Kevin Durant wants LeBron James, other stars in the Dunk Contest

The Slam Dunk Contest won by Jazz forward Jeremy Evans Saturday lacked any buzz. No disrespect to participants Chase Budinger, Paul George, and Derrick Williams, but they don’t get people excited about the competition. Fans, execs, and even the players recognize that — just look at what Kevin Durant tweeted Saturday night.

“It’s time for @KingJames, Mr Westbrook, Mr.Rose, and @DwyaneWade to get in the dunk contest.”

Wade, who is now 30 and in his 9th season, replied “Not me but I agree w the others.”

LeBron James has flirted with entering the competition but he never participated. While having Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook involved would be awesome, it’s LeBron who we want. He’s had some of the sickest dunks in the NBA. He’s one of the league’s biggest stars and one of the best dunkers. We want to finally see him put on a show.

Participating in the contest allows a player the chance to enhance his profile and create memories. Why do you think people still talk about Vince Carter, Nate Robinson, and Jason Richardson? Part of their legacies are their spectacular dunks from the contest.

Michael Jordan participated as did Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard. There’s no reason these guys shouldn’t participate. Come on fellas, give the fans a show.

H/T Eye on Basketball

Kevin Durant Not Impressed with Blake Griffin’s Dunk ‘It was a Layup’

Two days later and the NBA is still buzzing about Blake Griffin’s throwdown on Kendrick Perkins Monday night. Just don’t expect Kevin Durant to gush about the highlight that embarrassed his teammate.

“I have no appreciation for it at all,” Durant said Wednesday. “It was a layup. He threw the ball in and got fouled and made his free throw. It’s three points at the end of the day, no matter how it went in the basket.

“So I really wasn’t impressed. He finished it. So what? We moved on. That’s not why we lost the game. Any time you guys ask about my teammate getting dunked on or crossed up or a shot made on him, it’s a bad question and I don’t like it.”

Durant probably was impressed, but he won’t admit it because it happened against the Thunder.

“If it wasn’t against us, maybe I’d say it was a good play. But it was against us, so it was a bad play. I have nothing against Blake. Don’t get that wrong. But it was against us so I have to stick up for my teammate.”

You could tell after the game that Durant didn’t appreciate the questions about the play, so it’s no surprise his stance hasn’t changed. I understand why reporters are asking him about it, but that can’t be easy; they’re probably receiving the stare of death in response.

And of course we can’t bring up the dunk without showing it to you again …

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Kevin Durant Intros Rap Song That Takes Shot at Russell Westbrook (Audio)

Athletes oftentimes lend their name to stuff without knowing the finished product. We realize that. Perhaps Kevin Durant is just a big supporter of the rapper DNA. He may have agreed to record an introduction to one of his songs without knowing what the actual lyrics would be. Either that, or Durant has no problem with his boy taking a shot at Russell Westbrook. In the first 30 seconds of the song “Underrated and Underpaid,” DNA has a line about never passing the ball like Westbrook. Check out the audio that I Am a GM passed along, keeping in mind that some of the lyrics are very NSFW:

The line is somewhat harmless. Unless Westbrook is extremely sensitive, it shouldn’t bother him that much.  The puzzling thing about Durant endorsing the song is that he and Westbrook have admitted to butting heads in the past.  The Thunder stand a much better chance of succeeding if their two superstars can get along, so I’m not sure why Durant would risk straining the relationship even further.  If he didn’t know, that’s one thing.  If he did, the decision warrants at least a little criticism.

NBA GMs Pick LeBron James and Kevin Durant as the Top Franchise Players

NBA.com released its GM survey results Tuesday and the data is highly amusing. GMs predict that the Heat will beat the Thunder in the Finals. They have Kevin Durant winning regular season MVP over LeBron James. They’re high on Gregg Popovich as a coach, Dwight Howard as a big man and defender, and the Clippers’ offseason. They’re also big on Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio, and Raptors draft pick Jonas Valanciunas. I encourage you to read the entire survey if you’re a basketball fan, but the one item I thought was most noteworthy concerned the franchise player question.

If you were starting a franchise and could sign any player, who would it be?

    T1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City — 37.0%
    T1. LeBron James, Miami — 37.0%

    3. Derrick Rose, Chicago — 14.8%
    4. Dwight Howard, Orlando — 7.4%
    5. Dwyane Wade, Miami — 3.7%

Kevin Durant was number one on the list last season at 55.6%, so either he or LeBron did something to narrow the gap. Maybe it’s that Durant lost in the Conference Finals while the Heat reached the Finals. Or maybe GMs were holding something against LeBron for leaving Cleveland.

Even though James is three years older than Durant, I’d still choose him as my franchise player. He is the best all-around player in the league, and he has a good shot at winning his first title.

Stan Van Gundy Says the Thunder Can Trade Kevin Durant to the Magic

The Thunder are off to a hot start in 2011.  They’ve begun the season 4-0, already proving they can win close games down the stretch on multiple occasions.  In a Western Conference that features a weakened Lakers team, an aging defending champion that lost several role players, and an overhauled Clippers team that could take a season to gel, the Thunder have a chance to make a deep playoff run.  Seemingly the only thing that can stop Oklahoma City is a rift between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.  Since the two have already needed to be separated on the bench, the situation will be one worth monitoring going forward.

The always outspoken Stan Van Gundy has a solution that could help the Thunder get past the dispute between their two superstars.

“When you’re together as much as we are in very competitive situations, you’re going to have those conflicts,” Van Gundy said according to The Oklahoman. “You’re going to have player-coach conflicts and player-player conflicts. You know, you just are. Because everybody is competitive, everybody wants to win, everybody wants to do well and a lot of times you see situations differently.

“I think it’s very serious, and I think the only thing they can do is split those two guys up. And I think they need to get them a long way away, I think here to Florida, to diffuse that problem; Kevin Durant here.”

I bet you would enjoy that, Stan.  That way Dwight Howard would stay and everyone lives happily ever after. Unfortunately for Orlando, the Thunder are going to be just fine.  Westbrook and Durant will likely realize the potential of this year’s squad and learn to coexist — even if they don’t like each other.  Van Gundy shouldn’t need a psychology professor to tell him that.

Chest bump to Ball Don’t Lie for the story.

Video: Kevin Durant Winning Three-Pointer to Beat Mavericks at Buzzer

You didn’t really think Vince Carter was going to hit the winning shot in a game, did you? Kevin Durant made sure that wasn’t the case, nailing a three at the buzzer to beat the Mavericks 104-102 Thursday in Oklahoma City. Here’s a video of his impressive shot:

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Russell Westbrook-Kevin Durant Altercation Leads to 0-13 Shooting Night

The supposed rift between Oklahoma City stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant took another turn on Wednesday night. Oklahoman reporter Darnell Mayberry says Westbrook and Durant got into an altercation on the Thunder bench after players objected to the way Westbrook scolded teammate Thabo Sefolosha. Westbrook was upset that Sefolosha passed on an open shot and cursed at him. Teammates tried to calm Westbrook down, but it didn’t work.

According to Mayberry’s report, “Westbrook appeared to take exception to how Durant delivered his message. The two began shouting at each other and had to be separated.

Durant patted Westbrook on the head when the two took the court out of the timeout, and the two seemed to communicate well throughout the rest of the game.”

Though Mayberry says the two got along the rest of the game, Westbrook had one of his worst games as a pro — an 0-13 shooting performance that resulted in four points, four turnovers, and six assists.

Durant and coach Scott Brooks had nothing bad to say after the game, and Brooks even said the intensity from his players was “healthy.” People will probably turn this into a bigger deal than it needs to be because many feel Westbrook is too selfish of a player.

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