James Wiseman

Warriors Notes: Wiseman, Looney, Green, Iguodala, DiVincenzo

The Warriors‘ first practice of the season was a valuable learning experience for James Wiseman, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Wiseman closed today’s session by working one-on-one with starting center Kevon Looney while big man coach Dejan Milojević looked on. Wiseman could only watch last season while recovering from a knee injury, so just being on the court is an important step forward.

“Watching Loon the last couple years has helped James,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “But now playing against him, he’ll be able to see and feel those tricks of the trade Loon is so good with — flipping the screen, catching the ball in the pocket, (dribble handoffs), all those things.”

Wiseman enters his third NBA season as the primary backup for Looney and may even start a few games when Looney rests. Looney played every regular season and playoff game last year, and the team doesn’t want to put that kind of strain on him again.

“I definitely want to play 82 again,” Looney said. “But I’m not going to compromise myself to do it. If I feel like I don’t look good or the training staff thinks I’m not moving as well or something is nagging me, I’ll take the break. But if I’m healthy, I’m going to play. I’m not going to sit because it’s a back-to-back just cause. I’m 26. I feel good. I missed a lot of years, so I have some games to make up.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Kerr was encouraged by Draymond Green‘s performance in today’s practice session, Slater states in the same piece. Green came to training camp straight from the Olympics last year, but there were concerns he wouldn’t be as sharp without an offseason competition to push him. “His conditioning looked good, his body looked good,” Kerr said. “He was really moving well both laterally and sprint speed up and down the floor. He was mentoring the young guys, coaching them up in drill work. Then on the floor, the blue team — with Looney, (Stephen Curry), (Andrew Wiggins) — that group just demolished everybody.”
  • The only player not at today’s practice was Andre Iguodala, who announced Friday that he will play one more year, Slater adds. Iguodala will report to practice Monday and will accompany the team on its trip to Japan. “He was planning on retirement,” Kerr explained. “This was sort of a last-minute decision for him. We gave him the freedom to do the things he already had scheduled. … His presence is going to mean the world to us. We have so many young guys. The more mentoring and coaching from within, the better.”
  • The Warriors’ history of success played a big role in attracting free agent Donte DiVincenzo, tweets NBA journalist Mark Haynes. “I wanted to get back to that winning culture,” DiVincenzo said. “The joy of playing simple winning basketball. I think I thrive in that.”

Warriors Notes: Kerr, Kuminga, Iguodala, Roster Questions, J. Green

Speaking to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic on his podcast earlier this week, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr noted that Golden State is in a unique position as a title-defending team that has question marks in the rotation beyond its top six players (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney and Jordan Poole). He said he’s looking forward to players having to earn their minutes.

The beauty of it is everything has to be earned,” Kerr said on Wednesday. “I talk about how unique each season is — that’s what makes this season unique. The first three times we came back from winning championships, the rotations were really set. We had a deep roster, we had veteran rosters, we kind of knew exactly who was going to play and what combinations would form.

This is very different. It’s rare, I think, for a championship team to come back with a lot of young talent that has a chance to compete for playing time. I like that dynamic. I think competition is good. It brings the best out of everybody. I don’t even really have a rotation. I just look at it as we’ve got six guys who played integral roles in us winning the title. We know who they are. We know what they do. And then everybody else is ‘go’ time. It’s right there for you; you’ve just gotta go earn it.”

Kerr also touched on several other topics with Kawakami, including Jonathan Kuminga, James Wiseman, rookies Ryan Rollins and Patrick Baldwin Jr., tweaks to the coaching staff, and more. Regarding Kuminga, Kerr said the organization is pleased with his progress entering year two.

JK’s had a really good summer, he’s done everything we’ve asked of him. He’s traveled some, he played for his national team this summer. He’s been working really hard,” Kerr said. “I know there was that weird report that came out, I think Stephen A. Smith said something about JK. And honestly, Bob (Myers) and I, when that came out, we called each other and asked, ‘Where did that come from?’ Because it made no sense. JK’s been great, he’s done everything we’ve asked of him. He’s working hard. I enjoy coaching him. He’s right where he needs to be, and just gotta keep getting better every day.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Anthony Slater of The Athletic explores what Andre Iguodala‘s return means for the Warriors. Iguodala announced he was returning for his 19th and final season earlier today. In addition to being a locker room mentor for young players like Poole, Kuminga and Moses Moody, Iguodala also showed that he can still provide a lot of on-court value, even his minutes were limited due to nagging injuries. As Slater notes, Golden State was plus-114 in Iguodala’s 603 minutes last season.
  • In a separate story for The Athletic, Slater poses four roster questions entering training camp, including how Wiseman and Kuminga will work together. While both Wiseman and Kuminga have tantalizing potential, spacing might be an issue when they share the court, Slater writes.
  • If free agent addition JaMychal Green can fill the void left by Otto Porter Jr.‘s departure, that would be ideal for the Warriors, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area, who breaks down what fans can expect from JaMychal in 2022/23.

Warriors Notes: Training Camp, Wiseman, Poole, DiVincenzo

Speaking to the media today, head coach Steve Kerr said the Warriors expect to have a fully healthy roster for training camp, with their first practice coming on Saturday, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter links). Rookies Ryan Rollins and Patrick Baldwin Jr., who dealt with injuries this summer, will have no restrictions.

As Slater notes, it will be the first full training camp for third-year center James Wiseman, with his rookie camp disrupted by the pandemic, followed by last year’s injury-plagued season, which saw him miss all of 2021/22 after multiple knee surgeries and setbacks. Kerr said Wiseman has gained confidence in his knee and is healthy now.

He’s healthy. He’s played in a ton of pickup games in our building (the last month)…I think he’s got a lot of confidence in that knee now. That’s the first step. The next step is finding his role within this team,” Kerr said.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • President of basketball operations and general manager Bob Myers said he’ll meet with Jordan Poole‘s agents to discuss a rookie scale extension once the team returns from Tokyo in early October, according to Slater (via Twitter), who says it will be the “first substantial negotiations” about a potential deal. Golden State is playing a couple of preseason games against the Wizards in Japan on September 30 and October 1.
  • Regarding the possible extensions for Poole and other veterans on the roster like Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins, Myers said the price points will play a factor. “We want all those guys. Can we get them all? I don’t know. It depends on the money … we’re not at the point where we can make those decisions yet,” he said (Twitter link via Kendra Andrews of ESPN).
  • Guard Donte DiVincenzo, who signed with the Warriors as a free agent this summer, has hired a new agent. He’ll now be represented by Jason Glushon of Glushon Sports Management, tweets Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal.

Warriors Notes: Wiseman, J. Green, Kuminga, Baldwin

After missing all of last season because of injuries, Warriors center James Wiseman is “really starting to make some headway” since his return to action at the Las Vegas Summer League, a source tells C.J. Holmes of The San Francisco Chronicle. Wiseman averaged 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in four games while shooting 48.6% from the field, an encouraging performance following his long layoff.

Wiseman is focused on the aspects of his game that he needs to improve, Holmes’ source adds. The Warriors don’t know how much Wiseman will play this season or what lineups he will work best with, but they’re confident that he will eventually reach the potential that made him the No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft.

Kevon Looney‘s improvement takes some of the pressure of Wiseman to contribute immediately, Holmes notes, and whenever he’s on the court he will offer assets that are unique to Golden State’s big men, such as rim protection, floor spacing and his 6’11” size. Coach Steve Kerr counts on his centers to serve as the “control tower” for the defense, and Holmes points out that Wiseman has a long way to go to be ready for that duty.

Holmes offers some more inside information on the Warriors:

  • Management believes JaMychal Green, who signed with Golden State following a buyout with the Thunder, is a good fit because he has many of the same qualities as Draymond Green. The Warriors see his skill set as perfect for the team’s read-and-react style of play and believe he’s a better shooter than he gets credit for.
  • Golden State put Jonathan Kuminga in the unfamiliar role of running the offense and handling the ball on pick-and-rolls during Summer League. The coaches are trying to expand what he can do on offense to make him a more complete player. Kuminga is viewed as one of the team’s top perimeter defenders, and there is hope that he can eventually be effective as a center in small-ball lineups.
  • First-round pick Patrick Baldwin Jr. has been impressive in the brief time he has spent with the Warriors as he recovers from an ankle injury he suffered in college. Baldwin has displayed significant confidence and professionalism, and one staff member tells Holmes that he’s “shocked by what I’ve seen in an exciting way.”

Steve Kerr Happy With Warriors’ Offseason Moves

Two weeks after winning the NBA title, the Warriors were faced with decisions on how to replace three important members of the championship roster. With Gary Payton II, Otto Porter and Nemanja Bjelica leaving in free agency, the team targeted Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green to take their place. In an interview with Anthony Slater of The Athletic, coach Steve Kerr said both players are ideal matches for Golden State’s style.

“Donte is a perfect fit for the way we play,” Kerr said of the former Bucks and Kings guard. “The ball movement, the cutting. He’s a great cutter. He’s a really good spot-up shooter. He’s a good passer on the move. He’s not just a spot-up shooter. He’s a secondary playmaker. Pretty bouncy, but with a great feel for the game. He’s gonna fit right in.”

DiVencenzo committed to Golden State shortly after free agency began, while Green was persuaded to sign with the Warriors after initially planning to join another team. Kerr sees Green as a replacement for both Porter and Bjelica as he possesses elements of both of their games.

He’s capable of sort of playing either role, the four or the five,” Kerr said. “If he’s playing with Draymond (Green), he can stretch the floor and can guard the five, while Draymond guards the four. He gives us frontcourt flexibility. I have a lot of confidence he’ll shoot the ball well. Players generally shoot the ball better with us, I think. That’s not always true. But the space that Steph and Klay provide them along with Draymond’s passing. You saw it with Otto and Gary last year. I think JaMychal will love playing with our guys.”

Here are some other highlights of Kerr’s interview:

On the challenges the Warriors will face in defending a title, compared to last year when they were trying to prove they could still be contenders:

“I don’t know that it’s a bigger challenge because last year felt like a huge challenge going in. Last year felt more daunting because we’d had two lousy seasons in a row. This year feels different because we’re the defending champs. It feels like we’ve got our groove back. We’ll have Klay (Thompson) back for a full season. Our foundation in place. While we’re absolutely going to play a lot of young guys, we kind of have a core six, a foundational six players who are really the ones that make everything happen and will allow us to bring the young guys along.”

On larger roles, and perhaps even regular minutes, for young players Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman:

“All of them have shown really good signs . JK had a stretch last year where — I think it was March, early April — he played really well and started to get more comfortable. He didn’t get as much run in the playoffs, but that’s normal for a rookie, especially once we were fully healthy.

“Moses looks the part. He’s got a more advanced, well-rounded game than JK right now in terms of how it fits with the others. That 3-and-D position. He projects to be a part of things next year. He showed it in the playoffs against Dallas.

“Then James I actually think had some really good moments his rookie year. It gets lost in the shuffle because overall it was a struggle for our team and James had ups and downs. But you remember he had some really big games for us. As he continues to build momentum and gain confidence in his body and skills, I think he’ll help us.”

On the Warriors’ approach with Andre Iguodala, who has a roster spot waiting if he decides to return:

“I leave Andre alone. He knows where we stand. If he wants to come back, we’d love to have him. The one thing we feel strongly about with Andre is we want to give him whatever space and time he needs to make a decision. I’m leaving him alone. Whenever he makes his decision is fine with us.”

Warriors Notes: Kuminga, Wiseman, Wiggins, Mahlalela, Looney

There’s been speculation that the Warriors might consider moving some of their young talent to acquire another star, but Jonathan Kuminga hopes to play alongside fellow lottery pick James Wiseman for many years to come, writes Jarod Castillo of NBC Sports Bay Area. Kuminga discussed the possibility in a TV interview during Friday’s Summer League game (video link).

“Hopefully we play like that together for like the next 10 years, 15 years,” Kuminga said. “Just building our chemistry at a young age, it means a lot.”

Summer League is the only time that Kuminga, 19, and Wiseman, 21, have played together because Wiseman missed all of last season following knee surgery. They have been effective, combining for 30 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in Friday’s game, and they’ll likely both have larger roles next season because Golden State has lost five players in free agency.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • A Western Conference executive tells Sean Deveney of Heavy.com that Andrew Wiggins might become too expensive for Golden State to keep in the long run. The unidentified executive expects the Warriors to engage in extension talks with Wiggins and then eventually explore their trade options after he has a new deal in place.
  • Assistant coach Jama Mahlalela, who was promoted to replace Mike Brown on the front of the Warriors’ bench, had a huge impact in his first year with the club, notes Shayna Rubin of The San Jose Mercury News. Mahlalela came to Golden State from Toronto and was given credit for helping Wiggins and Gary Payton II become important parts of the title-winning team. “He’s very forward-thinking,” owner Joe Lacob said. “He’s not reactive, he’s proactive about things. I don’t want to say we’ve never had somebody like that, but he’s a different breed from any coach we’ve had.”
  • Kevon Looney‘s new contract will become fully guaranteed for the 2024/25 season if the Warriors capture another championship in 2023 or 2024, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv. After a strong playoff run, Looney signed a three-year deal to stay with Golden State, but the final season only carries a $3MM guarantee on his $8MM salary.

Kevin Durant Rumors: Price Tag, Raptors, Pelicans, Warriors

Reporting from the Las Vegas Summer League, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype says there’s skepticism among league insiders that a Kevin Durant trade will happen anytime soon, and a sense that the situation could linger into training camp.

According to Scotto, five executives he spoke to in Vegas felt as if Minnesota overpaid to acquire Rudy Gobert and increased the Nets‘ asking price for Durant in the process, creating a larger gap between what Brooklyn wants and what potential suitors are willing to give up. One GM told Scotto that he believes Durant is worth “a James Harden-type package.” It’s unclear if that’s a reference to the price paid for Harden by the Nets or the 76ers.

Scotto suggests it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Nets hang onto Durant for a while and wait for a “Godfather offer.” If that offer doesn’t come, the Nets may hope the former MVP changes his mind about wanting a trade and is satisfied to remain in Brooklyn at least for the time being.

Here’s more on the Durant market from Scotto:

  • The Raptors are still “hesitant” to include Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes in any offer for Durant, league sources tell HoopsHype. Scotto speculates that a package centered around Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr. could be Toronto’s starting point, but notes that the Nets would want more. Scotto is unsure how willing the Raptors are to put OG Anunoby in a package for Durant.
  • According to Scotto, multiple executives are skeptical that the Pelicans will make a strong push for Durant instead of seeing how a healthy Zion Williamson meshes with the promising roster that made the playoffs in 2021/22. Scotto adds that some execs also believe Durant wouldn’t want to be dealt to New Orleans.
  • The Warriors wouldn’t be inclined to give up all of their promising young players – Jordan Poole, James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and Moses Moody – in a trade for Durant, says Scotto.
  • According to Scotto, some rival executives think the Spurs and Pacers are preserving their remaining cap room to see if they can be a salary-dumping ground in a multi-team Durant trade, netting draft assets in the process.

Pacific Notes: Moody, Kuminga, Wainright, Sabonis

The departures of Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr. open up playing time for Warriors guard Moses Moody. He could have a 20-minute role as the eighth or ninth man in the rotation if all goes well, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes.

“Try to make myself beneficial,” Moody said of his goals. “Make it to the point where if I’m getting into the game, it’s not because someone likes me. It’s not doing me a favor. I want to be needed. I want you to think ‘I need Moses on the floor.’ That’s on me. I’ve got to make that the scenario.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Moody, James Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga are all showing signs of rewarding the Warriors’ patience in them during Summer League play, according to Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. Kuminga, in particular, sparkled at the end of the Warriors’ one-point win over the Spurs on Sunday, with eight points and an assist in the last four minutes as well as making defensive plays.
  • Free agent Ish Wainright is hopeful of re-signing with the Suns, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports tweets. The undrafted Wainwright appeared in 45 regular season games last season. He had his two-way contract converted into a standard end-of-the-season-deal during the waning days of the season. “Everybody knows I want to be back,” said Wainwright, who is playing Summer League games with the Suns. “It’s out of my hands.”
  • Domantas Sabonis is happy with the Kings’ moves during the offseason, as he told James Boyd of the Indianap0lis Star. “We’re doing the right things,” he said. “We’ve got a coaching staff that is motivated to get us better and put us in the right direction. We made some good add-ons in free agency (signing Malik Monk and trading for Kevin Huerter), and we still have some time left, so I’m just excited.”

Pacific Notes: Biyombo, Wiseman, Haliburton, Vezenkov

According to Suns center Bismack Biyombo, “winning teams” showed interest in him in free agency and he potentially could’ve made more money elsewhere, but he’s comfortable in Phoenix and believes the team’s system allows him to “excel,” writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

Biyombo also said that he’s looking forward to being a Sun from day one this season after joining the team midway through the 2021/22 campaign.

“All the structure was set, and you’re kind of catching a rhythm of a team and trying to join the dance,” Biyombo said. “I think it’s always good to start the dance at the beginning, which is training camp. Have a better understanding of the team.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Warriors center James Wiseman looked good in his return to the court on Sunday in Las Vegas, scoring 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and blocking a couple shots in 19 minutes, writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. It’s an encouraging first step for the former No. 2 overall pick, who missed the entire 2021/22 season due to a knee injury. “Walking into the locker room after the game and all the players cheering for him I think he can kind of (say), ‘Ah, I can breathe again,'” Warriors Summer League coach Jama Mahlalela told ESPN. “Every conversation I have with him is, ‘I am so proud of you but now the real work begins.'”
  • Now a member of the Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton says he still has love for Sacramento, despite unexpectedly being traded to Indiana prior to the 2022 deadline. Haliburton told Sean Cunningham of Fox 40 in Sacramento (video link) that his feelings toward the Kings organization and Kings fans are “completely different” from one another.
  • After having his NBA rights acquired by the Kings in June, Olympiacos forward Sasha Vezenkov had reportedly planned to meet with the team in Las Vegas this month. However, Vezenkov isn’t traveling stateside after all, according to Vangelis Ioannou of Eurohoops.net, and he recently made comments hinting he may remain in Greece for the 2022/23 season, per Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops.net. Vezenkov has an NBA opt-out deadline of July 20 in his deal with Olympiacos, so he’ll have another nine days to see if he and the Kings can work out a deal. Sacramento has a small portion of its mid-level exception available to offer the 26-year-old more than two years, or could dip into its bi-annual exception to offer a two-year deal worth more than the rookie minimum.

James Wiseman Cleared To Play In Summer League

After sitting out the entire 2021/22 season in the wake of meniscus surgery, Warriors center James Wiseman will return to the court Sunday for a Summer League contest against the Spurs, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

Slater adds that Saturday’s practice was the final hurdle for Wiseman, who hasn’t participated in an NBA game since April of 2021. Wiseman played in three G League contests in March, but he was shut down again after experiencing swelling in his knee.

Wiseman is thrilled to be able to return, telling Madeline Kenney of The East Bay Times“I cannot wait to go out there and just play the game of basketball again.”

The Warriors have been preparing Wiseman for a Summer League comeback for several weeks, Kenney states. His practice routine has alternated between 5-on-5 games and lighter workouts over the past few days. The training staff has been closely watching how Wiseman has responded to drills designed to improve his conditioning.

“Part of his growth, he’s got to get his wind back. You have to almost just blow it out and get him super fatigued, it’s really the only way to push him to the next level,” said assistant Jama Mahlalela, who’s serving as the team’s head coach in Las Vegas.

Wiseman, the No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft, played just 39 games as a rookie before suffering the meniscus injury. He was projected to be ready for training camp last September, but suffered setbacks that prevented him from playing. He has gone through two more procedures since then, Kenney adds, including an orthobiologic injection.