While Durant was always the best player on the Thunder during his tenure in OKC, Smith is reporting Westbrook had trouble following KD as the team’s leader for a couple of reasons. “Several people have come up to me. A couple of people who used to play in Oklahoma City. Several people that are incredibly familiar with the history of KD in Oklahoma City. They said when he was in Oklahoma City, he wasn’t viewed as the leader,” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take on Wednesday. “They said it was hard for Russell Westbrook to follow him because KD, the man that you see right now, was a boy back then. And Russell Westbrook came in a man. “So to go to Russell Westbrook and to ask him to follow that guy, Russell Westbrook was a man lookin’ at you like you’re asking him to follow a boy. I’m quoting. I’m not tellin’ you who. But I’m quoting folks that said that and it was more than one person.”
More Rumors in this Storyline
Kendrick Perkins: I just read what Randy Williams wrote about Russ and that’s very disturbing to me! Man really went at Russ like that! That’s WEAK my G! KD needs to check his People! Straight Up! Lost all respect for you Homie!!!!
Others have given Westbrook the blame for Durant bailing on being beloved Oklahoma City and heading for greener pastures with the Golden State Warriors, a team that is loose, shares the ball and has an elite coach. Durant is not intense like him, and others view him leaving as the belief that he couldn’t win a championship with Westbrook as his co-pilot. “It wasn’t as much to do with Russ as the media made it look like at all, I know that for a fact,” Morrow said. “He wanted to build on his legacy, he wanted to win. He felt like we tried, 10 years, it ain’t work… I could tell you that that’s how he was thinking about that.”
Connor Letourneau: Kevin Durant called the narrative that he didn’t want to play with Russell Westbrook “ignorant:” pic.twitter.com/61qiWZAQeA
Then you have Durant, not only a top-5 player, but a top-5 most psychoanalyzed character in this world, who just happens to despise the reality of modern NBA coverage, a frustration that reached new heights during the world’s relentless investigation of his fractured friendship with Russell Westbrook a couple years back. Ask him a question about that now, even when he’s in his best moods, and he’ll sour quickly.
In an exclusive interview with 95.7, the Warriors star gave his insight on why he joined the Bay Area in free agency two years ago, and it seems that he was throwing shade at Russell Westbrook and the rest of his former OKC teammates. “You can’t learn about life if you’re the only player on the team… You’re the only player on the team and nobody is just as good as you, nobody has that experience or that thought process of how you’re thinking as a ball player.”
Chris Mannix: “The relationship between Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City was never really torched. Oklahoma City always said the right things about him, and they always did right by him publicly. And the relationship between Durant and Russell Westbrook, while not being great by any stretch, is probably as good as it’s been since he left Oklahoma City. So all those things are gonna factor in and make me think Oklahoma City will at least be on his list of possibilities [in free agency] next summer.”
Logan Murdock: Kevin Durant expanded on the Russell Westbrook IG ‘like’ fiasco: “I know what it is nowadays. I know what the truth is. It is what it is. I don’t want problems with nobody.” Durant said it was a mistake strolling through his timeline.
Chris Haynes: Kevin Durant tells ESPN he inadvertently liked the IG comment that was critical of Russell Westbrook as he scrolled through his timeline. “No story here,” he said.
Sports Illustrated: KD liked the comment 👀
Connor Letourneau: Durant said he f—— up his dynamic with Westbrook at All-Star last year. Said he let it be a thing when he should’ve just gotten out of his own head.
Kevin Durant and his mother, Wanda, believe the hype surrounding Durant and Russell Westbrook has gone too far. “It’s not about me and Russ,” the small forward told ESPN after the Golden State Warriors lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-91 on Wednesday. “It’s about the Thunder and the Warriors. Myself and Russ are competing out there. That’s part of the game. It’s basketball. It’s not about us. We’re just playing the game, and trash talking is part of it. That’s all it is.”
“It’s OKC,” Wanda Durant [Kevin Durant’s mother] said. “It’s the same atmosphere that they’ve always had, so we wouldn’t expect anything different. I just think it’s too hyped. It’s just basketball. Not even as a fan and being here and watching both of them, I really don’t get it. But it is what it is.”
“That’s all part of the game,” Durant told ESPN. “It happens. That’s it. It should be about the game, not us.” Wanda Durant agreed: “I just think it’s a lot of unnecessary hype around all of this really,” she told ESPN. “It’s just a game. It’s basketball. So, I don’t know. I’ll be glad when it’s over because it’s really unnecessary. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.”
Westbrook led the Thunder with 34 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Durant finished with 21 points and five rebounds. First, Durant and Westbrook appeared to exchange some words during the second quarter of OKC and Golden State’s first meeting of this season. After Westbrook forced a turnover, he was shown on the broadcast saying something as Durant walked away and laughed. Per reporters at the game, the Thunder guard made KD laugh by shouting or shaking his head “No” at the crowd.
Late in the second quarter, Westbrook denied a post entry into Durant and the ball sailed out of bounds. Westbrook turned to the Warriors’ bench and yelled, “No!” Durant pointed at Westbrook while just smiling. Westbrook was then fouled on the other end by Draymond Green. Green didn’t like the call, and he began clapping in the vicinity of Westbrook, and the reigning MVP began clapping back at him. The two had a few words before Westbrook went to the foul line to take his shots.
Halfway in, Westbrook was guarding Durant on the right wing and he almost stole the ball, slapping it out of bounds. The two began jawing at one another and inching closer. Soon, they were forehead to forehead, talking trash. Durant was seen saying, “You’re a p—y.” Westbrook responded, “You’re soft.”
“I play the same way every night if it’s against Kevin or if it’s against Detroit,” he said. “It don’t matter who it is. On the court I have no friends. The only friend I have is the basketball. That’s it. And obviously my teammates, but I go out to compete and to guard and play at a high level. I’ve been that way since day one and that’s what I do.” Durant enjoyed the chatter. “Man, it’s just ball,” Durant said. “He’s competitive, I’m competitive. We like to go at it, both of us, and that’s just a part of the game.”
Durant: “The story’s about the game. They kicked our (expletive), they played a great game. You should give them credit for how they played and we should be better. It’s not about who’s in each other’s faces. That stuff is not real, so please don’t believe it. All the fans, they’re lying to you all.”
Erik Horne: Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant get double technicals after some jawing. Chest-to-chest. Durant’s agent, Rich Kleiman, was up clapping and Durant walked over to give him a five. Westbrook’s dad is sitting three seats down from Kleiman. Fun scene.
Royce Young: Just mentioning for no reason at all not related to anything in the world at all… today is Kevin Durant’s birthday.
Adam Kemp of the Oklahoman passed along comments George made during a television interview with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski about the apparent rift between two of the league’s top players. “Whatever went between him and Russ that’s their business,” he said. “It’s not my point to want to know or want to figure out what happened. It’s pointless. They are buddies, they are back good again. I’m here to build something different and something special.”
With LeBron and the Cavs also having swept their semifinal matchup, it’s going to be slim pickings to find NBA topics this week. SO THANK YOU, KENDRICK PERKINS! The former OKC center had this to say on TNT tonight: “The night that Russ actually broke the record, I had text KD the next day […] and he said ‘Hey man, me and Russ had a nice conversation the other day.’ They’re back on talking terms, put their differences apart. And I wouldn’t be surprised if KD went back to Oklahoma cause, in my opinion, Russ isn’t going nowhere.”
Noah Coslov: Here’s Kendrick Perkins on Area 21 on KD & Russ being on speaking terms and thoughts on KD returning to OKC at some point.
Speaking after Golden State’s Monday morning shootaround in OKC, Steve Kerr disputed the report. “I don’t agree,” Kerr said. “(Thunder GM) Sam Presti’s a friend of mine. I know (Thunder owner) Clay Bennett. It’s a class organization all the way, so I don’t really pay any attention to a story like that unless there’s an actual name name that’s put on it. I assume it’s just sources. Is it ‘sources’? I don’t know who that is. It’s nobody with the Warriors. We have great respect for them. Sam’s been a friend of mine forever. They’re first-class, so I don’t know where that comes from.”
But once again, even without being on the court this time, Durant is at the center of this swirling NBA drama. “This league is a very interesting place all the way through,” Steph Curry said. “Certain stories that don’t need to see the light of day, don’t need to have any life breathed into them somehow are the most popular. That’s kind of how it goes. To me, it’s kind of comical what can be put in the spotlight during an 82-game year…I actually look forward to waking up and seeing what ridiculousness is posted.”
The pregame scene was just another in a weekend full of them showcasing the tension between Westbrook and Durant. At the Saturday “practice” — loose quotes at that — as the Western All-Stars were announced, they gathered at midcourt, each player running through the line dapping each other up. Durant was the second player out, behind Stephen Curry, and as Westbrook had his name called a few players after, Durant was sitting back on a table by himself as Westbrook ran out. The feeling in the practice locker room was described as “painfully quiet and uncomfortable.” In the subsequent mixed-zone media availability, Durant walked by Westbrook as the two appeared to strain so as not to make eye contact.
It was jarring to watch Westbrook and Durant actively avoid each other, because it was a far cry from the way it used to be at All-Star Weekend. They’ve spent five together as teammates — both for the Western Conference and the Thunder — and while the weekend’s proceedings kept them separate for large amounts as they tended to sponsorship appearances and charity events, when they had the opportunity to, they were together. Durant and Westbrook made it a point to ride the same bus to every event they were both going to, always sitting next to each other. They would go out of the way to make sure they rode together to Sunday’s big game, with Durant driving 25 minutes in Toronto traffic to meet up with Westbrook at the Jordan Brand hotel last year. That happened in New York the year before, and in Houston in 2013 (Westbrook missed 2014 due to injury), they met in the middle.
Some in Durant’s circle have tried to mediate, such as at Mahogany where someone went to Westbrook’s private room to let him know Durant was there. (They didn’t talk.) If the relationship is ever going to be restored, Durant is going to have to be the one to personally extend the olive branch, because he’s the one that broke it in the first place.
After weeks of speculation and a couple days of apparent tension before Sunday’s All-Star Game in New Orleans, all eyes were on what would happen when Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook shared the floor together. They answered that question quickly, as Durant fed Westbrook for a lob with 4 minutes, 58 seconds left in the first quarter, just a minute after Westbrook checked into for the first time.
SiriusXM NBA Radio: AUDIO: @warriors forward @Money23Green on Durant-Westbrook: “I thought about trying to break the ice, but Hell No!”
Asked if he’ll use the opportunity to make amends with his ex-teammate, Durant said he doesn’t know. “It isn’t even something I’m thinking about, to be honest,” he said Friday on SportsCenter. “If it happens organically, it does, but I’m not planning to do anything. … If it happens, it does. If it doesn’t, it’s no big deal.” Instead, the former MVP’s priority is to enjoy the weekend’s festivities. “I’m going to handle All-Star weekend like I always do. Get in and get out. Do everything I’m supposed to do. Play the game and have some fun. I ain’t come here for it to be any drama or have a heart to heart with anybody,” he explained.
Green said: “I don’t necessarily want to mediate it. I just don’t want any awkwardness in the locker room. We’re here to have fun, we’re All-Stars, let’s have a great time. I’m not gonna mediate anything, but I would like to help get rid of the awkwardness.”
Erik Horne: NBA making this Durant-Westbrook line of sight thing pretty easy: pic.twitter.com/hlYDny40cJ
Marc J. Spears: On what he makes of the Russ-KD feud, ex-Thunder guard James Harden of the Rockets told SportsCenter: “I don’t understand what is going on. I don’t understand. Obviously, they feel some type of way. It’s part of the game. Part of a guy going to a new team.”
Marc J. Spears: Will you try to be a mediator between Russ and KD this weekend, ex-Thunder guard James Harden of the Rockets told SportsCenter: “I’m staying out of it. It’s not my place. I’m on a totally different team now. I know them both very well. If they need advice, I will give it to them. But I’m staying out of it.”
One last thing about their relationship, him and Russ. You told Adrian Wojnarowski that it’s sad for you to see that, you hate that it’s come to that. What do you think it’s gonna take for those guys to get back to what they had? Kendrick Perkins: I don’t think it’s a real beef there. I think it’s just more so maybe feathers being ruffled, just feelings being hurt. I don’t think either one of them got hard feelings. I done been around them for going on four, five years – numerous group messages to dinners to card games to whatever – and I know both of them really care about each other. And I think more so it’s the outside world that kind of blow it up and keep adding fuel to the fire. If you look back on it, either one of them never commented and said nothing negative about either one of them. I think in due time, they’ll mend. I was just talking to Russ, and Russ don’t have any hard feelings toward KD, and KD feel the same way. So I think in due time, they’ll get back on point where they’re talking again and get that relationship back.
Steve Kerr: “The only thing that you have to do as a coach in the All-Star Game is to parcel out the minutes. That’s it. You don’t draw up any plays. At least I don’t; I didn’t two years ago. So we’ve got to figure out the minutes, and I have thought about it and I’m not going to share it with you here today.”
Stephen Curry: “I feel like we’ll be mature enough to just enjoy being All-Stars and being in that locker room and what wearing the West All-Star jersey means and celebrating everybody’s accomplishments. Obviously there’s competition and there’s history and whatever you want to call it. But at the end of the day we’re all trying to push our games to the next level and continue to just raise the interest [in] the NBA as a whole and do special things. And I think we all fit into that category. [I] can’t speak for KD or Russ or whatever, but being at All-Star is a special thing and you want to respect that.”
The constant disconnect on the court with the Thunder, particularly on the offensive end, began to wear on Durant mentally as early as their second season together, league sources told ESPN. Throughout his OKC tenure, Durant asked for more ball movement. At times, it looked like the Thunder might have turned the corner, but it was never sustained. On sheer talent alone, Durant’s union with Westbrook instantly catapulted the Thunder to being one of the league’s best teams. But when going against a team with supreme talent and discipline, they were overmatched.
Durant desired continuity and teammates willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the team. After nine seasons with the franchise, he wasn’t convinced that would ever occur. Durant and Westbrook were never the best of friends. They were good teammates, similar to good neighbors. It seemed Westbrook wanted the numbers; Durant wanted the wins.
Saturday’s contest was one that lived up to the Westbrook-Durant billing. To everyone’s surprise, they had a few mano a mano situations. A team source said Warriors coach Steve Kerr was the one who came up with the idea of switching Durant onto Westbrook in the middle of the third. Kerr had never before assigned Durant to a point guard. One of the players told ESPN it was a tactic that worked.
According to ESPN Stats & Information data, Durant guarded Westbrook on a total of seven plays. Westbrook went 2-of-5 for eight points on those plays and committed one turnover.
The Warriors got Westbrook to go one-on-one instead of running the offense. Westbrook’s eight assists accounted for 19 points. But that was almost offset by his turnovers, which equated to 15 points for the Warriors, per ESPN Stats & Information research.
As the Thunder attempted to chip at the Warriors’ double-digit lead in the third quarter of the “Kevin Durant Return” game on Saturday night, former teammates Russell Westbrook and Durant exchanged words. A timeout was called and then the two had at it.
Kevin Durant to our own Mike Breen and Lisa Salters on the friendship between him and Russell Westbrook: “To be honest, I don’t think it’s that serious. Obviously, me and him have to figure it out. But it feels like everybody’s trying to get in the car with us and listen to our conversation when it has nothing to do with anybody else.”
Kevin Durant: “In a relationship where you spent so much time with somebody else, it doesn’t concern anyone else. At some point, we will figure it out. But it feels like I got to call everybody and say, ‘I might talk to Russell today.’ … I know you might handle it different with your friends, but this is our friendship, so we’ll handle it our way.”
With Kevin Durant set to return to Oklahoma City for the first time since joining the Golden State Warriors, Russell Westbrook talked as extensively as he has in months about his severed relationship with his former teammate. “Obviously, us playing here, we grew up here together,” Westbrook said before Saturday night’s game. “Since then, his decision has been made about what’s best for him and his future and I made the decision that was best for mine, and that’s just how it’s been.”
Durant and Westbrook have not spoken since Durant announced he was joining the Warriors last July 4. Asked how that could be with a player he often referred to as his “brother,” Westbrook said that’s just how it is. “Sometimes it happens like that,” Westbrook said. “There’s nothing I can say about it. Sometimes that’s how things go.”
Asked if not having a relationship anymore with Durant “hurts,” Westbrook shrugged it off. “Hurt? I mean, I’m fine. I’m fine. Honestly. Move forward,” he said. “Things happen in life, man, and as a man you’ve got to move forward. I have a great group of guys here that I love like my brothers. There’s been many-a-teammates I’ve had here before that left me, and they’re still my brothers. That I still talk to and I don’t talk to. Not just Kevin. There’s many guys that have come in and out of Oklahoma City that I’ve gained a relationship with that maybe you guys don’t know about, but I think obviously with me and Kevin it’s a little bigger stage. It happens.”
Look, Kevin Durant can say he holds no ill will all he wants for Oklahoma City. Bottom line, though, is the Warriors pretty clearly love sticking it to the Thunder, for some reason. Durant makes his return to Oklahoma City for the first time since abandoning them last summer, and the Warriors hyped the matchup on their Twitter account, showing Durant going up against his good friend and former teammate … Andre Roberson.
In a SportsCenter sit-down with ESPN’s Marc Stein, Durant also insisted that ?he is prepared for whatever reaction greets him at Chesapeake Energy Arena, saying: “I know what’s important [to Thunder fans] and their team is way more important than just one player. … I’m not going in there acting like I’m going to be praised, I know how it’s going to be.” “I know they’re going to be rowdy in there, man,” Durant told Stein. “I’ve been a part of some of the loudest nights in that arena. So I know it’s not going to be the friendliest welcome, but, like I said, I can’t wait to see the people that I really built relationships with over my time there and, you know, I’m sure fans that I got to know throughout my time playing there, even though they might not cheer for me out loud, I’ll give ’em a wink and they know what we had deep down inside.”
“I was doing an interview with someone and I used the word ‘unselfish’ to describe my teammates here [with] the Warriors and someone asked Russell the question, asked if he heard what I said about being unselfish and he phrased the question as if I was saying that the Thunder and the organization and the team was selfish. And once I heard that, I was like, ‘They are trying to get in between this thing and make it bigger than what it is.’ “Obviously Russell wasn’t going to hear that [full] interview I had about me just talking about my teammates I have now and someone in Oklahoma City phrased it to him as if I was calling them selfish. It’s that easy. It’s that easy for the media to twist something up and for the media, you know, [to] make a feud between us.”
Never mind that Westbrook would later make it clear that the two are still not on speaking terms, or that this was just the second time Durant had seen his old team since his surprising exit from Oklahoma City last July. This, Durant explained after his 40-point, 12-rebound, four-assist, three-block performance in the Warriors’ 121-100 win at Oracle Arena, was nothing more than your typical playground scene. “That’s all it was,” Durant told USA TODAY Sports. “You talk a little trash. (There’s) no tension. Nothing went on out there. Both teams played hard. He did what he’s supposed to do. I went out there and did what I was supposed to do. It’s nothing serious, man, nothing that we’re going to take off the court, you know what I’m saying? It ain’t gonna seep into the real world. It’s just basketball talk.”
“To be honest, I’m not even focusing on the negative outside noise or the controversy (with Westbrook), because it’s not real; it’s all on the computer,” he said. “If I start focusing on that, then I start believing what everybody is saying about this situation. It’s not even that bad. It’s really not serious, at the end of the day.”
“Maybe the first few weeks of the year, I was paying attention to all that type of stuff and hearing it everywhere, and people were telling me, ‘Don’t worry about this,’ and ‘Don’t worry about that.’ I had to tell people, ‘Man, stop talking to me about that. It’s distracting me, and it’s making me feel like everybody else’s thoughts are the same.’ “Those dudes over there (with the Thunder) probably don’t care about none of that stuff, and I know I don’t, when I really think about it, you know what I’m saying?”
“It’s nothing. There is nothing. Nothing to even to write about,” Durant said. “He’s on his team. I’m on my team. It is not a soap opera. It’s not VH1. It’s basketball. He’s doing his thing. I’m doing my thing. Ain’t nothing to it. We will [talk] when we will [talk]. There are plenty of times when I go months without talking to my friends. I’m out here grinding, doing my thing. He’s doing his. So, ain’t no hard feelings on my side. I don’t even think about it.”
Westbrook is one of the two frontrunners for the league’s MVP award, blitzing the stat sheet by turning the sublime into the routine, all while averaging an unconscionable triple-double. “The outside is taking it more serious than probably we are,” Durant told The Vertical. “I’m out there doing my thing. I don’t have time to focus on things that really don’t matter to me.”
Watching them on opposing sides might still appear to be weird, but not to them. “Not anymore,” Durant told The Vertical. “First game was. But now, it’s just competing. Going out there and playing as hard as I can and trying to help my team win. It’s simple.”
Apprised by a reporter that he was caught on camera in a brief verbal exchange with Durant, who scored a season-high 40 against his old team after pouring in 39 in their first meeting, Westbrook denied that it happened. “What exchange?” he said. “You may need to sit closer to the game because you didn’t see it clearly.”
Carl Steward: When asked if he and Durant are on speaking terms, Westbrook said “Nah.” Denied verbal exchange during the game, despite a camera shot of it
In advance of separate showdowns against both of his former teammates, Durant sat down with the Bay Area News Group to remember those early, formative years, when these three transformational talents were just young, hungry, naïve and together, unaware of everything to come. “It’s easy to say we were supposed to be together for the rest of our careers, but it didn’t play out like that,” Durant said. “I think all three of us will have memorable careers. And it’ll be a journey we’ll always remember, something that’s different and unique, playing with two different guys who are doing incredible things in the league right now. But when you look back, think about the fun times instead of what could’ve been.”
The trio combined to score 71 points in a Game 1 win over LeBron James’ Heat. They were three wins from an NBA title. Harden was 22, Durant and Westbrook were 23. The chatter was building: Would this brand new franchise, plopped in middle America, rule the NBA for the next decade? “No. We never looked at it that way, like we could be best of all-time,” Durant said. “It was really AAU basketball, man. We were just having fun. We weren’t listening to anyone on the outside, media, none of that. It was just pure fun. When we did hear something about the group, it was like, what is this? That was so foreign to us because we never paid attention to it.”
Discussing the game itself is as far as Durant is willing to go. As for an update on whether there has been any communication with Thunder guard Russell Westbrook since that early-season contest, Durant is not going down that road. “I talked about that already,” Durant adamantly said. “I’m not talking about that right now. Anything about the game, I’ll talk to you. All that other stuff, I don’t have anything to say.” The two still haven’t spoken.
The latest chapter in the What Russell Westbrook Thinks About Kevin Durant saga came, intentionally or not, on Sunday when Westbrook was recorded by his own team’s social media channel seemingly yelling “Thank you Kyrie”, a shout the internet immediately took to refer to Irving’s game-winner over the Warriors.
“What? F— do I look like, man? Why would I ever say that?” Westbrook said in pregame interviews, apparently unaware of the video until he was asked about it. “I would never say no other man’s name like that, for one. ‘Thank you Kyrie.’ What do I look like? I was talking to my trainer’s daughter. His daughter’s name is Jayme. ‘Thank you Jayme.’ I’m tired of – I ain’t about to keep going on that. I’m gonna keep my spirit up. I’m not about to even involve myself in no dumb stuff like that. Next question, man.” As he waited for another question, Westbrook muttered, “Dumb a– s—.”
“I can tell that he was waiting for a moment like this where he can just go shine. He wanted to be the leader of that team regardless if KD came back or not,” Anthony said about his Jordan Brand endorsement mate. “He wanted that moment. You could just tell his vibe was different, his energy was different. You could just tell when people want those moments.”
Royce Young: Enes Kanter, asked about Westbrook: “He’s the leader of the team this year. And last year.” Kanter walks off laughing, “I had to say it!”
Calvin Watkins: James Harden said he had no problem with Russell Westbrook wearing a photographer’s vest for last night’s game against the Warriors. He called it “swag.” pic.twitter.com/MyLeUb0bnp
Durant and Westbrook actually went to chapel at the same time before the game, but said they didn’t speak. “I don’t talk to anybody in chapel. I listen to the word and I get back to the locker room,” Westbrook said.
Durant has been politically correct when answering questions about Westbrook, the Thunder and Oklahoma City since arriving at the Warriors. But he revealed that his kindness hasn’t been rewarded. “One thing I was doing too much of was I was trying to be delicate with everyone’s feelings, especially the fan base in OKC, and my former teammates,” Durant told The Undefeated. “I had to realize that they don’t care. They’re going to dissect what they’re going to dissect. I was trying to be really considerate of their feelings and everything.”
So why haven’t Durant and Westbrook resolved their divorce? “It’s because of the outsiders,” Thabeet said. “Mostly, it’s the outsiders. It’s almost like everything Russell does is a shot at Kevin. It’s not even like that. Those guys actually have their lives. I talk to Russell. Russell’s my guy. He’s married. He’s happy. He’s living his life. “At the end of the day, these outsiders will fade. Somebody is going to win this year, and they are going to forget about this moment. It’s part of sports, I guess.”
With heavy anticipation centering on how Westbrook and Durant would greet each other before tipoff, the two didn’t even look at each other. Westbrook took his traditional spot underneath the opposing basket and spoke to no Warriors players. Durant didn’t shake hands or talk with any of his former teammates. “As soon as the game started, it brought back some memories,” Durant said. “But after that it was back to business.”
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September 18, 2019 | 8:25 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: The Lakers have been granted a disabled player exception worth $1.75M from the NBA for the expected season-ending ACL injury to DeMarcus Cousins, league sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. It expires on March 10, 2020.
Antigravity treadmills, light therapy lasers and 3D movement analysis services are just a few of the high-tech rehabilitation gizmos for injured athletes inside Henry Ford Health System’s new and soon-to-open William Clay Ford Center for Athletic Medicine. The three-story, $37-million sports medicine center at 690 Amsterdam in Midtown Detroit is expected to open by Oct. 15.
On Wednesday, some members of the Pistons organization joined Henry Ford for the sports medicine center’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. Detroit Lions team owner Martha Ford, 94, the widow of William Clay Ford, was in attendance. (The Lions also use Henry Ford for their team’s doctors.). “Our move to Detroit would not have happened without our partnership with Henry Ford,” said Arn Tellem, vice chairman of the Pistons. “Our organizations have worked side by side to create one of the best developments in medicine and sports, not in the region, in the world. This is a true game-changer for our team, franchise and the community.”
September 18, 2019 | 7:05 pm EDT Update
Rick Bonnell: Nothing new if @Charlotte Hornets 2nd-round pick Jalen McDaniels will be signed for training camp, per agent @Nima Namakian. Hornets are at maximum 20 camp slots for now, but that is far from set in stone. GM Mitch Kupchak told me he’d like to have McDaniels in team’s development system.
Bitadze arrived in Indiana just days after Summer League ended. With high-profile players like No. 1 pick Zion Williamson and No. 3 pick R.J. Barrett making brief appearances in Vegas before getting shut down, Bitadze said he was aware of the optics surrounding his absence. “It looked like I didn’t want to play or something,” he said.
Pacers coach Nate McMillan echoed Bitadze’s disappointment in missing Summer League, adding the rookie would’ve played if he was able to. “We tried to do everything we could to try to speed up that visa,” McMillan said. “As soon as we drafted him, we talked about it that night. To try to get it, put a rush on it and get it so he could get back and play. I would’ve loved to see him play in Vegas. It didn’t work out, but it was good to see him in some runs in the month of August and September.”