Andre Iguodala

Injury Updates: Curry, Iguodala, Embiid, Thunder

Stephen Curry has shown “steady functional progress” on his MCL sprain and remains on target for a second-round return, according to Sam Amick of USA Today.

The Warriors provided a medical update on Curry before today’s playoff opener, including the news that he “will intensify his on-court rehabilitation in the coming days.” The team’s medical staff examined Curry yesterday and plans a re-evaluation in one week. His rehab program will consist of “more running and lateral movement.”

“When he’s ready, he’s ready,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “But he’s making progress, which is a good sign.”

Curry hasn’t played since suffering a Grade 2 MCL sprain March 23. He had missed the previous six games with a right ankle injury.

“Every day has been something good, advancing the rehab process,” Curry said. “I’m looking forward to hopefully making more progress as we look towards the playoffs. It’s been an interesting two weeks so far. Just trying to get some rhythm, some strength back, some flexibility, range of motion, all that type of stuff.”

There’s more injury news involving playoff teams:

  • Warriors forward Andre Iguodala appears to be OK after taking a hard hit to his leg in the first half of today’s game, tweets Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. He was diagnosed with just a charley horse, but Kerr said it’s fortunate that Iguodala wasn’t needed late in the game.
  • Joel Embiid is optimistic about his chances to return for Game 2 or 3 of the Sixers‘ series with Miami, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. Embiid underwent facial surgery March 31 after breaking an orbital bone in an on-court collision. He has to prove he can handle contact before being medically cleared to play, but he took steps in that direction this week (Twitter link). “If it was my decision I would play, but I can’t get back out on the court if I don’t have the OK from them,” Embiid said. “But everything has been going well.” He spent about 30 minutes shooting before tonight’s game wearing a black protective mask that the league hasn’t approved for game use (Twitter link).
  • The status of two injured Thunder players remains in question heading into Sunday’s playoff opener, according to Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. Alex Abrines, who has been in concussion protocol since Monday, participated in practice today but didn’t do any drills that involved contact. Corey Brewer, who suffered a right knee sprain Wednesday, went through some contact drills after missing Thursday’s practice. “We’ll see how they responded from it” coach Billy Donovan said. “They both seemed fine with what they were doing. Whether or not they’ll be available tomorrow, we’ll probably find that out in the morning.”

Injury Updates: Griffin, Fournier, Warriors, Wizards

While news of Joel Embiid‘s orbital fracture and surgery has dominated the conversation over the last 24 hours, we have injury updates to pass along on several other notable players around the NBA. Let’s dive in…

  • Pistons star forward Blake Griffin has been diagnosed with a bone bruise in his right ankle, the team announced today in a press release. Griffin will be re-evaluated in a week. With just 13 days left in the regular season and Detroit all but eliminated from the postseason race, it wouldn’t be surprising if Griffin doesn’t play again this season.
  • Evan Fournier, who has been on the shelf since March 7 due to a sprained MCL, is “unlikely” to return to the court before the end of the 2017/18 season, Magic head coach Frank Vogel said this week (Twitter link via Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel). Fournier will head into the summer preparing to enter the third year of his five-year deal with Orlando.
  • The Warriors can’t seem to get everyone healthy as the regular season winds down. As Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle details, head coach Steve Kerr said Klay Thompson could return on Saturday from the thumb injury that has sidelined him for over two weeks. However, Andre Iguodala left Thursday’s game in the third quarter with a sore left knee, jeopardizing his short-term availability (link via ESPN.com).
  • The Wizards appear to have avoided disaster in the form of Otto Porter and Bradley Beal injuries, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Beal was able to return to Thursday’s game after banging his knee, while Porter’s rolled ankle was dubbed just a “minor” sprain by head coach Scott Brooks.
  • The Nuggets, looking to stay alive in the playoff hunt, have a big game on tap Friday night against Oklahoma City, but Gary Harris will be unable to return from his knee injury to play in that game, as Gina Mizell of The Denver Post writes.

Nikola Mirotic, 15 Others Become Trade-Eligible

Today is January 15, which means that trade restrictions have lifted for most of the rest of the NBA’s 2017 offseason signees. While the majority of those ’17 free agents became trade-eligible on December 15, there was a small subset of free agent signees whose trade ineligibility lasted for another month.

The 16 players whose trade restrictions lift today meet a specific set of criteria: Not only did they re-sign with their previous teams this offseason, but they received raises of at least 20%, their salaries are worth more than the minimum, and their teams were over the cap, using Bird or Early Bird rights to sign them.

The most notable name in this group is Bulls power forward Nikola Mirotic. He’s not the best player on the list — Blake Griffin and Kyle Lowry would be among those vying for that honor. But Mirotic is the most likely player to be dealt out of the 16 guys becoming trade-eligible today. He has been linked to a handful of teams already, including the Jazz, Pistons, and Trail Blazers.

Here are the 16 players becoming trade-eligible today:

With three and a half weeks left until this season’s February 8 trade deadline, nearly all of the NBA’s players are now eligible to be dealt. The only players still ineligible to be moved are those who signed free agent contracts later than October 15, plus certain players who signed contract extensions in the offseason.

Hawks guard Isaiah Taylor (January 17), Nuggets forward Richard Jefferson (January 19), and Pelicans guard Jameer Nelson (January 22) are now the only remaining players who will become trade-eligible between today and February 8. For the full list of players who won’t become trade-eligible before this year’s deadline, click here.

Pacific Notes: Ball, Walton, Teodosic, Iguodala, Jackson

Outside of a few standout performances, Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball‘s first professional season has been inconsistent at best. The Lakers’ season has mirrored Ball’s inconsistency as the team is 10-15, good for 10th place in the Western Conference. If the franchise and Ball want to achieve success, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant believes the 20-year-old point guard needs to improve now.

Speaking to Chris McGee on Spectrum SportsNet’s ‘Connected With’, Bryant said that Ball and the Lakers cannot wait and plan for several years to see improvements. Instead, Ball — and several of his young teammates — needs to take initiative and improve on his own accord.

“He needs to get better now,” Bryant said (via ForTheWin’s Nick Schwartz). “Kuzma, better now. Randle, better now. Players, you want that now. We never thought, ‘OK, we’re going to win four years from now. We really thought this is our year. We’re going to get this done. We’re going to push, push, push, push, push to get better now.’ And in the process of having that impatience, you develop. If you’re just patiently going about it, you’ll never get there. For players, it’s kind of patient impatience.”

In 25 games, Ball is averaging 8.6 PPG, 7.1 APG and 6.8 RPG. However, Ball has struggled on offense, shooting .321% from the field and .246% from beyond the arc.

Check out other news from around the Pacific Division:

  • In a well-written and well-crafted feature, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk dissected Luke Walton’s transition from player to assistant coach to head coach. Walton, currently in his second season as head coach of the Lakers, has learned under legend Phil Jackson, current Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, and his legendary father, Bill Walton. As Youngmisuk writes, all three men have shaped the way Walton conducts himself as head coach.
  • While Andre Iguodala is 33 years old, his ability to impact a game on both ends of the floor has made him invaluable to the Warriors. Head coach Steve Kerr said that, in particular, Iguodala’s defense reminds him of Scottie Pippen, Mark Medina of The Mercury News writes.
  • While Clippers rookie Milos Teodosic is close to returning from a plantar fascia injury to his left foot, the team is still unsure when he will be back, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports. “He’s close, I’ll say that,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “Watching him yesterday, I just didn’t think he was ready. But he’s close. It’s a tough one.”
  • Suns rookie Josh Jackson said his adjustment from college to the NBA has gone well, Dennis Chambers of Basketball Insiders writes.

Pacific Notes: Curry, Iguodala, Clippers, Suns

Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala were both fined for their behavior during the Warriors‘ 111-101 loss to the Grizzlies on October 21st. Curry was docked $50K for flinging his mouthpiece at an official. Iguodala’s fine was less severe — $15K for verbally abusing an official.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was not too rattled by Curry’s antics, sarcastically offering, “I think he should be suspended eight, maybe 10 games. It was egregious. It was awful.”

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Austin Rivers proffered that the Clippers are a better team without Chris Paul. While careful to note that Paul is a great player, Rivers said that the team has improved its cohesion and competitiveness. “I think we have more talent this year,” Rivers said, per Elliott Teaford of The Daily Breeze. “Look how many pieces we got for one guy. We got a defensive dog (Patrick Beverley). We drafted well.”
  • With the Suns exploring potential trades involving Eric Bledsoe, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders notes (via Twitter) that Phoenix “looked hard” at Cavaliers swingman Iman Shumpert over the summer, but Shumpert’s player option is a problem for the club.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made an immediate impact on the Lakers during his debut against the Pelicans. As Bill Oram of The Orange County Register details, Caldwell-Pope nailed a three less than 30 seconds into the game and gives coach Luke Walton a legitimate “3-and-D” option.

Andre Iguodala Nearly Signed With Rockets In Free Agency

An eventful series of free agent meetings in July had Andre Iguodala on the verge of signing with the Rockets before the Warriors swooped in and met his demands at the last minute, Chris Haynes writes in a fascinating piece for ESPN.com.

Back on July 1, we heard that Iguodala was expected to circle back to Golden State after getting an offer he liked from Houston, but Haynes goes into far more detail in describing the process that got Iguodala to that point. Here are a few highlights from the ESPN report:

  • As free agency opened, the Warriors increased their initial offer for Iguodala to $42MM over three years, with a partial guarantee in year three, according to Haynes. However, the swingman wasn’t satisfied with Golden State’s pitch and opted to take meetings with several suitors rather than accepting the Dubs’ offer.
  • The Lakers were the first team to speak with Iguodala, but as was the case throughout free agency, L.A. only offered one year, aiming to preserve 2018 cap room. The Lakers’ one-year offer was worth $20MM, per Haynes.
  • Iguodala met with the Spurs next, and San Antonio offered a fully guaranteed four-year deal. The Spurs only had their mid-level exception to offer, meaning they couldn’t offer more than about $36MM, but Iguodala – who likes being involved in the tech world – was intrigued by the team’s proximity to Austin.
  • The Kings met with Iguodala next and, armed with about $43MM in cap room, essentially asked him to name his price — within reason. If Iguodala named a price that Sacramento was willing to match, the Kings wanted a commitment on the spot, according to Haynes. Not wanting to commit right away, the 33-year-old held off on specifics, but recognized that Sacramento likely had the means to offer him the most money.
  • The Rockets were the next team to make a pitch to Iguodala, and one source within his camp called it “the best recruiting presentation of all time,” per Haynes. Houston was limited to its mid-level exception, but president of basketball operations Daryl Morey began proposing “lucrative sign-and-trade scenarios like a mad scientist” in an effort to meet Iguodala’s demands. Following the meeting with the Rockets, Iguodala cancelled his remaining meetings, including sit-downs with the Sixers, Clippers, Timberwolves, and Jazz, and there was “a strong sentiment that he was Houston-bound.”
  • Iguodala decided to meet one last time with the Warriors, though he expected to use the meeting as an opportunity to say goodbye, sources tell Haynes. Golden State offered a fully guaranteed three-year, $45MM deal, but Iguodala wasn’t budging from his asking price of $16MM per year, and intended to sign with the Rockets if Golden State didn’t meet that demand.
  • Shortly after Iguodala’s meeting with the Warriors ended, GM Bob Myers went to team owner Joe Lacob to ask for a little more money, and received approval to offer $48MM over three years, which was enough to bring Iguodala back into the fold.

Warriors Re-Sign Andre Iguodala

July 12, 4:07pm: The signing is official, according to NBA.com.

July 1, 10:56pm: Andre Iguodala has decided to return to the Warriors on a three-year, $48MM deal, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical. Iguodala himself confirmed the agreement (on Twitter) around the same time Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN first reported that a deal was in place (Twitter link). The contract is fully guaranteed with no options on either side, per Charania (Twitter link).Andre Iguodala vertical

Iguodala committed to Golden State after meeting with GM Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr tonight in Los Angeles, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Iguodala also received multi-year offers from the Rockets, Spurs and Kings, putting pressure on the Warriors to increase their own offer, which was believed to originally be in the range of $12-14MM per year, with a partial guarantee in year three (Twitter link via Sam Amick of USA Today).

[RELATED: 2017 NBA Free Agent Tracker]

With new deals in place for Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, along with a super-max extension for Stephen Curry and a huge contract coming for Kevin Durant, Myers has ensured that the core of the Warriors’ championship team will remain together. However, it certainly won’t be cheap.

Once the Warriors come to terms with Durant on a new deal that will give him a 20% raise using his Non-Bird rights, they will have an estimated $130MM in guaranteed money on their books, as Bobby Marks of ESPN details. Even if Golden State fills out the rest of its roster with minimum salary players, team salary would exceed $137MM, putting the club way over the $119MM luxury tax line and creating a tax bill in the neighborhood of $40MM.

By exceeding the tax apron, the Warriors will lose their full mid-level exception and the bi-annual exception, but will have access to the taxpayer MLE worth $5.192MM. Of course, given how many commitments the Dubs already have on their books, any player(s) signed using that exception would be exponentially more expensive due to tax penalties.

The Warriors’ future cap situation will also get a lot more interesting due to Iguodala’s new deal, which includes a guaranteed third year. That means Iggy’s contract will run through the 2019/20 season, which is the same year Klay Thompson‘s new deal will begin. If Golden State intends to retain Thompson, the team’s bill on salaries and taxes that year will be massive.

While Warriors ownership will have to worry about those future tax penalties, fans in the Bay Area can rest assured that all the key pieces of last year’s championship team, including veteran big man David West, will be back.

Outside of former MVPs Curry and Durant, Iguodala was viewed as the Warriors’ most crucial free agent. The 33-year-old finished second in Sixth Man of the Year voting this year, and while his scoring numbers were very modest, he played a huge role for Golden State as a three-and-D wing. Iguodala ranked 11th on our list of this year’s top 50 free agents.

With Iguodala off the board, it will be interesting to see where teams like the Rockets turn. Houston was reportedly having serious talks with the Cavs about Iman Shumpert, so he may be the Rockets’ Plan B.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Kevin Durant Re-Signs With Warriors

JULY 6: Durant has officially re-signed with the Warriors, per RealGM’s transactions log.

JULY 3: Kevin Durant has agreed to a two-year, $53MM contact with the Warriors, Chris Haynes of ESPN.com tweets. The second year will be a player option, Haynes adds in another tweet. Durant’s salary for next season will be $25MM, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.Kevin Durant vertical

Durant’s willingness to take far less than a 20% raise aided the Warriors’ efforts to retain their free agents, Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Durant, who opted out of his contract with the full intention of re-signing with Golden State, was eligible to receive a maximum starting salary of $34.65MM. Durant, who made $26.54MM last season, decided to take significantly less than the expected 20% raise that would have secured him a $31.8MM salary for next season.

That is a major reason why the Warriors successfully negotiated new contracts with free agents Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. Iguodala, who was sought after by numerous clubs, agreed to a three-year, $48MM deal while Livingston agreed to stay put for three years and $24MM. In essence, as Thompson points out, Durant is gifting part of his salary for next season to his teammates.

Durant’s discount will also help ownership save some money on its luxury tax bill, depending upon how far over the tax line the franchise goes. Durant’s first-year salary will save the franchise approximately $20MM, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who projects Golden State will now pay $32.4MM instead of $52.4MM in luxury taxes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Atlantic Notes: Porzingis, Ndour, Iguodala

The Knicks have changed their tone with regard to Kristaps Porzingis now that former president Phil Jackson is out of the picture. These days, head coach Jeff Hornacek is confident that the third-year forward will remain in New York, Ian Begley of ESPN writes.

I think it was out there that Phil was listening, but he wasn’t out shopping KP,” The Knicks bench boss clarifies. “We love KP and what he does, so I don’t see him going anywhere.”

We wrote yesterday about how the Knicks will look to prioritize the 21-year-old more in their offense, something that Jackson had been reluctant to do. They’ve also actually been in touch with the 7’3″ sharpshooter as well, a sign that tension between the two parties following Porzingis’ missed exit meeting is simmering now that his biggest critic is no longer involved.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Recently waived Maurice Ndour may be a victim of bad timing, Marc Berman of the New York Post suggests. The forward was a favorite of Phil Jackson‘s and was cut shortly after the organization and former president parted ways. The Knicks let Ndour go to free up cap space.
  • The Sixers have ample cap space and no reservations using it, something that Warriors forward Andre Iguodala may have used to his advantage in his own free agent negotiations. Rob Tornoe of the Inquirer suggests that on some occasion, agents leak meetings with Philly to drive up prices.
  • The time is now for Brett Brown to show what he’s capable of as a head coach, Bob Cooney of the Inquirer writes. Brown has done an impressive job of harnessing effort out of his limited roster in the past, now he has legitimate weapons at his disposal.

Western FA Rumors: Gay, Wolves, Rondo, Kings

Thunder big man Enes Kanter created a stir on Twitter earlier tonight when he published a photo that showed neighboring lockers featuring Russell Westbrook‘s and Rudy Gay‘s nameplates. While Gay was in Oklahoma City meeting with the Thunder today, Kanter’s tweet doesn’t mean the two sides have an agreement in place, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Young says that league sources were confident as of Friday night that OKC was in a strong position with Gay, adding that the Thunder made a “strong impression” during Saturday’s meeting (Twitter link).

With no deal in place yet, Gay continues to draw interest from other teams. Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News tweets that the Timberwolves remain on the lookout for a free agent who can play power forward and shoot, and gave Gay a call today. Wolfson classifies the contact as “just a check-in call,” however.

Here are more free agent rumors from around the Western Conference:

  • Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link) has heard that Rajon Rondo would have interest in joining the Clippers. As Kennedy notes, Rondo has friends on the team and has a history with Doc Rivers from their Boston days.
  • In a separate tweet, Alex Kennedy passes along an update on free agent big man Thomas Robinson, reporting that the Timberwolves have expressed some interest in the former lottery pick.
  • The Kings are “very interested” in signing Zach Randolph, league sources tell Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Sacramento saw a pair of its free agent targets land elsewhere late on Saturday night, as Andre Iguodala committed to the Warriors and P.J. Tucker agreed to sign in Houston. The Kings had offered Iguodala a two-year deal in the range of $16MM annually, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today.
  • With other restricted free agents set to receive larger offers, Suns center Alex Len may be a more attainable target for teams, and is discussing scenarios with a few potential suitors, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical.