Since the day after Kevin Durant said he was going to sign with Golden State — which came as a shock to a lot of people with the Thunder organization — there has been a sense from the Thunder and people close to it that they thought they could keep Russell Westbrook. That ultimately, he would prefer to stay. Few around the league were buying that, but OKC believed it.
Maybe it’s optimism. Maybe it’s reality. But the question isn’t about the 2016 season that starts in October; it’s the 2017 season. Does Westbrook want to stay with the Thunder long term and sign an extension to prove it? Or when he’s a free agent next summer does he want to at least listen to his other options? Because if it is the second option, even if Westbrook says he likely stays, well, the Thunder just went down that road and got burned. They have no choice but to move him. And he knows it. He just didn’t expect to have to make this decision now.
Westbrook doesn’t like the idea of being traded, reports Royce Young at ESPN.
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, he doesn’t want to be traded. He wants to play next season with the Thunder. It’s the year after that which is in question. There’s a growing belief Westbrook will think heavily about an extension but will first weigh every angle before doing it.
That extension would put $9 million more in Westbrook’s pocket next season (because the Thunder are under the cap) and he would get raises off of that for three more seasons. It’s a good deal, what he would ultimately lose is one more guaranteed year on the end of his contract if he left the Thunder, two if he stayed.
The real question is: Does he want to be wooed as a free agent next summer?
If the answer is yes, the Thunder have no choice but to trade him — and other teams will have lowball offers unless he guarantees to re-sign where he is traded (no team is giving up many quality future assets to rent Westbrook).
If the answer is no, he should go the James Harden route and sign an extension.
Either way, the answer is coming this summer.
Knicks president Steve Mills is reportedly laying the groundwork to fire coach David Fizdale.
One step: Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressing the media after Sunday’s loss to the Cavaliers while Fizdale was still in the locker room. Mills and Perry stressed that the team wasn’t meeting expectations, seemingly a veiled shot at the coach.
Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:
The dismissal of David Fizdale is inevitable, and there was, I think, a bond broken between management and their head coach with how they handled things after that loss Sunday night.
Coaches are hired to be fired, but this sounds far more urgent than that.
As long as Fizdale has his job, he has a chance to save it. If the Knicks start playing better, they could keep him.
But that seems unlikely with this underwhelming roster.
Which is why New York is reportedly also considering a front-office change.
When Doc Rivers coached Austin Rivers on the Clippers, accusations of favoritism ran rampant. Playing with the Rockets against the Clippers tonight, Austin showed where his loyalties lie.
Not with his father.
The Clippers were letting the game (an eventual 102-93 Houston win) get away from them when Doc argued a call. Austin stood nearby and urged the referee to call a technical foul. The official eventually obliged and ejected Doc.
That’s when Austin really hammed it up – waving off Doc then making the call-me gesture. The disrespect!
Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant has had a game-saving block and game-winning assist.
Now, he has the glory of a game-winning shot.
Morant sealed the Memphis’ 119-117 win over the Hornets with a driving scoop in the final second tonight. He led Memphis with 23 points and 11 assists.
I want to give P.J. Tucker a break. He’s the Rockets’ most (only?) reliable defender. He has such a heavy burden covering for James Harden, Russell Westbrook and just generally undersized lineups.
But this missed layup was so bad. And that stumble over the stanchion really seals the goof.