Whatever anyone thinks about Kevin Durantwo things should be undeniable: he loves to play the game and he wants to play the game at the highest level and push himself.
He told Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report it was the second part of it – the Nets weren’t preparing in a way that would take them to the highest level – which led to his request for a summer deal.
“It wasn’t difficult to request a trade because the ball was in question,” Duran told B/R. “I went up to them and said, ‘Hey, I don’t like the way we are preparing. I don’t like gunfights. I like practices. I need more. I want to work on more shit. Hold me accountable. Stand on my ass in the movie if it helps you get on everyone else’s heads. I want to do more closings. I want to work more on the exercises with shells in training.”
“That was the type of shit I attacked them with. It wasn’t like, “Hey, you all need to make sure everyone around me can make my life easier.” Hell, I want to make everyone’s life easier. Ask Steve Nash, you can call him right now. I said, “Hey, I need more final exercises. We need to practice more.” That’s what I was.”
It’s hard not to see this as a mockery of Steve Nash’s coaching style. However, Durant did not request a change in coach until it provided him with the final leverage for his unsuccessful trade request. Durant went on to say that it’s different under Jacques Vaughn, guys are in charge and pushed.
“Look at our starting lineup. Edmond SumnerRoyce O’Neill, Joe Harris, [Nic] Claxton and me. It’s not disrespectful, but what do you expect from this band? Duran asked B/R. “You expect us to win because I am there. So if you’re looking through that lens, you’d expect us to play well because No. 7 is there.
“I’m having a really good time. I want you all to be able to hear me talking during the game. If I turned on the microphone more, people would stop asking me if I’m happy or not. I enjoy every moment I step out on this damn court, and part of it is because I tore my Achilles. And the pandemic, I didn’t know if we would play again. I didn’t know if I would play again.”
Read all interviews (only so much can be captured here). Haynes wins the trust of the players and gets them to talk openly – and Durant does it. KD’s passion for the game is on display.
Which is harder to understand from the interview: How long will Durant be happy in Brooklyn, and when would losses and hardships affect him and lead to another trade request? Talk to any source in the league and you’ll hear the vultures circling: other grandmasters think things are going to fall apart in Brooklyn and they’re just waiting for their chance to swoop in and start stripping the carcass. It may not happen until next offseason, but the teams are watching and waiting.
Until then, Durant says he’s having fun, and what’s undeniable is his level of play in the NBA this young season.
The parties settled a lawsuit filed by Dr. Hillary Cauthen, a former counseling psychologist for the San Antonio Spurs, in which accused guard Josh Primo repeatedly exposed himself to her, and the team did not respond to those reports.
While the Spurs denied allegations of inaction and Primo’s lawyer denied that he had ever exposed her, the parties “agreed to resolve the issue,” Cauthen’s lawyer Tony Busby said. Tom Orsborne of The San Antonio Express-News.
“The situation with Joshua Primo is an issue that we take seriously. Upon learning of the allegations, we have taken and continue to take steps to ensure that all parties involved are treated with dignity and respect. We know we owe it to Dr. Cauthen, our players, our staff and our community.
As an organization, we constantly evaluate and improve our processes so that they ultimately reflect the values and culture of who we strive to be every day. To this end, we have decided to work with Dr. Cauthen and other experts to review and improve our work processes and procedures.
This is an opportunity for us to learn and we are confident that this will help us move forward better.”
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the incidents.
The Spurs dropped Primo last month, which took the NBA by surprise (teams don’t turn down promising young 19-year-olds). Primo said in a statement that he needed time on leave for mental health reasons.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were good news for the first two weeks of the NBA season (as opposed to the franchise, which was fading into the biggest national media markets). The Cavaliers gave up a lot in exchange for Donovan Mitchellbut released from the Utah offense, he was better than advertised, Cleveland’s defense was impressive, and the team started 8-1.
They have since lost five games in a row with the worst defense in the league this stretch. This fifth loss came on Wednesday night at the Bucks without Chris Middleton, Jrue Holiday or other key rotation players. After the game, coach J.B. Bickerstaff intervened in his team’s mentality: via ESPN’s Jamal Collier.
“We have a fat cat mentality. We went out and won eight games in a row, everyone loved us and praised us and we were very comfortable,” said Bickerstaff. “We are the team that won those eight games; we are a really good basketball team. It’s about maturing and growing the team as a whole.”
An experienced and intelligent coach like Bickerstaff is adept at picking places to publicly challenge his team. A five-game losing streak – and the next game-winning game against an injury-riddled Charlotte – was the right moment to play the card.
Attitude and intensity can be part of the problem, but so are injuries. Mitchell missed a couple of games, Allen missed the last one, and if one thing has been clear in the last five games, then this team doesn’t have the depth and mentality yet to win when it’s not intact.
Teams at the top of the East, where the Cavaliers aim to go, are doing so this season. The Bucks didn’t have Middelton in any game, and they had other key rotation players on and off the roster. The Celtics suspended their coach shortly before the start of training camp, and they had no anchor on defense. Robert Williams. Irrelevant. They find ways to win.
This is the next step for the Cavaliers. It’s a mentality, but it’s also a job for GM Kobe Altman. Cleveland looks like a contender when everything is lined up right, but things never line up perfectly in the playoffs – winning means overcoming adversity. This is the next step for the Cavaliers, and they are now facing this disaster.
Of course, there are anonymous messages, but perhaps this is the best sign that the situation is coming to an end. Jay Crowder trade comes from the man himself.
Jay Crowder 👀🕰️ pic.twitter.com/QD29wxHLHA
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) November 17, 2022
The Suns have been looking to trade Crowder since last summer but never found a deal that would fit them, it’s hard to find a trade that sends a player who’s winning now and gets the same back (the Suns don’t want choices or prospects). According to several reports, this may change.
There have been credible rumors this week that the Suns are making progress on finding a trade deal in the Jay Crowder saga. Crowder’s IG mystery story seems to aim to reinforce that notion…
— Mark Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 17, 2022
Rumor has it that the Suns are close to finalizing a three-team deal involving Jay Crowder that took place tonight against Golden State. https://t.co/VTRjU3HBRu
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) November 17, 2022
The question is, where will the Crowder be sold?
The Miami Heat have an interest and a need for the veteran foursome, but a deal with them has never been closed. Recent Suns reports require Max Strus participating in any deal that is not the Heat’s starting deal may have been the Suns’ last attempt to get the Heat to raise their offer. The only way to exchange Heat will work if the Suns are taken Duncan Robinsonbut then Phoneix would have to send another rotation player – someone like Cameron Payne – to match the salaries, but this will not happen. No deal with the Heat is likely until January, unless…