Draymond Green

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Divac, Clippers

The Lakers would be making a terrible mistake by targeting Pacers forward Paul George as their much needed superstar, Mitch Lawrence of the Sporting News writes.

George, the “anti-Magic,” has shown poor leadership and a tendency to alienate teammates, Lawrence says. Those aren’t characteristics typically paired with a young team like the Lakers.

In the same piece, Lawrence goes on to add that a better fit for George may be Boston because the Celtics, unlike the Lakers, boast the strong-willed vets to withstand George’s occasional negativity.

Should the Lakers continue to pursue the swingman, however, they’ll need ensure that their point guard is mentally strong enough to deal with the vocal superstar.

  • After a tumultuous first few seasons at the helm, Vlade Divac has been given an opportunity to manage a stable Kings franchise, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee writes. “I knew the staff I wanted to put together. There was always so much (drama) going on ever since I got here, it took up a lot of my time,” Divac said. “Finally I have been able to find people who believe in what we are trying to do and who I am very comfortable with.
  • The Clippers have every intention of competing for a title even with the injured Blake Griffin on the sidelines, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes. “It’s not the best thing that could have ever happened to us,” teammate Chris Paul said, “but it’s not the end of the world. We still are going to go out there. We know we got a job to do. We got a big game (Sunday), Game 4, and we go out there expecting to win.”
  • Could a candid conversation on Jimmy Kimmel be considered tampering? USA Today’s Alysha Tsuji wrote about how Lakers executive Magic Johnson may have tampered while commenting specifically about not tampering.
  • Count Gary Payton (Sr.) among the crowd who thinks Warriors forward Draymond Green should be this season’s Defensive Player of the Year, an Associated Press report outlines. The Glove also speaks highly of Kawhi Leonard as a legitimate candidate.

Pacific Notes: McGee, Kings, Redick, Rivers

Draymond Green played a crucial role in the Warriors’ decision to sign journeyman center JaVale McGee last summer, as Sam Amick of USA Today explains. They share the same agent, B.J. Armstrong of Wasserman, and Green lobbied GM Bob Myers to give McGee a chance. McGee, who appeared in just 62 games over the previous four seasons, signed a contract for less then $1MM and has emerged as a valuable role player. “I didn’t know him that well at all, but you [could] see some of the skills that a guy has and see that, alright that could possibly fit in,” Green told Amick. “Being that he’s super athletic, he offered something that we didn’t have.” McGee will re-enter the free agent market this summer and should be in greater demand.

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings have hired Luke Bornn as their VP of Analytics and Strategy, James Ham of NBC Sports California reports. Bornn, 31, was working for soccer’s A.S. Roma. “We’ll be looking at more advanced modeling tools often with the player tracking data to try and get a deeper understanding of player performance,” Bornn told Ham. Roland Beech, the team’s previous analytics guru, left the organization earlier this week.
  • Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick has gotten off just 13 shots in the first two games of the playoffs, but coach Doc Rivers appreciates his unselfish approach, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Redick has scored 11 points in the series under heavy defensive pressure but the team hopes to get him more involved in Game 3 on Friday, Turner adds. “Sometimes in certain games and series, you have to give yourself up to get the team stuff,” Rivers told the assembled media on Thursday. “J.J. has been terrific with that. He’s going to get his shot eventually.”
  • Clippers guard Austin Rivers will miss Game 3 with a strained left hamstring but remains hopeful of returning for Game 4, Turner reports in a separate story. Rivers has not played the last eight games, including the final six of the regular season.

Warriors Notes: Durant, Barnes, Green

Kevin Durant showed few effects from a knee injury as he returned to the court Saturday night, according to Janie McCauley of The Associated Press. The former MVP had 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and seemed to move fine on his left knee after suffering a Grade 2 MCL sprain that sidelined him for 19 games. Golden State originally feared he would be lost for the season when he the injury occurred February 28th. “I think he looked great. It’s going to be hard for anybody to take off a month and come back and put on a great show,” said teammate Klay Thompson. “It was great to see that first play, him attacking the rim like that.”

There’s more this morning from the Pacific Division:

  • Durant’s return solves the Warriors’ depth problem at the wing and makes them clear favorites to win the West, writes Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN.com. Seven Golden State players reached double figures Saturday in a blowout of the Pelicans. Having Durant in the lineup puts the Warriors’ “super team” at full strength heading into the playoffs. “It felt normal again,” Durant said. “I’m a basketball player. I love playing basketball; that’s my favorite thing to do. So to feel like I’m part of the team, to feel like I’m a part of this energy that we have, it feels great.”
  • One concern that came out of Saturday’s game was a right ankle sprain suffered by forward Matt Barnes in the second quarter. However, Barnes said he expects to be ready when the playoffs start next weekend, tweets Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com. The 36-year-old signed with the Warriors in early March in the wake of Durant’s injury.
  • Draymond Green, one of the favorites to be named Defensive Player of the Year, had an in-depth talk about his defensive philosophy with Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News. Green has finished second in the balloting for the award the past two seasons.

Community Shootaround: Wall Criticizes Refs

John Wall made waves after Friday’s loss to the Jazz, going on a four-minute rant about (what he perceived to be) poor officiating. Wall received a technical foul for making contact with Rudy Gobert on a screen; a video of the play can be seen here. The play was deemed a “hostile act,” setting Wall and his teammates off after the game.

“The way they’ve been officiating today doesn’t make no sense,” Wall told reporters, including Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. “It’s getting out of hand. If you want us to compete at a high level like we’ve been doing – we didn’t lose this game. The refs made us lose this game. We fought hard, we gave ourselves a chance but you don’t shoot no 31 free throws to 16 the way we attack the basket as a team. I tried to get some (technical fouls) rescinded before, it never works for my favor. Other players have and they got it. So, all I can do is just keep my mouth shut like I’ve been doing. I could see if I would’ve got a flagrant-1 but a technical off of that? That’s outrageous.”

Likely adding fuel to Wall’s flagrant-1 argument was Draymond Green‘s wrist punch to James Harden; an act Green admitted to performing in retaliation, and only received an offensive foul for. As Wall alluded to, the chances of his technical foul being overturned are slim-to-none.

“They said it was a ‘hostile act,’” Scott Brooks said after the game. “I’ve been around a lot of fights back when I played. Come on. ‘Hostile act?’ Really? It’s ridiculous.”

What do you think: was Wall’s strike to Gobert a “hostile act”? Should the decisions of referees be held to a higher standard, and if so: how? If Wall receives a penalty from the league, should Draymond as well?

Let us know what you think in the comments section!

And-Ones: All-Star Game Changes, Teague, MSG

Changes to the All-Star Game are on the horizon, writes Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently spoke about the mid-season festivities at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.

We will change it by next year,” Silver said. “It shouldn’t be playoff intensity, but the guys should be playing.”

The commissioner speculated that the game could include four-point shots, perhaps even a ten-point shot, although there’s no guarantee those are in fact changes being floated. Regardless, one theme that appears likely to change is the lack of competitiveness that has taken away from the games in recent years.

In an All-Star game like this, guys aren’t trying to get hurt,” guard Kyrie Irving said following this year’s All-Star Game. “We all enjoy the company of each other’s presence. But at the same token, us as competitors, when it starts getting close, you can feel it. For me, I would love to play in a competitive game.

  • Count Warriors head coach Steve Kerr among those disappointed in the competitiveness of the All-Star Game. “I think we could talk about gimmicks and talk about anything we want, whether it’s the money or involves charity, it just comes down to the players taking it seriously,” Kerr told Chris Haynes of ESPN. “I don’t think they have to be out there taking charges, but it’s a collective thing. I think they have to decide, maybe with the players’ association, they have to decide what they want that game to look like, and right now, it’s a joke.”
  • The D-League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants have acquired former NBA player Marquis Teague, Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports reports. Teague last played in the NBA for the Nets in 2013/14.
  • The Knicks experimented with cutting out the in-game music during the first half of Sunday’s game against the Warriors, tweets Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post. According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, Draymond Green was not a fan. “That was pathetic,” Green said. “It was ridiculous.”

Knicks Notes: Green, Dolan, Anthony, Rose

The Warriors’ Draymond Green is the latest player to suggest that the turmoil surrounding the Knicks will keep free agents away, relays Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Green was especially critical of James Dolan for last week’s altercation with Charles Oakley, saying the team owner has a “slave master mentality” toward the former player. “When you look at what’s going on now with the [Carmelo Anthony] situation in their organization and now how you do a legend in Charles Oakley, I don’t know a free agent that would want to go there,” Green said. “I don’t know someone who would really want to go there.” Green also blasted Dolan for suggesting that Oakley has a problem with drinking or anger management.

There’s more tonight out of New York:

  • Anthony offers a different opinion, saying he believes the Knicks can overcome their off-court problems and improve through free agency, relays Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “I think the way the deals are structured now, even if you don’t want to come there’s an opportunity for you to make more money,” Anthony said. “A lot of times players look at that, that kind of overshadows other situations.”
  • Point guard Derrick Rose is headed toward free agency, but he says money won’t be the determining factor in where he signs his next contract, Bondy writes in a separate piece. Rose watched huge deals being handed out last offseason, but claims that isn’t what motivates him. “I always been driven by playing basketball and wanting to be the best,” he said. “… You see numbers, you can’t look over them. But I’m just happy that I have an opportunity for them to see how I perform and let them see what I’m worth.” Rose adds that he hasn’t talked to team president Phil Jackson or GM Steve Mills about a possible trade or his long-term future in New York.
  • Anthony has been chosen to replace Kevin Love in the All-Star Game, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. It will be his eighth straight All-Star appearance and his 10th overall.

Pacific Notes: Green, West, Randle

Warriors teammates Kevin Durant and Draymond Green were once again seen in a verbal altercation Saturday night. According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, it was all part of a master plan by Green.

Nothing in general” led to the altercation, the Warriors forward said Tuesday. “It was actually a tactic. But that’s for us to know and for everyone else to figure out.

Green, Hayes writes, was trying to use reverse psychology to motivate his struggling teammate and supposedly followed it up by winking and smiling at some of the Warriors coaching staff.

Earlier this month Green and Durant were seen arguing with one another on the court when the Warriors lost to the Grizzlies.

Despite their interesting relationship, Green and Durant are said to have watched the Super Bowl together the day after the incident, suggesting that the altercation caused no hard feelings. With a 43-8 record, the Warriors have earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to locker room chemistry.

There are more headlines out of the Pacific Division today:

  • The Warriors may need to compete with the Lakers if they want to convince 78-year-old executive Jerry West to stay with the team after his contract expires in July, writes Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News.
  • Veteran forward P.J. Tucker knows how to get the most out of his younger teammates and his tough-love approach has been put in effect with current Suns rookies Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender, writes Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic.
  • The Lakers handed out significant contracts to veterans Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng over the offseason but lately the tandem has been coming off the bench, notes Baxter Holmes of ESPN. “I’m not going to say it’s permanent, but we’re going to see how it goes,” head coach Luke Walton said, citing the need to develop young players as the reason for the decision.
  • Limited to just five minutes over the previous four games, Julius Randle has recovered from pneumonia and and returned to the lineup for the Lakers on Monday. The power forward is expected to be at full strength heading forward, writes Bill Oram of the Orange County Register.
  • There are plenty of assets on the Suns roster, writes Kevin O’Conner of the Ringer. The scribe breaks down what could be next for Phoenix, including franchise cornerstone Devin Booker and “good-but-not-great” point guard Eric Bledsoe.

Blazers Duo, Embiid Fail To Make All-Star Cut

Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, the Blazers backcourt duo Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum and Jazz center Rudy Gobert were among the prominent players who failed to make the cut on the Western Conference All-Star reserve unit, which was unveiled on Thursday and relayed on the NBA’s Twitter feed. Joel Embiid, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony were some of the notable names who didn’t make the cut on the Eastern Conference squad. (Twitter links).

Russell Westbrook,  Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins, Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan and Gordon Hayward received the most votes by the conference’s coaches, who pick the reserves. Westbrook, of course, was the biggest snub among the All-Star starters as the fan voting, which counted for 50% toward the overall balloting, put him behind Stephen Curry and James Harden.

Paul George, Kevin Love, Kyle Lowry, Paul Millsap, Isaiah Thomas, Kemba Walker and John Wall were named the Eastern Conference’s All-Star reserves.

Did the coaches get it right or was there an obvious mistake on their part? Go to the comments section and weigh in.

Pacific Notes: World Peace, Griffin, Green

When Metta World Peace racked up three fouls in two minutes on Friday night there was an ominous undertone that the performance may be the veteran’s last. It’s unclear whether the 37-year-old’s leadership will be enough to convince the Lakers brass to retain him after today’s deadline, writes Mark Media of The Los Angeles Daily News.

January 7 marks the last day that teams can release players on partially guaranteed contracts and still have them clear waivers. The Lakers have the option to release both World Peace and 25-year-old Thomas Robinson should they wish to free up a roster spot for an acquisition later on down the road.

World Peace has played sparingly in his sixth season across two stints with the Lakers, but will forever hold a spot in team history after winning a title alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in 2010.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers head coach Luke Walton knows what today represents for World Peace and has voiced his desire to keep the veteran forward. “I like him with us,” Walton tells Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times, “but that’s a front office decision. My recommendation is to keep him.
  • After undergoing knee surgery on December 20, Blake Griffin has been making consistent progress, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. “You can tell he’s in better spirits,” says Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.
  • After blowing a 24-point lead and ultimately losing to the Grizzlies yesterday, vocal Warriors forward Draymond Green told the media “I’m happy we lost.” Green believes that the loss will help the team address some bad fourth-quarter habits. After a timeout earlier in the game, Green was seen having a heated conversation with summer acquisition Kevin Durant.

Pacific Notes: Bogut, Deng, Griffin

The Warriors traded away Andrew Bogut in the offseason and it took the team some time to learn how to play without its former starting center, Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN.com writes.

“You lose a guy like Bogut who, you almost can funnel stuff to Bogut,” Draymond Green said “You funnel someone to him, you know he’s there and he can kind of erase any mistake that someone makes, and then you lose that, you have to get used to not having that there. When you had it there for the last four years, it takes a little while to adjust to that. However, I think we adjusted to it.”

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Luol Deng signed with the Lakers during the offseason in part because he was intrigued with Luke Walton‘s system as well as the team’s young, up-and-coming roster, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News writes. The small forward struggled earlier in the season, but he is beginning to feel more comfortable in his new role. “When you’re with a new group, guys start to realize what you can do and what you can’t do,” Deng said. “A lot of times at the beginning of the year, guys were just standing still. The way I play, I’m always moving.”
  • The Clippers know how to play without Blake Griffin, something they did for 47 games last season, and their offense remains effective without the five-time All-Star in the line-up, Jesse Dougherty of the Los Angeles Times writes. “The thing is, by playing small and playing [Paul Pierce] at the four, it allows us to spread the floor a little bit more,” J.J. Redick said. The shooting guard added that Griffin’s loss with likely hurt more on the defensive end.
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