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Why Kevin Durant’s ultimatum to the Nets requires just a one-word response from owner Joe Tsai

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Give Kevin Durant this much credit: The man isn’t afraid to go to the mattresses.

But let’s let the praise, awe or understanding end there. Durant’s move this week to reportedly sit with Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai and lay down a me-or-them ultimatum is the latest proof that the only thing Durant may excel at more than basketball is an uncanny knack for turning tone deafness into an art form.

He’s a diva-may-care. And Tsai has to tell the man the same word Nets general manager Sean Marks did, as we suggested here when news of Durant’s trade demand first surfaced, the word that has led to all this huffing and puffing to blow Tsai’s team down: No.

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No, Kevin, you’re not in charge.

No, Kevin, we won’t blow up our team, or trade you, or — cue Durant’s latest would-be power play — fire all the adults in the room because they didn’t treat your tantrum like the world’s most sagacious reaction to difficulty. 

Let’s hone in on why, in London, Durant reportedly told the Nets owner he must either trade him — or fire head coach Steve Nash and Marks.

It’s not, as Shams Charania reported for The Athletic, because Durant is “transparent and professional,” the description of the supposed mood of the high-powered confab. This is all happening, including the timing and tone of this news story, because Durant has too often made a habit of being neither transparent nor professional.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to read this piece from Charania, a world-class NBA newsbreaker who himself has been transparent at times about his willingness to carry water for the sources who allow him to offer such accurate and valuable information, and deduce that Durant or those near him leaked the reporting in exchange for casting all this in a favorable light.

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Thus, KD’s latest me-me-me-me move gets sold as an above-the-board powerbroker handling such difficulties with aplomb and maturity. Don’t buy it for a second.

Strip away the quid-pro-quo that is the heartbeat of breaking sports news, and “does not have faith in the team’s direction” actually translates to: Didn’t do my bidding.

As in: Durant demanded a trade, Marks said no, and the superstar, unaccustomed to that word, has responded with a next-level move. The choice now that it’s either him or them. Despite the details that, you know, exactly one year before the Tasi meeting, Durant signed a four-year, $198 million contract extension.

Durant isn’t just saying keep me or keep them. He’s saying, regardless of how newsbreakers try to present his latest diva-demand, either trade him — or make him the boss.

Look, Durant is a basketball player of otherworldly talent and dedication. His talent borders on the miraculous, and his love for the game is clear. He is also, when not going full diva, by all accounts a great guy. Human beings are complicated, and we can be many things at once: Talented, dedicated, hungry, kind, interesting, insightful, and full of petty grievances and insecurities. 

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None of this is to say Durant is a bad person, as if that has any place in a sports column. It’s to say that many all-time great players are remarkably awful string-pullers and would-be GMs. Look westward, Tsai, to the Los Angeles Lakers and one LeBron James for a real-world, real-time reminder.

Trade Durant (for the right price), or don’t. Believe in him, or decide you’ve had enough. But don’t allow Durant to burn everything down because last year was tough. Don’t let him hold you hostage because he didn’t get his way in demanding a trade that would devastate the Nets without a fair return. Don’t let him end the run of Marks, who has proven himself a great general manager, nor that of a Hall of Fame player in Nash who deserves more time to show what he can or can’t do as a head coach.

This is scorched-earth stuff. Things went bad, let me leave. You won’t just give me away, fire everyone. You won’t fire everyone, fine, time for the public-news-bomb-pressure campaign. 

That’s the other part of this.

It’s beyond credulity to entertain the idea that Tsai or those around him leaked this news. There’s no need. The Nets owner doesn’t need to leverage himself by leaking a blockbuster bit of news in order to pressure himself. He’s the decision maker. So if this report from Shams came from Durant and the people around him — as seems quite clear, especially given the rosy presentation of Durant’s end of things — then KD went in 24 hours, straight from asking Tasi to fire Nash and Marks, to trying to publicly pressure Tasi to do it.

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That’s a tantrum. Or hardball. Or both. But either way, it’s bad business, and there remains one word in response, either to trading a generational talent like KD for less than what you want in return, or in firing the GM who won’t do so, along with his hand-picked head coach:

No. 

No, Kevin.

No.

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Boise State vs. San Diego State live stream info, TV channel: How to watch NCAA Football on TV, stream online

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Who’s Playing

San Diego State @ Boise State

Current Records: San Diego State 2-2; Boise State 2-2

What to Know

The San Diego State Aztecs and the Boise State Broncos will face off in a Mountain West clash at 8 p.m. ET Sept. 30 at Albertsons Stadium. San Diego State isn’t expected to win, but seeing as the odds didn’t stop them last game, maybe the squad has another upset up their sleeve.

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Things were close when the Aztecs and the Toledo Rockets clashed last week, but San Diego State ultimately edged out the opposition 17-14. San Diego State can attribute much of their success to RB Jordan Byrd, who rushed for two TDs and 115 yards on 16 carries. That nimble footwork stands out as the first time Byrd has hit the 100-yard rushing mark this season. Byrd’s sharp performance also set his single-game rushing touchdown high for the season.

San Diego State’s defense was a presence as well, as it collected three interceptions and one fumble. Those interceptions were spread across their defensive unit.

Meanwhile, Boise State was first on the board but had to settle for second at the end of their matchup against the UTEP Miners last Friday. The Broncos took a hard 27-10 fall against UTEP. This was hardly the result Boise State or its fans were betting on, as they were favored by 16.5 points over UTEP heading into this game. No one had a standout game offensively for Boise State, but QB Hank Bachmeier led the way with one touchdown.

San Diego State’s win brought them up to 2-2 while Boise State’s loss pulled them down to an identical 2-2. A couple defensive numbers to keep in mind before kickoff: San Diego State enters the contest with only three rushing touchdowns allowed, good for 29th best in the nation. As for the Broncos, they rank 13th in the nation when it comes to passing yards allowed per game, with only 159.8 on average.

How To Watch

  • When: Friday at 8 p.m. ET
  • Where: Albertsons Stadium — Boise, Idaho
  • TV: Fox Sports 1
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $29.00

Odds

The Broncos are a solid 6.5-point favorite against the Aztecs, according to the latest college football odds.

The line has drifted a bit towards the Broncos, as the game opened with the Broncos as a 5-point favorite.

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Over/Under: -110

See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

San Diego State have won two out of their last three games against Boise State.

  • Nov 26, 2021 – San Diego State 27 vs. Boise State 16
  • Oct 06, 2018 – San Diego State 19 vs. Boise State 13
  • Oct 14, 2017 – Boise State 31 vs. San Diego State 14



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Titans’ defense struggling with explosive plays: 'We got to get it fixed'

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The Titans’ defense has given up 20 explosive plays through three weeks. What has gone into those issues, and how can they address it?



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FIBA Women’s World Cup Takeaways: Learning experience for Canada in loss to U.S. – Sportsnet.ca

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Breanna Stewart scored a game-high 17 points and added eight rebounds as the United States demolished Canada 83-43 in the semifinals of the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022. 

The loss saw Canada move onto the bronze-medal game, while the United States will compete for its fourth straight World Cup gold. 

The star Las Vegas Aces pick-and-roll combo of A’Ja Wilson and Chelsea Gray combined for 19 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists for the U.S. in the win. 

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Laeticia Amihere led all Canadian scorers with eight points. 

The Americans jumped on Canada right from the opening tip, getting out to a 15-0 run to begin the game. The U.S. held the Canadians without a single point for nearly five full minutes before Amihere finally ended the drought with 5:09 left in the first quarter. 

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“I was really pleased with our team’s attention to detail in the scouting report,” Cheryl Reeve, Team USA’s head coach said after the game. “Canada’s had, I think, a terrific tournament and so I told our group that they’re a win against the hosts away from being the No. 1 seed on that side. So, I wanted them to understand what they just did and how hard they made it for Canada to score the ball – and Canada’s a very good defensive team. 

“So, that was a quality win for us and, as we said, our goal is to win a gold medal and we’re in position to do that.” 

Canada scored just seven points in total in the first quarter as it carried a 27-7 deficit that would never really shrink much. 

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Overall, the Canadians looked to be thoroughly overmatched by the United States’ superior length, strength, speed and athleticism. Canada only shot 21.9 per cent from the field while the U.S. finished the game having shot the ball a tidy 48.4 per cent from the field. 

Here are a few takeaways from a rough Canadian defeat in the semifinals to a powerful U.S. squad. 

Valuable learning experience for Canada

Despite the lopsided nature of the loss, there’s certainly positives for Canada to take from its game with the U.S. 

For one, it’s abundantly clear what the top of the mountain looks like for this team as it looks to build towards the 2024 Paris Olympics.

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The United States is an unfair team filled to the brim with not just WNBA talent, but WNBA stars – Kelsey Plum and Sabrina Ionescu comes off the bench for the U.S. Yet, this is the kind of obstacle that will need to be overcome if Canada is to achieve its gold-medal dreams. 

Understanding what you’re up against is never a bad thing, even if it may seem demoralizing as you embark upon the journey. 

For Canada head coach Victor Lapena, this game, and all the others Canada has played in so far, have been valuable building blocks for what’s to come. 

“It’s very, very important to be in these games for us,” said Lapena. “Before coming here we didn’t talk, we didn’t expect to be in the semifinal, but on the other hand we didn’t think that we wouldn’t be able to do it. … 

“I’m very happy with the group because all our games were difficult work for us. Serbia, France, Japan. Very difficult, but this is experience and experience and experience and they’re very different styles. So, for our team, looking to the future, looking towards Paris, looking after the Olympics, looking at the next six, eight years [playing in these games] is very, very important.” 

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U.S. runs down Canada’s throat

When Canada went down 15-0 to begin the game it, essentially, finished right there in that moment. 

The United States appeared to have a shock-and-awe gameplan by playing very quickly, something that had Canada on its toes from the opening tip, leading to tentative play and no chance to retaliate before it was already too late. 

“They played amazing from the beginning of the game,” said Lapena. “When you play against USA in the semifinal it’s pretty clear that you’re either perfect or they’re going to break the game open in 10-15 minutes.” 

Dissatisfied with how they started against Serbia in their quarterfinal matchup, the U.S. looked like they were playing with just a six-second shot clock at times. They continually pushed for transition and semi-transition looks and, when Canada’s half-court defence was actually set, would force quick post-ups for easy lay-ups or a kick-out for three. The Canadian defence was helpless in the face of the American ball movement. 

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Team USA finished the game scoring 14 points off 15 Canadian turnovers, tallying 16 fastbreak points and eating up the entire with 48 points in the paint. 

“I think for any team playing quicker earlier in the offence, before the defence is well positioned, is a goal for any team,” said Reeve. “That’s been an identity that we’ve really hammered and when we’re at our best. And like I said, any team is at their best when they’re playing earlier in the possession. And so, we’ve just really put a strong emphasis on that area. 

Looking ahead to the bronze-medal game

Canada will see Australia in the bronze medal game, Friday at 11:00 p.m. ET on Sportsnet. 

Should they come out on top, it would be Canada’s first FIBA Women’s World Cup medal since 1986, when the national team topped Czechoslovakia 64-59 to win bronze. 

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Australia fell to China in a heartbreaker 61-59, setting up a gold-medal matchup between them and the United States. 

The host Aussies failed to reach the gold-medal game despite China being without leading scorer Li Meng. The guard missed the semifinal game after reportedly suffering a fever because of fatigue. 

For Canada, the chance to square off against Australia for bronze is an opportunity. 

Canada’s lone defeat in the group stage came to Australia, 75-72, where Canada blew a 14-point lead and saw Australia storm back in the fourth quarter to steal a victory. 

The chance to exact some revenge for an earlier defeat with a podium spot on the line has to be enticing for Team Canada. Better yet, it’s fair to think the Canadians will have something of an advantage. 

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This late into the tournament, fatigue has set in, especially with how many games teams must play in such a short amount of time. 

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Given the seesaw, physical affair Australia went through in an all-out scrap against China and the chance Canada got to give its key players rest in a blowout with the U.S., the Canadians should have fresher legs heading into the bronze-medal game. 

At the very least, Lapena wants his players to rest up before the big game. 

“The players just need to sleep to recover their bodies, and to eat the perfect food to be ready,” Lapena said. “Yes, sleep is very important.” 

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It’s not a huge advantage, but when you’re fighting for a medal for the first time in 36 years any edge that can be eked out is worth exploring.





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