The picture above – The Oklahoman newspaper with the headline “Mr. Unreliable” to describe hometown hero Kevin Durant – caused a serious stir around the league on Thursday for obvious reasons.
It’s one thing for anyone else to describe Durant with such a negative connotation, but for his hometown paper to do so for a guy that has done such incredible things for the organization? Naturally, many were upset, and it caused editor Mike Sherman of The Oklahoman to come out with an apology:
We take great pride in our headlines about big sporting events and news in Oklahoma. Thursday’s headline in The Oklahoman on Kevin Durant’s performance in the Memphis series missed the mark.
The words were overstated and unduly harsh. The headline and presentation left the impression that we were commenting on Durant’s season, career or even character. We were not. We were referring only to the Memphis series.
The fact the headline and presentation left that impression with so many readers is proof that we failed.
Told of the headline, Durant was very accepting of being called “Mr. Unreliable”, from Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
“I’m unreliable? Me, Mr. Unreliable?” Durant said Thursday morning. “As a competitor there’s going to be good and bad days. They’re going to build you up, they’re going to break you down. You just have to stay even keeled, and that’s what I am. It’s all about what have you done for me lately, and I understand that.”
Other members of the Thunder? Naturally, they weren’t thrilled:
Thunder GM Sam Presti pointed to the $1 million donation Durant made to help recovery efforts in Moore, Oklahoma, after tornadoes devastated the town last year as an example of just how reliable the superstar is to the state that he plays in.
“What I witnessed from Kevin Durant on the streets of Moore, Oklahoma, a year ago is the absolute definition of reliability,” he told the Oklahoman.
“A week ago you’re calling him MVP and now you’re calling him Mr. Unreliable,” Russell Westbrook said. “That doesn’t make no sense to me.”
“There’s a lot of things you can say about him,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, “but [unreliable] wouldn’t be one of them.”
What more can the editor do besides apologize for one silly mishap? It is what it is at this point, so it’s probably best for all to carry on.
IS RUSSELL WESTBROOK BEING RUSSELL WESTBROOK REALLY THE BEST THING FOR THE THUNDER?
Coach Nick of Bbballbreakdown wondered just how effective Russell Westbrook was in Game 5 against the Memphis Grizzlies. He is one of the most aggressive point guards in the league on the offensive end, but it can sometimes be detrimental for his own good and the team. What Nick found was that Westbrook was good in a lot of areas, but negated the good with plenty of bad along the way:
Westbrook is one of the most polarizing and explosive young talents in the league, but he clearly still has a lot to improve on. The concentration level on his pick and roll defense could still use some work, but the biggest thing he has to clean up appears to be his shot selection – the 3-point shooting in particular – and the disregard for how badly it can hurt his team when the shot isn’t going in.
THE SEARCH IS ON FOR THE LAKERS:
Now that Mike D’Antoni is out of the equation for the Los Angeles Lakers, the team is looking to make a major splash in acquiring a big-time coach. According to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, there are plenty of viable candidates:
To that end, sources say, Lakers officials intend to reach out to two of the biggest names in the college game — UConn’s Kevin Ollie and Kentucky’s John Calipari — to at least gauge their interest in the job.
The Lakers also plan to reach out to theChicago Bulls for permission to interview coach Tom Thibodeau, a source told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin. The Lakers are closely monitoring the playoffs, believing that several viable candidates could become available should their respective teams be eliminated.
Sources say Derek Fisher, who came into the league alongside Kobe Bryant in 1996-97 and currently is Durant’s teammate in Oklahoma City, will also be considered if he’s indeed interested in making the immediate jump to coaching. Fisher has maintained for months that this will be his final season as a player and is believed to prefer a front-office career to coaching, but his relationship with the Lakers is such that Fisher has to be considered a viable candidate for the bench.
In terms of other potential candidates, Lakers officials have long held ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy in high regard. They also, according to sources, plan to again interview former Lakers and Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy, who was considered for the job in the wake of Mike Brown’s dismissal, when the Lakers ultimately opted for D’Antoni over Phil Jackson and Dunleavy.
It’s believed that Byron Scott and Kurt Rambis, both former Lakers from the team’s 1980s glory days, will be considered as well.
Although his name wasn’t listed above, it has already been reported that Lionel Hollins is interested in the job. Mike Dunleavy Sr., who is mentioned in the report, is also definitely interested, from Eric Pincus of LA Times:
“Clearly, if I had an opportunity to interview with them I would definitely be interested,” said Dunleavy on his SiriusXM NBA Radio show on Thursday. “I had a great run there when I coached in the ’90s. I interviewed the last time the job was open.
“They’re just a great organization. I have lots of friends, obviously, from the organization from when I was there last and a lot of interaction over the years because I played them so many times in the playoffs.”
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports explains why the Lakers should consider Derek Fisher as their next coach:
Once the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s season ends, Fisher will have a willingness to listen to coaching, front office and broadcasting possibilities. As for the Lakers’ coaching job, it holds tremendous appeal to him, sources with knowledge of his thinking told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday night. For now, the Thunder’s 3-2 deficit to Memphis holds his full focus, but there’s no rush for the Lakers to hire a coach now.
It is risky to hire a coach with no experience, but the right minds and right coaching staffs can make it work. Fisher will command respect and he’ll be synonymous with a championship heritage that Lakers fans crave as a face of the franchise. Fisher is close to the end with the Thunder, and he’ll be the rare non-star to choose his next direction: management, coaching or television.
He’s smart enough to figure them all out, but coaching the Lakers would be the most tempting of all for Fisher. History with Bryant in the short term – and history with Durant in the long term – are legitimate benefits in pursuit of this job.
LATEST ON STERLING:
Donald Sterling plans to sue the NBA if he is forced to sell, from The NY Daily News:
Donald Sterling won’t go down without a fight, according to an NBA executive who is close to the disgraced owner of the Clippers, and will sue the league if the other 29 owners vote to force him to sell.
The wheels are in motion to remove Sterling, a process that the executive said Wednesday night would lead to a lawsuit by the disgraced owner, possibly tying up the future of the team for years.
“He is not going to sell the team,” the executive said.
As expected, this is going to be a long and ugly process. Sterling, by the way, is and has been battling cancer for some time, according to NY Post:
This could wind up being a pretty short ban.
Disgraced racist Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is battling cancer — surprising those around him by beating the final buzzer for as long as he has, sources told The Post on Thursday.
“They thought he would die two years ago,” one source said of Sterling, who on Tuesday was banned for life from the NBA for his now-infamous recorded racist rant.
“People have been predicting his imminent demise. I’m sure he has the best . . . drugs money can buy,” said the source, who works closely with pro sports teams. “He can do anything to keep himself alive.”
The source said some of the medication Sterling has been taking is responsible for the puffy appearance of his face.
For some reason, Sterling is also trying to get his friends to tell him that he is not racist on the phone and apparently doesn’t understand why people are upset about the comments he made:
“He’s calling everyone, saying: ‘Tell me I’m not a racist,’ ” a source said, noting that the friends are refusing, for fear that Sterling was recording them.
Sources said Sterling has also been telling friends that he doesn’t understand the public furor over his recorded comments tothen-girlfriend V. Stiviano, whom he scolded for publicly “associating with black people” and told not to bring any black friends to “my games.”
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