David West

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.”

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.

And-Ones: Lecque, Anthony, West, G League

Potential first-round pick Jalen Lecque will likely sign a national letter of intent this week, but he hasn’t given up on the NBA draft, according to Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. Lecque is still a high school senior, but he is expected to be granted draft eligibility because he is a year removed from his graduating class. He committed to North Carolina State in October and could put that in writing before the early signing period ends on Wednesday.

A 6’4″ guard, Lecque put his talents on display this weekend at the National Prep Showcase with representatives from 16 NBA teams watching. He is projected at 25 in the latest mock draft compiled by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

“I’m not really focused on the NBA right now,” Lecque said. “I’m focused on first steps first with high school and then next steps with college. I’m getting everything out of the way, graduating and looking to perform my best every game.”

Lecque added that he has no interest in the new G League “select” path that will enable some players fresh out of high school to make $125K.

There’s more NBA-related news to pass along:

  • Regardless of his NBA future, Carmelo Anthony has a standing offer from the Puerto Rican national team, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Anthony, who already has three gold medals and a bronze with Team USA, announced his retirement from international basketball after the 2016 Olympics. He hasn’t expressed an interest in playing for Puerto Rico, but federation president Yum Ramos plans to offer an invitation. “With his connection to Puerto Rico, his NBA stardom and his experiences, our fans would love it,” said Mavericks guard J.J. Barea, a star with the Puerto Rican team. “We tried a bunch to get him in the past, but of course nobody blamed him for playing for Team USA. But if he ever wants a chance to represent us, it would be awesome to have him.”
  • David West, who retired from the NBA in August, will be the first chief operating officer for the Historical Basketball League, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. The new college league, which will debut in 2020, intends to compensate and educate players based on their market value.
  • Two former NBA players were involved in a G League trade this week, notes a story on the South Bay Lakers’ website. The Lakers acquired the returning player rights for Joel Bolomboy from the Wisconsin Herd in exchange for similar rights to Vander Blue. Bolomboy played 18 combined games for the Jazz and Bucks, while Blue has 10 games of NBA experience with the Celtics and Lakers.

Warriors Notes: West, Myers, Jerebko, Cousins

David West was a team leader and legitimate tough guy with well-rounded off-the-court interests, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The 38-year-old big man announced his retirement today after a 15-year NBA career that included the past two seasons with Golden State, where he won two titles.

In addition to his longevity, West will be remembered for a decision in made in 2015 to bypass an option year with the Pacers and sign with the Spurs in pursuit of a championship. The choice cost him about $10MM, but West felt it was worth it to pursue a ring. He joined the Warriors a year later and became the perfect veteran leader for a team coming off a disappointing finals loss.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • In a post on the team website, GM Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr talked about how much West’s presence with the team will be missed. “There should be a picture in the dictionary of David under ‘pro’s pro’,” Myers said. “He’s one of the most decent people I’ve ever met. His depth of character is unmatched. We are all better for having spent the last two years with him. There is no doubt the best is ahead of him.” Kerr added: “David was a consummate professional throughout his entire career and was a huge presence in our locker room the last two years. The respect that he commanded was palpable every single day he walked in the door and the leadership that he provided to our team was critical to our success.”
  • Free agent addition Jonas Jerebko is prepared to do anything he can to help the Warriors stay on top. In a recent appearance on the Bay Area Sports Warriors Insider Podcast, Jerebko said he’s more confident than ever in his 3-point shot and believes he can help the team in other ways as well. “I’ve been in the league for 10 years now,” he said. “I know Steve [Kerr] and those guys have watched me and know what I can do on the court. I’m going to help every which way I can. If that’s on the defensive end, getting steals or rebounds, whatever it may be, hustling, you’re going to see me all over the court.”
  • The signing of DeMarcus Cousins gives the Warriors a potentially dominant big man once he’s fully healthy, but the team doesn’t plan any changes in its approach, writes Scott Ostler of The San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re not going to change our style of play,” Kerr said. “We’ll definitely add a few plays for DeMarcus down on the block. But for the most part, we’re not going to change who we are.”

David West Announces Retirement

Longtime NBA big man David West has announced his retirement from the NBA after 15 seasons. West issued a statement on Twitter confirming his decision, which comes one day after he turned 38 years old.

“I have been fortunate enough to live out my childhood dream of playing in the NBA. After 15 seasons I have decided to retire from the game of basketball,” West wrote. “I am humbled and thankful for the support of my family, friends, coaches, teammates, organizations, and fans throughout this experience. To anyone who has ever cheered me on, been in my corner, prayed, or simply said a nice word on my behalf, I am grateful.”

West, who began his career as a New Orleans Hornet after being selected with the 18th overall pick in the 2003 draft, played in New Orleans for his first eight years in the NBA, earning a pair of All-Star nods in 2008 and 2009 and teaming with Chris Paul during many of the most successful seasons in franchise history.

West later spent four years with the Pacers, one with the Spurs, and his last two in Golden State, where he won a pair of NBA championships with the Warriors. For his career, the former Xavier standout averaged 13.6 PPG and 6.4 RPG in 1,034 regular season games. He also appeared in 118 postseason contests, contributing 11.3 PPG and 5.6 RPG in the playoffs.

Although West earned nearly $100MM in salary throughout his NBA career, per Basketball-Reference, his last few years in the league were defined by his willingness to play for the veteran’s minimum for championship contenders.

After winning his first title in 2017, West re-signed with the Warriors, but reports at the time indicated that it was expected to be his last year, with retirement coming in 2018. That’s exactly what happened, with West’s announcement coming just days after another accomplished NBA veteran, Manu Ginobili, announced his own retirement.

While it’s unclear what the next step will be for West, he has long been one of the most widely-respected players in the game, according to Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports, who tweets that the 38-year-old could have a future in anything from coaching to broadcasting to front office work. It likely won’t take long for West to receive coaching and front office offers, if he wants them, notes Zach Lowe of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Bridges, Labissiere, Clippers

The Lakers ensured themselves a successful offseason when they signed LeBron James, but they still need to fill a vacancy at center, writes Matt John of Basketball Insiders. The addition of free agent JaVale McGee doesn’t really solidify the position, and the only other choices on the roster are rookie Moe Wagner and Ivica Zubac.

With David West and Brandan Wright as the best free agents left on the market, John identifies several potential trade targets, including Tristan Thompson, James’ former teammate in Cleveland. Thompson is a physical rebounder and defender with whom James had a good rapport. However, John notes that he may not be available unless Cleveland decides to rebuild.

Other possibilities include the Bismack Biyombo, who finds himself in a center logjam after being traded to Charlotte, the Bucks’ John Henson, the Bulls’ Robin Lopez, the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic and the Hawks’ Dewayne Dedmon.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns rookie swingman Mikal Bridges was a little disappointed he didn’t play more in the summer league, James Blancarte of Basketeball Insiders reports. “It’s tough you know. Coming in mentally, you don’t know what the coach is going to do and how they are going to play you,” Bridges told Blancarte. “Couple of games, not playing as much as I thought I was going to be [playing]. Just staying mentally [tough], going through that.” Bridges averaged 6.2 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 20 MPG during five Las Vegas outings. He will also likely have wait his turn during his rookie campaign but Phoenix thought enough of him to swing a draft-night trade with the Sixers, Blancarte notes.
  • Kings big man Skal Labissiere is looking to improve his durability during his offseason workouts, Jason Wise of the team’s website relays. Memphis-area trainer Raheem Shabazz has made Instagram posts showing the work Labissiere is putting in as he prepares for his third NBA season.
  • Clippers lottery picks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson showed flashes of potential in summer league games but they were far from perfect, according to Keith Smith of RealGM. Gilgeous-Alexander has a solid all-around game but needs lot of work with his shot. Robinson has to focus more on the defensive end, Smith continues, while undrafted big man Angel Delgado struggled on the perimeter. However, Delgado displayed strong rebounding instincts and toughness on the interior, Smith adds.

Warriors To Make Significant Changes This Offseason?

The Warriors brought Northern California yet another parade, celebrating their third championship over the last four seasons. Despite the nearly unprecedented success, the team will continue to evolve and coach Steve Kerr said there may be significant changes to the team’s roster.

“We had a lot of vets this year. I think you’ll see more youth and energy to help us get through all that,” Kerr told ESPN’s Zach Lowe on the scribe’s podcast. “We’re going to have to be very creative and we going to have pace ourselves again and hopefully everything comes together in the playoffs, but you never know.”

Several of the team’s veterans are set to become free agents and it sounds like Kerr is preparing to lose a number of them. Zaza Pachulia, who made roughly $3.47MM this past season, will hit the market. David West (approximately $1.47MM) may retire. Nick Young (slightly over $5.19MM) signed a one-year contract last offseason and will look for work yet again this summer.

If Golden State is going to hand out anything over the minimum, it will have significant financial ramifications on the club. NBA teams trigger the repeater tax penalties if it pays the luxury tax in a given season and has paid it in three of the previous four years. The franchise paid the luxury tax during the 2015/16 campaign as well as this past season. If the Warriors finish next season above the luxury tax line, they’ll face the harsher parameters on their payments.

Those fiercer penalties are as follows:

  • $0-5MM above tax line: $2.50 per dollar (up to $12.5MM).
  • $5-10MM above tax line: $2.75 per dollar (up to $13.75MM).
  • $10-15MM above tax line: $3.50 per dollar (up to $17.5MM).
  • $15-20MM above tax line: $4.25 per dollar (up to $21.25MM).
  • For every additional $5MM above tax line beyond $20MM, rates increase by $0.50 per dollar (ie. $4.75 for $20-25MM, $5.25 for $25-30MM, etc.).

The Warriors already have roughly $103MM in guaranteed salary on the books for next season and that’s before Kevin Durant gets whatever contract he wants. Not to mention Golden State plans to talk extensions with both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

The luxury tax line is projected to come in at $121MM and while the team isn’t going to be frivolous with its top players, it may be more prudent with its fringe rotation players, as it will almost certainly be a luxury tax payer in the summer of 2019 and possibly beyond. It would be surprising if the team brings back Young at or near his current salary given his production and the franchise’s luxury tax repeater status.

The USC product sported a 3.1 player efficiency rating during this year’s playoffs. Of the 158 players who played at least 6.0 minutes per game this postseason, only four had a worse mark than Young. He saw a total of 205 minutes, though much of his court time came with the team ahead and the game nearly out of reach.

The Warriors found production on cheap deals in Jordan Bell and Quinn Cook this season, and it appears they will look to replicate that success by searching for young, affordable talent to fill out the roster behind Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and their four All-Stars.

Warriors Notes: Pachulia, West, Young, Roster

Despite the success of the current group, the Warriors are expected to undergo some roster changes this offseason, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Those changes figure to be made more around the edges of the roster, rather than to the core, but the club has seven players eligible for free agency — of those players, only Kevin Durant is a lock to return.

According to Slater, it’s virtually a “sure thing” that Zaza Pachulia and David West will be gone, perhaps to retirement. It would also be a “stunner” if Nick Young returns, says Slater. As for their roster makeup, the Warriors almost certainly won’t carry as many centers next season, preferring to add a little more depth on the wing.

Here’s more out of Golden State:

  • Tim Kawakami of The Athletic also examines the Warriors’ 2018/19 roster options, identifying several possible free agent targets and noting that the team would like its first-round draft choice (No. 28 overall) to immediately vie for a rotation spot.
  • As Kawakami writes in a separate piece for The Athletic, the Warriors continue to keep an eye on the NBA’s very best players as potential targets, like they did with Durant prior to the summer of 2016. For now, that means they’ll monitor Anthony Davis, who will be eligible for a new deal in 2020. However, that’s very much on the back burner, with Golden State focusing on keeping its current core intact.
  • According to Kawakami, the Warriors grossed approximately $130MM in 11 home playoff games this year. Slightly lengthier series this spring resulted in an estimate significantly larger than in 2017, when the team grossed about $95MM in eight postseason contests.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) takes an in-depth look at the Warriors’ roster decisions this offseason, including Durant’s possible contract scenarios, possible free agent deals for Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw, and what to do with the taxpayer mid-level exception.

NBA Finals Roundup: James, Lue, Durant, Curry, West, Young

With the season now over, the focus turns to LeBron James and his pending free agency decision. James can opt out of the final year of his contract and hit unrestricted free agency for the third time. He has until June 29 to make a decision.

Following the Cavaliers‘ loss to the Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, which completed a sweep of Cleveland, James discussed his pending decision, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin writes. While James has not made up his mind, he said input from his family will be a major factor this summer.

“The one thing that I’ve always done is considered, obviously, my family,” James said. “Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I’ve got a teenage boy, a preteen and a little girl that wasn’t around as well. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I’ll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that. So I don’t have an answer for you right now as far as that.”

James has left Cleveland once before, signing a deal in 2010 with the Heat, where he won two championships in four seasons. The 33-year-old returned to the Cavaliers prior to the 2014/15 season, leading the organization to a championship the following year.

Check out more news to come out of the NBA Finals below:

  • As we relayed earlier, James suffered a self-inflicted injury to his right hand after he punched a whiteboard out of frustration following the Cavaliers’ loss in Game 1.
  • After battling some health issues throughout the season, Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue intends to return next year, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. “Yeah, I do,” Lue said of his intentions. “I had some tough problems going on throughout the course of the season, and … I probably could have folded myself, but I wasn’t going to do that.” Lue previously told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that was treated for anxiety this season.
  • Kevin Durant became the 11th player to win two NBA Finals Most Valuable Player awards, per The Associated Press. With back-to-back championships and Finals MVPs to his credit, Durant’s focus will now turn to his contract situation. He intends to remain with the Warriors, but will likely sign a new deal.
  • Stephen Curry has two regular season MVPs to his credit but Durant has taken home that honor the last two NBA Finals. However, Curry prioritizes the team success over his individual accolades, Mark Medina of the Mercury News writes. “K.D.’s been amazing these last two years, especially in The Finals, and so deserving of back-to-back Finals MVPs,” Curry said. “I’m going to be his biggest fan in there with what he’s able to do. I think the biggest thing we appreciate in the locker room is, again, what everybody brings to the table and we kind of unlock the greatness out of each other.”
  • One of the most visibly excited players to win his first championship was the Warriors’ Nick Young, per Alysha Tsuji of USA TODAY. ‘Swaggy P’ only played 38 combined minutes in the NBA Finals but he helped the team off the bench during the regular season. “I went from getting snitched on to putting a ring on!” Young told reporters.
  • Warriors veteran David West said the team’s championship victory is even more remarkable given various behind-the-scenes issues the public is not aware of, tweets The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears. “Y’all got no clue. No clue. That tells you about this team that nothing came out,” West said.
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has now coached the club to three championships in four seasons. We noted earlier that Warriors ownership believes Kerr will sign an extension with the team this summer.

Pacific Notes: Bell, West, Suns, Metu

Lingering problems with his ankles this winter led Warriors rookie Jordan Bell to consider sitting out the rest of the season, according to Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. As he rehabbed from a left ankle injury that kept him out for 14 games in January and February, Bell shared his concerns with his high school coach, who responded that he had “time to heal.” Bell sent another text message after rolling his right ankle in late March.

“It was me being mad and irritated and spur of the moment. I was so frustrated. It kept reoccurring,” Bell recalled. “I thought maybe I should let it go fully and let it get back to 100 percent.”

Bell’s ankles are fully healed, but he hasn’t regained the role he had before the injuries. He sat out three of Golden State’s playoff games and averaged just 4.9 minutes a night in the postseason. He may be used more frequently in the conference finals as the Warriors try to match up with the Rockets’ smaller, quicker front line.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • David West and Chris Paul, who starred as teammates in New Orleans a decade ago, will square off for the Western Conference title, notes Logan Murdock of The San Jose Mercury News. They spent seven seasons together before West signed with the Pacers and Paul was traded to the Clippers“Who knows what that team would’ve done had we stayed together,” West said. “It was a good run. It was really like a starting point for both of us in our careers.”
  • The Suns will enter Tuesday night’s lottery with the best chance of winning the top pick, but they’ll have plenty of good options if that doesn’t happen, notes Luke Lapinski of Arizona Sports 98.7. Phoenix has a history of disappointment in the lottery, but Lapinski sees DeAndre Ayton, Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley III as high-level talents at the top three spots.
  • Los Angeles native Chimezie Metu called it a “dream come true” to work out for the Lakers this week, relays Bill Oram of the Orange County Register. Metu, who made the All-Pac 12 first team at USC, is projected as a mid second-rounder and could be on the board when L.A. picks at No. 47. “I’m probably going to have a lot more workouts,” he said, “but this is probably going to be my favorite one or one I’m going to cherish a lot more because of the history.”