Don’t expect to see Kevin Durant in a different uniform next season. The defending NBA Finals MVP has a player option in his contractfollowing this season but said “Yeah” when asked Friday if he is 100 percent sure he will return to the Golden State Warriors in 2018-19. Durant said: “I’m not even thinking about that. I’m here. I’m here. I ain’t even thought about it”. Durant did poke some fun at himself in a sarcastic manner after saying he will come back, adding, “Well, actually, I want to wait to see who wins the championship and whoever wins that, that’s who I’m going to sign with”. Biderman explained Durant could opt into the next season on his deal or Golden State can offer him a four-year deal worth 35 percent of the annual salary cap even though it won’t have his full bird rights during the upcoming offseason. From a basketball perspective, there is little reason for the nine-time All-Star to go anywhere else next season. Golden State has been the center of the NBA world for the last three-plus campaigns, accumulating two championships—one with Durant—and an NBA-record 73 wins in a single season during the span. Durant is talented enough to carry a team on his own, but playing alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green prevents opposing defenses from focusing too much attention on any one player and creates open looks. Durant’s pick-and-pops with Curry are nightmares for defenses when unleashed, and he is averaging 26.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game this season.
With healthy bodies becoming more scarce every day for the Lakers, the team finally put one of their two open roster spots to good use. The Lakers plan on signing South Bay Lakers star and former UCLA product Travis Wear. The Lakers have since made the signing official. Wear is no stranger to the Lakers organization. Aside from playing for their G-League affiliate, Wear has been part of L.A.’s 20-man training camp roster twice and was part of their championship winning Summer League squad last year. Despite being cut both times, Wear has reason to be optimistic about sticking with the Lakers this year. For starters, Wear is having a career year with the South Bay Lakers, averaging 16.7 points on 41.9 percent shooting from behind the arc to go along with 8.3 rebounds and two assists. His play with South Bay led to his selection for the USA Basketball team for the upcoming FIBA World Cup qualifiers. Team USA went 4-0 in the first round of qualifiers. His fit with the Lakers this year also isn’t bad. In years past, Wear had to fight for playing time with Larry Nance Jr., Julius Randle and most recently Kyle Kuzma. But with Nance gone and Kuzma expected to play small forward more while Josh Hart nurses a fractured hand, Wear might actually see the floor this time around.
Cavs shooting guard JR Smith was suspended for Thursday night’s 108-97 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers because he reportedly threw a bowl of soup at assistant coach Damon Jones. Two hours before tipoff, the Cavaliers announced Smith had been suspended one game for detrimental conduct. Head coach Tyronn Lue addressed the discipline prior to the game but did not go into specifics. “Something happened after shootaround,” he told reporters. Smith is scheduled to be back at practice Friday before the Cavaliers host the Denver Nuggets on Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena. A 14-year veteran, Smith is averaging 8.3 points on 39.2 percent shooting from the field and 36.3 percent shooting from three this season.
Devin Booker has been on fire since returning from injury and Friday night against the Thunder was no different. The Suns came out firing early as they scored a season-high 37 points in the first quarter. By halftime the Suns held a seven-point lead behind Booker’s 21 points. The second half was no different for the 21-year-old as just a minute into the third quarter, he caught fire. Booker scored 11 straight points in just 85 seconds as the Suns extended their lead to 13. But within just those 11 points, Booker made history multiple times. First, he knocked down a three to push his point total to 29 points and give him 4,000 for his career. He became the third-youngest player in NBA history to reach this milestone, trailing only LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Second, he followed this up with another three to push his point total to 32. Booker has now scored at least 30 points in four straight games. He is the first Sun to accomplish this since Amar’e Stoudemire in 2004. Booker said: “Just trying to reach greatness each and every day. Trying to get better, trying to get this team better. Whatever comes with it, comes with it”. So of course, with 2:37 left in the game, Booker would be the one to knock down the shot to give the Suns a one-point lead. Although the Thunder would ultimately win 124-116, Booker’s night was one for the history books. “Unfortunately we didn’t get a shot at the end, but he’s carrying us,” Head Coach Jay Triano said. “He’s proven that he’s an elite scorer in this league”.