Dan Feldman

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 07:  Kevin Durant sits with general manager Bob Myers of the Golden State Warriors while they speak to the media during the press conference where Durant was introduced as a Golden State Warrior 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

Kevin Durant says he stayed in bed for two days after choosing Warriors

16 Comments

Kevin Durant considered the Warriors for months. Golden State players recruited him throughout the season. He met with the Warriors in the Hamptons.

He had all the knowledge to make a sound decision, one he could feel good about.

And it seemed he did.

Choosing Golden State appeared to be a coronation for Durant. The Warriors instantly became favored to win next season’s championship — and at least a couple more down the line. Durant had the free-flowing offense he desired, teammates he liked, a market that intrigued him and a max contract.

Yet, his reaction — staying inside for two days and playing video games with brother — suggested discontent.

Durant, via Kurt Helin of NBC who is in Las Vegas:

 

“For a few days after I didn’t leave my bed (later he clarified, his rented house in the Hamptons) because I was like ‘if I walk outside somebody might just hit me with their car, or say anything negative to me.’ Like I said I never had this reputation, and so many people who don’t even watch basketball are telling me congratulations, and good luck going forward, it’s crazy how big I got and how big this got…..

“I mean I’ve been somewhere for so long and then to make a change like that (which) nobody knew was coming, that nobody didn’t think I would do, of course I didn’t know how it would be received afterwards. But at some point, I just said, ‘Look man, life goes on. Life moves on, and I can’t hide forever,’ so I just had to face it.”

Durant was right. There were plenty of critics: Thunder fans, Charles Barkley, former teammates. But Durant emerged defiant, dismissing the critics and saying he’s moving on.

Still, that was a strange initial reaction before his press conference. I’ve left a job for a better one. It’s exciting. I wanted to celebrate and hit the ground running. Staying in bed for a couple days never crossed my mind.

Maybe Durant just has a different personality, and that’s totally fine. This doesn’t necessarily make him less enthusiastic about Golden State.

But if I were the Warriors, knowing Durant will likely hit free agency again next year, I’d be slightly concerned about him reacting in a way that can be interpreted as apprehensive.

Report: Bucks’ Greg Monroe still available in trade

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 19: Greg Monroe #15 of the Milwaukee Bucks is defended by Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat during a game  at American Airlines Arena on January 19, 2016 in Miami, Florida. 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. Mandatory copyright notice:  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
6 Comments

1. The Bucks were reportedly shopping center Greg Monroehard.”

2. The Bucks are reportedly re-signing center Miles Plumlee to a four-year, $50 million contract.

Surprise, surprise: No. 2 didn’t change No. 1.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Milwaukee also has John Henson locked up for the next four years, furthering the logic of a trade.

Monroe makes sense as the odds man out.

Plumlee’s salary shows the Bucks commitment to him, and his rim protection, mobility and pick-and-roll finishing fit well with the rest of the roster. Henson also fits defensively, especially as he gets stronger.

As talented as Monroe is, his lack of foot speed disrupted Milwaukee’s aggressive defense. He’d look better on a team that needs his interior offense and allows him to spend more time in the paint defensively. Suitors would also need to be in win-now mode or confident Monroe won’t leave next summer, when he can opt out. There aren’t many clean fits considering all those conditions.

The big question: How low are the Bucks willing to sell on Monroe? At a certain point — even with Plumlee signed and Henson pushing for a bigger role — it might make sense to start the season with Monroe and hope his value rebounds.

Thunder’s reported goal: Extend Russell Westbrook’s contract, sign Blake Griffin

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 22:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers walk to center court during a 109-97 Thunder win at Staples Center on January 22, 2013 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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
18 Comments

Why did the Thunder rescind Dion Waiters‘ qualify offer?

To prevent him from unilaterally accepting it and reducing the cap space they need to renegotiate and extend Russell Westbrook‘s contract. And that’s only one component of Oklahoma City’s plan.

Not only do the Thunder want to re-do Westbrook’s deal, they hope to parlay that into signing Blake Griffin.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The move protects salary cap space for the Thunder’s primary offseason objective, league sources said: persuading five-time All-Star guard Russell Westbrook to renegotiate his contract, which would eliminate his 2017 free agency.

For Westbrook, the most likely scenario for a renegotiation would be to use the Thunder’s cap space to guarantee he will stay under contract with the Thunder through the 2017-18 season. This would give Oklahoma City the chance to recruit one of its top targets – 2017 free agent and Oklahoma native Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers – to partner with Westbrook, league sources said.

Convincing Westbrook to extend his contract won’t be easy. Neither will signing Griffin. Pulling off both moves? It’s fine to dream big, but the odds are always against completing these maneuvers.

The 2017-18 salary-cap projection dropping gives Oklahoma City a chance, though.

Westbrook is slated to earn $17,769,374 next season. As long as the Thunder have $8,770,726 in cap space — which they could get by renouncing Waiters, signing him to a lower salary than his cap hold or trading — they can renegotiate Westbrook’s salary up to his max of $26,540,100.

Of course, Oklahoma City wouldn’t give Westbrook a raise without getting something in return: Westbrook agreeing to extend his contract and forgo 2017 free agency.

The most Westbrook could earn in 2017-18 with a renegotiation and extension is $28,530,608. His max in 2017 free agency projects to be $28.8 million. That $269,393 difference is obviously a kick in the bucket compared to the $8,770,726 salary increase he’d get this year.

Two big caveats:

1. The NBA’s projections of revenue estimates, which determines the salary cap and max salaries, tend to be conservative and increase as the fiscal year progresses. Likely, Westbrook’s max as a 2017 free agent will be more than $28.8 million.

2. A new Collective Bargaining Agreement could be in effect by Westbrook’s free agency, and that could change everything. With Michele Roberts’ comments about the max and the union’s executive committee including Chris Paul, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Carmelo Anthony, there’s a good chance conditions are more favorable to superstars like Westbrook. So, locking into a multi-deal under current conditions might not be wise.

And then there’s Griffin.

His tenure with the Clippers appears to be on shakier ground than ever. His last season was marred by punching a trainerinjury, his teammates making a run with him sidelined and trade rumors.

He’ll almost certainly opt out of his contract after the season, and returning to his native Oklahoma could hold appeal. It’d certainly be more intriguing if Westbrook stays — and the potential of adding Griffin might be the splash the Thunder need to keep Westbrook.

But the timing is tricky.

Westbrook would have to renegotiate and extend his contract by Feb. 28. In all practicality, he’ll have to do it this offseason. If Westbrook isn’t amenable to renegotiating and extending, Oklahoma City will want to use its cap space to upgrade the team elsewhere.

Westbrook can add up to three years to his contract, but Griffin won’t be a free agent until July. Would Westbrook agree to stay without a commitment from Griffin? How many additional years would Westbrook accept? Would Griffin sign with the Thunder if Westbrook is only locked up for one more year? Would Westbrook extend for multiple years and risk getting trapped on a declining team that doesn’t add Griffin?

And on and on the circle goes.

This is a long shot. It also might be Oklahoma City’s best shot.

Magic’s Jodie Meeks out indefinitely after foot surgery

CLEVELAND, OH -  APRIL 13: Jodie Meeks #20 of the Detroit Pistons drives around James Jones #1 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on April 13, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images
1 Comment

The Magic traded for Jodie Meeks despite the shooting guard missing 101 games the last two years.

It cost just a low 2019 second-round pick and $6.54 million of cap space, but Meeks might provide even less value than that.

Magic release:

Orlando Magic guard Jodie Meeks underwent a surgical procedure today to further stabilize the fifth metatarsal in his right foot, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today. He will be out indefinitely and his return to action will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation.

Meeks originally injured his foot in the Pistons’ second game last season, and that kept him out until their final game. A back injury that cost him a quarter of the 2014-15 season only adds concern.

Wing Mario Hezonja can spend more time backing up Evan Fournier at shooting guard than playing small forward — especially with Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo, Aaron GordonNikola Vucevic and Jeff Green crowding the frontcourt. Orlando might also have to rely more on recently acquired C.J. Wilcox than initially hoped.

Kevin Durant says he nearly committed to Celtics because of Tom Brady

BOSTON - JUNE 08:  (L-R) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and former NBA player Joe Bryant sit courtside as the Los Angeles Lakers play against the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 8, 2010 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Bryant is the father of Lakers star Kobe Bryant. 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 Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
16 Comments

Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said Boston, not the Thunder, were runner-up to the Warriors for Kevin Durant.

Maybe Grousbeck wasn’t just blowing hot air.

The Celtics brought Tom Brady to their meeting, and the New England Patriots quarterback apparently made a big impression.

Durant, via Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:

“I was ready to just say, ‘All right. Let’s go. I’m ready to go,’ seeing Tom Brady there,” Durant said. “Just seeing someone so successful at his craft and just a great ambassador for the game of football and the city of Boston, it was just great to be in the presence of greatness.

“But at the same time, I knew I couldn’t let that distract me. But he was great. It was great to see him.”

If you’re a Thunder fan, here’s the narrative: See, this proves Durant is impulsive.

If you’re not a Thunder fan, here’s the narrative: This proves Durant made a rational decision after months of considering Golden State, because he didn’t overreact to the Brady show.

Or maybe Durant was just harmlessly complimenting another superstar.