Draymond Green

Western Notes: Russell, D. Green, Korver, Zion

Winter weather played a factor in D’Angelo Russell‘s decision to choose the Warriors over the Timberwolves in free agency this summer, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.

The Timberwolves initially appeared to have the upper hand, led by Karl-Anthony Towns, one of Russell’s best friends, and Pablo Prigioni, one of his favorite assistant coaches with the Nets. However, the Warriors swooped in on June 30 with a maximum-salary offer as part of a sign-and-trade involving Kevin Durant.

“I thought the opportunity here was amazing … ” Russell said of the Timberwolves on Friday. “But then when this (Warriors) opportunity came, the weather is way better, so that helped me. … I did my first winter in New York and that was tough. So to get the opportunity to go somewhere where it’s warm again, I think that played a major part in my plan.”

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors are still months away from getting Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson back, but it appears Draymond Green is ready to return to the lineup. Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets that Green is “trending toward” returning on Monday vs. Utah after missing five games due to a torn ligament and small bone chip in his left index finger.
  • It was an eventful offseason for veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver, who was traded from the Jazz to the Grizzlies to the Suns, then was released by Phoenix before signing with Milwaukee. As Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune writes, Korver admitted he was surprised by the initial trade out of Utah. “Yeah, definitely caught me off-guard. Like I said, I’ve been traded a few times before — very rarely do you see it coming,” Korver said. “You know, the NBA is a beautiful job for a lot of reasons; living stability is not one of them.”
  • Pelicans fans anxiously awaiting Zion Williamson‘s debut will almost certainly have to wait until at least December, as head coach Alvin Gentry recently confirmed that a November return date would be “ambitious” (Twitter link via Andrew Lopez of ESPN). Williamson, who is recovering from meniscus surgery, said last week that his knee is “getting stronger day by day” and is confident he’ll still have plenty of opportunities to contribute over the course of the 82-game season, writes Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com.

Alex Kirschenbaum contributed to this post.

Warriors Notes: Future, Russell, Green, Looney

No matter how poorly this season turns out for the Warriors, the franchise is in good position for the future, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Golden State has seen a nightmarish run of injuries dating back to last year’s NBA Finals, and while none of the currently active players were on the roster last season, the situation gives the front office time to assess what they have before trying to jump back into title contention in 2020/21.

Windhorst notes that Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are all in the prime of their careers and are under long-term contracts. In addition, the first-round pick the Warriors owe Brooklyn in 2020 is top-20 protected and seems in no danger of conveying. It could wind up high in the lottery and provide another building block for the future. Also, Golden State holds a $17MM trade exception from the Andre Iguodala deal that doesn’t expire until July 7, and the franchise has the top source of revenue in the league thanks to a new arena.

The team also has a prime trade asset in D’Angelo Russell, who becomes eligible to be dealt on December 15. Windhorst believes the Warriors can get another first-round pick and at least a role player for Russell, who is in position to be showcased once he returns from an ankle injury. He adds that if no deal can be reached by the trade deadline, Russell should keep his trade value for the summer.

Willie Cauley-Stein and Alec Burks, who signed with Golden State expecting to be part of a playoff team, suddenly look like valuable trade assets as well, Windhorst adds.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Golden State started three rookies for the third consecutive game tonight, and coach Steve Kerr told Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle that the immediate focus will be on player development. “While we have guys out, we have to try to bring along our young players, help them develop and give them every opportunity to develop into rotation players, maybe even starters,” Kerr said. “If we can do that, that makes this a successful season or half season, however long it is. And we have a leg up when guys get healthy again.”
  • Green, who has a torn ligament in his left index finger, didn’t accompany the team on its current road trip, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. He won’t return to action until Monday at the earliest.
  • The Warriors are encouraged by the latest tests on Kevon Looney, who is undergoing treatment for a neuropathic condition, Slater adds (Twitter link). The team believes he will be able to play again this season, but he has been ruled out for the next two weeks.

Draymond Green Has Torn Ligament, Will Miss Several Games

Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters today that the injury to Draymond Green‘s left index finger has been diagnosed as a torn ligament, tweets Logan Murdock of NBC Sports. Kerr said Green will be sidelined for “the next few games.”

Green hurt the finger during Friday’s loss to the Spurs and had his hand wrapped after the game. Kerr talked about limiting Green’s minutes for the rest of the season even before the diagnosis, which turned out to be severe enough to keep him out of action for a while.

The news continues a terrible run of injury luck for Golden State, which started the season without Klay Thompson and lost Stephen Curry for at least three months with a broken left hand. Also ailing are Kevon Looney, who is consulting with a specialist for a neuropathic condition, and offseason addition D’Angelo Russell, who sprained his right ankle last night in the midst of a 30-point outing, his best game since joining the Warriors.

Tim Kawakami of The Athletic notes that none of the 15 players who took the court for Golden State in last season’s playoffs will be available for tonight’s game (Twitter link).

Draymond Green Suffers Finger Injury; To Be On Minutes Restriction

The Warriors‘ nightmare season continued on Friday night as mainstay Draymond Green suffered a sprained left index finger. Green’s hand was wrapped following the 127-110 loss to the Spurs as he revealed his immediate future is uncertain.

“I hurt my finger. Ligament action. But it is what it is. … I don’t know [about Saturday]; we’ll see,” Green said (via ESPN’s Nick Friedell) It’s pretty sore. I couldn’t grip the ball the whole entire [game], probably since the second quarter. Which is why I was making a lot of one-handed, right-handed passes and dribbling left with my right hand…”

While it remains to be seen how limited Green will be, losing another key part of their core has stymied the Warriors’ playoff aspirations. Golden State lost two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry for at least three months due to a broken left hand. Fellow All-Star Klay Thompson is expected to miss the entire 2019/20 campaign due to a torn ACL.

When Green signed a lucrative four-year extension with the Warriors earlier this summer, it was hard to envision a dreadful 1-4 start, even with Thompson’s absence and Kevin Durant‘s departure. However, now the focus may shift toward the future — head coach Steve Kerr has already indicated that Green’s playing time will be scaled back.

“The one thing we won’t do is run [Green] into the ground,” Kerr said. “We have to maintain a good schedule with Draymond minutes-wise and games-wise. If he’s banged up, we should make sure we take care of him.”

Green played 34 minutes on Friday night, and Kerr suggested he’d prefer not to have his star big man exceed that number, as Friedell relays.

“Not more than that,” Kerr said. “I definitely don’t want to drive him up to the 40-minute mark. That’s too much. We got a back-to-back; we play again tomorrow. We’ll just sort of take it game by game and see how he’s doing.”

Durant: Draymond Altercation Played Part In Decision To Leave Warriors

Appearing on ESPN’s First Take (video link) on Thursday morning, Nets forward Kevin Durant admitted that last year’s on-court altercation with Draymond Green played a part in his decision to leave the Warriors as a free agent this summer.

“A little bit, yeah, for sure,” Durant responded when asked directly by Stephen A. Smith if that incident played a role in his departure. “Your teammate talks to you that way, you think about it a bit. … Definitely [it was a factor], for sure, I’m not going to lie about it.”

According to Durant, he and Green talked things out after that confrontation, which saw the two All-Stars exchange heated words following a blown end-of-game possession in a November loss to the Clippers. Reports at the time indicated that Green told KD the Warriors didn’t need him and that he was welcome to leave as a free agent.

In today’s First Take appearance, Durant went on to explain that the Green incident was far from the only factor in his decision, and that he simply thought it was time for him to move on from the Warriors.

“I felt like a lot of stuff in Golden State had reared its head,” Durant said, per Malika Andrews of ESPN. “I felt like it was going to be the end no matter what, especially for that group. Shaun Livingston was retiring. Andre Iguodala was getting older. Our contracts were going to start for the team and put us in a hole to get other players. It was time for all of us to separate.

Besides addressing his departure from Golden State, Durant touched on a few other topics that he has discussed before, reiterating that he didn’t feel pressured by the Warriors’ front office or his teammates to return from his calf injury in the NBA Finals (video link). The All-NBA forward also said again that he’s not expecting to play at all during the 2019/20 season as he recovers from his Achilles tear (video link).

Warriors Notes: Green, Durant, Thompson, Iguodala

Draymond Green addressed last year’s altercation with Kevin Durant on a podcast by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that also includes Warriors GM Bob Myers. Green, who was suspended for one game after the November incident, said he began to question his future with the franchise and his standing with Myers.

“I started to tell myself in my mind, ‘Wow, [Myers is] flipping on me,'” Green said. “And it just felt like, ‘Wow, OK, is this not the guy I’ve known for all these years? Is he turning on me?’ And I started to tell myself all of these things, and then everybody’s like, ‘Oh my God, the Warriors sided with Kevin Durant.’ That was the hardest thing for me, because a lot of people don’t understand me. Bob does.”

Green added that he had to get over his “stubbornness” and accept that he mishandled the situation. He refused to apologize to Durant after being told to do so by Myers and coach Steve Kerr, and didn’t offer an apology “until I came to grips with myself.”

“What people don’t know — which is so hard to know, which requires time and energy — is Kevin and Draymond probably will be the closest guys,” Myers said. “They’re going to be friends for their whole life like this. … In the aftermath when they spoke, they laid it out for each other and they’re like, OK, I got ya. Like, now I know where you’re coming from, from both sides. But that could have happened earlier and that would’ve prevented it.”

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Green is preparing to play the entire season without Klay Thompson, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN. Kerr said yesterday that Thompson seems “unlikely” to return from an ACL injury, although the team hasn’t made any official announcement. Green said that it will be an “added bonus” if the All-Star guard can get back on the court by the end of the season.
  • Marc Stein of The New York Times believes Andre Iguodala will sign with the Warriors next summer and finish his career with Golden State. Iguodala remains in limbo with the Grizzlies, where the Warriors traded him to open cap space. Memphis is hoping to get something in return for the former Finals MVP and has been reluctant to discuss a buyout.
  • Rookie Eric Paschall has a chance to get consistent minutes, writes Monte Poole of NBC Bay Area. Paschall was used at center and power forward during the preseason, but his best opportunity may come at small forward. “Most guys when they come in, they’re just not ready for this level of strength and force that exists in the game,” Kerr said. “Eric’s ready for all that. He’s gonna play a lot this year. We’re really excited about him.”

Warriors Notes: Curry, Looney, Chriss, Hard Cap

Stephen Curry hasn’t given up on the championship dream with the Warriors this season despite the loss of Kevin Durant and long-term injury to Klay Thompson, as he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

“A championship is still the goal,” Curry said. “It’s always been. We’ve experienced it all and we’re going to keep pushing to get back there. That’s the goal. It’s the North Star. The narrative might have changed internally, but we’re still chasing the same goal.”

We have more on the Warriors:

  • Frontcourt injuries have made for a difficult preseason, Anthony Slater of The Athletic notes. The Warriors have gone most of the preseason without Willie Cauley-Stein and Kevon Looney and their absences have shown in preseason losses to the Lakers. “We need to get healthy,” coach Steve Kerr said. “You have to have rim protection in this league.” Kerr is hopeful that Looney, who has been sidelined by a hamstring injury, can return for the season opener, Slater tweets.
  • The team is now technically $375K under the hard cap after deciding to waive Alfonzo McKinnie and retaining Marquese Chriss, salary cap expert Albert Nahmad tweets. However, since Chriss’ contract doesn’t become fully guaranteed until January 10th, the Warriors are essentially $2MM below the hard cap with Chriss’ deal counting $9,485 daily until that deadline, Nahmad adds.
  • Draymond Green ripped the Suns’ organization for mishandling Chriss during his time there, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Chriss was the eighth overall pick in 2016 but lasted just two seasons in Phoenix. “No one ever blames these (lousy) franchises. They always want to blame the kid. It’s not always the kid’s fault,” Green said.

California Notes: Green, Harkless, Training Camp, Kings

The Warriors enter this season a slightly different version of the dominant Golden State squads from recent years. While mainstays Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson remain, the departure of Kevin Durant and a slew of new faces has changed the landscape in Oakland.

While Thompson’s outlook is unclear given his recovery from a torn ACL, the presence of Curry and Green — to go along with the new addition of D’Angelo Russell and others — keeps the Warriors in the discussion of top Western Conference teams. However, given the roster turnover, Green says adjusting to the new personnel has been a focal point early in training camp, ESPN’s Nick Fridell writes.

“Just the lack of familiarity,” Green said. “You get used to a certain thing for so long, and then it’s not that. The normal reads that you would make, just kind of second nature, you got to make sure they’re there. It’s just a lot more making sure everyone’s on the same page, or getting there. Everybody’s not on the same page, which is to be expected, so just getting everybody there is the difference.”

Check out more notes related to California teams:

  • The change within the Warriors‘ organization has not been limited to just the players. Anthony Slater of The Athletic explores how Golden State’s coaching staff is getting acclimated, especially defensive specialist Ron Adams, who remained with the team but in a reduced role.
  • Ethan Strauss of The Athletic writes that despite the perception of the Warriors acquiring Russell just to eventually trade him, Golden State is operating under the belief that the All-Star guard will be a fixture of the team for the future.
  • Given the Clippers‘ active offseason, the addition of Maurice Harkless flew under the radar. However, now that training camp has begun, Harkless is hoping to stand out as an effective role player, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. “Like about a month ago when we first started meeting together as a coaching staff, you start thinking, ‘Oh, we got Mo Harkless.’ We have more on our team. And then you watch what he can do,” head coach Doc Rivers said.
  • While superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are set in stone, along with Patrick Beverley and Ivica Zubac as starters, other positions for the Clippers will feature training camp competition. Jovan Buha of The Athletic examines all the competition in L.A. and how the team’srotation may shake out.
  • After finishing just outside the postseason picture last season, the Kings entered the offseason looking to acquire veteran players who have experience in a winning culture. As Jason Jones of The Athletic writes, the additions of Cory Joseph, Trevor Ariza and Dewayne Dedmon all aligned with that goal.

Warriors Notes: Green, Russell, Spellman, Curry

Warriors forward Draymond Green is glad he didn’t have to deal with all the speculation regarding free agency in what would have been his walk year, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Green, who could have been one of the top free agents in a diluted market next summer, averted that issue by signing a four-year extension worth nearly $100MM in August. “I didn’t myself want to come into the season with all that,” he said. “Kind of becomes a headache.”

We have more on the Warriors:

  • The D’Angelo RussellKevin Durant sign-and-trade was nerve-wracking and challenging due to time constraints, GM Bob Myers said in a radio interview with 95.7 The Game (hat tip to Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area). “So for that to happen, obviously one thing, Kevin has to leave,” Myers said. “Two, you got to get Brooklyn to cooperate and Kevin to cooperate in a four-hour window of time. You need D’Angelo to say, ‘Yeah, I’ll come.” He had other offers. A lot of times that’s like a three-team trade, they just don’t happen.”
  • Forward Omari Spellman wasn’t immediately thrilled at the prospect of moving from the Hawks to the Warriors, Slater adds in another tweet. “That was extremely tough for me,” he said. “But on the flip side, an organization that has been, let’s be honest, the best team in the league for like the last four, five years decided to take a chance on me.” Golden State traded center Damian Jones and a second-round pick to acquire Spellman.
  • Stephen Curry isn’t interested in any load management plans, Logan Murdock of NBCS Authentic tweets. Concerning his workload, Curry quipped, “48 minutes a game for all 82.”

Western Notes: Green, D’Antoni, Wallace, Livingston

In the wake of Team USA’s flop in the FIBA World Cup, Warriors forward Draymond Green wants to play in next year’s Olympics, he said in a CNBC interview relayed by NBC Sports Bay Area’s Brian Witt. Green anticipates that many other stars who skipped this year’s event will also want to wear the Team USA uniform in Tokyo.

“I do hope to play, and I think a lot of guys will want to play,” the Warriors’ three-time All-Star said. “The schedule this year was a little treacherous with the games that were in America, and also the travel to Australia, which is why I think a lot of guys dropped out. You know, a long ways to China.”

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Despite failing to reach an agreement in extension talks, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta believes Mike D’Antoni will remain head coach of the team beyond this season, as he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. D’Antoni is entering the final year of his four-year contract. Extension talks were a hot topic in May and June but nothing got done. Fertitta remains undeterred. “I think Mike D’Antoni’s going to be coaching here for a long time,” he said.
  • Unlike last season, Timberwolves guard Tyrone Wallace does not have any guaranteed money in his contract, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets. Wallace had a $300K partial guarantee if he remained on the roster through September 12 a year ago. Wallace’s $1,588,231 salary this season won’t become fully guaranteed unless he’s on the roster through January 10. Wallace, who came off the bench in 62 games with the Clippers last season, is the No. 3 point guard on the roster behind Jeff Teague and Shabazz Napier, and may ultimately be the odd man out on opening night, since Minnesota has 15 other players on fully guaranteed deals.
  • Warriors GM Bob Myers called Shaun Livingston’s story “one of the most inspirational in the history of professional sports” in a statement released by the club. Livingston announced his retirement on Friday. “What he accomplished after suffering so many trials and tribulations early in his career is a true testament to who he is as a person, which has always been characterized by tremendous class, grace and professionalism,” the statement read in part.