Warriors

Durant's unfounded paranoia: People don't hate him and the Warriors

Durant's unfounded paranoia: People don't hate him and the Warriors

Kevin Durant was well-positioned to tell the world it doesn’t get a say on what he does with his money – either receiving it or distributing it.

The reason? It’s his, and he won’t give us his PIN numbers.

But then he derailed himself by adding this little bit of victimology.

“They only (criticized his decision to defer nearly $10 million to ease the team’s cap squeeze) it because it's the Warriors and it's me and they love to hate anything we do right now,” Durant told The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “A lot of players have (taken pay cuts). It wasn't that I wanted the praise. I've learned from Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki and how it has helped them over the years, and I thought, if they did it, why can't I? Why shouldn't I sacrifice? People wanted the money to break us up, and I didn't want that to happen.”

He’s making two cases here, and one is just unfounded paranoia. People did want the money to break the Warriors up for entirely tactical reasons – that, children, is the nature of salary cap sports. If one team is too overwhelming, the only way to quickly undo them is to watch them get into luxury tax trouble.

But people don’t hate the Warriors, and while he might feel differently, people don’t hate Kevin Durant. They envy them, and him. Envy is not the same as hate. That’s why there are different words for the two concepts. Any NBA team that doesn’t envy the Warriors is a team that’s tanking.

Besides, a critic only has as much power as he or she is granted by the target. Durant did the wise and thoughtful thing, for his basketball career and his post-basketball career. Anyone who doesn’t see that is simply too stupid to care about, and athletes pride themselves on not listening to critics, don’t they?

In sum, Durant is right that other teams wish the Warriors’ dynastette will end sooner rather than later. But hate isn’t the right word. Not even close.

Report: Cavs, Celtics engaged in trade talks for Kyrie Irving

irving-kyrie-thomas-isaiah-drive.jpg
USATI

Report: Cavs, Celtics engaged in trade talks for Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving to the Celtics?

Boston and Cleveland are engaged in active trade discussions, according to The Vertical's Shams Charania.

Kyrie requested a trade back in early July.

He has two more years on his contract -- $18,868,625 next season and $20,099,188 in 2018-19 -- with a $21,329,750 player option in 2019-20.

Thomas will make about $6.26 million next year and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The Celtics were the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last season, and the Cavs were the No. 2 seed.

Cleveland dispatched Boston in five games in the East Finals.

Thomas was sidelined for Games 3, 4 and 5 because of a hip injury.

The two teams face off on Opening Night on Oct. 17...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Rookie class gives Warriors big man Jordan Bell a lot of respect

bell-jordan-block-summer-league.jpg
USATI

Rookie class gives Warriors big man Jordan Bell a lot of respect

Remember when Jordan Bell was considered a good bet to go in the first round of the NBA Draft, but fell to No. 38?

Yeah. That happened.

And according to the 39 rookies who took part in NBA.com's annual survey, the Warriors got a good one.

"Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected?"

1) Donovan Mitchell, 13th pick, Jazz -- 18.9 percent
2) Dennis Smith Jr, 9th pick, Mavericks -- 13.5 percent
3) John Collins, 19th pick, Hawks -- 12.2 percent
4) Jordan Bell, 38th pick, Warriors -- 10.8 percent
5) Kyle Kuzma, 27th pick, Lakers -- 9.5 percent

"Which rookie is the best defender?"

1) Josh Jackson, Suns -- 26.3 percent
2) Jordan Bell, Warriors -- 23.7 percent
3) Donovan Mitchell, Jazz -- 21.1 percent
4) De'Aaron Fox, Kings -- 10.5 percent

During NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Bell averaged 5.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.6 blocks.

Against Minnesota on July 11, he racked up five points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals and 6 blocks.

He was the 2016-17 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and blocked 8 shots against Kansas in the Elite 8.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller