Well, this is awkward …
Drake must be ecstatic that his Toronto Raptors finally are in the NBA Finals, but he’ll also be repping the opponents when Game 1 is played Thursday night at Scotiabank Arena. That’s because the rapper apparently has tattoos honoring Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant on his left arm.
San Jose Mercury News columnist Dieter Kurtenbach reminded everyone of Drake’s Steph and KD ink right after the Raptors clinched their Finals berth Saturday night in Toronto.
Drake has a long history with the Warriors. He has attended games at Oracle Arena and jawed with/befriended many of the players, including Curry, Durant and Draymond Green. He’s a huge basketball fan who seemingly attends college and pro games whenever and wherever he can, and his habit of wearing different teams’ gear and posing for pictures with athletes has led to the infamous “Drake curse."
That curse wasn’t in effect during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals -- Drake sat in the front row as the Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks for the right to meet the Warriors in The Finals. Perhaps the tattoos, which The Heavy points out Drake seemingly has never confirmed, are a long play, cursing the Warriors’ biggest stars so his Raptors finally can win the NBA championship. Perhaps they're just the latest additions to Drake's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover-esque collection of tattoos that include tributes to Sade, Rihanna, Aaliyah and various family members and friends.
[RELATED: McCaw celebrates third Finals, but Dubs fans not having it]
Whatever the reason, Drake has the tattoos. Whether they’re a curse or an honor remains to be seen, but you can bet he’ll cover them up during The Finals.
Calling the Los Angeles Clippers' reported interest in pending free agent Kawhi Leonard an "open secret" would be an insult to secrets.
Coach Doc Rivers was fined for comparing Leonard to Michael Jordan on television last month, and the Clippers reportedly looked into buying the rights to Leonard's logo from Nike as part of their pitch in free agency. They even hired Lee Jenkins, a former reporter whom many would argue wrote the definitive Kawhi Leonard feature story at Sports Illustrated, as their executive director of research and identity.
So when a pair of digital billboards popped up in Los Angeles pitching the Southern California-born-and-raised superstar on joining LA's other team, it would have been fair to assume the Clippers put the ads up themselves. But ESPN, citing a Clippers source speaking with reporter Ohm Youngmisuk, reported Monday that "the Clippers knew nothing" about the billboards.
On Sunday, Yahoo's Chris Haynes reported that Leonard would become a free agent and decline his player option with the Toronto Raptors for next season. But, Haynes reported that Leonard is "seriously considering" re-signing in Toronto. The Warriors have to hope that's the case, considering Leonard just showed them what he can do at the peak of his powers.
[RELATED: Durant reportedly upset with Warriors ahead of free agency]
Leonard and the Raptors ended the Warriors' season with a six-game series win in the NBA Finals. The 27-year-old averaged 28.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game during The Finals, winning his second Finals MVP award moments after closing down Oracle Arena for good.
Whether or not Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant return healthy -- or return at all -- next season, Leonard joining the Clippers would give the Warriors (at least) four annual reminders of his Finals performance. That's surely exactly what whoever paid for the billboards wants to see.
NBA free agency is officially less than one week away. While nobody knows what Warriors star Kevin Durant will do, there's a new betting favorite to land KD.
Enter the Brooklyn Nets.
Caesars Palace now has the Nets as the betting favorites to land Durant. The sportsbook places Brooklyn ahead of the Warriors, Knicks and Clippers.
Just three days ago, ESPN's Brian Windhorst and Durant's former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate, Kendrick Perkins, declared the Nets as the "front-runners" to sign KD.
Many believed Durant would leave the Bay Area for New York this offseason once free agency begins June 30, but the assumption was that he would sign with the Knicks. Those thoughts seem to be shifting.
The Nets have also been rumored to be the favorites to sign Durant's friend and star point guard, Kyrie Irving. Brooklyn was one of the more surprising teams in the NBA last season, earning a No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. Adding KD and Kyrie could clearly turn them into contenders for years to come, even though Durant will miss next season with a ruptured right Achilles.
[RELATED: Durant 'really pissed' at Warriors entering free agency]
Durant has a $31.5 million player option, though he's expected to opt out and seek a max contract. Will he sign one with the Nets?
That's still to be determined, but the rumors are far from over.