Russell Westbrook Rumors
February 23 at 10:13am CST By Sean Highkin
Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld has a new column examining which teams have a chance to be title contenders five seasons from now, taking into account possible moves in free agency and the ages of the teams' core players.
- Brigham believes the Thunder still have the brightest future, given that Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka will all be under 30 in five seasons.
- LeBron James' free agency will play a major role in determining the next title contender, Brigham writes. The health and effectiveness of Dwyane Wade will determine whether James stays with the Heat, but the Cavaliers and Lakers are also possible destinations.
- On that note, Brigham writes that, although Kyrie Irving is blossoming into a superstar, the Cavs will not be a contender unless James signs in Cleveland.
- The Bulls will still be contenders if Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah stay healthy, Brigham writes. He also notes that Nikola Mirotic will have come over to the NBA by then.
- The trade for Thomas Robinson added another young piece to the James Harden/Jeremy Lin core the Rockets have built, Brigham writes. Additionally, the team is still well under the cap and can add another high-level player via free agency.
- Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge give the Blazers a solid core to build around, writes Brigham.
- Brigham writes that there will be uncertainty every year for the next five as to whether Chris Paul will still be with the Clippers.
- Even if Stephen Curry's ankles don't hold up, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes give the Warriors a good young core, Brigham says.
- Brigham writes that the Pacers have excellent cornerstone players in Roy Hibbert and Paul George.
December 30 at 7:03pm CST By Michael Pina
Antawn Jamison has apologized for commenting negatively on his decreased playing time, writes ESPNLA.com's Dave McMenamin. Jamison has not played in five straight games, but says he's in it for the "long haul."
December 27 at 2:11pm CST By Luke Adams
The teams with the best records in the NBA are hosting the only two games on the schedule tonight, as the 21-6 Thunder, facing the Mavericks, will look to bounce back from a Christmas Day loss, while the 22-6 Clippers set sights on their 15th straight win with the Celtics in town. As we look forward to those contests, let's round up a few odds and ends from around the NBA:
December 22 at 6:16pm CST By Ryan Raroque
In addtion to Steve Nash's Lakers debut tonight, another major talking point in the Pacific Division involves the Kings' suspension of DeMarcus Cousins. According to Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amick of USA Today, a source close the team's plans says that the former Kentucky big man isn't untouchable. Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM feels that Sacramento and the Magic would benefit by exploring trade talks, as both have pieces that could help the other side (Twitter link). Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops also weighed in, offering four different scenarios in which the Kings could deal the fourth-year player. With that aside, here are some of the other notable stories we're hearing from the NBA this evening:
- Jim Eichenhoffer of Hornets.com tweets that Eric Gordon has been cleared for full contact practice.
- Jenni Carlson of NewsOK believes that dealing James Harden to Houston has made the Thunder a better and more fluid team, pointing to the significant increase in assist numbers by Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
- Jan Vesely has yet to earn a consistent role during a turbulent start to his second-year campaign with the struggling Wizards, writes Michael Lee of the Washington Post. “It’s tough, especially when the team is losing,” Vesely said of his current role. “Everybody try to stay positive but sometimes it’s hard. I try to practice everyday, work on my game and stay ready for my chance to play.”
- Darius Morris may not be ready for a starting job, but Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times writes about how the Lakers' sophomore guard has found a significant role in Mike D'Antoni's rotation (Sulia link).
- Two years ago and just months removed from "The Decision", Jazz guard Mo Williams (then with Cleveland) and Heat superstar LeBron James may not have necessarily been on each other's holiday greetings list. Today, Bill Oram of The Salt Lake Tribune notes how the two former teammates had nothing but glowing remarks to say about each other heading into tonight's matchup between Utah and Miami.
December 16 at 9:44pm CST By Zach Links
While the defending champs can't kick themselves too much over personnel decisions, the Heat might have benefited if Pat Riley had listened to Dwyane Wade back in 2008, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Miami took Michael Beasley No. 2 overall, but Wade pushed for the team to draft guard O.J. Mayo. Other players passed up by Miami include Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook. Here's the latest from around the league..
- The Lakers are on the hook for about $30MM in luxury tax payments this season, but that's almost nothing compared with what they may pay next season, writes Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. If the Lakers re-sign Dwight Howard and keep most of the existing roster together, they'll be looking at a $103MM payroll. If the tax threshold climbs by 5% to $73.8MM, the Lakers would owe approximately $81.5MM in tax.
- The Hornets signed Dominic McGuire today because coach Monty Williams has not been pleased with the play of his small forwards, tweets John Reid of the Times-Picayune. McGuire was released by the Raptors at the end of November to make room for Mickael Pietrus.
- Bulls rookie Marquis Teague is starting to find his groove as he plays with the starting five, writes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. However, the guard will head back to the bench soon as Kirk Hinrich is getting ready to return to action.
December 5 at 5:25pm CST By Sean Highkin
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has a new column dealing with several high-profile topics from around the NBA. Here are the highlights:
- Berger writes that if the Lakers choose to trade Pau Gasol, they should look for wing defenders and bench depth.
- The Rockets and Royce White appear to be making progress in working through the issues that have prevented the rookie from seeing playing time. Berger reports that White has begun seeing the therapist the team assigned to him to assist with his anxiety disorder.
- Kevin Martin is having a fantastic season for the Thunder, who Berger believes have been vindicated for their decision to trade James Harden.
- Thunder guard Russell Westbrook praised the Mavericks' signing of Derek Fisher, citing the veteran point guard's impact on the Oklahoma City locker room last season.
November 29 at 10:06pm CST By Ryan Raroque
You can count NBA commissioner David Stern among those who are none-too-pleased about Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's decision to rest his stars against the Heat tonight. Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida relayed a statement by Stern which indicated that "substantial sanctions will be forthcoming" as a consequence for San Antonio (Sulia link). Earlier, Popovich told reporters: "It has nothing to do with the Miami Heat, or TV, or anything...You deal with the schedule as best you can and do the wisest thing for your particular team” (Jeff McDonald of Spurs Nation reports). On another note, here's what we're hearing out of the Western Conference tonight:
- Later in his column, Ken Berger of CBS Sports credits a source that says Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni would like to have Nate McMillan as his top assistant for the 2013-14 season if he isn't given a head coaching job by then.
- Jonathan Feigen of Ultimate Rockets writes that if injury-riddled Houston isn't able to get well anytime soon, then "different remedies will be in order." While it may not explicitly imply a roster move, Feigen acknowledges that without Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino, the team is short-handed on the wings.
- With Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger out, as well as Andrei Kirilenko dealing with back spasms, Timberwolves forward Josh Howard finds himself thrust into the starting lineup yesterday against the Clippers. Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune notes that Howard still considers himself in training camp but remains confident about handling the opportunty for more playing time.
- With the Thunder going 6-1 over their last seven games, Darnell Mayberry of NewsOK recognizes Russell Westbrook's passing ability as a major component of the team's recent success.
- While head coach Rick Carlisle doesn't see the Derek Fisher signing as a "cure-all" to the Mavericks' challenges, he welcomes the 38-year-old veteran's experience and leadership abilities at the point guard position, writes Earl K. Sneed of NBA.com.
- Mike Trudell of Lakers.com writes about the adjustments that Pau Gasol has had to make on both ends of the floor, particularly on defense, where the power forward position in the NBA can provide significantly different types of matchups for the Lakers depending on their opposition.
- Clippers guard Jamal Crawford talks to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld about having a career year for a team expected to be a playoff contender.
- Aaron J. Lopez of Nuggets.com briefly sheds light on rookie Quincy Miller and his opportunity with the Iowa Energy of the NBDL.
November 28 at 12:58pm CST By Luke Adams
One of the most intriguing games on tonight's NBA schedule sees James Harden and the Rockets, coming off a Tuesday win over the Raptors, heading to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder. It was just a month ago that the two teams finalized the shocking trade that sent Harden to Houston, so plenty is being written today about that deal and the Sixth Man of the Year's return to OKC. Here are a few stories of note:
- Harden downplayed tonight's contest, calling it "just another game," as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. However, Daequan Cook, who changed teams along with Harden in last month's deal, thinks the Rockets' star cares more than he lets on: "I know this game means a lot to him. He’s going to want to play his best basketball. This game means so much right now to him. You’re going to see a different mindset with him."
- Kevin Martin has been a servicable replacement for Harden in Oklahoma City, but it's not clear how the team plans to replace that production when Martin's contract expires next summer, says ESPN.com's John Hollinger (Insider link). Hollinger's also wonders how the Thunder would have proceeded if Harden had accepted their $54MM extension offer, since even that non-maximum salary would have put the team well into luxury-tax territory next year.
- ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst looks at how the Thunder have adjusted to losing Harden, with Kevin Durant noting that the club's "chemistry is getting better each day."
- While the Thunder have played well without Harden, the team misses his pick-and-roll ability, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.
- Both ESPN.com and The Oklahoman surveyed several writers on burning questions relating to the Harden trade, including whether dealing him was the right move and whether Russell Westbrook or Harden will be the better player in the long-term.
November 2 at 11:59am CST By Luke Adams
A rematch of last year's Western Conference Finals was the only game on the NBA's slate Thursday night, but it certainly delivered. After hitting a game-tying three with 28 seconds left, Tony Parker hit a buzzer-beater to give the Spurs an 86-84 win over the defending Northwest Division champions. We've got a few Thunder-related links to pass along this morning as they regroup from last night's loss, along with a couple more Northwest notes:
- Despite not playing his first regular-season game with the Timberwolves yet, Chase Budinger tells Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities he can already picture himself sticking around Minnesota for a while: "I can definitely see myself here (long-term). It's a great city. You can
already see how good the fans are here.... I'm excited for the season."
- Wolfson also tweets that Kenyon Martin's camp has checked in a few times with the Timberwolves, but the T-Wolves have said Kevin Love's recovery is going well and they don't have a need at power forward. Since K-Mart is reportedly seeking the mini mid-level, I'm not sure the Wolves are necessarily a match anyway.
- Noting that it felt "surreal" to be dealt to a championship contender like the Thunder, another K-Mart, Kevin Martin, tells Yannis Koutroupis of HoopsWorld that he wasn't surprised by the trade. "With next summer being an
unrestricted free agent and them in rebuilding mode," Martin said. "I knew it was going to come at some point."
- One "well-placed" NBA executive tells Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he would've preferred to trade Russell Westbrook than James Harden, if he were running the Thunder (Twitter link).
- Kevin Durant spoke to reporters last night about the Harden trade, and HoopsWorld TV has the video.
July 3 at 11:41am CST By Chuck Myron
TUESDAY, 11:41am: Blake Griffin is expected to take Chris Bosh's spot on the U.S. roster, tweets Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com. As Goodman adds in a second tweet, that would leave five players competing for the final two spots.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com says Odom's withdrawal is not a done deal yet (Twitter link
), but Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida says via Twitter
that he spoke with Team USA boss Jerry Colangelo, who confirmed Odom is out. Colangelo also told Tomasson that Chris Paul
, Deron Williams
, Russell Westbrook
, Kobe Bryant
, LeBron James
, Carmelo Anthony
, Kevin Love
, Kevin Durant
and Tyson Chandler
are assured bids (Sulia link
). Blake Griffin
, James Harden
, Eric Gordon
, Andre Iguodala
, Rudy Gay
and Anthony Davis
are competing for the final three spots (Twitter link
5:51pm: Lamar Odom will become the latest player to pull out of Team USA consideration, tweets Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Odom, recently acquired by the Clippers in a four-team trade, wants to work with trainers and prepare for the season with his new team. A sprained ankle may keep No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis out of Olympic action, as we heard today, and LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are others who've withdrawn from Team USA in the past week.