HoopsHype Kevin Durant rumors

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March 18, 2015 Updates

LeBron James remains the biggest endorsement star in the sport with estimated earnings of $44 million this year off the court, and he is still the king when it comes to moving product. Nike sold $340 million worth of James’ signature shoes in the last 12-months through January, up 13% from the prior year, according to SportScanInfo. It is nearly double the amount of the NBA’s second best seller, Kevin Durant. Durant’s KD signature line of sneakers had sales of $195 million in 2014 for Nike, up 11% from the prior year. This follows a meteoric 400% rise in 2013 when Nike flooded the market with the popular KD VI. The low-top version of the this season’s KD7 in flashy colors like teal and pink is a bit hit with female teens, according to SportScanInfo footwear analyst Andy Annunziata, who compiled the sales data for Forbes. Nike made a huge bet on the NBA’s reigning MVP last summer when it inked Durant to a 10-year contract extension that could pay as much as $300 million, including royalties. It is the richest player endorsement deal in the history of sports. Forbes.com

March 16, 2015 Updates
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March 10, 2015 Updates

But what you might not be aware of is that NBA analyst and former NBA executive Tom Penn thinks Westbrook's hot streak could have Oklahoma City Thunder management thinking about moving Durant next season: "I think this burst from Westbrook makes it much more likely that Durant ultimately gets traded next year. ... Sam Presti has proven that he does not ever want to lose anybody for nothing. So he traded James Harden a year early to avoid a potential luxury tax problem a year later. ESPN.com

"The Kevin Durant drumbeat next year is going to be so loud because he will not commit early to Oklahoma City contractually because the rules are against that. He can't get the same contract if he signs early as if he just goes to free agency and resigns. So if Sam Presti doesn't get that commitment, he'll look to to trade Kevin Durant. And looking at the performance of Westbrook and the team around Westbrook will make it easier for him to do that potentially." ESPN.com

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February 23, 2015 Updates

On Sunday evening, an injured Kobe Bryant co-hosted ESPN’s Grantland Basketball Hour with Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose. And on it, the trio talked a ton about Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. There were some interesting discussions, particularly when Kobe was presented with the idea that the Thunder is now Russell Westbrook’s — and not Kevin Durant’s — team. Bryant scoffed at the notion. “I have a hard time understanding those kind of conversations — the ‘Whose team is this?’” Bryant said. “If you think about it, the irony is we want players to be unselfish, we want them to be part of a group, we want them to be part of a team, but yet when they win, we’re quick to say, ‘Well, it wasn’t your team, so your championship is devalued.’ It makes no sense. You can’t have it both ways. We can’t sit here and say ‘Whose team is it?’" Oklahoman

"The fact of the matter is they both have different personalities, they can drive the team in their respective ways. The key is for the rest of the team to understand what personality does what and what areas of the game can that personality benefit us.” Oklahoman

Did OKC feel any pressure to make moves to keep Kevin Durant happy as the clock ticks toward his free agency in 2016? Well, sort of. Durant and Russell Westbrook are the unmistakable faces of the franchise. Certainly, every move OKC makes is to put the best players around their two superstars. But the moves aren't made out of fear. OKC doesn't operate "like, geez, are these guys gonna leave? Are these guys gonna be happy?," a league source said. NBA.com

Kevin Durant had surgery on his right foot again, and he'll be out for at least a week, the Oklahoma City Thunder announced on Sunday. "As we have conveyed, Kevin has experienced increased soreness in his right foot recently and as a result we initiated a process to determine the best way to manage it moving forward," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said, per a team statement. "In order to alleviate that discomfort, it was determined after consultation with Dr. Robert Anderson, and after receiving a second opinion from Dr. Martin O'Malley, that because the fracture itself has continued to heal as anticipated, there was an opportunity to address irritation from the screw, and make an adjustment to a different piece of hardware within the foot to relieve the symptoms of his soreness." CBSSports.com

February 22, 2015 Updates

Jeff Zillgitt: Kevin Durant will miss at least a week w/soreness in right foot. Irritation is from screw in foot. Docs will re-adjust hardware for relief. Twitter @JeffZillgitt

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