By Bryan Jeon
For the second time in the past week, a team executive got a little too close for NBA regulations, involving the Texas Longhorns’ Kevin Durant. Charlotte Bobcats part-owner Michael Jordan was fined $15,000 for merely speculating interest in and mentioning Durant’s name in an interview. At about the same time, the Boston Celtics were fined $30,000 after general manager Danny Ainge sat next to Durant’s mother during the Big 12 tournament.
Team coaches and executives are barred from talking about underclassmen who have yet to declare for the NBA draft. But in an interview with The Charlotte Observer last Tuesday, Jordan said he was interested in versatile players and added, “The kid who may present that is the kid in Texas. (He) may have that because he has all the right signs.”
This 6’10” forward is more expensive to get involved with if you’re an NBA team than Michael Jackson is in Japan, who is currently charging $3,500 for thirty seconds of one-on-one time with the King of Pop.
Durant, who should easily become the first freshman to win the National Player of the Year this year, is ready for the NBA now. He should not waste another year in college, where he seems to be toying with opponents on the offensive end of the court and is a likely lottery pick in the upcoming draft. In Texas’ 87-68, tournament-ending loss to the USC Trojans, the freshman phenom never got his rhythm in the game and still finished with 30 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks.
As for Boston (20-47) and Charlotte (24-43), they are the second and third worst teams in the NBA (behind the Memphis Grizzlies at 17-50), respectively. The Bobcats will also be going through a coaching change at the end of the season, as Jordan stated that Bernie Bickerstaff would complete the season but not return next year as head coach. Rumors have North Carolina head coach Larry Brown to be the favorite from the getgo, but being that Jordan likes to go with his allies, there has been mention of Patrick Ewing taking over the leadership role, who actually was an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets up until August of 2006 but resigned to spend time with his family.
As it is very possible that Durant had played his last game in a Longhorns uniform, here’s a highlight reel of his impactful year in college.