West Notes: Suns, Kevin Durant, Kings, Mavs


Forwards Kevin Durant and Thaddeus Young were once roommates and competitors in high school — and have finally become teammates with the Suns, wrote Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic.Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns, NBA

Young was recently acquired via the buyout market after being traded by the Raptors to the Nets, and then waived.

“Me and Thad have been competing against each other since high school,” Durant said, via Rankin. “I’ve been knowing Thad since I was 15 years old.”

That was a while back, of course.

“Now 35 years old, Durant and Young were five-star recruits coming out of high school in 2006,” Rankin wrote. “Rivals ranked them both in the top five in the nation with 7-footer Greg Oden first, Durant second, Brandan Wright third, Chase Budinger fourth and Young fifth.”

  • Durant responded to comments from NBA legend Charles Barkley, who implied that Durant is a follower and not a leader. We have the full post here.


While there’s nothing resembling a rift between coach Mike Brown and GM Monte McNair, “it’s fair to wonder if they differ to some extent when it comes to the offense-defense discussion,” wrote Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee.

“We know we’ve got to improve the offense back closer to what it was last year,” McNair said, via Anderson. “If we do that, I think we can make some noise, but we’ve got some work to do because the West is tough 1 to 12 or 13 this year and every game is going to be a dogfight.”

Sacramento may have to take a different path to get beyond the first round of the playoffs this season.

Should the Kings try to run and gun their way to the playoffs as they did a year ago? Or should they keep emphasizing defensive effort, focus and physicality?” Anderson wrote. “This is a question that could determine Sacramento’s fate as the Kings try to return to the playoffs following a first-round exit in a seismic seven-game series against the Warriors last season.”

  • In case you missed it, point guard De’Aaron Fox is dealing with a shoulder injury as Sacramento prepares for its post-break stretch of the schedule. We have the full story here.
  • Former NBA forward Matt Barnes has been removed from his analyst role on the Kings’ pre- and postgame shows, as we relayed here.


The Mavericks will finally get a long look at what power forward P.J. Washington and center Daniel Gafford bring to a team aiming to make a run at the Finals.

Gafford, for one, believes the Mavs are a true dark horse.

“Oh, for sure,” Gafford told Dalton Trigg of DallasBasketball.com. “Like I said, if we just come out with the right mindset every night, one to stay consistent in the areas we’ve succeeded in and get better in the areas we’ve lacked in. It’s something that can for sure be stood to. I stand on all 10 with what [Lively] said. I love how he talked about us and gave us some type of motivation coming out of All-Star break.”

Dallas entered the post-break portion of the schedule riding a six-game winning streak.

“Even though we’re on a six-game winning streak, it’s gonna be a lot of teams, it’s gonna be a lot of guys that are gonna come out with their tails on fire,” Gafford said. “We gotta be ready for everything. We gotta be ready for the good, the bad and the ugly, and we gotta be able to get through that as a team.”

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