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Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant fined $50,000 for ‘offensive and derogatory language’

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Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant has been fined $50,000 for using “offensive and derogatory language on social media,” the NBA announced in a statement Friday.

Earlier this week, actor and comedian Michael Rapaport posted private messages that he said Durant had sent him — which included threatening language and anti-gay and misogynistic slurs.

Coach Steve Nash said the organization had a conversation with Durant about the language used in the exchange, and the Nets star apologized Thursday.

“I’m sorry that people seen that language I used,” Durant said. “That’s not really what I want people to see and hear from me, but hopefully I can move past it and get back out there on the floor.”

Durant has missed the Nets’ past 21 games with a hamstring injury. He is averaging 29.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game this season.

ESPN’s Malika Andrews contributed to this report.

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Los Angeles Lakers extend qualifying offer to guard Talen Horton-Tucker

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The Los Angeles Lakers made their first move in what promises to be a busy offseason by extending a qualifying offer to second-year guard Talen Horton-Tucker, the team announced Thursday.

The qualifying offer for Horton-Tucker is $1.9 million, according to ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks, and will make the 20 year old a restricted free agent, allowing the Lakers to match any outside offer to retain their former second-round pick.

Los Angeles has early Bird rights and can re-sign Horton-Tucker for a contract that projects to start at $10.4 million, according to Marks. The contract must last at least two seasons.

Horton-Tucker averaged 9.0 points on 45.8% shooting with 2.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.0 steals in more than 20 minutes per game last season.

The Iowa State product made strides in his second year in the league, memorably filling up the box score with 14 points, 11 assists and three steals in a road win over the Brooklyn Nets in April and played 13 games when he scored 15 points or more, during which the Lakers had an 8-5 record.

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Team USA sings happy birthday to Kevin Durant

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Two-time gold medalist and two-time NBA champion Kevin Durant was seemingly everywhere — and being trolled mercilessly — as the Olympic Games kicked off with the opening ceremonies in Tokyo on Friday.

Whether it be chumming it up with his basketball teammates ahead of the parade of nations or posing for pictures with fellow Team USA legends Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel, Durant looked to be in good spirits and enjoying the moment as he prepares his quest for an Olympic three-peat.

Then, something strange happened.

The entire Team USA delegation saw the 2016 men’s basketball team’s plane ride rendition of “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton (shoutout to Olympic Carmelo Anthony) and raised it a “Happy Birthday” serenade of KD.

The only problem was … it’s not even his birthday. *Rihanna voice*

The Brooklyn Nets superstar, who turns 33 on Sept. 29, looked justifiably perplexed by what was unfolding.

If you’ve ever been subjected to someone telling a waiter it’s your birthday at a restaurant when it’s not, you know his stoic reaction was warranted. It was a 2009 incident at Red Robin that did me in. Some things you just can’t unhear.



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New Orleans Pelicans officially name Willie Green as next head coach

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The New Orleans Pelicans officially named Willie Green as their next head coach Thursday.

Green is coming off a stint as an assistant with the Phoenix Suns, who just made a run to the NBA Finals, which delayed the timing of the Pelicans’ announcement.

“After an extensive and collaborative search, Willie stood out among an impressive group of candidates as the best person to lead our team moving forward,” Pelicans governor Gayle Benson said in a statement. “We are very happy to welcome Willie as our new head coach and we look forward to working with him to guide our team on the court as we work towards bringing a championship to New Orleans.”

Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin called Green, a 12-year NBA veterans one of the “most respected assistant coaches in the NBA.”

“He brings a vast amount of basketball knowledge and experience to our team as both a coach and former player, along with exceptional leadership qualities and an innate ability to connect with players, staff and fans alike,” Griffin said in a statement.

Green spent three seasons as an assistant with the Golden State Warriors before joining Phoenix.

“I want to thank Mrs. Benson, David Griffin, and the entire Pelicans organization for having faith in me to lead this talented group of players moving forward,” Green said. “It’s a blessing and an honor to get this opportunity in a special place like New Orleans. I look forward to getting to work and immersing myself and my family into the local community.”

As a player, Green made the playoffs in seven of his 12 seasons including the lone year in New Orleans (2010-11), one of just seven playoff trips the team has made in franchise history.

That season, Green made it on a team coached by Monty Williams and led by point guard Chris Paul. Now the Pelicans are hiring Green away from a Suns team led by Williams and Paul.

Green replaces Stan Van Gundy, who mutually agreed to leave the Pelicans after just one season. The Pelicans went 31-41 last season, a disappointing result after the season started with playoff aspirations. In the end, New Orleans didn’t even make the Western Conference play-in.

At 39, Green becomes the third-youngest coach in the NBA behind Oklahoma City’s Mark Daigneault and Memphis’ Taylor Jenkins.

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