Kevin Durant: Hard to talk to Russell Westbrook about free agency, time to be selfish

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Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have clearly grown close, spending their entire careers and formative NBA years with the Thunder.

How much will Durant lean on Westbrook during free agency?

Durant:

It’s kind of hard to talk to one of my teammates. Obviously, we’ve been through a lot. We know each other very, very well. But it’s one of these things where I just, I’ve just got to hear from me and hear what I want and talk to myself on what I need and how I can make this thing work for myself and just try to be selfish a bit.

Obviously, I want to ask for advice. But also, I want to make the decision that’s best for me. I’m sure at some point, me and Russell will sit down and talk.

But he’s put no pressure on me. He’s been just great in this whole thing and just being my friend, and I think that’s one thing I needed throughout the whole year, throughout this whole process, is just people to be my friend and worry about me as a person.

Westbrook will be a free agent in 2017, and that could influence Durant. But even if Westbrook is leaning one way now, nothing he says is binding. I don’t think he’d intentionally mislead Durant, but so much can change in a year.

This is one reason Durant signing a 1+1 makes so much sense. In addition to the financial advantages, it would allow Durant to spend another season on a championship contender without getting stuck in Oklahoma City without Westbrook. If Westbrook leaves in 2017, Durant could, too. Or they could stay together. Or Durant could stay on his own, but that’d at least be his choice at the time.

First, Durant must make a decision this summer. What will he value?

Durant:

Just being around great people, being in a great basketball environment – that’s the two most important things for me. That’s all I really care about – who I’m going to be doing life with every single day, who I’m going to be playing basketball with every day.

Durant didn’t mention salary – a Thunder advantage – but talking about money is gauche. The higher raises Oklahoma City can offer might factor, even if he won’t say so publicly.

As for the rest – the people and the basketball environment – go ahead and assume your favorite team offers the best combination.

Draymond Green addresses argument with Kevin Durant: ‘I’m not going to change who I am’

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Warriors forward Draymond Green knows the perceived significance of his argument with teammate Kevin Durant.

“I’ve read a lot about how, is this the end of the run? Or is it over? Or did I ruin it? Or did I force Kevin to leave?” Green said.

But don’t expect Green to bend amid those high stakes.

“I’m not going to change who I am,” Green said.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic:

Green is correct: His emotional, stubborn, feisty style has led to more good than bad both for himself and Golden State. Reigning that in could have adverse effects.

But there’s still room for personal growth. Green can handle some situations, including this one, better without losing his edge. Every level of the organization agreed.

Blake Griffin calls out Raptors president Masai Ujiri while praising Dwane Casey

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Dwane Casey reportedly holds a grudge toward Raptors president Masai Ujiri for firing him.

Casey got revenge last night, coaching the Pistons to a win at Toronto. Casey called two quality plays in the final seconds, the latter producing Reggie Bullock‘s game-winner.

Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:

A Toronto reporter asked Blake Griffin if it gives Pistons players a degree of confidence in their coach when he gives them those tools to win games.

“We know that. This isn’t like we just discovered this for the first time today,” he said. “We’ve put in plays like that all the time in practice. He demands execution and we executed. Maybe to Toronto fans – or certainly their GM, maybe – it was a surprise. But not to us.”

The win had to be gratifying for Casey. Having his star player take up his greater cause must even more satisfying.

Jazz have one of worst offensive showings ever, score 68 in 50-point loss to Mavericks

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NBA scoring is exploding. Defenses are getting less leeway for physicality. Offenses are more efficient than ever. Pace is at its highest mark in decades.

Except for the Jazz last night.

Utah scored just 68 points in a 50-point loss to the Mavericks. And even that undersells the Jazz’s offensive woes. They played reasonably fast, getting 101 possessions. Their offensive rating – 67.3 – shows just how inept they truly were.

In all, Utah shot 42% on 2-pointers, 17% on 3-pointers and 63% on free throws and committed 22 turnovers.

The Jazz set several milestones for offensive futility:

  • Fewest points in a game (68) in nearly two years (68 by Hawks vs. Jazz on Nov. 25, 2016)
  • Lowest Basketball-Reference estimated offensive rating in a game (68.8) in more than three years (68.2 by Grizzlies vs. Warriors on Nov. 2, 2015)
  • Fewest points in a second half (22) in nearly five years (19 by Rockets vs. Thunder on Jan. 16, 2014)

Comparing across eras can be difficult, but here’s one measure: The Jazz scored 68 points in a season teams are averaging 110.4 points per game.

That output relative to average – -42.4 – is one of the lowest of all-time:

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Kevin Durant’s brother posts: ‘just follow along before the greatness is done rubbing off on you and people see you for what you really are’

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Kevin Durant and Draymond Green are feuding, the possibility of Durant leaving the Warriors in free agency next summer hanging over everything.

Now comes Durant’s brother, Tony – intentionally or not – throwing gasoline on the fire. Again.

Tony posted and deleted these comments on Instagram, via Bleacher Report:

Read too much into vague social-media content at your own peril.

But, man, that sure looks like Tony advising Green just to enjoy Durant masking Green’s problems until Durant leaves the Warriors and leaves Green exposed.