Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Jay Williams: Warriors misdiagnosed Kevin Durant, mishandled public statements


Charles Barkley and Jalen Rose led the charge criticizing the Warriors for playing Kevin Durant in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Another former NBA player’s assessment of Durant’s injury might carry even more weight.

Jay Williams does not speak for Durant. But Williams is close with Durant and hosts Durant’s web show. I’d listen closely to what he says.

Jay Williams on ESPN:

Ultimately, I think this falls on the Golden State Warriors. He got misdiagnosed. He got misdiagnosed. And I know for a fact that he was told that with a torn calf, a partial torn calf, that it unloaded the pressure on the Achilles, that there was no chance that the Achilles could be injured at all. And for that to happen in the first half of the ball game, I think just – I can’t even fathom that. Because watching it, I got ignited. I got pissed off. Because that’s what you came into the game thinking was going to happen.

Number two, from a public-relations perspective, I think the Warriors have handled this whole thing has been horrific. Their camp knew that they weren’t going to play until Game 5, Game 6. It was set from the beginning. The Warriors didn’t come out and say that. They said potentially even during the Portland series, “Hey, he could come back. Game 1, he could come back. Game 2, he could come back.” Joe Lacob is going on Stephen A. Smith’s show, Greenie, and saying, “He will be back.” I think all of that gives subliminal pressure to a player who we all know wants to compete at the highest level.

Now, if you really have his best interests at hand, if you really want this guy to be around the next four to five years, you say, “You’re not playing this game. We’re thinking long-term instead of short-term.” But when it seeps into your mind that you think he could leave, all of a sudden, “We have to get it right now.” And I don’t care what anybody says. That plays into your psyche a little bit, when you think this guy is going to leave and you want to make sure that you get a threepeat. Because for a team, it’s about winning right now if you’re not going to have that option next year.

Eventually, we’ll hear directly from Durant. I don’t know whether he blames Golden State as much as Williams does. But it is worth noting that someone close to Durant feels this way.

Durant was reportedly in agony about not helping his team earlier in the series. Meanwhile, teammates were reportedly frustrated he hadn’t returned. This was a tense situation.

If Golden State knew Durant wouldn’t play until Game 5 or 6, Williams is absolutely right. The Warriors made it worse by not giving a clearer timeline. The repeated hope of Durant returning followed by the repeated letdown of him not only created misery and pressure for everyone involved.

Did Golden State misdiagnose Durant? That’s hard to say without access to medical information. But even Steve Kerr said he was told the worst thing that could happen is an aggravation of the calf injury. It sure looks like the Warriors got this wrong.

Now, Durant can enter free agency this summer. Does he feel mistreated by Golden State and want to leave?

Durant’s injury carries massive ramifications, but we’re only just beginning to learn how they’ll manifest.

Kosta Koufos heading to Europe, agrees to terms with CSKA Moscow

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After spending 11 seasons in the NBA, the last four years in Sacramento, Kosta Koufos has found a new home for next season.

In Moscow. With EuroLeague powerhouse CSKA Moscow.

Koufos struggled to fit in his big-man game with the new up-tempo Kings last season. Add to that the NBA moving toward “small ball” — which is more about skill and mobility than size — Koufos has decided to head overseason. He’s making more than the NBA veteran minimum, which is likely what he would have gotten from an NBA squad.

All but the elite big men in the NBA are finding reduced demand and with that reduced pay scale, so good on Koufos for doing what is best for himself.

Watch Trae Young drop 31 at Drew League, lose to Montrezl Harrell who has 46

Leave a comment

The Drew League in Los Angeles is one of the premiere — for my money the best — summer pro-am basketball league in America. There is some serious talent getting run on that court.

But drop in NBA talent and it’s another level.

That’s what happened Saturday in Los Angeles. Atlanta’s Trae Young showed up, went head-to-head with the reigning Drew League MVP Frank “Nitty” Session (who has embarrassed guys like Denzel Valentine in Drew games), and dropped 31.

But Young’s team lost because Clippers’ stud  Montrezl Harrell dropped 46.

You can see the highlights above thanks to BallisLife.


Manny Pacquiao says he has thought about buying part of NBA team when he retires

Getty Images

At age 40, Manny Pacquiao is not retiring. Even if you and some boxing pundits think he should. Tonight (Saturday) he fights Keith Thurman at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and is expected to pull down about a cool $26 million for his trouble. If you’re getting paid like that, why retire exactly? He has said he wants to fight another five years or so.

After that, he’d like to buy part of an NBA team.

That’s what he told TMZ in a pre-fight interview.

He said he has thought about buying a piece of an NBA team after he retires. Pacquiao, a basketball nut who uses the sport as part of his training, owns an entire semi-pro league — the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League — in the Philippines (one of the most basketball-crazy nations on earth). Pacquiao said he thinks his experience with that league would help him as an NBA owner, that some of the skills will translate, which is likely true. Pacquiao said it’s about finding the right opportunity.

Forbes estimates that Pacquiao will have earned, after Saturday’s fight, more than $500 million in his career. Various websites estimate his net worth in the $200 million range. He’s got the money to jump in as a part owner.

In an NBA that loves personalities and characters — and one always trying to gain more traction in Asian markets — don’t be shocked if this happens someday.

Once Pacquiao retires.

C.J.McCollum, Eric Gordon both withdraw from USA Basketball for World Cup

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
1 Comment

First Anthony Davis. Then James Harden.

Now add C.J. McCollum and Eric Gordon to the list, as reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Don’t be surprised if a couple of new players are added to the USA roster for training camp.

The loss of those four stars strips the Team USA of some international experience. As pointed out by John Schuhmann of, now only four members invited to USA camp have played in the World Cup or Olympics: Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, and Kyle Lowry — and Lowry just had thumb surgery and is questionable for the playing in China.

USA Basketball can still roll out this starting five:

Damian Lillard
Bradley Beal
Khris Middleton
Tobias Harris
Andre Drummond

Then off the bench have Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Lowry, Jayson Tatum, P.J. Tucker, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez.

That’s still enough talent, coached by Gregg Popovich, to win the World Cup. The USA remains the heavy favorites for a reason.

USA Basketball is scheduled to begin its pre-World Cup camp in Las Vegas Aug. 5, with an intrasquad exhibition game at the T-Mobile Arena on Aug. 9. Then the team heads to Southern California for more training followed by an exhibition against Spain on Aug. 16 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Then the team heads overseas for the World Cup, which begins in China on Aug. 31.