Draymond Green

Pacific Notes: Green, Kuminga, Curry, James, Howard

The Warriors announced on Sunday that defensive stalwart Draymond Green would miss at least two weeks of action due to lingering calf and back injuries. Coach Steve Kerr said they’re playing it safe with Green’s injury issues at this stage of the season, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets.

“The main thing is to be safe and cautious,” Kerr said. “It’s a long season. That’s my sense. That we’re being cautious.”

With Green out, lottery pick Jonathan Kuminga will get expanded playing time. Kuminga irritated the staff with a disinterested performance in a G League game last week but the Warriors won’t hold that against him, according to Slater.

“He didn’t run the floor hard. It was disappointing,” Kerr said. “We talked to him about it. He understood and responded well. This is all part of the process for JK. There’s a lot to absorb and learn.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Stephen Curry left the Warriors’ road trip early but it shouldn’t be an area of concern, according to Slater (Twitter link). Curry has a hand injury that the club believes is minor. He could play against Detroit on Tuesday.
  • The Lakers have dropped below the .500 mark by losing their last three games, including a 37-point thumping by Denver. LeBron James went on social media and pledged to fans the team will get untracked soon. “Lakers Nation I apologize and promise we’ll be better,” James proclaimed on his Twitter feed.
  • The decision to start Dwight Howard against the Nuggets shows the Lakers can only go so far with small ball lineups, Kyle Goon of the Orange Country Register writes. Coach Frank Vogel doesn’t want James banging against top-level centers such as Nikola Jokic. Howard will still have a role off the bench when Anthony Davis returns, Goon adds.

Draymond Green To Miss At Least Two Weeks

Warriors star Draymond Green will miss at least two weeks due to the ongoing soreness in his left calf, the team announced on social media. Green’s soreness is “tied to the involvement of a disc in his lower back,” according to the Dubs.

The three-time champion will receive physical therapy in the coming days and be reevaluated at the end of the two-week period. Golden State is 3-5 without Green this season, compared to 28-6 when he plays.

Despite missing Green, the Warriors managed to blow out the Bulls in Chicago on Friday, winning 138-96. Players such as Jonathan Kuminga (25 points), Nemanja Bjelica (11 rebounds) Otto Porter Jr. (nine points) all stepped up in Green’s absence. Porter received the start at power forward.

On the season, Green has averaged 7.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game, providing versatile defense at all five positions. The Warriors are set to begin a seven-game homestand on Tuesday that spans 13 days.

Pacific Notes: Fox, J. Smith, Klay, Draymond

The Kings have missed out on the postseason for 15 straight seasons, which is tied for the longest playoff drought in NBA history (with the Clippers, from 1977-1992). Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has reportedly given GM Monte McNair the green light to make any roster moves necessary to improve their playoff chances and give them a pathway to sustained success going forward.

With that in mind, De’Aaron Fox‘s name has started popping up more in trade rumors. The Sacramento Bee’s guest columnist Brenden Nunes makes the case for building around the 24-year-old point guard. Nunes notes that there has been near-constant turmoil in Sacramento during Fox’s time with the team, including a rotating cast of ill-fitting teammates, three head coaches and two general managers.

Fox’s statistics of 20.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 5.1 APG on .450/.247/.750 shooting (39 games, 34.2 MPG) are down from last season’s numbers of 25.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 7.2 APG on .477/.322/.719 shooting (58 games, 35.1 MPG). Fox can be frustratingly inconsistent on both ends, but his talent is clear and Nunes believes the Kings should stick with Fox and Tyrese Haliburton as the backcourt of the future and build around the two young guards, as opposed to trading either of them.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns may have a dilemma on their hands with Jalen Smith‘s unrestricted free agency looming this summer, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. Smith performed well over a recent six-game stretch while Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee were in the health and safety protocols, averaging 15.8 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 1.0 BPG on .554/.385/.857 shooting in 25.5 MPG. Phoenix declined Smith’s third-year option of $4,670,160, so it can’t exceed that amount to retain him in free agency. If Phoenix were to trade Smith, the acquiring team also wouldn’t be able to exceed the amount of his third-year option, Hollinger writes. Given his strong play recently, it’s conceivable that a bidder in free agency could come up with an offer higher than the declined option, so any team interested in acquiring him via trade would essentially have Smith as a rental player in that scenario — severely limiting his trade value. Hollinger notes there’s still a chance the Suns could re-sign him relatively cheaply depending on how the rest of the season plays out, but it was a head-scratching move at the time that has come under more scrutiny after he was given actual playing time.
  • Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who recently made his long-awaited season debut, is on a strict minutes limit of 20 per game right now, but he expects that to be bumped up “in a week or two,” writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Thompson has looked spry in his first two games back, averaging 15.5 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 20.0 minutes.
  • Draymond Green is likely to miss at least three more games for the Warriors with calf soreness, Slater tweets. Head coach Steve Kerr said it’s “doubtful” that Green will join the team on its current road trip, which runs through Sunday in Minnesota.

COVID-19 Updates: Green, Anderson, Butler, Satoransky, Nesmith, Gill, Brooks

Warriors star Draymond Green has cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated (Twitter link). He’s expected to play in Monday’s game against Miami.

Green missed two games due to protocols, including Golden State’s road contest against Utah on Saturday. The Warriors still ended up winning 123-116 and currently own the league’s best record at 28-7.

Here are some other COVID-19 updates from around the association:

COVID Updates: Green, Brooks, Bazley, Augustin, Scrubb, Niang, Neto

The league continues to be ravaged by COVID positives with an increasing number of players entering the league’s health and safety protocols. Here are the latest updates:

  • Warriors star forward Draymond Green has entered the protocols, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Green joined four other Warriors in the protocols heading into a pair of games against Denver.
  • The Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks, De’Anthony Melton and Yves Pons all entered the protocols prior to their game against Sacramento on Sunday, the team’s PR department tweets. Memphis now has five players under those restrictions.
  • Darius Bazley became the first Thunder player in protocols, Andrew Schlecht of The Athletic tweets.
  • Veteran Rockets guard D.J. Augustin has entered the health and safety protocols, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • Clippers two-way player Jay Scrubb has been placed in the protocols, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets.
  • Wizards guard Raul Neto has joined two other Washington players in the protocols, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets.
  • Two Hornets regulars, Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington, are now in the protocols, the team’s PR department tweets.
  • On the positive side, Sixers forward Georges Niang has cleared the protocols, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

Pacific Notes: Green, Thompson, Fox, Walton, James

Draymond Green is playing with renewed vigor and the Warriors forward is aiming for another Defensive Player of the Year award, ESPN’s Nick Friedell writes. “Most importantly, I want to win, I want to be a Defensive Player of the Year again, and I want to be an All-Star again,” Green said. “And that is motivating me because a lot of people had counted me out. Same mistake people made before when I first came into the league — but a lot of people doubted me, and doubted me again. And that’s fuel to the fire.” Green won the DPOY award in 2017.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr reacted with feigned surprise regarding a report that Klay Thompson had received full medical clearance to practice. “I don’t know where that came from,” Kerr said, according to a tweet from Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. However, Kerr didn’t deny the report, Poole added in another tweet. The Athletic’s Anthony Slater said Kerr was trying to protect Thompson from media attention. If Thompson doesn’t participate in all team portions of practice, he could theoretically skip any required media requirements, which is Klay’s preference.
  • De’Aaron Fox said it was a bit of a shock that Luke Walton was fired at this stage of the season, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. However, he added that the Kings have to put that behind them quickly. “You’ve just got to keep on pushing,” Fox said. “Obviously, you have some guys who have been through it in the middle of a season before, but you can’t go into the game worried about what happened. We’ve still got games to play.”
  • LeBron James‘ one-game suspension will result in some cost savings for the Lakers, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. While James will lose a game check of $284K, the Lakers will receive a $142K credit toward the luxury tax that projects to save them $532.5K.

Warriors Notes: Kuminga, Thompson, Curry, Green

Jonathan Kuminga was on the court for 16 minutes Friday night and it could be the start of expanded playing time for the Warriors‘ rookie forward, according to Alex Shultz of SFGate. Kuminga made the most of his opportunity, scoring eight points and playing strong defense on the Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan.

It was only the sixth game of the season for the No. 7 overall pick, whose progress was slowed by a strained patella in the preseason and later spent time in the G League. Head coach Steve Kerr indicated that Kuminga made “huge strides” in practice recently and Friday’s extra playing time was a reward for that effort.

“As long as he goes out there and runs the floor, plays defense, takes care of the ball and passes like he did tonight, we’re going to continue to give him opportunities,” Kerr said.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Klay Thompson continues to make “steady progress” in his recovery from Achilles surgery and could be ready to play in five to six weeks, tweets basketball writer Jordan Schultz. Sources tell Schultz that Thompson is in “great shape” and is close to being cleared for five-on-five play. That lines up with a report earlier this week that Thompson could return prior to his target date of Christmas Day.
  • Grizzlies guard Ja Morant enjoys watching the on-court relationship between Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, writes Alex Didion of NBC Sports Bay Area. As Golden State was pulling away from Chicago Friday night, Morant tweeted “chemistry crazy” after Green set up Curry for an open three-pointer.
  • In a mailbag column, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton addresses whether Kuminga, fellow rookie Moses Moody and second-year center James Wiseman can reach their potential on a title contending team where playing time is likely to be scarce. Pelton theorizes that players can improve enough through individual workouts and regular minutes in the G League that NBA playing time isn’t a vital part of the process.

Warriors Notes: Thompson, Green, Wiggins, Wiseman

Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson has made “really good progress” in his recovery from Achilles surgery, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (video link), who said during an NBA Countdown appearance that Thompson could even be a little ahead of his previously-reported timeline.

“I’m told if he continues on his current course in rehab that a target date for his return will be set probably within the next couple weeks and there’s optimism it could be as soon as December 20th, December 23rd,” Wojnarowski said, noting that the Warriors have home games on those dates. Christmas Day was previously identified as a potential target date.

“The plan for Klay Thompson is to continue to ramp up,” Woj continued. “The Warriors will go on a road trip in mid-December, and at that point, if Klay continues on this track, he’d go down and play with the Warriors’ G League team. And the idea is – and the hope is – they’ll have him back perhaps prior to Christmas.”

Thompson has missed two full seasons due to ACL and Achilles tears and the Warriors are off to an NBA-best 10-1 start in his absence, so there’s no pressure to rush him back before he’s 100%. On ESPN’s NBA today earlier this week, Brian Windhorst (video link) suggested Thompson’s getting close to that level.

“The whispers going on around the league right now about Klay Thompson, people are watching him, people are talking to people in the Warriors’ organization, and they say he looks good,” Windhorst said. “Now I’m not saying he’s coming back and he’s going to be (scoring) 40 points in his first quarter. But he looks good working out and there’s a real confidence that – especially by the end of the season – Klay’s going to be BACK back.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Draymond Green left Wednesday’s win over Minnesota in the third quarter due to a right thigh contusion, as Nick Friedell of ESPN writes. Head coach Steve Kerr called it a “pretty nasty” contusion and said Green would be questionable to play on Friday, but added that Green’s knee didn’t appear to be affected at all. “When he came off the floor he said it was a bad thigh, muscle bruise,” Kerr said. “Like he just got kneed in the thigh, but it was close to the knee. But I have no reason to believe it has anything to do with a joint contusion from what I understand.”
  • Andrew Wiggins said on Wednesday that the Timberwolves have turned over their roster so much since his time in Minnesota that it’s “basically like facing a whole new team” when he faces his former club, per Rusty Simmons of The San Francisco Chronicle. Wiggins also remains appreciative of the trade that sent him to Golden State. “Something had to be done, just the way everything was going,” he said. “The way things were, we knew changes were coming eventually. I feel like it worked out for both teams.”
  • Kerr provided a minor update on James Wiseman on Wednesday, hinting that the second-year center could begin scrimmaging next week with Santa Cruz, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (video link). Wiseman continues to make his way back from knee surgery.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Payton, Green, Kuminga

The Warriors and tied with the Jazz for the league’s best record at 7-1 and Stephen Curry isn’t the least bit surprised, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes. “The record’s great,” Curry said. “It’s eight games in, a lot of season left, but the way that we’re succeeding and the way that we’re kind of opening up games, just putting good stretches of basketball together, I’m not surprised at all.” Golden State thumped New Orleans 126-85 on Friday.

We have more on the Warriors:

  • Gary Payton II, who has a partially guaranteed contract, has emerged as a rotation player, Anthony Slater of The Athletic notes. “He needs to play more,” coach Steve Kerr said. Valued for his defense, Payton has averaged 15.5 PPG and 5.5 RPG in the last two games. Payton earned a roster spot after a training camp battle with Avery Bradley and Curry says Payton has “found a home” with the Warriors, as Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic writes. Payton has a $350K guarantee on his veteran’s minimum deal.
  • In regard to the NBA’s investigation regarding the conduct of Suns owner Robert Sarver, Draymond Green feels there’s a double standard between executives and owners under scrutiny and players facing discipline, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. “I do wonder if I was getting investigated for something, would I still be able to be around the team? Would I still be able to freely come to the games? Would I still be able to freely come to practice?,” Green said. “I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that question, because I’ve never been in a situation here where someone is getting investigated for something like that. But I do know what I think, and I’m not sure I’d be sitting here after finishing shootaround talking to you if I was being investigated.”
  • Lottery pick Jonathan Kuminga has been assigned to G League’s Santa Cruz Warriors, according to a team press release. Kuminga has made three brief appearances with Golden State, including a seven-minute stint on Friday. He’ll get more game experience with Santa Cruz. He had 16 points in 30 minutes against the G League Ignite earlier this week.
  • Andre Iguodala‘s return to the organization has given Kerr a level of comfort, Mark Medina of NBA.com writes. “It’s like we lost our soul a little bit the last two years,” Kerr said. “Getting him back brings a level of stability, intelligence and basketball IQ.” Iguodala rejoined the team on a one-year deal.

Warriors Rumors: Kuminga, Moody, Curry, Green, Klay, Iguodala

Warriors owner Joe Lacob is high on the team’s young prospects, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, who told Michael Scotto on the HoopsHype Podcast that Lacob values Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody more than other teams do right now. As a result, the odds of either rookie being included in a trade this season – for Ben Simmons or anyone else – are very low.

Lacob’s desire to develop players like Kuminga, Moody, and James Wiseman into cornerstones for the next era of Warriors basketball would seem to be at odds with Stephen Curry‘s desire to maximize the team’s current window, Slater observes. However, Curry signed a new four-year extension with Golden State this offseason and seems “pretty dead set” on finishing his career with the team, according to Slater.

Slater believes Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green would ideally like to continue playing for the Warriors and pursuing titles together for the rest of their careers. However, Slater views Green as less of a sure thing than Curry to play his entire career in Golden State, noting that Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers would “love” to acquire the former Defensive Player of the Year if the opportunity arises. Green is under contract through 2022/23.

“If another team is willing to give Draymond a contract that the Warriors aren’t in a couple of years, I could see that going differently, even if their dream scenario would be to play forever,” Slater told Scotto.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • According to Slater on the HoopsHype podcast, Klay Thompson has participated in some two-on-two workouts and some “very controlled” contact work. Mid-December is probably the earliest Thompson would come back from his Achilles tear, per Slater, who says the team would be fine with pushing Klay’s return into the new year if he doesn’t feel quite ready next month.
  • If Andre Iguodala plays beyond the 2021/22 season, it would only be with the Warriors, Slater opines. Slater also expects the team to play it safe with the veteran wing during the season, resting him frequently to make sure he’s fresh for the stretch run and the postseason.
  • The Warriors have assigned Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody to the G League in order to have them play in Santa Cruz’s game against the Ignite on Wednesday, tweets Slater. The two lottery picks have played very limited minutes at the NBA level so far.