Warriors Rumors

California Notes: Porter, Warriors, Looney, A. Ranadive

Warriors reserve forward Otto Porter Jr. is “probable” to suit up for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link). Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said that Porter was a full practice participant on Tuesday, according to Andrews.

Porter missed Game 6 of the Warriors’ Western Conference Semifinals due to right foot soreness, a 110-96 Golden State victory. The 6’8″ veteran forward has proven to be a sharpshooting backup for the Warriors, and will reach free agency this summer.

There’s more out of California:

  • The Warriors made a mint during the first two rounds of the playoffs. Golden State netted about $7MM in gross box office per home game en route to a Western Conference Finals return, according to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, who says that number will increase this round. This season marks the first time since the team’s 2019 Finals run that the Warriors have made the playoffs at Chase Center. The Warriors made the play-in tournament in 2021 but did not advance to the playoffs.
  • It appears possible that the Warriors could start center Kevon Looney to begin the Western Conference Finals to counter Mavericks big man Dwight Powell, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter video link). “Loon will play a big role,” Kerr said. “He played well against Dallas in the regular season. We’ll see what that means in terms of combinations, starters, all that.”
  • Kings owner Vivek Ranadive‘s daughter Anjali Ranadive will serve as the assistant GM for Sacramento’s NBAGL affiliate club, the Stockton Kings, per Sean Cunningham of Fox 40 KTXL in Sacramento (Twitter link). Cunningham notes (via Twitter) that the younger Ranadive has already been working with the team’s social responsibility department, and her new position will include player evaluations and development, as well as team strategy.

Warriors’ Bob Myers Talks Poole, Centers, Iguodala

Given the extent to which the Warriors‘ stars have been plagued by injuries since 2019, president of basketball operations Bob Myers admitted in a conversation with Mark Medina of NBA.com that he kept his expectations for this season in check, even though he liked the roster the team put together.

Now that the Warriors are once again in the Western Conference Finals and are just four wins away from appearing in the NBA Finals for the sixth time in eight years, Myers feels a sense of satisfaction about how far the team has come since its 15-50 season in 2019/20.

“What makes it most gratifying is how hard it is,” Myers told Medina. “Having a couple of years out of the playoffs was not fun. But I have a better appreciation for being here and where we are now.”

Myers’ discussion with Medina touched on a wide variety of topics, including Jordan Poole‘s emergence, the Warriors’ approach to the trade deadline, and Andre Iguodala‘s health. Here are a few highlights from the Q&A, which is worth checking out in full:

Myers on Poole’s breakout season and success in the playoffs:

“We saw the potential. But when we draft players (late in the first round), realistically it’s really hard to know where it’s going to go. We thought it was possible, but we didn’t know he would reach it. But credit to him and the coaching staff that put the time in to perfect his craft. I’m happy for him that he’s showcasing this on a big stage, showing his skill set and fitting in with guys that are leading him. He’s been great, and I don’t know if we’d be where we are without him. It’ll be interesting to see where it all keeps going.”

On the Warriors’ decision not to add another center prior to the trade deadline in February:

“The league is realizing that size is really important, but it’s more about positional size than size at the center spot. We didn’t have a great option available to us. Secondly, I was under the impression we would have James Wiseman. He was trending well. We thought he’d be back, ready to go and help us with that vertical space. That didn’t happen and his rehab hit a bump in the road post-deadline. That put us in a tough spot, and the (buyout) market was pretty dry. We had to march forward.

“Size still matters. But (Kevon) Looney’s been an unbelievable, steadfast guy that often gets overlooked. When we need to go bigger, Draymond (Green) and Looney have shown they can do it. They’re capable. They’re not seven feet tall, but they’re versatile, switchable and very smart. We found a way. We’ll see if it keeps working and if we continue to win.”

On Iguodala’s ongoing recovery from a neck injury:

“He’s frustrated. He wants to play. Frankly, he could help us. He’s trying to get back. Because he hasn’t been able to play, he’s used his voice and has been very vocal. He’s one of the most respected players in the league and is very, very bright. He communicates on the bench, whether it’s with our coaches, young players and our older players. That matters, especially as you go deeper in the playoffs.”

Poll: Golden State Warriors Vs. Dallas Mavericks

The Warriors took down the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed, the Grizzlies. Then the Mavericks eliminated the top-seeded Suns with a stunning Game 7 blowout on Phoenix’s home floor.

What’s left on that side of the playoff bracket is an enticing matchup featuring two of the game’s biggest stars, Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic.

Curry and Doncic fought off late-season injuries to lead their respective teams to this point. Golden State, with its championship pedigree, now takes over the role as the favorite to reach the Finals and capture the title. But anyone who watch Dallas’ beatdown of the Suns on Sunday knows that Jason Kidd’s club shouldn’t be underestimated.

Curry is averaging 26.9 PPG and 5.6 APG in the postseason, though his 3-point shooting has been spotty (35.9%). Splash Brother partner Klay Thompson is averaging 20.4 PPG, including a 30-point outburst in the clincher against Memphis. Jordan Poole‘s breakout season has seeped into the playoffs (19.3 PPG, 4.8 APG).

Andrew Wiggins has added solid production and Draymond Green has been Golden State’s biggest play-maker (6.6 APG) while anchoring the defense, as usual. Kevon Looney delivered a huge 22-rebound, five-assist outing in Game 6 of the conference semifinals. Gary Payton and Andre Iguodala may not be able to go in the series, so Otto Porter Jr., Jonathan Kuminga and Damion Lee will need to deliver quality minutes.

The Mavericks are generating their offense from smaller lineups. Doncic (31.5 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 6.6 APG) solidified his superstar status by putting his team on his back and vanquishing the Suns. Soon-to-be free agent Jalen Brunson (22.9 PPG) has pumped up his price tag and midseason acquisition Spencer Dinwiddie (13.2 PPG) has resurrected his career with Dallas.

Forwards Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock have been defensive stalwarts, while Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber have divvied up the minutes in the middle. Davis Bertans could be an X-factor off the bench.

The chess match between Kidd and Steve Kerr will be fascinating. Dallas will want to slow things down, while Golden State will look to get out in transition. There will be plenty of switching and defensive wrinkles drawn up in an effort to neutralize each other high-scoring backcourts.

So now it’s your turn to weigh in:

Warriors To Host 2022 California Classic Summer League

The California Classic Summer League will return for a fourth year in 2022, with the Warriors taking over for the Kings as the event’s host, according to a press release.

The California Classic, a four-team Summer League, was launched by the Kings in 2018, and took place again in 2019 and 2021. In each of those three years, it was played at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, with the Kings, Warriors, Lakers, and Heat taking part.

This time around, the same four teams will participate, but the mini-Summer League will be held at Chase Center in San Francisco. It will take place on the weekend of July 2-3.

Like the Salt Lake City Summer League, which will be played in Utah from July 5-7, the California Classic is something of an opening act for the Las Vegas Summer League. The Vegas Summer League, scheduled for July 7-17, will feature all 30 NBA teams.

The Kings, Warriors, Lakers, and Heat will take advantage of the earlier California event to take a longer look at their rookies, young players, and undrafted free agents.

Warriors Won’t Rule Out Gary Payton II For Conference Finals

Warriors guard Gary Payton II suffered a fractured left elbow in the team’s second-round series against the Grizzlies, but he could still return next round, head coach Steve Kerr said on Sunday. Payton sustained the injury on May 3 and was given a three-to-five-week return timetable.

“We’re not ruling him out of the whole conference finals,” Kerr said, as relayed by Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). “We’re not saying he’s going to play either.”

Kerr admitted it’s a “long shot” that Payton returns in the Western Finals, but suggested it’s still a possibility. Payton has served as a key cog in the Warriors’ rotation this season. In 71 games, he averaged 7.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals, playing 17.6 minutes per contest.

Payton received his first career playoff start in the game before he was injured. The Warriors assigned him to be Ja Morant‘s primary defender, but Payton sustained the injury less than three minutes into Game 2. He’s considered to be one of the best defenders on Golden State’s roster.

The Warriors will open their next series against the Suns or Mavericks on Wednesday. If Phoenix advances, Golden State will start on the road, but if Dallas advances, the team will open the series at home.

Steve Kerr Returning To Warriors Bench For WCF Game 1

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has exited the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and will be available to coach the club in the Western Conference Finals, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Kerr had entered the NBA’s coronavirus protocols ahead of Game 4 in the Western Conference Semifinals series vs. the Grizzlies. Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown, who will depart Golden State’s bench after the season to become the Kings’ head coach, stepped in for Kerr for the final three games of the series. Brown guided the Warriors to an eventual 4-2 second-round series victory.

The Warriors will be playing in their sixth Western Conference Finals since Kerr’s hiring in 2014. Golden State will face the winner of tonight’s Game 7 second-round matchup between the top-seeded Suns and the fourth-seeded Mavericks. Game 1 of the Western Finals is scheduled for Wednesday.

Kerr offered an update on the health of Otto Porter Jr., as well, noting that the Warriors forward did not partake in on-court workouts with the team, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link). Porter, who missed the team’s series-clinching Game 6 of the Conference Semifinals due to right knee soreness, was exercising on a stationary bike today, per Slater (via Twitter).

“I talked to him and he said he was feeling better,” Kerr said. “We’re hopeful he will be able to play Game 1.”

According to Andrews (Twitter link), Kerr also offered up an injury update on another Warriors role player, suggesting that guard Gary Payton II may become available to suit up for Golden State at some point during the next round of the playoffs.

“It would be a long shot for him to play, but I think it’s a possibility,” Kerr said.

Payton suffered a left elbow fracture at the hands of Dillon Brooks on May 3, and was initially expected to miss at least three-to-five weeks of game action. A Western Conference Finals return would be on the early side of that timeline.

Warriors Notes: Wiggins, Game 6, Looney, Thompson

Andrew Wiggins shined at the right time for the Warriors in their second-round series against the Grizzlies, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic writes. Wiggins had a strong showing in Game 6, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He also made some key shots down the stretch.

“I believed in him from the jump,” teammate Klay Thompson said of Wiggins. “When he was with Minnesota, it was tough because to shoulder the load so much. Now with us, he can kind of be himself and play to his strengths and he was huge for us tonight.”

Wiggins was named an All-Star this season for the first time in his career. He averaged 15.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in the series against Memphis, shooting 47% from the field. Golden State will need his production when it plays Phoenix or Dallas in the Western Conference Finals next round.

Here are some other Warriors-related notes:

  • Along with Wiggins, big man Kevon Looney also had an impressive performance in Game 6, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. Slater believes Looney had the best game of his career. In 35 minutes, he pulled down 22 rebounds and dished out five assists, controlling the interior. After being out-rebounded 55-37 in Game 5, the Warriors won the rebound battle 70-44 in Game 6 — and Looney is a big reason why. The 26-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • After rehabbing a torn ACL and torn Achilles tendon, Klay Thompson has mastered the work-life balance, Mark Medina of NBA.com writes. Thompson, a nine-year NBA veteran, missed the entire 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons due to the rehab. “Balance is key, even during this time with the emotional roller coaster of the playoffs,” he explained. “Whether it’s reading or taking a walk with your dog or a boat ride or a bike ride. I try to think of simple things that keep me happy.”
  • “Game 6 Klay” also returned for the Warriors on Friday, Marcus Thompson II explores for The Athletic. Thompson poured in 30 points, shooting 11-of-22 from the floor and 8-of-14 from deep. He has had some historic Game 6 performances in the past, including 41 points against the Thunder in 2016, 35 points against the Rockets in 2018 and 30 points against the Raptors in 2019, as noted in the story.

Green: Kuminga Can Be All-Star

  • Jonathan Kuminga didn’t play in Game 6 against the Grizzlies but Draymond Green believes the Warriors rookie has a very bright future, as he told Marc Spears of Andscape. “He can be a perennial All-Star in this league,” Green said. “That’s up to him and the work he puts in. But he has the skills, the tools, he can see the floor, he has the opportunity if he puts the work in to be a perennial All-Star.”

Grizzlies Notes: Green, Curry, Bane, Morant, Offseason

The Warriors are moving on to the Western Conference finals but they anticipate the Grizzlies will be making plenty of deep playoff runs in the future. Draymond Green and Stephen Curry offered high praise to their vanquished opponent after Friday’s decisive Game 6, Sam Amick of The Athletic relays.

“That’s a group of young guys who — obviously, you get to the business side of things, and you’ve got to keep that together — but that’s a group of young guys that are hungry,” Green said. “They are talented. They are athletic. They got it. You know, it will be good to see their progression over these next few years and where they can take it, because that’s an incredible young team. You know, they can be special. They can be really special.”

“There’s definitely an understanding that they made us better. I’m sure we made them better,” Curry said. “And who knows what happens down the road, but they will be here for a long time just because they have a lot going for them. So, definitely respect.”

We have more on the Grizzlies:

  • Desmond Bane, who scored 25 points in Game 6, battled lower back soreness during the postseason. He put the blame on himself, Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal tweets“I pride myself on being healthy, and getting hurt, kind of tweaking my back at a time like this kind of shows me that I probably got to do more in the offseason to be able to withstand the long minutes and long season,” he said.
  • After Game 5, there was a sense that the ball moved better without Ja Morant on the floor. Games 4 and 6 showed how much the Grizzlies missed their All-Star point guard in crunch time, Cole writes. It all suggests there’s another level they can reach when he’s to the floor, if they find more outside shooting.
  • Signing Morant to a max rookie scale extension will be the highlight of the summer, Bobby Marks of ESPN writes in his Grizzlies offseason guide. Morant’s backup, Tyus Jones, is eligible to sign a four-year $55.8MM extension until June 30 and bringing him back should be another offseason priority, either on an extension or a new free agent deal. The Grizzlies also have two first-round picks in the upcoming draft.
  • The Grizzlies might also look for an upgrade at center. Rudy Gobert, Myles Turner and Jakob Poeltl could be potential targets, HoopsHype’s Yossi Gozlan speculates in his offseason preview.

Warriors’ Otto Porter Jr. Out For Game 6

Warriors acting head coach Mike Brown told reporters, including Mark Medina of NBA.com (Twitter link), that Otto Porter Jr. will miss Friday’s Game 6 against the Grizzlies. Porter had previously been listed as questionable with right foot soreness.

Brown said he’s contemplating tweaking the rotation with Porter sidelined, with more minutes for Kevon Looney, Jonathan Kuminga and Nemanja Bjelica, Medina tweets.

As Anthony Slater of The Athletic observes, Porter’s absence is a major loss for the Warriors, as he’s been a key cog of Golden State’s best lineups against Memphis. In the second-round series, the Warriors are +45 in Porter’s 106 on-court minutes, and -55 in 134 minutes without him (Twitter links).

In 63 regular season games this season, Porter averaged 8.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals on .464/.370/.803 shooting in 22.2 minutes per night. Those figures seem relatively modest, but the 28-year-old forward is a good rebounder, smart defender and has a high basketball IQ. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

In other Warriors news, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that head coach Steve Kerr, who’s currently in the league’s health and safety protocols, might miss Game 7 if the Grizzlies win tonight. The Warriors currently lead the series 3-2, so it’s an elimination game for Memphis. Kerr still needs to return two negative COVID-19 tests prior to making his return, but he’s been actively involved in creating game plans via phone and video calls, Kawakami notes.