Honk if you had Russell Westbrook and Clay Bennett for the 0-30 parlay that made the NBA smile. The talk for much of last week was again about the gulf between the NBA’s haves and have nots, along two tracks. The first was the decision of the Board of Governors, with the Commissioner advocating behind the scenes, to tweak the Lottery process by giving the three teams at the top of the Lottery in 2019 equal odds -- 14 percent -- of getting the first pick. The hope is that by doing so, teams will be less inclined to go into full tank mode at the ends of seasons, since their chances of securing the top pick won’t be any better than getting the third pick. The other was a lengthy discussion during the BOG meeting about the current revenue sharing program, in which a handful of teams -- last season, reportedly, Golden State, New York, Chicago and the Lakers -- provided almost all of the money that was distributed to the league’s smallest revenue-producing teams. Yet despite their contributions, small revenue teams still lamented the gulf between the Big Four’s local TV deals and other revenue streams, compared with their own. The ability of the Warriors not to blink at a $135 million payroll to keep their prohibitive favorite of a team together curdled a lot of owners’ bourbons. The point of the 2011 lockout, he said for the thousandth time, was to try and make it almost impossible for a super team to be able to remain together, freeing stars to alight in lots of different markets. Yet the last few years saw nothing but impact player congealing -- in Los Angeles in 2011, just two weeks after the end of the lockout, when the Clippers added Chris Paul to play with Blake Griffin and an emerging DeAndre Jordan; in Cleveland in 2014 (LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love) and, famously, in the Bay in 2016, when Kevin Durant joined a team with a two-time MVP in Stephen Curry, a two-time (at that time) All-Star in Klay Thompson and the rest of a team that had just set the league’s all-time single season mark at 73-9. But then came Westbrook, last Friday, finally signing the $205 million extension that the Thunder had had on the table for weeks. The impact reverberated well beyond the 405. Westbrook didn’t, as everyone seemed to accept as a fait accompli the last year and a half, play out his contract after collecting an extra $28 million in extension money from OKC last season, and bolt to the Lakers, Tom Joad with a 401(K) and options, in the summer of 2018. The scuttlebutt was that Westbrook would go back to his hometown and be united with LeBron James and/or Carmelo Anthony and/or Idris Elba and/or Shonda Rimes.
Oklahoma City, Thunder appear good enough for loyal Russell Westbrook
NBA.com | Oct 2