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Kevin Durant reportedly wins MVP, unseats LeBron James

Kevin DurantKevin Durant has long complained about finishing second, but it looks like he’s finally finishing first in something: MVP voting.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that Durant won the NBA MVP award and the announcement will be made sometime next week. LeBron James had won back-to-back MVPs (as well as consecutive NBA Finals MVPs), so Durant will be breaking James’ streak.

[Related: Kevin Durant: ‘I’ve been second my whole life, I’m done with it’]

Durant is in the middle of his seventh NBA season. He led the league in points per game (32), minutes played and PER (player efficiency rating), while leading his Thunder to a 59-23 record playing several games without Russell Westbrook.

After making the All-Star team five seasons in a row and being named to the first-team All-NBA four seasons in a row, this will be Durant’s most notable individual award since capturing the Rookie of the Year award.

The news conference announcing the award is expected to be on Monday or Tuesday.

Joakim Noah reportedly recruiting Carmelo Anthony to the Bulls

Carmelo Anthony KnicksJoakim Noah is doing it all for the Chicago Bulls franchise. Not only was he named Defensive Player of the Year, but he’s also trying to make the team better by recruiting other star players.

Back in March, a report said Noah spent All-Star Weekend trying to recruit Carmelo Anthony to the Bulls. ‘Melo has a $23.7 million option for next season, but is expected to opt out of his current deal to become a free agent. The Clippers, Rockets and Lakers have also been mentioned as teams interested in pursuing the Knicks forward if he becomes available, but thanks to Noah’s efforts, the Bulls might have the inside track.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley says Noah continued to text with ‘Melo throughout the rest of the season. He says Noah has been in Anthony’s ear as much as possible.

None of this should come as a surprise; we’ve heard for a while that the Bulls were preparing to make a run at Carmelo. The problem for them would be fitting ‘Melo’s salary in with the team. Chicago might want him to take a pay cut in order to surround him with more talent. ‘Melo has said he is willing to take less in order to win, and even Knicks president Phil Jackson wants to hold him to that.

We’ll see if Carmelo puts his money where his mouth is. And Chicago would be a really good spot for him, too. Boy would that make the East interesting.

Damian Lillard makes sick series-ending buzzer-beater (Video)

Damian Lillard knocked the Houston Rockets out of the playoffs with an incredible buzzer-beating 3-pointer in Game 6 on Friday night to help the Portland Trail Blazers advance in the postseason for the first time since 2000.

Houston took a 98-96 lead with 0.9 seconds left on a layup by Chandler Parsons following a loose ball. Portland had a timeout and advanced the ball up the court to set up for a final shot. They gave it to Lillard, who got the ball off in less than 0.4 seconds:

Damian Lillard 3-pointer

Dame went 6-of-10 and finished with 25 points in the win. That was a tremendous series capped by a fantastic finish.

Oh, and I totally missed this until our friend Jimmy Traina pointed it out, Parsons actually sat down on the scorer’s table after the shot. What else could he do?

Image via @Jose3030

Jermaine O’Neal says Glen Davis took out his knee with ‘dirty play’ (Video)

Jermaine-O'Neal-Glen-Davis-kneeJermaine O’Neal was diagnosed with a sprain knee after the Golden State Warriors’ Game 6 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, but he insists he is going to play in Game 7. O’Neal injured his knee after a collision with Glen Davis early in the second quarter and was helped to the locker room. After watching the replay, O’Neal felt that it was a “dirty play.”

“I looked at it as just a dirty play,” he told reporters, via CSNBayArea.com’s Monte Poole. “I’m not going to go try to dive into somebody’s legs. It wasn’t a scramble for the ball. I respect people’s ability to come out and perform and take care of their family, based on their bodies. Either he has terrible balance as a pro athlete, or that was a dirty play.”

It’s hard to tell if Davis lost his balance and stumbled into O’Neal, but it didn’t look like he made much of an effort to stop himself. My guess is he won’t be disciplined because it’s almost impossible to determine intent on a play like that. That doesn’t mean O’Neal isn’t convinced.

“His head was down,” O’Neal added. “Even if you’re diving for something, you’ve got to see what you’re diving for. But, you know, God don’t like ugly.”

As if Game 7 wasn’t already going to be spirited enough between two teams with a ton of hatred toward one another, we now add an angry Jermaine O’Neal into the fold.

Rays think Red Sox wanted to play doubleheader because of bobblehead storage

Dustin-Pedroia-bobbleheadThe Tampa Bay Rays swept both ends of a day-night doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday. The Rays were happy with the results, but they were strongly opposed to playing two games in one day — especially since they thought Dustin Pedroia bobbleheads were the reason for the doubleheader.

According to the Boston Herald, the Red Sox had their choice of when to make up their game against the Rays that was postponed on Wednesday night due to the threat of heavy rain. The options were a day-night doubleheader on Thursday, a doubleheader when the Rays returned to town later this month or in September, or a makeup on a mutual off day.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Wednesday was supposed to be Dustin Pedroia bobblehead day at Fenway Park. Once the game was postponed, there were reports that the Rays felt the Red Sox wanted to make up the game so quickly because they did not have enough storage space for the bobbleheads at Fenway.

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Report: Phil Jackson tells Carmelo Anthony he fully expects to hire Steve Kerr

Steve KerrDespite rumors that Steve Kerr is interested in earning a head coaching position with an NBA team on the West Coast, all indications are that he is still on track to become the next coach of the New York Knicks. According to the Wall Street Journal, Phil Jackson told Carmelo Anthony over dinner earlier this week that he fully expects to hire Kerr.

Jackson had dinner with Anthony in a private room at the Tribeca Steakhouse in New York. He reportedly confirmed to Anthony, who is expected to opt out of his current contract, that he will attempt to re-sign him via free agency. Jackson also told Anthony he expects Kerr to be an extension of himself on the sidelines, which makes sense since Kerr played under Jackson for five seasons and won three NBA championships.

As further evidence that the Knicks are still likely to sign Kerr, the New York Post reported on Friday that the Los Angeles Lakers are not currently pursuing the TNT NBA analyst. The reason? They believe Kerr is already too far along in talks with Jackson and the Knicks.

Kerr lives in San Diego and has a daughter who attends college in California. Some believe he would prefer to coach closer to home, but there are simply too many signs connecting him to the Knicks. It would be extremely surprising if he ended up elsewhere.

H/T Rotoworld

Donald Sterling reportedly has been battling prostate cancer

Donald-SterlingDonald Sterling has cancer and has been battling it for at least a few years, according to a report.

The New York Post reported Thursday that the disgraced Clippers owner has prostate cancer, and they say he’s surprised people by living this long.

“They thought he would die two years ago,” a source told the New York Post.

“People have been predicting his imminent demise. I’m sure he has the best . . . drugs money can buy,” said the source, who works closely with pro sports teams. “He can do anything to keep himself alive.”

The Post also says Sterling left his mansion in Malibu that he shares with his estranged wife and has been staying in a penthouse atop a “atop a nearly-empty office building he owns in Beverly Hills.”

They say he and wife Shelly have been worried about bugs and being in that building can free him from that worry.

Sterling, who just turned 80 years old, has been beaten up in nearly every public forum since his racist comments were publicized. This is about the only way he could get even the tiniest bit of sympathy.