Kerr, visibly upset, addressed the matter but kept his comment brief and vague.
“It was a total misinterpretation of something I said,” he said, “and we cleared it up.”
Kerr surely would like to think this is the end of it, as would Bell. And perhaps it is. But there have been questions about Bell’s commitment and habits dating back to at least the middle of his rookie season.
Coaches and players say a lot of things quickly during games. A comment being misinterpreted and causing an overreaction isn’t the end of the world.
But it usually doesn’t lead to an exchange that looks so heated. That Bell thought Kerr said something so off-putting toward him – whether Kerr actually did or didn’t – is telling.
After a promising rookie season, Bell has declined this year. He’s not even a permanent member of the rotation. With DeMarcus Cousins returning, Bell could be even further deemphasized.
Bell has potential as a versatile defender who finishes above the rim and moves the ball well. Golden State could particularly maximize his skill set.
First, Bell – who’ll be a free agent this summer – must show he’s on the same page as his coach.
During the Thunder’s win over the Trail Blazers, he talked trash to Damian Lillard and exchanged pointed laughs and words with Jusuf Nurkic. Westbrook also scored 29 points, dished 14 assists and grabbed 10 rebounds. After the game, he mocked Evan Turner for stealing his trademark rock-the-baby celebration and called Nurkic a “clown” (to which Nurkic responded online by calling the Oklahoma City star “Westbrick”).
For better or worse – mostly better last night – Westbrook always brings that same energy to everything he does.