Pacific Notes: Oubre, Bender, Durant, Len

The Suns are looking at potential buyout candidates or free-agent additions to replace injured Kelly Oubre, according to an ESPN report. The starting forward has been diagnosed with torn meniscus in his right knee and could miss the remainder of the season. Oubre had been enjoying a breakout year, averaging 18.7 PPG and 6.4 RPG. Phoenix is still on the fringes of the postseason race, trailing the eighth-place Grizzlies by 4 1/2 games for the final playoff spot.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors ought to give Dragan Bender a longer look than 10 days, Anthony Slater of The Athletic opines. Golden State officially signed the power forward to a 10-day contract on Sunday. Golden State doesn’t have any to lose by giving Bender another 10-day and then a rest-of-the-season deal to see if he can fill a second-unit role as a stretch four and rim protector for next season.
  • Warriors owner Joe Lacob remains baffled by Kevin Durant‘s decision to bolt the organization, he recently expressed in a radio interview with 95.7-FM The Game (hat tip to Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area). “I can’t get mad when Kevin Durant — who I felt pretty close with — decides he’s going to leave. Which to me, made no sense,” Lacob said. “You’re (with) the best organization — I hope he thinks — in the world. Winning, other great players, the new arena. To me, there was every reason in the world to stay.”
  • Center Alex Len has been a pleasant surprise for the Kings since he was acquired from the Hawks, Greg Wissinger of the Sacramento Bee writes. Len has been a factor as a rebounder and shot-blocker in his first two games with the club, both victories. Len has an expiring $4.16MM contract.
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38 thoughts on “Pacific Notes: Oubre, Bender, Durant, Len

  1. Theone23

    Len has provided surprising value this season with that minimal cap hit. If he can ever learn to knock down 3s at a semi-reasonable clip, he has a place in this league.

  2. Bender is not long for the NBA. Teams may give him a shot because of his size and he can knock down a 3 occasionally but I don’t feel he’s rotation material.

    His D is not up to Snuff and even that three-point shot is not consistent enough for me. I think the Warriors take a pass on him being part of the rotation next season. I’ve only seen him in a few games with the W’s but my mind is set on the guy.

    • Howie415

      He has only played two games. In the first one, he had never practiced with the team. He doesn’t know any of their schemes. Give him time.

      • I think the Warriors might give him time Howie. But even though he is a decent shooter with size I think he lacks in other things a big man could give you…. Rim protection, strong board work, excellent pick and roll defense.

        In my opinion those things will keep Bender off an NBA roster. He’ll get tryouts and training camp invites but I don’t think he’s a rotation guy.

    • Strike Four

      You probably shouldn’t write off any 22 year old athlete. Your post would be fine if he was 26 or 27, but he’s 5 years away from being booted from the league. Anything can happen, he has a massive amount of time to turn it around.

      • You could be right strike four. The mistake was drafting him at 18 years old and expecting him to be a star with that high of a pic. It might take him five years like Jermaine O’Neal. Portland got nothing out of him but with the Pacers he was fantastic. Let’s take a look at Bender when he hits 26 or 27. Now? Not a rotation guy. Go to Europe, go to the G League work on his game then we’ll see.

      • Marquese Chriss has been fantastic. Ally oop lob guy, rim protector, decent board man, nice shot, great teammate. Wonderful Reclamation project.

      • I was totally way off with Doncic. Totally missed the boat on him. He’s a superstar. Jalen Brunson also.

        • jkoms57

          I’m personally shocked that Trae Young is a superstar as well.

          Had a hunch that Doncic could do this, but Trae seemed undersized and like a classic college only star

    • SoCalBrave

      The problem with Bender is that he’s a 3 with a body of a 5. Similar to KD, but without the athletic ability to make it work.

  3. Strike Four

    KD lets idiots on twitter make his own choices for him. Idiot twitter said it was “Stephs team” but until Bron decided otherwise, basketball is a team game, so there was never any real reason for him to leave. If KD was not on social media, he’d still be on GSW, period. His mind has been broken by internet trolls and it sucks.

    If I could change anything about the game it would be tipping the scales back towards the team, not the individual player, and make regular season games matter again. Idiot media celebrates every triple double now and whether or not the team won is secondary, it’s so disgusting and needs to end. MJ was great but NBA media always respected ALL the core members of the Bulls, even when they weren’t elite players (Longley, Grant, Kerr etc).

    • jkoms57

      I think he actually left because they selfishly cleared him to play through an injury that may dismantle his career.

      • InvalidUserID

        Warriors AND his own doctors cleared him to play and KD himself said that the Warriors didn’t pressure him into coming back.

  4. greg1

    So much wrong with your post Strike Four.

    First, not sure you could have used idiot any more. Secondly, media does not celebrate triple doubles more than wins, look how scrutinized Westbrook, Mr. Triple Double is for not being a winning player.

    Durant did not leave because the media called the Warriors Steph’s team. He left to prove he could team up with another star on a team that neither played for the previous year and win big.

    Finally, I believe the Championship Bulls teams were often referred to as “Jordan and the Bulls”. Then it was Pippen’s team. Don’t remember the media tripping all over itself to talk about B.J. Armstrong. Since the early ‘80’s with Magic and Bird has the NBA been a star driven league. The only difference from then to now is that the stars are given more say in team decisions.

        • From the Warriors perspective, I think that was the plan, right? Klay Thompson out all year, Curry breaks his hand, Kevin Durant leaves…, I don’t think they had aspirations for the finals again. Next year they’ll be right back in the hunt I hope.

      • Kevin Durant’s goal this summer was number 1 get a max deal, number 2 play with his friend Kyrie Irving, number 3 put together a decent team for the playoffs and make it to the finals. I think in the East if you have two stars and good role players like DeAndre Jordan Etc you do have a shot at the finals. No doubt about it. But this year, nope. Durant got hurt in the finals last year and was not coming back to play this season. It’s all about next year.

          • I know you meant “ever.” I’m saying next year or 2 they’ve got a chance to go to the finals and then you never know. The East is wide open and with the Nets roster with a little tweak they’ve got a shot. Durant could win a title with the Nets, “ever.”

            • claude raymond

              Of course it’s possible but my point clearly is that it won’t. It’s just opinion. He won’t be THE man on a that leads that team to a title unless hes on a team like the warriors. Already established champs. That’s why he left cuz he was upset that they were still considered stephs team even after, in his head, he wanted to be the credit getter.

              Again, they had already won before he got there.

              It’s just my opinion of course but he won’t win again unless the same scenario happens where a champ adds him

              • Good stuff Claude. And the funny thing is I wonder where he goes after Brooklyn. He seems like a floater now, with no stake in any one place. Wanderer at heart.

  5. Tazza

    Interesting that the suns want a buyout player and are fully competing for that spot. I knew that was what they were trying to do to start the year but even if they make the playoffs now they are an easy sweep for the Lakers in the first round.
    Isn’t it better to just try again next year and semi tank the rest of the year in order to get a near top 10 pick

    • BishopL

      Kinda understand their logic when you’ve been at the bottom for so long you just want to escape that. They are on the clock with booker as two of his friends have teamed up. They’ve got control until he demands out.

      • Not even sure Dion Waiters is a decent option at this point. Even when he was on the top of his game he had serious flaws. He was never a pure shooter and was not close out guy. He did deserve his high salary because of grit, toughness, defense, and able to do many things well like handle the ball and score.

  6. crazylarry

    Joe the reason KD wanted out is because he is a thin skinned Prima Donna and Draymond exposes him to the entire world. KD put his head between his tail because he was embarrassed the truth was out. Now he gets to go to NY and play with his twin brother Cryrie and get eaten alive by the NY media. AKA he is a clown.

  7. x%sure

    People wonder why losing teams don’t take on 10-day tryouts more often. The reason is that everyone believes in what they have, like in Bender’s case, a 10-day signee himself.

    Writer Slater compares him to Smailagic and says keep Bender on as a stretch 5. Sounds good, so trials are closed for that slot, opened when Spellman had to be dealt.

    But if opposing teams can attack Bender though, he’s not a playoff player, and the GSW FO is SMH. The GLeague was invented for this but it doesn’t get used right, or enough, or maybe at all.
    (Bender in GL: 13 games all in 2020, PER 22, 38% 3pt)

    • x%sure

      I mean he like a lot of players needs some straight days there. The 13 presumably worked; is that enough?

      • Howie415

        Blah blah blah…blag blag blah Why do you guys fight the fact that Steve Kerr knows what he is doing.

        • Steve Kerr knows exactly what he’s doing. So does the GM, Bob Myers, who makes the Personnel decisions. Giving guys tryouts 10-day contracts. Keeps the team payroll from exploding and get great looks at guys, all the while keep losing. Perfect plan. Who’s doubting Steve Kerr? He’s seen it all and has like 8 rings.

  8. hiflew

    Why is he surprised by KD bolting to the Nets after he did the same thing to the Thunder. It’s about like you stealing someone’s girlfriend and then being surprised when she leaves you for someone else. Durant has proven that loyalty means nothing to him. Obviously he is allowed to, but it is just a case of you shouldn’t be surprised when he leaves.

    • Yes hiflew exactly. And the Warriors attitude has always been, we’re glad we had a chance to play with him. This window of opportunity to watch this will not be forever, so “enjoy it” was another thing the Warriors always said.

      The difference between OKC and the Warriors? The warriors were prepared for KD to leave and acted accordingly. They were able to maintain a Max slot to shuffle guys in and out of, via trade.

      Oklahoma City did their best, they were able to trade for Paul George and got a nice haul back for George in trade but weren’t prepared for Durant to walk for nothing. But that’s okay, the Thunder are looking decent now.

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