Draymond Green

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.”

Pacific Notes: Durant, Green, Ariza, Fultz

Everything appears to be back to normal with the Warriors after last month’s altercation between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic. Green returned from a sprained right toe last night, giving the team a healthy lineup for the first time in weeks, not counting free agent addition DeMarcus Cousins, who is still recovering from an Achilles injury. The Warriors have climbed back near the top spot in the West with a 19-9 record and looked poised to re-establish themselves as the league’s best team.

More importantly, any fears that disharmony might tear the team apart seem to have passed. Warriors officials gave Durant “plenty of space” after the Nov. 12 incident and the situation appears to have been resolved.

“People I lean on told me to stay centerfield with my thoughts and my feelings,” Durant said. “I received so many people reaching out; my former coaches saying to stay centered, stay measured, stay pushing forward and keeping my foot on the gas. At that time, we were losing games, and people were banged up, so it’s easy to go the other way when you’re searching for answers. It was about staying positive and going to work.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Green, who missed nearly a month of action, was often frustrated as the Warriors‘ medical staff opted to be cautious with his injury, but he tells Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports that it was the right decision. “Overall, it was good for me not to rush it,” Green said. “I was starting to question the plan, but I tried it my way the first time and came back premature. I forced myself to trust their expertise because the main goal was getting me back healthy.”
  • The Lakers are trying to work out a three-team trade to acquire Trevor Ariza from the Suns, and Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype believes he would be a valuable addition in L.A. In addition to his defense and 3-point shooting, Ariza is one of the league’s best players at finishing in transition. He averaged 1.31 points per possession in transition with the Rockets last season, placing him ninth among players with at least 100 transition possessions.
  • There has been speculation that the Suns might be willing to take a chance on Markelle Fultz, but John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 doesn’t expect it to happen (Twitter link). He states that Phoenix has no interest in taking on “any issues” that the second-year Sixers guard has.

Warriors Rumors: Jones, Cousins, Green, Livingston

The Warriors provided a handful of injury updates on their big men today, starting with the official announcement that Damian Jones has undergone pectoral surgery. While Jones will be able to start rehabbing in six weeks, he’s likely to be sidelined for five or six months, head coach Steve Kerr said today (Twitter link via Nick Friedell of ESPN.com). That could put him on track to return during the postseason.

Meanwhile, DeMarcus Cousins is expected to head to Santa Cruz sometime this month to practice with the Warriors’ G League affiliate, according to Kerr (Twitter link via Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle). Cousins could even play in a couple games for the Santa Cruz Warriors before making his debut for Golden State, which is expected to happen after Christmas.

In the short term, Draymond Green went through shootaround and is pushing to play for the Warriors tonight against Milwaukee, per Kerr (Twitter link via Friedell). While they’ll see how he looks in warmups before making a decision, it sounds like the Dubs will continue playing it safe with Green, who is coming back from a toe injury. He’ll likely sit out at least one more game.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Kerr said today that the Warriors won’t use their open roster spot to add anyone for now, since they want to see how the club looks when healthy – Cousins included – before making any decisions (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).
  • Veteran guard Shaun Livingston isn’t sure exactly when he’ll call it a career, but tells Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders that his retirement probably isn’t too far down the road. “I mean, honestly who knows?” Livingston said. “A year, couple years? But I mean, it’s coming sooner than later. Handwriting is on the wall.” Andre Iguodala recently expressed a similar sentiment on his own career, though he’s nearly two years older than his longtime teammate.
  • In a conversation with Sam Amick of The Athletic, David West admitted that he has second-guessed his decision to retire once. It happened when he was watching Draymond Green and Kevin Durant have their shouting match at the end of that infamous game against the Clippers last month — West felt that his presence in that moment would have prevented the incident from escalating.
  • Speaking of the Green/Durant dynamic, Warriors general manager Bob Myers weighed in on that subject during a radio appearance on 95.7 The Game, as Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area relays. “I really think it’s behind us. I really do,” Myers said of the friction between the two All-Stars. “You have to flush it out, you have to get it all out there — get all your emotions out. There’s a healing part of it — you don’t get over it in 30 seconds — but you do get over it. And I honestly think they have.”

Pacific Notes: Green, Clippers, Beasley, Kings

Draymond Green is gradually getting closer to returning after missing more than two weeks of action with a sprained toe, some positive news for Golden State after the team announced Damian Jones tore his pectoral muscle over the weekend.

Green was originally expected to return during the Warriors‘ current road trip, but plans have since changed, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater (Twitter link). The Warriors don’t return to Oracle Arena until they host the Timberwolves next Monday.

Green has made progress in the past two weeks and no longer feels pain in his toe, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell (Twitter link). He’s played a major role in the Warriors’ past three title teams and will provide a much-needed boost once he returns. The Warriors, who just got Stephen Curry back from injury, are 5-5 without Green this season.

“I just need to play,” Green said Saturday, according to Friedell. “I don’t really think practices are going to be it for me because practice ain’t really [hard]. Just got to get up and down some. It’s about building to that process too so we’ll see.”

There’s more out of the Pacific division today:

  • Despite the recent underwhelming play from the bench, the Clippers have continued putting forth a strong effort on both ends of the floor, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times writes. Los Angeles has started the 2018/19 season with a 15-6 record, good for the top seed in the Western Conference.
  • Lakers forward Michael Beasley has accepted his role with the team this season despite not knowing when he’ll play, The Los Angeles Times’ Broderick Turner writes. Beasley was one of several veterans who joined the Lakers this past offseason after LeBron James made his decision. “I stayed engaged the same way you [in the media] stayed engaged as a fan,” Beasley said. “I enjoy the game. I enjoy my teammates. God has granted me serenity a long time ago.”
  • The Kings intend to use the same development plan with Marvin Bagley lll that they used with De’Aaron Fox, James Ham of NBC Sports writes. Sacramento drafted Fox fifth overall back in 2017, then used its No. 2 overall pick in June’s draft to select Bagley lll. “I feel like I’m getting better and better,” Bagley said. “It’s coming along. I just can’t wait to develop some more things to add to my game and one day be one of those guys in this league that people know and people look up to and want to be like.”

Pacific Notes: Crawford, Green, Kings, Canaan

Jamal Crawford has positively impacted the Suns in his first season with the team, leading the club in the locker room and staying ready on the bench to provide production when called.

Crawford found that opportunity at the end of the team’s game on Friday, with the 38-year-old sinking a clutch game-winner against the Bucks in Milwaukee. His shot inspired the younger Suns players watching from afar.

“Sometimes, going from Point A to Point C is more gratifying than going (from) W to Z,” Crawford said, according to The Athletic’s Gina Mizell. “Seeing the young guys take steps in the right direction, (this is) stuff that can stick with them their whole career. It can be some of the foundation pieces. … When you get wins like this, it kind of cements this and opens their ears even more.”

Crawford, a 19-year NBA vet, was named the NBA’s Teammate of the Year last season. He’s averaged a career-low 13.2 minutes per game this year, but his impact with the team measures far beyond what he’s able to give on the court.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors forward Draymond Green recently underwent an MRI on his right toe, with the results confirming that he sustained a sprain, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Green has missed the team’s last five games.
  • Kings general manager Vlade Divac raved about his team’s early season start, explaining his thoughts to NBC Sports California’s James Ham“I love it,” Divac said. “It’s a team that plays the way that I like and enjoy as a fan. This is basketball — when the whole team is involved in some way. They all share the ball, they cheer for each other, they all move around. Dave [Joerger] is doing a great job.”
  • Isaiah Canaan discussed his gruesome ankle injury from last season with The Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson, stating he was unsure whether he’d ever return to basketball at the time. “There were a few times I did think my career was over,” Canaan said. “I just didn’t know what type of player I’d be, if I could be the same. But I also looked in the mirror and said, ‘This can’t be it and I’m going to work my a— off to get back.’ So I’m here.” Canaan has appeared in 17 games with the Suns this season, averaging 27.2 minutes per contest.

Latest On Stephen Curry

Warriors guard Stephen Curry isn’t ready to return yet, but he’s making good progress in his recovery from a strained left groin, the team announced today in a press release.

According to the Warriors, Curry was re-evaluated today and is ready to begin to intensify his on-court workouts. If he continues to progress as the Dubs expect, the two-time MVP will likely start practicing with the team next week, with the goal of playing at some point during Golden State’s upcoming five-game road trip.

That means that Curry will sit out tonight’s game vs. Sacramento and Monday’s game vs. Orlando, at the very least. The Warriors will then embark on a road trip that includes stops in Toronto (11/29), Detroit (12/1), Atlanta (12/3), Cleveland (12/5), and Milwaukee (12/7).

While it remains unclear if Curry will be ready for the showdown with the Raptors at the start of that road trip, the team sounds hopeful that he’ll be back in action in time for the showdown with the Bucks at the end of the trip.

Curry has missed Golden State’s last eight games and the team has endured some uncharacteristic struggles in his absence. Including the game Curry left early with the groin injury, the Warriors are 3-6 since their star guard went down.

It hasn’t helped that the Dubs have had to deal with other injuries while Curry has been on the shelf. Draymond Green and Alfonzo McKinnie will both remain out of action for tonight’s game, and are still considered day-to-day, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.