HoopsHype Russell Westbrook rumors


May 22, 2015 Updates
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Thunder guard Russell Westbrook has won the season long NBA Cares Community Assist Award, The Oklahoman has learned. An official announcement will be made Tuesday night, with Westbrook being presented with the David Robinson Plaque from NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum at the NBA Draft Lottery in New York City. The Community Assist Award recognizes the NBA player who best represents the league’s efforts toward giving back to the community. Oklahoman

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Whether it is through his own offense, finding ways to get others involved or helping the team communicate better on the defensive end down the stretch Westbrook hopes his leadership can make another step heading into the 2015-16 campaign. “I want to come back and be a better closer,” Westbrook explained. “We lost a lot of games within the last five minutes of the game and as a point guard, as a leader, I’ve got to be able to close games the way that we want to. Even if we make or miss shots that we want and close the game out the right way.” “You have to read the game based on how the game is going, matchups, mismatches, who is hot, who is not,” Westbrook continued. “We’ve been working throughout the game and that’s just something that I can work on, reading the game. NBA.com

“He was really leading the team this year and that’s something everybody on the team can honestly say they felt,” third-year forward Perry Jones said. “He did a great job and everybody just followed him.” “Talking more, getting everybody more active especially during practices, pretty much stopping a little bit of practice to just go over want needs to be gone over,” Jones continued. NBA.com

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Q: There was a report that management consulted with Kevin Durant on the hiring of coach Donovan but not with Russell Westbrook and Westbrook is now upset with the organization because of it. Is there any truth to that report, and have you spoken to Westbrook since Donovan was hired to get a sense of what he's feeling? Sam Presti: As I have stated before, I do not feel it is in the best interest of the guys, or team collectively, if we were to poll our players in regards to specific personnel or staff decisions. However, we have spent a significant amount of time over the last seven-plus seasons discussing, observing and defining our culture with our players, which we feel is important given their role in building the identity for the Thunder. One aspect of this recent process was to have specific conversations with several core members of the program, including Kevin and Russell, regarding important qualities that should be considered in looking for our next head coach. Fortunately, our continuity and communication over the years in combination with our more recent discussions gave us an understanding that there is an alignment with regards to the qualities that we felt were important to our progression and evolution. Multiple people within the organization have been in contact with Russ and he will be in town later this week to meet with the staff. Oklahoman

Q: How important is this year's draft pick to the team given how much higher it is than anticipated, and what position or type of player do you feel is the biggest need? Also, who will represent the organization at the NBA Draft Lottery? Sam Presti: Every draft pick is viewed as an opportunity, or an option of sorts for the club. Will Dawkins and our amateur scouting department have done a great job this year of planning for various scenarios within the draft. It is up to us to sort through ways that we might be able to use the draft pick to generate the most value for the organization. This could mean picking the best available player, looking to trade the pick, or any other myriad of concepts that we are exploring each day. Russell Westbrook will be representing the organization at the Lottery, and I told him the other day that if people watching at home do not have to adjust the brightness on their television screen based on what he is wearing, I will be really surprised. That or something sans sleeves. Oklahoman

May 4, 2015 Updates

But early signs are encouraging that coach and point guard will likely mesh. “The one thing I would say with Russell, I don’t want to at ever feel that with a new coach coming in, I want to hold him back or change him,” Donovan said. “He’s a great player. Has great passion, great heart, great intensity. I want him to be able to be who he is. I think that’s what the Thunder organization is about. Just like they’re trying to let me be who I am as a coach, I need to let Russell be who he is as a player.” Oklahoman

Harden was second in the NBA scoring race to Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, leading the Rockets through an injury-filled season to 56 wins, the Southwest Division championship, and the second seed in the Western Conference. Harden was flattered to be considered but is more driven to chase postseason success. "My name being in the conversation is a blessing and an honor," he said. "I'm not worrying about it. I am worried about doing the right things. It would be a great honor - something I dreamed of as a kid. I think every kid dreams that: to be the MVP of the NBA." Houston Chronicle

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CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish reports that the Thunder coaching search is solely focused on Florida's Billy Donovan, who is said to have met with GM Sam Presti on Tuesday. According to other reports, Donovan wants to meet with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka before accepting the job, which he is strongly considering. CBSSports.com reported last week after Brooks was fired that Donovan was the Thunder's first choice. League sources now say Presti has cordially fielded calls from agents for other possible candidates, but has been moving forward exclusively in his pursuit of Donovan. CBSSports.com

April 22, 2015 Updates

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