• With the Warriors and Thunder set to continue their budding set of games played against one another (since rivalry seems like a bit of a stretch), more layers of intrigue and pettiness continue to emerge.

    ESPN’s Chris Haynes had a piece detailing some angst coming out of Golden State over how the Thunder handled Kevin Durant’s return to OKC.

    Perhaps angst is underselling their true emotions, which were described by Haynes as “furious and bewildered.”

    As everyone knows, extreme anger and confusion mixed together lead people to make only the most rational, poignant statements. Statements like this one, admittedly paraphrased from anonymous sources:

    “[T]he Thunder’s silence contributed to the raw emotions, outrage and indignation that created an unsettling, hostile atmosphere for a player many consider to be the franchise’s all-time best.”

    Yes, the organization’s silence made it much worse. Because if there’s one thing about humans that we can bank on, it’s that they’ll listen respectfully when you tell them who they can and can’t boo. People love being told how to express their own emotions.

    To assume that the fans wouldn’t unleash on Durant is delusional at best. At worst, it’s blatant stupidity – and I don’t get the sense that the Warriors are stupid.

    Did they think a quick video tribute or press conference was really going to fix this? A rainbows-and-unicorns reception was never going to happen (as the Warriors surely knew), and it’s silly to think that a small gesture like that would calm anyone down even for a second. Chesapeake Energy Arena would’ve booed that to hell and back. It could’ve been entertaining, but it also would’ve been far more uncomfortable for Durant and his family and friends. Not to mention it’s part of OKC’s policy to simply avoid stuff like that. Making an exception would’ve just called more attention to the team bending over backwards to placate Durant with hilariously futile efforts.

    The sources also said that Golden State felt that someone from the Thunder should’ve addressed the media on Durant’s behalf.

    Get out of here with that garbage. Durant is a grown man who made his own choice. He has every right to do that, and to expect someone from his former employer to go to the media (beyond the kind words Sam Presti had already delivered) and make a statement for him is insane. Any sort of special press conference for Durant would’ve definitely been adored by current Thunder players, who in no way would’ve been alienated.

    You can be disappointed in the fans, particularly those who went out of their way to give Wanda Durant a hard time. But the organization owes him nothing, and to whine about a rival player getting non-preferential treatment is incredibly weak. There is quite possibly nothing that the Thunder could’ve done to diminish the reaction. So why bother bringing it up?

    It’s pretty established at this point that the Warriors play best when they’re pissed off. There’s nothing wrong with that, nor is there anything wrong with making up grievances to get you there. This, though, is next level.

    We didn’t like the way this was handled.

    What would you have preferred?

    A statement from top brass would’ve been nice.

    You mean like the statement from top brass that was given? If so, what’s the problem?

    We just didn’t like how this was handled.

    So acknowledging that the Warriors’ issues here are completely asinine and have no real resolution, it begs the question of who decided to take this to the media in the first place. It doesn’t sound player-driven, and it certainly isn’t anyone in basketball ops who’s smart enough to keep his mouth shut. And it’s definitely not the coach.

    Steve Kerr disputed Haynes’ story today, calling the Thunder a first-class organization and calling Presti a friend.

    Kerr is as thoughtful and eloquent as they come, so it’s no surprise that he said what he said. While his refutation makes some sense considering who looks bad in this report, it’s not like Kerr can speak on behalf of the whole organization. Like if they had someone in ownership who dabbles in overt arrogance, for example. If.

    It also does a bit of groundwork in terms of knocking the Thunder down a peg while comparatively highlighting the idea that the Warriors know how to treat people better – I mean, just look at all the nice things they think should’ve been said! What nice guys! Look at how gracefully they would handle uncomfortable situations. Wouldn’t you want to play for an organization like that, prospective free agents? Pending free agents, even. Pending free agents like Durant, among others.

    Of course, given how Durant was emotionally drained after his first trip to OKC as a villain coupled with Golden State’s now-undying need to be the bad guys, that sort of seems counterproductive. The guy who didn’t like being booed is supposed to be cool with the guys who revel in being hated now? It’s not like this report had its intended effect, though I can’t speak for anyone other than me. If you read Haynes’ column and came away thinking “man, the Warriors seem like a group that knows how to treat people right,” let me know. As far as thoughts that popped up, there were a handful of others that came first.

    In a perfect world, this sort of petty garbage will die out eventually. Russell Westbrook will try to end Zaza Pachulia tonight, Kevin Durant will get booed while wearing street clothes and this’ll be about the basketball soon enough. Until the Warriors stop building straw men to take issue with, we’re going to keep hearing about this type of news.

    That anger is part of what makes them great, and all of what makes them so tiresome.

Fantasy News

  • Larry Nance Jr.
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    Larry Nance Jr. is the presumed favorite to start heading into training camp according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

    Fedor went on to speculate that Nance Jr. could see a lot of time at the four while Kevin Love starts at center and, Tristan Thompson and John Henson rotate for back up minutes. Any uptick in playing time would be a huge boost to the per-minute dynamo that Nance Jr is, and a starting role with a new coaching staff bodes well for that. He's trending in the right direction.

    Source: Cleveland.com

  • Kevin Knox
    SF, New York Knicks

    Coach Fizdale told the Knicks players that no starters have been determined and players had to earn their minutes.

    Kevin Knox will battle with veteran Marcus Morris for the starting small forward spot. Knox has been working on getting his body stronger to be able to take on more contact on drives to the basket. Last season as a rookie, he averaged 12.8 points on a putrid 37 percent from the field. Knox will look to get more looks closer to the basket and increase his field goal percentage to more respectable levels. Knox provided little else outside of points and rebounds last season and will need to improve his shooting and defense to be considered a standard-league player.

    Source: New York Post

  • Bol Bol
    C, Denver Nuggets

    According to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, Bol Bol could spend his entire rookie season in the G-League.

    Bol Bol was not drafted to be an immediate impact player, but just fell too late fore the Nuggets liking. The 44th overall pick needs to bulk up and show that he could take the bumps and bruises before having his chance on the big stage.

    Source: Nick Kosmider of The Athletic

  • Kawhi Leonard
    SF, Los Angeles Clippers

    After speaking with Doc Rivers and Lawrence Frank, Dan Woike's takeaway is that Kawhi Leonard's "load management" will not be as strict as it was last year.

    It was reported in July that Kawhi said he wants to play all next season fully and approach load management on a game-to-game basis so this is further confirmation that he will most likely play more than the 60 games he played last year but surely won't play all 82 either. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports speculates that this could be for several reasons. One could be that Leonard can take on more now that he is a little healthier while he believes the Clippers might also limit his per-game minutes to help him play more games. The other idea is that because the Western Conference is so deep, the Clippers will not be able to get a good seed if Leonard sits too many games. Fantasy wise, Leonard finished last season seventh in per game value but 18th in total value since he played only 60 games. Near the top of the second round would be a great place to snag him if he plays around 70 games this season.

    Source: Dan Woike on Twitter

  • Malik Beasley
    SG, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets want to extend Malik Beasley and Juan Hernagomez before the October 21 deadline.

    The Nuggets already locked up one of their 2016 first-round picks (Jamal Murray) to a long-term deal and now want to do the same with their other two 2016 first-round picks, Hernangomez and Beasley. If not, the two will likely become restricted free-agents at the end of the season. Both players saw stretches of big minutes last season due to injuries but at full health, Beasley was around 20 minutes per game while Hernangomez was at around 10. Fantasy wise, neither player puts up big defensive stats but Beasley is a very efficient shooter with low turnovers, knocking down 2.0 triples per game last year, putting him near top-150 value at only 23.2 minutes per game. Hernangomez is a decent rebounder and knocked down 0.9 triples per game but he would need closer to 30 minutes per game to be a factor in standard leagues.

    Source: Denver Post

  • OG Anunoby
    SF, Toronto Raptors

    Coach Nick Nurse intends to put OG Anunoby "back out there in a primary role."

    With Kawhi Leonard vacating the starting small forward spot, Anunoby is the leading candidate to take the role. Before the arrival of Leonard, Anunoby started 62 games in his rookie season. Last season he started 6 out of 67 games, and missed the entire playoffs due to an emergency appendectomy. He averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.3 blocks over 20.2 minutes per game, while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, 33.2 percent from 3-point range and 58.1 percent from the free-throw line. He can be picked up as a late round flier in drafts.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Daryl Macon
    PG, Miami Heat

    The Heat have signed Daryl Macon.

    Macon getting picked up by another NBA squad after a solid Summer League campaign is not a shocker. If he were to crack the rotation he would post a nice assist rate, but it is unlikely Macon will be getting playing time unless something goes terribly wrong for the Heat this season.

    Source: NBA

  • Tahjere McCall
    F, Atlanta Hawks

    The Hawks signed Tahjere McCall from their Summer League team.

    This is just a depth signing for the Hawks. He shouldn't see much court time on the NBA floor if he makes the main roster out of camp

    Source: Kevin Chouinard on Twitter

  • Thabo Sefolosha
    SF, Houston Rockets

    Marc Stein is reporting that the Rockets will sign Thabo Sefolosha.

    Sefolosha was among the names at a recent mini camp, and he should make for a nice fit as a defensive stopper off the bench. The Rockets have a pretty thin group of reserves so we'd expect Sefolosha to be a regular rotation player, which puts him on the board as a steals specialist in deep leagues.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Tyler Zeller
    C, Denver Nuggets

    The Nuggets have signed C Tyler Zeller to the training camp roster on Thursday.

    Zeller played all of six games last season with the Hawks and Grizzlies. Zeller will try to latch on as a third-string C for the Nuggets' deep frontcourt. Zeller is off the fantasy radar.

    Source: Chris Dempsey on Twitter