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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Basketball

Enes Kanter defends Thunder after Durant criticism

Enes Kanter Thunder

Enes Kanter defended his Oklahoma City Thunder in a tweet sent Tuesday, seemingly in response to Kevin Durant throwing shade at the organization.

Here’s what Kanter, who has been with the Thunder for two and a half seasons after starting his career with the Utah Jazz, had to say:

“I don’t care what anyone says. Oklahoma City Thunder is the best and most professional organization in the NBA and got the craziest fans,” Kanter says in his statement.

“We win-We lose but the most important thing we stick together because we are one.

“And those cats, I call them FAMILY.”

Kanter’s remarks come one day after tweets sent and deleted from Durant’s Twitter account made headlines. In his tweets, whoever was tweeting from Durant’s account said the MVP didn’t like the organization or playing for Billy Donovan. The tweets also were critical of the Thunder’s roster outside of Russell Westbrook. Kanter would be included in that group, which is why he probably took offense.

Kevin Durant had initial regrets after choosing Warriors

Kevin Durant Warriors

Kevin Durant recently revealed how difficult the first few days were for him after he announced he would join the Golden State Warriors.

Durant made his decision last July and left behind the team that drafted him for the one that knocked his Oklahoma City Thunder out of the playoffs months earlier. Even though he had decided he wanted to join the Warriors in pursuit of a championship, he says the first few days after making the choice were difficult because everyone had turned on him.

In a story for San Francisco Magazine, Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman talk about how tough that time was. We have edited the profanity.

From San Francisco Magazine’s story:

He and Kleiman were in China for a weeklong tour of the country sponsored by Nike Basketball, and the flak he was taking from people in Oklahoma City who had once professed deep affection for him was overwhelming. “To have so many people just say, ‘F— you,’ that really does it to you,” Durant tells me, still clearly anguished. “Because I truly had invested everything I had into the people I played for…. And for those people that I know and love and trust to turn their back on me after I was fully invested in them, it was just…more than I could take. I was upset.”

“You were f—– up in China,” Kleiman, looking up from his phone, offers from his plane seat across the aisle from Durant and me.

“That was before I met anybody from the Warriors and dove into the culture. I was basically on my own,” Durant says. “It was like you were in between two teams.”

“I’m telling you, I was f—– up for a while!”

“We were all messed up on jet lag,” Kleiman says, turning to me, “and I was up at 6 a.m. and he calls me and says, ‘Yo, are you up?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, what’s up?’ And he’s like [yelling], ‘Why the f— did you let me do this to my life?’ And I’m like, ‘Ohh s—, I’m coming over to your room.’”

Compared to some athletes who could not care less about the opinions of others, Durant is much different. He cares deeply about what others think of him, which is why the criticism and sudden hatred impacted him so much. But once he became a part of the Warriors, everything fell into place, and now he’s clearly happy after winning his first championship. Plenty more titles are likely to come in the next few years.

H/T CBS Sports

Report: Lakers made most money in NBA last season

Lakers logo

Even when they are losing, the Los Angeles Lakers stay winning.

According to a report by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe on Tuesday, the Lakers finished with a $115.4 million net profit last season, which was the highest in the NBA by a significant margin. That number was over $25 million more than the next closest team, the championship-winning Golden State Warriors, and it was calculated AFTER the Lakers wrote a $49 million check as a part of the league’s revenue-sharing agreement. Conversely, 14 of the 30 teams in the NBA actually lost money last season.

It’s somewhat of a staggering development after the Lakers finished 26-56 in 2016-17 for their fourth consecutive sub-30-win season. It was also their first season after Kobe Bryant’s retirement. But the colossal Los Angeles market, the legendary status of their franchise, and their mammoth local media rights deals (which Windhorst and Lowe noted were the biggest contributing factor to their profit margin) all but ensure a constant and continued stream of huge income for the Lakers. And if the future is any indication, subsequent seasons could prove even more lucrative in Lakerland, which is a pretty scary thought.

Michael Beasley thinks Knicks can be playoff team

Michael Beasley has some high hopes for the coming season in New York.

On Tuesday, Beasley called Carmelo Anthony a mentor and a best friend and said that he is looking forward to playing with the 10-time All-Star forward, per Al Iannazzone of Newsday. Beasley also went on to say that he believes the Knicks can be a playoff team in the 5-to-6-seed range.

Beasley, who agreed to a one-year deal with the Knicks in August, is probably a little ambitious on both fronts. The Knicks finished 31-51 last season, their fourth consecutive one missing the playoffs, and Anthony still seems likely to be traded. But the East will probably be even more rancid this season, and there are some subtle signs that Anthony remains committed to the team as training camp nears. As for Beasley, we already know he’s all-in on the Knicks, and the irrational confidence here is certainly true to character for him.

Kevin Durant apologizes for ‘childish’ tweets, denies trying to use secret account

Kevin Durant says he did not intend to use a secret Twitter account when he criticized his former coach and team over the weekend, but the Golden State Warriors star regrets the comments he made.

In an appearance at TechCrunch Disrupt Tuesday, Durant was asked about the buzz he created when he tweeted that he left Oklahoma City because he did not want to play for Billy Donovan and the roster wasn’t good enough. He said he likes interacting with fans on social media but admitted he took things “a little too far” this time around.

“I don’t regret clapping back at anybody or talking to my fans on Twitter,” Durant said, according to TMZ. “I do regret using my former coach’s name and the former organization that I played for. That was childish. That was idiotic. All those type of words … I regret doing that and I apologize to him for doing that.”

Of course, the bigger story was the way the tweets were worded. For whatever reason, Durant referred to himself in the third person, leading many to believe he intended to send the tweets from a burner account but forgot to log out of his verified account.

Durant said Tuesday that he did not intend to use a different account and that he only has a secret Instagram account “for my friends and family so I wouldn’t say I was using that to clap back at anybody.”

You have to give Durant credit for not trying to claim his Twitter account was hacked, which is what most pro athletes in his position would have done. Then again, we have all seen the way Durant likes to fire back at haters on social media. His denial would have been more difficult to believe than the average person’s.

Andrew Bogut reportedly will sign with Lakers

Andrew Bogut

The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly adding some depth to their frontcourt.

The Vertical’s Shams Charania says Andrew Bogut has agreed to a one-year deal with the Lakers.

Bogut signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season after receiving a buyout from the Dallas Mavericks. But the center broke his tibia in his Cavs debut, so he only played in 27 games last season.

Bogut is said to be fully healed, which led him to pick between teams. He has apparently decided on the Lakers, who have Brook Lopez, Ivica Zubac and Thomas Bryant on the roster at center.

Andrew Wiggins expected to sign $148 million max contract this week

The Timberwolves have been planning to offer Andrew Wiggins a max contract offer for some time now. It sounds like the team expects the deal to be finalized this week.

Wiggins is one component of an exciting young core Minnesota has that also includes Karl-Anthony Towns and newly acquired Jimmy Butler. To keep Wiggins around for the foreseeable future was always going to be expensive. The amount will likely be $148 million over five years, according to Darren Wolfson of KSTP in Minnesota.

Wolfson adds Wiggins is supposed be in town later in the week for a pre-camp physical and for the team’s Media Day.

Wiggins, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, is preparing for his fourth NBA season. He has missed just one game through his first three seasons and averaged a career-high 23.6 points per game last season.

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