Damian Jones

Warriors Notes: Bogut, Jones, Looney, Cousins

Andrew Bogut could return to the Warriors for their March 16 game at Oklahoma City, according to Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. Circumstances are setting up for Bogut to make his debut in an ABC prime time game against one of Golden State’s top challengers, featuring a matchup against New Zealand rival Steven Adams.

After receiving clearance from his Australian team to rejoin the NBA, the next step for Bogut is to obtain a U.S. work visa, Medina continues. Bogut must decide whether to have a visa sent to the American consulate in Sydney or to obtain a tourist visa that would enable him to travel to Oakland. If he picks the second option, he will have to fly to Vancouver during the week to obtain a work visa.

“Maybe at the end of next week would be the hope,” Warriors GM Bob Myers said yesterday in his weekly interview on 95.7 The Game.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Coach Steve Kerr hasn’t given up on the possibility that Damian Jones might return for the playoffs, even though it appears unlikely, Medina adds in the same piece. Jones hasn’t played since undergoing surgery in December on a torn left pectoral muscle. Kerr said the third-year center has done on-court work “in the last week or two,” but still hasn’t participated in “anything live,” such as a full-court scrimmage. The Warriors are already well stocked at center, with Bogut joining DeMarcus Cousins, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and Jonas Jerebko. Golden State has Jones under contract for $2.3MM next season.
  • The right pelvic soreness that Looney has been experiencing isn’t related to hip injuries that limited him to 58 games over his first two seasons, Medina relays in a separate story. Looney has missed the past two games and said the training staff told him to rest until the problem was resolved. “I know what real pain feels like. I know when it’s really serious,” he said. “I feel all ends of the injuries in that area. I knew it wasn’t serious and knew I could clean it up in a couple of days. It was best for me to take care of it now.”
  • Cousins credits assistant coach Jarron Collins for making his comeback from a ruptured Achilles successful, Medina writes in another piece. Cousins calls the 10-year NBA veteran and fifth-year coach “the biggest help for me this entire season.”

Warriors Notes: Durant, Jones, Cousins, Bogut

Some members of the Warriors organization are concerned that Kevin Durant‘s recent behavior could be a sign that he already has one foot out the door, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

The Warriors are coming off a deflating 128-95 home loss to the Celtics on Tuesday, with several figures around the team expressing their displeasure after the game. Among them was Durant, who appeared to be ticked off from the start of his postgame presser, Haynes notes.

“It starts with a passion, and an anger and an intensity, and it wasn’t there tonight,” head coach Steve Kerr said.

Durant was quick to disagree with this when a media member informed him of Kerr’s comment, curiously about his coach’s declaration.

“I thought we move off of joy?” Durant asked, fully knowing “joy” is a phrase Kerr often uses when discussing their style of play. “Now it’s anger? OK. I disagree with that one. I think all around, top to bottom, coaches, players, we just gotta be better.”

Durant tallied 18 points on just 5-of-16 shooting on Tuesday, also recording five turnovers with a minus-20 net rating. Haynes also noted in the same story how some members of the Warriors are not concerned with Durant’s behavior, labeling it as just a common rigor of the regular season.

Durant, a consensus top-three player in the NBA, has the option to decline a $31.5MM player option and become a free agent on July 1.

There’s more out of Golden State today:

  • Damian Jones is unlikely to return this season or during the playoffs despite conducting an on-court workout Thursday, Steve Kerr said, as relayed by Anthony Slater of the The Athletic (Twitter link). Jones underwent surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle in December.
  • Draymond Green defended DeMarcus Cousins after the loss to Boston, explaining why fans shouldn’t blame Cousins for the team’s defensive woes in recent weeks. “I think so many people are kind of looking at the starting lineup and saying, ‘Oh, DeMarcus is in there and the defense is worse,'” Green said, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “But our defense has been horses— no matter who’s in there. It’s easy to look at the numbers and think the numbers tell a story, but the fact of the matter is we haven’t been competing.”
  • Kerr discussed the team’s decision to sign Andrew Bogut on a rest-of-season contract, as relayed by The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “We looked at this as an insurance policy in the frontcourt,” Kerr said. “A guy who obviously knows our system, knows our players. He’s great for our offense — his dribble hand-offs, passing ability, lob threat — and defensively he’s been one of the best in the game for a long time. He had a great season in Sydney. He’s healthy, he’s fresh. He was the best player available for us. We have to look ahead to the playoffs for different match-ups, and we felt vulnerable particularly in case of injury and against certain match-ups.” Bogut isn’t expected to make his debut with the team for at least another week.

Warriors Notes: Bogut, Lee, Evans, Looney

Just a couple days after one report suggested that two-way player Damion Lee appeared to have the inside track on the Warriors’ final roster spot, word broke today that the club will instead fill that opening by bringing back veteran center Andrew Bogut, whose season in Australia is now over.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic explores that decision, explaining that Golden State sent a representative to watch Bogut in Australia in recent weeks. The club came away feeling as if he looked rejuvenated after a year removed from the NBA.

“[It] seems like he’s in a really good place,” one team source told The Athletic. “Physically and mentally. [The] shorter, less demanding season did wonders for him.”

Additionally, as Slater details, the Warriors stars who played with Bogut in previous seasons – including Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green – have remained on friendly terms with the 34-year-old. When they were approached about the idea of a reunion, they all gave the go-ahead, sources tell Slater.

While it remains to be seen if Bogut will be the perfect on-court fit for the Warriors, the team wanted a bigger-bodied, defensively-minded center, according to Slater, who notes that the Dubs lost a pair of those players – and a ton of postseason experience – when both David West and Zaza Pachulia left the club last summer.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Although Bogut will fill that 15th roster spot for now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Warriors won’t make another roster move before the playoffs, Slater writes. Depending on how the rotation looks in the coming weeks, Lee – or another player – could still earn a place on the 15-man squad. “Everything is an option until the last day,” a team source said to Slater.
  • Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News echoes that sentiment, but notes (via Twitter) that the Warriors are unlikely to waive little-used rookie Jacob Evans to make room for anyone this season. Evans and injured big man Damian Jones are both under contract for 2019/20, and Golden State will want to avoid creating dead money on next year’s cap, says Slater.
  • Shams Charania of The Vertical provides an injury update on Kevon Looney, tweeting that an MRI revealed a pelvic strain. Looney will be considered day-to-day, with a return date dependent on his strengthening and rehab.
  • Klay Thompson is also day-to-day for the Warriors, as we detailed earlier today.

Warriors Notes: Cousins, Durant, Cook, Roster Spot

For the first time since returning from an Achilles injury, Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins will be playing without a minutes restriction, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN. Cousins is averaging 23.4 minutes per night in 11 games and has rarely played more than 25 minutes. Coach Steve Kerr said game flow will determine how long Cousins is actually on the court, but there are no more medical restrictions.

“We’ll see how the games go,” Kerr said after today’s practice. “I don’t think we’ll change the plan too much in terms of how we’re going to play him in the rotations and all that, but I think once we get back into the rhythm we can absolutely play him for longer stretches, play him down the stretch if we like.”

He added that the plan was always to ease Cousins back into action for a month or so before unleashing him for full-time duty. The upcoming free agent has posted 13.9 PPG and 6.8 RPG in his limited playing time.

“He did a great job, DeMarcus did,” Kerr said. “So now we’re entering a different phase of the season. We’ll see how it goes, but nothing’s set in stone.”

There’s more Warriors news tonight:

  • Golden State officials are as uncertain as anyone about Kevin Durant‘s plans for free agency, writes Frank Isola of The Athletic“We have no idea what he’s going to do,” a team source said. “Everyone wants him to stay. There’s not much more we can sell him on. If he leaves, we’ll think of it as being lucky to have him for three great years.”
  • No matter where Durant winds up, teammate Quinn Cook could be with him, suggests Marc Berman of The New York Post. Cook and Durant have been friends since their AAU days and may be a package deal in free agency. “Any time you get to play with one of your best friends at the highest level is obviously a great thing,’’ Cook said. “He helps me so much off the floor and even more on the floor. He gets me so many open shots. We have a great connection out there. We know each other. We’ve been playing together the past 10-plus years.”
  • Two-way player Damion Lee appears to be the favorite to fill the 15th roster spot before the playoffs, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. The Warriors haven’t given up on Bulls center Robin Lopez, but he won’t be playoff eligible if he’s not bought out before March 1. Another center, such as ex-Clipper Marcin Gortat, is possible, but Slater states that Damian Jones could recover from a pectoral tear by May, which would provide backup help in the middle.

Warriors Rumors: Jones, Cousins, Green, Livingston

The Warriors provided a handful of injury updates on their big men today, starting with the official announcement that Damian Jones has undergone pectoral surgery. While Jones will be able to start rehabbing in six weeks, he’s likely to be sidelined for five or six months, head coach Steve Kerr said today (Twitter link via Nick Friedell of ESPN.com). That could put him on track to return during the postseason.

Meanwhile, DeMarcus Cousins is expected to head to Santa Cruz sometime this month to practice with the Warriors’ G League affiliate, according to Kerr (Twitter link via Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle). Cousins could even play in a couple games for the Santa Cruz Warriors before making his debut for Golden State, which is expected to happen after Christmas.

In the short term, Draymond Green went through shootaround and is pushing to play for the Warriors tonight against Milwaukee, per Kerr (Twitter link via Friedell). While they’ll see how he looks in warmups before making a decision, it sounds like the Dubs will continue playing it safe with Green, who is coming back from a toe injury. He’ll likely sit out at least one more game.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Kerr said today that the Warriors won’t use their open roster spot to add anyone for now, since they want to see how the club looks when healthy – Cousins included – before making any decisions (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).
  • Veteran guard Shaun Livingston isn’t sure exactly when he’ll call it a career, but tells Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders that his retirement probably isn’t too far down the road. “I mean, honestly who knows?” Livingston said. “A year, couple years? But I mean, it’s coming sooner than later. Handwriting is on the wall.” Andre Iguodala recently expressed a similar sentiment on his own career, though he’s nearly two years older than his longtime teammate.
  • In a conversation with Sam Amick of The Athletic, David West admitted that he has second-guessed his decision to retire once. It happened when he was watching Draymond Green and Kevin Durant have their shouting match at the end of that infamous game against the Clippers last month — West felt that his presence in that moment would have prevented the incident from escalating.
  • Speaking of the Green/Durant dynamic, Warriors general manager Bob Myers weighed in on that subject during a radio appearance on 95.7 The Game, as Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area relays. “I really think it’s behind us. I really do,” Myers said of the friction between the two All-Stars. “You have to flush it out, you have to get it all out there — get all your emotions out. There’s a healing part of it — you don’t get over it in 30 seconds — but you do get over it. And I honestly think they have.”

Damian Jones Undergoes Pectoral Surgery

Warriors center Damian Jones, who suffered a torn left pectoral muscle last weekend, has undergone surgery to repair the injury, the club announced today in a press release.

When Jones was first diagnosed, the Warriors indicated that he would be out indefinitely. There’s still no specific timetable for his return, but the team provided a little more clarity today, announcing that the 23-year-old will be able to begin his rehabilitation process in about six weeks. Golden State will have a better sense at that point of whether Jones will be able to get back on the court before the end of the season.

If Jones is ruled out for 2018/19, the Warriors could apply for a disabled player exception, but it wouldn’t do much for them, given Jones’ modest $1,544,951 salary. If granted, a DPE allows a club to sign a replacement player for 50% of the injured player’s salary, assuming that amount is below the value of the mid-level exception.

Jones, a first-round pick in 2016, earned starting duties at center for the Warriors this season, averaging 5.4 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 24 games (17.1 MPG) before he went down.

While the Warriors have an open spot on their 15-man roster and could make a move to add depth in their frontcourt, they’ve seemed content to let Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell handle the five for now. Draymond Green is expected to return to the lineup next week and can play center in some smaller lineups, as can Jonas Jerebko.

Of course, the Warriors are also preparing for one of the NBA’s very best centers to make his debut for the team within the next several weeks. DeMarcus Cousins, who signed with Golden State in the offseason, is reportedly targeting a post-Christmas return.

Pacific Rumors: Booker, Warriors, Jones, Joerger

Suns star guard Devin Booker will take a cautious approach after re-aggravating a hamstring injury against the Lakers on Sunday, Gina Mizell of The Athletic tweets. There’s no timetable for Booker’s return, Mizell adds. Booker, who missed the team’s previous game against Orlando, departed after 17 minutes. He is averaging 23.5 PPG and 6.7 APG. Booker has been starting at the point and rookie Elie Okobo could pick up some of Booker’s minutes.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors dealt with a meningitis scare last March, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports. An outside vendor who handled the team’s food on a daily basis contracted a contagious form of the disease. Extensive precautionary measures were taken to ensure the meningitis didn’t spread to the team, Amick continues. A majority of the Warriors’ players and some members of the basketball operations staff took vaccination shots and a team practice was relocated to Oracle Arena while the team’s practice facility in downtown Oakland was sanitized, Amick adds. The health scare appears to be what David West was referring to when he made cryptic comments in the spring about the private challenges the team had dealt with.
  • With Damian Jones likely out for the season, the Warriors are evaluating whether to make a roster move, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic details. Jones tore a pectoral muscle in Detroit on Saturday. Willie Reed, currently posting big numbers in the G League, could be a candidate. Robin Lopez and Enes Kanter could be options if they’re bought out after the trade deadline, Slater opines. But the Dubs have Marcus Derrickson on a two-way deal and DeMarcus Cousins should return soon from his Achilles injury, so they may elect to stand pat, Slater adds.
  • The issues between Kings coach Dave Joerger and assistant GM Brandon Williams is par for the course in a dysfunctional organization, Jason Jones of The Athletic notes. Details of Joerger’s increasingly uncomfortable situation became public last week. With the perception of a divided front office, it wouldn’t be a shock if Joerger seeks another coaching job, Jones adds.

Warriors’ Damian Jones Suffers Torn Pectoral Muscle

Warriors center Damian Jones is out indefinitely after suffering a torn left pectoral muscle, the team announced on Sunday.

He sustained the injury Saturday night against the Pistons and will likely miss the rest of the season after surgery, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Jones, 23, underwent an MRI in Detroit after the game that revealed the injury. He’ll visit a specialist in the coming days to determine whether he can return during the postseason or offseason.

Jones has averaged 5.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 17.1 minutes in 24 games with Golden State this season, starting in 22 contests. The Warriors drafted him with the No. 30 pick in 2016 after he spent three seasons at Vanderbilt.

In the wake of Jones’ injury, Golden State will likely bring up two-way forward Marcus Derrickson and could explore the free agent market for big men, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater (Twitter link).

“We’ll check on our options, see what we want to do,” coach Steve Kerr said, according to Slater.

The Warriors are 15-9 through their first 24 games and now have two healthy centers on the active roster. New acquisition DeMarcus Cousins continues to rehab from Achilles surgery and is expected to return at some point this season.

Warriors Notes: Centers, Curry, Green, Iguodala

Tyson Chandler‘s statement that he considered signing with the Warriors before joining the Lakers is a sign that Golden State is having second thoughts about its current group of centers, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Steven Adams dominated the Warriors on Wednesday with 20 points and 11 rebounds in Oklahoma City’s 28-point win, elevating concerns that Damian Jones, Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell aren’t doing enough in the middle.

The organization made the decision to go with younger centers this summer, letting JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia and David West all leave. However, after a few weeks Golden State was already reaching out to a veteran like Chandler to provide more stability.

Jones made his 17th start in 19 games Wednesday, but posted just four points and no rebounds, continuing his season-long struggle. Looney had four points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes, but Slater notes that his offensive limitations make it hard to trust him with a larger role. Bell has fallen out of the rotation and hasn’t played well enough to earn more minutes.

Of course, the Warriors’ problems at center could be solved in a big way once offseason addition DeMarcus Cousins is able to play. But there’s still no timetable for him to return after last season’s Achilles injury, which means center could be a lingering issue for the defending champs.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Stephen Curry didn’t appear to be bothered by a groin sprain during shooting drills at Tuesday’s practice, but the Warriors are being careful about bringing back their star guard, Slater relays in the same story. He has already been ruled out for games Friday and Saturday against the Trail Blazers and Kings. Golden State is 2-5 since Curry suffered the injury.
  • Draymond Green, who is sidelined with a sprained toe, may be losing his impact as a vocal leader, Slater adds. Green was caught on camera giving a fiery speech during a first-half timeout, but the reaction of his teammates suggests that it wasn’t inspirational.
  • Andre Iguodala hasn’t been able to provide a scoring boost with Curry and Green sidelined, writes Dieter Kurtenbach of The San Jose Mercury News. Iguodala is averaging just 6.4 PPG since the start of November. Kurtenbach contends he could be filling the roles of playmaker and third scorer, but appears to be coasting through the regular season.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Jones, Livingston, James

The new-look Lakers are off to a tumultuous start at 3-5 this season, with the team losing three separate games that have gone down to the wire. One of these tough losses came Monday against the Timberwolves, testing the patience of LeBron James and other veterans on the team.

“There’s obviously frustration that comes with it,” coach Luke Walton said at the time, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I don’t know what the level [of frustration] is, but it’s going to be a tough flight home.

“But like I told our guys, nobody feels sorry for us. It’s up to us to figure it out and start winning some of these close games. And we will. I can promise you that. We will start to win some of these. But right now we’re taking a couple lumps in the meantime.”

Walton has substituted players in and out of the starting lineup, experimenting different groups of players this season. Part of growing as a new team is having the patience and veteran leadership in turbulent times, something the Lakers possess in James.

James willed his team to a victory Wednesday, but offered a simple answer when asked about his patience earlier in the week:

“You probably don’t want to be around when my patience runs out,” James said. “I’m serious.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Exercising the 2019/20 option in Damian Jones‘ contract was an easy decision for the Warriors, Monte Poole of NBC Sports writes. Jones’ $2.3MM salary for next season is a team-friendly deal when considering his level of play at starting center this year.
  • Shaun Livingston underwent an MRI on his foot this week after dealing with soreness, Mark Medina of The Mercury News tweets. The MRI returned clean, and the Warriors plan to be cautious with his injury. Livingston is listed as doubtful for Friday’s game against the Timberwolves.
  • LeBron James needs more support around him for the Lakers to reach their true potential, The Los Angeles Times’ Dan Woike writes. James scored 29 points in a close home win against the Mavericks on Wednesday, knocking down the game-winning free throw. The Lakers have a young nucleus of talent and several veterans around James, who’s seeking his fourth NBA title.