Golden State Warriors

Terrence Jones To Join Warriors’ G League Team

Former first-round pick Terrence Jones is poised to join the Warriors’ G League affiliate, according to Sam Amick of USA Today. As Amick reports, the Santa Cruz Warriors currently have the top waiver priority, so they intend to snag Jones once the veteran power forward officially signs a G League contract and enters the waiver pool.

The 18th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Jones spent his first four NBA seasons with the Rockets, flashing some potential during his time in Houston before spending last year with the Pelicans and Bucks. Over the course of his five-year NBA career, the former Kentucky Wildcat has posted solid averages of 10.5 PPG and 5.7 RPG in 24.0 minutes per contest (232 games).

Still, the Rockets opted not to re-sign Jones when he was eligible for restricted free agency in 2016, and he was waived by both New Orleans and Milwaukee last season, signaling that his stock had dipped. After failing to find a suitable NBA offer during the 2017 offseason, Jones signed with the Qingdao Eagles, but his stint in the Chinese Basketball Association was short-lived — he was waived by the Eagles last month after being kicked out of a practice.

When he discussed his move to China earlier this year, Jones suggested he was hoping to parlay a strong performance overseas into another NBA opportunity, but that didn’t happen. Now, he’ll look to rebuild his value and earn another shot at the NBA as he prepares to suit up for Santa Cruz.

Kerr: Iguodala's Defense Similar To Pippen

Outside of a few standout performances, Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball‘s first professional season has been inconsistent at best. The Lakers’ season has mirrored Ball’s inconsistency as the team is 10-15, good for 10th place in the Western Conference. If the franchise and Ball want to achieve success, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant believes the 20-year-old point guard needs to improve now.

Speaking to Chris McGee on Spectrum SportsNet’s ‘Connected With’, Bryant said that Ball and the Lakers cannot wait and plan for several years to see improvements. Instead, Ball — and several of his young teammates — needs to take initiative and improve on his own accord.

“He needs to get better now,” Bryant said (via ForTheWin’s Nick Schwartz). “Kuzma, better now. Randle, better now. Players, you want that now. We never thought, ‘OK, we’re going to win four years from now. We really thought this is our year. We’re going to get this done. We’re going to push, push, push, push, push to get better now.’ And in the process of having that impatience, you develop. If you’re just patiently going about it, you’ll never get there. For players, it’s kind of patient impatience.”

In 25 games, Ball is averaging 8.6 PPG, 7.1 APG and 6.8 RPG. However, Ball has struggled on offense, shooting .321% from the field and .246% from beyond the arc.

Check out other news from around the Pacific Division:

  • In a well-written and well-crafted feature, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk dissected Luke Walton’s transition from player to assistant coach to head coach. Walton, currently in his second season as head coach of the Lakers, has learned under legend Phil Jackson, current Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, and his legendary father, Bill Walton. As Youngmisuk writes, all three men have shaped the way Walton conducts himself as head coach.
  • While Andre Iguodala is 33 years old, his ability to impact a game on both ends of the floor has made him invaluable to the Warriors. Head coach Steve Kerr said that, in particular, Iguodala’s defense reminds him of Scottie Pippen, Mark Medina of The Mercury News writes.
  • While Clippers rookie Milos Teodosic is close to returning from a plantar fascia injury to his left foot, the team is still unsure when he will be back, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports. “He’s close, I’ll say that,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “Watching him yesterday, I just didn’t think he was ready. But he’s close. It’s a tough one.”
  • Suns rookie Josh Jackson said his adjustment from college to the NBA has gone well, Dennis Chambers of Basketball Insiders writes.

Warriors Lean On Durant With Curry Sidelined

When Stephen Curry and the Warriors brought Kevin Durant to the Bay Area they did so with situations like the one the team is going through right now in mind. Marcus Thompson of The Athletic writes that having Durant available to lead the way while Curry recovers from an ankle injury can be a game changer for the franchise.

Prior to Durant’s arrival, the Warriors struggled to win with Curry on the sidelines, let alone dominate. Having the two available to support each other – as Curry did when Durant was out toward the end of last season – could extend both of their primes.

Teams Eyeing Patrick McCaw As Free Agent Target?

Patrick McCaw will be a restricted free agent after the season and the second-year wing is “regarded as a top target” for teams as they look ahead to the 2018 free agent class, Bobby Marks of ESPN.com writes. Opposing teams like McCaw’s age and versatility and he could draw offers despite the restricted status.

Opposing teams can only sign the 22-year-old to an offer sheet starting at an estimated $8.6MM because of the Arenas provision, though a rival could backload to the deal akin to what the Nets did to the Heat with Tyler Johnson and dare Golden State to match.

The Warriors own McCaw’s Early Bird rights because of the two-year contract he signed back in 2016. As a result, the franchise can offer him a contract up with a starting salary of up to approximately $8.7MM.

Golden State selected McCaw with the No. 38 overall pick in the 2016 draft and he’s carved out a role with the club. He has seen 14.7 minutes per contest over his first 94 games as a pro and he should see additional opportunities with Stephen Curry sidelined. He’s currently in the league’s concussion protocol program after getting hit in the face during Monday’s game against the Pelicans.

Warriors Projected To Spend $1.1 Billion On Salary, Taxes Over Next Five Seasons

The Warriors have built a dynasty, but if they plan on keeping this team together, it’ll come at a great cost, ESPN’s Bobby Marks writes.

The franchise is projected to spend over $1.1MM billion on salary and taxes through the 2020/21 campaign, a figure that includes $168MM in salary and taxes this season. One league executive told Marks that “finances are the only thing that will break up this Warriors team.”

The financial dominos begin this summer with Kevin Durant, who will yet again be a free agent if he turns down his player option as expected.

Marks breaks down Durant’s three main options as opting in ($26.3, one-year deal), opting out and signing another one-year deal (one-year, $30MM with another player option for year two), or opting out and signing a four-year pact for the max ($158MM with a starting salary of $35.4MM).

Golden State won’t have the ability to sign Durant to a five-year deal because the franchise only owns his Early Bird Rights. If he takes either of the one-year options, he’ll be eligible for a five-year deal in the 2019 offseason.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Early Bird Rights]

Durant took a discount to re-sign with the team this past offseason, though Marks believes it’s unlikely that he’ll take the same route again since the Warriors won’t be able to use the savings to add additional pieces.

Durant won’t get a Designated Veteran Extension. Every team is only permitted to sign two players to those super-max contracts and Golden State already locked up Curry through the 2021/22 season with one. Durant won’t be eligible for one of these deals since he came to the team as a free agent, which means the Warriors will have to decide whether to give their second DVE to Draymond Green or Klay Thompson.

Assuming Golden State saves the contract for Green and Thompson signs a traditional max deal, the Warriors could be facing a record-high $225MM in tax penalties for the 2019/20 season. That figure also assumes that Golden State brings back Patrick McCaw on a modest deal (Marks estimates $6MM salary in 2019/20).

As Marks notes, the league requires the payment in full – with no installment plan – for luxury tax charges, meaning Golden State’s ownership would have to send the full $225MM to the NBA in the late spring of 2020.

Golden State could shed salary by waiving Shaun Livingston, whose 2019/20 salary only contains $2MM in guarantees, and declining Damian Jones‘ fourth-year option, which is worth $2.3MM.

The Warriors are in a position unlike any other in NBA history both on the court and off of it. They’re the favorites to win the champion this season and it’s easy to envision them maintaining the Larry O’Brien trophy throughout the entire Donald Trump administration.

The costs of keeping the team together will be staggering, though it’s a problem opposing franchises would gladly accept if given the opportunity.

“There are 29 owners that would take this Warriors roster even if the cost was $495 million in luxury tax penalties,” a league executive told Marks.

Steph Curry To Miss Time

Stephen Curry underwent an MRI and the test revealed no structural damage on his injured right ankle, Shams Charania of The Vertical reports (Twitter link).

Charania added that Curry, who sprained his ankle on Monday against the Pelicans, is experiencing significant swelling and there is no timetable for his return. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com (Twitter link) hears that Curry will be re-evaluated in “a couple of weeks.”

That timeline means Curry could be back in time for a Finals rematch against the Cavs on December 25, though with significant swelling in his ankle and the point guard’s history of ankle woes, I’d be surprised if he returned before the new year.

Shaun Livingston, who re-signed this past offseason on a three-year, $24MM deal, will start in Curry’s place for Golden State. The Dubs are 19-6 on the season, making them the second-best team in the Western Conference behind the Rockets and MVP candidate James Harden.

Curry Sprains Ankle; X-Rays Negative

  • Warriors guard Stephen Curry sprained his right ankle on Monday but X-rays were negative, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post tweets. He’ll have an MRI on Tuesday, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.

Warriors’ Shaun Livingston Suspended One Game

Warriors guard Shaun Livingston has been suspended for Monday’s game against the Pelicans for an altercation with official Courtney Kirkland, the league announced in a press release. The NBA’s Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Kiki VanDeWeghe, determined that Livington deserved a one-game penalty without pay for aggressively approaching Kirkland after a non-call and bumping heads with the official.

The incident, which occurred in the second quarter of the Warriors’ victory over the Heat on Sunday, resulted in Livingston’s ejection for making contact with an official. Livingston, who re-signed with the Warriors over the summer for three years and $24MM, is averaging 4.7 PPG and 2.0 APG in 15.2 MPG in his usual role of backing up Stephen Curry.

VanDeWeghe also ruled that Kirkland would be removed from the league’s officiating rotation for one week. Kirkland moved toward Livingston and shared responsibility for the contact, according to the review.

Stephen Curry's Hand Injury May Linger

  • Stephen Curry‘s finger injury appears likely to hamper him for some time, but he and the Warriors don’t expect to sit him down for an extended stretch, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “I don’t think it’s something where if we give him a few days off, it’s going to disappear,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “I think it may linger for a little while, so he’s going to have to get used to it.”

Warriors May Have Brought Kevin Durant Back Too Early

  • The Warriors may have prematurely allowed Kevin Durant to suit up on an injured ankle, Monte Poole of NBC Sports writes. The forward sprained his ankle last weekend but played in Wednesday night’s marquee matchup with the Thunder, something head coach Steve Kerr now regrets. “I’m sure the league is happy with us because we played him on their ‘marquee’ game with and all that stuff. But he came out sore the next day. So we shouldn’t have played him,” Kerr said.
  • Well-suited for his elder statesmen role on the Warriors bench, David West has made an impact with his veteran leadership, Mark Medina of the Mercury News writes. “He’s one of those guys that doesn’t speak unless it’s necessary. He understands when it’s necessary,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s not doing it to hear himself talk. He’s not one of those guys. He’s doing it to impart some knowledge and wisdom. So he picks his spots wisely.”
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