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Golden State Warriors

Lacob Has ‘Every Expectation’ Durant Will Re-Sign

While they may not be chasing history as they were last year, all signs point to the Warriors being as scary a team as ever now with Kevin Durant in the mix. Speaking today at the groundbreaking of the franchise’s new arena in San Francisco, team owner Joe Lacob mentioned to Marc Spears of The Undefeated that he has “every expectation” that their recently acquired superstar will re-sign with the team long-term.

Last summer, Durant opted to leave the Thunder to join Stephen Curry and the 2015 NBA champions, but the contract he signed for $26.5MM in 2016/17 has a player option for the 2017/18 campaign. Given the rising salary cap, Durant is in line to make more money if he opts out and signs a new contract. In fact, eligible to receive as much as 35% of the cap because he’ll be a ten-year veteran, Durant could sign a five-year deal, worth over $200MM.

Asked directly if he had any news to share with the team owners regarding his pending free agency, Durant simply said, “it will be fun playing [in the new Chase Center],” reports Anthony Slater of the Mercury News.

In 41 games for the Warriors, Durant has averaged 25.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game and the Warriors currently pace the Western Conference with a 35-6 record. That considered, while much can change between now and the summer, there’s no obvious basketball reason for the two parties to part ways.

Lacob Discusses Privately Financed Chase Center

  • The Warriors broke ground on their new arena today and team owner Joe Lacob spoke about the organization’s decision to fund the project themselves via increased ticket sales, increased sponsorship and other new revenue streams. “I don’t want to criticize other owners or other teams, in our league or anywhere else. But there is a history of these leagues getting these things publicly financed,” Lacob told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. “[…] I know that wasn’t going to happen here, just because it’s the Bay Area. I decided, ‘We’re just going to do it and we’re going to figure out a way to pay for it.’

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/16/17

Here are the D-League assignments and recalls so far today:

  • Chris McCullough was assigned to the Long Island Nets, according to a team-issued press release. McCullough was recalled prior to Brooklyn’s game against the Rockets on Sunday, scoring three points in six minutes. While McCullough has only seen garbage time minutes with Brooklyn, he’s excelled in the D-League; he scored 37 points against the Greensboro Swarm on January 12.
  • The Warriors recalled Damian Jones from Santa Cruz, Golden State announced via its team website. The former Vanderbilt Commodore has appeared in just one NBA game so far this season, logging nine minutes in a December 10 match-up against the Grizzlies. Jones, who is averaging 6.8 rebounds with 1.9 blocks in the D-League, will be hard-pressed to see minutes in Monday’s marquee match-up between Golden State and Cleveland.

Curry Okay With Contract; Lacob Discusses Roster Makeup

It’s no secret that, despite the MVPs, Stephen Curry makes less money than some of his Warriors teammates do. The superstar guard is okay with it. “If I’m complaining about $44MM over four years, then I’ve got other issues in my life,” Curry told the Mercury News in a podcast.

Of course Curry is in line for a hefty pay raise as soon as this summer. Per Chris Haynes of ESPN, Curry will be eligible for a five-year extension worth roughly $210MM and you can be sure that the Warriors will present it to him as soon as they’re able too.

Though it would make little basketball sense for Curry to leave an elite level like a contender, the latest CBA makes it harder to justify on a financial level, too. Were Curry to consider options other than the Warriors, he could only receive $140MM over four years.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/14/17

Here are the D-League transactions for the day:

10:32pm:

  • The Spurs recalled guard Bryn Forbes from their D-League affiliate in Austin before today’s game with the Suns.
  • The Lakers sent center Ivica Zubac to the D-Fenders following their afternoon game, giving him a chance to play for both teams in the same day, tweets Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News.

2:56pm:

  • The Warriors recalled Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw from their D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz, the team has announced in a press release. Both were assigned on Friday. In a victory over Salt Lake City, Looney dropped 18 points and 20 rebounds.
  • The Rockets have assigned rookie center Chinanu Onuaku to their D-League affiliate, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Onuaku has averaged 11.8 points and 10.5 rebounds in 19 games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers so far this season.
  • The Cavaliers have assigned point guard Kay Felder to the D-League, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. The rookie expected to be back with the big league club as soon as Sunday.
  • After clearing waivers last week, former Hawks forward Ryan Kelly has rejoined the Maine Red Claws, tweets Chris Reichert of The Step Back. Kelly was called up by the Hawks before suiting up for Maine, but they still held his returning rights.

Curry Intends To Remain With Warriors

Two-time MVP Stephen Curry has no plans to leave the Warriors when he becomes a free agent this summer, according to Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News.

Appearing today on the “The TK Show” podcast, Curry said he’s aware of the potential opportunities he might have, but can’t imagine a better organization for him than Golden State.

“Like I’ve said from Day 1 when I was first asked about free agency, this is a perfect place to play,” Curry said. “Bay Area fans are amazing, our organization’s amazing, we’ve put together an amazing team that’s competing for championships every year. There’s really no reason that I can see right now that would draw me elsewhere.”

Under the new CBA, Curry is eligible for “designated veteran player” status, which would allow him to receive an extension from his current team valued at approximately $209MM over five seasons. Other teams, Kawakami notes, would be limited to offers of about $133MM over four years.

Curry adds that he wanted to make it clear to Kevin Durant during recruiting last summer that he plans to be part of the Warriors for a long time. Durant signed a two-year contract with a player option and is expected to become a free agent again once the season ends.

Curry adds that he expects Durant to join him in signing a long-term deal.

“I don’t see why not,” Curry said. “I think he really enjoys playing with us as a team. He enjoys living in the Bay Area, the opportunities that are out here. I think he just genuinely enjoys coming to work every day. That’s a good recipe for hopefully a long-term presence in the Bay.”

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/13/17

Here are the D-League moves from throughout the NBA today:

Klay Thompson Would Have Interest In Extension

The NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement is expected to make contract extensions for veteran players more common, by loosening the restrictions on those deals, and – in some cases – making them more lucrative. Speaking to Sam Amick of USA Today, Klay Thompson was asked about the possibility of signing an extension a couple summers from now and potentially spending his entire career in Golden State — the sharpshooter sounded very much on board with the idea.

“I try not to think that far ahead, but I’d love to be here for as long as I can,” Thompson said. “What we’ve built here is so special, and I love living in the Bay Area, so that would be a huge priority of mine … I just feel like if I play hard and work hard every day, I’ll get rewarded no matter what I do, so I’m not going to get caught up with the numbers and how much money I could potentially make because it’ll all come around. You’ve just got to stay humble and be appreciative of what I have. And if I keep working this hard, I’ll be rewarded.”

Thompson, who is earning $16.63MM this season, is under contract through the 2018/19 campaign, so there should be no urgency on his part or on the Warriors’ part to get something done anytime soon. The new CBA will allow him to become extension-eligible on July 1, but the Warriors will prioritize new deals for Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant at that point, since both players figure to become unrestricted free agents.

Still, Thompson’s case for an extension will be a fascinating one to keep an eye on going forward. Curry is viewed as a lock to receive a designated veteran extension worth 35% of the cap from Golden State this summer, and while Durant isn’t eligible for a designated veteran extension, his 10 years of NBA experience will put him in line for a max-salary deal worth 35% of the cap as well.

As for Thompson, he would be eligible for a designated player extension in the summer of 2018, as he enters his eighth year of service, but only if he earns a spot on an All-NBA team this season or next season. Thompson was named to to the NBA’s All-NBA Third Team in 2015/16, but there will be plenty of competition going forward.

In additions to last year’s group of All-NBA guards – Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kyle Lowry, Chris Paul, and Damian Lillard – backcourt stars like James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving, and John Wall will make a strong case for consideration this year, which may leave Thompson on the outside looking in.

If he doesn’t earn an All-NBA nod this season or next season, Thompson wouldn’t be eligible for a designated veteran extension in 2018, though he could sign a new deal worth up to 30% of the cap, if the Warriors had the necessary cap space. At that point, assuming Curry, Durant, and Draymond Green are all still on the roster, the Warriors would have to assess whether it makes sense to keep all four players on massive contracts. Green’s current deal runs through the 2019/20 season.

For now, with two and a half years left on his current contract, Thompson probably isn’t interested in looking too far into the future. But if his enthusiasm for sticking with the Warriors long-term remains as strong in a year or two, it will create an interesting situation. The new designated veteran extension makes it easier for teams to retain a superstar player and reward them with more lucrative deals, but when a club has three or four stars deserving of huge, long-term contracts, those costs will quickly add up and could lead to some difficult decisions.

Curry Acknowledges Lower Numbers, Doesn't Believe In Slump

  • Concern that Stephen Curry is in a slump is humorous, writes Chris Haynes of ESPN. The reigning two-time MVP acknowledges that his numbers are down but has every confidence that things will average out. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr added: “Ted Williams didn’t hit .400 every year, but every year he hit about .350, .360, and that’s what Steph is doing.

Warriors, Rockets Keeping Eye On Mike Dunleavy

Although he was officially traded to the Hawks on Saturday, Mike Dunleavy Jr. currently has no plans to report to Atlanta, preferring to work out a buyout that would allow him to pick his new team. While there’s no indication yet that the two sides will work out a deal, some potential suitors for the veteran forward have emerged.

According to Chris Haynes of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Warriors would consider Dunleavy as a potential free agent target if his contract is bought out by the Hawks. Golden State can’t offer more than the minimum salary to Dunleavy, but given the 36-year-old’s decline in production and his desire to join a contender, that would likely be enough to get something done.

Meanwhile, the Dubs would have some competition for Dunleavy’s services from the Rockets, per Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com (Twitter links). A source tells Watkins that Houston made an unsuccessful bid to trade for Dunleavy a few weeks ago, and while the ESPN scribe doesn’t expect the sharpshooter to ultimately land with the Rockets, there’s some interest there. Like Golden State, Houston could only offer the minimum salary.

If Dunleavy decides not to report to the Hawks, there are a number of different directions the team could go. Fining or suspending him is one option. Working out a buyout is also a possibility. Depending on how strong the interest from teams like the Warriors and Rockets is, it’s even possible Atlanta could work out a trade, though at his current cap hit of $4.8MM+, Dunleavy has less appeal than he would on a minimum salary deal.

The deadline for Dunleavy to report to the Hawks is 4:00pm CT today, though the team could push back that deadline or agree to waive it as the two sides continue to negotiate.

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