Dan Feldman

Was Rihanna interaction personal highlight? Kevin Durant: ‘Oh, my gosh, more than that’

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Kevin Durant had one special NBA Finals.

The Warriors star won his first championship, outplayed LeBron James to win (and deserve) Finals MVP and stared down Rihanna after making a 3-pointer.

Don’t lose sight of the importance of that last one.

Josh Peter of USA Today:

Durant said the Rihanna dustup — Durant appeared to stare her down after he hit a late three-pointer in Game 1 — was a personal highlight during the Finals.

“Oh, my gosh, more than that,’’ he said.

Durant has a long-standing infatuation with Rihanna, a noted LeBron fan:

Hopefully the fact that she didn’t yell “brick!” doesn’t ruin the moment for him. They’ll always have the stare-down.

Adrian Wojnarowski: People around NBA feel LeBron James ‘likely’ to join Lakers or Clippers

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LeBron James can’t become a free agent until 2018.

But that LeBron-to-Los Angeles rumor is already gaining steam, and even the LeBron-to-Miami rumor won’t die.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical Podcast with Woj:

Not only is there no guarantee he’s coming back, I’m not sure there’s an expectation he’s re-signing there. I think they feel, I think within Cleveland and around the league, they feel that he’s very much in play to leave again and likely head out West to one of the two L.A. teams. The Lakers could very well be a target.

The possibility of Miami again, based on how they, what that team looks like and where they are. Would Dwyane Wade go back there?

But I think the focus, a lot of LeBron’s – his business interests, his Hollywood aspirations, his media ventures are base out there.

And I wrote this last year and said it and believed it: The minute he won that championship in Cleveland he was liberated to leave again. Now, if he had not won a title in Cleveland and then left again, I think there would be tremendous backlash again. But the fact that he came back and did what he set out to do, which was to bring a title to Cleveland.

I’m not sure what’s less likely – LeBron or Wade returning to the Heat. It seems those breakups exposed and created too much bad blood. Then again, the same could have been said about LeBron with the Cavaliers.

As for the Lakers or Clippers, as I laid out before, there are several reasons LeBron keeps getting tied to those teams:

1. LeBron has hinted at having eyes for another team. He said he’d take a pay cut to play with Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul. If it weren’t already difficult to see that happening in Cleveland, Anthony said they’d want to go “someplace warm.” Los Angeles certainly qualifies.

2. LeBron seemingly enjoys the Los Angeles lifestyle. He owns a house there, as does his agent. LeBron has organized offseason workouts there for the Cavs.

3. LeBron wants to keep the Cavaliers on their toes. His return came with terms – a financial commitment from Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. Don’t spend enough, and LeBron could leave. Whether he actually would follow through, LeBron stands to make his Cleveland experience better by having the threat known.

4. It’s fun. LeBron is the best player in the league, and the Lakers the NBA’s most popular team. The Clippers have newfound relevance and play in a large market. It’s just plain fun to speculate on the possibility and the upheaval it’d cause.

Lakers working out Markelle Fultz

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The Celtics will probably draft Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 pick.

But there’s some uncertainty near the top of the draft, and that has Fultz – previously reported to work out for only Boston – wanting to solidify his floor.

Shahan Ahmed of NBC LA:

The Lakers are getting their haul of pre-draft workouts, including Lonzo Ball twice. That’s the team’s prestige working in its favor.

Despite taking over late in the process, Magic Johnson is getting plenty of opportunities to catch up.

Will he get an opportunity to draft Fultz? I doubt it. But if Fultz is somehow available at No. 2 for the Lakers, they will at least be better positioned to determine why Boston passed and make their own determination.

Report: Steve Kerr stated plan to decline White House invitation

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Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston are on record as against the Warriors, who won the 2017 NBA title, visiting Donald Trump’s White House.

Their coach, Steve Kerr, apparently agrees.

Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:

Kerr told NBCSportsBayArea.com last November that if the Warriors were to win the NBA Finals, he would not accept an invitation to visit the White House.

Those were Kerr’s feelings then, but he felt it would be presumptuous to express them publicly during the middle of a season. Now that the Warriors have the championship, taking out the Cavaliers in five games, don’t expect that to change.

The Warriors are prepared to make a political statement, multiple sources confirmed to NBCSportsBayArea.com Tuesday afternoon.

Though the Warriors quickly issued a statement later Tuesday morning indicating no final decision has been made, not a man in the locker room or in the coach’s office would be comfortable visiting a president who has sowed such division while renouncing civility and from the country’s highest office.

A political statement doesn’t necessarily preclude visiting the White House. It could be to balance a visit, which would be based on respect for the office, with opposition to President Trump.

But it’s difficult to see this team participating in a photo-op with Trump. There just doesn’t seem to be any Warriors on board, and those who oppose are making their stance increasingly known.

Warriors: ‘No doubt’ Steve Kerr will return as coach next season

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Steve Kerr was the most emotional Warrior as Golden State celebrated its 2017 NBA title.

Was that a sign Kerr – who missed considerable time the last two seasons, including most of this year’s playoffs, after complications from back surgery – might ride off into the sunset?

Warriors owner Joe Lacob, in a Q&A with Tim Kawakami of The Mercury News:

-Q: Steve has said he will keep coaching. Do you have any doubt about him coaching next year after what he went through physically this year?

-LACOB: No doubt. Obviously we want him to get better and he has certainly struggled. But hopefully he does (get better) and he’ll be our coach for a long time.

Warriors general manager Bob Myers, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Steve Kerr will be back to coach the 2017-18 season.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he will return as the coach of this team,” Myers told ESPN after the Warriors won the NBA championship after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games. “I’m confident we’ll have him back. Steve will be our coach.”

It’d be a shame if his health kept Kerr from coaching. He’s one of the league’s best coaches – maybe even the best.

It helps to have a stacked roster with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. But Kerr implemented a dynamic offense after taking over for Mark Jackson, whom Curry had grown close with. That requires serious communication and tactile chops.

Managing the Warriors’ egos is no seamless task, either. Kerr has earned his players respect through genuine competiveness and a basketball intelligence that rewards buy-in. Following Kerr is not a gamble. It’s the surest path to success for anyone on his team.

Hopefully, Lacob and Myers are right about the coach’s future.