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jeff teague

Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant on Monday were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Dec. 29, through Sunday, Jan. 4.

Teague led the Hawks to a 3-0 week, behind a conference-leading 23.7 ppg, and his 8.3 apg and 2.67 spg were both good for second in the conference. Teague shot .500 or better from the field in all three games, and handed out at least six assists in each contest. On Dec. 30, during a 109-101 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Teague scored 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field, and added 11 assists, five rebounds and three steals. At 25-8 (.758), the Hawks stand alone atop the Eastern Conference.

kevin durant

Durant helped the Thunder to a 2-0 week, which included wins over the Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards, behind a league-leading 39.0 ppg. He added 9.0 rpg and 4.5 apg, and ranked eighth in the West in three-point field goal percentage with a mark of .556 (10-of-18). On Dec. 31, Durant scored 44 points on 13-of-23 shooting from the field and a perfect 12-of-12 effort from the foul line, as the Thunder topped the Suns 137-134 in overtime.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Dallas’ Monta Ellis, Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired guards Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith from the New York Knicks and a protected 2015 first round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder. In exchange, the Cavs will send guard Dion Waiters to the Thunder, and Lou Amundson, Alex Kirk and its own 2019 second round pick to the Knicks. New York will also receive forward Lance Thomas from Oklahoma City.

In addition, Knicks center Samuel Dalembert has been waived.

“As our journey moves through this season, we will search for the type of players that fit the style we hope to exhibit for our fans. Our desire is to improve our ability to compete,” Knicks President Phil Jackson said. “In addition, these transactions improve our flexibility to the current roster and the salary cap for future seasons.”

“We wish Dion the best as he continues his career with the Thunder and thank him for his effort and work here with the Cavaliers. Dion is a talented player with potential ahead of him. Trades like this are always difficult to make because there are relationships and bonds built and that was the case with Dion,” said Cavaliers general manager David Griffin. “At the same time, we’re very excited to welcome Iman and J.R. to Cleveland. With their size and versatility, we think both Iman and J.R. can help our team on both ends of the court and we look forward to them joining us.”

Currently in his fourth NBA season, Shumpert has appeared in 202 games (162 starts) with the Knicks, averaging 7.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 26.2 minutes per game. The 6-5 guard has ranked among the NBA’s Top 20 in steals-to-turnover ratio in two of his three pro seasons (15th with 0.91 in 2011-12; fifth with 1.16 in 2013-14). He holds a .348 career three-point percentage and was an All-Rookie First Team selection in 2012. This season, Shumpert is averaging 9.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 26.0 minutes over 24 contests (all starts).

Smith, an 11-year veteran, has played in 716 career games (173 starts) with averages of 13.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 26.1 minutes for New Orleans, Denver and New York. The 6-6 guard is also a career .370 shooter from the three-point line and .736 from the charity stripe. He has made at least 100 three-pointers in seven of the last eight seasons and was named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year following the 2012-13 season. This season, Smith is averaging 10.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 25.8 minutes through 24 games (six starts) with New York.

The pick from Oklahoma City is protected 1-18 in 2015 and 1-15 in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Should the pick not convey during this period, the Thunder would send the Cavaliers its second round draft picks in 2018 and 2019.

“Dion Waiters is a player that we’ve tracked and liked since his time at Syracuse, in the NBA, and with USA Basketball. Dion provides another proven scorer that positively impacts our roster and adds depth and flexibility,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “We have a lot of respect for his toughness and competitiveness, and believe that he is a physical playmaker who will enhance the versatility of our team. We are excited to welcome Dion to Oklahoma City and the Thunder organization.”

Waiters was originally drafted by the Cavaliers with the fourth overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft. In 164 games (75 starts) in three seasons with the Cavs, Waiters averaged 14.3 points on .420 shooting from the field, including .328 from beyond the arc, 2.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.0 steal in 28.1 minutes per game. He was named to the All-Rookie First Team in 2013. Through 33 games (three starts) this season, the 6-4 guard is averaging 10.5 points, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 23.8 minutes per game.

Kirk, an undrafted rookie out of New Mexico, originally signed as a free agent by the Cavaliers on August 11 and played in five contests for Cleveland in 2014-15. Amundson, who was part of the 2014 Cavs training camp and preseason roster, appeared in 12 games for the Cavs this season.

Kevin Durant health update

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on Thunder forward Kevin Durant, who is still recovering from injury:

Kevin Durant health update

On the night it occurred, Kevin Durant’s right ankle sprain was listed as ‘mild’ by the team. After the game in Oakland, he said he pushed to play the second half against the Warriors and hoped to play the next night against the Lakers.

But more than a week later, Durant still hasn’t returned to action. And the Thunder has made sure to let people know it is no longer listing it as a ‘mild’ sprain. It ended up being more significant than originally expected.

But that said, Durant does seem to be nearing a return, maybe as early as Sunday in Dallas.

Here’s the Oklahoman with the latest on Kevin Durant’s ankle injury:

Kevin Durant remains out with ankle sprain

Kevin Durant missed his fourth straight game Thursday at San Antonio due to a mild ankle sprain he sustained just before halftime at Golden State last week.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks announced before the game that Durant “could not go if he wanted to go.”

Brooks labeled Durant as day-to-day. But the mounting number of missed games due to what the team diagnosed as a mild sprain has now become a mild concern — especially since the injury is to the same foot Durant recently underwent surgery on to repair a fractured bone.

It’s always fun to hear which exact adjectives NBA stars use when discussing other stars. Here’s Kobe Bryant discussing Russell Westbrook, as reported by ESPN Los Angeles:

Kobe says Westbrook plays with rage, aggression

Recently, Kobe Bryant said there’s only one other active NBA player whose intensity matches his own: Russell Westbrook.

“He just plays with a rage that’s not very common,” the Los Angeles Lakers star guard said of Westbrook this week. “He just plays with a lot of aggression.”

The two will face off Friday (ESPN, 7:30 PT) when the Lakers (8-17) host Oklahoma City Thunder (12-14) at Staples Center.

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News blog reporting fun futuristic dreaming type stuff:

Plenty of time awaits before the 2016 offseason strikes. Plenty of circumstances could determine how the free agency sweepstakes play out.

But with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant becoming a free agent in 2016, consider him as the Lakers’ top player they will pursue.

“That’s safe to say,” said a league source familiar with the Lakers’ thought process.

So with the Lakers having their sights on Durant in 2016, has Kobe Bryant made an early free agency pitch?

“No, I think we know each other pretty well,” Bryant said on Thursday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “I don’t think it’s a discussion that you have in terms of coming here. But I think it’s more of an understanding how to play with each other.”

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on OKC Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who after an early-season injury has taken things to another level in 2014-15:

During this recent streak of unbelievable MVP-level games — a career-high nine straight of at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists — it’s Westbrook’s finesse and improved touch around the rim that’s vaulted his kamikaze style to the next level. He’s playing with a controlled chaos that’s so rare. He’s darting to the rim with that same breakneck speed, but routinely maneuvering around the basket with a smoothness we’re not used to and tossing in feathery layups with either hand. His shot selection has always been criticized. His efficiency has always been used as an argument against him. But that’s not a crutch his biggest skeptics can lean on right now. Westbrook, again, was economical with his usage on Tuesday night: 20 shots, 11 makes, 32 points (to go along with his usual seven assists, six rebounds and four steals). In his career, Westbrook is a 43 percent shooter. But this season, he’s currently at 49.5 percent. Some would suggest he’s due for a regression to the norm. But others would view this as a different, improved Westbrook — the kind of dynamic yet efficient player who can make a legit case as the league’s best player.

OKC Thunder recall Grant Jerrett and Mitch McGary from D-League

The Oklahoma City Thunder has recalled forwards Grant Jerrett and Mitch McGary from the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Jerrett has appeared in four games (four starts) for the Blue this season, averaging 10.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.0 assist in 21.0 minutes per game.

McGary has played in six games (six starts) with the Blue this year, averaging 17.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.50 steals, and 1.33 blocks in 25.5 minutes per contest.

Thunder recall Mitch McGary from D-League

The Oklahoma City Thunder has recalled forward Mitch McGary from the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

During his most recent assignment, McGary appeared in two games (two starts) for the Blue, averaging 17.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.00 steal, and 1.00 block in 26.5 minutes. Overall, the rookie forward has appeared in four games (four starts) with the Blue this season, averaging 16.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.25 steals in 23.8 minutes per game.

The Oklahoma City Thunder has assigned forward Mitch McGary to the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

McGary, the 21st overall selection of the 2014 NBA Draft, has yet to appear in a regular season game for the Thunder.

OKC Thunder are finally healthy

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting some good news about the OKC Thunder. That their players are healthy enough to stand up, jump, move around and many other things that are useful when playing pro basketball:

OKC Thunder are finally healthy

For the first time this season, the Oklahoma City Thunder has its entire roster healthy.

Each of the team’s 15 players participated in Wednesday’s practice, resulting in a packed set of adjacent courts inside the team’s training center, a scene that hasn’t been seen all season.

“It’s great that we have our entire roster able to participate in practice and have the chance to play in games,” said coach Scott Brooks.

Perry Jones, who has been sidelined since Nov. 4 with a knee contusion, became the last player to rejoin the team. His right knee will continue to be monitored but he is now available to play in games. Jones has appeared in only five games this season but was showing promise before sustaining his injury. He scored a career-high 32 points in a three-point road loss to the Clippers on Oct. 30 and had a 20-point performance two nights later at Denver.

Kevin Durant should return soon for OKC

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on OKC Thunder star Kevin Durant, who should make his return from injury in the very near future:

Kevin Durant should return soon for OKC

Scott Brooks stopped and thought about the question before answering.

“Any lineup changes?” the coach was asked Monday.

Brooks began with an “Um” before proceeding with a pregnant pause that left all in attendance at the end of the Thunder’s practice wondering if this would be the moment he announced Kevin Durant is back.

“No,” Brooks then said, finally. “Nothing as of yet.”

The “as of yet” part left Durant’s timetable up to interpretation, and it’s looking and sounding more and more like the reigning MVP is extremely close to making his season debut, perhaps as early as Tuesday at New Orleans.

Thunder waive Sebastian Telfair

Oklahoma City Thunder waive Sebastian Telfair

Thunder waive Sebastian Telfair

The Oklahoma City Thunder waived guard Sebastian Telfair, announced Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Telfair appeared in 16 games (one start) with the Thunder this season, and averaged 8.4 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.9 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game.

The OKC Thunder roster now stands at 15 players, the league maximum.

The Oklahoma City Thunder has recalled forward Grant Jerrett from the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Jerrett has not appeared in a game for Oklahoma City this season while recovering from offseason surgery on his left ankle.

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on injured OKC Thunder superstar Kevin Durant, who continues to rack up endorsement deals:

Another endorsement deal for Kevin Durant

On Thursday, Kevin Durant — who has more endorsement deals than any other NBA player — signed on with fast food drive-in chain Sonic to be its first-ever athlete ambassador.

“Everything that Kevin pitches comes from an authentic point of view,” said Michael Yormark, president and chief of branding and strategy for Roc Nation, Jay Z’s agency that represents Durant. “When it comes to grab-and-go food, KD’s a Sonic guy.”

Durant hinted at his newest partnership on Wednesday via Twitter, saying “getting excited to announce my newest partner … the name is gonna be familiar.”

The Oklahoma City Thunder has assigned forward Grant Jerrett to the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

During the 2013-14 season with the Thunder’s D-League affiliate, Jerrett appeared in 27 games (25 starts) and averaged 15.1 points and 6.1 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per contest. He is yet to appear in a game as a member of the Thunder.

The Thunder secured the rights to Jerrett on draft night after he was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 40th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

The Oklahoma City Thunder has recalled forward Grant Jerrett from the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Jerrett has not appeared in a game for Oklahoma City this season while recovering from offseason surgery on his left ankle.

Thunder assign Grant Jerrett to D-League

Thunder assign Grant Jerrett to D-League

The Oklahoma City Thunder have assigned forward Grant Jerrett to the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League, Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced.

During the 2013-14 season with the Thunder’s D-League affiliate, Jerrett appeared in 27 games (25 starts) and averaged 15.1 points and 6.1 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per contest. He is yet to appear in a game as a member of the Thunder.

The Thunder secured the rights to Jerrett on draft night after he was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 40th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Russell Westbrook health update: Surgery on hand complete

Russell Westbrook health update: Surgery on hand complete

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook underwent successful surgery today to address a fracture in the second metacarpal in his right hand, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced.

The procedure was performed by Dr. Thomas Graham with Thunder medical personnel present at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. Westbrook will be re-evaluated in four weeks, at which time a further update will be provided.

The three-time All-Star scored 38 points to go along with six assists in Wednesday’s opener against the Portland Trail Blazers, before sustaining the injury in the first half of Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 2014-15 Oklahoman City Thunder season is off to an injury-filled start. With star forward Kevin Durant already out, pressure was on the shoulders of super-energetic star guard Russell Westbrook to carry much of the load. But now Westbrook is hurt too, with a real injury that could keep him out for some time. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

The early indication is that Russell Westbrook could miss four to six weeks after fracturing the second metacarpal in his right hand Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

It could keep the Thunder’s electric point guard sidelined through mid-December and add him to an already ridiculously long list of injured Oklahoma City players who are expected to miss the season’s first month.

The projected recovery time would cost Westbrook 15 games on the low end and as many as 21 contests. He would rejoin the lineup between Nov. 28 and Dec. 12.

Westbrook is scheduled to undergo further tests Friday in Oklahoma City.

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