Wonder-ful: Kevin Durant’s trip to India includes some fun at Taj Mahal

Kevin Durant has gone from world champion to world traveler this week, visiting India to help promote the NBA.

Friday, the Golden State Warriors star put his name in the Guinness Book of World Records by hosting the world’s largest basketball lesson in multiple venues, for 3,459 children.

Saturday, Durant visited the Taj Mahal, where one of the NBA’s wonders was definitely impressed by one of the New7Wonders of the World. Yet he still had the wits about him to do a perfect forced-perspective photo of him holding the shrine’s dome.

The tour of India has opened Durant’s eyes to the plight of many people in that nation.

A lot of people come to this Third World country, come through this neighborhood these people live modest, they live simple, but you see so many people who struggle here, Durant said.

This should be expected of a rudderless organization, which is what the Cavs are now. They’re still operating without a head at the top of the basketball wing of the org chart. That’s been the worst aspect of the Cavs’ offseason follies.

Last month, of course, Gilbert utterly bungled the handling of general manager David Griffin’s contract, refusing to budge on a new deal for the guy who had taken flak all year when things had gone wrong, managed to improve a roster with virtually no assets on hand and had overseen the team’s 2016 championship, the first in franchise history.

Of all the places for Gilbert to look for changes to make to his team, dumping Griffin should not even have been on the list.

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NBA referee Danny Crawford retires after 31 seasons

After 31 NBA seasons and more than 2,000 regular season games, referee Danny Crawford is calling it a career.

Crawford announced his retirement Wednesday through the NBA Referees Twitter account.

Dan Crawford, one of the most accomplished referees in NBA history, is retiring.

Crawford had worked 23 consecutive NBA Finals, including the final game of his career in June as the Warriors beat the Cavaliers to clinch the NBA championship. How long has Crawford been around? In the first of those Finals, Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets knocked off Shaquille O’Neal and the Magic.

The veteran earned praise throughout the league for his work on the court. FanRagSports.com notes that in a 2015-16 survey asking NBA players to name the best referee, Crawford finished first by a wide margin. And following the announcement of Crawford’s retirement, NBA players checked in with their well wishes on social media.

For as much as Blake Griffin has already accomplished in his NBA career, we have yet to see him tap into his full potential for an entire season. It may not look that way when you consider he has led the Clippers in scoring each season since he’s been drafted — he’s also been their leader in usage rating in all but two seasons — but playing alongside Chris Paul has prevented Griffin from becoming the full-time point forward he seemed destined to be from the start.

Fortunately for Griffin, he has an opportunity to take over that role as he enters the first year of his $173 million extension. Not only is Paul now a member of the Rockets, the evolution of positionless basketball has paved the way for power forwards like him to be a team’s primary creator. While the Clippers acquired a pass-first point guard in Milos Teodosic this offseason to replace some of Paul’s production, it’s Griffin who will be expected to both facilitate and score in volume for them to compete with the best teams in the Western Conference.

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‘NBA 2K18’ puts previous versions to shame with incredible player, uniform upgrades

Improved graphics are expected with every new release of a sports video game. However, where the efforts are directed can help determine whether those improvements make a real impact that consumers immediately recognize and find valuable.

Durant will earn $25 million for the upcoming season. To put that in perspective, it’s $1.5 million less than he earned in his first season with the Warriors, and it’s a staggering $9.5 million less than he was eligible to receive. Durant has a player option worth $26.25 million for the second year.

I wanted to keep the team together and I thought it was going to help the ownership bring all the guys back, Durant said. And on top of that, it’s my money. It’s my decision. I can do what the hell I want with it.

Durant admitted he’d seen other NBA stars accept salary cuts for the sake of their team in recent years, and it inspired him.

It wasn’t that I wanted the praise, Durant said. I’ve learned from Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki and how it has helped them over the years and I thought, if they did it, why can’t I? Why shouldn’t I sacrifice? People wanted the money to break us up and I didn’t want that to happen.

Tournament officials were given the official OK to play the game only moments before the scheduled tipoff, as fans, some of whom had waited hours, stood six and seven deep to see Williamson’s SC Supreme defeat the LaVar Ball-coached Big Baller team, 104-92.

LeBron James reportedly had planned to watch the showdown from courtside, but — according to ESPN, which cited an unidentified source — he didn’t get out of his vehicle after he arrived and talked with people connected to the tournament. He opted to avoid the situation, citing security concerns, ESPN’s source said.

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