Warriors Rumors

Pacific Notes: James, Spencer, Kings, Jones

As the Lakers regroup from a miserable 2021/22 season, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer wonders if aging superstar forward LeBron James would benefit from taking a page out of Kevin Durant‘s book and requesting a trade away from Los Angeles on his current expiring deal.

O’Connor writes that, if the Lakers are unable to deal for James’s old running mate Kyrie Irving, the team could consider trying to trade for Pacers veterans Myles Turner and Buddy Hield or Jazz guards Patrick Beverley and Jordan Clarkson. O’Connor opines that James should wait to sign an extension with Los Angeles until next summer, after seeing what moves Los Angeles makes to return to postseason contention.

O’Connor reviews potential landing destinations for James should he (hypothetically) demand to be traded, including the Suns, the Knicks, the Trail Blazers, and a few familiar locales.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors training camp invitee Pat Spencer discussed his decision to move on from his a decorated four-year lacrosse career at Loyola Marymount in an interview with Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle. The 6’3″ guard subsequently played a season of NCAA basketball as a graduate-transfer student at Northwestern for the 2019/20 season. Following his tenure as a Wildcat, Spencer played in Germany and with the Wizards’ NBAGL affiliate the Capital City Go-Go. “I can’t really articulate what I love so much about basketball,” Spencer said. “It’s always been my first love, with lacrosse a close second.”
  • Sleep Train Arena, the former home court of the Kings for 28 seasons, is being demolition to make way for a new 730,000-square foot hospital, plus 3,000 new residences, a theater, shops and trails, per Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee. Sacramento moved to the newly-constructed Golden 1 Center in 2016, as a component of the club’s sale to majority owner Vivek Ranadive in 2013.
  • The specter of a possible Suns trade for Kevin Durant could linger through the start of the regular season. Greg Moore of the Arizona Republic thinks Phoenix president James Jones should determine a definitive point during the season when he will stop considering the Durant addition.

Eastern Notes: Pistons, D. Green, Celtics, Sixers

An Eastern Conference executive who spoke to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com believes the Pistons are a team to watch if Draymond Green doesn’t sign an extension with the Warriors before he becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2023. Green was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan, attended Michigan State, and grew up rooting for the Pistons, who have long had interest in acquiring him, according to the executive.

“(Pistons owner Tom) Gores is a Michigan State guy, and they wanted to give Draymond an offer sheet when he was a free agent (in 2015), but by then, the Warriors were going to match any offer,” the executive told Heavy.com. “So they just have not had the chance. If they can show some improvement this year with their young guys, they could get themselves in the mix.”

The idea of Green playing a mentor role on a young Pistons team is an intriguing one, and the combination of his local connection, Detroit’s projected 2023 cap room, and the rising cost of the Warriors’ roster make it a possibility worth considering. But for now, this feels more like idle speculation by a rival executive than anything concrete.

If Green and the Warriors are far apart in contract talks and he seriously considers leaving in 2023, Detroit could certainly emerge as an option, but there’s no reason at this point to think that Golden State won’t make every effort to lock up one of the cornerstones of its recent dynasty.

Here are a few more notes from around the East:

  • In a separate story for Heavy.com, Sean Deveney spoke to a pair of assistant coaches about veterans the Celtics could theoretically target with one of their trade exceptions if they want to fortify their frontcourt. Alex Len, Tony Bradley, and Marquese Chriss are among the names mentioned, though I suspect the team may simply fill that spot on the depth chart with a minimum-salary signing.
  • Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com considers the best- and worst-case scenarios for newly-signed Sixers forward P.J. Tucker, noting that the veteran’s age (37) increases the risk of a decline in his performance.
  • Addressing recent rumors linking Kevin Durant to the Sixers, David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer says the team needs to answer two important questions: Do the 76ers have the assets necessary to acquire Durant? And if so, would it make sense to cash all of them in for the two-time Finals MVP?

International Notes: Terry, Derrickson, Warriors, Wizards, Perrantes

Former NBA power forwards Emanuel Terry and Marcus Derrickson have joined the Seoul Samsung Thunders of the Korean Basketball League, writes Dario Skerletic of Sportando.

Terry, who went undrafted out of Lincoln Memorial in 2018, ilogged time in the G League with the Canton Charge and Sioux Falls Skyforce during the 2018/19 season. He made his NBA debut that year on a 10-day deal with the Suns, which he followed up with a subsequent 10-day contract with the Heat.

Internationally, the 6’9″ big man has played for teams in Turkey, Israel, Serbia, and France. Most recently, he played for the Magic’s Summer League club this year in Las Vegas. During the 2021/22 season, Terry re-joined the Suns by signing a 10-day hardship exception. He didn’t score a point for Phoenix, but grabbed 10 rebounds in 18 minutes.

The 6’7″ Derrickson, meanwhile joined the Warriors on a two-way contract during the 2018/19 season after going undrafted out of Georgetown. He played sparingly with Golden State during his lone year of NBA action, averaging 4.2 PPG in 11 games. Derrickson has suited up for the Hawks’ G League club, the College Park Skyhawks, and the Celtics’ NBAGL affiliate, the Maine Celtics, in the intervening years. He also played for South Korean teams Busan KT Sonicboom and the Goyang Orions.

Here’s more international news:

  • The Wizards and the 2022 title-winning Warriors are set to face off in Japan for two preseason games this fall, per an NBA press release. Golden State will play Washington at the Saitama Super Arena on September 30 and October 2. The press release notes that these will be the 15th and 16th NBA contests played in Japan. The first NBA game ever staged in Japan was a November 2, 1990 regular season matchup between the Suns and Jazz in Tokyo.
  • Former Cavaliers point guard London Perrantes has inked a two-year extension to remain with Israeli club Hapoel Galil Gilboa, according to Dario Skerletic of Sportando. The 6’2″ guard went undrafted out of Virginia in 2017, but joined Cleveland on a two-way deal ahead of his rookie year. In 14 games with the Cavaliers, the 2017 All-ACC Second Teamer logged just 66 total minutes. He has since played for clubs in France and Turkey, in addition to suiting up for the Wizards’ G League club, the Capital City Go-Go, and the Spurs’ NBAGL affiliate, the Austin Spurs. Perrantes first signed on with Hapeol Gilboa Galil in 2021. In 21 games for the team during the 2021/22 season, he averaged 11.0 PPG, 6.5 APG and 3.0 RPG.
  • In case you missed it, former Hawks point guard Cat Barber recently signed on with Ukranian team BC Budivelynk.

Team USA Sets Roster For August World Cup Qualifiers

Team USA will play a pair of qualifying games for the 2023 World Cup this month, squaring off against Uruguay on August 25 in Las Vegas and then facing Colombia on August 29 in Barranquilla, Colombia.

USA Basketball issued a press release today announcing its 12-man roster for those qualifying games. The following players will be representing the U.S. on a club led by head coach Jim Boylen:

McClung is the only member of the 12-man group who is currently under contract with an NBA team, having signed a training camp contract with the Warriors last month. However, everyone on the roster except for Ellison has appeared in at least one NBA regular season game.

Galloway and Jenkins are the most experienced NBA veterans on the roster. Galloway has 452 regular season games for seven teams under his belt, while Jenkins has made 171 appearances for five clubs.

Team USA has a 5-1 record through the first three qualifying windows, putting the squad in a tie for first place with Brazil atop Group F. After this month’s games, the remaining two qualifying windows are scheduled for November and February — teams will end up playing a total of 12 qualifying contests apiece.

The 2023 World Cup will take place in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia from August 25 to September 10 next year. Assuming its team qualifies – which looks like a pretty safe bet – USA Basketball is expected to send a roster of more accomplished NBA veterans to the event.

NBA Teams Keeping Eye On Nico Mannion

NBA personnel are keeping an eye on guard Nico Mannion, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, who says there’s a good chance the former second-round pick will end up returning to the league at some point within the next year — if not this season, then perhaps next summer.

Mannion, 21, was a second-round pick in the 2020 draft and spent his rookie season with the Warriors in 2020/21, averaging 4.1 PPG and 2.3 APG in 30 games (12.1 MPG). Last summer, he returned to his home country of Italy, signing a two-year deal with Virtus Bologna that includes an NBA out.

A severe illness sidelined Mannion at the start of the 2021/22 season, but he eventually made his debut for Virtus Bologna and averaged 9.4 points, 4.6 assists, and 2.3 rebounds per game in 17 appearances (17.6 MPG) in Italy’s top league (Lega Serie A).

As Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays, a report from Italian outlet Il Resto del Carlino indicated that Virtus Bologna wants to extended Mannion’s contract, and Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com has heard that the two sides are making progress on a deal that would keep the 21-year-old under contract until 2025. However, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Deveney that an extension isn’t happening for the time being.

If Mannion does sign a new deal in Italy at some point, it would likely include another out clause that allows him to explore NBA opportunities, even though his ability to sign with a team stateside is somewhat limited. The Warriors issued qualifying offers to the former Arizona Wildcat last year and this year, meaning they retain the right of first refusal if another NBA team wants to sign him, and could match any offer sheet he receives.

While Golden State controls Mannion’s NBA free agency, it’s unclear whether he’s part of the team’s future plans.

“He will get another chance in the league but it is not going to be with Golden State, or it’s unlikely that happens soon,” a rival GM told Deveney, noting that the Warriors drafted guard Ryan Rollins in June and have interest in developing training camp invitee Mac McClung.

Since Mannion was on a two-way contract in 2020/21, his qualifying offer would just be another two-way deal, so simply accepting it next year or further down the road may not be an appealing option.

NBA Schedule Not Expected For At Least Another Week

Everyone eagerly anticipating the release of the schedule for the 2022/23 season will have to wait a little longer, according to NBA insider Marc Stein (Twitter link). Sources tell Stein that the schedule isn’t expected to be revealed until after next week, which puts the date sometime in mid-August.

The league typically releases its schedule during the second week of August, although that has been affected over the past two years by shortened offseasons caused by the pandemic. Last year’s schedule was announced on August 20.

Possible trades involving Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Donovan Mitchell may be slowing the process this summer as the schedule makers wait to see if any of those situations get resolved before locking in prime TV dates.

A few things are known about the upcoming season, including league-wide media days on September 26, followed by the start of training camps a day later. The Pistons and Bulls will travel to France for the January 19 NBA Paris Game, according to the league’s website, and All-Star Weekend is set for February 17-19 in Salt Lake City.

The preseason schedule is virtually set and will begin with the defending champion Warriors facing the Wizards in Tokyo for a pair of games September 30 and October 2. The Raptors and Jazz will meet October 2 in Edmonton, the Bucks and Hawks will square off October 6 and 8 in Abu Dhabi, and the Raptors and Celtics will play Oct. 15 in Montreal.

Based on past schedules, the 2022/23 regular season will likely tip off on October 18.

Andrew Wiggins Discusses Thrill Of NBA Title

Winning a championship seemed far out of reach for Andrew Wiggins in Minnesota. The Timberwolves made just one brief playoff appearance during his five and a half seasons with the team and he was widely viewed as a disappointment after being the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft.

Wiggins’ fortunes changed with a trade to Golden State in 2020, and the Canadian native was able to bring the Larry O’Brien Trophy with him this weekend to show participants at youth basketball camps in his hometown, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star.

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs, a lot of people had counted me out,” Wiggins said, “but to be back and … winning a championship? All the sacrifices, all the ups and downs, all the stuff was worth it. It makes the story that much better.”

Wiggins played an important role in helping the Warriors win that trophy, particularly in the NBA Finals against the Celtics. He was Golden State’s second-leading scorer in the six-game series at 18.3 PPG and was the team’s leading rebounder at 8.8 RPG.

Although he’s finally getting recognition around the league, Wiggins said he never doubted his abilities.

“When I step on the court, I’ve always been confident in what I can do,” he said. “When I was in Minnesota, I put up numbers. But people said, ‘He put up numbers on a bad team.’ So, I go to Golden State and I’m not scoring as much, but I’m doing a lot at a more efficient rate, so the whole world gets to see.”

Wiggins credits a strong support group with helping him get through the tough times, starting with his parents, former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins and ex-Olympic track star Marita Payne. He also has a large fanbase in the Vaughan and Mississauga area, especially after returning home as a champion.

“It’s been a different type of summer, but the best summer of my life,” Wiggins said. “It’s been amazing coming down here and feeling all this love and positivity. It’s been great. Just being able to bring the trophy back home to where it all started for me … where all my friends and family are that helped me get to the place where I’m at now.”

Contract Details: Dellavedova, McGruder, Knox

Matthew Dellavedova‘s new one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Kings, originally reported as partially guaranteed, is actually non-guaranteed for the time being, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Dellavedova will receive a partial guarantee of $250K if he’s not waived before Sacramento’s first game of the regular season, then would lock in his full $2.63MM guarantee if he remains under contract through the NBA’s league-wide guarantee deadline of January 7.

Here are a few more details on recently signed NBA contracts:

  • Rodney McGruder‘s one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Pistons is fully guaranteed, Hoops Rumors has learned. That gives Detroit 17 players on guaranteed contracts, though one of those players (Kemba Walker) is very likely to be bought out. The Pistons would still have to trade or release one more player with a guaranteed salary in order to get to the 15-man regular season limit.
  • Kevin Knox‘s two-year, $6MM contract with the Pistons is worth a flat $3MM in each of the two seasons. While the first year is guaranteed, the deal includes a team option for the 2023/24 season.
  • As expected, Goran Dragic‘s one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Bulls and JaMychal Green‘s with the Warriors are both fully guaranteed.

And-Ones: McCormack, Luxury Tax, OKC Blue, Harrison

David McCormack has signed with Besiktas in Turkey, according to a team press release. McCormack was reportedly signing an Exhibit 10 contract with the Timberwolves but apparently chose to begin his pro career in Europe.

The undrafted big man out of Kansas was a prominent member of the Jayhawks’ national championship team. He spent all four of his college seasons at Kansas, starting 96 of 132 total games. In 2021/22, he averaged 10.6 PPG and 7.0 RPG in 40 contests (21.9 MPG).

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • A total of 10 teams are currently projected to collectively spend $650MM in luxury tax payments next season, according to Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype. That would an NBA record for tax penalties. The Warriors, Nets, Clippers, Bucks, Lakers, Sixers, Celtics, Suns, Nuggets and Mavericks all project as taxpayer teams for the time being.
  • The G League’s Oklahoma City Blue will continue to play the Thunder’s Paycom Center next season, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman reports. The Blue also played there last season, having been the only G League team to host their games in an NBA arena. They often had to play late morning or early afternoon games with the Thunder playing there on the same night.
  • Former NBA swingman Andrew Harrison has signed with Yukatel Merkezefendi Belediyesi in Turkey, as JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors relays (Twitter link). Harrison has suited up with the Grizzlies, Cavaliers and Pelicans during his NBA career. In his last NBA season, he played a combined 16 games with Cleveland and New Orleans in 2018/19.

Steve Kerr Happy With Warriors’ Offseason Moves

Two weeks after winning the NBA title, the Warriors were faced with decisions on how to replace three important members of the championship roster. With Gary Payton II, Otto Porter and Nemanja Bjelica leaving in free agency, the team targeted Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green to take their place. In an interview with Anthony Slater of The Athletic, coach Steve Kerr said both players are ideal matches for Golden State’s style.

“Donte is a perfect fit for the way we play,” Kerr said of the former Bucks and Kings guard. “The ball movement, the cutting. He’s a great cutter. He’s a really good spot-up shooter. He’s a good passer on the move. He’s not just a spot-up shooter. He’s a secondary playmaker. Pretty bouncy, but with a great feel for the game. He’s gonna fit right in.”

DiVencenzo committed to Golden State shortly after free agency began, while Green was persuaded to sign with the Warriors after initially planning to join another team. Kerr sees Green as a replacement for both Porter and Bjelica as he possesses elements of both of their games.

He’s capable of sort of playing either role, the four or the five,” Kerr said. “If he’s playing with Draymond (Green), he can stretch the floor and can guard the five, while Draymond guards the four. He gives us frontcourt flexibility. I have a lot of confidence he’ll shoot the ball well. Players generally shoot the ball better with us, I think. That’s not always true. But the space that Steph and Klay provide them along with Draymond’s passing. You saw it with Otto and Gary last year. I think JaMychal will love playing with our guys.”

Here are some other highlights of Kerr’s interview:

On the challenges the Warriors will face in defending a title, compared to last year when they were trying to prove they could still be contenders:

“I don’t know that it’s a bigger challenge because last year felt like a huge challenge going in. Last year felt more daunting because we’d had two lousy seasons in a row. This year feels different because we’re the defending champs. It feels like we’ve got our groove back. We’ll have Klay (Thompson) back for a full season. Our foundation in place. While we’re absolutely going to play a lot of young guys, we kind of have a core six, a foundational six players who are really the ones that make everything happen and will allow us to bring the young guys along.”

On larger roles, and perhaps even regular minutes, for young players Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman:

“All of them have shown really good signs . JK had a stretch last year where — I think it was March, early April — he played really well and started to get more comfortable. He didn’t get as much run in the playoffs, but that’s normal for a rookie, especially once we were fully healthy.

“Moses looks the part. He’s got a more advanced, well-rounded game than JK right now in terms of how it fits with the others. That 3-and-D position. He projects to be a part of things next year. He showed it in the playoffs against Dallas.

“Then James I actually think had some really good moments his rookie year. It gets lost in the shuffle because overall it was a struggle for our team and James had ups and downs. But you remember he had some really big games for us. As he continues to build momentum and gain confidence in his body and skills, I think he’ll help us.”

On the Warriors’ approach with Andre Iguodala, who has a roster spot waiting if he decides to return:

“I leave Andre alone. He knows where we stand. If he wants to come back, we’d love to have him. The one thing we feel strongly about with Andre is we want to give him whatever space and time he needs to make a decision. I’m leaving him alone. Whenever he makes his decision is fine with us.”