Warriors Rumors

Warriors, Wolves, Thunder Eyeing Joakim Noah?

Several playoff-bound teams are keeping an eye on Joakim Noah‘s situation in New York and would consider signing him if he reaches free agency, sources tell Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. According to Isola, the Warriors, Timberwolves, and Thunder are among the teams monitoring the Knicks center.

As Isola notes, the Wolves represent an obvious fit for Noah since the team already features several familiar faces for the veteran center, including Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, and head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau. Golden State and Oklahoma City also believe that Noah’s experience and defensive ability would help shore up their respective benches, Isola adds.

If the Knicks do decide to release Noah, he’d want it to happen by March 1 so that he’d be eligible to play in the postseason for a new team. However, the two sides appear to be engaged in a stalemate, so there’s certainly no guarantee he’ll be available in the coming days.

As Ian Begley of ESPN details (via Twitter), both Noah and the Knicks would likely welcome a fresh start, but the team is reluctant to eat his entire contract by waiving him, and Noah has thus far been unwilling to give back much – if any – of the money left on his lucrative deal. Counting his remaining prorated salary this season, the big man is still owed approximately $42.5MM through 2019/20.

If they do get a chance to sign Noah, the Warriors would have to waive a player, since they currently have a full 15-man squad. The Timberwolves and Thunder each have an open roster spot.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/21/18

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

9:32pm:

  • The Warriors have recalled guard Quinn Cook and center Damian Jones from their affiliate in Santa Cruz, tweets Monte Poole of NBC Bay Area.
  • The Cavaliers have assigned center Ante Zizic to their Canton affiliate, the team announced on its website.
  • The Jazz assigned center Tony Bradley to their affiliate in Salt Lake City, according to the team website.

4:05pm:

NBA Planning Preseason Game In Seattle

The NBA will return to Seattle next preseason with a familiar face for Pacific Northwest fans, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee.

Kevin Durant, who spent his rookie season with the SuperSonics before the franchise moved to Oklahoma City, will lead the Warriors against the Kings on October 6 at Key Arena, Voisin writes. It will be the first NBA game at the facility since the Sonics left after the 2007/08 season.

The Kings also have a connection with Seattle, as it appeared the team might move there when it was put up for sale five years ago. A deal to sell the team to a Seattle-based ownership group was reached in January of 2013, but it fell through when Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson was able to assemble a group to keep the Kings from leaving.

Two months ago, Seattle’s City Council approved a proposed $650MM renovation of Key Arena in hopes of attracting an NBA or NHL franchise by the end of the decade. The refurbished arena will hold 18,350 spectators for NBA games and 17,150 for NHL games.

Eastern Rumors: Afflalo, Thompson, Johnson, Wizards

Arron Afflalo could be a target for the Raptors if he reaches a buyout agreement with the Magic, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. Afflalo played for the Nuggets when Raptors president Masai Ujiri was there, while current Magic president Jeff Weltman is Toronto’s former GM, Lewenberg notes. The career 38.6% 3-point shooter would give the Raptors some insurance at the wing, Lewenberg adds. Afflalo has appeared in 43 games with the Magic, averaging 3.2 PPG in 12.9 MPG. He signed with Orlando last summer on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal.

In other developments around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Knicks are an unlikely destination for Klay Thompson during free agency in 2019, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News relays though an Adrian Wojnarowski podcast. The Warriors shooting guard wants to continue to play in a warm weather city, he told Wojnarowski. “It’d be weird leaving the Bay Area. I believe I’m going to be there for a very long time.,” he said. “I can say that truthfully. But a lot can happen the next two years. It’s going to be hard to leave California when it’s sunny like this.”
  • The Heat are expected to seek offers for combo guard Tyler Johnson as early as this summer but his contract provisions will make that difficult, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald explains. Johnson will make $19.2MM in each of the final two years of the backloaded deal, plus Miami would have to pay a $3.2MM trade kicker, Jackson continues. Any team trading for Johnson this offseason would have to take on the additional $1.6MM cap hit in each of the next two seasons. Miami matched the Nets’ offer sheet for Johnson during the summer of 2016.
  • The Wizards need to do a better job of communicating with each other to avoid locker room controversies, Chase Hughes of NBCSports.com writes. The team does not have any unresolvable issues, according to Hughes, but problems like the tension between John Wall and his teammates need to be addressed privately rather than through the media or social media channels, Hughes adds.

Poll: Which Team Will Earn No. 1 Seed In West?

Before the All-Star break began last week, the Rockets won their 10th straight game while the Warriors lost for the fourth time in their last eight contests. Houston’s hot streak, combined with Golden State’s (relative) cold streak, moved the 44-13 Rockets into the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference by a half-game over the 44-14 Warriors.

It’s not the first time the Rockets have sat atop the West this season. Houston opened the season on a 25-4 run and had a leg up on Golden State until about Christmas Day. Now, Mike D’Antoni‘s squad has reclaimed the No. 1 seed.

The Rockets and Warriors have each been about as successful on the road as they’ve been at home, so the two teams may not go all-out down the stretch to claim the No. 1 seed. Still, with the Warriors looking to come out of the West for a fourth consecutive season, the Rockets appear to be the biggest threat to knock them off since Kevin Durant arrived in the Bay Area. If the Western Conference Finals come down to these two clubs, home-court advantage could be a factor.

No other Western Conference team is within nine games of either the Rockets or Warriors in the standings, so this looks like a two-team race, and we want to know what you think.

Will the Warriors, who haven’t lost more than 15 games in a regular season since 2013/14, finish the season on a hot streak and claim the No. 1 seed? Or will, the Rockets, who are 28-1 when James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela are all in their lineup, hang onto their lead in the West and grab the top spot heading into the postseason?

Vote below in our poll and jump into the comment section to share your thoughts — including whether or not home-court advantage will make a difference for these two clubs.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

NBA Players Weigh In On 2018 Free Agency

With a big offeason looming once the 2017/18 NBA regular season comes to an end, several ESPN writers spoke to NBA players to get their predictions on where they expect some of this summer’s top free agents to land. In total, 48 players weighed in. Here are some highlights from the results of ESPN’s survey:

  • LeBron James is considered likely to return to the Cavaliers, with 59% of the respondents picking Cleveland as his free agency destination, while 22% chose the Lakers. “He won’t leave after all the moves they made last week,” one Eastern Conference forward said of LeBron, referring to the Cavs’ trade-deadline deals. Asked where James should sign, even more respondents (66%) voted for Cleveland.
  • If James does decide he wants to join the Lakers, the LaVar Ball show won’t be a deterrent, according to 89% of the players surveyed. “If LeBron comes to L.A., then it’s the LeBron show. Not the Ball show,” said one Eastern Conference center.
  • Most of the survey respondents (80%) believe DeMarcus Cousins will re-sign with the Pelicans.
  • Only 33% of the players surveyed expect Paul George to be in the Thunder‘s opening-night lineup for 2018/19.
  • The respondents are slightly in favor (59%) of maximum salary contracts existing in the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. “LeBron, Steph and KD, all those guys bring a lot more than what they’re getting paid,” said one Western Conference guard. “But being a lower-tier salary guy myself, if you pay those guys even more, the lower guys on the totem pole don’t really get anything.”
  • Asked which teams make the best pitches to free agents, players chose the Celtics (27%), Heat (15%), Lakers (12%), and Warriors (9%), with nine other clubs receiving votes. One Eastern Conference guard on Boston: “If you bring Tom Brady? That’s pretty damn cool.”

Thunder Notes: Durant, Westbrook, George, Technicals

Kevin Durant is taking the blame for the strained relationship with former teammate Russell Westbrook, according to an article on NBC Sports Bay Area. Since Durant left the Thunder in July of 2016, he and Westbrook have been engaged in a simmering feud, and Durant believes he could have handled the situation better.

“Well I just got outta my own head, got out of my own ways and stopped thinking it was even a thing,” he said when asked about the topic at today’s All-Star Weekend press conference. “… I feel like I made it a thing when it a thing when it shouldn’t have been. It’s cool to kind of get past that and just appreciate these guys for who they are and what they do. And it’s all love at the end of the day.”

Westbrook seemed less open when asked about his feelings toward Durant. “Communicatin’, that’s about it,” he responded. “All the other stuff is kind of irrelevant. Just keeping it cool, talking when we need to and just moving forward.” Durant and Westbrook are All-Star teammates for the second straight year, this time on the squad captained by LeBron James.
There’s more Thunder-related news tonight:
  • Fans in Los Angeles, hoping to see Paul George sign with the Lakers in free agency this summer, serenaded him during the press conference with chants of “We want Paul,” tweets Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript. Westbrook quickly dismissed that possibility, shouting at the crowd, “Paul ain’t goin’ nowhere! It’s over for that,” relays Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (via Twitter).
  • When reporters asked George if he knows what he will do when he becomes a free agent, he responded, “I don’t,” then paused and said, “I know what I feel is best.” (Twitter link)
  • Thunder players understand better than anyone the on-court tensions that led to today’s meeting between representatives of the players’ and referees’ unions, writes Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. OKC leads the NBA in technical fouls with 41 in 59 games. Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams each has seven, with George close behind at six. “The reality is, the officials have a really hard job, and our players have a hard job, and it’s a very, very competitive game,” said coach Billy Donovan, who has seven technicals of his own. “There’s going to be emotions that get in there. The communication part is really important. The officials want that, the players want that. … But the reality is, you have to have a coexisting relationship there. I think it’s important you have to control your emotions and you can deal with them, because again, they do have a hard job.”

Staying With Warriors 'First And Foremost' For Klay Thompson

  • Although he won’t hit free agency until the summer of 2019, Warriors guard Klay Thompson has every intention of remaining with Golden State, Mark Medina of the Mercury News writes. “Anything I can do to stay with the Warriors is first and foremost. God willing, it happens. If not, I don’t even think about that,” Thompson said.

Chris Bosh Still Hoping For NBA Comeback

1:03pm: ESPN has now posted a lengthier video of today’s First Take discussion with Bosh, which includes the former Heat and Raptors star addressing concerns about his health.

“Medicine is like law, I’ve come to find out,” Bosh said. “It’s a very gray area. Some people say yes, some people say no. Usually it’s about what the majority agrees to, and sometimes it’ll take somebody to have some revolutionary plan or something like that. I’m not going to be in a position where I’m risking my life, so if I ever get back on the court like that and people are worried, it’s not going to be a life-risking situation.”

Asked later in the discussion whether he hopes to make a comeback in 2018/19, Bosh said he hasn’t closed the door on returning this season. He also identified the Warriors, Rockets, and Raptors as teams that would interest him, and didn’t rule out the Cavaliers either.

11:57am: It has now been more than two years since Chris Bosh last played an NBA game, but the 11-time All-Star still hasn’t given up on the idea of resuming his playing career. Appearing on First Take (video link), Bosh told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith today that he’s still making an effort to return to the NBA.

“I’ve been in the gym. I can still play basketball,” Bosh said.No, I’m not done yet.”

Joking that he can’t call it a career when he sees how many current players are getting by shooting three-pointers and not playing defense, Bosh repeated a sentiment that he has expressed several times since his medical retirement. As recently as November, the former Heat star said he was keeping his options open as a player.

Although Bosh is still physically able to play basketball, concerns about his history of blood clots have made him medically ineligible to return to an NBA team. Doctors and teams have been unwilling to risk those blood clotting issues resurfacing.

Bosh last appeared in the NBA in 2015/16 for the Heat, averaging 19.1 PPG and 7.4 RPG in 53 games and earning an All-Star nod. He played his last game on February 9, 2016.

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