After Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City for Golden State in July, speculation about Russell Westbrook‘s future with the Thunder began to run rampant. However, Westbrook shut down that talk just a few weeks later by agreeing to a new contract that extended his contract with OKC, locking him up through at least the 2017/18 season. The Knicks were among the teams that would have targeted Westbrook in free agency in 2017 if he hadn’t signed that extension, and Carmelo Anthony was among those surprised by the new deal, as Marc Berman of The New York Post outlines.
“Yeah, to be honest with you, that soon [I was surprised],” Anthony said. “But that’s Russ. Russ don’t give a damn about nothing. It’s all about what he want to do, when he want to do it, how he want to do it. I think he wanted to show he was loyal to OKC. … He wanted to be the leader of that team, regardless of if KD came back or not. He wanted that moment. You could just tell that his vibe was different, his energy was different. You could tell when people want those moments.”
Here’s more from around the Atlantic:
- Although the Nets‘ D-League affiliate is still in its first year, the franchise has a leg up on many teams around the NBA, since the Brooklyn Nets and Long Island Nets share a venue. Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily explains how it has been a “blessing in disguise” so far for the Nets that their Long Island D-League arena won’t be ready until the 2017/18 season.
- Jonas Jerebko has played a major role in the Celtics‘ improved play as of late, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. Jerebko, who had his $5MM salary for 2016/17 guaranteed by the team during the summer, is on track to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
- As the Sixers‘ young players continue to grow and develop, there are valuable lessons to be learned by observing the star players whose teams are beating them, says Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Daily News. After falling to Dwyane Wade‘s Bulls and LeBron James‘ Cavaliers this weekend, head coach Brett Brown praised those stars’ ability to take their games to another level in key moments. “You have to learn how to play 48 minutes,” Brown said. “That’s the lesson for our guys.”