Warriors Rumors

Andre Iguodala Listed As Doubtful For Game 4

Warriors forward Andre Iguodala is listed as doubtful for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday due to knee soreness, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets.

Iguodala has a knee contusion that worsened overnight and caused him to miss practice on Monday, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets.

Iguodala has been instrumental is dousing the Rockets’ normally high-octane offense, allowing Golden State to regain home-court advantage and take a 2-1 series lead. He’s played 27 or 28 minutes in each game and posted 10 points, three rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block in the 126-85 Game 3 blowout on Sunday.

Iguodala has played a minimum of 23 minutes in every postseason game this spring. It’s unknown how coach Steve Kerr will adjust his rotation if Iguodala can’t go, but Kevon Looney and Nick Young are the logical candidates for increased playing time, given that Kerr has gone with a small lineup to match up against the Rockets’ shooters.

Owners, Players Among Those Who Built The Bridge Between Kevin Durant And Golden State

Peak Stephen Curry came to play during Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The two-time MVP hit all seven of his shots from the field during a third quarter that essentially put the game out of reach.

He finished with a game-high 35 points, delivering a series of highlights for the home crowd and silencing the doubters who dubbed him as a liability.

Curry’s game came on the heels of two top performances by Kevin Durant where the former No. 2 overall pick scored 37 and 38 points in Game 1 and 2, respectively. Durant didn’t disappoint in Game 3, scoring 25 points, a total that nearly doubled every player in the game with the exception of Curry and James Harden.

Many were outraged when Durant elected to join Golden State during the summer of 2016, citing an unnatural balance in the basketball realm. However, it was an outcome made possible by a collection of events. Let’s examine how No. 35 was able to make his way to Northern California.

The Max Contract

The year is 1997 and Kevin Garnett is the league’s next bright, young star. At 22-years-old, his rookie contract is approaching its end and he signs a six-year, $126MM contract with Wolves during the 1997/98 season. It’s the biggest contract in the history and NBA owners are fearful of what doling out those kinds of deals could mean for the future of their franchises.

The angst was partially to blame for the lockout during the 1998/99 season and the maximum salary deal is born as a result of heavy negotiations between owners and players. The new structure put a ceiling on what players could earn.

Imagine a world where there is no max salary and top players can earn what the market dictates. Someone like Durant could theoretically command 50% of the salary cap, maybe more. Instead, with the max deal limiting players’ earnings, shunning the most lucrative offer in favor of one with a better on-court situation becomes less of a sacrifice and teaming up with other superstars becomes more appealing.

The latest CBA gave teams a great tool in the Designated Players Extension, a deal designed to give organizations an unquestioned financial advantage in retaining their own players. This vehicle wasn’t yet available when Oklahoma City fought to keep Durant and some believe the new extension option came as a result of his departure.

Curry’s At-The-Time Below Market Deal

The Warriors signed the former No. 7 overall pick to a $44MM extension back in 2012 and he had one season left on that contract when Durant hit free agency in 2016. Curry had just come off back-to-back MVP seasons, one in which he was the only player in the history of the league to unanimously win the MVP award. Had there not been concern over Curry’s ankle, perhaps he signs a rookie extension similar to James Harden‘s $80MM deal back in 2012 and four years later, the Warriors might have needed to make real sacrifices in order to bring Durant in, assuming he comes at all under a new, slightly less favorable arrangement.

The NBA’s Salary Cap Spike

Another factor was the league’s massive media rights deal that caused a cap spike like we’ve never seen before. The 2016/17 salary cap increased by over $24MM from the 2015/16 figures. Prior to that spike, the year-to-year change never surpassed $8MM.

Leading up to the summer of 2016, the NBA and the NBA Players Association discussed a cap-smoothing proposal, as the owners foresaw some issues with the gargantuan spike. The 2016 free agent class would be the overwhelming beneficiaries from the media rights deal under the CBA’s framework and the NBA wanted to make an adjustment to the legal-binding agreement. The proposed plan would artificially lower the salary cap and the difference between the actual increase in basketball-related income and the proposed, lowered artificial salary cap would be evenly distributed to all the players in the league.

The altered agreement would have meant a much lower salary cap for teams heading into the 2016 offseason while providing the players with the same 51% of the revenue they were entitled to as part of the 2011 CBA. However, the NBA Player’s Union rejected the deal. (Fun fact: Chris Paul, a man who’s now trying to bringing down Golden State’s powerhouse, was the President of the NBPA at the time and remains in the position today).

July 2016 came without a solution for the spike and teams couldn’t spend the money fast enough. Over $2 billion worth of contracts were handed out in the first 48 hours of free agency. At the time, FiveThirtyEight estimated that the average contract in 2016 was overvalued by $4,4MM per year. Two years later with players like Timofey Mozgov ($16MM/year) and Joakim Noah ($18MM/year) getting paid handsomely, it’s arguable that the statistical publication was conservative on its estimates.

No one’s arguing that the Warriors mismanaged their financials by signing Durant to a two-year pact worth roughly $53MM. Golden State is nearly unstoppable when Durant and Curry are both on their games and the team has gone 26-4 in the postseason since Durant brought his talents to the bay area.

Durant’s signing will forever be known as a move that altered the league, one that was made possible by a perfect storm. You’ll hear criticism and complaint from many parties, but it was a group effort that built the bridge allowing Durant to waltz over to Golden State. In addition to the Warriors, the league’s owners and players are among those responsible for his ability to take that path.

Photos Courtesy of USA TODAY Sports Images

Jarron Collin Fighting Bias Against Tall Coaches?

  • In a fun piece, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times looks at Warriors assistant coach Jarron Collins and how he may be fighting a bias against really tall people getting head coaching jobs. Collins, who stands at 6’11”, would be the tallest head coach in the league if he were hired.

Warriors Interested In Buying Second-Round Pick

The Warriors own the 28th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft but the team may look to acquire a second-round pick ahead of the event, team owner Joe Lacob said to ESPN2 at the draft combine.

“For us, it’s (players drafted) 20 to 40 or 20 to 50. Those are the players that are here to some extent,” Lacob said. “And that’s where we are — 28. Maybe we’ll buy a second-round pick again. I’m very aggressive with respect to those, as you know.”

Golden State has had success with second-round picks in recent years. Last summer, the Warriors acquired the rights to the Bulls’ 38th overall pick, using it to draft Jordan Bell. In 2016, Golden State once again acquired the 38th overall pick, that time from the Bucks, to eventually land Patrick McCaw.

The Warriors have one of the most expensive rosters in the NBA, headlined by Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson, who we noted is discussing an extension with the team. The organization will need to round out its bench with cost-savvy options and plucking impactful second rounders is one way to do so.

2018 NBA Draft Picks By Team

While the Sixers were knocked out of the 2018 playoffs in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the underdog Celtics, few teams are better positioned in this year’s draft than Philadelphia. The 76ers own six of the 60 picks in the 2018 NBA draft, including a pair of first-rounders.

As our full 2018 draft order shows, the Sixers are one of seven NBA teams that holds more than two selections in this year’s draft. On the other end of the spectrum, eight teams have just one pick in 2018, while two teams – the Heat and Raptors – don’t have any selections.

To present a clearer picture of which teams are most – and least – stocked with picks for the 2018 NBA draft, we’ve rounded up all 60 picks by team in the space below. Let’s dive in…

Teams with more than two picks:

  • Philadelphia 76ers (6): 10, 26, 38, 39, 56, 60
  • Phoenix Suns (4): 1, 16, 31, 59
  • Atlanta Hawks (4): 3, 19, 30, 34
  • Dallas Mavericks (3): 5, 33, 54
  • Orlando Magic (3): 6, 35, 41
  • Denver Nuggets (3): 14, 43, 58
  • Brooklyn Nets (3): 29, 40, 45

Teams with two picks:

  • Sacramento Kings: 2, 37
  • Memphis Grizzlies: 4, 32
  • Chicago Bulls: 7, 22
  • New York Knicks: 9, 36
  • Charlotte Hornets: 11, 55
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 12, 13
  • Washington Wizards: 15, 44
  • San Antonio Spurs: 18, 49
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: 20, 48
  • Utah Jazz: 21, 52
  • Indiana Pacers: 23, 50
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 25, 47
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: 53, 57

Teams with fewer than two picks:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers (1): 8
  • Milwaukee Bucks (1): 17
  • Portland Trail Blazers (1): 24
  • Boston Celtics (1): 27
  • Golden State Warriors (1): 28
  • Detroit Pistons (1): 42
  • Houston Rockets (1): 46
  • New Orleans Pelicans (1): 51
  • Miami Heat (0)
  • Toronto Raptors (0)

Patrick McCaw May Return During Postseason

When Patrick McCaw suffered a scary fall and had to be taken off the court on a stretcher near the end of the regular season, it looked like his year might be over. However, McCaw continues to make progress in his injury recovery and is on track for a possible return during the postseason, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

As Charania details, McCaw was able to do non-contact drills at practice for consecutive days. Now, on Monday night, he’s expected to go through his first on-court pregame workout since his March 31 fall.

McCaw, who is dealing with a lumbosacral bone bruise, began modified shooting and running drills earlier this month, with the Warriors indicating on May 3 that he’d be re-evaluated in four weeks. It’s not clear if the second-year guard will be ready to return to action at that four-week mark, but if he is, he could suit up for the Dubs in the NBA Finals — assuming they can get past the Rockets.

The Western Conference Finals, which get underway tonight, are scheduled to run through May 28 if they go seven games, so McCaw is unlikely to get back on the court by the end of the series.

Kings Announce Sacramento Summer League Schedule

The Kings have made official what was reported last week, announcing today in a press release that they’ll host a three-day Summer League this July called the California Classic Summer League.

The Sacramento Summer League will effectively take the place of the Orlando Summer League, which was cancelled this year. Like the Utah Summer League, the California Classic will serve as a precursor to the league’s main event, the Las Vegas Summer League. All 30 teams are set to play in Vegas this July.

The Sacramento event, which will take place at the club’s Golden 1 Center, will begin on July 2, with games also taking place on July 3 and July 5. No games will take place on Independence Day.

The Lakers, Warriors, and Heat will join the Kings in Sacramento for the inaugural California Classic, with each team playing every other club once. The Kings, who will play the late game all three days, will face the Lakers on July 2, the Warriors on July 3, and the Heat on July 5, with the remaining two teams playing in the earlier game on each of those days.

Jordan Bell Considered Sitting Out The Rest Of The Season

Lingering problems with his ankles this winter led Warriors rookie Jordan Bell to consider sitting out the rest of the season, according to Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. As he rehabbed from a left ankle injury that kept him out for 14 games in January and February, Bell shared his concerns with his high school coach, who responded that he had “time to heal.” Bell sent another text message after rolling his right ankle in late March.

Bell’s ankles are fully healed, but he hasn’t regained the role he had before the injuries. He sat out three of Golden State’s playoff games and averaged just 4.9 minutes a night in the postseason. He may be used more frequently in the conference finals as the Warriors try to match up with the Rockets’ smaller, quicker front line.

Klay Thompson, Warriors Discussing Extension

The Warriors and Klay Thompson have engaged in discussions about a potential contract extension for the veteran sharpshooter, according to Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic.

Thompson, who signed his current contract in October of 2014, will be eligible to sign a new deal starting in July. If he and the Warriors reach an agreement on an extension, that new contract would go into effect in 2019/20, after his current pact ends. An extension could keep him under team control for up to four additional seasons.

A four-time All-Star, Thompson is coming off a regular season in which he established new career highs in FG% (.488) and 3PT% (.440) to go along with his usual 20+ PPG. He also chipped in 3.8 RPG and 2.5 APG while playing solid defense.

Although the Warriors should be motivated to lock up Thompson before he reaches unrestricted free agency in 2019, it may be in the 28-year-old’s best interest to wait on a new deal. The starting salary on a veteran extension can only be worth up to 120% of his previous salary, meaning Thompson’s extension could start at approximately $22.79MM and be worth up to about $102MM over four years. That’s well below what his maximum salary would be as a free agent.

Still, Thompson has said he cares more about winning and about his happiness than he does about maxing out his earnings, as Marcus Thompson writes. It’s also worth noting that the Warriors – who will have to give Kevin Durant a raise this summer and would need to negotiate a new contract with Draymond Green by 2020 at the latest – almost certainly won’t be able to give all four of their stars max deals, given the luxury-tax ramifications.

As such, Thompson may be willing to accept a modest discount to keep the band together. Two sources tell The Athletic that Thompson and the Dubs have talked about an extension with an average annual salary of about $23MM — that would come in at approximately $92MM over four years, which puts it below the maximum value of a Thompson extension and well below the max value of a potential free agent contract.

Marcus Thompson cautions that there’s no guarantee that Klay will ink a new extension with the Warriors this offseason. The two sides would have to find a deal that works for both of them, and Durant’s new contract could be a factor in determining how much Golden State is willing to offer. Still, the fact that this discussion is already happening bodes well for Thompson’s potential long-term future in the Bay Area.

Trevon Bluiett Working Out For Warriors

  • Xavier senior Trevon Bluiett auditioned for the Timberwolves this week and has a workout lined up with the Warriors on Sunday, per Shannon Russell of The Athletic (Twitter link).