would say the last month has been a little frustrating.”

“It’s just tough,” Sefolosha said. “You’ve got a lot of questions, like, why and what is the thought process necessarily behind it? Things like that. You just stick with the plan, stick with your teammates.”

“I have no clue,” Sefolosha said when asked if he expected to be back. “I’m going to have to take some time to think about a lot of things.”

If the Thunder plan on continuing with Jackson in the starting lineup (or even Caron Butler, as the team did in a couple of games against the Grizzlies), then it would probably best to let Sefolosha walk in free agency.

OKC has found its third reliable scoring option in Serge Ibaka, whose midrange game has become especially important when the offense breaks down and defenses force either Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook to make some difficult decisions. But they need reliable scoring off the bench.

In Game 6 against the Spurs, for example, all five bench points came from Derek Fisher, and Durant, Westbrook, Jackson and Ibaka were all forced to play way too many minutes because of that lack of offense from the reserves.

Sefolosha is a defensive specialist whose time with this Thunder team has passed. He needs to move on to play somewhere he can be properly utilized, and OKC needs to replace him with a reliable scoring option to improve the squad for next season.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.