Morning shootaround — July 30


VIDEO: The GameTime crew repors from Day 2 from Team USA camp

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Durant mum on move to D.C. | Report: Suns, Bledsoe nearing ‘irreparable’ relationship | Parker glad he took summer off

No. 1: Durant praises LeBron’s move, stays mum on own future — With LeBron James returning to his hometown of Cleveland over the summer, there’s been some buzz in the NBA world about whether or not Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant will pull a similar move come 2016. Durant will become an unrestricted free agent that summer and there’s hope among some in his hometown of Washington, D.C., that he’ll perhaps sign with the Wizards. ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne caught up with Durant during Team USA’s practice in Las Vegas:

Kevin Durant made a point not to ask his friend LeBron James any questions. He gets enough of those already. Besides, James answered just about every question asked of him with the letter he penned in Sports Illustrated, in which he explained his decision to leave the Miami Heat and come home to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

But Durant did reach out to congratulate James soon after he announced his decision.

“I thought it was well-thought-out. It was classy. It was a great move to do it as a letter,” Durant said after a training camp session with USA Basketball on Tuesday. “That was pretty cool. It’s funny seeing guys think about more than just basketball for once. He thought about the city where he comes from, about Northeast Ohio and how he can affect so many of the kids just being there playing basketball. I love that. So many guys get criticized for making the decision that’s best for them, instead of what’s best for everybody else. He’s a guy that did that. You gotta respect that. I applauded him, I texted him and told him congratulations on the decision and told him I was happy for him. As a fan of the game, it’s going to be pretty cool to see him back in Cleveland.”

Asked Tuesday if he might make a similar homecoming when he can become a free agent in two years, Durant said that was too far in the future to discuss in a serious way right now.

“I’m going to do what’s best for me,” Durant said. “It’s hard to talk about that right now when I’ve got two years left in Oklahoma City. I’m just going to focus on that. I’m not going to make a decision based on what anybody else does. I grew up watching the Bullets/Wizards. I grew up taking the train to that arena, all the time, to watch Georgetown, the Bullets, the Washington Mystics. That whole city is a part of me. It’s in my blood. I love going back home, seeing my family and playing there, but I love Oklahoma City too.”

Still, the speculation is hard to escape. Durant said he went home this summer for a family reunion but didn’t go out much. Asked if that was because he’s constantly asked about coming back to the D.C. area someday, Durant smiled and laughed.

“Look, we going to put it out on tape,” Durant said. “It’s been talked about. Everybody’s asked me about it every time I go on Instagram or Twitter. All my friends ask me about it. So I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m naïve to the fact that people think about that stuff. But I just tell everybody that I’m here in Oklahoma City, [and] I love it here. Who knows what will happen? I never close the door on anything. But I like where I’m at right now, so I can’t answer that question.”

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No. 2: Report: Relationship between Suns, Bledsoe nearly ‘irrepairable’ — If you missed it yesterday, our Jeff Caplan spelled out some of the issues that might be keeping the Phoenix Suns and rising star guard Eric Bledsoe from agreeing to a contract. According to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com, the relationship between Bledsoe and the team might be deteriorating fast as the two have trouble ironing out a deal:

According to league sources, an “ominous development” has arisen with sides still “very far apart” in contract negotiations. It has even escalated to the point where the “relationship is on the express lane to being ruined,” a source with knowledge of the situation informed CSNNW.com.

The Suns offered Bledsoe a four-year, $48 million deal with declining salaries each year, two sources said. That proposal was quickly turned down. Bledsoe’s camp is putting a max price tag on the player Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek called “a Top-10 player in the NBA in coming years”, another source said.

Phoenix has made it known publicly and repeatedly that they intend to match any offer sheets competitors issue out to Bledsoe. This tactic has succeeded in scaring away any potential suitors so far. However, the effort by the Suns to undermine Bledsoe’s market is what has angered Bledsoe and his reps and led to a standoff in which the relationship is now on the verge of being irreparable, we’re told.

Other teams that are/were in the process of dealing with their own restricted free agents (Utah, Detroit, Houston) chose not to use the public scare tactics this summer, another factor that has Bledsoe feeling chilly at the thought of a return to the desert, a source said.

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No. 3: Parker glad he took summer off — Much like his San Antonio teammate Manu Ginobili, Spurs guard Tony Parker has more often than not had busy offseasons participating in international basketball with his home country of France. But like Ginobili — who was recently advised by the Spurs to not participate in the FIBA World Cup — Parker took the summer off and also won’t be in the FIBA World Cup this summer. The time off has been just what Parker hoped it would be, writes Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News:

It is Tony Parker’s first full summer off in four years, and he is taking full advantage.

The six-time All-Star recently returned to San Antonio from a jaunt to Las Vegas. He’s got another trip planned to an undisclosed destination with his fiancee and infant son Josh, followed by a visit to France before the Spurs begin training camp in October.

“It’s great,” he said Tuesday during his appearance at the Spurs’ summer basketball youth camp. “I’m enjoying every moment, having a lot of fun.”

But there’s also a bittersweet twinge, knowing that France has begun preparations for the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain without their captain, who begged off international duties for the first time since 2010. Parker played a total of 27 games for France over the previous three summers, including last year’s championship at EuroBasket 2013 for his country’s first major title.

So as much as Parker would love to be with Les Bleus getting ready for the World Cup, he’s more than happy to have some time off.

“Obviously it’s always tough to see my teammates start without me,” he said. “It feels like my second family is playing right now. But I have to be smart. I think it’s the right decision for me, for the Spurs if I want to play a long career. I want to play two more summers (with France) and then I’ll be done.

“I think for all those years, being with San Antonio, (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) has always been great with me and the national team. I felt like this was a summer I can give back to the Spurs.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Dan LeBatard‘s radio program tried to buy a LeBron-bashing ad in The Plain Dealer … It’s likely we’ll see Cavs vs. Heat on Christmas Day … The Mavs may end up signing Rashard Lewis after his knee surgery is done … Metta World Peace could be closing in on a deal with the Chinese Basketball Association … Ex-Pistons reserve guard Peyton Siva will sign an unguaranteed contract with the Magic … Hawks forward Mike Scott might be closing in on a deal with CSKA Moscow … Former Knicks star Earl Monroe thinks New York can be a top-four team in the East this seasonArron Afflalo hopes to take on a leadership role with the Nuggets this season

37 Comments

  1. Charly says:

    Parker is not our captain, Diaw is… but anyway…

  2. Gerry says:

    Miami gave Lebron championships??? What are you smoking? Without Lebron, the heat would have had to fight hard for the 7th or 8th spot in the really weak eastern conference. With a weakened Wade (who only got all the rest he did have because of Lebron), and a significantly over rated Bosh, the heat would have gone nowhere without Lebron last year, and will do even less this year.

  3. kek says:

    I dont get how bledsoes camp can ask for a max contract, he hasnt shown enough on the court to ask for a max deal, 48 mill seems very reasonble to me.

  4. manjunath says:

    it s good

  5. lakerslakerslakers says:

    everybody made a big deal about winning the lottery. the fact is that small markets like minnesota and okc are just the training grounds for the bigger franchises in big cities.

  6. harrythehawk says:

    Am I the only who is ecstatic that Ron Artest could play in China? Adios.

  7. Realist says:

    OKC AND DURANT ARE OVERRATED , I COULD TAKE DURANT OUT IN MY BACKYARD..

  8. Whom says:

    I don’t think Durant will leave OKC with this next contract, provided they don’t go downhill (they’ve been steady for about 3 years, it’s time to make a significant improvement). But if he does, it won’t be as much of a fiasco as James or Howard. I think he’ll make his intentions very clear to management, and afterwards allow them to make their decision on whether to trade him or not. You can tell he has great appreciation for that city. If he decides his heart is in D.C. (or elsewhere) then he’ll try to do his best to not leave the city with a bitter taste in their mouths and continue to support the community even from elsewhere.

    I don’t follow the Suns enough to really have an opinion on Bledsoe. I do know however he hasn’t done much to seemingly be so fixated on a larger contract.

    Parker and Ginobli will need it. Parker at least (and I’m sure Ginobli as well) seems to be very committed to attempting to bring San Antonio its first back-to-back NBA title.

  9. Harry Kramer says:

    On another note, what is with the Sixers and their aversion to signing veteran players? Most teams sign veteran players if for no other reason but to mentor the young players and no team has ever won a championship just using draft picks (none that I ever heard of). And they seem to trade good players to get draft picks while winning teams trade draft picks to get good players. Are they planning on tanking this season too, just so they can get a higher pick in the draft in the hope that they get a franchise player like LeBron some year? Evan Turner was the second pick in the draft and yet they traded him for a second round pick. In 1983 when the Sixers won their last title they had 3 first round draft picks (a draft year loaded with talent that including Barkley and Jordan) and yet in 1984 they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the then lowly Nets. There is even a rumor they want to trade Michael Carter-Williams already.

    Are they afraid to win or are they acting like a farm team for the rest of the NBA? Are they trying to imitate the way Sterling ran the Clippers for years, let all the high salaried players leave and not worry about getting into the playoffs let alone winning a title? If this is how Hinkle is going to continue to manage the Sixers I’ll bet they won’t wait 4 or 5 years to see if his plan works. By the end of next season they’ll run him out of town. I hope I’m completely wrong, but I don’t like what I’m seeing.

  10. A Suns Fan says:

    I really don’t like how Bledsoe is being. Two seasons ago, the Suns offered Dragic a 4 Year, 60 Million contract, and Dragic took it and has now become the face of the Suns. I propose they do the same thing for Bledsoe. Not only will this allow the two teams to meet in the middle in regard to how much money is paid, but it gives Bledsoe what he wants. After that contract is up and Bled has reached his potential, I’ll happily pay him the max. But now? After missing 30+ games with injuries? He’s not worth the max.

  11. helose says:

    hey hey, what about jason collins still free agent, any team to sign him ? nope ? .. i guess the propaganda is over for now

  12. terry says:

    Cao
    July 30, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Lebron left the Heat because his entourage was not given “carte la blanche” in the Heat organization.His essay in SI was a joke.
    His entourage wanted to run everything and they couldn’t with the Heat. Now they can with the Cavalier. His friends are very important to him. He calls them “la familia”. They are a bunch of parasites. His move had nothing to do with going home and the the fans in Cleveland. He was angry at Pat Reily and Arrison. His essay was a PR move.

    “carte blanche” not carte la blanche.

    • Dallas Cowgirl says:

      You have NO IDEA

      • Dallas Cowgirl says:

        You have NO IDEA what you are talking about Terry Cao or whatever your name is. His entourage runs his business and he has made alot of money. His FRIENDS do that for him…keep his business running while he balls. Stop being a hater.

  13. terry says:

    the suns told they would match any offer about bledsoe but they didn’t think at this time that the guy will ask a crazy pretentious amount of money for what he brings. he is a good player (dragic is a great player) and want a max contract because he believed his own hype (baby lebon, etc), he is trying to sell potential that could never come to reality. MAX contract buy REAL skills.

  14. Cute Story says:

    It’s so super sweet and warm and fuzzy that LeBron is choosing to “go home” instead of staying and fighting in Miami.

    Has there ever been another NBA Finals in which the winning team so demolished the losing squad that they gave up on what they’d built and went home?

  15. French dude says:

    Tony is not the french captain!!! Boris is…he is our best player but never had the captaincy. Boris all along
    Also it has been 6 years in total he did not have any rest (he injured himself -broken finger – during training with the French team for the last world championship)

  16. Jose ( Clippa Nation) says:

    The problem is that people are saying loudly that Bledsoe is a great player with a lot of potential. Since coming in the NBA he has done nothing, no OH ME OH MYS every day like Blake Griffin. Blake on his first year playing was an instant impact to his team and a crowd pleaser with his Lob City game. Bleds doesn’t have Youtube videos of him making spectacular plays and he didn’t freeze up Twitter like Blake when Blake dunked on Perkins. I wouldn’t pay Max to Bledsoe. No All star appearances, no rookie of the year, no slam dunk winner, not worth 80 max deal. Bledsoe take the deal while its still on the table. Why do you need so much money? Do you have a development deal on hold? Did your landlord raised the rent? Oh Me Oh MY.

    • skrutz says:

      He’s pretty damn good already, and he does have obvious potential. He wants a lot, but Phoenix is screwing around and messing it up.

      • T gas TT ako says:

        he’s not even an all star dre,, that contract will make him earn more in the future,, be wise young man,, dont be a PIG!!!

  17. AJC says:

    Bledsoe/Len- for Brandon Jennings/Greg Monroe

  18. sxc1 says:

    He doesn’t want them to run the team! He just wants them(and his mom) to have “free roam” of the facility(locker room, training rooms, team meetings, in the owners box) like in Cleveland.

  19. Ram says:

    I like Bledsoe and I hope he stays with the Suns but he’s obviously delusional. He had a good year last year but what is up with everyone demanding max contracts? Bledsoe I’m sorry but you haven’t done anything yet to deserve it my friend. You haven’t even made it to an all-star game yet. So stop being delusional and butthurt. The Suns are saying they will match all offers because they want to keep you, not because they want to screw you over. He needs to wake up and realize that he hasn’t done squat yet!

  20. Lbj rules says:

    I don’t hear about anyone else wanting Bledsoe, so he should be grateful that the Suns are giving him an opportunity.

  21. T gas TT ako says:

    bledsoe is pathetic,, he shud be thankful the suns still want him….

  22. Jay says:

    The Jazz stated they were going to match any offer for Heyward. What have the Suns done other than state they were going to match?

  23. Cao says:

    Lebron left the Heat because his entourage was not given “carte la blanche” in the Heat organization.His essay in SI was a joke.
    His entourage wanted to run everything and they couldn’t with the Heat. Now they can with the Cavalier. His friends are very important to him. He calls them “la familia”. They are a bunch of parasites. His move had nothing to do with going home and the the fans in Cleveland. He was angry at Pat Reily and Arrison. His essay was a PR move.

    • T gas TT ako says:

      tour such a loser,, just enjoy your life dude,, think of your family instead and STOP HATING!!!

    • Chris B says:

      This was based on your inside knowledge of the situation?

    • TTKIN says:

      I hate Lebron too but this comment makes literally no sense to me. Lebron wanted his friends to run the Heat organization? And why would he want that? Cuz of all their superior experience running NBA teams? Ur trying to say Lebron had more faith in his friends putting a championship team around him than Riley and Arrison, who literally have done just that…TWICE?

      And if this is all true, why is it that no one has heard of this except you? Everything about Lebron is publicized, especially since ESPN cant seem to get off his jock. So if this was true, Im pretty sure we woulda found out by now.

      • J-Mac says:

        I believe Lebron was more influenced by Jordan than by his entourage. Remember how he felt slighted by Reinsdorf and company? Those were the mid-90′s headlines! I think Jordan told him he has the chance to be the ‘man’ and be GM,Coach and player – the first one ever in league history. Something Jordan wanted to have done himself. Riley was willing to concede up to a point, but The Cavs were willing to let him run the show. Now we can see if Lebron as the ‘man’ is capable of winning it all, or whether he’ll miss the insight of Riley and not win again. It’s all about power.

    • genuine30096 says:

      Rolling my eyes @ Cao’s comment. Who are you? Wade .. angry that Lebron James is not there to carry the load anymore while you sit out half the regular season? SMH.