Klay Thompson on Raptors fans cheering Kevin Durant’s injury: ‘That was freaking ridiculous’


TORONTO – The Warriors were still trying to process the emotions of an eventful night – winning Game 5 of the NBA Finals to avoid elimination, Kevin Durant getting hurt in his first game in a month.

But they had no trouble determining how they felt about Raptors fans who cheered Durant’s injury.

Klay Thompson, via Ethan Sherwood Strauss of The Athletic:

“Trash,” DeMarcus Cousins said. “So trash.

“We’re only idolized as superstar athletes, not human beings. It’s always about what we can do between those lines. That’s it. That’s all that ever matters.”

Said Stephen Curry: “I’ve lived here. I really enjoyed the people and their passion and excitement for not only the game, but just when you come into town they just enjoy life and they’re nice people. Very confused around that reaction. It’s not my experience with the people of this city.”

The fans who cheered Durant’s injury are jerks. There were definitely fans near the court waving goodbye to him, making their ill-intent known.

But I’m not sure how many fans in the arena were cheering for that reason.

Serge Ibaka got a steal and drew a shooting foul on a fastbreak as Durant went down. There was certainly excitement about that play. While the telecast immediately noticed Durant’s injury and focused cameras on him, I’m sure many eyes in the arena were following the ball to the other end of the court. I certainly was, and what sounded like normal cheering for Ibaka’s play coincided with the fans shown waving off Durant.

Once Durant got up, the crowd cheered louder. Fans applauding an injured player standing up is common and usually appreciated. The Warriors took exception here. Kyle Lowry, Danny Green and Pascal Siakam tried to quiet the crowd.

Were some people cheering that Durant was limping? Given the antics near the court, undoubtedly. Were some people applauding that Durant got up? That’s such a common show of support for an injured player, I have to think so.

How many were cheering for good reasons and how many for bad reasons? I can’t read anyone’s mind. One fan celebrating Durant’s injury is too many, and there was way more than one. We’ve condemned entire fan bases for the conduct of fewer people. Fairly or unfairly, the jerks reflect on the entire Raptors fan base.

But the context should also be considered. That arena was rocking last night, and fans got into frenzies over plays even smaller than Ibaka’s steal and drawn foul. Unlike TV viewers, not everyone there had their view focused on Durant so quickly. Cheering at games tends to beget more cheering. Some fans cheered Durant’s injury. Some fans cheered Ibaka’s play. Some fans cheered just because they were fueled by others cheering.

Multiple things occurred simultaneously. I really don’t think it was an arena full of Raptors fans celebrating Durant’s injury.

As full attention turned to Durant leaving the court, fans clearly cheered in support. Many chanted, “KD! KD!”

In the aftermath, all this is being used to judge the Toronto fan base. But I think this says more about how Durant is viewed.

Durant has become the biggest villain in the NBA. Raptors fans had been jeering him all night, with chants of “KD sucks!” I don’t expect fans to cheer rival players, but Durant was grinding through a previous injury to help his team. Other players would have at least been silently commended under those circumstances.

But fans of other 29 other teams still haven’t gotten over Durant signing with Golden State. They’ve labeled him a snake, a coward and worse and have treated him as such.

That reached its gross logical conclusion last night, with at least some fans celebrating Durant’s injury. All because he took a better job three years ago.

It’s fine to dislike the move as a basketball fan. Durant choosing the Warriors did undermine competitive balance.

But the very personal hatred of him has gone way too far.

Devin Booker not a fan of being doubled during pick-up run (VIDEO)

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This is going to turn into a thing. It shouldn’t, but it’s the NBA offseason and people are looking for something to talk about, so this — which is really not much of anything — will become a thing. And it’s going to suck for Devin Booker.

Booker was taking part in some summer run, got a pass in the corner, decided to hold the ball and hold the ball, then the double team came. Booker was no fan of the double.

We just do not have enough context from this video to say much. It’s some guys jawing during open gym — if you’ve played five minutes of pickup ball anywhere you know this is how it goes.

But, Booker comes off in this clip as a bit whiny. So for some it will become a thing. Even though it shouldn’t.

It’s going to be interesting to see how different Devin Booker’s game looks next season next to a quality NBA point guard in Ricky Rubio. It could lead to another step forward for the young guard, but like this video we will need to see more before commenting.

Tacko Fall’s agent confident if Celtics don’t keep him on roster another team will

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Tacko Fall was arguably the most popular player at Las Vegas Summer League (especially since Zion Williamson only played nine minutes). Fans chanted for him to get in games and then chanted “M-V-P” once he was in. Fall averaged 7.2 points a game on 77 percent shooting at Summer League and every play he made became a viral highlight.

But that was Summer League.

Now things are getting real and Fall is trying to make the Celtics’ roster. Fall signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Celtics, which is essentially a training camp invite.

It’s a longshot Fall makes the Celtics’ regular season roster for two reasons. First, Fall needs a lot more development to be NBA ready, both physically and in terms of understanding and reacting to the game and how fast it moves. That was evident in Las Vegas. Second, the Celtics have Enes Kanter starting at center with Daniel Theis and Robert Williams behind him, it’s unlikely they keep a fourth traditional center on the roster. Both of Boston’s two-way contracts are already filled.

If the Celtics cut Fall and he signs with Boston’s G-League affiliate the Maine Red Claws, Fall gets a $50,000 bonus.

However, Fall’s agent Justin Haynes says if Boston cuts Fall he believes another team will sign him, something Haynes told Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe.

“If the Celtics release him, I don’t think he goes unclaimed,” said Haynes, Fall’s agent. “I think somebody will take a shot on him because he’s done enough to show he can find a place in the NBA. I’m really hopeful that it’s Boston. I hope they find a way, and they do have a vision for him.”

I could see another team giving Fall one of their two-way contracts, but he needs a lot more development and time on the court. He needs time in the G-League. Maybe a team gives him a roster spot and develops him there, but that seems unlikely. Fall has the potential to be an NBA player, but it’s going to take a lot of work for him to get there.

Work that this year likely will take place in the G-League.

Gregg Popovich shows off some handles, and a midrange game (VIDEO)

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This is where you insert your “if one more player drops from USA Basketball” joke…

Team USA has flown to Australia for a series of FIBA World Cup tuneup games — two against Australia, one against Canada — and they are practicing there for a few days prior to those games. At one of those practices, USA (and Spurs) coach Gregg Popovich showed off a little behind-the-back dribble and midrange game, and Donovan Mitchell caught it on his camera and posted it.

Just as a reminder, Pop did play. Never in the NBA, but he was one of the last cuts of the 1972 USA Olympic team.

That said, I think the coaching gig worked out pretty well for him.

Team USA will play Australia on Aug. 22 and 24, then face Canada on Aug. 26. From there the USA flies to China where its first game is Sept. 1 against the Czech Republic.

Atlanta Hawks promote, extend contract of GM Travis Schlenk

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Trae Young. John Collins. Kevin Huerter. De’Andre Hunter. Cam Reddish.

The Atlanta Hawks have quietly built one of the more intriguing young teams in the NBA the past couple of years, trading up and down in the draft to compile a young roster with a lot of potential. They moved on from Mike Budenholzer (he landed on his feet just fine, thanks) and brought in player development specialist in Llyod Pierce as coach. All that has yet to translate to a lot of wins, but it will — the trajectory of the Hawks is going to take off like a rocket.

Travis Schlenk, the Hawks general manager and architect of all of it, earned the contract extension and new title he was given, something announced by the team on Monday. Schlenk is now Atlanta’s President of Basketball Operations and General Manager.

“We are extremely pleased with the direction that Travis and our entire basketball operations team has us heading as a franchise. He has used the draft to build an impressive young core, hired one of the NBA’s top young coaches in Lloyd Pierce and positioned us to have the cap space, draft picks and financial flexibility needed to have long-term success in the NBA,” Hawks Principal Owner Tony Ressler said in a statement announcing the move.

Schlenk had been an assistant GM in Golden State before coming to Atlanta, and also had spent time in the Miami and Orlando organizations. He’s been in the NBA front office game for a couple of decades.

This is a smart decision by the Hawks. When things are going well, when you have good people in place, keep them there and get ownership out of the way. Let the basketball people do their jobs. Atlanta has figured that out.

The Hawks won 24 games during Schlenk’s first year and 29 last season, but expect that number to jump as the young talent on this roster continues to mature and get added to.