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Kevin Durant reportedly ‘stopped speaking’ to Warriors teammates

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Kevin Durant is with the Brooklyn Nets now as the Golden State Warriors try to recover from injuries and stay atop the Western Conference. Whether that will be possible after Klay Thompson’s injury and a depth chart that’s increasingly thin is of real concern. But everyone seems ok for the time being. At the very least, former and current Warriors players have to be feeling better than they were during this course of this past season.

Things infamously got a little heated between Durant and his teammates last year, particularly with Draymond Green. The two had a falling out, and it wasn’t clear if they had ever reconciled. Once Durant chose to go to Brooklyn, it was thought that the mid-season conflict with Green may have been the nail in the coffin for Golden State’s chances at keeping the superstar forward.

Now a new report has surfaced from Chris Haynes saying that at one point during the 2018-19 NBA season, Durant simply stopped talking to his teammates.

Via Twitter:

“Look I’ll say this. This is my personal opinion. Yeah, they’re cool. They’re at peace. But I would be lying if I here if I did say I don’t think that wasn’t a factor. Obviously that thing that was a factor over the course of the season, even to the point where Kevin Durant… he just stopped talking. He didn’t talk much to his teammates. He was really on an island and didn’t have somebody that he was close with on that team. The only person was Quinn Cook — they’re from the same area. But Quinn is a younger guy that doesn’t have much clout within the franchise.”

“After the Draymond stuff went down, and then the New York Knicks chatter started going haywire, Durant just stopped talking. He felt like if he said something, it would give a lot of credence to people saying he’s only thinking about free agency when it’s March and February. So he just shut up. He just focused on basketball, and kept it on that. You would see Durant leaving the arena by himself and entering the arena by himself and really not speaking to anyone to a point where a Warriors official went to him on a few occasions — or texted him — saying that ‘We need you to come with a cheerful disposition.’

“I definitely think that the Draymond Green situation can’t be dismissed.”

The saga between Durant and Green is well-documented by now, and this isn’t anything new. But the idea that Durant willfully closed himself off is actually kind of sad. Here they are, one of the best NBA teams ever assembled, and the Warriors slowly crumbled thanks in large part to the human condition itself.

Durant is in Brooklyn now, where hopefully he can finally be wholly happy. No doubt that Green will be glad to try to take a whack at another deep, championship-style run without Durant to prove that the original core in Golden State was the most important thing after all.

Report: Bulls likely to keep Jim Boylen as coach for financial reasons

Bulls coach Jim Boylen
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The Bulls appeared ready to fire Jim Boylen. After all, Chicago just hired a new team president in Arturas Karnisovas who’d want to pick his own coach. That was unlikely to be Boylen, whose tenure had been defined by players disliking him, ill-timed timeouts and losing.

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:

But as the Sun-Times learned this week, even if Karnisovas didn’t like what he would have seen from Boylen he would likely be handcuffed from making a change.

According to several sources, there is strong growing momentum that financial concerns the Reinsdorfs have about the 2020-21 NBA season will keep Boylen in his current seat, as well as most of the coaching staff.

Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf has earned a reputation for his frugality. However, the economic downturn surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has caused many teams to tighten their belts. The financial consequences will likely continue into next season.

But this puts Chicago at a disadvantage.

Boylen has looked like one of the NBA’s worst coaches. Though Bulls ownership is more optimistic than most on Boylen and he could exceed expectations, it’s telling that Chicago probably wouldn’t have kept him based on merit. This is about saving money and hoping for the best.

That’s obviously great news for Boylen. He has improved significantly since taking over last season. More time on the job could allow him to grow into it. That said, improving from a near-mutiny in his early days doesn’t exactly mean he’s in an acceptable place now. Boylen still has a long way to go, and it could be more difficult if players are tired of him.

Nets fined $25K for injury-reporting violation

Brooklyn Nets
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Earlier this season, Kyrie Irving missed several weeks with a shoulder injury. Throughout the absence, the Nets provided few details and no clear timeline. Eventually, a report said Irving could miss 2-3 additional weeks with bursitis. The Nets denied it. Later, Irving confirmed he had bursitis then returned nearly three weeks after the report.

Finally, Brooklyn caught the league’s ire.

NBA release:

The NBA today announced that the Brooklyn Nets have been fined $25,000 for failing to comply with league policies governing injury reporting.

It’s unclear what specifically caused this violation. Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Jarrett Allen, Jamal Crawford and Rodions Kurucs have all appeared on the Nets’ injury report during the resumption. As 19-point underdog, Brooklyn pulled a historic upset of the Bucks. Remember, public injury disclosures are primarily about preserving gambling integrity.

For the NBA not to reveal even basic details while fining the Nets for their lack of transparency is ironic. It’s also ironic this fine comes amid a restart that featured the NBA being highly secretive about player heath.

The Clippers got fined $50,000 earlier this season for saying Kawhi Leonard was healthy. What did Brooklyn do that was less egregious but still worth of a fine?

LeBron James says Lakers have off-court issues, out vs. Rockets (groin)

Lakers star LeBron James
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The Lakers’ offense has stumbled so far in the bubble.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic:

LeBron gave a weird answer about this. He agreed that he and the Lakers were looking for a rhythm on offense. And then he said: “It’s just some things that you can’t control that’s here, that I really don’t want to talk about, that’s off the floor.”

Mike Trudell of the Lakers:

Was LeBron referring to his groin injury? I wouldn’t call that an off-court issue, but maybe he would.

LeBron knows how to work the media. This subtle comment will draw attention and sets up LeBron to look better if he leads the Lakers through this mysterious issue.

Without more context, it’s easy for imaginations to wander – especially about a team with Dwight Howard, Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith. The Lakers could be facing a major hurdle. Or a minor nuisance. Who knows? But the unknown is scary.

It’ll be difficult to detect the Lakers’ progress during remaining seeding games. The Lakers have already clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, and without a home-court advantage in the NBA Finals, there’s no reason to chase the NBA’s best overall record. That’s why LeBron missing tonight’s game against the Rockets could be mostly precautionary.

76ers: Ben Simmons suffered subluxation of knee cap, considering treatment options

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Ben Simmons injured his knee during the 76ers’ win over the Wizards yesterday.

The diagnosis is in, and the prognosis sounds worrisome.

Serena Winters of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

How quickly will Simmons recover? Once he recovers, will he face elevated risk of re-injury?

These questions now haunt Simmons and Philadelphia.

Simmons is a young star who’ll begin a max contract extension next season. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons opened Philadelphia’s championship window, and now rain is drizzling through. Philadelphia can’t reach it ceiling without Simmons healthy and providing value.

Even more modest goals in a disjointed season will be more difficult to reach.

The 76ers were just adjusting to playing Simmons at power forward. Now, they must again re-configure their plan – maybe for a significant chunk of the remainder of the season.

Even more burden falls onto Embiid, who has been shouldering so much with this mismatched roster. Simmons plays across the positional spectrum, so any number of 76ers could fill in while he’s out. Many of those lesser players will complement Embiid more smoothly than Simmons did. But the talent deficit without Simmons can’t be offset.

That’s the scary issue for now – and maybe a while.