Basketball Wiretap

Kevin Durant: We're A Better Team Now

May 24, 2016 11:35 AM

Kevin Durant returned from his multiple foot surgeries with a changed outlook. Russell Westbrook had emerged as an MVP candidate with Durant sidelined.

“I had to think the game differently,” Durant says. “How can I still be me without taking away from him? That was my challenge. I was used to having the ball in my hands all the time and scoring 35 points. Now we have all these other people—Russ, Enes (Kanter), Dion (Waiters), Serge (Ibaka)—and we’re a better team. So when I get shots, I have to be super-efficient. I can’t expend energy trying to dunk on people. I have to take every shot like it’s my last one, like it’s a game-winner.”

Durant averaged 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists coming back from his injury. Durant also agreed to stagger his minutes with Westbrook.

“I was scared, I was worried,” Durant says. “Will I be back again? Will I be who I am? A year ago people were telling me my career might be over and I listened to that stuff, not because I’m sensitive but because I used it for fuel. I’ve always done that. When I was a sophomore in high school, I scored 28 points in my first varsity game, and I was feeling myself. They’re loving me right now! Then I got in the car afterward and my mom [Wanda] was like, ‘You didn’t do s---. You didn’t play well enough.’ I was like, O.K., cool. It was the same thing with the foot. The doubt feeds me.”

Lee Jenkins/Sports Illustrated

Tags: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA

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Cost Of New Kings' Arena Jumps From $447M To $534.6M

May 24, 2016 11:51 AM

The cost of building the Sacramento Kings' new arena, the Golden 1 Center, has jumped an additional $16 million, bringing the current price tag to $534.6 million.

The city's subsidy is capped at $255 million and the owners of the Kings have been taking care of most of the cost increases themselves. The latest increase will be picked up by corporate partners expected to play roles in operating the facility.

“The number reflects previously planned enhancements to the project and cost exposures ultimately borne by various partners,” Kings President Chris Granger said in a prepared statement.

The arena was initially expected to cost $447 million.

Dale Kasler/Sacramento Bee

Tags: Sacramento Kings, NBA

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James Borrego Gets 2nd Interview With Rockets

May 24, 2016 8:50 PM

James Borrego has moved from Monday's interview with Daryl Morey to a follow-up meeting with owner Leslie Alexander.

Borrego is currently an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs after previously serving as an assistant coach with the New Orleans Pelicans and Orlando Magic. Borrego was briefly interim head coach of the Magic.

The Houston Rockets had seemingly narrowed their search to Mike D'Antoni and Stephen Silas, but they're again widening it.

Kevin McHale was fired in November and J.B. Bickerstaff wasn't retained after serving as interim head coach.

Jonathan Feigen/Houston Chronicle

Tags: Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

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Russell Westbrook Was Offered Partial Academic Scholarship By Stanford

May 24, 2016 1:14 PM

Russell Westbrook was an honor student at Leuzinger High School and was accepted to Stanford and given a partial academic scholarship.

Westbrook says he probably wouldn't have gone because of the cost of tuition. Westbrook had some interest from Creighton and San Diego State but didn't end up on UCLA's radar until Jordan Farmar declared for the draft.

Westbrook's favorite subject in school was math.

Royce Young/ESPN

Tags: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, Stanford Cardinal, NBA

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Kevin Love Expects To Play In Game 5 After Stepping On Ref's Foot

May 24, 2016 10:15 AM

Kevin Love sat out the entire fourth quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers' Game 4 loss to the Toronto Raptors after stepping on a referee's foot.

Love injured the knee more than the ankle with the accident.

"I think Kyrie [Irving] was shooting towards the end of the third quarter, and I stepped on the official's foot, and it didn't feel too great," said Love, who had a total of 13 points and 11 rebounds in Games 3 and 4. "More so the knee [than the ankle hurting]. Will be sore tomorrow, but nothing that will prevent me from playing."

Love suffered a season-ending injury in last year's playoffs when he hurt his shoulder.

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Tags: Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA, NBA Injury

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DeMar DeRozan Worked Out With 1,000 Shots Until 1 AM On Eve Of Game 4

May 24, 2016 10:28 AM

DeMar DeRozan shot close to a thousand shots for about two and a half hours on the eve of Game 4 on Sunday night, not leaving the arena until 1 AM.

The session placed heavy emphasis on scoring assertively and promptly.

DeRozan had a feeling LeBron James would be defending him.

"It's nothing new for me. You can ask anybody in this organization," DeRozan told cleveland.com. "There's not a night that I don't come back in the gym and try to work on something and get better on something. It's nothing new."

DeRozan had 32 points in the Toronto Raptors' 105-99 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Chris Haynes/Cleveland Plain Dealer

Tags: DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors, NBA

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Bradley Beal 'Looking For' Max Contract In Free Agency

May 23, 2016 8:32 PM

Bradley Beal will seek a maximum contract from the Washington Wizards as widely expected.

Beal is a restricted free agent at the age of 22, which means he could sign a four-year deal with a rival team.

“I want to be valued the right way,” Beal said. “I feel like I’m a max player and that’s what I’m looking for. If Washington can’t meet that requirement then I may be thinking elsewhere. I’m pretty sure that they probably won’t [let me go]. At the end of the day, that’s where I want to be. I think a deal will probably get done but you just never know.”

As a four-year veteran, Beal could earn up to 25 percent of the cap. If the cap is $92 million then a max deal would pay him $23 million next season.

The Wizards didn't offer Beal a max contract extension in October.

Jorge Castillo/Washington Post

Tags: Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

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Warriors To Interview Blazers' Assistant Nate Tibbetts

May 23, 2016 3:59 PM

The Golden State Warriors will interview Nate Tibbetts as a candidate to become their top assistant coach.

The Warriors are looking for a replacement for Luke Walton.

Stephen Silas is also as serious candidate for the job.

Tibbetts and Silas traveled to Oklahoma City to meet with Warriors officials on Monday night. 

Tibbetts has been an assistant with the Blazers since 2013 under Terry Stotts. Before a two-year stop with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Tibbetts was head coach of the NBA Development League’s Tulsa 66ers for two seasons.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Tags: Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

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Blazers Request Permission To Interview Stephen Silas

May 23, 2016 5:26 PM

The Portland Trail Blazers have requested permission of the Charlotte Hornets to interview Stephen Silas.

Silas is a candidate for the head coaching job of the Houston Rockets as well as the top assistant job of the Golden State Warriors.

The Blazers could lose assistant coach Nate Tibbetts to the Warriors.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Tags: Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

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Dunc'd On: TOR/CLE Game 4, Draymond Non-Suspension, Knicks/Clippers Offseason

May 24, 2016 1:40 AM

Toronto ties the series with Cleveland at 2 all.  Draymond Green avoids suspension, and why that was the right call (25:00). Plus, the New York Knicks (34:00) and Los Angeles Clippers (57:00) offseason cap previews.  Can and should the Knicks trade Carmelo Anthony, whom should they target with their projected $28 million in cap space, and how can they bring back Langston Galloway and Lance Thomas.  For the Clippers, Jamal Crawford, Jeff Green, and Austin Rivers are free agents; why it's critical the Clippers avoid paying them too much so they can add other pieces to their team, plus what 2017 looks like when Paul and Griffin are free agents.

With host Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) and Danny Leroux of RealGMThe Athletic and the Sporting News    (@DannyLeroux). 

Click to subscribe using any podcast player to the RSS Feed or via iTunes.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, NBA, Dunc'd On

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LeBron James Pays Dahntay Jones' $80.17 Game 4 Fine
Dahntay Jones' fine is equal to 1/110 of his 2015-16 salary, which was only $8,800 because he was signed on the final day of the regular season.

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Draymond Green Not Suspended For Game 4
Draymond Green kicked Steven Adams in the groin area after being fouled going up for a shot attempt in Game 3.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Michele Roberts: NBA Has Dearth Of Coaches, GM Of Color
Michele Roberts was interviewed by The Undefeated and told a story of how she received an insulting job inquiry from a prominent lawyer.

Marc J. Spears/The Undefeated

NBA To Make Draymond Green Decision By End Of Monday
Draymond Green kicked Steven Adams in the groin area after being fouled going up for a shot attempt.

Marc Stein/ESPN

Jonas Valanciunas Upgraded To Gametime Decision For Game 4
Jonas Valanciunas was upgraded previously from out to doubtful.

Brian Windhorst/ESPN

76ers To Expand Workouts For No. 1 Pick Beyond Simmons, Ingram
The 76ers are widely expected to pick between Brandon Ingram and Ben Simmons, but they expect to also work out Jaylen Brown, Kris Dunn and Jamal Murray.

Marc J. Spears/The Undefeated

Dunc'd On: OKC/GSW Game 3, TOR/CLE Game 3, Free Agent Wings
Oklahoma City obliterates the Warriors in Game 3, plus our thoughts and his on a possible Draymond Green suspension and the latest from Cleveland vs. Toronto.

RealGM Staff Report

Dahntay Jones Suspended For Game 4 For Striking Biyombo
The incident occurred with 17.6 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the Raptors' 99-84 win over the Cavaliers.

RealGM Staff Report

Jonas Valanciunas Upgraded From 'Out' To 'Doubtful' For Game 4
Jonas Valanciunas hasn't played since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals since suffering a sprained ankle.

RealGM Staff Report

LeBron James Quotes Jay-Z Line When Describing Mentality On Fouls
LeBron James was asked about his mentality when he's on the receiving end of fouls and his tendency not to react with physicality back towards other players.

Sports Illustrated

David Blatt To Coach Next Season Somewhere
David Blatt doesn't have interest in remaining in the NBA as an assistant coach but doesn't want to sit out next season.

Jeff Zillgitt/USA Today

Jazz Plan $100M Renovation Of Vivint Arena
The NBA has privately suggested the Jazz start from scratch on building a new arena, but the Miller family believe a renovation is their best viable option.

Jody Genessy/Deseret News

Frank Vogel: Magic 'Checked Off All The Boxes'
Frank Vogel is excited for his opportunity with the Magic.

Mike Bianchi/Orlando Sentinel

Brian Shaw To Join Lakers' Coaching Staff
Luke Walton played for the Lakers during Brian Shaw's time as an assistant with the franchise.

ESPN

League Office Reviewing Draft Combine Measurements
Jaylen Brown's standing reach was three inches shorter than it was at the Nike Hoop Summit a year ago.

Jonathan Givony/Draft Express

Rockets To Interview James Borrego For Head Coaching Job
The Rockets have scheduled an interview for Monday with James Borrego.

Marc Stein/ESPN

Mark Cuban Would Consider Being Hillary Clinton's Running Mate
Mark Cuban would consider running for vice president of the United States if he's asked by Hillary Clinton.

ESPN

Wolves Part Ways With Milt Newton, Rob Babcock
Milt Newton had been serving as general manager of the Wolves before the arrival of Tom Thibodeau.

Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune

Warriors To Interview Stephen Silas For Top Assistant Job
Golden State could no longer wait until the end of the playoffs to secure Luke Walton's replacement because of Stephen Silas' growing candidacy in Houston.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Carmelo Anthony Pleased Jeff Hornacek Will Have Freedom To Run His Own System
Carmelo Anthony showed up at the Knicks' training facility on Thursday for a workout as the team was on the verge of hiring Jeff Hornacek as head coach.

Frank Isola/New York Daily News