Warriors Rumors

Steph Curry Expected To Return For Warriors On Sunday

FEBRUARY 26: After Curry went through his second full-speed scrimmage today, head coach Steve Kerr said he’d like to see the star guard scrimmage a little more, downplaying the notion that a Sunday return is locked in (video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).

“If it’s Sunday, great,” Kerr said. “If it’s not, that’s fine too.”

FEBRUARY 25: Warriors star Stephen Curry will return to action on Sunday following his four-month recovery from a broken left hand, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

The March 1 contest, a home game vs. the Wizards, is the one Curry has been eyeing as a potential target date for more than a month. Now, barring an unexpected setback within the next few days, it appears he’ll meet that target date.

At 12-45, the Warriors rank dead last in the NBA, 4.5 games behind the Timberwolves, the next-worst team in the Western Conference. Although the team has no playoff hopes at this point, getting Curry back for the last month-and-a-half of the season will give the Dubs an opportunity to see how the two-time MVP meshes with some of the team’s new contributors.

Andrew Wiggins is the most notable of the Warriors’ newest additions, but Curry has also seen little to no playing time alongside youngsters like Eric Paschall, Ky Bowman, and Marquese Chriss, all of whom look like good bets to be part of next year’s squad.

Curry’s presence will add some extra intrigue to the Warriors’ matchups vs. contenders down the stretch. Following Sunday’s game against Washington, six of Golden State’s next seven contests will be against the Nuggets, Raptors, Sixers, Clippers, and Bucks.

While Curry’s return is around the corner, his fellow Splash Brother won’t be suiting up for the Warriors this season. The club publicly ruled out Klay Thompson for the season last week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Warriors To Sign Mychal Mulder To 10-Day Deal

The Warriors will use one of the open spots on their 15-man roster to sign G League guard Mychal Mulder to a 10-day contract, league sources tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Mulder, 25, has been a G League mainstay since going undrafted out of Kentucky in 2017, appearing in a total of 134 games for the Windy City Bulls and Sioux Falls Skyforce over the last three seasons. In 39 games (33.2 MPG) with the Heat’s NBAGL affiliate in 2019/20, the Canadian has averaged a career-best 17.0 PPG with 4.5 RPG on .451/.399/.700 shooting.

Mulder sign an Exhibit 10 contract with Miami last fall and spent training camp and the preseason with the club, but has never been on an NBA roster during the regular season.

Since clearing several roster spots in trades before the deadline, the Warriors have been auditioning a variety of players on 10-day deals. After signing Jeremy Pargo and Zach Norvell earlier in the month, Golden State will now have Dragan Bender and Mulder on 10-day contracts.

The Warriors, who are being careful to stay below the tax line, currently have two openings on their 15-man roster, so no corresponding move will be required to make room for Mulder. As our breakdown of 10-day salaries shows, he’ll earn nearly $51K on his new deal. If he signs it on Thursday, rather than today, it will cover Golden State’s next six games instead of just five.

Jonathon Simmons Eyes NBA Return

Guard Jonathon Simmons will sign with Warriors G League affiliate in Santa Cruz in an effort to gain another NBA contract, Jabari Young of CNBC tweets.

Simmons had two 10-day contact offers with NBA teams on the table but chose a different path to revive his career, Young adds. 

There’s been little news regarding Simmons since he was waived by the Wizards over the summer. Washington averted paying his full $5.7MM salary for this season by cutting ties with him, though Simmons did receive a $1MM guarantee.

Washington acquired Simmons along with the 42nd pick in a draft-day trade with the Sixers, sending cash considerations in return. The Wizards used that pick to select Admiral Schofield of Tennessee.

Simmons appeared in 15 games with Philadelphia after being acquired last February in a deadline deal, along with two draft picks, for Markelle Fultz.

Simmons, 30, went undrafted out of Houston in 2012, but was able to earn a spot on the Spurs‘ roster in 2015. He played two seasons with San Antonio before signing a three-year, $20MM contract from the Magic in 2017. Simmons enjoyed a career year in his first season with Orlando, averaging 13.9 PPG in 29.4 MPG.

He played a combined 56 games last season between Orlando and Philadelphia, averaging 6.5 PPG. Overall, Simmons has averaged 8.3 PPG in 258 career games.

And-Ones: Buford, Wiseman, Okafor, Bibby

Wisconsin Herd coach Chase Buford has been suspended two games without pay for a direct and extended public attack on the integrity and credibility of the game officials, according to a league press release. Among other comments, Buford called one of the officials a “clown” after his team, the Bucks’ G League affiliate, got outscored 48-20 in the fourth quarter and lost 126-117 to the Grand Rapids Drive on Sunday. Buford subsequently apologized for his tirade.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Projected lottery pick James Wiseman felt he was treated unfairly by the NCAA before he decided to leave Memphis during his freshman season, as he told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. He left the Tigers during a 12-game suspension for rules violations. His family accepted $11,500 in moving expenses in 2017 from Penny Hardaway, who became the team’s coach a year later. “I was really in the middle of a hurricane,” Wiseman said. “That’s like the worst place you could possibly be.” Wiseman is currently rated No. 3 on ESPN’s Best Available list.
  • Pelicans center Jahlil Okafor has agreed to play for Nigeria in this year’s Tokyo Olympics, Marc Spears of The Undefeated tweets. The team will be coached by Warriors assistant Mike BrownOkafor’s grandfather Chicko was born in Nigeria.
  • Mike Bibby will coach the Aliens in the BIG3 this season, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. The former Kings guard was the Ghost Ballers’ team captain last season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/24/20

Here are Monday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Pistons recalled guard Khyri Thomas from the Grand Rapids Drive, according to a team press release. In two games with the Drive, Thomas averaged 17.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 1.5 APG in 22.0 MPG. Thomas, a second-round pick in 2018, played two early-season games with the Pistons before undergoing foot surgery.
  • The Warriors assigned big man Alen Smailagic to their Santa Cruz affiliate, the team’s PR department tweets. He has averaged 15.8 PPG and 6.2 RPG in 18 games with the G League club. The rookie has also seen action in 14 Golden State games.
  • The Timberwolves recalled swingman Jacob Evans III and forward Jarred Vanderbilt from their Iowa affiliate, according to a team press release. Evans was acquired from Golden State and Vanderbilt was acquired from Denver earlier this month.
  • The Pacers assigned forward Alize Johnson to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team’s PR department tweets. The 2018 second-round pick has appeared in 12 games with the NBA club this season.
  • The Spurs assigned Keldon Johnson and  Chimezie Metu to their Austin affiliate, according to the G League transactions log. Johnson, the team’s first-round pick last June, has played five NBA games. Metu, a second-year forward, has appeared in 16 games for San Antonio this season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/23/20

Here are Sunday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Bucks have assigned forward D.J. Wilson to the Wisconsin Herd, G League affiliate of the team, announcing the news in a press release. This is Wilson’s second NBAGL assignment on the season.
  • The Grizzlies have recalled guard Dusty Hannahs, the G League announced on social media (Twitter link). Hannahs, 26, was recently signed to a second 10-day contract by the team.
  • The Warriors recalled Alen Smailagic from Santa Cruz, announcing the news on social media (Twitter link). The rookie forward has appeared in 13 games with Golden State this season, averaging 4.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and ten minutes per contest.
  • The Jazz assigned Miye Oni to the Salt Lake City Stars, according to the G League. Oni, a Yale product, was drafted with the No. 58 pick last June.
  • The Nets have assigned Rodions Kurucs to their minor league affiliate in Long Island, according to the G League. Kurucs has averaged 4.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game this season, appearing in a total of 33 contests.

Warriors Sign Dragan Bender To 10-Day Contract

FEBRUARY 23: The signing is official, the Warriors announced on Twitter.

FEBRUARY 20: The Warriors intend to sign free agent big man Dragan Bender to a 10-day contract, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who adds (via Twitter) that the deal is expected to be completed on Sunday. Emiliano Carchia of Sportando first reported that Golden State was considering bringing in Bender on a 10-day pact.

Bender, the fourth overall pick in the 2016 draft, spent three seasons in Phoenix before joining the Bucks for the 2019/20 season. The 22-year-old was on Milwaukee’s roster until earlier this month despite appearing in just seven NBA games, but was waived when the team needed to make room for Marvin Williams.

With career averages of 5.2 PPG and 3.7 RPG in 178 NBA contests (20.0 MPG), Bender hasn’t delivered on the potential that made him a top-five pick in 2016. However, the Warriors had some success developing the Suns’ other ’16 lottery pick – Marquese Chriss – this season, so perhaps the team can also make positive strides with Bender.

The Warriors currently have three open roster spots after Jeremy Pargo‘s and Zach Norvell‘s 10-day contracts expired earlier this week. Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link) suggested the team plans to roll with 12 players for tonight’s game, at least, since not immediately filling those open roster spots will help the club remain comfortably below the tax.

Bender will make $94,851 on his 10-day contract, with Golden State taking on a $91,557 cap hit.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/22/20

Here are Saturday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Timberwolves assigned Jacob Evans to their G League affiliate in Iowa (Twitter link). He has played just one minute for Minnesota since being acquired from Golden State in a February 6 trade.
  • The Warriors assigned forward Alen Smailagic to their Santa Cruz affiliate (Twitter link). He’s averaging 16.3 points and 6.1 rebounds in 17 G League games.

Curry Scrimmages, Confirms March 1 As Target Date To Return

Stephen Curry has cleared another hurdle in his quest to return to action March 1, relays Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Team doctors cleared Curry for full contact and he participated in his first scrimmage today since breaking his left hand in late October.

Speaking with reporters afterward, the Warriors guard confirmed that he has set next Sunday as his target date to return to action. Although he will need another positive week of rehab to make that happen, all indications are that the healing process is nearly complete.

Curry explained the details of the injury, which involved nerve damage in addition to the break. That’s why his recovery time will be about four months, rather than the usual two when a clean break happens.

“This was a serious one that had a lot of nuances to it with the two surgeries and the nerve damage and stuff I’m still dealing with,” he said. “Everything is new. If it was an ankle thing, I’d tell you everything every step of the way.”

Curry also shared his memories of the play, which happened when Suns center Aron Baynes tried to take a charge on a drive to the basket. Both players fell to the court and Baynes landed directly on top of Curry’s hand, causing the damage. Because Curry is right-handed, the injury shouldn’t affect his shooting, but Slater notes that much of his game is based on the ability to dribble, pass and make layups with either hand.

“I’m getting used to what the new normal is,” Curry said of the recovery process. “It definitely feels different than the right (hand). But you try to get to the point when you’re playing basketball, you don’t think about it — whether it feels all the way same or not, it doesn’t really matter, as long as I’m not worried about the things I’m trying to do, the strength part of it and how it bounces back the next day after pushing it in contact stuff. … Anybody who has had surgery knows it takes a long time to get back to true normal. Functionally speaking, where I’m not out there on the court thinking about it, that’s where I’m trying to get it to.”

With Klay Thompson already sidelined with a torn ACL, Curry’s injury eliminated any chance the Warriors may have had to reach the playoffs. Golden State is focused on returning to title contention next season, and Curry believes the team added an important piece in the deadline deal that brought Andrew Wiggins from the Timberwolves.

“I’ve been watching and seeing what he’s capable of on a nightly basis,” Curry said. “He’s a walking 20 points. The intangibles he can bring, in terms of speed, cutting, length on defense, all those things, will be a fun process to build that chemistry. This is a 15-month journey to spring next year.”

Klay Thompson Ruled Out For Season

The Warriors have officially ruled out Klay Thompson for the season, Nick Friedell of ESPN.com passes along. The shooting guard continues to rehab from a torn left ACL he suffered in last season’s NBA Finals.

“This is what I expected from the beginning given the severity of the injury,” coach Steve Kerr said. “And the normal timetable [for recovery], and so here we are. It’s no surprise.”

Golden State’s medical staff made the final call on Thompson’s season. He remains on track to play at the beginning of the 2020/21 campaign.

Thompson could be ready by the time the Olympics roll around in the summer and Kerr said the sharpshooter could very well suit up in the games.

“It’s not off the table,” the coach said. “It’s still a possibility. We haven’t really discussed it. I think the [Olympic] team meets in July, so it’s still quite a ways away. But it’s really not anything we’re discussing at this point. It’s still a possibility … obviously his health is the No. 1 concern, and so we’ll kind of cross that bridge when we come to it.”