Jonathan Kuminga

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Green, AD, Lakers, Clippers

Chris Mannix and Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated debate how long the Warriors should hold onto their young talent. Both writers believe that former lottery picks James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody have the potential to be quality players down the road, but none are contributing much right now, and the bench has been a disaster after letting several players walk in free agency.

Mannix and Beck are confident that Jordan Poole will turn things around after a slow start, but if the bench continues to struggle into 2023, they’d start seriously considering making changes. SI’s duo believe the front office owes it to Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson to maximize their chances of winning another title.

Here are a few more notes from the Pacific:

  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr recently made an adjustment to the rotation that seems to have stabilized the non-Curry minutes, with Green and Andrew Wiggins playing alongside three reserves in Poole, Donte DiVincenzo and Anthony Lamb. Anthony Slater of The Athletic examines the potential impact of the switch. “What am I doing?” Green said. “Number one, just trying to slow the unit down. That unit should not play as fast as the first unit. It should be more methodical. It should be more sets. It should be more patterned movements as opposed to random movements and random offense. I think, for me, it’s just trying to slow that unit down and then, number two, most importantly, make sure that unit is defending.”
  • Anthony Davis has been absolutely dominant for the Lakers over the past four games, averaging 35.5 PPG, 18.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.3 SPG and 2.5 BPG while shooting 62.3% from the floor and 92.0% from the charity stripe. Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group wonders if Davis’ stellar two-way play will make the front office more willing to deal away the team’s two available future first-round picks (2027 and 2029) to build around the 29-year-old, since Goon thinks that’s a more compelling reason to go all-in when compared to giving LeBron James the best chance to reach the playoffs at the end of his career.
  • Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue is preaching patience to reserves John Wall and Robert Covington, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Wall has been frustrated by having to sit out back-to-backs because he feels fully healthy, but Lue noted that the veteran sat out all of last season, so the team is being cautious. As for Covington, he’s averaging his fewest minutes (13.8) since his rookie season back in ’13/14. “It’s a long season and we have so much talent and so much depth that I know it’s going to be times when people going to play and some people not,” Covington said. “I knew what was coming and knew what to expect at times. I’m not the type of person that’s going to complain about too much, I’m going to sit up there and call and be there ready when my number’s called.”
  • Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard (ankle) and Paul George (hamstring) have been ruled out for Friday’s contest against the Nuggets, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. There’s no timetable for either player to return.

Multi-Team Deal Possible For Jae Crowder

Several teams have expressed interest in Suns forward Jae Crowder and there’s speculation that a trade could get done soon, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. Crowder, who had been a starter during his first two years in Phoenix, is working out on his own while he waits for a deal to be completed.

The Bucks, Hawks and Warriors are among the most prominent suitors for Crowder, sources tell Pincus, and an unidentified executive believes the final version of the deal could include as many as five teams.

Pincus hears that Milwaukee has offered Grayson Allen for Crowder, while Atlanta is willing to part with some combination of Bogdan Bogdanovic, Justin Holiday and John Collins. The Suns don’t have any immediate interest in either of those offers, Pincus adds.

As reported earlier today by Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the Rockets could play an important role in a multi-team deal. Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports stated last week that Phoenix had interest in Kenyon Martin Jr., and Pincus speculates that veteran guard Eric Gordon could also be included in a trade that sends Crowder and Dario Saric to another team. Pincus hears that Houston would want “real value” to get involved, whether it’s in the form of young talent or draft assets.

The Warriors could be a team to watch in the Crowder sweepstakes if they’ve become more willing to unload some of their young players after an 8-10 start, Pincus writes. Golden State’s defense has regressed after losing Gary Payton II and Otto Porter in free agency, and Crowder is the type of multi-positional defender who could fix those issues.

The Warriors also need help with rebounding after falling from seventh to 25th in the league in that category, and rival executives expect them to target another big man as well as a defensive wing. Pincus cites Myles Turner and Jakob Poeltl as possibilities, though the Pacers may decide to keep Turner after their strong start. The Spurs are limited to less than $13MM as the starting point for an extension offer to Poeltl, and the team may be inclined to trade him rather than risk losing him in free agency.

Golden State would have to send out nearly $16MM in salary to acquire both Crowder and Poeltl, but it’s limited in what it can offer until Donte DiVincenzo, JaMychal Green, Andre Iguodala and Kevon Looney become trade-eligible later this season.

Pincus offers a sample trade in which send the Warriors send James Wiseman and Ryan Rollins to the Spurs, while the Rockets get Jonathan Kuminga from Golden State and Saric from Phoenix. Another Pincus suggestion has the Warriors keeping Kuminga while shipping Moses Moody and either Patrick Baldwin or Rollins to the Rockets, while San Antonio gets Baldwin or Rollins along with Wiseman.

Warriors Notes: Looney, Wiseman, J. Green, Poole, Thompson

While Jordan Poole is the most obvious recent example of a Warriors player who benefited from a stint in the G League before breaking out at the NBA level, Anthony Slater of The Athletic believes Kevon Looney may be a better point of comparison for James Wiseman, who is headed to the Santa Cruz Warriors on Tuesday.

As Slater writes, Looney spent time in the G League in each of his first three NBA seasons, including a stint in his second year after he had been pulled from the team’s rotation. Looney has since evolved into one of Golden State’s most dependable and trusted veterans, but admits he wasn’t thrilled by the assignment at the time, and he knows it may not be easy for Wiseman to take his own G League assignment in stride.

“It’s really difficult,” Looney said. “Especially when you’re a high pick. You got all these expectations. You’re coming off injury. You want to prove yourself to all the doubters. You see all your peers doing well, everyone talking about how good they are and you feel like you’re just as good and things aren’t coming as fast. It makes it frustrating.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • According to Slater, JaMychal Green, Jonathan Kuminga, and Anthony Lamb are likely to remain in Golden State’s rotation with Wiseman in Santa Cruz. Head coach Steve Kerr said after Monday’s win that he hasn’t done Green “any favors” by how he has used him so far (video link via Slater). Kerr now believes Green is best suited to be a backup center, rather than a power forward, and believes Green’s ability to space the floor will help create room for Poole to operate.
  • After pouring in 36 points on Monday, Poole is now averaging 28.7 PPG on .475/.394/.944 shooting in three starts this season, compared to 13.9 PPG (.421/.323/.765 shooting) in 11 games off the bench. Kerr said on Monday that things come easier for Poole when an opponent’s top defender is focused on Stephen Curry and he can utilize screens set by Looney and Draymond Green (Twitter link via Kendra Andrews of ESPN). However, as he said last week, Kerr stressed that he’s not considering moving Poole into the starting five on a full-time basis.
  • In a conversation with Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, Klay Thompson expressed some frustration that helping lead the Warriors to four titles and returning from two major leg injuries hasn’t earned him more leeway from critics as he works through an extended slump. The veteran sharpshooter remains confident that he both he and the Warriors will find their stride sooner or later. “I’m happy to go through this now compared to a few months from now,” Thompson said. “No need to panic. We’re like 14 games in. It’s a long season. We face a challenge of going back-to-back, which is incredibly difficult. And then trying to integrate the new guys. It’s going to take time but we’ll figure it out.”

Warriors Notes: Young Players, J. Green, DiVincenzo, Thompson

The Warriors‘ two-timeline plan of mixing young players with their established stars isn’t working, writes Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. The latest example came Sunday against the Kings when coach Steve Kerr had to pull his reserves midway through the fourth quarter and reinsert Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.

“We’re not a team right now where we can afford to let guys make mistakes,” Kerr said after the loss, which dropped Golden State to 0-7 on the road. “We’re not good enough to withstand a lot of mistakes.”

Third-year center James Wiseman, whom the Warriors valued highly enough to take with the second pick in the 2020 draft, has already fallen out of the rotation. Moses Moody hasn’t played at all the past two games, and his fellow 2021 lottery pick, Jonathan Kuminga, is seeing minimal time, usually early in the game. Even Jordan Poole, who received a lucrative long-term contract extension last month, sat out nearly the entire fourth quarter against Sacramento.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Another problem for Golden State is that offseason additions JaMychal Green and Donte DiVincenzo haven’t replaced the production lost when Otto Porter Jr., Gary Payton II and Nemanja Bjelica all departed, Thompson adds. Green has lost his rotation spot, while DiVincenzo is coming off an injury and hasn’t been as productive as the front office was hoping. Thompson notes that Damion Lee and Juan Toscano-Anderson would both be seeing regular playing time if they hadn’t also left in free agency.
  • Draymond Green believes the Warriors are still adjusting to their reserves (video link from Anthony Slater of The Athletic). The second unit used to present opponents with a different look on offense, Green said, but now the first man off the bench is usually Poole, who is similar to Stephen Curry in his style of play.
  • Klay Thompson has been struggling with his shot so far, but he promises things are going to change, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. After Sunday’s loss, Thompson posted a message on Instagram that read, “My belief is stronger than your doubt. I PROMISE you it’s coming. And when it does, the floodgates will open.” His shooting percentage currently sits at a career-low 35.1%.

Pacific Notes: Kawhi, Crowder, Poole, Thompson, Warriors

Clippers star Kawhi Leonard, who has been out of action since October 23 due to right knee soreness, took part in a five-on-five workout on Friday for the first time since he has been sidelined, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Leonard won’t be available on Saturday when the Clippers host the Nets, but head coach Tyronn Lue said he is encouraged by the forward’s progress.

“The first time he was able to get on the floor and play five-on-five and he looked pretty good,” Lue said. “Still have a ways to go, but that was the first sign of positivity of him getting on the floor, playing five-on-five.”

As Youngmisuk relays, Lue said that Leonard will need a “few more (workout) opportunities” before the team is comfortable clearing him. The Clippers’ head coach also said he’s not sure whether the former NBA Finals MVP will continue to come off the bench when he returns, like he did in his first two games of the season.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Since Cameron Johnson went down with his knee injury, the Suns have made an effort to reopen some old Jae Crowder trade talks, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst stated in the most recent episode of his Hoop Collective podcast (hat tip to RealGM). Like Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, Windhorst and his ESPN colleague Tim Bontemps have both heard that there’s no indication the Suns and Crowder will mend fences and have the veteran forward report to the team.
  • Moving Jordan Poole into the starting lineup in place of Klay Thompson isn’t something the Warriors will consider to jump-start their struggling bench, head coach Steve Kerr said during an appearance on Damon & Ratto on 95.7 The Game (YouTube link). “No, that’s not something I’ve given any thought to,” Kerr said. “Jordan and Klay are very different players. Jordan’s more on the ball, Klay’s off the ball. … Klay is a starter. That five-man (starting) unit is the very best unit in the league.”
  • While it’s a good thing that Warriors two-way players Anthony Lamb and Ty Jerome can be counted on to play regular roles, it’s not a great sign that they’ve already earned more trust from Kerr than the team’s young prospects, according to Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area, who considers whether Golden State’s plan to develop three youngsters (James Wiseman, Moses Moody, and Jonathan Kuminga) while trying to contend is flawed.

Warriors Notes: Myers, Trade Market, Green, Wiseman

Speaking to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic about the Warriors‘ underwhelming 4-7 start to the season, head of basketball operations Bob Myers repeatedly stated that he’s not worried about the team’s ability to turn things around and dismissed the idea that Draymond Green punching Jordan Poole during a training camp practice has messed up the club’s chemistry.

“I don’t think anybody’s playing at their best, maybe besides (Stephen) Curry,” Myers said. “Draymond’s been pretty good. But everybody else has a lot more upside than they’ve shown, whether it’s the bench or Poole or obviously Klay (Thompson)‘s going to be better. So there’s that part. And there’s the combinations of the bench and kind of revitalizing the energy to get back on track. (Monday) was the beginning of it, and hopefully, we can continue. But yeah, rough start for sure. Sometimes it’s tough to get out of those.”

Asked about James Wiseman‘s early struggles and the fact that the Warriors’ two-way players are seeing more action than former lottery picks like Wiseman, Moses Moody, and Jonathan Kuminga, Myers stressed that it’s a “really long season” and that the rotations now won’t necessarily look like the ones the club is using in a few months or even a few weeks. He also spoke specifically about why he’s not concerned about Wiseman.

“I would say that James needs to play. And (head coach) Steve (Kerr)‘s trying to figure out how to do that,” Myers said. “We’ve seen the growth over the last few months, preseason, start of the season, then he hit a little rut the last few games. But we’re not ready to get super-concerned. We just think he needs to play. Steve believes in him; we believe in him.

“… I think a lot of people want to rush it. I’m sure James wants to rush it. We all want it to happen right away. But he has the talent, he has the desire, he has the work ethic. He’s a good kid. I would be more concerned if I thought he wasn’t putting in the work outside of the games. But he is. And he cares. And it’s just going to have to run its course.”

Here’s more on the defending champions:

  • Within a look at Golden State’s slow start, Tim Bontemps of ESPN wonders if the team might ultimately pivot to the trade market at some point in an effort to upgrade its bench. However, Bontemps admits it’s hard to envision the Warriors moving away from young players like Wiseman, Moody, and Kuminga this season, given how much time and energy they’ve spent developing them.
  • For what it’s worth, Myers was asked about possible trades during his conversation with Kawakami and said the Warriors are “always open to anything,” but that there’s no urgency to make any roster changes. “We’re not going to overreact to this start,” Myers said. “We’re going to see how we move through it. But we view ourselves as contenders. There’s no secret there. And we’ll look at the roster as we move ahead. But at this point, it’s way too early to kind of make any proclamations about what we’re going to do.”
  • After JaMychal Green and Wiseman were DNP-CDs in Monday’s victory over Sacramento, Kerr said both players will get the opportunity to work their way back into the rotation, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN. However, for now, Kerr intends to lean on smaller lineups, with Draymond Green and Kuminga serving as backup centers for Kevon Looney.
  • Curry, who practically single-handedly led the Warriors to Monday’s win with 47 points, said he’s prepared for some ups and downs this season as the team gets its young prospects the necessary reps. “We have to understand that (the young players) are all going to get an opportunity to perform, and there are going to be some struggles — some real high highs, and some real low lows,” Curry said, according to Andrews. “That’s the story of this team. As vets, you understand every year is a little different and you are ready for that challenge. For these young guys to try to find themselves in this league and also a specific role, it’s challenging.”

Warriors Notes: Losing Streak, Kuminga, Kerr, Howard

The Warriors are thankful to return to home after going 0-5 on what Klay Thompson called a “road trip from hell,” writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. The defending champs are frustrated to be 3-7 — and winless on the road at 0-6 — but they believe they’re close to a turnaround. Coach Steve Kerr pointed to a 2-9 stretch last February and March, noting that even the league’s best teams run into adversity.

“There are times in the NBA season when things can go off the rails a little bit,” Kerr said. “A big part of being a great team, being a solid organization, is just understanding how to work through that.”

Kerr is placing an emphasis on boxing out and defending without fouling, two areas of concern that have cost the team in close games. Transition defense, where Golden State led the league last season, also needs improvement as the Warriors are 25th in points per shot allowed in transition and 23rd in field goal percentage allowed in transition.

“We just need to bring more of a sense of urgency,” Thompson said. “We had a long run last year, but 2022 is over. It’s time to kick into high gear and play that championship level of basketball that we’re used to. I fully expect us to do that. We know how good we are in this building. So I think we’re going to be off to a fresh start.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Jonathan Kuminga has been promoted to a rotation role after scoring 18 points in 38 minutes Friday night, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Kerr has been giving frontcourt minutes to James Wiseman and newcomer JaMychal Green, but it appears Kuminga is now the priority.
  • The Warriors are in the unusual position of trying to develop several young players while defending a title, Slater adds. Kerr talked about the difficult adjustment to the NBA now that players are spending less time in college. “What’s changed is we are now doing the work that college coaches were doing back then,” Kerr said. “But you don’t have the advantage of allowing a guy’s confidence to grow playing against inferior competition. You’re throwing him right into the deep end. It’s sink or swim for a lot of these guys. I don’t blame anyone for taking the money. It’s a lot of money. If a guy doesn’t come out and gets injured and has thrown $10 or $15 million away, how do you reconcile that? So it’s a really difficult situation. But I’d say for the league now and these players coming in, it’s not at all an ideal setup for success.”
  • Free agent center Dwight Howard said he would be a perfect fit for the Warriors during a recent appearance on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast. Howard said Golden State needs another center and he would welcome the opportunity to serve as a mentor for Wiseman.

Pacific Notes: DiVincenzo, Kuminga, George, Johnson, Craig

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said on Sunday that injured wing Donte DiVincenzo practiced with the club today, but is not set to return to the floor just yet, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link). Golden State is targeting its Friday game for a DiVincenzo return, Andrews reports.

Andrews adds (via Twitter) that second-year swingman Jonathan Kuminga is going to join the Warriors’ revised rotation as the defending champs look to rebound from a five-game losing streak that has sunk their early record to 3-7. Andrews notes that Kerr has indicated he will be making other tweaks to the club’s lineups, but did not expound on that.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • With starting Suns power forward Cameron Johnson now out for a while following meniscus surgery, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports examines how his extended absence could impact the rest of the club’s roster. With Phoenix reserve Torrey Craig shifted into the starting lineup, Bourguet contends that the Suns could struggle thanks to a shortened bench and the loss of three-point shooting that arrives in the transition from Johnson to Craig. While Craig is connecting on 40.9% of his triples, he is taking just 2.4 attempts a game. Johnson was nailing 43.1% of his treys on a much more robust 6.4 looks a night.
  • Craig performed well as head coach Monty Williams‘s choice to replace Johnson in the Suns‘ starting lineup, and appears to be in line for a big uptick in the weeks to come with Johnson out, according to Dana Scott of The Arizona Republic. “It’s been good,” Williams said of Craig’s performance. “He’s been thrown into a number of situations with us and I thought his energy [in the team’s 102-82 blowout of the Trail Blazers Saturday] was great.”
  • Clippers All-Star forward Paul George has stepped up in the absence of injured fellow All-Star Kawhi Leonard, writes Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. Leonard has only been able to suit up for two games thus far as he deals with right knee stiffness. In three straight Leonard-less wins, George has averaged 31.2 PPG, 6.1 APG and 5.0 RPG.

Warriors Notes: Poole, Kuminga, Rotation, Thompson, Santos

The Warriors need Jordan Poole to play better after a “wildly inconsistent” start to the 2022/23 campaign, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. As Monte Poole notes, Jordan has recorded more turnovers (14) than assists (13) over the past three games during Golden State’s current five-game losing streak.

He’s trying too hard,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “Jordan is trying too hard to create every play. He’s at his best when there’s a flow to the game, he’s playing on and off the ball, getting some catch-and-shoot opportunities.”

According to Monte Poole, Jordan Poole is the key to fixing the second unit’s struggles, because he’s the group’s primary ball-handler and scorer.

Here’s more on the defending champions:

  • After losing to the Pelicans Friday night, the Warriors now sit with a 3-7 record. They’re the first defending champion to start 0-6 on the road in NBA history, per ESPN’s Kendra Andrews. Second-year forward Jonathan Kuminga played a career-high 38 minutes in the loss, and Kerr acknowledged his performance after the game. “It was apparent who really played tonight. [Kuminga] played really well,” Kerr said. “He’s earned some minutes … He showed tonight that he’s ready to step into the rotation and contribute. But that has to be every night … be able to play through the tough nights when maybe the minutes aren’t there.”
  • As Andrews relays in the same article, Kerr also marked Anthony Lamb, Ty Jerome and Moses Moody as noteworthy performers who could be in line for more rotation minutes. Lamb and Jerome are both on two-way contracts, while Moody was the 14th pick of last year’s draft.
  • On October 30, Kerr stated that Klay Thompson would be held out of one end of back-to-backs as he works on his conditioning, but it wouldn’t be for the full season like in ’21/22. However, apparently he’s changed his mind about that. “Klay may not play in a back-to-back all year. He didn’t last year because of two straight season-ending injuries,” Kerr said, per Andrews (Twitter link).
  • Gui Santos, a second-round pick in June’s draft (55th overall), is on the Santa Cruz Warriors’ roster to start the G League season, which means he signed an NBAGL contract. It’s essentially as though he’s a draft-and-stash prospect because the Warriors still hold his NBA rights, but having him play in the G league allows the Warriors to get a closer look at — and have a more hands-on approach to — the Brazilian forward’s development.

Warriors Exercise 2023/24 Options On Wiseman, Kuminga, Moody

2:50pm: The options have been officially picked up, the Warriors announced (via Twitter).

12:29pm: The Warriors are exercising their 2023/24 rookie scale options on center James Wiseman, forward Jonathan Kuminga and wing Moses Moody, sources tell ESPN’s Kendra Andrews (Twitter link).

All three players will have their contracts for next season fully guaranteed. Wiseman will earn $12,119,440 in year four, while Kuminga and Moody are set to make $6,012,840 and $3,918,480, respectively, in year three.

Wiseman, the second pick of the 2020 draft, has been limited to 46 career games due to a series of knee injuries and setbacks, but he’s back and healthy again to start the ’22/23 season, averaging 8.7 points and 4.4 rebounds through seven games (14.6 minutes per contest). The 21-year-old will be eligible for a rookie scale extension next summer after having his fourth-year option picked up.

Following a promising rookie year that saw him average 9.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 70 games (16.9 minutes), Kuminga has struggled to gain traction early in his second season, averaging just 2.7 points and 1.8 rebounds in six games (10.8 minutes). Still, the seventh pick of last year’s draft just turned 20 years old earlier this month, so he has a lot of time to improve.

Moody played less as a rookie compared to Kuminga last season, appearing in 52 regular season games (11.7 minutes), but he’s playing more in year two, averaging 6.4 points and 2.4 rebounds while shooting 36% from deep through seven games (17.0 minutes). Moody was the 14th pick in 2021.

Today is the deadline for teams to exercise ’23/24 rookie scale team options. As our tracker shows, the defending champions were the last team with decisions to make.