Nick Young

Warriors To Make Significant Changes This Offseason?

The Warriors brought Northern California yet another parade, celebrating their third championship over the last four seasons. Despite the nearly unprecedented success, the team will continue to evolve and coach Steve Kerr said there may be significant changes to the team’s roster.

“We had a lot of vets this year. I think you’ll see more youth and energy to help us get through all that,” Kerr told ESPN’s Zach Lowe on the scribe’s podcast. “We’re going to have to be very creative and we going to have pace ourselves again and hopefully everything comes together in the playoffs, but you never know.”

Several of the team’s veterans are set to become free agents and it sounds like Kerr is preparing to lose a number of them. Zaza Pachulia, who made roughly $3.47MM this past season, will hit the market. David West (approximately $1.47MM) may retire. Nick Young (slightly over $5.19MM) signed a one-year contract last offseason and will look for work yet again this summer.

If Golden State is going to hand out anything over the minimum, it will have significant financial ramifications on the club. NBA teams trigger the repeater tax penalties if it pays the luxury tax in a given season and has paid it in three of the previous four years. The franchise paid the luxury tax during the 2015/16 campaign as well as this past season. If the Warriors finish next season above the luxury tax line, they’ll face the harsher parameters on their payments.

Those fiercer penalties are as follows:

  • $0-5MM above tax line: $2.50 per dollar (up to $12.5MM).
  • $5-10MM above tax line: $2.75 per dollar (up to $13.75MM).
  • $10-15MM above tax line: $3.50 per dollar (up to $17.5MM).
  • $15-20MM above tax line: $4.25 per dollar (up to $21.25MM).
  • For every additional $5MM above tax line beyond $20MM, rates increase by $0.50 per dollar (ie. $4.75 for $20-25MM, $5.25 for $25-30MM, etc.).

The Warriors already have roughly $103MM in guaranteed salary on the books for next season and that’s before Kevin Durant gets whatever contract he wants. Not to mention Golden State plans to talk extensions with both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

The luxury tax line is projected to come in at $121MM and while the team isn’t going to be frivolous with its top players, it may be more prudent with its fringe rotation players, as it will almost certainly be a luxury tax payer in the summer of 2019 and possibly beyond. It would be surprising if the team brings back Young at or near his current salary given his production and the franchise’s luxury tax repeater status.

The USC product sported a 3.1 player efficiency rating during this year’s playoffs. Of the 158 players who played at least 6.0 minutes per game this postseason, only four had a worse mark than Young. He saw a total of 205 minutes, though much of his court time came with the team ahead and the game nearly out of reach.

The Warriors found production on cheap deals in Jordan Bell and Quinn Cook this season, and it appears they will look to replicate that success by searching for young, affordable talent to fill out the roster behind Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and their four All-Stars.

Warriors Notes: Pachulia, West, Young, Roster

Despite the success of the current group, the Warriors are expected to undergo some roster changes this offseason, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Those changes figure to be made more around the edges of the roster, rather than to the core, but the club has seven players eligible for free agency — of those players, only Kevin Durant is a lock to return.

According to Slater, it’s virtually a “sure thing” that Zaza Pachulia and David West will be gone, perhaps to retirement. It would also be a “stunner” if Nick Young returns, says Slater. As for their roster makeup, the Warriors almost certainly won’t carry as many centers next season, preferring to add a little more depth on the wing.

Here’s more out of Golden State:

  • Tim Kawakami of The Athletic also examines the Warriors’ 2018/19 roster options, identifying several possible free agent targets and noting that the team would like its first-round draft choice (No. 28 overall) to immediately vie for a rotation spot.
  • As Kawakami writes in a separate piece for The Athletic, the Warriors continue to keep an eye on the NBA’s very best players as potential targets, like they did with Durant prior to the summer of 2016. For now, that means they’ll monitor Anthony Davis, who will be eligible for a new deal in 2020. However, that’s very much on the back burner, with Golden State focusing on keeping its current core intact.
  • According to Kawakami, the Warriors grossed approximately $130MM in 11 home playoff games this year. Slightly lengthier series this spring resulted in an estimate significantly larger than in 2017, when the team grossed about $95MM in eight postseason contests.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) takes an in-depth look at the Warriors’ roster decisions this offseason, including Durant’s possible contract scenarios, possible free agent deals for Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw, and what to do with the taxpayer mid-level exception.

NBA Finals Roundup: James, Lue, Durant, Curry, West, Young

With the season now over, the focus turns to LeBron James and his pending free agency decision. James can opt out of the final year of his contract and hit unrestricted free agency for the third time. He has until June 29 to make a decision.

Following the Cavaliers‘ loss to the Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, which completed a sweep of Cleveland, James discussed his pending decision, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin writes. While James has not made up his mind, he said input from his family will be a major factor this summer.

“The one thing that I’ve always done is considered, obviously, my family,” James said. “Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I’ve got a teenage boy, a preteen and a little girl that wasn’t around as well. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I’ll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that. So I don’t have an answer for you right now as far as that.”

James has left Cleveland once before, signing a deal in 2010 with the Heat, where he won two championships in four seasons. The 33-year-old returned to the Cavaliers prior to the 2014/15 season, leading the organization to a championship the following year.

Check out more news to come out of the NBA Finals below:

  • As we relayed earlier, James suffered a self-inflicted injury to his right hand after he punched a whiteboard out of frustration following the Cavaliers’ loss in Game 1.
  • After battling some health issues throughout the season, Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue intends to return next year, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. “Yeah, I do,” Lue said of his intentions. “I had some tough problems going on throughout the course of the season, and … I probably could have folded myself, but I wasn’t going to do that.” Lue previously told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that was treated for anxiety this season.
  • Kevin Durant became the 11th player to win two NBA Finals Most Valuable Player awards, per The Associated Press. With back-to-back championships and Finals MVPs to his credit, Durant’s focus will now turn to his contract situation. He intends to remain with the Warriors, but will likely sign a new deal.
  • Stephen Curry has two regular season MVPs to his credit but Durant has taken home that honor the last two NBA Finals. However, Curry prioritizes the team success over his individual accolades, Mark Medina of the Mercury News writes. “K.D.’s been amazing these last two years, especially in The Finals, and so deserving of back-to-back Finals MVPs,” Curry said. “I’m going to be his biggest fan in there with what he’s able to do. I think the biggest thing we appreciate in the locker room is, again, what everybody brings to the table and we kind of unlock the greatness out of each other.”
  • One of the most visibly excited players to win his first championship was the Warriors’ Nick Young, per Alysha Tsuji of USA TODAY. ‘Swaggy P’ only played 38 combined minutes in the NBA Finals but he helped the team off the bench during the regular season. “I went from getting snitched on to putting a ring on!” Young told reporters.
  • Warriors veteran David West said the team’s championship victory is even more remarkable given various behind-the-scenes issues the public is not aware of, tweets The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears. “Y’all got no clue. No clue. That tells you about this team that nothing came out,” West said.
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has now coached the club to three championships in four seasons. We noted earlier that Warriors ownership believes Kerr will sign an extension with the team this summer.

Warriors Notes: Iguodala, McCaw, Green, Young

The bone bruise on Andre Iguodala‘s left knee is healing more slowly than the Warriors had hoped and he appears to be a long shot to play in Game 7, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Iguodala was declared out shortly before Game 6 and is officially listed as day-to-day, but coach Steve Kerr is pessimistic about his chances to return.

“We’re operating under the assumption he won’t play,” Kerr said.

Losing Iguodala has left the Warriors scrambling to find a fifth player to pair with their four All-Stars. Of the contenders, rookie Jordan Bell had the best plus/minus rating in Game 6 at +10, but he’s slow to react defensively and remains jumpy and prone to foul trouble, Slater writes. Kevon Looney has been starting in Iguodala’s absence, but the Rockets are scoring on him regularly and he doesn’t provide much offense. Shaun Livingston has looked best in that role, but Kerr prefers to limit him to 15 minutes per game.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along this morning:

  • Saturday’s blowout allowed Patrick McCaw to see four minutes of action at the end of the game, Slater notes in the same story. McCaw, who missed nearly two full months after a frightening fall, was activated before Game 6. Slater suggests he could work his way into a larger role if the Warriors reach the NBA Finals. “Coach Kerr pulled me aside today and just [asked] me, how would I feel being active and suiting up and if we get up big to play three or four minutes at the end of the game,” McCaw said. “… I called my mom. I called my dad, let them know I would be putting my uniform on tonight.”
  • Two years ago, Draymond Green was convinced he was about to be traded following a heated clash with Kerr, writes Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. However, Kerr denies the team ever considered such a move. “This guy is the best at what he does in the entire league,” he said. “At that point, he had already helped us win a title, and he’s in the prime of his career. Like, what are we talking about? The ‘Draymond problem’ wasn’t really that big of a problem. It was just: Can we help him channel his emotion and his energy in the right direction?'”
  • Nick Young provided an unusual explanation for his defensive improvement in Game 6, relays Jace Evans of USA Today, saying former NBA star Dennis Rodman visited him in a dream. “He had the purple hair, all kinds of stuff,” Young said. “He told me, ‘Tomorrow you’re going to play a little defense,’ and I was like, ‘Nah that’s not my game, Dennis Rodman, why you in my dream?’ But it just so happened I played a little defense.”

Warriors Notes: Durant, Looney, Kerr, Green

As Kevin Durant continues his quest to win a second consecutive NBA Championship during the Western Conference Finals, Darren Rovell of ESPN takes an interesting look into how Durant is using his new home in the Bay Area as a means to grow his financial portfolio.

Durant has invested in Nike, Alaska Airlines and American Family Insurance, among other businesses, while his own media company, Thirty Five Media, is producing original content such as Swagger, which was recently sold to Apple, and two other projects that are currently in development with major TV networks.

Rovell also touched Durant’s endorsement battle between Nike and Under Armour during the summer of 2014 when Durant ultimately signed a 10-year, $300 million deal with Nike. Said Durant:

“I knew I had a supreme skill that needed to be compensated for, and I knew I played my way into having these negotiations. But I didn’t want to start over at Under Armour or Adidas. I knew where I wanted to be, and $300 million was more than enough.”

Finally, Durant spoke about his interest in potentially owning an NBA franchise someday, if possible.

“I wish I had the money. It’s crazy. Obviously, the financial part is definitely going to be the hardest part. (But) I would love to (own a team). All the aspects of owning a team, I would love to be involved in — from the financial and marketing side to the team-building to the camaraderie to the coaching.”

There’s more out of Oakland:

  • Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post says that while the Warriors have four of the top 20 players in the NBA on their roster, the lack of a reliable supporting cast is threatening to derail the team’s run to a third championship in four seasons. Bontemps specifically mentions the signings of Nick Young and Omri Casspi as “spectacular failures.”
  • Head coach Steve Kerr has won the Professional Basketball Writes Associations’ 2017/18 Rudy Tomjanovich Award, which honors the NBA coach who, in addition to exuding excellence on the bench, best cooperates with media and fans, reports Marc J. Spears of ESPN.
  • As we’ve noted before, it’s looking more and more likely that Kevon Looney will be playing basketball somewhere other than Oakland next year as he continues to impress during this year’s playoffs. After the team’s Game 3 win, Kerr specifically remarked on Looney’s ability as a big man to switch out onto talented playmakers such as Chris Paul and James Harden, reports Logan Murdock of the Bay Area News Group.

Andre Iguodala Declared Out For Game 4

7:54pm: Looney will start, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post tweets.

6:50pm: Warriors forward Andre Iguodala will not play in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals tonight against the Rockets, Chris Haynes of ESPN tweets.

There was optimism in the Golden State camp earlier in the day that Iguodala would play. He was upgraded to questionable after being listed as doubtful Monday due to a left knee contusion. He banged knees with James Harden during Game 3.

X-rays showed no structural damage to the knee.

Iguodala has been instrumental is defusing the Rockets’ normally high-octane offense, allowing Golden State to regain home-court advantage and take a 2-1 series lead. He’s played 27 or 28 minutes in each game and posted 10 points, three rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block in the 126-85 Game 3 blowout.

Iguodala has played a minimum of 23 minutes in every postseason game this spring. It’s unknown how coach Steve Kerr will adjust his rotation, but Kevon Looney and Nick Young are the logical candidates for increased playing time, given that Kerr has gone with a small lineup to match up against the Rockets’ shooters.

Andre Iguodala Upgraded To Questionable For Game 4

MAY 22, 1:29pm: Iguodala has been upgraded to questionable for Game 4, according to Slater (Twitter links). While Slater wouldn’t be surprised if Iguodala still ends up sitting out Tuesday’s game, he notes that the diagnosis for the veteran swingman is positive, as X-rays confirmed there’s no structural damage in his knee.

MAY 21, 2:47pm: Warriors forward Andre Iguodala is listed as doubtful for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday due to knee soreness, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets.

Iguodala has a knee contusion that worsened overnight and caused him to miss practice on Monday, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets.

Iguodala has been instrumental is dousing the Rockets’ normally high-octane offense, allowing Golden State to regain home-court advantage and take a 2-1 series lead. He’s played 27 or 28 minutes in each game and posted 10 points, three rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block in the 126-85 Game 3 blowout on Sunday.

Iguodala has played a minimum of 23 minutes in every postseason game this spring. It’s unknown how coach Steve Kerr will adjust his rotation if Iguodala can’t go, but Kevon Looney and Nick Young are the logical candidates for increased playing time, given that Kerr has gone with a small lineup to match up against the Rockets’ shooters.

Pacific Rumors: Warriors Needs, Mason, Ball, Hill

The Warriors’ top need is a shooting wing off the bench, and their most likely targets are Marco Belinelli of the Hawks and Tyreke Evans of the Grizzlies, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic opines. Patrick McCaw is the player Golden State will most likely move in order to get a wing who also has size and passing ability, Kawakami continues. Belinelli is on an expiring deal and Atlanta would have to believe in McCaw’s long-term ability enough to also take back Nick Young, Kawakami speculates. Evans would also be a rental and Golden State would probably have to pair McCaw with a first-round pick to get him, Kawakami adds.

In other developments around the Western Conference:

  • Kings point guard Frank Mason will not play until after the All-Star break, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reports. The rookie out of Kansas suffered a heel injury on December 31st. Mason, chosen with the 34th overall pick last June, has appeared in 29 games, averaging 7.6 PPG and 2.9 APG.
  • Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball was unable to ramp up his workouts last week without experiencing soreness in his sprained left knee, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register reports. His workouts never progressed to lateral movement or running close to full speed, Oram continues. Ball has missed the last 10 games.
  • The Kings were close to dealing point guard George Hill to the Cavaliers but they won’t mind if he’s still on the roster beyond the trade deadline, Jones writes in a separate piece. Sacramento would have received Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert, and perhaps Derrick Rose, in return. The Kings would have to clear roster space to make that deal but their primary goals must be collecting picks, acquiring young talent and retaining financial flexibility, Jones continues. Hill has also endeared himself to the front office and the team’s young core despite losing his starting job, Jones adds.
  • Trade rumors are weighing heavily on the minds of Clippers players, Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register relays. Coach Doc Rivers admits that trade talk has been a distraction. “Sometimes you go talk to a guy and the guy says, ‘Oh, I’m good,’ and that could mean he’s not good or good,” Rivers told Teaford. “You’ve got to read that. Sometimes it’s clear as day. I can tell you I’ve seen that over the last three or four days from a couple guys, and it’s obviously weighing on them.”

2018 Free Agent Stock Watch: Golden State Warriors

The Warriors may be on the precipice of breaking new luxury tax records but that seems like a suitable trade off for their run as one of the most dominant franchises in NBA history.

Sure, they’ll inevitably need to finesse things with their four core superstars but that doesn’t mean the club can’t still make a handful of responsible moves in the summer of 2018 to make their lives slightly simpler when push comes to shove.

The Warriors issued a pile of short-term deals last summer and may be in position to do so again. At the end of the day, retaining flexibility and not overpaying for players that aren’t business critical will be their top priorities.

Omri Casspi, SF, 30 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.1MM deal in 2017
Casspi has bounced around the NBA over the course of the past nine seasons, occasionally showing glimpses of solid value as a rotation player but his role with the Warriors may be his most relevant yet. While Casspi’s 16.1 minutes per game are the second least of his career (he played sparingly for the Cavs in 2012/13), he’s shown that he’s a competent bit character in Golden State’s title defense and the organization should look to retain that. Casspi can plug into the Warriors rotation when needed, as evidenced by the 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game he averaged in 14 December games, but his modest resume doesn’t demand consistent time or big-time money. It seems like both parties would benefit from his return on another cheap deal but don’t rule out other contending hopefuls trying to poach him away.

Kevin Durant, PF, 29 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $53MM deal in 2017
After taking a discount so that the Warriors could retain players like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, Durant will have the chance to turn down his player option and go after a bigger contract now that the team’s other core pieces are in place. Durant is on a short list of players with enough clout to bounce from short-term deal to short-term deal, retaining future flexibility and keeping general managers on their toes but he could also ink a four-year max pact and go about his business. While Durant strikes me as the type of personality that may prefer the latter, he could potentially opt for the former if for no other reason than to give the organization options as they gear up for their forthcoming years-long battle with the repeater tax.

Kevon Looney, C, 22 (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $3.8MM deal in 2015
The Warriors made the decision to turn down the fourth-year of Looney’s rookie contract because at that point he hadn’t been able to show much value over the course of two injury plagued seasons. Looney has had a bit more of a chance to showcase his skills in 2017/18 but not enough to warrant major free agency interest. The Dubs may be able to bring Looney back on a minimum deal next season if they like the intangibles that he brings outside of game days but there’s no obvious case for it aside from the fact that they’ll need bodies and they know what he brings to the table.

Patrick McCaw, SG, 22 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $1.9MM deal in 2016
The Warriors seem receptive to developing McCaw into a potentially reliable rotation player, as evidenced by their decision to start him six times already this season. To this point in the season, however, he hasn’t exactly flourished when given the opportunity. McCaw’s situation is much like Looney’s. He’ll be a cheap option that they’ve worked with in-house. Given the financial restraints that the front office will be dealing with due to the rest of the roster, they may be happy to retain a 22-year-old that they can at least potentially groom into a reliable rotation player.

JaVale McGee, C, 30 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.1MM deal in 2017JaVale McGee vertical
McGee put forth his most notable season in years when he debuted with the Warriors in 2016/17 but hasn’t replicated that success in 2017/18. Due to matchup issues in the small ball era and the emergence of rookie Jordan Bell, the team just doesn’t need McGee’s energy and length as much as it did in his first year with the team. Considering that the big man isn’t getting any younger, it’s hard to imagine him landing much on the market if all he could manage to yield after last year’s solid campaign was another one-year, minimum contract.

Zaza Pachulia, C, 34 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $3.5MM deal in 2017
The Warriors have started Pachulia in all 109 of the games that he’s suited up in over the course of his two years with the franchise but this year his time on the court has dropped to its lowest point since 2009/10. Could that be an indication that the club is open to moving on in 2018? The Dubs gave Pachulia, a dinosaur in today’s game, more money than they needed to last summer but now that finances are even tighter, they may not be so generous. Expect Pachulia in a reserve role for the veteran’s minimum, if he’s even back in the Bay Area at all.

David West, C, 37 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.3MM deal in 2017
West has been an extremely productive role player for the Warriors off the bench in 2017/18, exactly what basketball fans outside of northern California feared when the former All-Star decided to crawl onto the Dubs’ bandwagon in 2016. West has had old-man game since he broke into the league, so regression isn’t exactly an issue. Expect him back playing meaningful minutes with Golden State until he decides to retire.

Nick Young, SG, 33 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $5.2MM deal in 2017
Young is a potent three-point shooter that slots in well with the rest of Golden State’s rotation but does he provide enough to justify what his $5M+ contract will amount to when the luxury tax bill is calculated? The Warriors may gauge Young’s receptiveness to returning on a cheaper deal in 2018/19. If he isn’t interested, expect him to pound the pavement and eventually land somewhere as a hired gun on a short-term deal. If logic prevails, he’ll be a valuable depth piece with the Warriors for years to come… but that might be a big if.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Looney, Bell, Young, McGee

Stephen Curry is a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and his shooting ability is one of the main reasons why. He obliterated his own record for made three-pointers during his unanimous MVP season two years ago, but he is actually having a better season from a shooting perspective in 2017/18.

Micah Adams of ESPN breaks down Curry’s field-goal selection and how the 29-year-old is compensating for shooting a lower percentage from beyond the arc compared to his 2015/16 season by taking better overall shots. Instead, Curry’s field-goal percentage (49.5%) and free-throw percentage (91.8%) are among the best totals he has posted in a season.

All told, the Warriors‘ point guard has averaged 27.7 PPG, 6.5 APG, and 5.3 RPG in 31 contests this year. Curry missed 11 games earlier in the sesason due to an ankle sprain.

Check out other news from the Warriors organization below: