HoopsHype Russell Westbrook rumors

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April 1, 2015 Updates
March 28, 2015 Updates

Kerr was asked for his thoughts on the league's hotly contested MVP race entering the final weeks of the regular season. "For the record," Kerr answered with a blank expression, "I would vote for Russell Westbrook." All within earshot froze. Faces frowned. Necks jerked. ESPN.com

Kerr quickly ended the madness before anyone could think to check if anyone had spiked the barbeque sauce on the Warriors' postgame meal spread. The prankster was in full postseason form. "Didn't somebody else just say that?" Kerr said as he lobbed the wisecrack that shattered the silence with laughter. "I'm just kidding. Make sure the sarcasm is noted." ESPN.com

Windhorst talked about Love and Westbrook’s relationship because Love recently said his former UCLA teammate was having a better season than LeBron James when the MVP race was discussed on the Dan Patrick Show. Windhorst said the following, around the 37;48 mark of the podcast: “Love enjoys Westbrook. they have a relationship. there’s a conspiracy theory that exists out there that Kevin Love will go to the Lakers this summer, or next summer, and then Westbrook will join him when he’s a free agent, and they will reunite in LA, like they played for UCLA. The guy, the star player he has the best relationship in the league with is Westbrook.” Factory of Sadness

March 27, 2015 Updates
March 26, 2015 Updates

When Tramel got home, after midnight, he got a text message from his niece’s husband. It was then he realized that his encounter with Westbrook was a “thing,” in the new-media sense. “Hey, Berry, just texted you to see if you’re OK,” the message read. “Just know that I still love you.” It was as if Tramel had been in a terrible accident or charged with a crime. Grantland

That was the funny thing about Tramel’s conflict with Westbrook. He and Westbrook weren’t mad at each other. Never had been, really. They didn’t even know each other, despite sharing a locker room for seven years. “I could have been from Syracuse for the way he acted,” Tramel said. “[But] that’s not really Russ’s fault, I don’t think. I think the culture created that.” By “culture,” he meant the invisible handcheck that pushes reporters away from athletes. The disconnect that permeates monthly YouTube clips starring Westbrook or Marshawn Lynch or Phil Kessel. What created such a culture? Follow me, if you will, into the Thunder locker room … Grantland

It gave the encounter the feel of a highly personal, Deion vs. McCarver grudge. But Andrew Gilman, who writes for FoxSportsSouthwest.com, said Tramel wasn’t the target. After all, the first reporter Westbrook stiffed that night was Nick Gallo, who writes for the team’s website and whose business card says “Web Content Manager.” “When people ask, ‘Why doesn’t Westbrook like you?’ I have two standard answers,” Tramel said. “My joke is: He really does, he just doesn’t know it yet. My true answer is: He really doesn’t dislike me anymore than he dislikes somebody else. He couldn’t pick me out of a crowd.” Grantland

Royce Young, who writes for ESPN and DailyThunder.com, also noticed something strange that night. Durant was watching Westbrook from two lockers over. And Durant was laughing. Grantland

But Westbrook can also be unnecessarily harsh on reporters. One night, a game ran late. Darnell Mayberry, the Oklahoman’s senior Thunder reporter, was up against deadline. He brought his laptop into the locker room to move quotes directly from the players’ lips to his copy. Mayberry sat in a chair in front of an empty locker. Westbrook saw him and told him the chairs were for players only. Mayberry got up. But then a funny thing happened. Backup point guard Reggie Jackson took his chair, wheeled it across the locker room, and offered it to Mayberry. Remember that when you wonder why Jackson now plays for the Pistons. Grantland

More than once, Durant has accused Mayberry, the toughest of the Thunder reporters, of angling for a job in a bigger market. Durant is sophisticated about the media, but he’s not above the old trick of using a perceived slight for motivation. On December 8, 2013, Paul George visited Oklahoma City. Grantland

The next time they met, Tramel asked Westbrook a question. Westbrook answered it with something other than a Lynchian catchphrase. No one remembers what was said. They simply moved on. “I’m actually more encouraged about our relationship now than I was before,” Tramel said. “Because it’s literally the first time he ever acknowledged that he knew who I was.” Grantland

March 25, 2015 Updates
March 24, 2015 Updates

We asked 25 NBA folks -- a combination of executives, coaches and players -- to rank the point guards in the NBA from 1 to 30. The results of that poll are below, along with a sampling of thoughts from those who answered our survey: The top tier The top tier of our survey included no fewer than eight 2015 NBA All-Stars, with Russell Westbrook edging Stephen Curry at the top of the list. Once an NBA question mark, Mike Conley had a solid showing in our survey, beating out the likes of Kyle Lowry and Tony Parker among those we polled. 1. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (732 points, 13 first-place votes) "He might be an alien. I've never seen anyone like him before. His athleticism and antics are off the charts." -- NBA executive 2. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (727 points, 9 first-place votes) ESPN.com

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