This year’s NBA off-season has been an eventful one and the news and rumors keep piling up. This time around, Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors shared his opinion on the Paul George trade while Kobe Bryant continues to issue challenges to some of today’s best NBA players. Also in the news are trade rumors involving Iman Shumpert and the possibility of Solomon Hill missing the upcoming NBA season.
Durant, who’s had his share of criticisms, didn’t hesitate to share his own take on the trade that brought long-time Indiana Pacers franchise player Paul George to KD’s former team. The Oklahoma State Thunder scored a major coup after it got George from the Pacers in exchange for guard Kevin Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
According to CBS Sports, Durant told Bill Simmons in the latter’s podcast show that Indiana basically “just gave him away.” Durant also praised George saying, “I think Paul George is so good. A lot of people disrespect him. Because I play against him and I respect my position.”
Durant shared that he, like many others, was “shocked” at the thought that the four-time All-Star and Olympian was traded for a couple of unproven players. Of course, Durant likely didn’t mean any disrespect for Oladipo and Domantas.
Oladipo is a serviceable player though he has yet to reach the potential that made him the second overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft. The oft-injured 25-year-old guard averaged a respectable 15.9 points per game for the Thunder while Sabonis, son of the great Arvydas, contributed almost six points and four rebounds while starting 66 games as a rookie.
Durant also credited OKC for “a ballsy move.”
Another player that may soon be traded is Iman Shumpert of the Cavaliers. Shumpert has been mentioned in a few trade rumors particularly one that involves Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks going to Houston in a three-way.
Bleacher Report mentioned that Shumpert, like Kyrie Irving, requested for a trade if Dave McMenamin of ESPN is to be believed. McMenamin said that Cleveland engaged Houston and the Minnesota Timberwolves on a possible trade for Shumpert but nothing came out of those talks.
Shumpert apparently did not appreciate the rumor that he demanded a trade. The 27-year-old guard asked McMenamin to call him so he can get the real story from Shumpert himself. Vertical’s Shams Charania also contradicted the rumor saying Shumpert did not ask to be traded but the Cavs are indeed shopping him.
While Shumpert will possibly play in a different uniform this upcoming season, Solomon Hill of the New Orleans Pelicans may not play at all or will at least miss a huge chunk of the season. Hill will be out for six to eight weeks after having surgery on his injured left hamstring. The 26-year-old defensive ace, who just signed a four-year, $48 million contract with the Pelicans, tore his hamstring while working out in Los Angeles recently.
Despite being away from the game for a while now, NBA legend Kobe Bryant continues to make his presence felt around the league, though not necessarily in a physical manner. Kobe recently issued a couple of challenges to John Wall of the Washington Wizards and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo. After challenging Isaiah Thomas to make the All-NBA First Team, Wall and Giannis asked Bryant what their challenges were. Kobe responded by tweeting that Wall should make “1st team all defense” to which the point guard responded with, “Say no more!”
Antetokounmpo received perhaps the biggest Kobe challenge yet. Bryant tweeted that the “Greek Freak” should be named the Most Valuable Player after the regular NBA season. Giannis winning the Maurice Podoloff Trophy is not that impossible especially considering that he finished eighth in the NBA MVP voting last season.
The Kobe Challenges, or what fans has started calling the “Mamba Mentality Challenges,” are not entirely focused on basketball. The former Laker star challenged NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan to “rekindle a lost friendship from your youth in Compton” while rapper Kendrick Lamar was tasked with revolutionizing “the music program at Centennial High School” via his record label.
Bryant also challenged Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks to break the franchise record for most interceptions in a single season. Lastly, Kobe has tasked track and field star Allyson Felix to “coach the sprinters for the upcoming Special Olympics.”
[Featured Image by Elsa/Getty Images]