Dan Feldman

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 30:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder walks off the court after being defeated 96-88 by the Golden State Warriors in Game Seven of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 30, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
Robert Reiners/Getty Images

Report: Thunder not putting Russell Westbrook in trade talks in short term


Now that Kevin Durant has signed with the Warriors, what will the Thunder do with Russell Westbrook?

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports on The Herd:

I know this: They will not, in the short term here, be putting him out in trade talks.

Thunder general manager Sam Presti said he planned to take a few days after Durant’s exit to evaluate his options. Perhaps, that’s why Westbrook isn’t being shopped. Maybe Presti is just trying to create leverage and drive up offers.

Or maybe Oklahoma City actually plans to keep Westbrook, who will become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The Thunder’s biggest selling point was always going to be competing for championships, but with Durant gone, that’s out the window. The ability to offer Westbrook more money probably won’t be enough to re-sign him.

I’d offer Westbrook a renegotiation and extension. In the likely event he turns that down, I’d trade him for the best package I could get before the season.

Westbrook’s expiring contract will give him say in the process. Teams will be reluctant to give up much unless he pledges to re-sign. But there should be more than enough Westbrook-approved teams that can also build a worthy trade package.

If Oklahoma City waits until the season begins, it will only lose leverage. A full season of Westbrook and the inside track to re-signing him is more valuable than a partial season of Westbrook and the inside track to re-signing him. Westbrook can put some teams over the top toward their goals, and they’ll prefer to have him all year.

Westbrook probably can’t lead the Thunder, who’ve won 10 playoff series in the past six years, to a satisfying season. They’re just too accustomed to greater accomplishments.

I believe Westbrook is committed to helping Oklahoma City as long as he’s there. I’m sure he’s embracing taking full control of this team this season.

But if the Thunder equate that with him desiring to re-sign, they’re making a mistake. Better to get what they can for him now before it’s too late.

Carmelo Anthony calls on athletes to take political action, stop worrying about endorsements

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 11:  Co-founder of Melo7 Tech Partners Carmelo Anthony speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2016 at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on May 11, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch)
Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch

LeBron James tweeted to raise awareness and call for peace after the tragic deaths of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and Dallas police offers.

Carmelo Anthony wants LeBron and other athletes to go further.

Anthony on his personal website:

First off let me start off by saying ” All Praise Due To The Most High.” Secondly, I’m all about rallying, protesting, fighting for OUR people. Look I’ll even lead the charge, By Any Means Necessary. We have to be smart about what we are doing though. We need to steer our anger in the right direction. The system is Broken. Point blank period. It has been this way forever. Martin Luther King marched. Malcolm X rebelled. Muhammad Ali literally fought for US. Our anger should be towards the system. If the system doesn’t change we will continue to turn on the TVs and see the same thing. We have to put the pressure on the people in charge in order to get this thing we call JUSTICE right. A march doesn’t work. We tried that. I’ve tried that. A couple social media post/tweet doesn’t work. We’ve all tried that. That didn’t work. Shooting 11 cops and killing 5 WILL NOT work. While I don’t have a solution, and I’m pretty sure a lot of people don’t have a solution, we need to come together more than anything at this time. We need each other. These politicians have to step up and fight for change. I’m calling for all my fellow ATHLETES to step up and take charge. Go to your local officials, leaders, congressman, assemblymen/assemblywoman and demand change. There’s NO more sitting back and being afraid of tackling and addressing political issues anymore. Those days are long gone. We have to step up and take charge. We can’t worry about what endorsements we gonna lose or whose going to look at us crazy. I need your voices to be heard. We can demand change. We just have to be willing to. THE TIME IS NOW. IM all in. Take Charge. Take Action. DEMAND CHANGE. Peace7 #StayMe7o

Kevin Durant on repeating free agency due to 1+1 contract: ‘I don’t want to go through that again’

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 07:  Kevin Durant speaks to the media during the press conference where he was introduced as a member of the Golden State Warriors after they signed him as a free agent on July 7, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Warriors have Kevin Durant.

For one year.

Durant signed a two-year contract with a player option, likely sending him into 2017 free agency.

Tim Kawakami of Talking Points:

Q: You signed a 1 + 1. Obviously things can change, but are you committed to this team no matter what?

-DURANT: Yeah, I plan on being here. I plan… I don’t want to go through that again. I plan on being here. I’m committed.

I believe Durant intends to re-sign with the Warriors. But a lot can happen in the next year. Though the contract was probably primarily about maximizing earnings, its structure opens the possibility of an early exit.

There’s no reason to fret about that now, but Durant’s deal still creates complications.

Durant will make $27,734,405 in 2017-18 if he opts in. His max salary on a new contract projects to be $33.5 million. The most Golden State can pay him without using cap space is $31,848,120.

The Warriors should have no problem giving Durant and Stephen Curry max deals next summer. But the exact cap line could determine whether there’s enough money left for Andre Iguodala.

Of course, this is based on a system that could change if either the owners or players opt out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. Durant’s deal just adds to the uncertainty facing the Warriors.

But as long as he stays committed to re-signing, they’ll figure out the rest.

Victor Oladipo added to USA Basketball select team

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 13:  Victor Oladipo #38 of the 2015 USA Basketball Men's National Team is guarded by Klay Thompson #21 of the 2015 USA Basketball Men's National Team during a USA Basketball showcase at the Thomas & Mack Center on August 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Thunder’s involvement in USA Basketball has dried up.

Team USA player Kevin Durant signed with the Warriors. Russell Westbrook won’t play in the Rio Olympics. Assistant coach Monty Williams left Oklahoma City.

But the Thunder have a new representative in the program: Victor Oladipo, who was just traded to Oklahoma City from the Magic.

USA Basketball release:

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Victor Oladipo has been added to the 2016 USA Men’s Select Team that will train July 18-21 with the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s National Team during its training camp in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The select team had 25 players. Why wasn’t Oladipo originally included? Why is he being added now?

If the reason is anything other than keeping the Thunder involved, it isn’t readily apparent.

Report: Clippers signing Marreese Speights

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20:  Marreese Speights #5 of the Golden State Warriors dribbles past Cole Aldrich #45 of the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half of a game at Staples Center on February 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Clippers dug themselves into a hole this offseason where their primary question was: How much talent would they hemorrhage?

Adding outside help was a pipe dream. The Clippers most realistic goal was taking the smallest step back possible.

They’re re-signing Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers,Wesley Johnson and Luc Mbah a MouteJeff Green and Cole Aldrich got away. Not great, but it could’ve been worse.

This will help: The Clippers found a veteran willing to join the team for a small salary: Marreese Speights.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The Clippers seemingly used the mid-level exception on Johnson and bi-annual exception on Mbah a Moute, which would leave just a minimum salary for Speights. It’s hard to believe the Warriors didn’t offer him the same, so Speights moving south is certainly an interesting decision.

Speights can back up both center DeAndre Jordan and power forward Blake Griffin. Aldrich’s departure left a major hole as the Clippers’ primary backup big, and No. 25 pick Brice Johnson probably isn’t ready to fill it. Speights isn’t nearly the rim protector Aldrich is, but Speights brings a more versatile offensive game. The 6-foot-10 Speights has range to the 3-point arc, and he still crashes the offensive glass.

Landing Speights is a coup for the Clippers.