Thunder ‘Don’t Know How to Take Nights Off’, Are a Lock for a Huge 60-Win Season

The Oklahoma City Thunder will look to take the next step behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook as the duo looks to capture their first NBA title. Can the Thunder finally climb the mountain this year?

Carson Cunningham of KOCO5 joins Stephen Nelson to play a game of over/under on OKC in the video above.

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Jazz’s Gordon Hayward Throws Down Huge Dunk in Preseason Game vs. Trail Blazers

There are a handful of NBA players you expect to throw down huge slam dunks during a game.

Utah Jazz wing Gordon Hayward is not one of them.

During Thursday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Hayward threw down this exciting dunk after driving to the rim, finishing with authority.

[Gfycat]

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Huge TV deal gives players, owners more to fight over

The NBA’s labor deal can be terminated in 2017. Expect both sides to want even more.

      
 

 

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Contract Year NBA Players Poised to Have Huge Seasons in 2014-15

Before the 2014-15 NBA season tips off, a number of questions are waiting to be answered. 

Chief among them: Which impending free agents are most likely to post the numbers necessary to garner substantial monetary commitments next summer? 

From the max contracts LaMarcus Aldridge and Rajon Rondo will be seeking to pay increases for the likes of DeAndre Jordan and Greg Monroe, the regular season is going to set the stage for another dramatic summer of player movement. 

As a result, we’ve decided to examine the players whose bank accounts stand to benefit from superlative performances in the year ahead. 

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Proposed design for Warriors arena looks like huge toilet

While it’s not fair to “dump” on initial renderings of a massive architectural undertaking, an image released of the proposed design of the Golden State Warriors’ new arena leads to one comparison regarding its appearance. It looks like a giant toilet. A nice, top-of-the-line American Standard toilet, sure, but a toilet nonetheless. In a presentation […] The post Proposed design of Golden St. Warriors arena makes it look like a huge toilet (pic) appeared first on Sportress of Blogitude.

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McRoberts’ Big Opportunity a Huge Deal for Heat

Josh McRoberts has never seen a stage this large, lights this bright and expectations this enormous throughout his six-year career. As a true journeyman in the NBA, McRoberts has never been on a team that has held him to championship expectations and standards. Despite a career statistical year last season with the Charlotte Bobcats (will be Hornets next season), McRoberts enters a situation that could make his career larger than he’s ever imagined. Starting at power forward for the four-time defending Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat this upcoming season, McRoberts has the chance to elevate his game and stature to heights that neither the basketball world or the man himself would’ve expected.
Besides, McRoberts has never been on a title contender throughout his career and has been past the first round just once (2011-12 Los Angeles Lakers in 66-game lockout season). This Heat team is poised to break through the hype of the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, the lofty champ…

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Report: Kevin Durant reaches huge deal to stay with Nike

Darren Rovell and ESPN.com is reporting that Nike believes they will be able to keep Kevin Durant in tow after Nike has countered Under Armour’s offer. Looks like they will keep Kevin Durant. Story coming from @ESPNSteinLine and I. — darren rovell (@darrenrovell) August 31, 2014 According to the report, Nike officials told Durant and his team at Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports that it would do what was needed to come close to the $325 million offered by Under Armour. While the exact Nike offer for Durant isn’t known, sources told ESPN that Durant should make more — in base and royalties — than the Thunder will pay him over the next two seasons ($41.2 million). That’s why fans in Oklahoma City were nervous about a possible move to Under Armour, which could have steered him more to returning to his local roots to play for the Washington Wizards when he becomes a free agent after the 2015-16 season. Analyst Omar Saad, senior managing director of ISI’s luxury, apparel and footwear team, who …

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Coach K made a huge mistake in snubbing Lillard

What is Coach K thinking?

      
 

 

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Would Cutting DeMarcus Cousins Be Huge Mistake for Team USA?

There’s an old saying in sports that goes something like this: It’s when you’re thinking about hurting yourself that it’s most likely to happen.

We can’t be sure whether DeMarcus Cousins was thinking about Paul George when the Sacramento Kings center injured his right knee after falling awkwardly during a Team USA scrimmage Thursday afternoon, per USA Today’s Nancy Armour.

Still, to even have that scare—tests showed Cousins suffered no structural damage—might be reason enough to reevaluate whether playing in next week’s FIBA Basketball World Cup is even worth it.

However, it might be Team USA pulling the plug for him.

For his part, Cousins told the Sacramento Bee’s Ailene Voisin as recently as August 8—just one week after George’s gruesome injury—that he’d be “crushed” if coach Mike Krzyzewski didn’t keep him on the 12-man roster.

“Everyone knows how much I want to do this,” Cousins said. “This is my third year here (two with Select Team), and I don’t run from any challenge. I would be crushed, but I’m not a quitter. I would come back and try again.”

With Kevin Durant having withdrawn from the competition, Krzyzewski can use all the offense he can get. And Cousins, with his excellent passing and deft touch around the rim, certainly provides that.

But with a team bursting at the seams with perimeter firepower—Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard being just the team’s point guard crop—it’s possible Krzyzewski will adhere more to a “four out” offensive system bolstered by more traditional paint protectors like Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond and Mason Plumlee.

SI.com’s Jeremy Woo underscored precisely this point on Friday:

Coach K has been hinting we might see a lot of three-guard lineups, and without Durant that became a near-certainty with this team now highly backcourt-centric. Expect Team USA to open its games with the high-scoring Rose-Curry-Harden trio to drive much of the offense. Curry’s shooting ability will play well off the ball, Rose continues to display a much-improved perimeter game and Harden is the best pure scorer on the roster. As a group, they’ll cause a lot of problems for opponents.

For all his undeniable offensive talent, Cousins has never been a reliable defensive presence.

Whether that alone will be reason enough for Krzyzewski to give the mercurial big man the proverbial axe—particularly with pivot-laden teams like Brazil and Spain on the horizon—will be an interesting development indeed.

As Cousins himself admitted in the Voisin interview, being cut wouldn’t deter him from trying his hand again two years from now, when Team USA will try and snag its third straight gold medal at the Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.

Still, it’s worth wondering whether bringing a player into the international fold this many times only to bid him bitter adieu once again might make for a crisis of confidence.

This is a player, after all, known for pinning heart to sleeve.

Sometimes, the results are positively inspired. When Cousins is at his apex, it’s hard to not see him as the best all-around center in the NBA.

Other times, you wonder how many more tantrums or sideways scowls it’ll take before Cousins loses it for good.

His reputation has long preceded him, and this summer’s showcase was no different. However, it didn’t take long for Krzyzewski to notice what many in NBA circles had long taken note of: Cousins is growing up.

“All the coaches were really pleased with DeMarcus and how he played,” Krzyzewski said during an August 5 teleconference. “Look, his attitude is tremendous because he wouldn‘t keep coming back to be a part of Team USA if it didn‘t mean something to him. We recognize that.”

Laudatory as Coach K’s comments were, one can’t help but read a tinge of guardedness in those last two sentences. No coach conducting a tryout wants to tip his hand, of course—particularly at this level.

All the same, it seems not even a dearth of positional power has made Cousins’ spot safe.

At 24 years old, Cousins still has plenty of time to make hay with Team USA. If he can somehow continue to improve—a scary thought, given the numbers he put up in his fourth NBA season—he might even have a pair of Olympic appearances ahead of him.

Then again, Thursday’s injury, regardless of its extent, could make the whole exercise moot.

With Cousins already confirmed out of Friday’s exhibition showdown with Brazil, calls for him to withdraw are bound to get louder. And not just from Kings fans, either.

That Team USA offers up-and-coming stars a chance to hone their games against the globe’s best is, 22 years after the Dream Team’s marauding march to Barcelona gold, a practical truism. For all the extra wear and tear, the collaboration and competition of international play—like any study-abroad program—is bound to yield a fuller basketball perspective.

That, in turn, is good for the NBA. And so the cycle continues, with more regular competition contributing to better play, better players and, most important of all, a better, more dynamic game.

Can Team USA survive without Cousins? It’s possible. Should it lose, it certainly wouldn’t be for his loss alone.

Still, if/when he’s fully cleared to play, Cousins stands to gain as much as anyone—in knowledge, team-building experience and tricks of the international trade—over the next month.

Even if he remains a mostly bench-bound spectator, the sheer act of osmosis would pay tangible and lasting dividends, both for the Kings and Team USA itself.

For as much as we criticize some stars for skirting FIBA for the sake of quadrennial gold, Cousins gives us an endlessly compelling counterpoint: a player long lambasted for his on-court antics doing everything in his power to prove he belongs, USA emblazoned across his chest, with the game’s best.

Even in injury, Cousins is willing to take a chance. It’s time for Team USA to respond in kind.

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Schedule shows LeBron’s huge impact on his teams

LeBron James is impacting the TV schedule in a major way.

      
 

 

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