Tag: Kevin Durant

During game six of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals

Report: Wizards, Bradley Beal not progressing much on contract extension


Bradley Beal and the Wizards have been talking about a contract extension.

How’s it going?

J. Michael of CSN Washington:

The Wizards and Bradley Beal don’t appear to be any closer to reaching terms on an extension — the window is open until the start of the 2015-16 regular season — with both sides downplaying to CSNwashington.com during the past few weeks about the progress of talks.

The good thing for them, of course, is that they haven’t shut down negotiations

Beal will make $5,694,674 next season. An extension would begin with the 2016-17 season.

He surely wants a max contract, and he might be worth one. But the Wizards have incentive to wait.

If Beal signs an extension now, his cap number at the beginning of next summer will be his 2016-17 salary. A max contract projects to have a starting salary of $20,947,250.

If Beal waits until next summer to sign, his initial cap hold will be $14,236,685. Then, Washington could use its cap space and then exceed the cap to re-sign Beal to up to a max deal.

That extra $6.7 million cap room could help ensure the Wizards have enough space for Kevin Durant. Plus, the remainder would come in handy, Washington with Durant would become an appealing destination to mid-level free agents.

Given that Beal would be a restricted free agent, there’s no risk he leaves next summer. The only risk is he’d sign a shorter offer sheet, allowing him to leave sooner, but that shouldn’t be a huge concern.

Of course, Beal doesn’t want to wait to sign. He has missed 54 games in three seasons, and another injury could torpedo his value.

There’s a lot to like about Beal, especially because the sharp-shooting guard is just 22. But the cap rules dictate the Wizards should wait to re-sign him – unless he’s will to sign an extension that starts at $14,236,685 or less (which should be a no-go for him) or give Washington savings in later years (maybe).

If he insists upon a max contract, the Wizards should wait. If he proves this season he deserves one, that’s a win for both sides – especially because that would give Washington a little extra cap room.

Kevin Durant reveals second, previously undisclosed, break in his foot

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Kevin Durant had three surgeries last season – one in October when he broke his foot, one in February to replace a screw and a third in March due to what the Thunder described as “persistent soreness.”

I suppose that might technically be true, but here’s a more accurate depiction: Durant broke his foot again.

Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:

Durant has no fear in acknowledging the severe state he found his fifth metatarsal in despite the two prior surgeries.

“It had a crack in it,” Durant told Bleacher Report.

Durant used a controversial bone-graft material that is not FDA approved for use in the foot to promote greater bone growth this time. It mandated a longer recovery time in part because of an additional procedure to protect against overgrowth of bone.

“They stuffed some bone-graft thing in, and they pasted over the top of the area. That healed up in a couple of weeks,” Durant said. “But then they stuck something else in there just to smooth it out and make sure it was thick. They did a lot.”

It was all done because of how surprising it was that Durant’s foot fractured again after it had been healing.

You can spin this one of two ways:

1. It was a fluke that Durant re-broke his foot. There’s no good explanation for the second break, so it was just bad luck.

2. There’s something peculiar about Durant that causes repeated foot trouble. It might be his body type, playing style or both, but there’s a reason.

Obviously, there’s a world of difference between the two. Any team that considers Durant in free agency next summer will inquire deeply into his medical records.

For now, we must be content knowing Durant is making progress. He practiced with Team USA in Las Vegas this week, and he should be ready for the NBA season.

Beyond that is a lot more uncertainty than desirable for one of the NBA’s best players.

Kevin Durant: ‘I’m the best player in the world’

Olympics Day 4 - Basketball

LeBron James recently called himself “the best player in the world.”

Kevin Durant isn’t ready to cede that title to the Cavaliers star, though

Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

I expect LeBron to consider himself the world’s best player. I expect Durant to consider himself the world’s best player.

I expect Dwight Howard to consider himself the world’s best player. I expect James Harden to consider himself the world’s best player. I expect… really, you can name any All-Star-caliber player, and I’d expect him to have that faith in himself.

LeBron, Durant and the rest didn’t reach this level by doubting themselves. They did it by having enormous confidence in their ability and putting in the work to realize their potential. They succeed because of that arrogance.

As to the actual question, it’s a three-man race between LeBron, Durant and Anthony Davis.

Like most people, I thought Stephen Curry and Harden had the best seasons last year. But, perhaps unfairly, neither has produced long enough at that level to get real consideration from me.

Davis does because he’s younger and has probably improved more since just the end of last season than anyone else. Durant believes he’s the best, but he also knows his window falls between LeBron’s and Davis’.

A healthy Durant belongs in the thick of the discussion with LeBron and Davis. LeBron is slightly declining. Durant, when not injured, is holding steady. And Davis is rapidly rising. That puts all three around the same level right now.

Which of the three is the world’s best player? For me, it depends on the day you ask.

For them, the answer is probably the same from each: “Me.”

Ten must-watch games from new NBA schedule

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers

It’s the reason broadcast networks are paying ungodly sums of cash to secure rights to leagues like the NBA — you need to watch live. This isn’t Top Chef where you can set the DVR and then watch it later in the week, when it comes to sporting events you need to carve out the time to watch the games.

But what games are good enough you tell your girlfriend you have to work late that night, and then head to the bar with your buddies to watch because you don’t want to miss them? (Remember, do not post pictures of yourself at said bar to social media that night.)

That’s why we’re here. The following are 10 games you do not want to miss this coming season.

• Oct. 27, New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors: The championship banner is going up at Oracle Arena, the first title for the Golden State franchise since before Led Zeppelin broke up. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and the entire Warriors band are back to defend the title. Well done by the NBA to set the Pelicans as the opponent — their new coach is Alvin Gentry, who last season masterminded the Warriors’ offense. Also, Golden State swept New Orleans out of the first round of the playoffs, but this is going to be a better Pelicans team.

• Oct. 28, San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder: I can sum up why to watch this game in five words — how does Kevin Durant look? The former MVP battled foot injuries last season but is back and expected to be ready opening night. While you’re at it, see how LaMarcus Aldridge looks in Spurs black and gray. 

• Nov. 11, San Antonio Spurs at Portland Trail Blazers: There was only one big time free agent that switched teams last season — Aldridge, who jumped from Portland to San Antonio, where he teams up with and becomes the heir apparent to Tim Duncan. But he’s got to go back to Portland some time, and that is Nov. 11. How will Blazers fans treat Aldridge? You can be sure Damian Lillard will be pumped up to get the win.

• Nov. 11, Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas Mavericks: I know how Mavericks fans are going to treat DeAndre Jordan, who first said he would come there as a free agent then changed his mind. The Clippers were already one of the more hated teams by many fans around the league, this just played right into that narrative.

• Nov. 23, Philadephia 76ers at Minnesota Timberwolves: Who did you think should go No. 1 last draft, Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor? Flip Saunders had the only vote that counted and he cast it for Towns, and while that may be the right call long term (I think it will be) Okafor will be the better rookie. Watch these two young bigs go head-to-head (on League Pass because the Sixers are not on national television once this season).

• Nov. 30, Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics: There has been no better rivalry in NBA history than the Celtics and Lakers, and Kobe Bryant has added to that with a must-watch Finals series. Kobe very well may walk away from the NBA after the season, and if so this will be his final game in the Boston Garden. That will be emotional.

• Dec. 23, Dallas Mavericks at Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams returns to Brooklyn. The Nets paid a lot of money for him to turn their franchise around in a Chris Paul kind of way, and they did not get their money’s worth. So they just paid him to go away. Now he returns, and he should not expect a love-in from Nets fans.

• Christmas Day, Dec. 25, Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors: Were you not entertained by the NBA Finals? It had Stephen Curry and LeBron James, and that helped draw the biggest NBA television ratings since the Jordan era. The NBA puts its biggest stars on its biggest stages, and this is that. The difference is this time LeBron has Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love healthy.

• Jan. 18, Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets: The Clippers were up 3-1 on the Rockets in the second round of the playoffs, and were in total control of Game 5. And then the wheels came off. The Rockets played better, the Clippers looked exhausted (worn down by an epic series with the Spurs the round before), and Houston came back to take it. This eats at Chris Paul like you would not believe. Clippers/Rockets is becoming a real rivalry and all their meetings this season will be entertaining.

• April 13, Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers: Is this Kobe’s final game? It will be the last game of the season for the Lakers (who are unlikely to make the playoffs in the loaded Western Conference). Kobe does not know right now, and there’s a chance he may not know when this game tips off, or at least not be saying publicly. But this game could be the end of one of the great careers in NBA history, and that is as must watch as it gets.

Plenty of LeBron James, Stephen Curry on big stages as NBA releases 2015-16 schedule

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

For NBA junkies, this is like opening presents on Christmas morning — the NBA schedule is out.

There are 1,230 games out there to be played starting on Oct. 27 and running through April — and that’s before the two months of NBA playoffs start. It’s a marathon.

But there are highlights — and the NBA still is the master of getting its biggest stars on its biggest stages, meaning you’re going to get a lot of LeBron James and Stephen Curry. Here are some schedule highlights.

• Opening night, Oct. 27, we get a double-header on TNT:

Cleveland at Chicago: Arguably the two top teams in the East. Well, no argument about Cleveland in the top slot, but are the Bulls and new coach Fred Hoiberg going to grab that second slot? Also, LeBron James vs. Derrick Rose in a rematch of a fun playoff series from last year

New Orleans at Golden State: Stephen Curry and the Warriors swept Anthony Davis and the Pelicans out in the first round of the playoffs last season, but it wasn’t that simple. Now a healthy and improved New Orleans — with coach Alvin Gentry, just hired away from the Warriors — comes to the Bay Area looking to spoil the night the banner goes up at Oracle (title teams often struggle in this game, they tend not to be focused).

Also that night, but not nationally televised, Detroit at Atlanta.

• The next night, Oct. 28, San Antonio at Oklahoma City: Is Kevin Durant all the way back? How is LaMarcus Aldridge fitting in with the Spurs? We will get some early (but far from definitive) answers to those questions.

Also Oct. 28, New York is at Milwaukee — the first time the Bucks have opened at home since 1984. Milwaukee made the playoffs and looks like a team on the rise, and they have been rewarded with a dozen nationally televised games.

Finally that same night, Minnesota is at the Los Angeles Lakers — No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns of the Timberwolves vs. No. 2 D’Angelo Russell of the Lakers.

• On Oct. 29, Dallas at Los Angeles Clippers. DeAndre Jordan’s first matchup against the Mavericks — the team he reversed course on and spurned this summer — is in the friendly confines of Staples Center (where they are happy to have him back).

• Wednesday, Nov. 11, will be the night of returns:

San Antonio at Portland: The one big free agent changing teams this summer was LaMarcus Aldridge heading to San Antonio. How will he be received by Blazers’ faithful, and can the Spurs beat a fired up Damian Lillard and Portland?

Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas: Now it gets fun. Jordan faces the team he agreed to play for then backed out on in the American Airlines Arena — it is going to rain boos in Dallas like a Spring thunderstorm.

• Dec. 5, Cleveland at Miami: Everybody has pretty much moved on from LeBron heading home (except maybe Pat Riley) but this is still a matchup of two of the top teams in the East.

• Dec. 23, Dallas at Brooklyn: Deron Williams returns to Brooklyn — where his star never burned as brightly as Nets fans hoped — with his new team the Dallas Mavericks.

• Christmas Day, Dec. 25, the unofficial start of the NBA season for casual fans, will feature five games again:

Chicago at Oklahoma City: Two teams near the top of their conferences and with star power will pay in the first of two ABC national games. Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol vs. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Cleveland at Golden State: This NBA Finals matchup features the two biggest stars in the game — Curry and LeBron James — and drew the biggest NBA television ratings since the Jordan era. You think the NBA would miss a chance to put that in their prime Christmas slot?

Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers: Is this our last Christmas with Kobe Bryant? This is all you need to know about the strength of the Lakers’ brand — as bad as they were last season, for all the questions about the one coming up, you can’t get them off the Christmas Day card. Or, look at it this way: The Lakers have 19 nationally televised games, the same number as the Western Conference Finalist Houston Rockets.

The other two Christmas Day games: Anthony Davis and New Orleans at Miami, then San Antonio at Houston.

• Jan. 14, Orlando vs. Toronto: It’s the rare mid-week NBA day game — because it’s being played in London at the O2 arena.

• On Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 18), the TNT double-header is the other NBA Finals rematch with Golden State at Cleveland, then at night a great playoff rematch with Houston at the Los Angeles Clippers.

• Feb. 6, Oklahoma City at Golden State: The last two MVPs — Durant and Curry — face off in a national ESPN game, part of their new Saturday night package (which starts in 2016 after the college football season).

• Feb. 8 Los Angeles Lakers at Indiana: A couple years ago Roy Hibbert was seen as a cornerstone of a young, impressive Pacers team. Now they have pushed him out the door. This is the night he returns to the Fieldhouse in Lakers gold to take on the Pacers.

• Feb. 18, coming out of the All-Star break, TNT has a killer double-header: Chicago at Cleveland, followed by the Spurs at the Clippers.

• Last season there were 70 instances where teams had four games in five nights (almost always on the road), it’s one of the big complaints of teams and where they often rest guys. This season there are just 27 instances, the league has worked to cut those back.

• Teams will have an averaged of 17.8 games in back-to-back situations, that is down from 19.3 last season. Improved, but the league has a long way to go here.

• Entering year three of their tank-a-thon, the Philadelphia 76ers have no national television games scheduled. The Pistons, a team that could be in the playoff mix in the East, also are not on the national schedule.

• Once again, there is a