Draymond Green

Pacific Notes: West, $90K Tickets, Green

While it hasn’t gained the media traction that the Lakers‘ upcoming No. 2 pick or Chris Paul‘s pending free agency have, the fact that Jerry West, a purple and gold legend, could leave his post with Golden State to join not the Lakers but the Clippers would shake the L.A. basketball landscape, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times writes.

Having beaten the Lakers in 18 of their past 20 meetings, the Clippers are officially on top of the intercity rivalry. Poaching West from Golden State would only add to the growing divide between the two franchises.

Sometimes I thought in my life that maybe that [rejoining the Lakers] might be something that I can revisit, or they would want me to revisit, but that didn’t happen,” West said recently. “It kind of sent me a message that they wanted to go elsewhere, which was fine.

While West hasn’t worked with the Lakers in an official capacity for 17 years, he’s still synonymous with the franchise. The fact that he’s intrigued by the possibility of joining Steve Ballmer and the Clippers is symbolic of the changing times.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • A pair of tickets for Game 5 of the NBA Finals has sold for $90K, Darren Rovell of ESPN writes. The Warriors and Cavaliers will tip off in the Bay Area tomorrow. The price point, however, falls just shy of last year’s finale, when two seats to Game 7 went for $99K.
  • Confusion arose in Game 4 of the NBA Finals when officials appeared to retroactively change the recipient of a technical foul. Adi Joseph of USA Today compiled an oral history of the incident. Officials say that the technical foul had always been awarded to Warriors coach Steve Kerr and that there had simply been a miscommunication.
  • Never one to shy away from controversy, Warriors forward Draymond Green riled the feathers of Cavaliers fans after Game 4. In the same Joseph article Green is quoted as saying “I really don’t pay much attention to anyone in Cleveland, honestly. They don’t seem to be the sharpest people around.

Community Shootaround: Draymond Green

The Cavaliers and Warriors are in the middle of a competitive Game 4 with the NBA title hanging in the balance (for one of them). If Cleveland can’t eke out a victory by the end of the night, they’ll be on the losing end of Golden State’s historic 16-0 playoff run and the offseason will have officially begun.

Such an impressive run, just one season removed from their historic 73-win 2015/16 campaign would put the already legendary Warriors club in even more impressive territory.

This isn’t a post about the Warriors winning the 2017 NBA title, however, as we at Hoops Rumors remain dutifully impartial and simply hopeful that the series will continue and hoops fans the world over get several more games of NBA action.

This is a post about last year.

Earlier this week, notoriously emotional Draymond Green told Zach Lowe of ESPN that he believes his suspension in Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals cost his team the title. Green, of course, was sidelined after an incident in which he appeared to take a swipe at LeBron James‘ groin.

Whether or not you agree that the suspension was warranted, the question we’d like to propose is whether or not you think having Green in the lineup for Game 5 last year would have changed the outcome of the best-of-seven series.

If the Dubs had pulled off the 2016 title, they’d be within a game from a threepeat here tonight, which comes with its own place among the league’s greatest dynasties.

The question is, if Golden State were reigning two-time defending champions, would they be perceived any different than they are? Would Kevin Durant still have signed? Would James’ legacy be impacted?

It’ll be a long 15 minutes as we await the third quarter of this fourth game of the 2017 NBA Finals, so join us on a hypothetical journey back to last year.

NBA Reveals Award Finalists

The NBA is in the process of revealing its finalists for each of the major year-end awards on TNT, the winners of which will be announced at the official award show on June 26.

Below is an ongoing list that we’ll update as the NBA on TNT crew reveals more.

Most Improved Player of the Year
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Rudy Gobert
Nikola Jokic

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MIP

Sixth Man of the Year
Eric Gordon
Andre Iguodala
Lou Williams

Hoops Rumors Analysis: Sixth Man

Rookie of the Year
Malcolm Brogdon
Joel Embiid
Dario Saric

Hoops Rumors Analysis: ROY

Coach of the Year
Mike D’Antoni
Gregg Popovich
Erik Spoelstra

Hoops Rumors Analysis: COTY

Defensive Player of the Year
Rudy Gobert
Draymond Green
Kawhi Leonard

Hoops Rumors Analysis: DPOY

Most Valuable Player of the Year
James Harden
Kawhi Leonard
Russell Westbrook

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MVP

No Paul George, Gordon Hayward On All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-NBA teams for the 2016/17 season, and neither Paul George nor Gordon Hayward is among the 15 players honored. That’s big news for both players and their teams, since they’ll be ineligible for the Designated Veteran Extension, reducing the amount of money the Pacers and Jazz – respectively – could offer their star forwards in contract extensions this offseason.

Here are this year’s All-NBA teams:

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Based on this year’s All-NBA voting results, Wall is now eligible to sign a Designated Veteran Extension this summer, while Leonard is eligible to sign one next summer. Harden, Westbrook, and Curry are also eligible to sign DVEs this summer, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical notes (via Twitter).

Those Designated Veteran Extensions – which are dependent on a player making an All-NBA team in the year before he signs an extension, or in two of the previous three years – apply to players finishing up their rookie scale extensions. They allow a player re-signing with his own team to earn up to 35% of the salary cap, rather than just 30%. So, if we assume a $101MM salary cap for 2017/18, a player like Curry could sign a new Warriors contract with a starting salary of $35.35MM, instead of $30.3MM.

The Pacers and Jazz will still be able to offer George and Hayward larger and longer contracts than any other team, but the advantage won’t be as significant as it would have been if those players had earned All-NBA spots. Teams can offer their own Bird-rights free agents up to five years (instead of four) and 8% raises (instead of 5%).

Hayward figures to opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer, while George is expected to reach free agency in 2018. George could still become eligible for the DVE in ’18 if the Pacers hang onto him through next season and he earns All-NBA honors a year from now. However, there’s no guarantee that Indiana will be willing to take that risk.

As for the rest of the All-NBA votes, there weren’t any major surprises, particularly on the first two teams. Perhaps the biggest surprise, in a year which was dominated by four clear-cut MVP candidates, is that Harden was the only player who received 100 out of 100 possible First Team votes. Westbrook and James received 99 apiece, while Leonard received 96.

Note: Hoops Rumors readers voted last month on All-NBA teams, and our squads looked awfully close to the official ones, with a couple notable exceptions. You can check out the results of our voting right here.

Details On Warriors’ Recruitment Of Kevin Durant

When Kevin Durant spurned the Thunder to come to the Warriors, many assumed it was in part, because he had formed a friendship with Stephen Curry during Team USA competition. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case, as Draymond Green was the catalyst for the 2013/14 MVP’s arrival, Ethan Sherwood Strauss writes in his last article for ESPN.

Owner Joe Lacob reportedly told friends and ex-colleagues about Green’s efforts during a speech at his old venture capital firm. “Draymond Green started off hard sell, and he was great,” Lacob said of Green’s pitch to Durant. “He gave the heavy pitch, which no one else there would have done, except for me, because I’m basically the Draymond Green of the business side.”

Strauss adds that Lacob is a huge advocate of Green and while the owner doesn’t regularly visit the locker room, if he does, chances are it’s to congratulate Green.

Sources tell Strauss that the Warriors had to approach Curry and ask him to join the recruitment efforts in free agency last summer. Curry obliged and he reportedly sent a text to Durant explaining how it didn’t matter who the face of the franchise was going to be and it certainly didn’t matter who sold more shoes. Curry has a deal with Under Armour, while Nike has Durant.

Curry’s been exceptionally adaptable during Durant’s first year with the squad. He didn’t take exception when Nike sent the entire team a pair of Durant’s kicks, which is why you’ll find more Golden State players wearing Nikes than UAs. Strauss notes that Curry doesn’t get recognition from ownership, citing Lacob’s previous “It’s not just Steph Curry” comment as well as Curry’s absence from the organization’s ground-breaking ceremony. Both the Warriors and Curry insist the point guard wasn’t there because of a scheduling conflict. However, it’s worth noting that Lacob thanked a list of people, including Kevin Durant, but left out Curry— who’s below market contract was paramount to the franchise’s ability to construct its super team.

Curry may not have quarterbacked the Durant pitch, but Strauss contends that his off the court actions were critical to team’s success over the past year. Green was the most aggressive in the recruitment efforts, but Curry’s acceptance of a marginalized role facilitated the making of a juggernaut.

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.”
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