Draymond Green

Western Rumors: George, Schroder, Butler, Harris

Paul George made up his mind to stay with the Thunder weeks before free agency, which is why he didn’t bother meeting with the Lakers, Marc Spears of ESPN relays. George, speaking after a Team USA practice on Thursday, acknowledged Oklahoma City took a gamble by trading for him last offseason after he previously made it known he wanted to play in L.A. That gamble paid off, even though it was “tempting” to meet with the Lakers, according to George.

“Honestly, I wanted to come back home. But again, I got traded to [the Thunder],” he said. “Loved the situation. Loved where I was at. I decided to stick around a little longer. … I just wanted my free agency to be over with.”

George inked a four-year, $137MM deal to stay put.

In other developments around the Western Conference:

  • George is thrilled with the acquisition of Dennis Schroder from the Hawks, as Erik Horne of The Oklahoman passes along. Schroder was biggest piece OKC acquired from Atlanta in the Carmelo Anthony swap. “He’s not going to start, but hands down the best backup point guard in the league,” George said. “He’s that mid-tier star in our league, one of the best point guards in the league in general. … We’ve got another scorer, another playmaker and just another savvy guy in the locker room that can help us win ball games.”
  • Timberwolves shooting guard Jimmy Butler underwent a minor elective procedure on his right hand, the team’s PR department tweets. Butler has already returned to offseason activities.
  • Clippers forward Tobias Harris appreciated the team’s $80MM extension offer but ultimately decided he’d take his chances as an unrestricted free agent next summer, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports. “I think that as a player you never know, but just to get that offer was an amazing feeling,” Harris told Turner. “For me, I’m a kid who puts everything into the game and to have an organization come to me with that offer and to be able to present that was a really big accomplishment. It showed that the team valued me as a player.”
  • Warriors forward Draymond Green isn’t participating in the USA Basketball minicamp, Spears tweets. He joins many other stars, including LeBron James and Stephen Curry, who decided to skip it.

DeMarcus Cousins Leftovers: Blazers, Celtics, Warriors’ Recruitment

Before DeMarcus Cousins agreed to join the defending-champion Warriors on a one-year, $5.3MM contract, the Trail Blazers and Pelicans discussed the possibility of a sign-and-trade deal that would have sent the star center to Portland, reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.com (Twitter link). However, according to Haynes, the fact that Cousins and Jusuf Nurkic share the same agent was one roadblock in those talks.

Even if not for that issue, it would have been tricky for the Pelicans and Blazers to reach a deal that worked for both sides. Acquiring a player via sign-and-trade would have hard-capped the Blazers, who were already well over the cap, so they likely would have had to send at least one or two players to New Orleans. It’s not clear if talks progressed to the point where the two sides were discussing specific players.

Here’s more on the free agency decision that has practically made LeBron James‘ move to Los Angeles an afterthought tonight:

  • Cousins had narrowed down his choices to Golden State and Boston before opting for the Warriors, according to Haynes (Twitter link). The Celtics could have comfortably matched Golden State’s offer and would have been a fascinating destination for Cousins — with LeBron out of the East, the C’s already look like a favorite to represent the conference in the Finals in 2019, so the team’s status as the frontrunner would have been cemented with Cousins in the mix.
  • Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports takes a look at the Warriors‘ recruitment of Cousins, which was led by his USA Basketball teammates Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, along with GM Bob Myers. Cousins also had “positive phone calls” with head coach Steve Kerr, league sources tell Charania.
  • The Warriors were initially reluctant to believe in Cousins’ interest, according to Charania, who adds that the big man also received interest from the Pelicans, Mavericks, and Wizards. Golden State’s agreement with Cousins came together so quickly that some members of the organization were “stunned” when word of the deal broke, tweets ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
  • Speaking to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter links), Cousins called his decision to join the Warriors the “smartest move ever,” and said he’s still hoping to return from his Achilles injury for training camp. Reports tonight suggested the Dubs may be eyeing a December or January return to action for their latest acquisition.
  • Cousins also told Spears that he received no significant contract offers when free agency began, but was prepared for that possibility due to his Achilles injury (Twitter link).
  • While it’s not impossible that Cousins could end up hurting the Warriors more than he helps, the addition – combined with the Rockets’ loss of Trevor Ariza – appears to have further widened the gap between Golden State and the rest of the NBA, writes Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com in his breakdown of the deal.

Draymond Green Unlikely To Sign Extension This Summer

Draymond Green will be eligible for a veteran contract extension this summer, and Warriors owner Joe Lacob recently said the team plans to offer one. However, league sources tell ESPN’s Chris Haynes that Green figures to turn down that extension when it’s offered.

The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement limits veteran extensions to five total seasons, so with two years and $36MM+ still remaining on his current deal, Green could add three more years to that deal this offseason. Based on other CBA limitations, such an extension would be worth up to about $72MM over those three years. However, as Haynes observes, if the veteran forward earns All-NBA honors or the Defensive Player of the Year award next season, he’d be eligible for a super-max extension worth well over $200MM for five years.

With Curry already on a super-max deal for the Warriors and Kevin Durant likely to ink a lucrative new contract of his own this summer, it seems unlikely that the team would be willing to give Green a super-max of his own if he qualifies next year. Still, there’s some context to Green’s apparent stance, as Haynes explains.

As Green tells it, when he negotiated his last contract with the Warriors in 2015, he accepted about $12MM less than he could have earned. While agent B.J. Armstrong pushed for him to max out his potential earnings, Green wanted to take a slight discount in order to help Golden State create the cap room a star free agent like Durant.

“I took less so we could go after K.D.,” Green told Haynes during the NBA Finals. “I am a student of this game, and I studied the business side of it and the numbers, where some people don’t. They leave it up to their agent to do it.”

Having made that sacrifice on his last deal, Green is unlikely to accept any sort of discount on his next contract, sources tell Haynes. Even though that next contract may not be a super-max, Green seems likely to continue playing out his current deal for another year before seriously considering an extension.

Myers: Warriors Will Give Durant ‘Whatever He Wants’ On New Deal

Kevin Durant indicated several days ago that he fully intends to re-sign with the Warriors after opting out of his contract this summer, and it doesn’t sound like president of basketball operations Bob Myers will draw any sort of hard line in negotiations. As Janie McCauley of The Associated Press relays, Myers said the team is prepared to give Durant “whatever he wants.”

“Sometimes you don’t negotiate. I’d love to have him for 10 years. Kevin Durant, look what he did for us last year, he did us a great service,” Myers said. “He’s earned the right to sign whatever deal he wants. I just want him to sign a deal. But want him to be happy and want him to know that we want him as long as he wants to be here. He’s earned that, to kind of lay out the terms. He can do whatever he wants. That shouldn’t be a long negotiation.”

In each of the last two summers, Durant has signed a two-year contract with a second-year player option in order to maximize his flexibility. However, the Early Bird exception prohibits that sort of deal. If the Warriors re-sign the star forward using his Early Bird rights, the contract would have to be for at least two years (with no options) and couldn’t exceed four years.

Durant could still sign a one-year pact with an eye toward hitting free agency again in 2019, when he’ll have full Bird rights and could sign a five-year contract. But a one-year deal this year would use the Non-Bird exception and wouldn’t allow him to earn his full max, since he accepted a discount last summer. As such, Durant will have some decisions to make this offseason, and it sounds like the Warriors are ready to accommodate whatever path he chooses.

Meanwhile, the Warriors have a few other extension candidates to keep an eye on this summer, including Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and head coach Steve Kerr. For his part, Kerr said he expects to get a new agreement “done pretty quick,” suggesting that wouldn’t be an acrimonious negotiation either. As for Thompson and Green, Myers agreed with team owner Joe Lacob that the team will explore new deals for those stars this offseason, but suggested that won’t necessarily be a top priority.

“It’s a lot of different conversations that have to take place and if that’s something that we want to look into, I’m sure we could have those (conversations),” Myers said. “Klay’s got another year, Draymond’s got two more. Kevin’s really the free agent we have to focus on.”

Warriors Plan Extension Offers For Thompson, Green

There have been concerns about the Warriors’ ability to afford Klay Thompson and Draymond Green when their free agency years arrive, but owner Joe Lacob plans to aggressively address the situation this summer, relays Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Shortly after wrapping up the team’s third title in four years Friday night, Lacob said he intends to submit extension offers to both players during the offseason.

“All good things cost a lot,” he explained. “We’re going to try to sign Klay and Draymond to extensions this summer. They’ve earned the right to do whatever they want; maybe they want to wait until free agency. I can’t control that. But we’ll do whatever we can to keep them.

“We’ve proven that if we think we’re competing for a championship, we’ll be in the luxury tax. No one wants to be, but we expect to be. All I can tell you is we’re going to sit down and do our planning on how we’re going to improve the team for the future and setting ourselves up in the future. And it could go a number of different ways.”

Thompson is entering the final year of a contract that will pay him $18,988,725 next season. He has spent seven years with the Warriors and is coming off his fourth straight All-Star appearance. Green has two seasons left on his current deal, worth $17,469,565 next season and $18,539,130 in 2019/20. He has been with Golden State for six years and is a three-time All-Star.

Extensions for Thompson and Green would come at the same time the Warriors have to spend big to re-sign Kevin Durant, who is virtually certain to opt out of a $26.25MM salary and enter free agency for the third straight summer. If all three players agree to new contracts, the Warriors would likely be headed for the largest luxury tax bill in NBA history.

Suspensions May Result From Game 1 Fracas

A scuffle in the waning seconds of Thursday night’s contest may leave some key players suspended for Game 2, writes Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson is expected to receive some form of penalty for shoving the ball in Draymond Green‘s face after being tossed out of Game 1 for committing a Flagrant 2 foul. Kevin Love may also face a suspension for leaving the bench during the incident. Love, who was quickly pulled off the court by an assistant coach, said he doesn’t believe any disciplinary action is warranted.

“I was already on the court trying to get the refs’ attention before the scuffle,” he explained.

The altercation started when Golden State’s Shaun Livingston attempted a jumper with the shot clock expiring in the final seconds of overtime. Thompson hit Livingston in the chest with his elbow as he tried to block the shot and later expressed anger that the Warriors didn’t accept the clock violation.

“I contested a shot that shouldn’t have been taken,” Thompson said. “I mean, it’s like the unspoken rule in the NBA: If you’re up 10 or 11 with about 20 seconds left, you don’t take that shot. I make the contest, and next thing I know, I was being kicked out for making a contest that we learn in training camp. I don’t know why I got thrown out.”

Livingston and Klay Thompson stepped in to prevent Green from retaliating, which likely saved him from being suspended.
Livingston defended his decision after the game, claiming that taking the shot was the right play to make.

“I say that we don’t take the turnover. I don’t take the turnover,” he said.Kevin [Durant] threw me the ball, and he threw it to me like we were still playing. J.R. [Smith] was still guarding him, you know. No disrespect. We just play the game. So, that’s what it was. … It’s the Finals. It’s all love. … It was like a YMCA pickup game in the last 30 seconds.”

Western Notes: Rockets, Jazz, Westbrook, Allen

The Rockets have reduced their rotation to seven players but they won’t use fatigue as an excuse for their second-half collapse against the Warriors in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry have all played more minutes per game than any Rockets player, Feigen notes. “Fatigue is never a factor in the playoffs,” Rockets forward Trevor Ariza told Feigen and other media members. “This is what we prepare for. This is what we work hard all summer for. They started playing harder. They started making shots. That’s it.” 

Also around the Western Conference:

  • The Jazz might keep their core group intact going into next season, GM Dennis Lindsey told Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News“My best guess is the option that we’ll ultimately consider, is bringing the team back intact, but I don’t know what other things are going to come our way,” Lindsey said. In order to do that, they’d have to sign unrestricted free agent Derrick Favors and restricted free agent Dante Exum. If both players receive significant raises and the Jazz make other moves, they could find themselves close to the luxury tax. They currently have approximately $90MM in salary guarantees next season.
  • If Paul George re-signs with the Thunder, it will deal a blow to the narrative that other stars don’t like playing with Russell Westbrook, Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman writes. That’s why Westbrook has made public statements about wanting George to return, saying he thinks George “definitely wants to be here,” Dawson adds.
  • Duke combo guard Grayson Allen could be an option for the Kings if he slips into the second round, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. Sacramento holds the No. 36 overall pick and Allen is currently ranked No. 30 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. Allen would be a fit because the Kings need guards who can provide size and shooting, Jones adds.

Warriors Notes: Iguodala, McCaw, Green, Young

The bone bruise on Andre Iguodala‘s left knee is healing more slowly than the Warriors had hoped and he appears to be a long shot to play in Game 7, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Iguodala was declared out shortly before Game 6 and is officially listed as day-to-day, but coach Steve Kerr is pessimistic about his chances to return.

“We’re operating under the assumption he won’t play,” Kerr said.

Losing Iguodala has left the Warriors scrambling to find a fifth player to pair with their four All-Stars. Of the contenders, rookie Jordan Bell had the best plus/minus rating in Game 6 at +10, but he’s slow to react defensively and remains jumpy and prone to foul trouble, Slater writes. Kevon Looney has been starting in Iguodala’s absence, but the Rockets are scoring on him regularly and he doesn’t provide much offense. Shaun Livingston has looked best in that role, but Kerr prefers to limit him to 15 minutes per game.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along this morning:

  • Saturday’s blowout allowed Patrick McCaw to see four minutes of action at the end of the game, Slater notes in the same story. McCaw, who missed nearly two full months after a frightening fall, was activated before Game 6. Slater suggests he could work his way into a larger role if the Warriors reach the NBA Finals. “Coach Kerr pulled me aside today and just [asked] me, how would I feel being active and suiting up and if we get up big to play three or four minutes at the end of the game,” McCaw said. “… I called my mom. I called my dad, let them know I would be putting my uniform on tonight.”
  • Two years ago, Draymond Green was convinced he was about to be traded following a heated clash with Kerr, writes Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. However, Kerr denies the team ever considered such a move. “This guy is the best at what he does in the entire league,” he said. “At that point, he had already helped us win a title, and he’s in the prime of his career. Like, what are we talking about? The ‘Draymond problem’ wasn’t really that big of a problem. It was just: Can we help him channel his emotion and his energy in the right direction?'”
  • Nick Young provided an unusual explanation for his defensive improvement in Game 6, relays Jace Evans of USA Today, saying former NBA star Dennis Rodman visited him in a dream. “He had the purple hair, all kinds of stuff,” Young said. “He told me, ‘Tomorrow you’re going to play a little defense,’ and I was like, ‘Nah that’s not my game, Dennis Rodman, why you in my dream?’ But it just so happened I played a little defense.”

Pacific Notes: Thompson, Green, Clippers, Suns

The results of this year’s All-NBA voting will have an impact on a pair of Warriors, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks observes (Twitter links). If Klay Thompson had earned a spot on an All-NBA team, he would have been eligible for a super-max extension this offseason. If Thompson doesn’t sign an extension with the club in the coming months, he could still gain super-max eligibility in 2019 by being named to next year’s All-NBA squad.

Meanwhile, Draymond Green, who also missed out on All-NBA honors this year, would’ve been eligible for a super-max in 2019 if he’d made the First, Second, or Third Team. Like Thompson, he could gain eligibility by earning an All-NBA nod next season, though only one of those two players could actually sign an early super-max extension with the Warriors — teams are limited to two such contracts, and Stephen Curry has already signed one (Kevin Durant‘s next deal isn’t a factor in this equation, since it’s a different form of contract).

While it’s worth monitoring Thompson’s and Green’s eligibility for those contracts worth 35% of the cap, it seems unlikely that the Warriors would be willing to offer either player that sort of deal anyway. The Dubs and Thompson have reportedly engaged in talks on an extension that would be worth well below the max, and Green will be on the wrong side of 30 when his current contract ends.

Here’s more from around the Pacific division:

  • Determining DeAndre Jordan‘s future and getting value out of their two late-lottery picks are among the top items on the Clippers‘ offseason to-do list, Marks writes in his offseason preview for the club (Insider link). The point guard position is also something of a mystery, with Milos Teodosic holding a player option and Patrick Beverley returning from a major knee injury.
  • While it remains to be seen whether Mike Woodson will formally join the Suns‘ coaching staff, as rumored, the team has hired another assistant, bringing aboard Magic assistant Corliss Williamson. Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic has the story on the hiring of Williamson, who appeared in over 800 regular season games as an NBA player.
  • Addressing the small forward spot will be one of the Kings‘ top priorities this summer, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee, who rates the position a perfect 10/10 in terms of level of need.

NBA Announces 2017/18 All-Defensive Teams

The NBA has officially announced its 2017/18 All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with Defensive Player of the Year candidates Rudy Gobert and Anthony Davis headlining the First Team.

Gobert led the way in voting, receiving 94 of 100 potential First Team votes. He also received four Second Team votes, and was left off of just two ballots, earning him 192 total points (two points per First Team vote; one point per Second Team vote). It’s his second All-Defensive First Team nod.

[RELATED: NBA Announces 2017/18 All-Rookie Teams]

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), the All-Defensive recognition will pay off financially for Gobert, who earns a $500K bonus as a result of his spot on the First Team. Meanwhile, Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday will receive a more modest $100K bonus for being named to the All-Defensive First Team.

Here are the full voting results for the All-Defensive First and Second Teams, with each player’s point total noted in parentheses:

First Team

  • Rudy Gobert, C, Jazz (192)
  • Anthony Davis, F/C, Pelicans (163)
  • Victor Oladipo, G, Pacers (136)
  • Jrue Holiday, G, Pelicans (105)
  • Robert Covington, F, Sixers (90)

Second Team

Rockets point guard Chris Paul (74 points) and Thunder forward Paul George (69) narrowly missed earning spots on the All-Defensive Second Team. A total of 29 other players received at least one vote, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson.

You can find the full voting results right here.