Warriors Rumors

Pacific Notes: Green, Kuminga, Curry, James, Howard

The Warriors announced on Sunday that defensive stalwart Draymond Green would miss at least two weeks of action due to lingering calf and back injuries. Coach Steve Kerr said they’re playing it safe with Green’s injury issues at this stage of the season, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets.

“The main thing is to be safe and cautious,” Kerr said. “It’s a long season. That’s my sense. That we’re being cautious.”

With Green out, lottery pick Jonathan Kuminga will get expanded playing time. Kuminga irritated the staff with a disinterested performance in a G League game last week but the Warriors won’t hold that against him, according to Slater.

“He didn’t run the floor hard. It was disappointing,” Kerr said. “We talked to him about it. He understood and responded well. This is all part of the process for JK. There’s a lot to absorb and learn.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Stephen Curry left the Warriors’ road trip early but it shouldn’t be an area of concern, according to Slater (Twitter link). Curry has a hand injury that the club believes is minor. He could play against Detroit on Tuesday.
  • The Lakers have dropped below the .500 mark by losing their last three games, including a 37-point thumping by Denver. LeBron James went on social media and pledged to fans the team will get untracked soon. “Lakers Nation I apologize and promise we’ll be better,” James proclaimed on his Twitter feed.
  • The decision to start Dwight Howard against the Nuggets shows the Lakers can only go so far with small ball lineups, Kyle Goon of the Orange Country Register writes. Coach Frank Vogel doesn’t want James banging against top-level centers such as Nikola Jokic. Howard will still have a role off the bench when Anthony Davis returns, Goon adds.

Draymond Green To Miss At Least Two Weeks

Warriors star Draymond Green will miss at least two weeks due to the ongoing soreness in his left calf, the team announced on social media. Green’s soreness is “tied to the involvement of a disc in his lower back,” according to the Dubs.

The three-time champion will receive physical therapy in the coming days and be reevaluated at the end of the two-week period. Golden State is 3-5 without Green this season, compared to 28-6 when he plays.

Despite missing Green, the Warriors managed to blow out the Bulls in Chicago on Friday, winning 138-96. Players such as Jonathan Kuminga (25 points), Nemanja Bjelica (11 rebounds) Otto Porter Jr. (nine points) all stepped up in Green’s absence. Porter received the start at power forward.

On the season, Green has averaged 7.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game, providing versatile defense at all five positions. The Warriors are set to begin a seven-game homestand on Tuesday that spans 13 days.

Western Notes: Curry, Green, Porter Jr., Kings, Kuminga

Warriors superstar Stephen Curry downplayed the hand injury suffered during his team’s 138-96 win over Chicago on Saturday, as relayed by ESPN. Curry landed on his right hand after driving to the rim, but the two-time MVP remained in the game.

“Anything that involves the hands, especially the right one, you’re a little concerned,” he said. “But the feeling came back, the strength came back. It hurts, but I’ll be all right.”

Curry feels the injury isn’t significant, but out of caution, he’ll undergo additional examination. Golden State is 31-11 largely because of his play, as the 33-year-old is averaging 26.3 points, 6.0 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game so far this season.

“I have some PTSD from two years ago,” Curry explained, referring to when he broke his hand. “When I landed it felt kind of the same, but we’ll get it looked at and figure it out. Should be all right.”

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:

  • Rockets head coach Stephen Silas expressed optimism that Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. will be the team’s backcourt duo for years to come, as relayed by The Athletic’s Kelly Iko in a story about the duo. “They’re better together than they were at the beginning of the season,” Silas explained as part of a larger quote. “Scoot’s (Porter) development as a point guard, where at the beginning of the season, he was really struggling with the turnovers but wasn’t as bad before he got hurt. And then Jalen’s growth as a player, you can see it. I mean, you can see it. So the improvement of those two guys connected to the improvement of the group is the most gratifying thing to me. They’re gonna be together for a long time.”
  • The Kings didn’t get involved in the Knicks-Hawks trade involving Cam Reddish for a variety of reasons, as James Ham of ESPN 1320 explains (via Twitter). One major reason is how Sacramento doesn’t have the draft assets that New York has, as the Knicks traded away a first-round pick in the deal to acquire Reddish.
  • Anthony Slater of The Athletic examines the comparison between Warriors rookie Jonathan Kuminga and former NBA player Shawn Marion. As Slater writes, head coach Steve Kerr recently explained how he wants Kuminga to play, noting that it’s similar to how Marion played during his career. “When I was in Phoenix as a GM, we had Shawn Marion. One of the best athletes in the league,” Kerr said as part of his full quote. “Every night, he’d just run the floor hard. He wasn’t the greatest 3-point shooter, wasn’t the greatest passer, wasn’t the greatest ballhandler. But he was an All-Star because he just played hard. By running the floor, all kinds of good stuff would happen.”

COVID-19 Updates: G. Hill, Budenholzer, Warren, F. Jackson, More

The Bucks received good news today, as veteran George Hill and head coach Mike Budenholzer have both cleared the health and safety protocols, Eric Nehm of The Athletic reports (Twitter links).

However, the team did place one more player in the protocols: Langston Galloway. Galloway’s 10-day contract expires on Sunday night, so it’s possible he’ll no longer be a Buck by the time he exits the protocols.

Here are more COVID-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Pacers forward T.J. Warren has exited the protocols, James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star tweets. Unfortunately, Warren is still sidelined as he recovers from foot surgery.
  • Pistons guard Frank Jackson has exited the protocols but needs to wait a couple days to recondition. He might return Sunday against the Suns, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets.
  • Robert Woodard has entered the protocols for the Kings, according to James Ham of ESPN 1320 (Twitter link).
  • Heat forward Markieff Morris has exited the protocols but needs time to recondition, tweets Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
  • Two-way rookie Ish Wainright has exited the protocols for the Suns, but is listed as questionable for Friday’s contest against Indiana due to reconditioning, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (via Twitter).
  • Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson has entered the protocols, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
  • Marcus Smart of the Celtics is listed as questionable for Friday’s game against Philadelphia due to the protocols, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link). Based on his status, Smart may have returned an inconclusive test, so we’ll have to wait for an update to see if he’ll actually be sidelined or not.

James Wiseman Had Knee Surgery In December

Warriors center James Wiseman, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2020 draft, required arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-December, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Wiseman is nine months removed from the meniscus surgery he underwent last April, which is typically at the cautious end of a recovery timeline.

A previously unreported surgery was needed to address “minor-yet-persistent swelling” last month, which has slowed his return to action, Slater writes. Wiseman was cleared for full practices at the beginning of November and was reportedly on a similar recovery timeline as Klay Thompson, who made his season debut January 9, but after the setback it’s unclear when Wiseman will begin playing.

Slater notes that Wiseman is traveling with the team again and doing individual workouts. Head coach Steve Kerr says the 20-year-old is inching closer to three-on-three and five-on-five full-contact activity in the weeks ahead.

His rehab is going really well,” Kerr said. “His knee is feeling good. His spirits are up, he’s bouncing around practice — high energy. He’s getting ready to play with some contact. It’s exciting just to see a smile on his face and to see him back after this long of an absence.”

However, as Slater relays, with his long-awaited debut pushed back further, it’s reasonable to question how much Wiseman will actually contribute once he’s fully healthy. The Warriors are a legitimate championship contender and acclimating a raw-but-talented center into a highly successful group could be a real challenge for the team.

Golden State is currently 30-10, No. 2 in the West and the second-best record in the league, one game behind the Suns.

Klay's Minutes To Be Increased "In A Week Or Two"; Draymond Out More Games

  • Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who recently made his long-awaited season debut, is on a strict minutes limit of 20 per game right now, but he expects that to be bumped up “in a week or two,” writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Thompson has looked spry in his first two games back, averaging 15.5 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 20.0 minutes.
  • Draymond Green is likely to miss at least three more games for the Warriors with calf soreness, Slater tweets. Head coach Steve Kerr said it’s “doubtful” that Green will join the team on its current road trip, which runs through Sunday in Minnesota.

Pacific Notes: Lacob, Thompson, Davis, Kings

Warriors owner Joe Lacob believes his team is poised to win more championships, as he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Our goal is to be great throughout this decade,” he said. “We had a great last decade and our goal is to set ourselves up for another great decade.”

With the return of Klay Thompson on Sunday, Lacob is eager to see how deep the team can get in this year’s playoffs.

“We’ve got all the pieces back together and we’ve had a good offseason and we drafted some young guys that haven’t gotten a chance to play yet that we really like. So I feel like this is our first year of getting back after the five-year title run,” he said. “We’ll see where it goes. I’m not assuming anything at this point, but we certainly have a lot of talent, a really good team and I think it will jell even more so as we go along this year.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Thompson had 17 points in his comeback game, including a first-half dunk. He drew energy from the crowd after missing 177 consecutive games, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk writes. “I will never forget the reception that Warriors fans gave us, especially myself,” Thompson said. “Gosh it was fun and it was worth every single day of being away and in that squat rack or on that shuttle board and all the conditioning days. It was worth every single moment. I am not going to say equivalent to winning a championship But man, it was pretty freaking close.”
  • The Lakers lost to Memphis on Sunday but there was one promising development, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times notes. Anthony Davis was spotted on the court before the game going through an individual workout, the first time he’s done that since spraining a knee ligament on December 17. Davis wore a bulky brace on the knee for precautionary reasons. The Lakers are scheduled to provide an update on Davis’ recovery as early as this weekend, Woike adds.
  • The disappointing Kings have to figure out over the next few weeks whether to be buyers or sellers on the trade market, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee writes. It’s no secret that the front office has been shopping Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III. However, the team’s brass may have to consider moving De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Harrison Barnes or Richaun Holmes to get an impact player that can change the franchise’s fortunes, Anderson adds.

Warriors Notes: Thompson, Kuminga, Moody, Wiseman, Cousins

The long process of rehabbing two serious injuries will finally end Sunday for Klay Thompson, and the Warriors guard is determined to prove that he’s as good as ever, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Thompson bought a boat and focused on helping his younger teammates during his extended break, but nothing took his mind off his desire to start playing again. He’s “hungrier” than ever to help Golden State make an impact in the playoffs after missing the last two postseasons.

“I know myself. I know how good I am,” Thompson said. “I know the things I’ve done. … It’s like — how many times do I have to do something that no one else has ever done before and get respect? Do I have to go score 50 in a quarter now? Like, what the hell? It’s whatever though, man. It’s over with. I’m going to use it as fuel.”

Thompson’s return to the court will be a monumental event for the franchise, coach Steve Kerr said at a press conference today, per Mark Medina of NBA.com. Kerr compared it to Michael Jordan‘s return to basketball in 1995 and expects it to be “one of the most emotional games that any of us would ever be a part of.”

“I have no doubt when Klay walks onto the floor for the first time, I will never forget that game,” Kerr said. “It will stand out as one of the highlights of my entire basketball existence just because of who Klay is and how much he has meant to our franchise and to the Bay area and to me personally and to his teammates. He’s everybody’s favorite guy and we’ve all seen him suffer for two-and-a-half years. It’ll be very emotional.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Golden State got a look at its future in Thursday’s game at New Orleans as injuries resulted in extended playing time for rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, notes Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. “I think they’re right on schedule,” Kerr said. “I think they’re both really working hard every single day, putting the work in, learning what it’s about to be an NBA player. … It’s not easy, especially for 19-year-old kids. They’re learning, and they’re doing a great job.”
  • James Wiseman, who hasn’t played since having knee surgery last season, continues to make progress, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Kerr is hoping that during the next road trip, Wiseman can participate in 3-on-3 games or 1-on-1 drills against another center.
  • Kerr sidestepped a question today about possibly bringing back DeMarcus Cousins, who was waived Thursday by the Bucks, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). Cousins played for Golden State in 2018/19.

Klay Thompson Announces Sunday Return

Warriors guard Klay Thompson has confirmed rumors that he will return to the court for Sunday’s home game against the Cavaliers, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Thompson made the announcement on his Instagram account, along with a clip from the original “Space Jam” movie with Bill Murray saying, “Perhaps I could be of some assistance.” Thompson also wrote,How I’m pulling up to chase tomorrow, Bill Murray is my spirit animal. IM SO EXCITED TO SEE YALL.”

It will be the first game action for Thompson since he suffered a torn ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals. He also tore his Achilles during the summer of 2020 and missed all of last season. Sunday will mark 941 days since Thompson’s last game, Charania notes.

Thompson has reportedly been ready to return for some time, but the organization was being careful to make sure he was fully 100%. He was also determined to make his season debut in front of Warriors fans, and Golden State played its last two games on the road.

A five-time All-Star, Thompson was part of the foundation of the Warriors teams that won three titles and appeared in five straight NBA Finals. In his last season before the injuries, he averaged 21.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while shooting 46.7% from the field and 40.2% from three-point range.

Golden State, which has the league’s second-best record at 29-9, plans to insert Thompson back into the starting lineup right away, although he will be on a minutes restriction for a while.

Latest Salary Guarantees: D. Lee, Reed, Hartenstein, Sykes, M. Thomas

Warriors swingman Damion Lee will have the rest of his 2021/22 salary guaranteed, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). The news doesn’t come as a surprise, as Lee has been with Golden State for four seasons and has been part of the regular rotation for three of those.

Lee, who will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, will now have his $1,910,860 cap hit for ’21/22 locked in. The Warriors are also guaranteeing Gary Payton II’s rest-of-season salary, so the team won’t have create any new openings on its 15-man roster.

Here are more updates on players who are affected by today’s salary guarantee deadline:

  • The Sixers will keep Paul Reed through the deadline, guaranteeing his salary, tweets Scotto. Reed, who is earning $1,517,981 in 2021/22, also has a non-guaranteed minimum salary for next season before he becomes eligible for restricted free agency in 2023. The 6’9″ forward has averaged 2.3 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 19 games (9.4 MPG) for Philadelphia in his second NBA season.
  • Clippers center Isaiah Hartenstein will have his full-season salary guaranteed, per Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Hartenstein, earning $1,729,217, was always one of the safer bets to survive the salary guarantee deadline, since he played a key role in L.A.’s frontcourt, putting up 7.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.9 APG, and 1.3 BPG in just 16.4 MPG (29 games).
  • After recently signing a two-year contract with the Pacers, Keifer Sykes will have his rest-of-season salary guaranteed, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Sykes, who made a strong impression in the G League, is off to a strong start at the NBA level too, averaging 10.4 PPG and 3.6 APG in his first five games (26.8 MPG). Since he didn’t sign until December 27, Sykes’ prorated rookie-minimum salary is worth just $558,345.
  • The Bulls will hang onto sharpshooter Matt Thomas, guaranteeing his minimum-salary contract for 2021/22, sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Thomas has only appeared in 13 games for Chicago and his three-point rate (34.6%) is well below his career rate (40.5%), but the team apparently values his ability to stretch the floor. He’ll make $1,669,178 this season before becoming eligible for restricted free agency. The Bulls will also have to make a decision today on Alfonzo McKinnie‘s non-guaranteed contract.