The chatter about the notion of Kevin Durant joining the Spurs in free agency is “eerily similar” to the talk last season that surrounded the idea of LaMarcus Aldridge signing with San Antonio before it came to fruition, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. Of course, that doesn’t mean Durant is bound for the Alamo, or even that the Spurs are the favorites for him, but it bears watching, and certainly, it would appear they’re in better position than the Mavericks after Durant issued a harsh rebuke Monday to comments from Mark Cuban. The Mavs owner said before Monday’s game that while he views Durant as a superstar, Russell Westbrook doesn’t meet that definition, as Tim Cato of SB Nation’s Mavs Moneyball relays. Media asked Westbrook about the remark after the game, but Durant, who was by Westbrook’s side, fielded the question and called Cuban an “idiot,” according to The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater.
See more from the Southwest Division:
- Dirk Nowitzki reiterated that he plans to play out his contract and doesn’t intend to play for any team other than the Mavericks, but he again threw in the caveat that such would only be true as long as the Mavs don’t go into rebuilding, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com passes along (ESPN Now link). The iconic power forward has a player option worth about $8.692MM for 2016/17.
- Mavs coach Rick Carlisle made comments that seemed to caution against the widely held assumption that Nowitzki will definitely be back with Dallas next season, as MacMahon relays in another ESPN Now link. “We’ve got to hope that this isn’t Dirk’s last game as a Maverick,” Carlisle said after Monday’s season-ending loss. “Now he has the option to become a free agent. I’m ready to get on a plane and go to Germany and recruit him to be back, but I don’t think we can take that for granted. I think we have to give him that kind of respect. He’s done so much for our organization. He’s sacrificed so much. And it’s been such a life-changing experience for me to be around a player of that magnitude for eight years. It’s indescribable. I think he will be back, but I don’t want anybody to just assume anything, because he’s been too great.”
- The Knicks aren’t as high on soon-to-be free agent Mike Conley as they were during the season, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, citing team president Phil Jackson‘s lack of emphasis on point guards, his faith in Tony Wroten, and the Achilles injury that has plagued the Grizzlies star as potential reasons why.