The narrative says Russell Westbrook will do as he pleases – regardless of what Kevin Durant thinks.
When they played together, that meant Westbrook dominating the ball, even though Durant was more efficient. Since Durant left the Thunder for the Warriors, Westbrook has implied he won’t miss his fellow star and taken shot after shot after shot after shot after shot after shot at Durant’s expense.
But as they dined together before free agency, Westbrook apparently took a different tone.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
Westbrook, in an effort to lobby Durant to stay in Oklahoma City, asks Durant what he could do differently.
If Westbrook wanted to change – I’m not sure how much he truly needed to – he should have before this last-ditch meeting. Actions speak louder than words, and at that point, there was nothing left for Westbrook to do but pledge to change. He left himself no opportunity to back it up.
Westbrook putting himself out there like that and Durant still leaving might factor into Westbrook’s apparent resentment for Durant now, especially considering the first leak about why Durant left Oklahoma City centered on Durant being frustrated by Westbrook. Westbrook must feel pretty exposed at this point.
The Knicks found Derrick Rose, who went AWOL for night’s game against the Pelicans.
Now, they’ve disciplined him.
It’s a little surprising the Knicks didn’t suspend Rose, but we still have little idea why he left the team without notice. So, it’s difficult to critique this decision from the outside.
When Rose talks, perhaps we’ll get more information.
At a season-ticket-holder event, Hawks general manager Wes Wilcox joked that he could relate to angry and argumentative fans because he has a black wife.
Appropriate for the venue? Seems not.
Funny? Seems not.
But wherever Wilcox’s joke fell short, it’ll end there with the franchise.
Mike Wise of The Undefeated:
Is someone reminding Wilcox about proper workplace behavior (and just good sense) considered discipline? If not, this is probably fine.
Wilcox screwed up, but not every screw-up requires discipline beyond talking to someone about not repeating the error.
Where is Derrick Rose? What’s going on with him?
The first question, spurred by Rose going AWOL for the Knicks’ game against the Pelicans yesterday, has been answered.
Ian Begley of ESPN:
That’s a step in the right direction, but the second question still requires answers.
Multiple theories have been floated. With Rose in New York, it seems he’ll provide more information soon enough.
Kevin Durant said he “damn sure” wasn’t signing with the Warriors if they’d won the 2016 championship. Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said he believes Boston was runner-up for Durant.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
And, in the aftermath, many sources around the NBA come to believe this: Boston might have landed Durant had the Warriors won the Finals — as Durant wouldn’t want to have looked like a man hopping aboard a dynasty.
Well, this certainly supports Grousbeck’s theory – though it’s possible some observers are influenced by Grousbeck’s stated stance.
Consider, though, that Durant entered free agency knowing the Cavaliers beat Golden State in the Finals. Had the Warriors (who were linked to Durant months in advance) won, Durant’s entire free agency – including Boston-favorable elements – could’ve proceeded differently. Durant might have entered the process more content with staying with the Thunder. Perhaps, Golden State’s loss opened his mind to leaving, an outlook that opened the door for the Celtics to finish second.
In other words, maybe no result in the 2015 Finals would’ve led to Durant signing with Boston.
But it’s at least a fun “what if?”