The NBA is entering business mode as Playoff spots are being decided. Already the Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors have secured the one seeds for the East and West respectively, which makes breaks the norm of seeing the usual suspects at the top.
One team, who is there or thereabouts most seasons, the Oklahoma City Thunder right now, are currently in the final Playoff spot in the West but are aware that they will go the rest of the season with Kevin Durant.
DURANT UNDERGOES SUCCESSFUL SURGERY
Kevin Durant’s bone graft surgery of his fifth metatarsal was successful and it means that he has a timetable ready for his return to the Thunder line-up.
Via Thunder PR:
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant underwent successful bone graft surgery today for the fifth metatarsal of his right foot, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced.
The procedure was performed by Dr. Martin O’Malley with Thunder medical personnel present at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Durant will miss the remainder of the 2014-15 season and is expected to return to full basketball activities in the next four to six months.
The reigning NBA Kia Most Valuable Player appeared in 27 games (all starts) during the 2014-15 campaign, averaging 25.4 points on 51.0 percent shooting from the floor (238-of-467), 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 33.8 minutes per game.
JACKSON ASKS FANS TO BE POSITIVE
This season has turned out to be the worst in the history of the New York Knicks franchise. But, President Phil Jackson has assured fans that he will bring the good times back to New York City.
And, if we all know what Jackson is like with building championship-calibre teams: He ain’t lying.
Phil Jackson has asked New York Knicks season-ticket holders to “remain optimistic” amid what has been one of the worst seasons in franchise history.
In a letter and video message sent out on Monday, Jackson tried to reassure the team’s fan base, saying he has a “clear plan” in place for this 2015 offseason.
“While I know this has been a challenging season for our team on the court, I can also tell you that everyone in the organization is working tirelessly to get our Knicks back to a place where we are once again competing at the highest level,” Jackson said in a video message obtained by ESPN New York that doubled as a pitch to season ticket holders to renew for the 2015-16 season.
“We have made key roster moves to free up significant cap space that will provide us greater flexibility to acquire talent in this summer’s free agency,” Jackson said. “And for the first time in many years, we expect to have a top pick in the NBA Draft this June. These are key steps to building a roster of players that have both the talent and character to win in New York and who, alongside Carmelo Anthony, will become a team that can become a consistent winner.”
“We have a clear plan and expect our efforts to take really take shape as we enter the 2015 draft and free agency in the months ahead,” Jackson said in the video. “I ask that you remain optimistic and hope you will join us on our continued journey as we build a team that once again reflects the spirit of being a New York Knick.”
JAMES AND IRVING GET ON DESPITE TENSION
The LeBron James-Kevin Love relationship has been well documented but at the start of the season, questions were asked about The King and Kyrie Irving.
Via North-East Ohio Media Group:
He came up to me and was like, ‘One, you can never have another game with no assists,’ ” Irving said, describing James’ words (following a heartbreaking early November road loss in Utah.) ” ‘You can damn near have just one, two, three, but you can’t have zero.’ And I was like, ‘All right, cool, it won’t happen again.’ And it hasn’t happened since that game.” […] “Friends or no friends, at the end of the day we’re all here to do one thing, and that’s to win,” James said.
On Nov. 3, the Cavs lost by 19 to Portland. James, so disgusted with Irving and with Dion Waiters (who’s since been traded) for jacking up shots without trying to build a rhythm offensively, stood idly in the corner in the second half and let his team flounder. Afterward, James said the Cavs had developed “bad habits” from four years of losing while he was in Miami. It was abundantly clear which teammates he was speaking about. […] “I don’t want to say it’s not been rocky at all,” Irving said. “Obviously, he sees the game one way, I see the game another way. What makes it great about being on the team is that we both can see it together in our own way.”
“People get so infatuated with the best of friends, things of that nature,” James said. “First of all, I’ve got three very good friends in this league, and that’s Carmelo (Anthony), and that’s C.P. (Chris Paul), and that’s D-Wade (Dwyane Wade). And after that I have a bunch of teammates. I have guys I ride for every day. […] But Kyrie is a guy I understand how important he is to this team, how important he is. And the same with Kev as well.”