Draymond Green

Stephen Curry Targeting Friday Return

7:46pm: Curry’s re-evaluation by team medical staff indicated that Curry’s ankle is making “good progress” and, as a result, Curry has been cleared to practice as a full participant beginning tomorrow, per an official statement from the team.

9:43am: Warriors star Stephen Curry is aiming to return from his latest ankle injury this Friday vs. Atlanta, according to Chris Haynes and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. Golden State has the next three nights off, so Friday is the earliest that Curry could get back on the court.

Curry, who has missed the Warriors’ last six games after tweaking his right ankle, will have that ankle re-evaluated on Tuesday. If the team is satisfied with that assessment and Curry avoids setbacks this week, he should be able to face the Hawks on Friday.

The defending champions have been hit hard by the injury bug as of late, with all four of their All-Stars battling various ailments. Klay Thompson (hand) and Kevin Durant (ribs) are each expected to miss a little more time, sources tell Haynes and Shelburne. Meanwhile, Draymond Green left Monday’s loss to the Spurs with a pelvic contusion, but said after the game that the injury is “not serious,” per Haynes.

Because Curry is due back soon and Green’s injury sounds minor, the Warriors won’t be eligible to apply for a hardship exception — that provision allows a team to add a 16th player to its 15-man roster when it has at least four players who have missed three straight games and are expected to remain sidelined for another two weeks apiece.

The Warriors are currently 3.5 games back of the Rockets for the No. 1 seed in the West, but have an 8.5-game cushion over Portland for the No. 2 spot. With their seed all but locked in, the Dubs are expected to focus on simply getting everyone healthy for the start of the postseason, rather than rushing players back for the last three weeks of the regular season.

Pacific Notes: Casspi, Green, Suns’ Coach, Carter

Veteran forward Omri Casspi is the latest addition to the Warriors‘ growing disabled list, according to Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. Casspi underwent an MRI today after spraining his right ankle Friday. Doctors are still evaluating the results, but initial reports indicate that he will be out of action for about a week.

Medina notes that Casspi’s production and playing time have been inconsistent since signing with Golden State over the summer. He has appeared in 53 games, but is averaging just 14 minutes and 5.7 points per night.

The timing of the injury is especially unfortunate for Casspi, whose spot on the Warriors’ roster could be in jeopardy. Golden State may decide to give two-way player Quinn Cook an NBA contract before the playoffs, but first must open a roster spot. With an expiring, minimum-salary deal, the Warriors could get rid of Casspi at minimal cost.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • With three All-Star teammates sidelined by injuries, Draymond Green is taking responsibility for holding the Warriors together, writes Logan Murdock of The San Jose Mercury NewsStephen Curry and Klay Thompson are out until at least next week and Kevin Durant will be sitting until April, leaving Green as a leader in lineups where he is surrounded by role players. “I just try to still play my game and not think I’m going to be Stephen, Kevin or Klay,” he said. “I am who I am and bring to this team what I bring so just continue to play my game. It may mean a few more shots here or there. It’s just not my goal to say, ‘I need to jack up my scoring.’ If it happens, it happens – if not, I’m going to try and lead the guys and play the best that we can.”
  • Suns GM Ryan McDonough says the team will conduct a “wide-ranging” search for its next coach once the season ends, relays Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Interim coach Jay Triano will be included in that process, along with former NBA head coaches, current assistants and maybe some college coaches. McDonough indicated the team plans to talk to several candidates before the list is trimmed to ‘two or three” who will receive second interviews.
  • Vince Carter has become a mentor with the Kings in his 20th NBA season and is offering his younger teammates advice on how to lengthen their careers, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Carter, who has a one-year deal with the Kings, may be on the move again this summer as he searches for more playing time. “I’m not going to sit here and deny that I want to play more,” he said. “Things changed. We aren’t winning and the younger guys need to get better. I get that, but at the same time, I try to make the best of it. That way if it doesn’t work out here, I can still play on another team, maybe a contending team, in a lesser role.”

Pacific Notes: Green, Zubac, Ulis, Knight

The NBA has rescinded a technical foul that was assessed to Warriors forward Draymond Green this past Saturday, per ESPN. The rescinded foul would have been Green’s 15th, one shy of an immediate one-game suspension and $5,000 fine.

With one less technical on his record, Green is now two shy of the automatic suspension and fine. Green has been the NBA’s most prolific technical foul recipient; he has registered double-digits in that category the past four seasons, including 15 technicals last season.

“I was very happy,” Green told reporters, including Mark Medina of the Mercury News. “A little breathing room. Just a little bit, though.”

Check out other Pacific Division news below:

  • Ivica Zubac has not been assigned a larger role with the Lakers this season, which was expected as he entered his sophomore season. However, now that he is slowly creeping back into Lakers’ rotation, he feels much better on the court, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes. “This is what I’ve been doing for my whole life,” Zubac said. “When you’re not playing you’re not feeling good because this is what I’m doing my whole life. Now, when I’m finally in the rotation, everything else feels much better.”
  • After a strong season with the Suns in 2016/17, injuries have hampered Tyler Ulis this season. Despite his optimism, he seems to be falling out of the team’s rotation, Scott Bordow of Arizona Central Sports writes. “That’s something I can’t control so I don’t think about stuff like that,” Ulis said. “I’ve been doing this all my life. There’s not many people my size in the NBA so obviously I have the game to make it here and I have the game to stick.”
  • Scott Bordow of Arizona Central Sports answers several questions surrounding the Suns’ draft plans and oft-injured guard Brandon Knight. A source tells Bordow that getting a healthy Knight back from reconstructive knee surgery would be comparable to adding a first-round pick. Knight has been a solid player for Phoenix, averaging nearly 20.0 PPG in his last healthy season, so getting him back to 100% could affect the team’s draft plans.
  • As the Kings head for another losing season, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee looks at five of the team’s young players, including De’Aaron Fox, examining how they can benefit for the rest of the season.

Pacific Notes: Payton, Papagiannis, Green, Suns

Elfrid Payton‘s stint with the Magic ended on Thursday and by Saturday, he was putting up a solid performance in his Suns debut. The former lottery pick posted 19 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds in the Suns’ 123-113 loss to the Nuggets. Payton’s performance drew rave reviews from his teammates and coaches, NBA.com’s Cody Cunningham writes.

“I thought he was good,” Suns head coach Jay Triano said. “It was different, the pace of play was better, getting the ball up and down the court, getting into the lane when he needed to, and making passes. He made the guys on the floor with him better.”

Payton, 23, has been viewed a disappointment through his first four NBA seasons after being the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. However, given his age and upside, Payton drew interest from several teams prior to the deadline.

Check out other Pacific Division notes:

  • The agent of now-former Kings center Georgios PapagiannisMarios Olympios, was critical of the team’s decision to waive the 20-year-old, Aris Barkas of Euro Hoops writes. “He (Papagiannis) never got a chance by the Kings,” Olympios said on the Greek radio station Sport FM, Barkas writes. “He had a double-double every time he played in the G-League. He had to travel for two and a half hour everytime he was assigned to Reno and still he performed. There are many details that prove that he never got a real chance”.
  • Warriors forward Draymond Green was fined $50,000 for directing inappropriate and offensive language toward a game official, the NBA announced on its website. The incident occurred during the Warriors’ loss to the Thunder this past Tuesday.
  • The Suns received $1.5MM back in the buyout of new Celtics center Greg Monroe, tweets salary cap expert Albert Nahmad.
  • After a blockbuster trade with the Cavaliers on Thursday, the Lakers freed up a ton of cap space that could be used to lure two premiere free agents to Los Angeles this summer. Mark Heisler of the Orange County Register writes that the organization’s moves have put it in position to be relevant again.

Pacific Notes: Jackson, Jordan, Clippers

A difficult string of games in which the Suns were noticeably better without Josh Jackson than with him precipitated a change in his relationship with head coach Jay Triano. Now, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes, the first-year forward has started to regain the coaching staff’s trust.

When Triano told Jackson that he was losing his confidence in him, he asked the player what he might suggest to repair the situation. Since then, the two have watched film of Suns games.

[Jackson suggested they watch film of Suns games] just to see what [Triano] sees,” Jackson said. “Sometimes, two people look at the same play and see two totally different things. He has a basketball mind and he’s really smart, so just trying to see what he sees and trying to pick his brain a little bit.

In the three games since, Jackson has averaged 14 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Suns, shooting an impressive .486 from the field and .556 from three.

There’s more from the Pacific Division this afternoon:

  • The Clippers were treated to some good news on Thursday when it was revealed that Blake Griffin could return to action following a concussion and Milos Teodosic after another bout of plantar fascia issues (NBA.com report). Of course, in true Clippers fashion, DeAndre Jordan sprained his ankle hours later and had to leave the match (ESPN report).
  • The NBA fined Warriors forward Draymond Green $25K for comments critical of officials on Saturday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Dubs took down the Clippers that night.
  • Clippers head coach Doc Rivers thinks that NBA players seem to get injured more often than they used to because they’re not playing basketball enough. Per Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register, Rivers posits that players do more things outside of the sport these days and that consistently reliable Jamal Crawford is one example of a guy that is constantly playing the game outside of his professional commitment.

Injury Updates: J. Johnson, Seth Curry, D. Green

After undergoing an MRI on Sunday, Heat forward James Johnson has been diagnosed with right ankle bursitis, the team announced (via Twitter). Johnson, who won’t travel with the Heat during this week’s road trip to Boston and Atlanta, is expected to miss the next seven to 10 days, according to the club. That timetable would put him on track to be out for at least four games, if not more.

The Heat now have five players on the shelf with various injuries, but it seems unlikely that the team will receive a hardship provision to add an extra player to its roster. Justise Winslow appears to be getting close to returning, and Johnson’s injury shouldn’t be a long-term issue. A hardship exception can be granted if four or more players have missed at least three games apiece and will continue to be sidelined for the foreseeable future.

Here are a few more injury notes and updates from across the NBA:

  • Seth Curry still isn’t close to making his 2017/18 season debut for the Mavericks, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. As Sefko relays, head coach Rick Carlisle said this weekend that Curry’s leg injury will continue to sideline him until sometime in the new year. The Mavs guard, who will be a free agent in 2018, has missed the entire season so far with a left tibia stress reaction.
  • How concerned should the Warriors be about Draymond Green‘s lingering shoulder injury? Anthony Slater of The Athletic takes a closer look. The club has held Green out of three of its last four games, and while the big man isn’t complaining, he’s “not happy” either, says head coach Steve Kerr (link via Melissa Rohlin of The Bay Area News Group).
  • Nets point guard Jeremy Lin, who had been rehabbing his knee in Vancouver, was back in New York with the team on Sunday, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Lin won’t get back on the court this season, but a source tells Lewis that the veteran guard could be cleared to run and jump by April.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Green, Durant, Cook

Stephen Curry‘s sprained right ankle might keep him sidelined into 2018, according to Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. Plans were for Curry to be re-evaluated tomorrow, but he still isn’t able to play. He is likely to sit out at least another week and miss the Christmas Day clash with the Cavaliers. His absence could extend even longer, as the Warriors want to make sure he is 100% before activating him. The team has won eight straight games, so there’s no rush to bring Curry back.

“This is the first time I’ve been home for like a week straight,” Curry said. “It’s a different challenge because things are a little slower, but I’m still frustrated with the healing process and all that stuff, having to figure out that. That’s a grind mentally more so than physically to get up every day and be like, ‘I’ve got to go through some pain to get my foot worked on. I’ve got to ride the bike to stay in shape.’ All that stuff is a different mental challenge.”

There’s more news from the Bay Area:

  • Draymond Green‘s right shoulder injury is becoming an unexpected problem, relays Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. The star forward sat out the past two games and will have his condition re-evaluated today. “At first it didn’t seem like it would be more than a few days,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s a little bit concerning that he hasn’t made bigger strides, but I still don’t think its a major level of concern.”
  • One of the first people to reach out to Kevin Durant after he announced his decision to join the Warriors last year was former Laker Kobe Bryant, Medina reveals in a separate story. Bryant told Durant to shut out the public reaction and trust his own judgment. “Having Kobe there to support me through that situation, it felt like him telling me, ‘All right, your skills are good enough to be among some of the best,’” Durant said. “‘You just have to keep working to stay there.’”
  • Quinn Cook, who joined the Warriors on a two-way contract after being waived by the Hawks in October, relates that experience in a podcast with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. He had a two-way offer from Golden State before deciding to go to Atlanta for training camp on a partially guaranteed contract. “To be part of the standard franchise in basketball right now is very humbling for me and a big opportunity,” Cook said.

Warriors Projected To Spend $1.1 Billion On Salary, Taxes Over Next Five Seasons

The Warriors have built a dynasty, but if they plan on keeping this team together, it’ll come at a great cost, ESPN’s Bobby Marks writes.

The franchise is projected to spend over $1.1MM billion on salary and taxes through the 2020/21 campaign, a figure that includes $168MM in salary and taxes this season. One league executive told Marks that “finances are the only thing that will break up this Warriors team.”

The financial dominos begin this summer with Kevin Durant, who will yet again be a free agent if he turns down his player option as expected.

Marks breaks down Durant’s three main options as opting in ($26.3, one-year deal), opting out and signing another one-year deal (one-year, $30MM with another player option for year two), or opting out and signing a four-year pact for the max ($158MM with a starting salary of $35.4MM).

Golden State won’t have the ability to sign Durant to a five-year deal because the franchise only owns his Early Bird Rights. If he takes either of the one-year options, he’ll be eligible for a five-year deal in the 2019 offseason.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Early Bird Rights]

Durant took a discount to re-sign with the team this past offseason, though Marks believes it’s unlikely that he’ll take the same route again since the Warriors won’t be able to use the savings to add additional pieces.

Durant won’t get a Designated Veteran Extension. Every team is only permitted to sign two players to those super-max contracts and Golden State already locked up Curry through the 2021/22 season with one. Durant won’t be eligible for one of these deals since he came to the team as a free agent, which means the Warriors will have to decide whether to give their second DVE to Draymond Green or Klay Thompson.

Assuming Golden State saves the contract for Green and Thompson signs a traditional max deal, the Warriors could be facing a record-high $225MM in tax penalties for the 2019/20 season. That figure also assumes that Golden State brings back Patrick McCaw on a modest deal (Marks estimates $6MM salary in 2019/20).

As Marks notes, the league requires the payment in full – with no installment plan – for luxury tax charges, meaning Golden State’s ownership would have to send the full $225MM to the NBA in the late spring of 2020.

Golden State could shed salary by waiving Shaun Livingston, whose 2019/20 salary only contains $2MM in guarantees, and declining Damian Jones‘ fourth-year option, which is worth $2.3MM.

The Warriors are in a position unlike any other in NBA history both on the court and off of it. They’re the favorites to win the champion this season and it’s easy to envision them maintaining the Larry O’Brien trophy throughout the entire Donald Trump administration.

The costs of keeping the team together will be staggering, though it’s a problem opposing franchises would gladly accept if given the opportunity.

“There are 29 owners that would take this Warriors roster even if the cost was $495 million in luxury tax penalties,” a league executive told Marks.

NBA Fines Beal, Green, Oubre; Suspends Two Wizards Players

The NBA announced on Sunday that Wizards players Carrick Felix and Markieff Morris have each been suspended one game without pay for leaving the bench during Friday’s on-court confrontation between Warriors forward Draymond Green and guard Bradley Beal.

Felix and Morris will serve their suspensions the next game each player is active and physically able to play.

Green ($25,000) and Beal ($50,000) were issued hefty fines for their roles in the skirmish. Beal’s fine is higher than Green’s because he initiated the fight. Green was issued a fine for failing to disengage from Beal, the league noted in the press release.

Wizards’ forward Kelly Oubre Jr. was also fined $15,000 for aggressively entering the confrontation.

It was a tumultuous week for the Warriors as Stephen Curry was fined $50,000 on Monday for throwing his mouthpiece at a referee in the fourth quarter of Golden State’s 111-101 loss to the Grizzlies last Saturday. Andre Iguodala was also fined $15,000 for abusive language toward a referee during the sequence.

Pacific Notes: Green, Kings, Clippers

The results from Draymond Green‘s MRI have come back negative, Chris Haynes of ESPN writes. The Warriors forward injured his knee in Tuesday’s season opener, missing the entire fourth quarter.

While it’s likely Green misses time as a result of the injury that had him limping in the team’s first game, the good news for the Warriors is that there was no structural damage that would necessitate a longer absence.

In 76 games for the Warriors last season, Green averaged 10.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists. If Golden State is going to survive an even stronger Western Conference than last year’s they’ll need to do it at full health.

There’s more from the Pacific Division: