Nick Young

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:

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Young, Livingston, Cauley-Stein, Booker

The Lakers are in the midst of another losing season and it has taken a toll on the young team. Head coach Luke Walton held a meeting for the team instead of practice on Thursday to give players a chance to air their grievances, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes. 

Last week, Lakers veteran Andrew Bogut agreed that certain players on the team are frustrated and it has impacted their performance. A lot of L.A.’s focus is on the impending free agent market, where the team is expected to pursue top-notch talent. That has left some players on the roster with less playing time and the impression that they are mere placeholders.

“There’s some frustration,” Walton said. “But there’s frustration on every team unless you win every game. Whenever you lose games, there’s frustration, people want to play more as everyone in the league should want to play more.”

Entering play on Friday, the Lakers are 11-22, 13th place in the Western Conference. Much has been made of rookies Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma this season, and left others, such as Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle, in a bind. There is a likelihood that several players on the current roster will not be there after the trade deadline, thus making the team’s future clearer.

Check out other Pacific Division news below:

  • Warriors guard Shaun Livingston spoke to Logan Murdock of the Mercury News to discuss his role on the team, adjusting with Stephen Curry injured, and dealing with his own injury. Livingston said that Golden State expects to win even if one of their All-Star’s is out. “I think what we’ve been able to accomplish, it’s been expected to be honest with you. For us, as players, we believe in ourselves, we believe in our game,” he said.
  • In a wide-ranging interview with Marcus Thompson II of The Atheltic (subscription required and recommended), Warriors sharpshooter Nick Young discussed his adjustment to the Warriors and appreciation for life in Oakland.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein has played so well recently, the Kings are starting to see the development of the supreme talent they thought they drafted three years ago, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee relays. “These last games, I’m seeing what I was hoping for when I drafted Willie,” Kings general manager Vlade Divac said. “He runs, he scores, he blocks shots, he scores in the post. He does everything. And we noticed last summer how much harder he was working. There were questions, but I don’t think so anymore. If he keeps developing like this, he will be an elite center in this league.”
  • Devin Booker, who is just 21 years old, will be a key piece of the Suns‘ future and he will have input into all of the team’s decisions, including coaching and free agency signings. Scott Bordow of the Arizona Central Sports writes that Suns general manager Ryan McDonough views Booker an important “partner in the process” of competing over the next decade.

Pacific Notes: Bogdanovic, McCaw, James

Rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic may not know the ins and outs of the NBA but he hasn’t struggled to keep up in his first taste of action in the big league, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. Through fives games with the Kings, the relatively seasoned 25-year-old first-year swingman has averaged 10.0 points per contest.

Bogdanovic missed the first three games of the season with a sprained ankle but has since earned his way into the starting lineup as the club’s first-unit small forward. While he may slot in as a two-guard eventually, Bogdanovic has gotten by thanks to his basketball IQ and broad shoulders.

He may not know the ins-and-outs of the NBA game, but he’s a guy that’s really meshed and transitioned well,” teammate Garrett Temple said. “He’s a guy that can really create, he’s a workhorse. You’ve got to kick him out of the gym to get some rest.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division tonight:

  • The Clippers have employed the power of the long ball of late and, thanks to guards like Patrick Beverley and Austin Rivers, looked particularly proficient doing so. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes that the franchise is doing its diligence to  keep up with a changing league.
  • The Warriors aren’t afraid to mix up their rotation, as evidenced by Steve Kerr‘s decision to run Patrick McCaw as the first shooting guard off the bench as opposed to Nick Young, Mark Medina of The Mercury News writes. McCaw’s stat line leaves much to be desired but he’s a versatile threat on both ends of the ball and the club likes his work ethic.
  • After breaking into the Suns rotation and carving out a role as the team’s starting point guard, 27-year-old rookie Mike James could see his two-way contract converted into a standard deal, Benny Nadeau of Basketball Insiders writes. The two-way contract that he signed over the offseason, of course, limits James’ NBA service to 45 days.

Western Notes: Martin, Georges-Hunt, Casspi, Leonard

Jarell Martin is the player most likely to be waived by the Grizzlies despite a lack of depth at power forward, according to Chris Herrington of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.  The Grizzlies need to pare two players to reach the 15-man limit and Martin is an inconsistent player who’s not really a stretch four or a defensive force, Herrington continues. The final roster decision will likely come down to guards Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin, since it appears Mario Chalmers has re-emerged as a rotation piece, Herrington notes. Harrison is a useful player at the back end of the roster but it would be difficult to give up on Baldwin, a first-round pick last year, Herrington adds. Memphis will likely explore trades involving those players this weekend to facilitate the decision.

In other developments regarding the Western Conference:

  • Marcus Georges-Hunt‘s ability to guard three or four positions makes him the favorite to nab the 14th spot on the Timberwolves’ roster, Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. The 6’5” swingman has the edge over rookies Amile Jefferson and Melo Trimble, who will likely be sent to the team’s G League affiliate in Iowa, while another swingman, Anthony Brown, has already signed a two-way contract. However, Minnesota wants to keep the 15th spot open and could also pursue a player that’s waived or bought out as teams make their final roster cuts, Zgoda adds.
  • Omri Casspi has taken a clear lead over Nick Young for a spot in the Warriors’ rotation, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. Young got a bigger contract than Casspi when signing with the Warriors this summer but came to camp out of shape while Casspi quickly showed he’s a better fit for coach Steve Kerr’s system, Slater adds.
  • There’s still no apparent timetable for Kawhi Leonard‘s return from a right quad injury, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News reports. The Spurs All-Star forward has spent the entire preseason rehabbing from an injury he originally suffered last season. “We’ve seen him in the gym and in rehab, but he hasn’t scrimmaged, so it’s hard to tell what stage he is in,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili told Orsborn.

Warriors Notes: Young, Bell, Jones, Green

The Warriors became the first team to make a roster move after a preseason game, waiving guards Antonius Cleveland and Alex Hamilton. Anthony Slater of The Athletic shares a few more observations about Saturday’s loss to the Nuggets:

  • Free agent addition Nick Young has a lot of rust to shake off after not playing since March 17. Golden State is counting on Young to provide scoring off the bench, but he has a new offense to learn and didn’t report to camp in top condition. Slater called Young’s performance “sluggish” in the preseason opener as he sometimes seemed lost in transition and was short of breath as play went on for several possessions without a stoppage. “He’s not shot the ball well in camp,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “He came in a little bit heavy. As he rounds into shape, he’s going to shoot it better.” Young said earlier this week that he “feels like I’m in everyone’s way,” and that was evident Saturday as Kerr, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala all took time to explain principles of the offense to him during the game.
  • Kerr gave Jordan Bell some unexpected minutes in the third quarter, letting him play alongside the Warriors’ All-Stars. Bell looked like a rookie at times, but also showed promise on the defensive end. Bell gave himself a C grade for his first NBA experience, saying, “Couple people scored on me that shouldn’t have.”
  • Damian Jones missed last year’s training camp and preseason while recovering from a torn pectoral muscle. The second-year center was never able to catch up, playing just 10 games with the Warriors, so he says this feels like his rookie season. Slater notes that Jones might be the team’s best athlete but tends to be overly aggressive on defense, which showed Saturday with three fouls in 11 minutes. “His ability to play vertically defensively without fouling should be a real strength,” Kerr said. “But he came down and swiped down. Little things like that, he has to work on.”
  • Green received a surprise Saturday when former Pistons star Ben Wallace showed up to present his Defensive Player of the Year Award. “That was a good one,” said Green, who grew up in Michigan and was a big fan of Wallace as a child. “That was a great feeling. A guy I looked up to growing up.”

And-Ones: J. Thompson, Franklin, G League

Former Kings big man Jason Thompson has signed a contract with EuroLeague champion Fenerbahce S.K., Orazio Cauchi of Sportando writes. The 31-year-old played in China in 2016/17.

Per international basketball reporter David Pick, Thompson’s deal will be worth $1.8MM over one year with potential bonuses that could bring the total up to $2MM.

After an impressive seven-year stint in Sacramento, including a 2009/10 campaign in which he posted 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as a 23-year-old, Thompson quickly fell out of the NBA.

His last professional season stateside in 2015/16 included brief stints with the Warriors and Raptors.

There’s more from around the NBA world:

  • After exploring his NBA options, former Grizzlies point guard Jamaal Franklin has opted to sign a two-year, $4MM deal in China, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets.
  • While it’s a given the Warriors did well to retain their championship core, the club also nailed their supplemental signings. Inking Nick Young and Omri Casspi, David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders writes, was one of the best coups of the offseason.
  • As of this season, fringe NBA players offered more than $50K in partial guarantees can not play for that team’s G League affiliate, Chris Reichert of 2 Ways & 10 Days writes. Reichert offers a detailed explanation of how the new contract wrinkle may affect the league in the recent feature article.

Warriors Sign Nick Young To One-Year Deal

JULY 8: Young’s deal with the Warriors is now official, the team announced in a press release.NickYoung horizontal

JULY 5: Nick Young will be joining the defending champions for the 2017/18 season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Agent Mark Bartelstein tells Wojnarowski that his client has agreed to sign a one-year, $5.2MM deal with the Warriors.

[RELATED: Warriors’ 2017 offseason contract agreements]

Young turned down a $5.67MM player option to remain with the Lakers for ’17/18, so he’ll be taking a slight pay cut and will be leaving him hometown of Los Angeles in order to join the Warriors. However, his odds of earning his first championship ring increase significantly with the move.

Golden State has no cap room available, but hadn’t yet used its mid-level exception. Because the Warriors will be above the tax apron this season, their MLE is worth just $5.192MM — Young will receive that entire amount, leaving the Dubs with just the minimum salary exception available as they look for big men to fill out their roster. The team’s own free agents like Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee could receive slightly more than the minimum if they were to return, since Golden State holds their Non-Bird rights.

Last offseason, Young was viewed as a potential release candidate for the Lakers. At the time, he was coming off a season in which he averaged career-worst marks in PPG (7.3) and FG% (.339). However, he enjoyed a solid bounce-back season in 2016/17, starting 60 games for Los Angeles, averaging 13.2 PPG and posting a shooting line of .430/.404/.856.

After reaching the open market on Saturday, Young reportedly drew interest from the Timberwolves, Pelicans, and Thunder in addition to the Warriors. Minnesota was believed to have made him a two-year offer, though it likely would have only been worth the room exception, which starts at $4.328MM.

The Warriors’ total commitments for 2017/18 now appear to be in the neighborhood of $133MM, with more to come, as cap expert Albert Nahmad tweets. The tax line for this year is just over $119MM, so Golden State’s roster is starting to get expensive. By the time the team is done filling out its roster, its projected tax penalties may exceed $40MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Western Rumors: Gasol, Faried, T-Wolves, Young

While a handful of Western Conference teams have made major roster moves so far this offseason, the Grizzlies have been fairly quiet. The team reached an agreement to sign Ben McLemore, but also lost Zach Randolph and has yet to lock up its other free agents like JaMychal Green and Tony Allen.

With their window of contention potentially closing, would the Grizzlies consider moving Marc Gasol? Two league executives suggest to Chris Mannix of The Vertical that Gasol is a player worth keeping an eye on as a possible trade candidate. Mannix’s note is tucked away in a larger piece about the Celtics‘ next moves, and as he points out, Gasol would make a lot of sense as a target for Boston. However, there’s no indication that any talks have happened or that Memphis is even considering such a roster shake-up, so it sounds like speculation at this point.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Teams are calling the Nuggets to inquire about Kenneth Faried, tweets Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. With Paul Millsap arriving in Denver, the Nuggets’ frontcourt is getting crowded, and the team probably wouldn’t mind getting out from under Faried’s contract, so a trade remains a possibility.
  • Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, who reported on Tuesday that the Pacers might be interested in working out a sign-and-trade deal with the Timberwolves for C.J. Miles, suggests that Indiana is further along on a Miles sign-and-trade scenario with another team (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Minnesota is waiting on Nick Young, having made him a two-year offer that is likely worth the room exception, tweets Wolfson.
  • In other Timberwolves news, first-round pick Justin Patton won’t be participating in Summer League with the club, having suffered a foot fracture during a workout, the team announced on Tuesday. Patton underwent surgery to repair a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot and will be sidelined indefinitely, per the team.