Monday Bolts – 2.20.17
Whooooooaaaa Boogie trade. Here’s Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com explaining things: “The new
CBA changed things and created a new and accelerated timeline for the Kings. There’s now a rule that allows players to extend their contracts up to five years one year before they become free agents. Cousins is one of those players. So while he is not a free agent until 2018, the Kings suddenly had a massive free agent decision coming this July.”
Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider gave Russ an A+ for his performance last night: “(Looks around for Pelicans fans.) (Whispers) OK, look, Davis may have set the scoring record and won MVP, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, Westbrook was the best player on the court. It took Davis 32 minutes and 39 shot attempts to score his 52 points. Westbrook scored 41 in 20 minutes on just 26 shots (plus two free-throw attempts). See, he can be efficient! And while Davis was mostly set up by teammates, Westbrook had seven assists. From the moment he stepped on the court, Westbrook was a ball of kinetic energy, starting with blocking a Kyrie Irving layup attempt. In the second half, he went nuts with pull-up 3s, making three in a 31-second span in the third quarter. So while Westbrook didn’t become the first player ever to win three consecutive MVP awards, he does earn my highest grade.”
My story from All-Star Weekend, on how KD and Russ are not friends.
A scorching hot take from someone named Lawrence Ware of the Stillwater Press: “Young, socially mobile black folks have been leaving Oklahoma for years. Many feel suffocated by Oklahoma’s sometimes-oppressive culture. Young black men are treated like gods if they are athletically gifted but are largely vilified in almost every other way if they are not. KD just learned that last week. Saturday he returned to the Chesapeake Arena for the first time since leaving the Thunder. One might expect there to be some chagrin shown by the fans; yet, one should also expect a deep and profound sense of appreciation to a man who was instrumental in putting this municipality on the NBA map. He was intentional about living in different parts of the municipality to get the full experience of Oklahoma City, and this should have been met with gratitude. That’s not the welcome Mr. Durant received. He was booed. He was called soft. Cupcakes were the theme of the night…and then there was this (c)overtly racist sign (upper right): I cannot help but think of that sign in light of the incident when a man left a jersey on the front porch of KD as he left town. Just a heads up: seeing a white man place something on the front lawn of a black man is not a good look. It participates in the history of white terroristic violence directed toward black men. I’m off this. Too many Thunder fans have showed themselves to be classless and ungrateful.”
The Thunder are interested in Wilson Chandler.
Scott Cacciola of the NY Times: “Westbrook was already a competitive individual before Durant left town. But Durant’s departure appears to have motivated Westbrook even more, no small feat. And in that way, despite their clear differences, Westbrook and Durant remain connected. Westbrook feeds off the anger, uses it as fuel. This is his version of happiness. This is the way he has fun.”
Erik Horne: “As Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant came to the sideline smiling, the Western Conference bench was in hysterics. Westbrook and Durant stood a few feet apart after teaming up for a give-and-go that finished with a Westbrook dunk. It took the breath out of the Smoothie King Center and all the tension out of the 66th NBA All-Star Game. Water flew out of a Gatorade cup and splashed between them. Teammates jumped up and down, fists pumping in the air, hands clapping in celebration. It was the beautiful basketball Durant mentioned last season when he and Westbrook were the NBA’s most lethal duo. For a moment, basketball beat beef.”
Jenni Carlson: “Then, she began to notice Westbrook. He was just a rookie coming off the bench at first, but even when he was still Earl Watson’s backup, there was something about his energy and passion that caught Brenda’s attention. Watching him play made her happy. Admittedly, being happy made her feel guilty. How could she feel good when Andrew was gone? How could she be joyful when her kid wasn’t here anymore? With the help of her counselor, Brenda realized that having a passion, a hobby, a diversion was good. Having something she could look forward to was even better. Going to Thunder games and watching Russell Westbrook were a life saver.”