Damion Lee

Warriors’ Damion Lee Out At Least Two Weeks

The injuries continue to pile up for the Warriors, who announced today (via Twitter) that guard Damion Lee has suffered a non-displaced fracture of the fourth metacarpal in his right hand. Lee will be re-evaluated in two weeks, according to the team.

Technically, Lee isn’t even on the Warriors’ standard roster, as he’s one of the club’s two-way players. However, he has been playing about 25 minutes per night on the wing since Stephen Curry went down with a broken hand of his own, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic notes (via Twitter).

In 11 total games (21.9 MPG), Lee has averaged 10.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG on .385/.343/.848 shooting.

The Warriors will be without Curry and Klay Thompson until at least February, and Kevon Looney is sidelined indefinitely due to a neuropathic condition. An adductor strain will keep Jacob Evans on the shelf until later this month, and Alen Smailagic and Omari Spellman are recovering from ankle injuries.

Teams dealing with at least four extended injury absences can qualify for a hardship provision allowing them to temporarily carry a 16th man on their roster. However, that would be of no use to the Warriors, who can’t even carry a 15th man for now due to a restrictive hard cap.

Since two-way players don’t count toward the salary cap, Golden State could theoretically replace Lee with a new two-way addition. But that would mean waiving a player who has spent the last couple years with the franchise and could be healthy again within the next few weeks.

On the plus side, Lee’s 45-day NBA clock won’t continue to run while he’s injured, so a potential decision on whether or not to find room for him on the standard roster will be pushed further down the road, tweets Slater.

Hollinger’s Latest: Blazers, Warriors, Load Management

There hasn’t been an NBA trade since mid-July but the Trail Blazers appear to be a prime candidate to make a deal, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. Zach Collins‘ shoulder injury, which is expected to cost him most of the season, creates an even bigger need at an already thin position. Journeyman Anthony Tolliver is the only true power forward remaining on the roster, Hollinger notes. The Blazers could also use another small forward in their rotation.

Portland has some desirable assets, including expiring contracts, young players and draft picks, in order to upgrade its forward spots. One offshoot of the Collins injury that the Blazers are playing with smaller, faster lineups and that could prove beneficial.

There’s more from Hollinger:

  • The Warriors may trade one of their free agent additions on expiring contracts in order to add one of their two-way players to the 15-man roster. Golden State is pushed up against the hard cap and could free some money by dealing center Willie Cauley-Stein or guard Alec Burks. Any potential deal involving a free agent signed this summer can’t happen until mid-December.
  • Waiving Marquese Chriss‘ non-guaranteed deal is also a strong possibility for Golden State, considering Chriss has already had his role reduced after a strong preseason. The Warriors have already used up eight of the 45 days on the service clock of two-way players Damion Lee and Ky Bowman and can’t convert either to a standard contract unless they make another move.
  • People who criticize load management fail to realize that the modern game is much more taxing on players’ bodies than in past decades, Hollinger writes. The goal is to maximize the number of high-quality games the player can play and that makes it a sound strategy.

Warriors Sign Damion Lee To Two-Way Contract

JULY 30: The Warriors have officially signed Lee to a new two-way contract, per RealGM’s NBA transactions log.

JULY 28: Per a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the Warriors and swingman Damion Lee have reached terms on a two-way contract that will see Lee, the brother-in-law of Stephen Curry, return to the Bay Area for the 2019/20 season.

Lee, who played under a two-way contract with Golden State last season also, appeared in 39 games for the Warriors in 2018/19, averaging 4.9 PPG in 11.7 MPG. Anthony Slater of The Athletic first reported that Lee was again a candidate for one of the team’s two-way slots approximately two weeks ago.

The 26-year-old Drexel and Louisville product also played in 15 games (11 starts) for the Hawks during his rookie season in 2017/18, where he averaged an impressive 10.7 PPG in 26.9 minutes per contest, albeit in relatively meaningless action toward the end of the regular season.

The Warriors other two-way slot is occupied by rookie guard Ky Bowman. Forward Julian Washburn held the other spot for awhile, but he was waived after being acquired from the Grizzlies in the trade that sent Andre Igoudala to Memphis to clear cap space.

Pacific Notes: Davis, Lee, Russell, Rivers

Lakers power forward Anthony Davis says he’s never failed at anything and is confident he’ll win a championship during his career, as he told ESPN personality Sarah Spain in a story relayed by Dave McMenamin. “If I don’t win a championship that would be, I would feel that’s one of my biggest failures. But right now, I still have a lot to do in this world on and off the court,” Davis said. “So I don’t feel like I’ve failed in anything. I think I just continue to do it over until I succeed at it.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors swingman Damion Lee will likely have a greater role than a typical two-way player, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. Beyond D’Angelo Russell, Klay Thompson‘s replacement as he mends from an ACL tear, the Warriors have an unimposing group of wings that include Jordan Poole, Eric Paschall, Jacob Evans, Alfonzo McKinnie, Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks. That puts Lee in position to fill a role as a floor spacer, Slater notes. Lee agreed to a two-way deal on Sunday.
  • Money was a major factor in Russell’s free agent decision, as his former Nets teammate and new Lakers forward Jared Dudley told Ethan Strauss of The Athletic. Russell received four years and approximately $117MM in a sign-and-trade that raised some eyebrows since he’ll have to move to shooting guard with the Warriors. “D’Angelo wanted to get the max. So I’m not surprised,” Dudley said. “He would’ve gone to, you know, Saudi Arabia, if he could have gotten the max there. I’m not surprised he took that.”
  • With the additions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Clippers coach Doc Rivers feels like he’s been given another chance to win a ring, as he told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. Rivers’ club repeatedly came up short during the Chris PaulBlake Griffin era with the franchise. “I view this as another opportunity to win it,” he said. “And let’s be honest: You don’t have a lot of opportunities to actually win it. When you have that, you take advantage of it.”

Warriors Notes: Russell, Durant, Lee, Adams

While there has been heavy speculation that D’Angelo Russell will have a short run with the Warriors, GM Bob Myers insists he didn’t agree to a sign-and-trade with the Nets simply to flip him, ESPN’s Nick Friedell writes. Myers admits he’s not sure how Russell fits into the team’s long-term plans, particularly once Klay Thompson returns from knee surgery. But he wants to see how Russell, who entered the summer as a restricted free agent, will mesh with Stephen Curry in the backcourt.

“We didn’t sign him with the intention of just trading him,” Myers said. “We haven’t even seen him play in our uniform yet. And a lot of people have us already trading him. That’s not how we’re viewing it. Let’s just see what we have. Let’s see what he is. Let’s see how he fits.”

Russell signed a four-year, $117MM contract.

We have more on the Warriors:

  • Myers said the organization did its best to convince Kevin Durant to stay put but the All-Star forward was looking for a change, Friedell reports in the same story. “He just felt like it was something inside of him, in his heart, that he wanted to try something different,” Myers said. “Nothing wrong with that. I have a peace about it personally. I hope our fans can, too.”
  • Damion Lee is a candidate for the Warriors’ second two-way contract, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. A decision will be made in the next few days. The shooting guard appeared in 39 games with Golden State last season, averaging 4.9 PPG in 11.7 MPG. Lee was one of the team’s two-way players and received a qualifying offer in June, making him a restricted free agent. Small forward Julian Washburn currently has the other two-year deal.
  • Assistant coach Ron Adams will travel less next season and the staff will have reconfigured roles, Slater reports in another tweet. Adams, who recently turned down an offer to join the Lakers’ staff, will prioritize player development for an increasingly younger team.

Malcolm Brogdon Gets Qualifying Offer From Bucks

The Bucks took the decision down to the wire, but they have extended a qualifying offer to Malcolm Brogdon that makes him a restricted free agent, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Brogdon’s offer is $3,021,354, according to Basketball Insiders, and that will also count as his cap hold.

The 2017 Rookie of the Year has been limited by injuries the past two seasons. He put up a 15.6/4.5/3.2 line in 64 games before suffering a minor plantar fascia tear in his right foot in March. Brogdon has earned a reputation as one of the NBA’s most efficient shooters, averaging 51% from the field, 43% from 3-point range and a league-best 93% from the foul line this year.

The Bucks may be reluctant to match a huge offer for Brogdon when they have other free agent concerns in Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez. The Suns, Bulls, Mavericks and Pacers have been mentioned among interested teams, but there are lingering concerns about the long-term condition of his foot.

There are a few more decisions on qualifying offers to catch up on:

  • The Nuggets extended a QO to two-way player Brandon Goodwin, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. The point guard got into 16 NBA games during his rookie season.
  • The Hawks opted not to give a QO to Justin Anderson, making him an unrestricted free agent, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Journal Constitution (Twitter link). Anderson appeared in 48 games for Atlanta after being acquired in a trade with the Sixers last summer.
  • Jerian Grant will also be an unrestricted free agent after the Magic passed on a QO, tweets TNT’s David Aldridge. Acquired from the Bulls during the offseason, Grant appeared in 60 games for Orlando.
  • The Clippers didn’t extend a QO to G League Rookie of the Year Angel Delgado, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic.
  • Rockets two-way players Trevon Duval and Vince Edwards didn’t receive qualifying offers, and neither did Warriors two-way player Marcus Derrickson, according to Keith Smith. However, Damion Lee – Golden State’s other two-way player – received a QO (Twitter links).

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.

Damion Lee In Position To Get Warriors’ Final Roster Spot

The buyout market didn’t offer the Warriors any help at Friday’s deadline, so it appears the 15th roster spot may be filled from within the organization, writes Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury NewsDamion Lee, who has been on a two-way contract all season, has the inside track on the final position, according to Medina.

“He would be someone given he has been with us all year,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We don’t have to make any decisions right now. Well wait and see how it all plays out.”

The Warriors could use veteran help at center and had been hoping Robin Lopez would reach a buyout deal with the Bulls. However, Chicago decided to hang on to Lopez as a veteran influence for its young roster. The only buyout that occurred yesterday involved San Antonio’s Pau Gasol, who will sign with the Bucks. Friday marked the final day that players currently on an NBA roster could be waived and still be playoff eligible with their new team.

The Warriors will be in no rush to fill their roster opening, although it’s virtually certain that someone will be added before the playoffs. Two-way players aren’t eligible for the postseason, so Golden State would have to convert Lee’s deal to a standard NBA contract by the end of the season, just as it did with Quinn Cook last year.

Lee still has 12 of the allotted 45 NBA days remaining on his two-way deal. He is expected to assume a larger role with the team starting tonight because Klay Thompson is awaiting an MRI on his sore right knee.

A 26-year-old shooting guard, Lee has appeared in 20 games for the Warriors, averaging 4.6 PPG in about 11 minutes per night. He played 15 games for the Hawks at the end of last season.

“I feel like I belong here,” Lee said. “The times I’m out there on the court, there’s nothing that’s challenging. The times that I’m not playing either, I see something and I’ll mention something to someone. I pride myself on having a high IQ and knowing the game.”

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 Sign Damion Lee To Two-Way Deal

JULY 14: The Warriors have officially signed Lee to a two-way contract, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 10: Damion Lee has agreed to a two-way contract with Warriors, Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reports.

Lee, who will soon marry Stephen Curry‘s sister, Sydel, played in 15 games for the Hawks last season. The shooting guard received a pair of 10-day deals with the club late in the season before signing with Atlanta for the remainder of it.

The 25-year-old played the majority of last season for the Warriors’ G League affiliate. Lee spent parts of two seasons in the G League after not hearing his name called on draft night 2016. He split his collegiate career between Drexel University and the University of Louisville.