Draymond Green

Ben Simmons Rumors: Embiid, Kings, Warriors, More

Within a Tuesday column on the SixersBen Simmons dilemma, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today cited a person with knowledge of the situation who said there’s a rift between Simmons and star center Joel Embiid that had been “escalating” leading up to this summer. However, in a tweet published on Wednesday, Embiid pushed back on that claim.

Stop using my name to push people’s agendas,” Embiid wrote. “I love and hate drama. I love playing with Ben. Stats don’t lie. He’s an amazing player and we all didn’t get the job done. It’s on me personally. I hope everyone is back cuz we know we’re good enough to win.”

In the wake of Tuesday’s report that Simmons has told the Sixers he wants to be traded and doesn’t plan to report to training camp, we’ve got several more Simmons-related items to pass along today. Let’s dive in…

  • A trade sending Simmons to the Kings might be a long shot, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, who hears that the Sixers would only be willing to consider a package that includes either De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton. As we detailed on Tuesday, Sacramento is unlikely to part with either player.
  • Any interest the Warriors might have in Simmons is “conditional,” according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area, who suggests Golden State is hesitant to pair the three-time All-Star with Draymond Green, another strong defender who isn’t much of a scorer. Sources tell Poole that the Warriors are “divided” on the Simmons/Green fit, and that some people in the organization see potential in the pairing, while others believe having two non-shooters on the court would hamstring the offense too significantly. It’s also extremely unlikely that the team would move Green in a Simmons deal, Poole adds.
  • Unlike other teams that have traded star players in recent years, such as the Pelicans with Anthony Davis or the Rockets with James Harden, the Sixers have no intention of landing in the lottery after trading Simmons, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic, noting that Philadelphia finds itself in an unusual spot. New Orleans and Houston were willing to wait out ugly situations for months before trading their respective stars, and it will be interesting to see if the 76ers are willing to do the same with Simmons, who isn’t quite at the same level as a Davis or a Harden, Bodner observes.
  • The time for “mutually beneficial maneuvering” seems to have passed for the Sixers and Simmons, per Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice, who says it’s now just a matter of seeing which side wins the stare-down.

Pacific Notes: Kerr, Buss, Clippers, Durant, Green

The mantra for the Warriors this coming season appears to be “balance,” writes Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. According to Johnson, the way the team has re-balanced through its veteran signings and draft class is one of the main things that excites head coach Steve Kerr coming into the season.

I think this year’s team will offer a much better mix of mentors and veterans to go along with those young guys,” Kerr said on the latest episode of Dubs Talk podcast. “… It’s real exciting to think of the structure of the team and the balance and what we can accomplish.”

After two straight years of missing the playoffs, Kerr says he feels the team is back to a level where it can compete every night, especially once star Klay Thompson returns from his two-year hiatus due to ACL and Achilles injuries.

It’s really hard to gauge where we are against the rest of the Western Conference,” Kerr said. “Obviously there’s a lot of great teams. We haven’t even had a practice to put the group together. But I’m very excited about the potential.”

We have more news from around the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers owner Jeanie Buss recently sat down with Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic. In the interview, she describes why the legacy of her father’s Showtime Lakers impels her to build not just a great basketball team, but a stylish one. She talks about why she doesn’t like the play-in tournament, why Kobe Bryant‘s 20-year run with a single team is unlikely to be repeated, and says “our fans are going to be just cuckoo for (Russell Westbrook), are going to be so happy that he’s here.
  • The Clippers may not have shaken up their roster in a major way, but Summer League provided some reasons for excitement, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. No. 51 pick Brandon Boston outperformed expectations, knocking down shots and creating off the dribble, No. 33 pick Jason Preston overcame a rough start to show his ability to orchestrate the offense and get into the paint, while hyper-athletic wings Jay Scrubb and Keon Johnson both showcased why they’re intriguing talents while also laying bare the flaws that could keep them off the floor early on.
  • In a much-discussed interview with Bleacher Report, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green explored the last year of their time together with the Warriors, as well as their infamous blow-up in November of 2018. As Nick Friedell of ESPN explores, Durant and Green blamed head coach Steve Kerr and president of basketball operations Bob Myers for mishandling the response to that dust-up. “Y’all are about to f— this up,” Green said he told the Warriors front office. “I said, ‘The only person that can make this right is me and (Durant). And there is nothing that y’all can do, and y’all are going to f— this up.’ And in my opinion, they f—ed it up.” In response, Durant said, “I think so too.”

Draymond Green, Kevin Durant Discuss Experience As Warriors Teammates

Tensions between Draymond Green and Kevin Durant were one of the subplots of Durant’s final season with the Warriors, and Bleacher Report’s “Chips” is giving viewers a chance to hear them discuss that situation, writes Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Green and Durant had a public confrontation early in that season as Golden State was aiming for its third consecutive title. Green had accused Durant of looking ahead to his next destination in free agency, which he brings up in their “Chips” exchange.

“In my mind, after Year 2, you were over it,” Green tells Durant. “You were onto the next thing, but we had the opportunity to three-peat. And in my mind, what brought you back in year three was just the opportunity to three-peat, but it didn’t feel right for you no more.”

Durant admits there was a perception in his final year that he didn’t enjoy being part of the Warriors. He explains that he was “happy-go-lucky” during his time with the Thunder, but his approach changed when he came to Golden State and saw a clear path to winning titles.

“I knew exactly what my role was and I locked on it with so much focus and determination to not f–k around every day,” Durant said. “And you’ve seen it. From workouts to practices, shootaround, film, and it made people outside look at me like, ‘Hold on, is he enjoying this?’ When I dive into something like that, with that level of focus, I don’t want to be anywhere else in life. That’s the most enjoyable experience I ever had after that first one.

“I played every game, I went hard every day, I cared about every matchup no matter who was on the floor, just my look didn’t feel as open or energetic as before. But I like that. I like that I was closed off and focused on my work.”

Durant and Green have patched up their differences to the point where they can discuss the past without getting heated. They also reunited as teammates to win a gold medal during this year’s Olympics.

Durant said his main regret is not being open enough about his situation as the free agency rumors intensified. Outsiders may believe his time with the Warriors ended bitterly, but he says he enjoyed being part of an organization that was able to compete for a title every year.

“I maybe should have communicated that better to the people who were interested in knowing what I was going through,” Durant said. “But I had the most fun locking in and completing the task because I knew we were going to lock in every night, and it’s rare to get to that point as an NBA player. I just tried to focus in and stay in the moment more than anything.”

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Lacob, Moody, Larranaga

Prior to the draft, the Warriors’ top players were reportedly urging the front office to make a major deal by using assets such the No. 7 and 14 picks in the draft. Golden State ultimately didn’t make a deal, instead drafting Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.

Majority owner Joe Lacob said it’s “unlikely” will swing a big deal this offseason, Anthony Slater of The Athletic reports. The Warriors don’t want to give up an established star for another one.

“I know this isn’t popular with a lot of people. They think we ought to go get the next star,” Lacob said. “We already have the stars. And we have a payroll that’s — and I’ve said this when I was interviewed before, but nobody listened. It’s very unlikely, I’ve said that we’re not going to trade for anybody that people are expecting. Very unlikely.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • In the same story, Lacob said he’s ecstatic how the draft unfolded. “We’ll probably never have two lottery picks again. If we do, we’ll have a problem,” he said. “The thing that’s most amazing to me is how it worked out. I shouldn’t say where they were on our board, but it’s hard for me not to say it. I’ll just tell you they were both clearly in our top 10. We feel like we got really fortunate on Kuminga. Then with Moody, I think it’s pretty common knowledge we were seriously considering him at seven.”
  • Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson attended Moody’s draft workout, Alex Didion of NBC Sports Bay Area relays. Moody also has the same representative as Draymond Green and they had conversations leading up to the draft.
  • Jay Larranaga is joining Tyronn Lue’s coaching staff with the Clippers, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweetsLarranaga has been Brad Stevens top assistant with the Celtics over the past seven seasons.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Lakers, Davis, Hield, Kings

Draymond Green was on board with the Warriors‘ selections at Nos. 7 and 14, according to president of basketball operations Bob Myers, who said Green texted him with the names “(Jonathan) Kuminga” and “(Moses) Moody” a few spots before Golden State was on the clock for each selection (video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).

Myers also said in his post-draft press conference that the Warriors will need to add some veteran players in free agency. After weeks of rumors that Golden State was looking into trading its lottery picks for veteran contributors, the team ended up using those selections to draft an 18-year-old and a 19-year-old, making a massive bet on its player development program, Slater writes for The Athletic.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • An earlier report indicated that when LeBron James and Anthony Davis spoke to Russell Westbrook about teaming up in Los Angeles, the Lakers‘ stars expressed a willingness to play more at positions they’ve resisted in the past (power forward for James, center for Davis). Jovan Buha of The Athletic confirms (via Twitter) that the plan is, in fact, to have Davis play more minutes at center next season.
  • With his deal to land Westbrook, Lakers president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka provided a reminder that he’s one of the NBA’s “most audacious operators,” says Bill Oram of The Athletic.
  • The Kings, who had been in serious discussions with the Lakers about a Buddy Hield trade, will now have to pivot and explore other options for Hield after L.A. chose to use its assets to acquire Westbrook instead, writes Jason Jones of The Athletic.
  • Kings general manager Monte McNair on Thursday when he used the No. 9 pick to add Davion Mitchell to a crowded backcourt headlined by De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. However, McNair isn’t worried about the positional overlap, as James Ham of NBC Sports California relays. “Best player available and Davion just won a national championship in a three-guard lineup,” McNair said, referring to a Baylor team that featured Mitchell, Jared Butler, and MaCio Teague.

Olympic Notes: LaVine, NBA Participants, Hernangomez, Finals Trio

Zach LaVine was placed in protocols due to contact tracing before he was allowed to go to Tokyo. That development came as a big surprise to the Team USA wing. LaVine was sidelined for 11 Bulls games in April when he tested positive for COVID-19, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times writes. “Well I was a little shocked,’’ LaVine said. “Obviously, I didn’t think I could get [the virus]. Obviously, I didn’t. I’m going to have to be careful with everybody including the team and everybody coming over here, so it made sense, and I pretty much had to do my time, jump through a couple hoops to get here.’’

We have more Olympic-related notes:

  • If there are a lot of familiar faces in the Olympic tournament, it’s because there are a record number of current and former NBA participants. According to an NBA press release, there are 49 current players and 16 former players dotting Olympic rosters. The Heat lead the way with four players in the competition.
  • Spain’s basketball federation president claims that Juan Hernangomez won’t play in the Olympics because Timberwolves president Gersson Rosas nixed it, according to a Eurohoops story relayed by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Hernangomez dislocated his left shoulder this summer but Jorge Garbajosa says the big man has been cleared by Spain’s medical staff. “Juancho wants to play in the Olympic Games, but Juancho won’t be able to play,” Garbajosa said. “We’ve had countless medical meetings and we’ve never received a ‘no.’ We have a received a ‘yes’. … It’s a problem of people – not medical personnel – who have personally decided that Juancho couldn’t play. I’m talking about their president of basketball operations.”
  • Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday arrived in Tokyo on Saturday and their Team USA teammates are impressed by the commitment of the three players who participated in the Finals, Brian Windhorst of ESPN writes. “I have a lot of respect for those guys for not only committing to do this but actually keeping their word,” Draymond Green said. “You’re talking about three true professionals, three extremely competitive guys that wouldn’t be on their way here if this didn’t mean something.”

Warriors’ Stars Pushing For Beal Trade

The Warriors’ star players are pushing management to acquire a top-level talent in pursuit of another championship, with Bradley Beal as the top target, Marcus Thompson of The Athletic reports.

The Warriors have the No. 7 and 14 picks in next week’s draft to dangle and would likely have to add more picks along with Andrew Wiggins‘ salary to make the salaries match. Golden State would prefer to keep last year’s No. 2 overall pick, James Wiseman, but it’s speculated that Washington would also want the young center as part of any package.

Of course, Beal has never indicated he wants to be traded and the Wizards have repeatedly said they’re not interested in dealing their high-scoring All-Star. In fact, Washington is hoping to sign Beal to another extension. His current one begins in 2021/22 — it’s a two-year deal worth $71.8MM with a player option in the second year.

Beal and the Wizards would need to have a change of heart quickly with the draft just a week away.

Golden State’s trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green has made it clear to the team’s front office it wants a player who can help the franchise make another serious run at a title.

Beal, who was chosen for Team USA but didn’t travel to Tokyo after entering health and safety protocols, is viewed as the ideal player for Golden State’s offense due to his scoring and play-making ability. That would ease the load on Curry, who edged Beal for the league scoring title this season.

Damian Lillard could also fit that mold, but multiple sources told Thompson it’s unlikely the Trail Blazers’ perennial All-Star would want to join the Warriors. Beal is preferred over Raptors star forward Pascal Siakam, another player rumored to be a potential trade target for the Warriors.

Pacific Notes: Simmons, Wiseman, Green, Kerr

It’s unlikely the Kings could put together a trade package that would allow them to acquire Ben Simmons from the Sixers, according to James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. Philadelphia is seeking an All-Star caliber player for Simmons and Sacramento is unlikely to make Tyrese Haliburton or De’Aaron Fox available.

Ham speculates the Kings could try to package Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley and the No. 9 overall pick or Harrison Barnes, Bagley and the same pick and see if Philadelphia would be interested.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors can take their cue from the Suns in order to get the most out of James Wiseman, Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Deandre Ayton is a major reason why Phoenix advanced to the Finals, mainly due to the fact he’s become a prolific rebounder while getting fewer touches on offense. The Warriors need their bigs to thrive near the rim and help them get extra possessions, and that should be Wiseman’s main focus, Andrews adds.
  • Suns assistant Willie Green is reportedly a candidate for all three remaining head coaching jobs around the league and Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic takes a closer look at how Green would fit in with the Wizards, Pelicans and Magic. Green isn’t in a rush to get a head coaching job. “It’s definitely a goal, but I don’t feel like a need to chase that goal,” he said.
  • With Draymond Green playing for Team USA and Steve Kerr on the coaching staff, the Warriors could reap long-term benefits by building relationships with star players that could eventually land in Golden State, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area speculates. The Olympics present a low-key method for franchises to recruit players, Poole adds.

Olympic Notes: Beal, Booker, Brissett, Doncic

Team USA’s backcourt has been fortified by two All-Stars who pledged on Friday to play in the Tokyo Olympics.

Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal, the league’s second-leading scorer this season, has made a commitment, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Suns shooting guard Devin Booker, who finished 14th in scoring and will be playing in the upcoming Western Conference Finals, has also decided to participate, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and Warriors big man Draymond Green are among the other prominent players who have already chosen to play for Team USA.

We have more news regarding the Olympics:

  • Oshae Brissett will not play for Team Canada at the Olympics, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. The 22-year-old Brissett averaged 10.9 PPG and 5.5 RPG for the Pacers this season.
  • Luka Doncic had 10 points and 17 assists for Slovenia in a friendly game against Croatia on Friday, according to SportandoMario Hezonja scored 37 points for Croatia. The game was a tuneup for the FIBA Qualifying Tournament later this month.
  • In case you missed it, Jimmy Butler will not play for Team USA. Get the details here.

Olympic Notes: Lillard, Green, Canada, Serbia, Italy

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Warriors forward/center Draymond Green are among the first players to commit to Team USA ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, sources tell Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Team USA figures to bring more than a dozen players to its initial camp this summer before paring down the roster to 12 for Tokyo, so Lillard’s and Green’s commitments don’t guarantee that they’ll be part of the final Olympic roster. However, it seems safe to assume that spots on the 12-man squad will be reserved for the two stars as long as they remain healthy and committed.

Green won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics, while Lillard has yet to play for Team USA in a major international tournament. Green and Lillard are two of the 57 names listed as part of USA Basketball’s initial player pool in March, though as we noted last week, many of the players on that list seem unlikely to participate for a variety of reasons, including injuries.

Here are a few more updates from around the international basketball world:

  • Team Canada’s preliminary roster for the Olympic qualifying tournament later this month included 14 current NBA players. However, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic and Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter links), at least three of those NBA players – Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks, and Celtics center Tristan Thompson – now aren’t expected to participate.
  • The Serbian national team is preparing for the possibility of being without several key players for this month’s qualifying tournament, according to a MozzartSport report (hat tip to Sportando). Hawks swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic and reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets are among the players considered unlikely to be available for the OQT in Belgrade.
  • Longtime NBA shooting guard Marco Belinelli announced that he won’t be part of the Italian team attempting to earn an Olympic berth at this month’s qualifying tournament in Belgrade, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Belinelli, who is now playing for Virtus Bologna, wants to rest to make sure he’s 100% healthy for next season.