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

10 Comments

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.

Physical therapist: LeBron James should have missed six months

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
3 Comments

The Lakers initially called LeBron James day-to-day with the groin injury he suffered on Christmas.

He missed more than five weeks.

Maybe he should have sat even longer.

Karen Joubert, via Complex Sports:

Maybe LeBron returned too soon. This injury allowed that, even if it put him at risk of reaggravation if not fully recovered.

Maybe LeBron just healed especially quickly. Even among world-class athletes, he is an elite athlete.

Maybe Joubert is exaggerating. People tend to do that with LeBron’s body.

There’s plenty of room for interpretation, but it sure looked like LeBron was still hobbled.

What does this mean for LeBron and the Lakers going forward?

The pessimistic spin: LeBron did lasting damage to his body by returning so soon. This (failed) attempt to get the Lakers into the playoffs this season will undermine him in the future.

The optimistic spin: LeBron has still been excellent these last few weeks. If he gets fully healthy during his longest offseason in 14 years, he should be even better next season.

Kyrie Irving on whether returning to Cleveland means something to him: ‘Not at all’

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kyrie Irving spent his first six seasons with the Cavaliers. He developed into a star with them. He won a title with them, even hitting the championship-winning shot.

With Irving’s Celtics playing in Cleveland tomorrow, Irving reflected on his time there.

Jared Weiss of The Athletic:

Irving is so clearly over the Cavs.

He was probably over the Cavs even while playing for them.

Lakers fan barely moves net while making halfcourt shot (video)

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Leave a comment

The Lakers have had a rough season.

Last night went pretty well, though – especially for one fan.

The Lakers beat the Kings, and this fan swished a halfcourt shot to win $45,000.

CJ Fogler:

The Lakers need more outside shooting. Maybe they could turn to some of their fans.

Giannis Antetokounmpo drives past/through all the Cavaliers for dunk (video)

Leave a comment

Giannis Antetokounmpo is undeniable.

Watch this video. He’s the only Bucks player in sight on the court. All five Cavaliers appear. Antetokounmpo dunks anyway.

He dribbles past Jordan Clarkson then through David Nwaba and Tristan Thompson. Nik Stauskas and Brandon Knight are shading close enough to narrow his potential path. None of it matters.

Antetokounmpo scores inside unlike anyone anyone we’ve ever seen.