Klay Thompson

Pacific Notes: Klay, Warriors, Fox, Clippers

After appearing in five consecutive NBA Finals and winning three of them, the Warriors fell off hard this season, entering the hiatus with the league’s worst record. Klay Thompson, one of the injured stars whose absence contributed to Golden State’s drop-off, has spent the year recovering from an ACL tear and was frustrated by his inability to help the team.

In a short documentary called ‘Above The Waves,’ which details Thompson’s rehab process, the veteran sharpshooter said he’s looking forward to proving the Warriors’ dynasty isn’t over yet, as Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area relays.

“It just kills me inside when I see these other teams, so many talking heads, and some of my peers saying, ‘The dynasty is over, they had a great run,'” the Warriors star said in the doc. “I have so much more to give this game, but patience definitely builds character. You don’t have to prove anything anymore, you know? You have three championships. Multiple All-Star appearances. … I’ll just be that eager to prove everyone wrong again.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Former fifth overall pick De’Aaron Fox will be eligible for a rookie scale extension when the 2020/21 league year begins. James Ham of NBC Sports California explores how much more room Fox has to improve and whether he’s worth a maximum-salary extension offer, ultimately predicting that a five-year max deal seems likely for the rising Kings star.
  • Following the completion of the sale of The Forum to a group led by Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, a lengthy legal battle over the team’s plan to build an arena in Inglewood has come to an end, writes Nathan Fenno of The Los Angeles Times. The Madison Square Garden Co., the former owner of The Forum, had filed or backed several lawsuits opposing the arena proposal, but paperwork was filed this week to dismiss those suits as part of the sale agreement, clearing the way for the Clippers to move forward with their Inglewood plans.
  • In case you missed it, the Kings are aiming to reopen their practice facility on Monday, May 11, while the Lakers are said to be targeting Saturday, May 16 to reopen their building.

Pacific Notes: Suns, Michineau, Kobe, Klay

Suns team officials have said that they’re preparing to host voluntary individual workouts at their facilities no earlier than May 16, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. The NBA announced last week that teams may be permitted to reopen practice facilities beginning on May 8, but Arizona’s stay-at-home order will run through at least May 15.

Resuming workouts and potentially playing again this season is a little more complicated for the Suns than for most teams, since the team’s Talking Stick Resort Arena is undergoing renovations and its new practice facility is under construction. As Rankin details, the team is prepared to use its old arena, the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, for workouts — and for games, if the season can be resumed this summer.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Clippers draft-and-stash prospect David Michineau, the 39th overall pick in the 2016 draft, has signed an extension through 2023 with French team Metropolitans 92, the club announced in a press release (hat tip to Sportando).
  • In the wake of Kobe Bryant‘s appearance in Sunday’s episodes of The Last Dance, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne of ESPN takes a closer look at the friendship between Michael Jordan and the late Lakers star.
  • Speaking of sports documentaries, Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson will be the subject of a short film that goes behind-the-scenes on his recovery from last spring’s ACL tear, as Alex Didion of NBC Sports Bay Area notes.
  • In case you missed it last week, we previewed the Lakers‘ and Clippers‘ salary cap outlook for 2020/21 and passed along word that the NBA’s four California teams are lobbying the state in the hopes of reopening their practice facilities later this month.

Klay Thompson Still Waiting For Medical Clearance

Lakers broadcaster Mychal Thompson offers some insight into the status of his son, Warriors guard Klay Thompson, in an interview with Mark Medina of USA Today.

Klay hasn’t played since suffering a torn ACL in his left knee during last year’s NBA Finals. Golden State cleared him for light shooting drills before the hiatus, but he’s not expected to return to action this season no matter when the shutdown ends.

“He’s walking around fine,” Mychal said. “… He has to get that clearance from his doctors and the Warriors. They haven’t talked about that yet.” 

Klay’s recovery is complicated by the league-wide shutdown of team facilities, even though some teams will be permitted to reopen as soon as Friday. Injured players throughout the NBA have been forced to do rehab work by themselves while they wait for the situation to be resolved.

“He’s frustrated he can’t work out with his teammates,” Mychal said. “He just works out on his own like everybody else. He can’t work out with other guys in groups. You have to find a place to shoot on your own and do your own exercises. These guys know what to do. You run your sprints alone and can find an empty gym. Get a key to an empty gym and go shoot. All of these guys have connections to a gym.”

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Paul, Draft, Oubre, Kaminsky

The Warriors‘ dynasty almost didn’t happen. Golden State was looking for an All-Star back in 2011 and the franchise offered Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to New Orleans in exchange for Chris Paul, Ethan Strauss writes in The Victory Machine (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports).

Paul, whose contract expired at the end of that season, reportedly told the Warriors that he would not re-sign with them, which nixed the negotiations. Paul was later dealt to the Lakers in a trade that was vetoed. He ultimately ended up on the Clippers via another trade.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • If the NBA doesn’t resume, the Warriors are guaranteed a top-five pick and Anthony Slater of The Athletic examines the team’s options with that selection. As Slater details, trading it away for a proven vet is worth exploring, especially if there are no surefire prospects in the draft, as some believe.
  • Trading down is an option for the Warriors in the draft and Slater (in the same piece) proposes a fun hypothetical deal that sends Kelly Oubre and the Suns‘ pick (projected to be No. 10) to the Warriors for their top-five pick. Oubre would fit in nicely with the team’s core and his salary would fit into the team’s $17.2MM trade exception.
  • Suns GM James Jones said that Oubre, who underwent meniscus surgery back in February, and Frank Kaminsky, who was dealing with a patella stress fracture, have both medically healed, Gina Mizell of The Athletic tweets. Both have “kind of pressed the pause button” though, as they can’t participate in traditional sports rehab.

Western Notes: Ball, Brunson, Mitchell, Klay

Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball has parted ways with Creative Artists Agency, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Melissa Rohlin of SI.com had reported earlier in the month that Ball was leaving CAA.

Ball originally cut ties with agent Harrison Gaines and joined CAA in April 2019, so he ended up spending less than a year with the agency. It’s not clear why he has opted for another change — it’s possible that the departure of veteran CAA agent Leon Rose for a role with the Knicks played a part in Ball’s decision, though the Pelicans guard was reportedly represented by Steven Heumann and Aaron Mintz.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson underwent shoulder surgery shortly after the league suspended its season earlier this month. Although Brunson may have a few months to recover, head coach Rick Carlisle said the 23-year-old won’t play again this season, even if the 2019/20 campaign runs well into the summer, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).
  • Within a Jazz mailbag, Tony Jones of The Athletic expresses confidence that Donovan Mitchell will sign a maximum-salary rookie scale extension before the 2020/21 season begins. Mitchell, who will be extension-eligible for the first time this offseason, would become a restricted free agent in 2021 if he doesn’t re-up with Utah before then.
  • During an appearance on Dell and Sonya Curry’s podcast Raising Fame, Klay Thompson‘s father Mychal Thompson talked about the respect that his son has for Warriors teammate Stephen Curry, as Josh Shrock of NBC Sports Bay Area relays. “He has said it to me in private that he loves playing with Steph and he wants to retire as a Warrior after another 10 years,” the elder Thompson said.

Warriors Notes: Coronavirus, Thompson, TPE

Unlike a handful of other NBA teams, the Warriors haven’t had any of their players tested for the coronavirus, as Mark Medina of USA Today writes. The franchise hasn’t had any players show symptoms of COVID-19 and is wary of the fact that tests aren’t widely available to the general public at this time.

“We’ve been told that testing’s in short supply,” Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers said on Tuesday. “We’re treating ourselves like people, which is what we are. We’re not better than anybody. We’re not worse. We’re just a basketball team, like any company. Right now, we’re not interacting with anybody. I’ve been told by our doctors that we shouldn’t be testing asymptomatic people in California.”

With the city of San Francisco advising people to stay at home except for essential needs, the Warriors’ facility is closed for workout purposes, but the team has remained in daily communication with its players, and is prepared to take action if players start showing symptoms. For now though, that hasn’t been the case.

“Every team’s responsibility is to check in with their players each day and staff members or anybody for that matter, even me, to report symptoms,” Myers said, per Medina. “So we’re doing that. But outside of that, we’re not mandating, nor do I think we should be at this time until testing becomes more available that everybody gets tested.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • The club has allowed three unnamed players to travel out of the Bay Area this week, Myers said on Tuesday (per Medina). The NBA is allowing players to leave their team’s market as long as they get approval to do so and remain in contact with the franchise.
  • With the Warriors completely “shut down,” Myers acknowledged that an injured player like Klay Thompson doesn’t have access to the team’s facilities for rehab purposes. Yes, that’s the thing,” Myers said, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). “It’s hard. Privately by himself. Maybe with one of the trainers at his house.”
  • Myers said the Warriors aren’t concerned about losing their $17MM+ traded player exception from last summer’s Andre Iguodala deal, which is currently scheduled to expire after July 7. I imagine that they’ll figure that out,” Myers said, suggesting the expiry date would likely be adjusted (Twitter link Nick Friedell of ESPN). ESPN’s Bobby Marks wrote earlier today that those TPE expiry dates seem likely to be pushed back along with the start of the 2020/21 league year.

Klay Thompson Ruled Out For Season

The Warriors have officially ruled out Klay Thompson for the season, Nick Friedell of ESPN.com passes along. The shooting guard continues to rehab from a torn left ACL he suffered in last season’s NBA Finals.

“This is what I expected from the beginning given the severity of the injury,” coach Steve Kerr said. “And the normal timetable [for recovery], and so here we are. It’s no surprise.”

Golden State’s medical staff made the final call on Thompson’s season. He remains on track to play at the beginning of the 2020/21 campaign.

Thompson could be ready by the time the Olympics roll around in the summer and Kerr said the sharpshooter could very well suit up in the games.

“It’s not off the table,” the coach said. “It’s still a possibility. We haven’t really discussed it. I think the [Olympic] team meets in July, so it’s still quite a ways away. But it’s really not anything we’re discussing at this point. It’s still a possibility … obviously his health is the No. 1 concern, and so we’ll kind of cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Latest On Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson

Two-time MVP Stephen Curry practiced for the Warriors on Tuesday for the first time since he broke his left hand in October, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. It’s a positive step forward in Curry’s recovery process, though he hasn’t yet advanced to taking contact or scrimmaging.

“I don’t know when he’s going to be allowed to scrimmage,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s not this week or anything. But he looks really good. He’s gaining strength, gaining confidence. He has been putting himself through some brutal workouts, so his conditioning is about as good as it can possibly be for somebody who hasn’t been able to scrimmage.”

Despite the Warriors’ 12-43 record, team owner Joe Lacob tells Mark Medina of USA Today that the idea of sitting Curry for the rest of the season is “not even a discussion internally.” Curry has been aiming for an early-March return, and while there’s no guarantee he’ll meet that target date, the Warriors are expected to re-evaluate him and issue an update on February 28, tweets Poole.

Kerr is looking forward to getting the star guard some minutes alongside newly-acquired forward Andrew Wiggins, as ESPN’s Nick Friedell details.

“I think it’s important for Steph and Andrew to get to know each other and to play together,” Kerr said. “I think it’s important for Steph to play without all the guys we’ve lost who are not gonna be back next year — Kevin (Durant) and Andre (Iguodala) and Shaun (Livingston). … He only got three games before his injury, I think it was, so it’s important for him to feel the difference, because it feels different for us.”

Meanwhile, Lacob hasn’t closed the door on the idea of Thompson making it back to the court at the end of this season, once he has recovered from his torn ACL. The team intends to re-evaluate Thompson this week, per Medina.

“Klay might come back for a few games at the end. He might not,” Lacob said. “That doesn’t matter so much. Maybe we’ll err on the cautious side. Maybe. That’s up to him.”

In spite of Lacob’s comments, Kerr isn’t counting on getting both of his veteran sharpshooters back in the lineup before the end of the 2019/20 season.

“With Steph, there’s a definite timetable,” Kerr said, according to Poole. “It’s easy to look and say that in a couple weeks, Steph is going to be ready to play. I don’t know exactly what day. But Klay is a long way from that. I don’t even entertain any thoughts of Klay playing this year.”

USA Basketball Announces 44 Finalists For 2020 Olympic Roster

USA Basketball has formally announced a preliminary group of 44 players who are candidates to be part of the program’s roster for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The final roster will only consist of 12 players, so most of these finalists won’t actually play for Team USA at the Olympics. Some will likely withdraw from consideration, while others simply won’t make the final cut. However, these players have all expressed interest in being involved in the process.

“This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in Tokyo,” said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo.

“… Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”

Although the U.S. men’s team has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, the program had a disappointing showing at last year’s World Cup, finishing in seventh place. Team USA will be looking for a bounce-back performance in Tokyo this summer, with many players from that World Cup squad among the 44 finalists announced today.

Here’s the full list of players who are candidates to play for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  3. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  4. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  5. Devin Booker (Suns)
  6. Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
  7. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  8. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  9. Mike Conley (Jazz)
  10. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  11. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
  13. Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Nets)
  15. Paul George (Clippers)
  16. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  17. James Harden (Rockets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Clippers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Celtics)
  22. Dwight Howard (Lakers)
  23. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  24. Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  25. LeBron James (Lakers)
  26. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  27. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  28. Damian Lillard (Blazers)
  29. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  30. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  31. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  32. JaVale McGee (Lakers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Pacers)
  36. Chris Paul (Thunder)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
  38. Marcus Smart (Celtics)
  39. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  40. Klay Thompson (Warriors)
  41. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  42. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  43. Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
  44. Derrick White (Spurs)

Warriors Notes: Thompson, Evans, Chriss, Lee

Klay Thompson made a rare appearance in front of the media on Tuesday, speaking publicly to reporters for the first time since the Warriors‘ preseason media day. As Nick Friedell of ESPN.com relays, Thompson said his ACL rehab is “going great,” adding that he hasn’t closed the door on the possibility of returning before the end of the 2019/20 campaign.

“Obviously, I wish I could be out there,” Thompson said. “It’s been a long process. I haven’t stopped working since the third day after Game 6 of the 2019 Finals. You might not see me a lot, but I’m working. I don’t know what’s going to come this season, I would love to get out there.”

Despite his optimism and his desire to get back on the court, Thompson seems unlikely to return before the fall. With the Warriors on track to finish dead-last in the Western Conference, the team will be more cautious than ever with the veteran sharpshooter, who is in the first season of a five-year, maximum-salary contract. Thompson sounds like he understands that line of thinking, as Friedell details.

“I’m trying to make sure this type of injury never happens to me again, so I’ll be very patient because I want to play at a high level ’til my late 30s,” he said.

Here’s more on the Dubs:

  • Warriors guard Jacob Evans was taken to a hospital after colliding with Mavericks big man Dwight Powell in the second quarter of Tuesday’s game, according to Friedell. Evans, who took an elbow to the face during the collision, stayed on the floor for several minutes before leaving the game. The team has yet to issue an update on his diagnosis or his potential recovery timeline.
  • The Warriors found a creative way to ultimately retain Marquese Chriss and Damion Lee and keep both players active, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Chriss projects to reach the 24-day NBA limit on his new two-way contract in early March, but Slater suggests the former lottery pick is the frontrunner to be promoted to Golden State’s 15-man roster at that time. The Warriors can’t add a 15th man until late in the season due to their hard cap.
  • Chriss has officially signed his two-way contract with the Warriors, sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The team hasn’t announced the finalized deal yet, since Lee will need to be moved to the 15-man roster before Chriss can fill his two-way slot.