Kendrick Perkins

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Report: Cavaliers trying to clear cap space to be aggressive in free agency

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The Lakers are trying to pry Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs in order to attract LeBron James and maybe Paul George.

The Cavaliers are…

Adrian Wojnarowski, Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

The Cavaliers have been working on several trade and salary-cap clearing possibilities to be aggressive in free agency

Even if they decline Kendrick Perkins‘ team option, waive unguaranteed Okaro White, renounce all their free agents besides LeBron and somehow dump George Hill, Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith without taking any salary in return… the Cavs would still have just the mid-level exception to spend.

Cleveland clearing significant cap space to appeal to LeBron is fantasy. Hopefully for their sake, the Cavaliers’ front office has other ideas. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt and believe this report misconstrues their intentions.

Though free agency is a pipe dream, Cleveland can can upgrade it roster via trade. The two Cavs with most trade value are Kevin Love and Collin Sexton. But Cleveland reportedly plans not to trade Love, and LeBron’s camp reportedly likes Sexton.

If LeBron returns to Cleveland, it won’t be because of his supporting cast. It’s far more likely to be a reason he leaves. Again.

Just how pissed off were Stephen Curry, Warriors at Kendrick Perkins?

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Much ado about nothing.”

That’s how Stephen Curry described his little run-in with Kendrick Perkins at the end of the third period, when Curry was stumbling backwards after a three and ran into Perkins’ legs.

The Warriors were ticked at Perkins, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Multiple Golden State Warriors players told ESPN they were disturbed by Kendrick Perkins’ reluctance to move his knees and feet as Stephen Curry backed into the Cleveland Cavaliers big man at the end of the third quarter, resulting in a verbal confrontation between the two…

The fear was Curry could have sprained an ankle or suffered a knee injury. The incident occurred when Curry tossed up a wild shot in an attempt to beat the buzzer and his momentum carried him backward.

Perkins did not dress for the game but was on the bench.

Was Curry pissed off? He said no, but he also scored 16 points and hit five three pointers in the fourth after this incident, leading the Warriors as they pulled away for the win.

Perkins is the bigger human, and if this were MMA that would matter a lot more. On the basketball court, however, I wouldn’t make Stephen Curry angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

Stephen Curry takes lead in Finals MVP race with record-breaking 3-pointers

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Stephen Curry told Kendrick Perkins about the Cleveland center’s leg placement.

Then, Curry told the Cavaliers about himself.

Curry air-balled a heavily contested fadeaway 3-pointer in front of the Cavs bench to end the third quarter, backed into the legs of a seated Perkins then jawed with the much larger opponent. After Tristan Thompson and LeBron James intervened, Curry walked away shaking his head.

Then, Curry made all five of his 3-pointers in the fourth quarter (including a couple extremely difficult attempts):

…broke the record for 3-pointers in an NBA Finals game (nine):

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…and set the all-time record for 3-pointers in the NBA Finals (90):

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Though LeBron – now second place with 85 3-pointers – is also still active in these Finals, it’s hard to see him retaking the record. Curry is a far more prolific outside shooter.

Likewise, it’s tough to see LeBron catching Curry for Finals MVP. Curry has been the Warriors’ best player, leading them in points and assists in both Games 1 and 2. More importantly, Curry has helped Golden State take a 2-0 series lead, and it’s extremely unlikely voters would honor a losing player.

Curry is drilling shots from outside, unless the defensive attention is just too great. Then, he’s maximizing his gravity with passes to teammates moving toward the basket. Repeatedly challenged by the Cavaliers on the other end, Curry is holding up.

His first Finals MVP is hardly cinched, even if the Warriors win. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson and have played well and are in striking distance. Draymond might be too if we properly valued defense.

But Curry has the narrative, actual production, highlight moments and even trash-talking spirit on his side so far.

Cavaliers’ Kendrick Perkins not into ‘all that new stuff’ like Chewbacca

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Chewbacca was at Game 3 in Cleveland Saturday. Sitting courtside.

Why? Because growing up on Kashyyyk he played a little hoop and admires LeBron James‘ skill? Because Drake gave him the tickets? Maybe. I mean, it’s not like that was just a clever little publicity stunt for a movie.

After the Cavaliers’ win, Kevin Love decided to make a little joke of it with noted humorist Kendrick Perkins, and it went over as well as expected (with Dave McMenamin of ESPN catching it).

That’s vintage Perkins.

Kendrick Perkins: Kevin Durant didn’t properly respect Russell Westbrook with or while leaving Thunder

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On one hand, there’s the Kevin Durant who professed his deep friendship with Russell Westbrook, had Westbrook’s back at every turn and even preemptively stuck up for Westbrook.

On the other hand, there’s the Durant who reportedly had problems with Westbrook’s playing style, distanced himself from Westbrook during free agency, signed with the Warriors, texted Westbrook about his departure and, according to Westbrook, hasn’t talked to Westbrook.

How do you square all that?

Kendrick Perkins, who played with the two stars on the Thunder, provides fantastic perspective.

Perkins on The Vertical Podcast with Woj:

I think to me, what happened was with Russ and KD, I think they never really valued one another other like they should have. And not saying that they didn’t value as didn’t like each other. What I’m talking is, I don’t think they ever realized and said – I don’t think Russ ever realized and said, “Hey, man, I got Kevin Durant on my side. We could take over this league.” And I never thought KD did the vice versa. He never said, “Hey, I got Russell Westbrook on my side.” You’ve got two of the top five players in the NBA on the same team, and I just think that they never valued each other.

And trust me – I’m telling you this right now – when they think about this 10 years later, they’re going regret that. They’re going to regret that they didn’t value each other the way that they should have. And I’m talking about both of them.

And I ain’t saying they didn’t like each other, because it wasn’t none of that. I mean, we all played cards. They laughed and joked. We all had conversation. We had a group text going about Redskins and Cowboys football, because it was all good.

I think what it was was this. Let me correct that. I think what it was was this. Russ actually did value KD as being the player that he is. But what I had to explain – and I explained to KD – is that what you have to understand also about Russ is that Russ, at the time, he wasn’t getting the credit of being on the same level as KD. But he had the potential.

And like I was saying was, the whole thing was that, I thought out of all that, it never really came down to those two guys that got in the way of each other. It always was the outside that got in the way of both of them.

It was always the outside. It was always a controversy of whose team it was.

Why it just can’t be both of y’all’s team? How about Russ goes for 50 one night, you go for 60 the next night? How about it just be both of y’all’s team.

And the thing is is that, at the time, KD was already probably a two-time All-Star, the No. 1 draft pick while Russ, when I first got there was still kind of putting his name out there. And then all of a sudden, Russ caught up to KD, and they both was kind of on the same level as far as just being the elite icons of the league.

And I just think that they will have some type of regrets in the next 10 years or when they’re done about that they couldn’t handle it better when they was still together.

Not saying there was beef. I was talking about on the court.

It’s cool that KD – you’re a man, you decide the decision that you want to make. But at the end of the day, there’s a way about how you go about it. And you don’t send Russ a text and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to the Warriors.’

No, you do like LeBron James did when he left Miami. He went down and he sat and had diner with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to tell the that he was leaving, that he was going to sign with Cleveland. That’s what you do. That’s what you do. That carries a long way. It don’t take you nothing to call Nick Collison and Russell Westbrook and go and sit down and have a conversation with them and say, “Guys, hey look, it’s been fun. I still love y’all like my brothers. But I’m going to Golden State.”

I think it’s more of his personality that it would have been hard for him actually look Russ and Nick in the eyes. Because if he would have sat down at a lunch table, I think it would have been the same thing that happened with DeAndre Jordan  It’s easier to text and be done with it than actually sit down face-to-face and actually look your friend and your brother in the eyes that you done went to war with for six years. It’s a lot harder, and it make your decision a lot harder.

I obviously didn’t have the access to Durant and Westbrook like Perkins did. But if Durant fully respected Westbrook in all the ways Perkins said was lacking, how different would that have looked?

On the court, Durant often ceded control to Westbrook, allowing Westbrook to grow into a superstar peer. Maybe Durant deferred begrudgingly, but he did it – maybe even too much earlier in their time together.

And it’s not as if going to Golden State proved Durant undervalued Westbrook. Durant left to play with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. This wasn’t a case like Stephon Marbury, who forced himself off the Kevin Garnett-led Timberwolves to play with Keith Van Horn and Kerry Kittles in New Jersey.

Yes, Durant could’ve shown Westbrook more respect by telling him in person about leaving. But, as Perkins acknowledged, that would’ve been difficult for Durant. Durant earned the ability to operate free agency how deemed best, and if he didn’t want to be temped into going back to Oklahoma City, he deserves the respect to handle it that way.

I tend to think Durant and Westbrook will look back on their years together with some remorse. Durant might even eventually wish his attitude about Westbrook was different.

I’m just not sure what that would’ve actually changed.