Kurt Helin

LeBron James on Kevin Durant’s move to Warriors: “I think it’s all great for our league”

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Adam Silver didn’t think Kevin Durant‘s move to Golden State was good for the NBA. Of course, he was speaking for the people he works for — the NBA owners. And 29 of them didn’t like that move because they didn’t get KD.

LeBron James is good with it.

LeBron was asked about Durant’s decision to go to Golden State in an interview with Business Insiders, and he said he was  had no issue with it, and that it can’t be compared to moves he or other players made.

So, I think it’s all great for our league. Our league is very competitive. It’s continued to grow, and [NBA Commissioner] Adam Silver has done a great job of picking up where David Stern started, so it’s pretty cool….

Well, I think every decision is different. My decision to leave Cleveland to go to Miami and then go back is different from Kevin Durant leaving OKC [home of the Oklahoma City Thunder] and going to the Warriors. It’s different from Shaq leaving Orlando and going to the [Los Angeles] Lakers. It’s different from Michael retiring, coming back, retiring, coming back, and then going to the [Washington] Wizards. So I think every decision is different, and how much you have invested in that player, I guess, or how much you feel for that player is how you’re going to react. So everyone is different.

What did you expect him to say? Superstars are always going to have the back of other superstars switching teams — they either already have or will someday likely walk in those shoes.

I think Silver, and anyone else, saying this is bad for the league is wrong — this will be great for the league’s popularity and ratings. Love them or hate them, people are going to tune in to watch the Warriors. Look at it this way: When was the NBA its most popular? Where there was one dominant team in Chicago, with one dominant player (Jordan), and there was an entire league trying to play catch up. What was the second most popular time in NBA history? When there was one super team in Boston and one in Los Angeles — Bird and Magic — and they dominated the league with a brilliant rivalry. The NBA never thrived on parity, the NBA thrives on great stars and superteams, and that’s what it has now.

LeBron’s perspective shouldn’t be a surprise, either. Players back players. Not the older, get off my lawn generation of players who say everything was so much better back in the day (but often tried to do the same thing, and would totally back Durant if they played now).

Today’s players get that this is a business, and they should make as much money as they can now (because the owners sure are), and they should choose the working environment they want.Which is what Durant did. Fans shouldn’t have that perspective, they have emotional investments in cities and teams.  Fans can say think KD took an easy path to a title — although you’re a hypocrite to use the “ringz” argument for judging a player’s career then complain he did the thing most likely to get him a ring — but players generally will have KD’s back. To them, this is a business.

 

Pau Gasol unsure if he will play for Spain again (or how long he’ll continue in NBA)

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Pau Gasol, at age 36, was once again the fulcrum of the Spanish international team.

In the Rio Olympics, he averaged a team-high 17 points and 8.7 rebounds a game coming into the semifinal Friday against the USA, where he had 23 points and was the only reliable scoring option for Spain (they were 8-of-26 from three, and a lot of those were uncontested looks).

After the game Gasol was understandably disappointed with the loss, saying he thought this is the best chance Spain has had to beat the USA and they fell short. As for his future, he was non-committal to Spain or even to a lengthy stay in the NBA. Here are his comments to the media, as translated by eurohoops.net.

“I always think it’s going to be my last year, both in the national team and in my NBA team. I love this sport and I love to continue playing at the highest level. The older I become the more complicated it will be for me to be back but I still play at a good level. I would be 40 years old in the next Olympic Games and I’ve been already many games for many years. During next season I’ll assess how I feel and if I will play with the national team or not. Things can change pretty quick.”

I have a feeling he’s going to feel pretty good, playing as part of the “we rest a lot” Gregg Popovich routine with the Spurs. He’s going to get wins, he’s going to get touches, and he’s not going to be overtaxed.

But that is different than wanting to go back and play for Spain again. Don’t be shocked if Pau says it’s Marc Gasol‘s turn to hold down the paint for the Spanish.

Serbia defends well, blows out Australia to set up rematch with USA — this time for gold

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Serbia was ready for the stage — it played its best game of the Olympics.

Australia was not. Whether the moment was too big, or they were looking past a team they beat in pool play to a possible rematch with the USA, the Boomers came out flat-footed. And they couldn’t shoot — they hit just 4-of-31 from three.

The result was a blowout from the opening tip that Serbia won 87-61 to advance to the gold medal game and set up their own rematch with the Americans. Australia will go for its first-ever basketball medal Sunday in the bronze medal game against Spain.

Point guard Milos Teodosic led Serbia from the start — he scored six of their first 12 points and finished the night with 22 points and five assists. He is going to be a handful for the USA on Sunday, Teodosic gave them fits in group play. Stefan Markovic added 14 points for Serbia, while Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets had 11 rebounds.

For those that don’t remember, Serbia was the USA’s toughest game in group play — the Americans won by three, ut Sacramento-bound Bogdan Bogdanovic got a wide-open three to tie the game at the buzzer, but it rimmed out. The USA raced out to a 9-0 lead in that game and eventually led 23-5, but then got incredibly sloppy on both ends. Serbia outscored the USA 86-71 the rest of the way.

Serbia is playing better than they did in that game, and they are used to the big stage — they played the USA in the 2014 World Championship finals.

If the USA plays with the defensive focus they had against Spain they should be fine, but let up at all and Serbia can make them pay. In Silver.

Sing along with Russell Westbrook — he will do what he wants

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Russell Westbrook posted this to Twitter, a little Lil Uzi Vert “Now I Do What I Want” sing along.

Maybe it’s his Friday mood.

Or, is it a little message to that guy headed West….

Kevin Durant passed LeBron James for second on USA’s Olympic scoring list

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During the group play stage of the Rio Olympics, Carmelo Anthony passed LeBron James to become the all-time leading Olympics scorer in USA history.

LeBron, take another step back.

While racking up his 14 points against Spain in the semi-final game on Friday, Kevin Durant slid past LeBron into second place on the list. Durant leapfrogged LeBron in the first quarter.

Durant has averaged 19.1 points a game over his Olympic career. While Anthony is at the top of the USA list, Durant could pass him if KD plays in Tokyo in 2020. Then again, LeBron is talking about a possible USA swan song and he could retake his lead.

As long as the USA is winning gold, it’s all good. There’s no Cavaliers/Warriors thing when the USA is on the chest.