NBA Notebook

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 26, 2011

Associated Press
The NBA notebook …
OKLAHOMA CITY ó Kevin Durant knows all about how the Oklahoma City Thunder have been tabbed as the NBA’s team of the future during a meteoric rise from league laughingstock to title contender.
All through this season, he didn’t want to think about the prospect of success down the road. He wanted it now.
“I think the pieces are here. We had a good opportunity to get there right now,” Durant said Thursday, a day after Oklahoma City was eliminated by Dallas in the Western Conference finals.
“A lot of people always put that tag on us as being young and, ‘We’ll be OK down the line,’ and ‘The future is bright.’ We wanted to kind of rush the moments up and do something people didn’t think we could do.”
Durant said he still considered it “shocking” that Oklahoma City’s season had come to an end.
The NBA’s scoring champion the past two seasons had planned on still playing into mid-June, and now he’s not sure what he’ll do with the next few weeks open.
“We wanted to end the season better but we can’t hang our heads at the year we had,” Durant said. “I think it was successful as far as us growing and getting better as a group, everybody as individuals as well. We all wanted to get to that top level, but at the same time, we know what it takes to be patient and we’ve been there before as far as waiting our turn.î
Nancy Armour of the Associated Press writes:
This is what LeBron James envisioned last summer. Why he broke the hearts of everyone within a 100-mile radius of Cleveland, trashed his reputation and gave the nation a new punchline.
The Miami Heat aren’t in the NBA finals ó yet. But it seems almost inevitable now, what with a 3-1 lead and the Chicago Bulls looking dazed after James’ all-around dominating performance Tuesday night.
James can apologize for the rest of his career or make more defiant commercials, and he’ll still be the player everyone outside Miami loves to hate. The only way he’ll change public opinion is by winning the NBA title, and he is playing like a man determined to do that, even if it means dragging the rest of the Heat along with him.
“It’s whatever it takes for myself and for our team,” James said.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. ó Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof say they are “optimistic” that Sacramento can help finance a new arena after a feasibility study was released at a special City Hall meeting.
The Maloofs said in a statement released by the team Thursday that “the political and public will are here” in Sacramento despite years of failed measures to finance a facility.
The study was only preliminary and didn’t outline how an arena would be paid for. The report only called for “significant contributions” from the private and public sectors.
The Kings were close to moving to Anaheim before deciding earlier this month to stay at least one more season.