Draymond Green

Knicks’ Robinson Among Players Not Participating In Bubble Mini-Camps

The NBA’s bottom eight teams are finally participating in group workouts this week as part of the second phase of the league’s in-market bubble plan to get those clubs some organized offseason activities to tide them over to the 2020/21 season. However, those activities are voluntary and not every player on the bottom eight rosters is in attendance.

One of the more notable absences is in New York, where Knicks center Mitchell Robinson isn’t taking part in the team’s mini-camp, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv. As Begley details, Robinson participated in individual workouts last week but will be absent from the group portion of the camp for personal reasons. The big man doesn’t have COVID-19, sources tell Begley.

Robinson’s absence from the mini-camp is unfortunate for the Knicks because he’s under contract for multiple seasons and these sessions are mostly aimed at getting teams’ young, core players some extra reps in practices and scrimmages. Participation from established veteran players is less crucial, so it’s no surprise that Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Draymond Green have been excused from Golden State’s in-market bubble camp for family reasons, as Nick Friedell of ESPN writes.

“A lot of guys are going to get a lot better and really thrive in this environment,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “I’m not worried about Steph and Draymond; I know how hard they work and I know they’ll be prepared for next season.”

Impending free agency is another logical reason why certain players would opt to forgo these offseason team activities. In Atlanta, for example, Jeff Teague, DeAndre’ Bembry, Treveon Graham, and Damian Jones – all of whom are on expired contracts – aren’t with the Hawks in their bubble, according to Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Dewayne Dedmon also isn’t participating in the team’s group activities, Spencer adds.

We’ve previously passed along details on players from the other five teams who aren’t taking part in these in-market camps. That list includes Kris Dunn for the Bulls; Juan Hernangomez, Evan Turner, and Omari Spellman for the Timberwolves; Bismack Biyombo and Nicolas Batum for the Hornets; Andre Drummond, Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova, and Cedi Osman for the Cavaliers; and Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Christian Wood, and Langston Galloway for the Pistons.

Pacific Notes: Hield, Kings, Green, Suns, Mann

When Buddy Hield signed his four-year contract extension with the Kings last fall, it was said to be worth $86MM, with another $20MM available in incentives. When that deal goes into effect for the 2020/21 season, only $500K of the $5MM in annual incentives will be considered likely, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

As Marks explains (via Twitter), finishing in the top 10 in the NBA in three-pointers made – as Hield did this season – will be worth $500K per year on his new contract. As a result, the Kings sharpshooter will have a first-year cap hit of $24.9MM in ’20/21 rather than $24.4MM, the base value. Hield can still earn his other $4.5MM in annual bonus money — those incentives will just be considered “unlikely” rather than “likely,” meaning they won’t count against the team’s cap for the time being.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • After a disappointing finish to the 2019/20 season extended the Kings‘ postseason drought to 14 consecutive seasons, the team faces difficult questions and an uncertain future, writes James Ham of NBC Sports California.
  • Tim Kawakami of The Athletic argues that Draymond Green‘s comments about Devin Booker – which earned him a $50K fine – weren’t meant to tamper with Booker, but rather to taunt the Suns, a franchise the Warriors forward has criticized in the past.
  • Clippers coaches “love” rookie guard Terance Mann, according to Sean Deveney of Forbes.com, who tweets that the club was more willing to give up a first-round pick than Mann at the trade deadline in February. Mann’s name did reportedly come up in the Marcus Morris trade talks with New York — at the time, a report suggested the Knicks preferred draft picks to young players.

Draymond Green Fined For Violating Anti-Tampering Rule

Warriors forward Draymond Green has been fined $50K for comments he made about the Suns‘ Devin Booker on TNT, the NBA announced on Twitter.

The league considers Green’s suggestion that Booker should force his way out of Phoenix so he can play for a better organization to be a violation of its anti-tampering rule. In announcing the fine, the league notes that before the current season, it “adopted a stricter enforcement approach for conduct relating to tampering, salary cap circumvention, and free agency timing rules, including with respect to the rule prohibiting player-to-player tampering.”

Green, who is serving as a studio host during the NBA’s restart, raised eyebrows Friday with pointed comments toward the Suns and his opinion on Booker’s future.

“It’s great to see Book playing well and Phoenix playing well, but get my man out of Phoenix,” he said. “It’s not good for him, it’s not good for his career. Sorry Chuck (Charles Barkley), but they’ve gotta get Book out of Phoenix. I need my man to go somewhere that he can play great basketball all of the time and win, because he’s that kind of player.”

Draymond Green: Devin Booker Needs To Get Out Of Phoenix

Warriors forward Draymond Green admits he may have crossed the line into tampering with comments he made Friday on “Inside the NBA” calling for Suns star Devin Booker to force his way out of Phoenix, writes Sam Quinn of CBS Sports. Booker has been one of the top performers in Orlando, leading the Suns to four straight wins and keeping them in the playoff race, but Green doesn’t believe he has a bright future if he remains with the franchise.

“It’s great to see Book playing well and Phoenix playing well, but get my man out of Phoenix,” Green said. “It’s not good for him, it’s not good for his career. Sorry Chuck (Charles Barkley), but they’ve gotta get Book out of Phoenix. I need my man to go somewhere that he can play great basketball all of the time and win, because he’s that kind of player.”

Asked by co-host Ernie Johnson if his comments constituted tampering, Green laughed and replied, “Maybe.”

Green has been openly critical of the Suns before, Quinn notes. In the preseason, he blasted them for giving up too early on lottery pick Marquese Chriss, who turned in a career-best season for the Warriors.

“Let’s be frank about it,” Green said. “When (Chriss) was there, the organization was terrible. Everything was going wrong. But he get blamed, like he’s the problem. When he left, ain’t nothing go right. That’s my take on it.”

Green has a reputation for reaching out to stars from other teams, most notably Kevin Durant after Golden State dropped the seventh game of the NBA Finals in 2016. Durant agreed to join the Warriors and captured two championships with them.

It would be difficult for Golden State or any other team to pry Booker out of Phoenix. He’s the centerpiece of the rebuilding effort in Phoenix and still has four seasons remaining on the maximum extension he signed in the summer of 2018.

While Green’s statement will attract scrutiny from the NBA office, the league has tended to overlook player comments and assess tampering fines only to team executives, observes Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports. He cites the example of LeBron James saying last year that he would like to have Anthony Davis as a teammate. The league responded by sending an anti-tampering memo to all 30 teams, but didn’t impose a fine on James.

Western Notes: Green, Sarver, Grizzlies, Jokic

Although the veteran big man struggled throughout most of the season, Warriors coach Steve Kerr expects to see the very best version of Draymond Green next year, recently explaining his thoughts on KNBR’s “Tolbert, Kreuger and Brooks” podcast (hat tip to Sportando).

“I think this year was really frustrating for him offensively, and then as a competitor, it was frustrating for him just losing night after night,” Kerr said. “It’s just too difficult in this league to try to win games when you’re that shorthanded. I think he dealt with the frustration. He definitely boiled over several times, got kicked out. But, overall, I just thought he handled himself well.”

“He made it through, and he is getting a much-needed rest,” Kerr continued. “And I think we’re going to see the very best version of Draymond next year, whenever next season starts. I feel really good about where he’s going to be mentally and physically.”

Green posted averages of 8.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game on 39% shooting from the floor and 28% shooting from deep this season. By comparison, he averaged 11 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.3 assists per contest during Golden State’s last title run in 2017/18, shooting 45% from the floor.

The Warriors dealt with a series of injuries this season, playing without Klay Thompson and losing Stephen Curry to an injury in late October. The team finished with the NBA’s worst record at 15-50 and is among eight clubs that weren’t invited to the league’s restart in Orlando next month.

Here are some other notes out of the Western Conference today:

  • Suns owner Robert Sarver wanted to own an NBA franchise in Las Vegas, Jeremy Cluff of the Arizona Republic writes. Sarver, who purchased the Suns in 2004, explained that then-commissioner David Stern pointed him toward Phoenix after Sarver initially expressed interest in Vegas.
  • The Grizzlies have hired Austin Spurs assistant Blake Ahearn to their coaching staff, the team announced in a press release. Ahearn is the sixth assistant coach on Memphis’ staff, leaving the Spurs’ minor league affiliate in Austin to accept the position. He’ll participate in various player development efforts with the Grizzlies, including shooting development.
  • Mike Singer of the Denver Post examines whether Nikola Jokic‘s sudden weight loss could negatively impact his game. Jokic has slimmed down during quarantine with hopes of getting in better shape and becoming quicker, though his past successes with the Nuggets have come with a wide seven-foot, 280-pound frame.

Latest On Klay Thompson’s ACL Recovery

The Warriors won’t play their next regular season game until December, but injured sharpshooter Klay Thompson continues to make major strides in his rehab from his ACL tear. According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, Thompson recently received clearance to train without restrictions on his knee, and has been ramping up his workouts since then.

As Slater explains, Thompson has been running, jumping, dunking, and “doing just about everything you can do in an individual workout.” He has also been going through some 3-on-0 and 5-on-0 simulation drills at full speed.

However, given the current restrictions in place due to COVID-19, he won’t get a chance to participate in group workouts and scrimmages with teammates anytime soon, which will be a necessary step to make sure he’s game-ready.

According to Slater, the Warriors expect the NBA to allow the eight teams not involved in the Orlando restart to hold some form of offseason mini-camps in the coming months. If and when that happens, Thompson figures to fully participate — as will his veteran teammates who dealt with injuries of their own during the 2019/20 season.

“Oh yeah,” head coach Steve Kerr recently said when asked if Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green would be required to take part in an offseason mini-camp. “100 percent. I would not consider this voluntary workouts. Obviously, these are really unique circumstances. But given that we would be staring at a nine-month break, to be perfectly honest, I’d be shocked if any one of those three guys said to me, ‘No, I don’t want the work.’ They all know they need the work. We need the work. So they’ll be there.”

Thompson has been sidelined since tearing his ACL in the final game of the 2019 NBA Finals, last June 13. He had long been ruled out for the 2019/20 season, with the expectation that he’d target training camp – or perhaps the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – for his return. With the Olympics and the start of next season both postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Thompson has a longer runway to get back to 100% before his next game.

Pacific Notes: Wiseman, Warriors, Sarver, Clippers

The Warriors have already met with some prominent draft prospects via Zoom, including center James Wiseman and guard LaMelo Ball, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Wiseman is currently rated at No. 3 by ESPN with Ball at No. 2, just behind Georgia guard Anthony Edwards. With the draft rescheduled to October 15th, the Warriors anticipate they’ll get to evaluate prospects in person at some point.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • With the Warriors left out of the 22-team restart of the season, Draymond Green stands to benefit the most among the franchise’s players, Slater opines in a separate story. Green had been nursing a variety of injuries prior to the suspension of play and now he’ll get plenty of time to heal up prior to next season. Young players such as Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole, Alen Smailagic and Mychal Mulder will be hurt the most by the long gap between seasons, Slater adds.
  • Suns owner Robert Sarver says there are many hurdles to clear before play can resume in Orlando on July 31, according to Matt Layman of ArizonaSports.com. Sarver made his comments in a radio interview with 98.7 FM. “The logistics with Disney — you know a number of these hotels have had layoffs, have been partially closed or fully closed, and so there’s a re-startup there,” he said. “And then there’s the whole health concern with COVID-19 and how that plays out and making sure that we go back to what our first priority was, which was the health and safety of the players and the staff.”
  • If the Clippers are able to re-sign free agents Marcus Morris and Montrezl Harrell, they’re likely to bring back virtually the same team next season, John Hollinger of The Athletic predicted in a conversation with fellow Athletic writer Jovan Buha. Hollinger believes in that scenario the only additions will be a second-round draft pick and a minimum-contract point guard to replace Reggie Jackson.

Warriors Notes: Green, Durant, Future, Lottery Pick

After weighing in earlier in the week on how Kevin Durant‘s contract situation affected the 2018/19 Warriors, Draymond Green got even more candid about the end of the Durant era in Golden State during an appearance on Showtime’s “All the Smoke” with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. As Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area relays, Green went into detail on his infamous confrontation with Durant during a November 2018 loss to the Clippers.

“He comes to the bench and he slaps the bench like, ‘Yo! Pass me the f–king ball,'” Green said of Durant’s actions at the end of that game. “I’m like, ‘Get the f–k outta here. F–king run then.’ And he’s like, ‘You heard what the f–k I said’ and slaps the chair: ‘Pass me the f–king ball.’ I’m like, ‘Yo, you better calm the f–k down. I don’t know who the f–k you think you’re talking to.’

“Remember, I got the pulse of this team. I got the pulse of the organization. I already know you one foot in and one foot out. … I’ve been an All-Star before you got here. I’ve been doing this. Don’t talk to me like I’m one of these little dudes that don’t know how to hoop. I’m a grown a– man.'”

Green went on to describe the aftermath of that incident, which saw head coach Steve Kerr and GM Bob Myers ask him to apologize for his blow-up and then suspend him for a game when he wasn’t initially willing to do so. While Durant has suggested that the confrontation played a part in his departure from the Warriors, Green rejected the idea that he pushed KD out the door.

“This is f–king Kevin Durant we’re talking about,” Green said, per Shiller. “Yeah, I’ve done great things here. But let me tell you this — if Kevin really wanted to be here, all he would have done is went to Bob and said, ‘Yeah, I’ll stay. But Draymond gotta go.’ And guess what — Bob Myers would have called me and said, ‘Draymond, I love you — and I won’t trade you to a bad team — but where do you want to go?’ … You’re f–king Kevin Durant. If you wanted to be here, I would have been out. I would have been long gone.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Dan Feldman of NBC Sports passed along some additional choice quotes from Green’s appearance on “All The Smoke,” including the former Defensive Player of the Year’s suggestion that Durant was upset by the perception that LeBron James was still the NBA’s best player following the 2017 Finals. “You turn on the TV the next day, and the f–king headline is ‘LeBron James still the best player in the world, question mark,'” Green said. “You’ve got Stephen A. (Smith), you’ve got all these people debating it. And everybody still said LeBron James is the best player in the world. That’s when I kind of felt like it took a turn. And then we came back (for the) 2017/2018 season, and Kevin just wasn’t as happy.”
  • Anthony Slater and John Hollinger of The Athletic explored the Warriors’ future outlook, with Hollinger noting it would be surprising if Golden State isn’t willing to spend whatever it takes to add talent to the roster going forward, since the team essentially made that decision when it acquired D’Angelo Russell in last summer’s Durant sign-and-trade. Hollinger also suggests that using the “Russell strategy” – acquiring a player and being willing to trade him later – might make sense for the Warriors’ 2020 lottery pick if no appealing deals are available in the offseason, since more trade options could surface at the 2021 deadline.
  • In a separate piece for The Athletic, Slater explores the similarities between Stephen Curry‘s below-market value with the Warriors from 2013-17 and Scottie Pippen‘s bargain deal with the Bulls during their 1990s dynasty.

Green: KD’s Contract Was “Elephant In The Room” In 2018/19

After watching the first two episodes of ESPN’s “Last Dance” documentary, Warriors big man Draymond Green drew some parallels between the 1997/98 Bulls and the 2018/19 Warriors.

Appearing on Uninterrupted’s “WRTS: After Party” show with Paul Rivera and Maverick Carter, Green suggested that the uncertainty surrounding Kevin Durant‘s contract situation during the ’18/19 season prevented Golden State from approaching the year knowing whether it would be that group’s last chance to win a title.

“Kevin took the one-year deal on his own. So that was kind of the elephant in the room,” Green said, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. “And although (head coach) Steve (Kerr)‘s approach was like, ‘Hey, guys, let’s approach this year because we don’t know what next year brings,’ you’ve got Kevin’s contract, you’ve got (Klay Thompson)’s contract, and I kind of got thrown in that contract thing, although I had another year after that year, which was this year.

“And so that was kind of the elephant in the room, and although Steve would kind of hit on it, (saying) ‘Let’s just enjoy this year for what it is because we don’t know what next year holds,’ it didn’t necessarily carry the same weight because what should have happened was Kevin come out and say, ‘Hey, man, this is it (his last year with the Warriors), so let’s do this,’ or, ‘This isn’t it.'”

As Green mentioned, Durant signed a one-year contract with the Warriors during the summer of 2018. While that was Durant’s third consecutive short-term deal with the team, there was an understanding when he signed his previous two contracts that he wouldn’t be exploring the free agent market when they expired. That wasn’t the case with his third deal, so KD and the rest of the Warriors faced questions throughout the ’18/19 season about his future and the team’s future.

In the case of Michael Jordan‘s Bulls, there was an understanding heading into the ’97/98 campaign that it would be his and head coach Phil Jackson‘s final year in Chicago. Green suggested this week that having that sort of certainty last season may have benefited the Warriors.

“There was always an elephant in the room amongst us, as opposed to with (the Bulls), they didn’t have that elephant,” Green said. “(General manager Jerry Krause) had said it was Phil’s last year. Phil had told them this was the last dance. Mike already said, ‘Well, if Phil ain’t coming back next year, I’m not either.’ So everybody knew it was Mike’s last year. They didn’t have that elephant. Whereas I think we had a huge elephant sitting in the room, and Steve was trying to address it as best as he could, but it was kind of out of his hands.”

Even if Green is right that Durant’s contract situation was a distraction for the Warriors, the team still came close to winning a third consecutive championship last spring, and may very well have done so if not for injuries to Durant and Thompson before and during the NBA Finals.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Wiggins, Green, Looney

Stephen Curry returned to the Warriors‘ lineup on Thursday night after missing more than four months due to a broken left hand. And while they couldn’t pick up a home win vs. the Raptors, the Dubs gave the defending champions all they could handle and looked like they were having more fun with their superstar back on the court.

Andrew Wiggins, who was acquired by Golden State a month ago in a deadline trade with Minnesota, was on the court whenever Curry was on Thursday, with head coach Steve Kerr aiming to establish some chemistry between the new teammates. As Nick Friedell of ESPN.com relays, Wiggins expressed enthusiasm after the game about playing alongside Curry for the first time.

“He makes everyone great,” Wiggins said of the two-time MVP. “He makes everyone play better. He finds open men. He’s like the most unselfish superstar. That’s a good way to put it. He attracts so much attention that he’s going to find the open man, and he makes the right play, so it was fun.”

The Warriors are still an NBA-worst 14-49, but Kerr believes Curry’s return represents a turning point for the team. The veteran head coach, who said that Curry felt good after playing 27 minutes and will get his minutes ramped up going forward (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic), added that he expects to feel a “sense of energy and enthusiasm” in Golden State for the rest of the season.

“To me, this is sort of the beginning of next season in a lot of ways; and I think we’re all starting to get some clarity as far as what our team’s gonna look like,” Kerr said, per Friedell. “And having Steph back is, obviously, a huge, huge part of that now. The next step will be getting Klay (Thompson) back, but that won’t be till next season. But I think these last 20 games are really going to be a springboard into next year, so I think that energy will be high and remain high.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Draymond Green missed his fourth consecutive game with knee soreness on Thursday, but an MRI showed no structural damage, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “I know he would’ve loved to have played tonight, but the training staff just doesn’t feel comfortable putting him out there yet,” Kerr said. “We’re hoping that in the next couple of days it’s something that clears up.”
  • While it sounds like Green should be back soon, that may not be the case for another injured big man, Kevon Looney. He has missed three straight games with hip soreness, an injury Kerr referred to as “a concern,” per Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. The Warriors expect to have a more concrete update on Looney later today.
  • After a month with the Warriors, Wiggins said on Thursday that he feels “right at home” with his new team, according to Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. “It’s all been positive here. Just learning how they do things and what it’s like to be a part of a winning culture,” Wiggins said. “I feel like it was time for a change and this is the best fit that could have happened for me, so I’m happy.”
  • Wiggins hasn’t confirmed one way or the other whether he intends to suit up for Team Canada during the 2020 Olympic qualifying tournament this June. However, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse – who is coaching Canada’s national team – is optimistic that the Warriors forward will participate, as Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca relays (via Twitter).