Morning Shootaround

Shootaround (Sept. 20) -- Oklahoma City Thunder have little reaction to Kevin Durant's Twitter folly Staff

This morning’s headlines:

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Thunder players have little to say about Durant’s comments — Kevin Durant’s tweets from another account about his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, have been the talk of the NBA the last few days. Durant apologized for the tweets and called them “childish”, but how did his former Thunder teammates take them? Erik Horne of The Oklahoman caught up with Andre Roberson at the Oklahoma State Fair:

Roberson said all the team can do it worry about itself — even if he admitted Durant’s tweets more than a year after his departure from Oklahoma City in free agency are kind of annoying.

“I mean, it’s only gonna keep being relevant the more we talk about it, so I just don’t like to touch on it,” Roberson said. “Can’t control it. We control what we do over here in our organization.

“I just leave it alone and it is what it is.”

Patrick Patterson, who attended the Oklahoma State Fair with Roberson, McDermott and Jerami Grant on Thursday as part of a Thunder community event, can’t be categorized as one of the “cats” Durant was talking about. He was playing for Toronto during Durant’s final season in OKC.

The Thunder newcomer found Durant’s situation “funny.”

“As players, we have the right to chirp back. We have the right to defend ourselves,” Patterson said. “At the end of the day, it’s called freedom of speech. Two guys were able to voice their opinions and say what they wanted to say.”

The outspoken Enes Kanter didn’t find Durant’s comments so humorous, jumping on Twitter to defend the Thunder as the best organization in the NBA with the craziest fans.

And, of course, the Thunder center couldn’t help himself.

“And those cats, I call them FAMILY,” Kanter wrote.

“It doesn’t concern us now. He’s moved on, we’ve moved on,” Roberson said. “We’re going to try to continue to get better and grow as a team for this upcoming year, and put together a great stretch for a championship run.

“Everything takes care of itself. We’ll just leave that to the side.”

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Celtics’ Brown eager to talk with Irving — As one of four returning players from last season’s team, Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown is excited to be a part of Boston’s revamped roster. He knows he’ll see a boost in playing time and will be pairing with new point guard Kyrie Irving often throughout 2017-18. With all that in mind, Brown said he’s ready to talk with Irving about the season and more, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe:

Brown, considered an outside-the-box thinker, said he has had conversations with Irving, who stunned reporters at All-Star Weekend in February by saying he believes the world is flat. Irving has not backed off that statement.

“The conversations are great, most of the time we don’t even talk basketball,” Brown said. “[Tuesday] was the first time I got to talk to him. He talked about spending a little time in Atlanta [this summer] and I spent a little time in Atlanta [his hometown]. We didn’t cross paths.

“There’s going to be numerous conversations. I’m interested in having a conversation about whether the world is flat or round. It’s going to be an interesting year, I’ll tell you that.”

On the court, Brown could be competing for a starting position. Four of the starters are essentially sealed with Horford, Irving, Hayward and likely Marcus Morris. But with Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley gone, there is an opening at the shooting guard/small forward position, perhaps to interchange with Hayward. That opportunity is not lost on Brown, who turns 21 on Oct. 24.

Brown averaged 8.4 points in nearly 21 minutes and 37.9 percent 3-point shooting in the last 25 regular-season games. His playing time was limited in the postseason but he did make some contributions, including 19 points in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

“My mind-set is the same in a lot of ways and different in a lot of ways,” he said. “It’s the same in the sense that I’m working, trying to get better. Where it’s different is I know a little bit more. I got my feet a little bit under me now. A little bit more is expected of me. Just accepting that mentally is an exciting time right now.

“I’m completely locked in. I can’t wait for the season to start. We’ve got a lot of great guys that are joining our program and we’ve got a lot of guys we love that left. It’s just new things that are going on I’m just happy to be a part of it and happy to still be here as a Celtic. It’s going to be super exciting. I wish the season were starting tomorrow.”

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Bulls seek West-like input from Collins — The Golden State Warriors are the cream of the NBA crop due to shrewd roster moves and management therein. Former Warriors executive Jerry West played a big part in that role and, after the Chicago Bulls hired Doug Collins as a senior advisor yesterday, they are hoping for a similar end game with him. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune has more:

In many ways, Collins will be tasked to replicate the success Jerry West had as a adviser with the Warriors. West is largely credited with helping nix an organization thought to trade Klay Thompson for Kevin Love.

Paxson cited Collins’ “unique passion and intensity” as attributes for the hire, which first took shape during offseason meetings with Forman and the Reindorfs. The hiring process accelerated during a Labor Day weekend meeting.

“Doug is here, initially, to observe the organization and what we do. He has been with several organizations over the years so he has a perspective that some of us don’t have,” Paxson said. “I know what this city means to him. I know what this organization means to him.”

The trick, particularly with Hoiberg, will be implementing that passion and intensity without being pushy.

“My schedule is going to be whatever Pax, Gar and Fred need me to do for them,” Collins said. “Where I am in my life now, I’m a mentor. That’s when I’m at my best. When have coached in this league, you sort of become a wounded healer. I think Fred would probably tell you over the last couple of years — I’ve really not known Fred that well – but how many times I’ve reached out via text when you’re going through tough times or whatever, just to keep doing what you’re doing, keep your spirits up.”

Collins called his role “behind the scenes” and both he and Paxson said he wouldn’t be on the court working with players. The Bulls said Tuesday is the only time he will speak publicly.

“This game has given me the greatest of highs and it also has broken my heart,” Collins said. “But yet at age 66, I stand here and I’ve never loved it more. I’m old. But I’m not old school. I have a young brain.”

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Beasley thinks current Knicks can make playoffs — Michael Beasley is, if nothing else, a capable scorer in the NBA. He’s proven that much over his nine seasons and knows other scorers when he sees them. His addition to a team that features (for now) Carmelo Anthony and others has him thinking a high playoff seed is within New York’s reach. Al Iannazzone of Newsday has more:

Michael Beasley considers Carmelo Anthony a mentor, one of his best friends, and said he can’t wait to play with him.

It might not be a long-term partnership because the Knicks have tried to trade Anthony. But Beasley believes a team with him, Anthony and some of the Knicks’ other veterans could contend in the Eastern Conference.

“If Tim Hardaway Jr., Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and myself [are on the roster], those are four guys that can score 25 points per game,” Beasley said Tuesday morning at the Knicks’ practice facility. “Then you add in Lance Thomas, Kyle O’Quinn, Joakim Noah — let’s not forget about that All- Star . . . I think we’ve got a position to be not only a playoff team but a five, six seed team if we do it right.”

When Beasley signed a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, he was viewed as a potential replacement for Anthony. But Beasley, who patterned his game after Anthony’s and called himself “literally Carmelo on the left side of the floor,” said Knicks officials never talked to him about replacing the perennial All-Star.

“I don’t watch anybody else’s saga but my own,” Beasley said. “I’m coming in to the Knicks and I’m looking forward to playing with Carmelo. Anything else is the organization and the coaches and him. But I’m actually looking forward to having a great year with Melo and finally being in the playoffs.”

“I still think I have a chance to be one of the best in the NBA,” Beasley said. “I’m your favorite player’s favorite player. And it’s not enough for me for him to know that. I want the world to know that. So I’m still working hard as if I can be the best ever.

“I just want the respect I deserve. Not for what I can do in the future but what I’ve done in the past. And I just want a fair opportunity, a fair chance, a fair shot to play basketball.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Great look at the deep bond J.J. Redick and Jameer Nelson forged as young players in Orlando that still lasts today … Malik Monk is a bit of a mystery man as Hornets camp nears … Why Avery Bradley may hold the keys to success in Detroit this season … The Pelicans and Dante Cunningham have reportedly reached a 1-year deal … The Jazz have to cut at least one player before the 2017-18 season begins …