Russell Westbrook praises James Harden, doesn’t make MVP endorsement

Reigning MVP Russell Westbrook praised former teammate James Harden but stopped short of saying the Rockets superstar deserves MVP honors this season.

Harden, who had his second MVP runner-up finish last season, is widely considered the favorite this season. He leads the NBA in scoring (30.6 PPG) and ranks third in assists (8.7 APG) for the Rockets, who have clinched the top seed in the playoffs.

Cleveland’s LeBron James, a four-time MVP, is considered the primary challenger to Harden. James is averaging 27.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 9.2 assists per game and has been especially dominant since the All-Star break.

Westbrook, whose campaign last season was fueled by becoming the only player in NBA history other than Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double, has not generated much MVP buzz despite posting impressive numbers again this season. He entered Saturday averaging 25.6 points, 9.9 rebounds and a league-leading 10.1 assists per game, but the Thunder have been perceived as disappointing after their offseason trades for Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.

Take a look at the outpouring of love and support that took over social media Sunday remembering Taylor’s impact of a career cut short.

If Manning stays retired, Fox is pursuing Cowboys tight end Jason Witten as Plan B, say sources.

The 35-year old Witten could be another Romo, say sources. He has the same direct-from-the-huddle knowledge of today’s game and TV-friendly personality. Like Romo, he’d have a built-in fan base of Cowboys fans across the country. With America’s Team constantly featured in the best broadcast windows, Witten is a household name after 15 seasons in the league.

On the other hand, Witten won’t make as much in the booth as he can on the field. Under his current deal, he averages $7.4 million annually, according to Spotrac.com . Unlike the oft-injured Romo, Witten is still at the top of his game. He’s coming off his 11th Pro Bowl season and has played 239 straight games for the Cowboys. Jerry Jones gave him a four-year contract extension in 2017.

That could leave Joe Thomas, the just-retired Browns offensive lineman. Or another star tight end: Greg Olsen of Panthers.cardinals_136

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