Tom Sorensen

NBA sideshows: Kevin Durant vs. Russell Westbrook, and one involving Michael Jordan

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, left, comments to Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) as they walk off the court on Saturday.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, left, comments to Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) as they walk off the court on Saturday. AP

The NBA sideshows have been compelling. The best featured Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant played his first game in Oklahoma City Saturday since leaving for Golden State.

Durant did great work for Oklahoma City, and still donates to his charity there. But fans were furious that he left the Thunder to play for the star-filled Warriors and left Oklahoma City for San Francisco. Fans booed as if Durant had announced his departure live on a bloated ESPN show called The Decision.

In fact, Durant called Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti before he went public with his decision.

Durant and Westbrook talked trash during the game, and Westbrook played angrily. But Westbrook always plays with anger.

As is his custom, Westbrook filled the box score. He scored 47 points, and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. He took 26 shots from the field, more than any two of his teammates combined, and had 11 turnovers. It’s his show.

Durant is part of an ensemble. He scored 34 points on 21 field goal attempts, and added nine rebounds and three assists. He had three turnovers.

Golden State won 130-114.

And then there’s Charles Oakley vs. New York Knicks owner James Dolan.

Oakley is a tough, tough guy who did outstanding work for the Knicks. And Dolan kicked Oakley out of Madison Square Garden.

Oakley is 53. He’s also 6-8, and is one of the toughest players ever to put on an NBA uniform. How would you like to be the security guy who told him he had to leave?

What Oakley did to be kicked out is conjecture. But the impetus was James Dolan, who owns the team. Dolan has been a horrendous owner.

Instead of letting the battle fester, NBA commissioner Adam Silver met with Dolan and Oakley. It’s what good commissioners do. Hornets owner Michael Jordan joined them via conference call. Jordan and Oakley were teammates on the Chicago Bulls.

Here’s where the two situations stand:

Durant and Westbrook will be teammates this weekend at the NBA All-Star game. Dolan and Oakley will not.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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