Dan Feldman

Draymond Green says he had document ready to bash Cavaliers, opts against sharing (video)

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In the three years of the Warriors-Cavaliers trilogy, Draymond Green has talked plenty of smack – rubbing in Golden State’s 2015 title, broadcasting his plan to destroy the Cavs and saying Cleveland fans aren’t the sharpest.

But after the Warriors beat the Cavaliers for the 2017 NBA title, Green didn’t take any parting shots.

Green:

I respect them. There’s a mutual respect. They’re champions. We’re champions.

I had this whole document ready. I was ready to bash everybody. But I jut, I have too much respect for them. The things that they bring to the floor, a great leader in LeBron and Kyrie.

That document has replaced the LeBron JamesKevin Durant song as the NBA’s hidden item du jour.

Good for Green taking the high road. LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Co. deserve respect.

But it still would have been fun to see Green go Michael Scott on Cleveland:

Rumor: Lakers or 76ers have promised to draft Josh Jackson

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Lonzo Ball reportedly came out of shape to his Lakers workout, adding fuel to the idea they’d pass on him with the No. 2 pick.

Whom would they draft instead?

Maybe Kanas forward Josh Jackson.
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

Gambadoro might just be relaying the Suns’ suppositions. If Jackson won’t work out for Phoenix, which picks No. 4, that could mean a team picking higher promised to draft him. But it could also mean Jackson doesn’t want to join a team that has missed the playoffs seven straight years – or any number of things.

Jackson cancelling his workout with the Celtics, who hold the No. 1 pick, is corroborating evidence.

On the other hand, the Lakers working out Ball again and De'Aaron Fox indicates they didn’t promise to draft Jackson.

The No. 3-drafting 76ers could make sense for Jackson. Really, so could the Lakers. There’s debate whether Ball or Jackson is the best prospect in this draft after Markelle Fultz. But I’d favor Ball, and Philadelphia might prefer a point guard.

So, maybe a team near the top of the draft promised to pick Jackson. I’m just not convinced.

Andre Iguodala’s vote on Warriors visiting Donald Trump’s White House: ‘Hell nah’

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
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As an organization, the Warriors – in the wake of their 2017 NBA title – aren’t eager to discuss visiting the White House.

But Andre Iguodala has an opinion on participating in a ceremony with President Donald Trump.

Iguodala, via Sam Amick of USA Today:

“Hell nah,” he said of taking part in a visit.

“We’re going to do what our leader (Curry) does,” Iguodala said. “I think we handle (the White House situation) when it gets there. I mean, it may be different. There might be somebody different in (office). That’s a realistic thing to say though, right? So you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

As Iguodala discussed, there’s a strong sense in the African-American community that racists have been emboldened by the current climate.

“We all know (that it is getting worse),” Iguodala said of racism. “I think it’s just the ignorance, the convenient ignorance. (It’s) not to say that people aren’t aware, but they just don’t want to address it (because) they don’t want to be attached to it so they ignore a lot of the bad things that happen. I feel like there are actions that occur, that continue the dividing of everyone. And I think that’s done on purpose.”

The politics at play are interesting. It’s not Trump’s. Iguodala is deferring to Stephen Curry. Team politics also matter.

Curry basically called Trump an ass. Shaun Livingston is already on record saying he wouldn’t visit the White House. And now Iguodala has made his thoughts known.

Momentum is definitely against Golden State visiting the White House. It’s extremely difficult to see someone turning that tide.

Kevin Durant outduels LeBron James in epic NBA Finals matchup

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LeBron James became the first player to average a triple-double in an NBA Finals. His Cavaliers were 36 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court than off against the Warriors, and he played 42 minutes per game.

Kevin Durant was even better.

The 2017 NBA Finals featured an all-time great individual battle between Durant and LeBron.

LeBron has used this time of year to fortify his argument as best player in the world. He was the best player in four of the previous five, maybe five of the last five, Finals. (He won three Finals MVPs, should’ve beaten Andre Iguodala in 2015 and was a tossup with Kawhi Leonard in 2014.)

But Durant was so good this year, he opened a legitimate debate about whether he’s better than LeBron right now. I honestly don’t know the answer. Durant’s superior supporting cast gave him and advantage, but he used it well enough to stake claim to the best-in-the-world moniker.

These were two superstars at or near the peaks of their power, engaged in intense competition.

Durant (30.4) and LeBron (29.4) posted average Game Scores in the Finals that combine to be far superior to any other Finals opponents in current postseason format.

Here are the top combined average Game Scores for Finals opponents since 1984 (as far back as Basketball-Reference records go):

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Michael Jordan-Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson-Larry Bird, Shaquille O’Neal-Allen Iverson – Durant-LeBron topped them all.

And Durant topped LeBron within the matchup. Making that even more incredible: This was LeBron’s best Finals average Game Score in the last six years.

Here’s LeBron (wine) vs. his top Finals opponent (blue) by Game Score:

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No Finals opponent fared better against LeBron in that span than Durant in 2012 with the Thunder. In the last few years, LeBron has kept pushing his statistical contributions higher and higher. Yet, Durant still made up all that ground.

LeBron’s Game Score this year probably inflated, because it doesn’t properly account for his for his lackluster defense, especially early in the series. Durant’s defense was awesome.

That’s why Durant won and deserved Finals MVP.

But even with its imperfections, Game Score tells a true story: Durant and LeBron were historically good in the 2017 NBA Finals, and Durant was just a little better.

Report: Kevin Durant texted Draymond Green night of 2016 NBA Finals Game 7 indicating commitment to Warriors

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Draymond Green recounted calling Kevin Durant from the parking lot after the Warriors lost Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.

Durant – just after straining his credibility – called that “100 percent false.”

But what would Durant say about a post-Game 7 text exchange with Green?

Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:

About 30 minutes after Game 7 of the 2016 Finals, Warriors forward Draymond Green sat at his locker in full uniform, fiddling with his phone. All around him, teammates hastily showered and dressed, rushing from Oracle Arena and the champagne fumes that polluted the air. But Green was in no hurry to leave.

And so, at that locker, in that uniform, less than an hour after the most excruciating loss of his life, Green punched up Kevin Durant’s number. “See what we’re missing,” Green says, recounting the text message he sent Durant. “We need you. Make it happen.” Green had been courting Durant for months, but this was his strongest pitch yet, delivered at the most dramatic juncture. “Right after you lose Game 7,” Green says, “shows you’re serious.”

by the time Green peeled off his home whites and hit the showers, he could sense that his squad would laugh last. Durant’s response flashed across the screen: “I’m ready. Let’s do this.”

The Finals ended June 19. Durant revealed he’d sign with the Warriors on July 4. Between, there were free-agency meetings in the Hamptons, a dinner with his soon-to-be-former Thunder teammates and breathless speculation about where he’d sign. Most presumed he’d return to Oklahoma City for at least one more year.

But he was set on on Golden State all along? Wow. That’s quite a revelation.

Of course, texting Green never bound Durant. Any team, including the Thunder, could have persuaded him off his apparent plan. The Warriors had to close, and they did – then closed on a title nearly a year later.

As far as Durant denying Green calling him after Game 7, the difference between a text and call doesn’t clear that up.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who reported Green’s story of the parking-lot call:

Texting from the locker room and calling from the car, just after losing the biggest game of his career? Green was stalkerish in his recruitment of Durant.

But Green obviously has no regrets now.