Stephen Curry

Warriors Notes: Curry, Livingston, Cauley-Stein, Cook

Warriors All-Star guard Stephen Curry is confident he’ll mesh his skills with D’Angelo Russell, who was acquired from the Nets in a sign-and-trade, according to an ESPN report.

“The chemistry will develop quickly. We’ll be really purposeful about that and trying to set the tone for how we’re going to play this year,” Curry said.

He’s also looking forward to being in an underdog role for a change with Kevin Durant signing with Brooklyn and Klay Thompson expected to miss a large chunk of the season.

“I’m excited, to be honest with you,” he said. “Five straight years in the Finals and we’ve accomplished a lot, and three championships. There’s a lot to be proud of. But everybody wants a new challenge in terms of how do you get back to that level.”

We have more on the Warriors:

  • The Warriors are likely to offer Shaun Livingston a role in the organization if he opts to retire, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. The veteran guard was waived this week before his $7.7MM salary for next season became fully guaranteed.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein was courted by Curry, Draymond Green and coach Steve Kerr and that made his free agency decision easier, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic relays. Cauley-Stein accepted a salary slightly above the veteran’s minimum in order to join a perennial winner after the Kings rescinded his qualifying offer. “It honestly just came down to situation. I know I had said something about getting paid at the beginning of the year,” he said. “But by the end of it, it was no longer about getting paid. It was about staying secure and building off that security.”
  • Guard Quinn Cook harbors no ill will toward the organization, though he was surprised it pulled his qualifying offer in order to clear cap space, as he told Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News. Cook wound up signing a two-year, $6MM deal with the Lakers. “It was tough for me with how everything went down, but no hard feelings,” Cook said. “We’re family forever and champions forever.”

Steph Curry To Attend Warriors’ Meeting With Kevin Durant

Stephen Curry will attend the Warriors‘ meeting with Kevin Durant, Marcus Thompson of The Athletic hears. GM Bob Myers will sit down with Durant in New York and attempt to convince the former MVP to stay with the team.

Curry had been on an Under Armour tour in Asia but he is now on his way to the United States. Curry is expected to speak with Durant prior to the official meeting.

The point guard was at the team’s meeting with Durant three years ago when they successfully pitched the Maryland-native to come to Golden State. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were also there in 2016, but neither will be present in person this time around. Thompson is preparing to undergo surgery on his own ACL (not to mention his own free agency) but he will join the pitch via FaceTime, Thompson tweets. Green has already visited Durant in NYC this summer.

Durant’s decision in 2016 hinged on Curry wanting him there. The former no. 8 overall pick assured Durant that he did and envisioned the two winning multiple championships together. The Warriors won two titles with the pairing and came close to a third, losing in this year’s NBA Finals to the Raptors.

Durant plans to speak with the Clippers, Nets, and Knicks in addition to the Warriors. It’s unlikely Durant makes a quick decision.

Pacific Notes: Curry, Suns, Kings, Oubre

For the first time since 2010/11, when a sophomore Stephen Curry shared a backcourt with Monta Ellis, the revolutionary Warriors guard will go into a season without Klay Thompson. Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic details just what’s in store for him and for the franchise heading forward.

Not only will Curry have to shoulder more of the scoring load without Thompson and Kevin Durant, two of the game’s deadliest offensive weapons, he’ll need to do so after everybody and their grandmother saw Raptors coach Nick Nurse employ a successful series of zones against the Warriors.

Those are new questions that Curry will have to answer, but they aren’t the first questions he’s ever faced. This, Thompson writes, isn’t the guard’s first gut-check offseason. Curry has established and re-established his value after injuries and previous Warriors titles and will look to do so again.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Expect the Suns to either keep their No. 6 pick or look to trade down in the draft, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 Phoenix tweets. The dialed-in radio host says that he can’t envision the team dealing that pick for players like Lonzo Ball, Mike Conley or Spencer Dinwiddie.
  • The Kings have announced that they’ll welcome another batch of prospects for a workout on Monday. The franchise that picks at 40, 47 and 60 will audition Shamorie Ponds, Jaylen Hands and a handful of other candidates.
  • Did Kelly Oubre do enough in his 40-game trial with the Suns this season? Bobby Marks of ESPN writes that Oubre played some of his best basketball in Phoenix after coming over from the Wizards and the Suns were wise to nab him when they did. Phoenix will have the flexibility match an offer sheet the restricted free agent lands and they’ll have his Bird rights.

NBA Announces 2018/19 All-NBA Teams

The NBA has formally announced the All-NBA First, Second, and Third Teams for the 2018/19 season, with Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden leading the way as the two unanimous selections for the First Team.

The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Antetokounmpo and Harden scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

As we detailed in March, this year’s All-NBA selections have significant financial implications for several players. Here’s a breakdown of how several All-NBA candidates were impacted:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo is now eligible for a super-max extension with the Bucks, which he can sign in 2020. It would start at 35% of the cap in 2021/22 and would extend his contract by five years.
  • Damian Lillard is now eligible for a super-max extension with the Trail Blazers, which he can sign in 2019. It would start at 35% of the cap in 2021/22 and would extend his contract by four years.
  • Kemba Walker is now eligible for a super-max contract with the Hornets, which he can sign in 2019. It would start at 35% of the cap in 2019/20 and would be for five years.
  • Bradley Beal, Klay Thompson, Nikola Vucevic, and other super-max candidates who didn’t earn All-NBA honors aren’t eligible for super-max contracts (or a super-max extension, in Beal’s case). Thompson’s and Vucevic’s maximum contracts this summer would start at 30% of the cap.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns‘ extension with the Timberwolves, which goes into effect in 2019/20, will start at 25% of the cap, rather than 30%, because he didn’t earn All-NBA honors.

Beal and Thompson received the most All-NBA votes of any guards who missed out on the All-NBA teams, receiving 34 and 27 points respectively. Sixers guard Ben Simmons got seven points, while no other guards had more than four.

LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs) and Danilo Gallinari (Clippers) were the runners-up at forward, receiving 17 and seven points, respectively. Pascal Siakam (Raptors) had four points, while no other forwards had more than three.

At center, Towns received 20 points, followed by Vucevic at four and Pistons center Andre Drummond with three.

Interestingly, the 15 players named to the All-NBA teams for 2018/19 were the same 15 players that Hoops Rumors readers voted for in our end-of-season All-NBA polls last month. The only differences were George swapping places with Durant and Irving flipping spots with Westbrook.

The full and official All-NBA voting results can be found right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Sarver, Lakers, Durant, Curry

The Suns just hired the much-sought after Monty Williams as their next head coach, have two young studs in guard Devin Booker and big man Deandre Ayton, and share the top odds in Tuesday’s lottery to obtain the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. In other words, owner Robert Sarver has run out of excuses, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic

The Suns have had a losing record in the past five consecutive seasons, and Sarver’s reputation continues to suffer as a result. The fact that the team shuffles through staff so quickly doesn’t help either, but as Rankin notes, the Steve Nash-era Suns were Sarver’s teams as well, so it’s not like Sarver can’t turn things around.

The first step? Reports are he admitted to making mistakes to Williams before the new head coach was hired, which gave Williams enough respect for the franchise to choose the Suns as his next landing spot. The next step? Hoping for good luck on Tuesday night.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • According to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, the Lakers would be best served by new ownership. The Buss family, particularly Jeanie Buss, has now overseen a sudden, public resignation from one of its all-time greats (Magic Johnson) and a protest by one of the league’s most die-hard fan bases. That, coupled with the Tyronn Lue fiasco, has created one of the most trying and embarrassing times in franchise history.
  • Despite the rumor mill cranking out the notion that Kevin Durant is headed elsewhere this summer, there is still a sense in Warriors‘ circles that Durant may stay in the Bay Area, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic.
  • Per Mark Medina of The Mercury News, the dislocated left middle finger of Warriors sharpshooting point guard Stephen Curry is still causing a lot of pain, and Curry and the medical staff of Golden State are still figuring out different ways to make the situation (i.e. splint, buddy tape) more manageable as the postseason moves forward.

Warriors Owner Vows To Re-Sign Klay Thompson

Warriors owner Joe Lacob seems prepared to do whatever it takes to re-sign shooting guard and impending free agent Klay Thompson. Following the Warriors’ Game 6 victory over Houston in the Western Conference semifinals, Lacob told ESPN’s Nick Friedell he wants Thompson and point guard Stephen Curry “as part of our organization forever.”

A report surfaced this week indicating that there’s mutual interest in getting a deal done.  Lacob will have to pay a giant price to retain Thompson, who has stated that he expects a max contract. He could make $189MM with Golden State over the next five years if he’s not named to an All-NBA team or sign elsewhere for four years and $140.6MM. If he does gain that honor, Thompson would be eligible for a $221MM super-max contract.

Curry’s contract is guaranteed for three more seasons and will get paid $40.2MM, $43MM and $45.8MM during that span.

Lacob would have to pay major luxury tax penalties if the Warriors re-sign both Thompson and Kevin Durant, or in the unlikely scenario that Durant opts in for $31.5MM next season.

Lacob said his desire to retain Thompson goes well beyond the court.

“I have a special bond with him. I always have,” the owner said. “He’s the first player, since I bought the team, that we drafted. The very first one. And I just have always felt an incredible attachment. People make fun of me a little bit — I always say I love Klay. … There’s something about him, I have a very special relationship with him.”

Thompson scored 27 points in the Game 6 clinching win over the Rockets.

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson Both Cleared To Play In Game 1

1:54pm: Thompson has been cleared to play by the Warriors’ medical staff, per Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle. Thompson and Curry will start alongside Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Iguodala (the “death lineup”), as Kerr decides to go small against the Rockets.

1:28pm: Warriors‘ All-Star point guard Stephen Curry will play in Game 1 of this afternoon’s Western Conference Semifinals match-up against the Rockets, reports Mark Medina of The Mercury News.

Curry, as well as backcourt mate Klay Thompson, were both listed as questionable for Game 1 with sprained right ankles, and while head coach Steve Kerr says Curry is good to go, Thompson will test his ankle out pregame before making a decision on whether to play, per Marc Spears of ESPN.

 “Steph’s going to play,” Kerr said earlier this afternoon. “Klay’s going to warm up and see if he can play.

“If this thing (Thompson’s ankle) is going to get worse,” Kerr added, “we should not play him today.”

Kerr has declined to publicly declare who would start in Thompson’s place should he not be ready to go, but candidates include Shaun Livingston and Alfonzo McKinnie. Veteran swingman Andre Iguodala is also a possibility, but Kerr generally likes to use him as a spark plug off the bench.

Warriors’ Thompson, Curry Questionable For Game 1

The Warriors‘ backcourt is hurting as they prepare for a playoff rematch with the Rockets, writes Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry both suffered sprained ankles in Friday’s closeout game against the Clippers that may affect their availability for the start of the second round.

Thompson’s condition sounds more serious, with his status for Game 1 depending on how he responds to treatment between now and Sunday afternoon. Sources told The Athletic that his ankle was still in bad shape this morning.

“It was a significant sprain,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was limping last night.” Kerr added that Thompson and Curry “both came in today and got some work” and the team will monitor their condition over the next 24 hours.

Thompson rolled his ankle on a drive to the basket in the third quarter last night. He was removed from the game at the next dead ball, but played two more minutes before having the ankle checked and treated. He was able to return for part of the fourth quarter.

“It’s sore,” he said after the game. “That’s the way it’ll be for the next few hours. But I anticipate going fully on Sunday.”

A short turnaround could affect the team’s decision regarding Thompson. After finishing their first-round series last night, the Warriors face Game 1 tomorrow afternoon, then Game 2 Tuesday night. Game 3 won’t take place until next Saturday, so Thompson would have more than a week to recover if he gets held out of the first two games.

Warriors Notes: Durant, Kerr, Cousins, Curry

Kevin Durant is one technical foul away from a one-game suspension after picking up a pair in last night’s win over the Nuggets, writes Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. The Warriors held a 21-point lead in the third quarter when Durant became upset that no foul was called on a 3-point attempt. He screamed repeatedly at official Zach Zarba, who T’d him up twice and ejected him.

It’s an ongoing problem for a team that has 60 technicals and six ejections on the season. Durant ($15,000), Stephen Curry ($25,000) and Draymond Green ($35,000) were all fined for criticizing the officiating against the Timberwolves last week.

“We can be better in terms of keeping (our) poise, myself included,” said coach Steve Kerr, who has collected six technicals. “You go into each game. You’re excited. But you’re going to yell at the refs. Both teams are, but you have to keep your poise and we’ll have to do a better job in the postseason.”

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • DeMarcus Cousins offered a reminder that he’s still among the NBA’s elite big men in the win over Denver, Medina notes in a separate story. In a matchup with All-Star center Nikola Jokic, Cousins posted 28 points, 12 rebounds and five assists as the Warriors pulled away in a battle of the top two teams in the West. “He kind of goes at every guy that since his injury a lot of people have tried to put some guys before him,” Green said. “He goes at every one of them. It’s personal for him. When you can back that up with the talent that he has, it’s special to watch.”
  • Curry doesn’t have any plans to leave a good situation, relays Marcus White of NBC Sports Bay Area. Asked on a “Today Show” appearance this morning where he sees himself in five years, Curry responded, “Still playing for the Warriors and still hopefully winning championships.” Curry’s current contract expires in 2022, so he would have to re-sign with Golden State to make that happen.
  • Curry credits new contact lenses for his improved shooting of late, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Curry revealed that he’s had vision issues throughout his life, dealing with Keratoconus, which has produced an astigmatism that can lead to blurred vision. “It’s like the whole world has opened up,” he said.

Western Notes: Giannis, Conley, Durant, LeBron

Giannis Antetokounmpo could be the next superstar prize on the Warriors’ radar screen. In a speculative piece, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic dives into the possibility of Antetokounmpo joining Golden State when he becomes a free agent in 2021.

As Thompson outlines, pursuing Antetokounmpo would hinge on Kevin Durant departing and would also necessitate cutting ties with Draymond Green. That would give the Warriors enough cap room to sign Giannis and keep the backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson together. The possibility of Antetokounmpo wanting to leave Milwaukee could increase if the Bucks experience postseason disappointment, Thompson adds.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Mike Conley admits the trade rumors took a toll on him until the deadline passed, James Herbert of CBS Sports reports. The Grizzlies held on to Conley but longtime teammate Marc Gasol was dealt to Toronto.  “It was emotional, man,” he said. “It was hard, ’cause part of me, obviously, is trying to lock in on my job and just worry about Oklahoma (City) and really, like, watch film and prepare. But I can’t help but, like, the other 90 percent of me is like I’m about to get traded or Marc’s about to get traded.”
  • Kevin Durant claimed his relationship with ex-Oklahoma City teammate Russell Westbrook was never as strained as it was portrayed in the media, Eric Horne of The Oklahoman relays. “I don’t think it was ever in a bad place,” Durant said. “I think a lot of you guys just got in the way and tried to make it something bigger than it was because you needed a story. I understand because that’s your job, but that’s not really your job. I understood what that was like now thinking back on it, because I never had a problem with nobody in this league, or to a point where I didn’t like anyone or hated someone. It wasn’t even that deep.”
  • The Lakers are privately a little concerned about LeBron James‘ health, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. They’re not quite sure he’s fully healed from the groin injury that cost him 18 games, as he’s not moving at the same speed, nor engaging at the point of attack, Vardon continues. However, James denies he’s aching. “I feel great,” he said. “Looking forward to the second half of the season. Looking forward to seeing what we can do to get back in this playoff race. That’s my only mindset.”