• Westbrook on OKC: ‘I love being here’

    With another summer of uncertainty ahead for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook eased concerns about his future with the franchise in the team's annual exit interviews Wednesday.

    Because of changes in the new collective bargaining agreement, Westbrook, who signed a three-year extension worth $80 million last summer, is eligible for another extension this summer -- which could be worth as much as $220 million over five years. It would make Westbrook the highest-paid player in the NBA. "That's something, like I said, I haven't thought about anything, obviously," Westbrook said. "Everybody knows that I like Oklahoma City and I love being here and I love everybody here. But I haven't even thought about that. Obviously, Oklahoma City is a place that I want to be."

    Source: Royce Young of ESPN
  • Raptors Say ‘Heated Film Session’ Reason for Recent Surge

    An airing of grievances may have helped the Toronto Raptors avoid nearing playoff extinction. After falling into a 2-1 hole, Toronto now leads the Milwaukee Bucks 3-2 in their best-of-seven first-round series and credits the sudden turnaround to the team clearing the air following its 27-point Game 3 loss.

    "It was just a heated film session, a heated film session between coaches and players," small forward DeMarre Carroll said after Monday's Game 5 win. "A lot of times when you get in a heated film session, it can go one of two ways -- it can go bad or it could go good. "I feel like we came together, we saw the problem and we just try to keep building from this."

    Source: ESPN
  • Rockets Owner Fined $100k for Confronting Ref

    The NBA has fined Rockets owner Leslie Alexander $100,000, one day after he left his courtside seat during live game action to yell at referee Bill Kennedy in the final seconds of the first quarter of Houston's 105-99 series-clinching Game 5 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.

    Source: ESPN
  • Warriors Expect Steve Kerr to Find Health Solution

    Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers fully expects Steve Kerr to find a solution to his debilitating health issues and return to the bench without being forced out of coaching altogether because of complications from two back surgeries.

    It just might not be right away. "Look, what he's facing is fixable," Myers told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "It's just finding the issue and solving it. So I think that's how you have to differentiate what he's going through with somebody else. "Some things are not fixable in life. Some things that confront people don't have solutions. There is a solution here. We just need to discover it, and we will. I'm confident we will."

    Source: The Associated Press on ESPN
  • Tyronn Lue Not Worried About LeBron’s Playoff Minutes

    Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue has no reservations about playing LeBron James 43.8 minutes per game in his team's first-round sweep of the Indiana Pacers and, in fact, believes other coaches should ride their stars more in the postseason.

    "Of course, we're always cognizant of LeBron's minutes, but in looking at this situation, we didn't look at the minutes as an issue," Lue told ESPN. "It makes more sense to close out the series and have the additional rest versus playing potentially even more minutes, potentially 96-144 more minutes. Closing out and the rest that comes with it far outweighs the other potential scenario."

    Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN
  • Olshey Won’t Consider Trade Talk for Lillard, McCollum

    Portland Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey spoke with the media at length on Tuesday at the conclusion of the team's exit interviews for the 2016-17 season.

    Are Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum off limits or are they like everyone else and open to being dealt?

    A (Olshey): The odds of anything ever coming up of commensurate value is so hard to even fathom. I could give you the trite answer that nobody is untradable, but clearly they are.

    Source: Mike Richman of The Oregonian
  • Bulls’ Rajon Rondo May Return for Game 5

    Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo could play through a significant injury once again.

    Rondo took steps Tuesday night to return from a fractured right thumb and attempt to play in Game 5 of the Bulls’ first-round series against the Boston Celtics, league sources told The Vertical. Around Rondo and the Bulls, there’s belief that the four-time All-Star has a chance to return but a final determination has not been made, league sources said.

    Source: Shams Charania of The Vertical
  • Harden: ‘We can play 10-times better’ in Semifinals

    James Harden and the Houston Rockets are feeling great heading into the Western Conference semifinals for one big reason.

    They don’t believe they played well so far despite downing the Russell Westbrook-led Thunder 4-1 in the first round.

    "That’s what’s exciting,” Harden said. ”We can play 10-times better, especially offensively.”

    Source: The Associated Press
  • Clippers’ Chris Paul: ‘Our backs are against the wall’

    The Clippers, who face some serious remodeling this summer, began moving out of the house Tuesday night in losing Game 5 of their first-round series with the Utah Jazz at Staples Center.

    The Clippers now trail the series, three games to two, with Game 6 scheduled for Utah’s Vivint Smart Home Arena on Friday.

    “It’s no secret, our backs are against the wall,” (Chris) Paul said, later adding, “They made the winning plays down the stretch and therefore, we lose.”

    Source: Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times
  • Marcus Smart Finds Butler’s Comments Laughable

    The Celtics guard (Marcus Smart) certainly never heard something like it before when, after his brief nose-to-nose chat with Jimmy Butler in Game 4, the Bulls forward later said, “he is a great actor, acting tough. That is what he does. But I don’t think he’s about that.”

    Asked about his reaction, Smart looked towards the nearest camera, raised his voice, and said, “Haha.”

    Initially asked to comment, Smart made one passing attempt to deflect the conversation, saying, “I laugh at that. This is about Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls, not Marcus Smart vs. Jimmy."

    Source: Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald
  • Kobe Bryant Surprised Itch to Play Hasn’t Returned

    Since retiring a year ago after a 20-year NBA career with the Lakers, though, the 38-year-old Bryant said he no longer misses it. Does that surprise him?

    "Yeah, pleasantly so. That means I’m doing the right thing,” Bryant said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “It’s always concerning to feel like that itch comes back and you feel like you’re missing something and you try to scratch that and this, that and the other. I haven’t had that at all.”

    Source: Mark Medina of the Orange County Register
  • Rockets Take Series 4-1; Advance to WC Semifinals

    James Harden had 34 points and his supporting cast helped the Houston Rockets overcome a 47-point game by Russell Westbrook to get a 105-99 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night to advance to the Western Conference semifinals.

    The Thunder head home a year after advancing to the Western Conference finals after Houston took this series 4-1.

    Source: Kristie Rieken of Associated Press on NBA.com
  • Early Entry Draft Candidates Announced By NBA

    The National Basketball Association announced today that 182 players -- 137 players from colleges and 45 international players -- have filed as early entry candidates for the 2017 NBA Draft presented by State Farm.

    Source: NBA.com
  • Bulls’ Rondo Out of Cast, Isaiah Canaan to Start at PG

    Rajon Rondo was out of his cast Monday but won't play in Game 5 Wednesday against the Boston Celtics, while Isaiah Canaan gets the start at point guard, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said.

    Canaan made a surprise appearance in the Bulls' Game 4 loss to the Celtics on Sunday night, scoring 13 points in 34 minutes.

    Source: Nick Friedell of ESPN
  • James Harden on Ankle Injury: ‘Ready to Go Tomorrow’

    Houston Rockets guard James Harden revealed that it's been difficult for him to get a burst on drives to the basket since he rolled his ankle in Game 3 of the first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he vowed he'll be ready to go for Tuesday's Game 5.

    "Got some treatment, and I'll be ready to go tomorrow," Harden said before Monday's practice. "It's the playoffs, everybody is banged up, so you just got to find a way to fight through it and find a way to help your teammates win games," Harden said. "For me, it's not necessarily scoring. I don't have to score a certain amount of points as long as I'm making the right plays and guys are getting shots, everybody is in a good rhythm -- that's all that matters."

    Source: ESPN