Warriors Rumors

Quinn Cook Wants To Remain With Warriors Long-Term

The Warriors have hit a rough patch with injuries as their four All-Stars – Stephen Curry (ankle), Klay Thompson (thumb), Kevin Durant (rib), and even Draymond Green (midsection) – have all been sidelined recently. From the trio of Curry, Durant, and Thompson, Curry is closest to returning, ESPN’s Chris Haynes writes.

“I think Steph is closer to playing than KD and Klay,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “…We’re going to be cautious with all of them. … This is not like a timetable of two to three days. It’s just more of a feel thing.”

Golden State owns second place in the Western Conference, four games behind the Rockets. With a postseason spot wrapped up, the Warriors by all indications will focus on getting their core players healthy rather than push for the first seed.

  • Battling injuries, the Warriors have relied on their bench to shoulder the load. Undrafted point guard Quinn Cook, who has bounced around the league the last few seasons, has been a pleasant surprise for Golden State. In his last three games, Cook has finished with 20+ points. Cook hopes to remain with the team long-term and the interest is mutual, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. “I would love to be with this team for the next 10 years of my career,” Cook said.
  • Cook has also received help from Curry via a text message at halftime during the Warriors‘ matchup against the Suns last Saturday, Melissa Rohlin of The Mercury News relays. Cook struggled in the first half, but a text from the two-time MVP helped him finish with a career-high 28 points.“I don’t care if you go zero-for-25, that 26th shot you better not hesitate,” Curry said in the text, per Cook.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/21/18

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

  • The Magic recalled 10-day contract recipient Rodney Purvis to their G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, per an official tweet from the team. Purvis, 24, has averaged 20.6 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 3.6 APG in 37 G League games this season.
  • Lakers rookie big man Thomas Bryant has been recalled from the South Bay Lakers, the team announced today. Bryant, 20, has averaged 19.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 2.1 APG in 34 G League games this season.
  • The Warriors have assigned Damian Jones to the Santa Cruz Warriors, tweets Mark Medina of The Mercury News. The center has averaged 15.0 points and 8.0 boards in 43 games with the affiliate. Also, two-way forward Chris Boucher has also been assigned to Santa Cruz. He appeared in one game with the Warriors.

And-Ones: Playoff Format, Billups, Future Power Rankings

Don’t expect LeBron James to be among those lobbying on behalf of a potential play-in tournament for a postseason berth. The NBA has reportedly kicked the idea around in a couple different variations, but James said today that he’s not a fan of the concept, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com details.

“No, no, no,” James said. “That’s wack. That’s wack. Why? You got to earn your spot to be in the postseason. No consolation for finishing last. That’s corny. That’s corny. That’s wack. To play for what? What are they playing for?”

While there’s a belief in some league circles that a play-in tournament at the end of the regular season to determine the seventh and eighth seeds in each conference would generate some drama, James is a firm believer that the eight teams with the best records in each conference deserve to make the playoffs.

“[Make the playoffs by winning the tournament], even if my record is better than yours? Nah, that’s wack,” James said.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Appearing on ESPN’s The Jump on Tuesday, Chauncey Billups called a report about the Pistons expressing interest in him for a front office role “100% false,” per Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “I haven’t spoken to anybody with the organization about the possibility,” Billups said. Still, this isn’t the first time Billups has been linked to a front office job — if the former NBA guard does land somewhere as an executive, former Pistons assistant GM George David would be a candidate to potentially join him, tweets Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.
  • Nine NBA teams have been officially eliminated from the postseason. While the 2017/18 season has been a fairly forgettable one for those clubs, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer highlights some silver linings worth mentioning.
  • Over at ESPN.com (Insider link), Kevin Pelton and Bobby Marks have updated their future NBA power rankings, which consider each team’s outlook through the 2020/21 season. Unsurprisingly, the Warriors, Celtics, and Rockets still top their list, with the Sixers and Raptors jumping into the top five.

Stephen Curry Targeting Friday Return

7:46pm: Curry’s re-evaluation by team medical staff indicated that his ankle is making “good progress.” As a result, Curry has been cleared to practice as a full participant beginning tomorrow, per an official statement from the team.

9:43am: Warriors star Stephen Curry is aiming to return from his latest ankle injury this Friday vs. Atlanta, according to Chris Haynes and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. Golden State has the next three nights off, so Friday is the earliest that Curry could get back on the court.

Curry, who has missed the Warriors’ last six games after tweaking his right ankle, will have that ankle re-evaluated on Tuesday. If the team is satisfied with that assessment and Curry avoids setbacks this week, he should be able to face the Hawks on Friday.

The defending champions have been hit hard by the injury bug as of late, with all four of their All-Stars battling various ailments. Klay Thompson (hand) and Kevin Durant (ribs) are each expected to miss a little more time, sources tell Haynes and Shelburne. Meanwhile, Draymond Green left Monday’s loss to the Spurs with a pelvic contusion, but said after the game that the injury is “not serious,” per Haynes.

Because Curry is due back soon and Green’s injury sounds minor, the Warriors won’t be eligible to apply for a hardship exception — that provision allows a team to add a 16th player to its 15-man roster when it has at least four players who have missed three straight games and are expected to remain sidelined for another two weeks apiece.

The Warriors are currently 3.5 games back of the Rockets for the No. 1 seed in the West, but have an 8.5-game cushion over Portland for the No. 2 spot. With their seed all but locked in, the Dubs are expected to focus on simply getting everyone healthy for the start of the postseason, rather than rushing players back for the last three weeks of the regular season.

Kerr On Returning McCaw: 'We Need Him'

  • Patrick McCaw is set to return to action on Monday night against San Antonio, and Warriors head coach Steve Kerr doesn’t expect the second-year guard to just sit on the bench. Expect McCaw to play about 15 to 20 minutes, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “We need him,” Kerr said.

Warriors Notes: Cook, Casspi, Centers, McCaw

Two-way player Quinn Cook continues to make a strong push for a standard NBA contract, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. With three All-Star teammates sidelined by injuries, the second-year point guard had 28 points in Saturday’s win over the Suns, following up a 25-point performance the night before.

Cook is nearing his 45-day NBA limit, but that won’t be an issue once the G League season ends next week. The Warriors will be able to keep him for the rest of the regular season, but they must convert his contract by April 10 to make him eligible for the playoffs. Cook has a vocal supporter in teammate Draymond Green, who wants to see him on the postseason roster.

“I’ve said all along, I sit here and I watch so many other teams play and I wonder: ‘How is Quinn Cook a two-way player?’” Green said. “Then you have guys in the league who can’t dribble with their left hand or can’t go left, can’t go right. Then you have a guy like that is a two-way player? I’m happy for him, happy he’s showing the world and pray he gets rewarded.”

Slater passes on a few more items about the defending champs:

  • The top candidate to be waived to make room for Cook is veteran forward Omri Casspi, who got some good news after an MRI Saturday. The team announced that his ankle injury is a tweak rather than a sprain and instead of missing a week, he is now day-to-day. Center Damian Jones, who has played in only five games, could also be waived, but he has more than $1.5MM guaranteed for next season and the Warriors are reluctant to create dead money. Slater doesn’t expect a decision until well into April.
  • Zaza Pachulia has replaced JaVale McGee as the starting center over the past three games, but coach Steve Kerr said that move may not be permanent. He plans to wait until some of his star players return before deciding who will start heading into the postseason. “It’s very different depending on who is on the floor around those guys,” Kerr said. “Right now, the game is played in a much smaller radius for us because we don’t have all the shooting. In that smaller radius, we’re more dependent on screens and moving the ball and things that Zaza is good at. I’ve told all the centers that anything can happen, really, that anything can happen. They all have to stay ready based on matchups.”
  • Shooting guard Patrick McCaw may return Monday after missing more than a month with a wrist fracture that he suffered in a G League game. He was putting up disappointing numbers before the injury, but the team is hoping he can be an asset off the bench in the playoffs.

Casspi Latest Injured Warrior: Green Takes Over Leadership Role

Veteran forward Omri Casspi is the latest addition to the Warriors‘ growing disabled list, according to Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. Casspi underwent an MRI today after spraining his right ankle Friday. Doctors are still evaluating the results, but initial reports indicate that he will be out of action for about a week.

The timing of the injury is especially unfortunate for Casspi, whose spot on the Warriors’ roster could be in jeopardy. Golden State may decide to give two-way player Quinn Cook an NBA contract before the playoffs, but first must open a roster spot. With an expiring, minimum-salary deal, the Warriors could get rid of Casspi at minimal cost.

  • With three All-Star teammates sidelined by injuries, Draymond Green is taking responsibility for holding the Warriors together, writes Logan Murdock of The San Jose Mercury NewsStephen Curry and Klay Thompson are out until at least next week and Kevin Durant will be sitting until April, leaving Green as a leader in lineups where he is surrounded by role players. “I just try to still play my game and not think I’m going to be Stephen, Kevin or Klay,” he said. “I am who I am and bring to this team what I bring so just continue to play my game. It may mean a few more shots here or there. It’s just not my goal to say, ‘I need to jack up my scoring.’ If it happens, it happens – if not, I’m going to try and lead the guys and play the best that we can.”

Kevin Durant Suffers Rib Fracture

Warriors forward Kevin Durant has suffered an incomplete rib cartilage fracture and will miss at least the next two weeks, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets.

Durant suffered the injury in the second quarter of Wednesday’s 117-106 victory over the Lakers. He was initially ruled out of Friday’s contest against the Kings before an MRI revealed the damage to his rib.

The 29-year-old is no stranger to late-season injuries as a member of the Warriors. Last March, an MCL sprain and a tibial bone bruise sidelined Durant for the last 19 games of the 2016/17 season. He returned in time for the playoffs and the Warriors hope he can do the same this season.

In 60 games this season, the former Most Valuable Player has averaged 26.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 5.4 APG.

All of the sudden, Golden State’s three-headed monster of Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson is sidelined. Curry (ankle) and Thompson (thumb) were already on the shelf before Durant’s injury and now the Warriors — who occupy second place in the Western Conference — are hobbling to the finish line.

Did The Warriors Make A Mistake With Their Roster?

  • The Warriors have been mostly universally praised for their roster construction, which has led to two NBA championships in three seasons. However, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic (subscription required and recommended) delves into Golden State’s offseason moves to see if the team made any missteps when assembling its roster for the 2017/18 campaign.

Klay Thompson To Miss Time With Thumb Injury

Having already ruled out Stephen Curry through at least next Monday, the Warriors will also be without the other half of their starting backcourt for the next several games. According to Chris Haynes of ESPN (Twitter link), Klay Thompson suffered a fractured right thumb during Sunday’s loss to Minnesota and will be re-evaluated next Thursday, March 22.

Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic first reported that Klay’s injury – initially ruled a sprained right thumb – may be more serious than first believed. As The Athletic scribe detailed, there was a “growing concern” in Golden State that the injury could take weeks to heal.

However, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets that Thompson is expected to return before the end of the month. Sam Amick of USA Today corroborates that account, tweeting that the Dubs are confident the veteran sharpshooter will be able to get back on the court not long after he’s re-evaluated next week — the injury isn’t expected to linger, Amick adds.

While Thompson should be ready to go well before the postseason gets underway, the Warriors have been hit hard by the injury bug as of late. Besides Thompson and Curry, Patrick McCaw is sidelined, leaving little depth in the backcourt. Draymond Green, who is battling various knee, shoulder, and elbow ailments, won’t play on Wednesday either. And David West, Jordan Bell, Andre Iguodala, and Nick Young have also been dealing with nagging injuries.

Like the No. 2 Celtics in the East, the Warriors to focus on getting as many players as possible healthy for the playoffs, putting their quest for the conference’s top seed on the back burner. Golden State is currently two games back of the No. 1 Rockets in that race.

The Warriors’ next three games are against lottery teams, so their depleted lineup shouldn’t have much impact on the playoff race. However, the Spurs, fighting for their playoff lives, will host Golden State next Monday and will certainly be happy to avoid seeing Thompson and Curry.