Draymond Green

Draymond Green: Durant FA Uncertainty “Not Important”

Kevin Durant‘s uncertain future has been hanging over the Warriors all season long, particularly since a heated on-court confrontation back in November in which Draymond Green reportedly accused Durant of planning to leave at season’s end. However, speaking to Sam Amick of The Athletic, Green suggested that neither KD’s upcoming free agency nor that November incident is a pressing concern in the locker room.

“It’s not important,” Green said. “We’re not about to sit around and walk around, or carry something around, that happened in November.”

Green didn’t deny that this may be Durant’s last season with the Warriors, but tells Amick that he and his teammates are focused on winning their third consecutive championship, regardless of what happens after that in free agency.

“He’s part of it right now,” Green said of Durant. “Whatever happens this summer happens. Whatever the hell he does, he does. If he goes, he goes. If he stays, he stays. But while he’s here, we’re going to win another championship. It’s just that simple. Nothing else matters.”

After signing short-term contracts with the Warriors in each of the last three offseasons, Durant will have full Bird rights this summer, which would allow for a five-year, maximum-salary contract projected to be worth approximately $221MM. He could max out at approximately $164MM over four years with another team.

However, while Durant’s forays into free agency in 2017 and 2018 were viewed as mere formalities due to an expectation that he’d re-sign with the Warriors, his upcoming free agency feels much different. Multiple reports throughout 2018/19 have indicated that people around the league view Durant as more likely to sign with the Knicks than the Warriors this summer.

If Golden State can complete a three-peat this June, Durant would head into July faced with a decision on whether or not to leave a team that hasn’t lost a playoff series since he arrived.

Warriors Notes: Green, Kerr, Bogut, Durant

A year away from free agency, Warriors forward Draymond Green has signed with Klutch Sports, writes Marc. J. Spears of The Undefeated. Green, who was formerly represented by B.J. Armstrong and The Wasserman Group, said he made the change late last month.

“Klutch is a cutting-edge company, it’s a pure environment, and I’ve grown to know [president and agent] Rich [Paul] over the years,” Green said. “We’ve become very close. When you really take a step back and actually study what is going on, he checks every box that a player would want in an agent. So, why not? Some are afraid of what people will think or what will be said. That’s not the case for me.”

Klutch represents some of the NBA’s top talents, including LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Ben Simmons and John Wall. Green serves as a minority owner in James’ “Uninterrupted” venture, but said LeBron never recruited him to the agency.

“It’s impossible to say LeBron played no part in me joining Klutch, simply because he has been Klutch since the beginning,” Green added. “He’s essentially a founding partner. I’ve already had a relationship with LeBron for years, so it’s always good to be able to do business with family that’s going about their business in the right fashion and getting things done. But as far as recruiting me — no, LeBron didn’t recruit me at all.”

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Green isn’t upset by a video clip of coach Steve Kerr in Sunday’s game telling assistant Mike Brown“I’m so [bleeping] tired of Draymond,” relays Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. Green said coaches get tired of players all the time and blamed the controversy on the overwhelming media attention the league gets. “We live in a day and age where there is a camera everywhere. If anything, he’ll be more conscious of that,” Green said of Kerr. “But as far as me and him clearing the air, there’s no air to clear.”
  • Andrew Bogut is now planning to join the Warriors after their current road trip ends next week, Medina adds in a separate story. Bogut’s agent, David Bauman, said that could be as soon as the March 21 game against the Pacers. An Australian citizen, Bogut is still attempting to get a work visa, which he hopes to acquire by this weekend.
  • Speculation about Kevin Durant‘s future has hung over everything that has happened for the Warriors this season as they pursue a third straight title, notes Nick Friedell of ESPN.

Draymond Green Close To Signing With Klutch Sports

Warriors forward Draymond Green is close to signing with agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.

Green, 28, has previously been represented by Wasserman. The former Defensive Player of the Year is set to hit unrestricted free agency after next season, the final year on the five-year, $82MM pact he signed in 2015.

Golden State state will have to deal with Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant hitting the open market this summer. Thompson has previously mentioned a strong desire to re-sign with the Warriors while Durant’s future remains unclear.

As for Green, he’ll become Klutch Sports’ latest high-profile addition the last six months, joining Anthony Davis, Markieff Morris and Marcus MorrisPaul also represents NBA All-Stars LeBron James, John Wall, Ben Simmons and others.

In 43 contests this season, Green is averaging 7.2 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 7.3 APG.

Western Notes: Giannis, Conley, Durant, LeBron

Giannis Antetokounmpo could be the next superstar prize on the Warriors’ radar screen. In a speculative piece, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic dives into the possibility of Antetokounmpo joining Golden State when he becomes a free agent in 2021.

As Thompson outlines, pursuing Antetokounmpo would hinge on Kevin Durant departing and would also necessitate cutting ties with Draymond Green. That would give the Warriors enough cap room to sign Giannis and keep the backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson together. The possibility of Antetokounmpo wanting to leave Milwaukee could increase if the Bucks experience postseason disappointment, Thompson adds.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Mike Conley admits the trade rumors took a toll on him until the deadline passed, James Herbert of CBS Sports reports. The Grizzlies held on to Conley but longtime teammate Marc Gasol was dealt to Toronto.  “It was emotional, man,” he said. “It was hard, ’cause part of me, obviously, is trying to lock in on my job and just worry about Oklahoma (City) and really, like, watch film and prepare. But I can’t help but, like, the other 90 percent of me is like I’m about to get traded or Marc’s about to get traded.”
  • Kevin Durant claimed his relationship with ex-Oklahoma City teammate Russell Westbrook was never as strained as it was portrayed in the media, Eric Horne of The Oklahoman relays. “I don’t think it was ever in a bad place,” Durant said. “I think a lot of you guys just got in the way and tried to make it something bigger than it was because you needed a story. I understand because that’s your job, but that’s not really your job. I understood what that was like now thinking back on it, because I never had a problem with nobody in this league, or to a point where I didn’t like anyone or hated someone. It wasn’t even that deep.”
  • The Lakers are privately a little concerned about LeBron James‘ health, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. They’re not quite sure he’s fully healed from the groin injury that cost him 18 games, as he’s not moving at the same speed, nor engaging at the point of attack, Vardon continues. However, James denies he’s aching. “I feel great,” he said. “Looking forward to the second half of the season. Looking forward to seeing what we can do to get back in this playoff race. That’s my only mindset.”

Pacific Notes: Suns, Kings, Lakers, Warriors

A $230MM renovation deal for Talking Stick Resort Arena was approved by Phoenix City Council this week, with the city committing to $150MM of that figure, while the Suns will contribute $80MM. However, as Abe Kwok of The Arizona Republic details, a number of Phoenix residents aren’t thrilled about that decision, and have launched an effort to force a referendum that would allow the public to vote on the issue.

“This seems like a situation where the voters of Phoenix very well may want to weigh in,” said Drew Chavez of Petition Partners, a Phoenix group that runs many initiative petitions in Arizona. “If we can give them a chance to do so, it would be a public service. We’re talking about millions of dollars that could be spent on public safety or repairing our streets instead of fixing up the arena for the Suns and their billionaire owner.”

The issue of public funding for the Suns’ arena funding has been a contentious one, with backers of the deal arguing that the building is used for more than just basketball, while opponents have made the case that Suns owner Robert Sarver should put up the money for the renovations himself. According to Kwok, the group seeking a referendum on the issue would have 30 days to secure approximately 13,700 petition signatures to qualify for a public vote.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee takes a look at the Kings‘ options for the trade deadline, citing league sources who say that the club’s discussions with the Knicks about Enes Kanter “quickly broke down.” Based on various reports on those talks, it sounds like Sacramento wanted to include at least one more expiring contract and New York was unwilling to take another deal without an extra asset.
  • While the Lakers would love to acquire a second superstar that makes them a threat in 2018/19 and beyond, they’re more likely to make a smaller-scale move at the deadline, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic, who writes that the club is eyeing shooters on expiring contracts. Wayne Ellington, Terrence Ross, Garrett Temple, and Trevor Ariza are among the players Oram identifies as possible targets.
  • The Lakers have let a number of players walk in free agency or traded them away since Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka assumed control of the front office in 2017. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report revisits those decisions, arguing that the team likely gave up too early on Thomas Bryant and D’Angelo Russell, and probably should’ve made more of an effort to re-sign Julius Randle and Brook Lopez last summer.
  • How did Warriors teammates Kevin Durant and Draymond Green mend fences after a very public altercation earlier this season? Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic takes a deep dive into the situation and explores the relationship between the two All-Stars.

Pacific Notes: Green, Ayton, Gilgeous-Alexander

A hot topic during the NBA season so far has been the inconsistent play and effort from the Warriors. Whether it is a result of injuries or struggles from key star players, the Warriors just haven’t played to the best of their abilities during the first half of the regular season. As Monte Poole writes for NBC Sports California, Draymond Green is ultimately the key to the Warriors turning things around and hitting their stride.

Poole writes that Green can look like a Defensive Player of the Year candidate one night, only to produce a pedestrian effort the next game. Green’s offensive struggles are no secret, especially with his inability to hit long-range shots cramping the Warriors’ floor spacing. But Poole believes that Green being fully engaged defensively on a more consistent basis will provide the team with that extra energy to compete at their highest level.

With DeMarcus Cousins set to return in the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see how he fits on the floor and what he provides for a Warriors team clearly searching for their competitive edge.

There’s more from the Pacific division:

  • At a recent practice, Suns rookie big man Deandre Ayton discussed the fact that he feels the pressure of expectations, mainly as a result of his competitiveness and desire to win.
  • After getting off to a very strong start, Clippers‘ rookie guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has struggled in recent weeks as he has hit the “rookie wall.” However, as Andrew Greif points out for The Los Angeles Times, Doc Rivers continues to be impressed with the young guard’s work ethic and understands that he will need more time to get over the hump this season.
  • As the Suns have played better in recent weeks, head coach Igor Kokoskov has enjoyed having the ability to tailor and adjust his rotation on a game-to-game basis depending on the energy from his players and that night’s matchup. Katherine Fitzgerald of The Arizona Republic details how the team’s young players and bench depth have improved in recent weeks.

Warriors Notes: McCaw, Slump, Green

Patrick McCaw has officially signed his two-year, $6MM offer sheet with the Cavaliers, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). However, the Warriors are still waiting to receive a copy of it, Haynes notes. Once they do, they’ll have two full days to finalize a decision on whether or not they want to match it.

Mark Medina of The Bay Area News Group suggests (via Twitter) that the Warriors’ potential interest in matching the Cavaliers’ offer may be more about maximizing an asset rather than actually retaining McCaw long term. Golden State is mindful of its projected tax bill and will consider how McCaw would be welcomed back into the locker room after his lengthy absence, Medina adds.

Although McCaw’s offer sheet with the Cavaliers is non-guaranteed, that won’t give the Warriors much added flexibility as they weigh their decision. The league-wide salary guarantee date is January 10, and a non-guaranteed player must clear waivers before then to avoid having his full cap hit apply to team salary. In other words, even if the Dubs match McCaw’s offer, they’d have to make a decision on him by January 7, and he wouldn’t be trade-eligible during the 2018/19 season.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Multiple reports have suggested that McCaw appears to want to leave the Warriors. Logan Murdock of The Bay Area News Group adds some more context on that subject, tweeting that McCaw felt like the team’s coaches and staff didn’t adequately communicate with him during his free agency process. One of his only conversations with the club during the offseason involved negotiations to give up his No. 0 to DeMarcus Cousins, according to Murdock.
  • Despite a rare slump (13-12 in their last 25 games), Warriors head coach Steve Kerr remains optimistic about his club’s outlook, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. “The bar’s been set high,” Kerr said on Wednesday. “I told our guys that; I gave them that line today. You guys have set the bar really high. So everything takes on a little greater sense of urgency in terms of what happens around the team. We’re maybe the most scrutinized team in the history of the league. … As long as you keep responding, keep showing up to work, keep sticking together, keep working, good things are going to happen. That’s what I believe with this group.”
  • Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic explores the adjustments that the Warriors and Draymond Green need to make to bounce back from their recent swoon, while Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area explains why he’s still buying stock in Green, who is struggling on offense.

Pacific Notes: Ingram, Green, Motley, Suns

The sudden injury to Lakers star LeBron James has opened up a new opportunity for Brandon Ingram, who’s set to control more ball-handling duties until James returns from his strained left groin.

Ingram, who was drafted second by the Lakers in 2016, will have an expanded role with the team in their game against the Kings on Thursday. His numbers have slightly regressed from last season with the new free-agent additions on the club, but the absence of James could give him a chance to show his improvements from the offseason.

“It’s an opportunity,” Ingram said after a team shootaround Thursday, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “It’s an opportunity for me to go out there and play my game a little bit more. I think I’m going to be a little bit more ball-dominant, cutting off the basketball. I have to play even better defense and be on the help side on the defensive end. So it’s a chance for me to just up my game a little bit.”

Along with James, point guard Rajon Rondo will be sidelined as he rehabs from a sprained finger earlier in the week. The Lakers open the first half of a back-to-back set on Thursday in Sacramento, then host the Clippers in an L.A. showdown on Friday.

There’s more from the Pacific Division tonight:

  • Warriors star Draymond Green discussed his shooting slump after the team blew a home loss to the Lakers on Christmas Day, acknowledging that he hasn’t been himself this season. “I ain’t really been doing me,” Green said as part of a larger statement, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “I ain’t been playmaking like I can, I ain’t been scoring when I got the opportunity, I ain’t been rebounding like I can, I ain’t been defending, I just haven’t been myself.”
  • The Clippers plan to give an extensive look to two-way player Johnathan Motley, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes.  The team called Motley up from the G League on Wednesday and plans to activate him in the near future, according to Swanson. “I like Mot,” coach Doc Rivers said, “What we don’t know is if defensively he can play the five spot, but I do like him at that spot. I don’t like him as a four that much. Really like him at the five.”
  • The Heat Index at Azcentral.com browsed through different mock drafts for the Suns next June, examining various prospects the team could target for the 2019 event. Players such as Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Kevin Porter Jr. could be available for the Suns, who currently hold the league’s second-worst record at 9-26.

Pacific Notes: Green, Ingram, LeBron, Hield

Draymond Green set the record straight on his relationship with Kevin Durant after the Warriors‘ game on Sunday, telling reporters that he and Durant won’t be broken apart because of a previous locker room incident between the All-Star duo.

Green was suspended in November following a heated verbal exchange with Durant, an altercation that included several profanities and Green telling Durant, “We don’t need you,” according to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes. Green’s anger stemmed from a disagreement in the final seconds of a Nov. 15 game, with the Warriors labeling his conduct as “detrimental to the team”.

“I know the hope is that [incident] will make us fall off, but it ain’t,” Green said, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “It’ll never happen like that. We good.”

Green had a major voice in recruiting Durant back in 2016, with both stars playing key roles in helping the Warriors win titles in 2017 and 2018. Golden State has vastly improved since placing the locker room incident behind them, winning eight of their last 10 games and sporting a 23-11 record entering the final week of 2018.

“We sat down and rapped,” Green said of his discussion with Durant. “And that’s it. It ain’t really about re-creating the wheel. Brothers get into it all the time. Y’all sit down and y’all figure it out, ain’t nobody else going to figure it out for you. Can’t nobody else figure it out for you. We sit down as men, we figure it out and we move forward.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division today:

  • Longtime G League guard Andre Ingram is continuing to strive for an NBA career, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times writes. Ingram had a storybook NBA debut this past spring, getting a call-up with the Lakers after 11 straight seasons in the G League. Ingram currently plays for the team’s minor league affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, in hopes of receiving another shot during the 2018/19 season.
  • LeBron James has apologized for quoting lyrics that included the line, “getting that jewish money” on his Instagram account. “Apologies, for sure, if I offended anyone,” James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “That’s not why I chose to share that lyric. I always [post lyrics]. That’s what I do. I ride in my car, I listen to great music, and that was the byproduct of it. So I actually thought it was a compliment, and obviously it wasn’t through the lens of a lot of people. My apologies. It definitely was not the intent, obviously, to hurt anybody.”
  • Kings guard Buddy Hield revealed last week that several websites recorded his age wrong, including the NBA’s official publication at NBA.com. Hield turned 26 years old on Dec. 17, despite most outlets listing him as turning 25. “That’s their fault, not my fault,” Hield said, according to Benjamin Hoffman of the New York Times. “The first time I saw it on Wikipedia, my mom said, ‘Why do they have your age wrong?’ I said, ‘I have no idea.’”

Pacific Notes: Oubre, Suns, West, Jordan

Kelly Oubre has no regrets from the three-plus years he spent with the Wizards, telling Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic“I gave everybody my all, man.” Oubre was traded to the Suns last week, but with the team on a road trip, he still hasn’t been to Phoenix. He made his return to Washington tonight and sounds like he’s not fully sold on the Wizards’ decision to unload him.

“I could go into theories of why (GM) Ernie (Grunfeld) and (VP of basketball operations) Tommy (Sheppard) did what they did, but at the end of the day, it’s not my job to,” Oubre said. “I’m on the business aspect of it and I’ve got to make home in Phoenix.”

Oubre was a victim of the salary structure in Washington. He will be a restricted free agent next summer and the team was concerned about being able to match a sizable offer because of luxury tax implications. Oubre is now part of the rebuilding process in Phoenix, which he doesn’t believe will need a long time to be successful.

“ It’s not necessarily age. I don’t really believe in age,” he said. “If your mind is strong enough, you can do anything, no matter how old you are.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Defense has sparked the Suns in their four-game winning streak, writes Cody Cunningham of NBA.com, which is ironic because the team just traded one of its best defenders in Trevor Ariza. Phoenix is allowing teams to shoot just 41.3% in those four games and became the first team in history to hold back-to-back opponents to 20% or worse from 3-point range.
  • The injury to Damian Jones accentuates the Warriors‘ loss of veteran big man David West, who retired after last season, writes Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. Golden State’s center rotation has fallen apart as Jordan Bell has been a disappointment and Kevon Looney hasn’t fit well with the reserves. The Warriors plan to give Draymond Green more minutes at center until DeMarcus Cousins is ready to return from his Achilles injury.
  • In an interview with Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register, Clippers coach Doc Rivers looks back on the day three years ago that a contingent from the team visited free agent center DeAndre Jordan to change his mind about signing with the Mavericks. “It was a weird day, but I think it was far weirder on the outside of the room than on the inside of the room,” Rivers said. “I mean, basically D.J. basically told us he was staying within five seconds.”