Nico Mannion

Warriors Notes: Curry, Open Roster Spots, Oubre

Although the Warriors won their first game following Stephen Curry‘s tailbone contusion last week, the team has slumped since then without its leading scorer, losing its last four straight.

With Golden State still clinging to the 10th seed in the Western Conference at 22-24, the team got some good news on Sunday, as head coach Steve Kerr said that Curry practiced in full and “looked good,” per Marcus White of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Curry hasn’t been cleared to return yet, but he has been upgraded to questionable for Monday’s game vs. Chicago, so he could be back on the court as soon as tonight. If not, he seems like a good bet to be ready for Thursday’s contest in Miami. Kerr indicated on Sunday that he’s looking forward not just to having Curry back but to having a healthier roster in general.

“When Steph is on the floor, we just have confidence and swagger that’s missing when he’s not,” Kerr said. “And that helps our defense. If you go back over the last eight or nine games, we’ve had a lot of stuff. Whether it’s injuries, (COVID-19) protocol … (these) are all reasons – not excuses, they’re just reasons – that we’ve struggled. But nobody really cares. It’s just what it is. Every team’s dealing with all kinds of adversity this year.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • After trading away Brad Wanamaker and Marquese Chriss at last week’s deadline, the Warriors have two openings on their 15-man roster. President of basketball operations Bob Myers said the team is considering a number of options for those spots, including signing a player on the buyout market, promoting two-way players Juan Toscano-Anderson and/or Nico Mannion, or even bringing over draft-and-stash prospect Justinian Jessup from Australia. Decisions are expected soon (Twitter links via Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area).
  • Following the trade deadline, Myers acknowledged that the Timberwolves’ top-three protected 2021 first-round pick – held by the Warriors – drew plenty of interest. You gotta be open to anything, but it would take a lot to part with that,” Myers said of the pick (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). “You never say never.” If it lands in the top three this year, the Warriors will receive the Wolves’ unprotected first-rounder in 2022.
  • Myers didn’t have a problem with Kelly Oubre‘s comments suggesting he wouldn’t want to come off the bench if he’s back with the Warriors next season.I like what he said,” Myers said (Twitter link via Slater). “He should want to start.”

Pacific Notes: Gasol, Leonard, Poole, Mannion, Lin

Lakers center Marc Gasol was inactive on Tuesday after being placed under the league’s health and safety protocols, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets. Gasol had started all 35 games this season prior to Tuesday, posting modest stats of 4.8 PPG and 4.1 RPG. Gasol was signed to a two-year, $5.25MM contract in November.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers All-Star Kawhi Leonard was a late scratch in the team’s loss to Boston on Tuesday due to back spasms, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN relays. Leonard, who felt discomfort during warmups, has missed eight games this season for a variety of reasons.
  • The Warriors have brought back guards Jordan Poole and Nico Mannion from the G League bubble for depth in their last two games prior to the All-Star break, according to a team press release. Poole averaged 22.4 PPG in 11 games for affiliate Santa Cruz and has also appeared in 15 NBA games this season. Mannion, a two-way player, averaged 19.3 PPG for Santa Cruz in nine appearances.
  • Poole’s presence is one reason why the Warriors aren’t interested in signing Jeremy Lin as a backup point guard at this time, according to Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area. Lin has performed well with Santa Cruz but Golden State would have to make room for him on its roster. The Warriors’ preference is for Brad Wanamaker to regain the form he showed with Boston last season or for Poole to take over that role before adding Lin to the mix.

California Notes: Looney, Wiseman, Lakers, Santa Cruz Warriors

Warriors center Kevon Looney, sidelined since spraining his left ankle in a February 2 loss to the Celtics, has rejoined the Warriors for “segments of practice” and is planning on suiting up with the club during Golden State’s impending road trip, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link).

Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle details the import of the big man’s return to the lineup in a new piece. “I always joked that I never hurt my ankle,” Looney said after incurring the injury. “I guess karma caught up with me.”

There’s more out of California:

  • Warriors rookie center James Wiseman, out with a left wrist injury suffered on January 30,  rejoined Golden State for practice on Tuesday, according to Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area. The No. 2 overall draft pick out of Memphis, Wiseman has a chance to return to the court for the Warriors as soon as Friday against a depleted Magic team. “With a sprained wrist you don’t know if it will be one week, two weeks or three, so I’m just following each procedure, but there are no setbacks,” Wiseman said.
  • The Lakers are seeing their frontcourt depth tested with the extended absence of All-Star power forward/center Anthony Davis, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic. Kyle Kuzma has taken over starting duties, and reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell is seeing expanded minutes as a super-sub. Starting center Marc Gasol and reserve power forward Markieff Morris have also seen more run in the rotation.
  • Warriors.com spoke to Santa Cruz Warriors broadcaster Kevin Dana about how Golden State’s G League affiliate team is adjusting to life in the 2021 NBAGL Orlando “bubble.” Dana lauded the output thus far of young prospects Nico Mannion and Jordan Poole.

Warriors Notes: Starting Five, Wolves’ Pick, Mannion

The Warriors suffered their second consecutive loss on Saturday in Utah, dropping to .500 (8-8) on the season. In the wake of that blowout, head coach Steve Kerr left the door open to the possibility of making changes to his struggling starting lineup, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

“It’s going to take us 20 games to figure out where we really want to be with our rotation,” Kerr said. “We’re at 16 now, and I think getting a pretty good look at everything. We just had two bad losses in a row, so we have to assess everything. No doubt.”

Kerr has suggested that Golden State’s starting five – Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre, and James Wiseman – has the highest upside of any of the team’s lineups, but the results haven’t been there so far. That unit has played 161 minutes together, while no other five-man group has played more than 37. In those 161 minutes, the Warriors’ net rating is -20.3.

The team will have a good opportunity to turn things around this week, with home games against the 4-11 Timberwolves on tap for Monday and Wednesday.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Nearly one year after the Warriors and Timberwolves made a blockbuster trade involving D’Angelo Russell and Wiggins, Anthony Slater of The Athletic explains why he thinks Golden State has gotten the better end of that deal. As Slater outlines, neither Russell nor Wiggins has been a major difference-maker, but the Warriors were able to avoid the tax last season by dumping salary in that trade and are still owed a Wolves first-round pick that will likely land in the lottery.
  • Within the same story, Slater says that – while the 2021 Timberwolves first-rounder owed to Golden State is top-three protected – the Warriors shouldn’t worry about Minnesota finishing with a bottom-three record. Even in that scenario, there’s still about a 60% chance that the Wolves’ pick will land in the No. 4-7 range and will change hands.
  • The Warriors have discussed the possibility of sending rookie guard Nico Mannion, who is on a two-way contract, to the G League bubble at Walt Disney World next month, tweets Slater. I haven’t played a full game since March 12,” Mannion said. “Going down there, getting into a flow, would be good for me.” The Santa Cruz Warriors are one of 18 teams participating in the revamped NBAGL season.

Warriors Notes: Mannion, Curry, Thompson, Wiseman

Second-round pick Nico Mannion isn’t discouraged by the slow start to his NBA career, writes Alex Espinoza of NBC Sports Bay Area. After the Warriors took him with the 48th selection, Mannion signed a two-way contract that allows him to appear in 50 NBA games this season. He hasn’t played yet or even suited up to be on the active roster, but Mannion believes his time is coming.

“I can see myself out there on the floor,” he said. “I think I fit that style, just the quick decision-making.”

Mannion will have to earn playing time on a team that currently has five guards getting regular rotation minutes. He said he’s been making improvements in practice and is determined to be prepared when his opportunity arrives.

“They just told me to be ready,” Mannion said of the coaching staff. “If someone goes down, I’ll be there. Just trying to adjust and learn as much as I can right now. Trying to see it as a glass half full right now that I get some more time to prepare. That’s kind of how I’m looking at it.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Stephen Curry is adjusting to defenses focused primarily on stopping him now that he’s not surrounded by All-Star teammates, observes Ethan Strauss of The Athletic. Teams are using variations of the box-and-one strategy that Toronto’s Nick Nurse employed during the 2019 NBA Finals. Part of the reason those defenses have been effective is that Kelly Oubre is shooting just 4.0% (1-for-25) from three-point range.
  • The Warriors are encouraging injured guard Klay Thompson to spend as much time as possible with the team, according to Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. Thompson is in the early part of rehab after having surgery last month for his torn right Achilles tendon. “It’s important for all of us, as well as Klay himself, that he’s around this season,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Because of last year’s absence and the pandemic, and just the whole bizarre year and a half it’s been for him and our franchise, I would love to have him up here as much as possible … I want our young players to feel his presence, and I want Klay here working with our training staff and getting on the court with our team as soon as he can. I think that will be important.”
  • James Wiseman is an easy choice as the league’s best rookie so far, writes Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area. The No. 2 pick is averaging 11.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in his first five NBA games.

Warriors Sign James Wiseman To Rookie Contract

The Warriors have officially signed No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman to his first NBA contract, the team announced today in a press release.

While that No. 2 pick was the subject of trade rumors for months, the Warriors ultimately hung onto it and selected the top center in this year’s draft class. He’ll receive a $8.73MM salary in his rookie season and will have a four-year contract worth nearly $40MM in total, assuming he receives the maximum allowable 120% of the rookie scale.

Scouts and college basketball fans only got a brief look at Wiseman during his three-game career at Memphis. After being embroiled in an eligibility battle with the NCAA, the 7’1″ big man left school in December to focus on preparing for the NBA. He was dominant in his brief time with the Tigers, averaging 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game.

The Warriors also confirmed in today’s announcement that they’ve signed second-round pick Nico Mannion to a two-way deal, as was expected.

Warriors To Sign Nico Mannion To Two-Way Deal

Second-round pick Nico Mannion will be signing a two-way contract with the Warriors, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Mannion, who started 32 games for Arizona as a freshman last season, averaged 14.0 PPG, 5.3 APG, and 1.2 SPG with a .392/.327/.797 shooting line before declaring for the 2020 draft.

He was widely viewed as a potential first-round pick, but slipped down to No. 48, where the Warriors nabbed him. Executives around the NBA were surprised to see Mannion fall so far, according to a report last week.

Undrafted wing Dwayne Sutton is said to be the favorite to earn Golden State’s other two-way contract. The Warriors’ other second-round selection, No. 51 pick Justinian Jessup, is expected to spend season in Australia, where he’s already a member of the Illawara Hawks.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Thompson, M. Gasol, Smailagić

Warriors guard Stephen Curry was devastated after learning that his backcourt partner, Klay Thompson, will miss another full season after suffering a torn Achilles last week, writes Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Golden State had hoped to return to title contention after an injury-plagued year, but the loss of Thompson is a major setback.

“To get that call was a gut punch for sure. A lot of tears,” Curry said. “You don’t really know what to say because a guy like that is having to go through two pretty serious rehabs now. But at the end of the day, we have to have his back. We hope that he is around and a part of what we do through his rehab and staying connected with us. He can come back strong. He’s a guy that loves the game so much. He is going to do whatever it takes to get back out there on the floor and be himself. That’s what we hope and the confidence that we have. Two-and-a-half years of rehab is tough for anybody. We’re hoping for the best.”

Curry was limited to just five games last season after breaking his left hand in October. He will return to a roster that’s much different than the one that dominated the league for five years, with additions such as Kelly Oubre, who was acquired in a trade, and James Wiseman, the No. 2 pick in last week’s draft.

“Not seeing (Thompson) on the court, at first, is going to be weird,” Curry said. “But I think we’ve done a really good job in the offseason with James and our draft picks and in the free agency pool to put together a really solid roster. We’re going to have to learn a lot really quickly, and we will need a full commitment from everybody.”

There’s more Warriors news this morning:

  • Thompson’s injury may have cost Golden State a chance to sign free agent center Marc Gasol, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. At age 35, Gasol was looking to join a contender and ended up with the defending champion Lakers. The Warriors are still in the market for veteran help and expect to receive a $9.3MM disabled player exception in the wake of Thompson’s injury.
  • Management doesn’t believe Alen Smailagić is ready for regular playing time, but he’s likely to be kept on the roster with a $1.5MM guaranteed contract, Slater adds in the same piece. However, Smailagić could be waived later in the season if there’s an opportunity to sign someone. Second-round pick Nico Mannion is expected to be a two-way player and will see a lot of time in the G League, if there is a G League season.
  • Oubre, who will be a free agent next summer, is hoping for a long-term stay with Golden State, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN.
  • In case you missed it, the team’s deal with free agent guard Brad Wanamaker is now official. It was completed using a portion of Golden State’s taxpayer mid-level exception.

Warriors Notes: Wiseman, Mannion, Anderson, Jessup

Warriors general manager Bob Myers said he already had approval from management to use the team’s $17MM trade exception before Klay Thompson‘s injury yesterday, tweets Marc J. Speers of The Undefeated. Myers was hoping to add wing depth even before the news about Thompson broke. Thompson will have an MRI today to determine the severity of his Achilles injury.

Myers told reporters that Thompson’s injury didn’t affect the team’s plan to draft former Memphis center James Wiseman with the No. 2 pick, according to a story on Warriors.com.

“We had him No. 1 on our board when all the dust settled,” Myers said of Wiseman. “Certainly the Klay thing made you think for a second, but it was just a short amount of time and we decided we’re staying the course of what we always felt, but you have to take pause and think about things for a second. … We got the guy we wanted and excited like I said to get going and get him in our practice facility and get to work.”

There’s more Warriors news this morning:

  • In the same story, Myers admits being surprised that Arizona guard Nico Mannion was still available with the No. 48 pick. Executives around the league were shocked to see Mannion fall so far, adds Jonathan Givony of  Draft Express (Twitter link). “(Stephen Curry) said we had to draft guys that went to his Under Armour camp, so we had to take Wiseman and Nico to keep our point guard happy,” Myers joked. “It is funny, though. Those guys both did go. He remembers them. I think it might have been in Walnut Creek. But I think he knows, it’s funny, he got to know James and got to know Nico, I don’t know if it was last year or the year before, but I was surprised. We had him higher than 48 for sure.”
  • Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson may be an option to provide wing depth for the Warriors using their traded player exception, tweets Jabari Young of CNBC. A six-year veteran, Anderson spent the past two seasons in Memphis.
  • Justinian Jessup, Golden State’s selection with the 51st pick last night, will be a draft-and-stash player, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Jessup is already playing for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia.

Draft Notes: Wiseman, Mannion, Stewart, Bulls

James Wiseman has only formally worked out for the Warriors, who hold the No. 2 pick, and the Hornets, who sit at No. 3, he said today in a conference call, per Austin Kent of SlamOnline.com. Wiseman has had little to no contact with the Timberwolves, but said he’d be OK if Minnesota takes him, ESPN’s Nick Friedell relays. “Whatever team that picks me, I’m going to go in there, learn as much as possible, work my tail off, and just want to win,” he said.

We have more news on the draft:

  • The Raptors and Jazz have worked Arizona freshman guard Nico Mannion, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets. As previously reported, Mannion also visited with the Lakers. Mannion, who averaged 14.0 PPG and 5.3 APG as a freshman last season, is ranked No. 25 on ESPN’s Best Available list. The Jazz hold the No. 23 overall selection, while the Raptors have the No. 29 pick in the opening round.
  • University of Washington center Isaiah Stewart is ranked No. 27 by ESPN and his college coach believes his former player is being overlooked, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. “I think he’s the best big man in the draft. … Every head to head matchup, it wasn’t even close,” Mike Hopkins said. “Go watch the film. It doesn’t lie.”
  • With the Bulls allowing Kris Dunn to enter unrestricted free agency, it’s even more likely they’ll target a play-maker in the draft, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer tweets. Chicago holds the No. 4 pick. The Bulls have also been exploring a trade for an experienced point guard, O’Connor adds.
  • Josh Green worked out for the Jazz, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News reports. He previously visited the Nuggets. The Arizona shooting guard is rated No. 21 by ESPN.