Harden Talks Hoops & Style Evolution; CP3’s Gil Stories; LeBron Playoffs Conspiracy! | Out of Bounds

There won’t be any NBA games played until Thursday night, but Gilbert Arenas and the #OutofBounds team still have plenty to talk about in the world of basketball. During All-Star Weekend, Commissioner Adam Silver entertained the idea of shaking up the NBA playoffs format, re-seeding the top eight Eastern and Western teams 1–16 to increase the likelihood of the two best teams meeting in the championship round — regardless of conference. Gil and the guys debate the idea’s merits and ask, is it all a conspiracy to give LeBron James a better shot at making the Finals? With Houston (44-13) boasting the league’s best record at the All-Star break, the team discusses the reasons for the Rockets’ success and whether or not they’re the best team in the NBA. (Have the Warriors woken up from their regular season nap yet? Does it even matter?) Speaking of the Rockets, MVP front-runner James Harden sits down with OOB to talk about his evolution as a player and fashion icon, Houston hoops culture, and what he didn’t know about Chris Paul before they teamed up. Next, CP3 chats with OOB about building a brotherhood in Houston, witnessing greatness in Harden, and his off-court interests. The superstar assist man also dishes some pre-Draft workout and Team USA Gil stories — a bit of flaming that Gil responds to in true Hibachi fashion.

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Does Steve Kerr Have a Trash-Talking Burner Twitter, Kevin Durant Style?

Back in September, Kevin Durant got exposed for using secret “burner” social media accounts to defend himself in online arguments. He later admitted he felt “idiotic” for using them, and it was widely considered to be one of the biggest social media fails in the sports world in 2017.

With that in mind, you wouldn’t think KD’s own head coach would resort to using a burner Twitter to comment on opposing players, but that’s what some people are accusing Steve Kerr of doing. He tweeted and deleted a shot at James Harden and some NBA referees on Thursday night, and while he may have simply thought better of the tweet after sending it, many are now wondering if Kerr didn’t mean to send the tweet from a different account in the first place.

It all started when the official NBA Twitter account tweeted about Harden just after 10 p.m. ET on Thursday. It featured Harden taking and making a step-back three-pointer against the Spurs during the Rockets’ 102-91 victory over San Antonio.

A short time later, Kerr saw the NBA tweet and had something to say about it. On his official account he suggested Harden traveled on the play. He said it was “an embarrassment” Harden wasn’t whistled for a walk.

The tweet didn’t stay up long. But plenty of people were able to get a screenshot before it disappeared, and they wondered why in the world Kerr would take aim at Harden and the refs like that. Some concluded Kerr simply got caught up in the moment before deciding against leaving the tweet up. But more than a few people suggested Kerr may have meant to send it from a burner account, just like KD.

Kerr hasn’t spoken publicly about any of this yet. But it’ll be interesting to see what he has to say. If he meant to send the Harden tweet from his account, most of the Rockets players are probably going to have the same reaction Chris Paul had to something Kerr said to him during a recent game.

And if Kerr meant to send out the tweet from some secret account he uses, he's likely to get clowned the same way KD did. Either way, we wouldn’t expect Harden and the Rockets to forget about what Kerr said anytime soon.

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Kevin Durant Fires Back After Clint Capela Says Rockets Are Better Than Warriors

There may be only one team standing in the way of the Golden State Warriors winning their third championship in four years, and it's the Houston Rockets. After defeating the Warriors, 116-108, on Saturday for their second victory in three meetings this season, Rockets center Clint Capela was feeling himself a little too much when he said that his team is better than Golden State when they're playing at the top of their game. 

“We're confident because we know if we're doing what we're supposed to do, we're going to beat them…we are better than them,” Capela said, per ESPN. When Capela's comments made their way to Kevin Durant, he conceded that any team can be beat on any given night, and that includes the Warriors. “It's all a part of the game. They beat us twice this year. They should feel confident,” Durant said, according to ESPN. “Obviously, we're confident and we feel as though we are the best team in the league and we can beat anybody as well. But we can be beat. We can be beat on any night if we don't come to play.”

Then, Durant took direct aim at Capela for being the one to make the claim, adding that his “job is not as hard” as, say, Chris Paul or James Harden. “You hear it from guys like Capela,” Durant said. “Usually he's catching the ball and laying it up from CP [Chris Paul] or James Harden. His job is not as hard. When your job is that hard, you know you can't just come out there and say shit like that. I don't expect that from CP and James and [Trevor] Ariza and the rest of the guys like that because they know how hard it is to come out and do that every night. Capela, catch and dunk every night. It's pretty easy for him.” 

The last thing the Rockets want to do right now is light a fire under the Warriors. Even if it may be true that Houston could be better than Golden State, one thing that Capela isn't considering is that his teammates, CP3 and Harden, have a history of falling apart in the playoffs. So, instead of trying to go after the beast, why not concern yourself with the people standing in your corner first?

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Matt Barnes Slams Austin Rivers: ‘He Talks a Lot of Trash and Doesn’t Really Back It Up’

Matt Barnes was never one to mince words, and the former NBA player went in on Tuesday, calling current Clippers guard Austin Rivers “arrogant” while blaming his father and coach Doc Rivers for the demise of the Los Angeles Clippers.

During a guest appearance on Mad Dog Sports Radio, Barnes pointed out that Austin Rivers has always rubbed people in the NBA the wrong way, from coaches and teammates to other players around the league.

“He carries himself like he's a 10-time All-Star,” said Barnes, who played three seasons in L.A. with the father-son Rivers duo, “and he's not that.”

Barnes also pinpointed Doc Rivers for many of the organization's recent failures. He noted that although Rivers initially did well after replacing Vinny Del Negro in 2013, the players didn't respect him. They thought he was fake, a phony who'd tell them one thing and then do something different. Barnes specifically mentioned how Doc Rivers handled his son's contract, giving the young player a three-year deal for $35 million in the summer of 2016 despite Austin Rivers being consistently rated one of the league's worst players by advanced metrics.

It's easy to see why so many within the game feel a certain way about the 25-year-old Austin Rivers. He grew up the son of an NBA player and eventually became one of the country's most hyped basketball prospects. He went to Duke. He came into the NBA with a reputation as a gunner, which only intensified once his father became the coach and president of basketball operations. The “arrogant” accusations will only increase after what happened on Monday night.

During a wild matchup between the Clippers and the Houston Rockets, trash talk and hard fouls quickly turned into something much more serious. After the game, Rockets players Trevor Ariza, James Harden, Gerald Green and Chris Paul attempted to enter the Clippers locker room. They were reportedly so incensed over belligerent trash talk coming from the Clippers bench, Rivers being the key cog in that, that they were ready to take the on-court disagreements to another level. The NBA has since launched an investigation into the events.

Barnes has never had a flowery personality. His issues with former teammates (hello Derek Fisher) run the gamut. However, this isn't the first time we've heard someone call out Austin Rivers for being arrogant. It likely won't be the last time, either.

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Gabrielle Union Shares Full Behind-the-Scenes Story About Infamous Banana Boat on ‘Hot Ones’

Gabrielle Union talks about convincing Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Paul to ride a banana boat on vacation.

Carmelo Anthony Reveals 2 Major Trades That Almost Happened This Summer

Carmelo Anthony sent shockwaves through the NBA community last Saturday when he agreed to waive his no-trade clause so that the Knicks could deal him to the Thunder. It gave Oklahoma City three superstars on its roster—Anthony will be joined by Russell Westbrook and Paul George next season—and it also made the Western Conference even more talented than it already was (R.I.P. Eastern Conference, smh).

On Thursday, Anthony sent even more shockwaves through the NBA community with some comments he made on SiriusXM Radio. While talking about his trade, he said that he came close to being traded not once but twice at other times during the offseason. One of those trades involved him heading to Houston to join James Harden and Chris Paul on the Rockets.

“A deal was done with Houston early, then for some reason, whatever happened behind-the-scenes, it didn’t go through,” he said. “It fell through, then we had to really start paying attention and thinking about other options.”

That trade, according to Anthony, nearly went down in July. And there was another trade involving Anthony that almost happened a few weeks before that on the night of the 2017 NBA Draft. Anthony claims that he and George were scheduled to be dealt to the Cavaliers in deals that would have put Anthony, George, and LeBron James on the same team during the upcoming season. But that trade was also called off before it was finalized.

“It was funny because me and PG was supposed to be in Cleveland on draft night,” he said on SiriusXM. “We were communicating about that. The deal was actually done, and it got called off on draft night, so me and PG stayed connected throughout the course of the [offseason]. We never even talked about OKC, though.”

It’s pretty crazy to think about how all of this played out. And it’s also pretty crazy to think about what might have happened if Anthony had been traded to either the Cavaliers or Rockets. It could have affected where a bunch of other players, including guys like Kyrie Irving and Dwyane Wade, landed. And it could have shaken up the NBA even more this summer. What an offseason.

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Clippers Agree to Send Chris Paul to Rockets in Blockbuster Trade

Chris Paul is on his way to the Houston Rockets, according to a report from Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, in a move that is expected to shake up the NBA's power structure.

Reports came down early Wednesday morning that Paul moving to the Rockets was a serious possibility. ESPN's Marc Stein said at the time that James Harden was part of the recruiting team for Houston, urging Paul to join up with him to take on other Western Conference powers.

Paul and Harden were “determined to play together,” so once it became clear that Paul was going to leave for Houston in free agency, he reportedly arranged for the Clippers to send him in a trade instead in order to leave Los Angeles with something in return. The Clippers will receive Rockets players Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams, and a 2018 first-round pick from Houston.

Things aren't so great on LA's end of things, but this is as good of a return as you could hope for when a star player has informed you he could leave you with nothing. There are other dominoes to fall for the Clippers—Blake Griffin's free agency just got a whole lot more interesting—but they'll come out of a no-win situation with something, at least. In a post on his Twitter, Paul expressed his admiration for the Los Angeles community and thanked the fans for all their support during his time there.

Of course, the focus will be on Houston's end, and NBA Twitter was sent into hysterics with a single tweet, hardly knowing how to process Paul leaving L.A. to join up with Harden. Though some expressed concern about each player's preference to work with the ball in their hands, the general reaction was one of excitement about the possibilities.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Paul's offseason, the Rockets never seemed like a real threat to obtain his services. Early buzz revolved around Paul going to San Antonio, where he would have been the clear alpha dog in the Spurs' back court from day one. Now, he'll have to share that space with last year's MVP runner-up, who had transitioned to playing the de facto point guard role under Mike D'Antoni. There's also the question of whether Paul will buy into D'Antoni's offense, as his teams have traditionally played at a slower, more methodical pace at Paul's behest, while D'Antoni is all about running and gunning.  

But if the Rockets can get it to work, they might be one of the most exciting offensive teams to watch in the history of the league. Harden and Paul are ruthlessly efficient offensive players and more than capable as shooting threats off-the-ball, and if they come to an understanding about sharing the workload, there's no telling what their offensive ceiling is. 

For those of you wondering how Kevin Durant joining the Warriors might shift power around the league, you're looking at a direct product. Faced with an unstoppable juggernaut, players and teams are going to move heaven and earth just to give themselves a chance against Golden State. 

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Chris Paul Says Family Will Play Biggest Role in Free Agency, Talks New Capsule Collection

Chris Paul entered the NBA the same year former commissioner David Stern implemented the controversial dress code. So the Clippers point guard has seen the style of the league change drastically since 2005 as stars like Paul and his pals Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James roll up to arenas in designer duds and make international best-dressed lists.  

“It's been interesting to see how things have evolved over the years and how sports and fashion have come to play a huge role,” says Paul. “I think it's opened up opportunities for the sports world and the fashion world.” 

Paul, one of the most stylish players in the league, has taken advantage of one such recent opportunity to collaborate with the men's brand Five Four Club and the baller celebrated the release of a new capsule collection with a party in New York two days before the NBA Draft. 

Featuring the likes of Sixers star Joel Embiid and designers Robert Geller and Richard Chai, Paul and Five Four Club founder Dee Murthy and Andres Izquieta hosted an intimate dinner at the Meatpacking District restaurant Catch that Complex was invited to. There, we talked to the trio about the capsule collection, the inspiration behind it, their favorite pieces, and, for Paul specifically, a little free agency talk sprinkled in.  

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LeBron James to the Lakers? Yes, This Is a Rumor That’s Actually Going Around Right Now

From now until the time he retires, LeBron James' free agency decisions will be covered with the fervor of a presidential election or, say, an NBA prospect's loud-ass dad. This has been the case for a long time. Because of this well established fact—oh, and probably because the Cavs currently find themselves in a 3-0 Finals hole—rumors are seeping out about where LeBron will take his talents to next when he's a free agent in the summer of 2018 (yes, over a year from now).

Those rumors, which certainly won't be the last, have the current Cavs' star heading to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers. The other rumor that came out on Thursday has him going to…oh, also L.A., but this time to the Clippers. Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer relayed the chatter, which has reportedly been floating around NBA circles. O'Connor also made reference to a nearly year-old Yahoo article from Adrian Wojnarowski that said there was a belief throughout the league that James wouldn't remain in Cleveland for the remainder of his career. 

If you keep up with your LBJ rumors, this shouldn't come as a total shock, unless you expect him to somehow convince Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade to come to Ohio.

O'Connor also talked about some comments Jalen Rose made on First Take this week, where he said he thought LeBron would eventually play in Cali because he has a house a half an hour away from the Staples Center (the same one that got vandalized):

After the completion of the 2017-18 season, LeBron will have a player option for the 2018-19 campaign worth $35.6 million.

But perhaps LeBron doesn't think Cleveland will stay competitive in the future. Or *clears throat loudly* perhaps he likes the attention. Or perhaps he's just sick of the narrative of “Why can't LeBron James win titles?!” even when everybody knows it's kind of a BS point because he's going up against a Finals opponent that's clearly superior.

It's up to you to decide how fact-based these statements are. That's kind of the thing with LeBron: everything about him becomes news.

Anyway, have fun going through this all over again, Cavs fans.

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