Stephen Curry

Latest On Klay Thompson’s ACL Recovery

The Warriors won’t play their next regular season game until December, but injured sharpshooter Klay Thompson continues to make major strides in his rehab from his ACL tear. According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, Thompson recently received clearance to train without restrictions on his knee, and has been ramping up his workouts since then.

As Slater explains, Thompson has been running, jumping, dunking, and “doing just about everything you can do in an individual workout.” He has also been going through some 3-on-0 and 5-on-0 simulation drills at full speed.

However, given the current restrictions in place due to COVID-19, he won’t get a chance to participate in group workouts and scrimmages with teammates anytime soon, which will be a necessary step to make sure he’s game-ready.

According to Slater, the Warriors expect the NBA to allow the eight teams not involved in the Orlando restart to hold some form of offseason mini-camps in the coming months. If and when that happens, Thompson figures to fully participate — as will his veteran teammates who dealt with injuries of their own during the 2019/20 season.

“Oh yeah,” head coach Steve Kerr recently said when asked if Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green would be required to take part in an offseason mini-camp. “100 percent. I would not consider this voluntary workouts. Obviously, these are really unique circumstances. But given that we would be staring at a nine-month break, to be perfectly honest, I’d be shocked if any one of those three guys said to me, ‘No, I don’t want the work.’ They all know they need the work. We need the work. So they’ll be there.”

Thompson has been sidelined since tearing his ACL in the final game of the 2019 NBA Finals, last June 13. He had long been ruled out for the 2019/20 season, with the expectation that he’d target training camp – or perhaps the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – for his return. With the Olympics and the start of next season both postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Thompson has a longer runway to get back to 100% before his next game.

LeBron, Curry Among Players Who Will Owe Money From 2020/21 Salaries

Starting this Friday, 25% of NBA players’ pay checks will be withheld for the foreseeable future. The NBA and NBPA reached that agreement last month in order to ensure that players are bearing some of the brunt of the league’s lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic — and so that players won’t be required to surrender a significant lump sum in a few months if games are officially canceled and the CBA’s “force majeure” clause is triggered.

However, some players will still have to return money to the league down the road rather than seeing a portion of their pay checks withheld now. While most NBA players are paid in 24 bi-monthly installments, beginning in November, some players negotiated deals that see them receive just 12 pay checks, with the last one issued on May 1. As a result, those players have already received their full salaries for the 2019/20 season and withholding part of their checks starting on May 15 isn’t an option.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN details, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, John Wall, Blake Griffin, and Paul George – all of whom are making $33MM or more this season – are among the players who have already received their ’19/20 salaries in full.

Because those players – and several others – won’t resume receiving pay checks from their respective teams until the fall, they’ll essentially owe the NBA an IOU for each pay date this spring and summer (until the 25% agreement ends), Marks explains.

By the fall, the league should better understand to what extent players’ 2019/20 salaries have to be reduced, and players like James and Curry will have money taken out of their advances for 2020/21 (on October 1) and/or their ’20/21 pay checks (beginning on November 15).

As Marks notes, the amount of money that players ultimately have to give up for the 2019/20 season will depend on how many games can be played this summer if and when the season resumes.

Players could lose approximately 23-26% of their full-season salaries if games don’t resume, according to Marks. On the other hand, in the unlikely event that the NBA is able to play its remaining regular season games and playoff games in full, teams would be responsible for returning players’ full salaries to them.

Adjusting player salaries based on the amount of games that can eventually be played should help the league avoid a scenario in which the salary cap fluctuates significantly over the next couple years based on this year’s lost revenue, since the NBA and its players share roughly a 50-50 split of the league’s revenue.

LeBron, Giannis, Curry, Other Stars United In Desire To Resume Season

NBPA president Chris Paul arranged a private conference call with a number of the league’s superstars on Monday to discuss the coronavirus ramifications and the potential resumption of the 2019/20 season, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

By the end of the conversation, per Haynes, those players were united in their desire to resume the season once the NBA ensures the necessary safety measures are in place and gets the green light. According to Haynes, LeBron James, Giannis AntetokounmpoStephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, and Russell Westbrook were among the players on the call.

As Haynes explains, the group’s decision is expected to carry significant weight at a time when not all of the NBA’s players are necessarily on board with the idea of completing the 2019/20 season this summer.

Sources tell Yahoo Sports that many players on teams who are all but eliminated from playoff contention would prefer to just have the top eight clubs in each conference finish the season. The fact that stars outside the playoff picture, such as Curry and Lillard, are in favor of resuming play is significant.

According to Haynes, there was also some concern among players after Friday’s call that the NBA wouldn’t be able to guarantee player safety, with a coronavirus vaccine not expected to be available until 2021 at the earliest. Commissioner Adam Silver assured players that the league will do all it can to create the safest possible conditions, and it sounds like the stars on Monday’s call are satisfied with that promise.

Haynes notes that there are some players out of the playoff picture who are worried about a canceled season negatively impacting the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. That’s an issue we’ve touched upon in recent days, with Adrian Wojnarowski, Bob Myers, and Mark Cuban among those who have suggested that lottery teams will have to prioritize the “greater good” of the league, since the NBA and its players would benefit financially over the long term from playing as many games as it safely can this year and next.

As we relayed earlier this afternoon, the NBPA has reportedly begun reaching out to individual players to get their feedback on whether or not they want the season to resume.

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.

Coronavirus Notes: LeBron, Young, Curry, Temple

Lakers All-Star LeBron James spoke about his feelings on returning to the NBA amidst the coronavirus pandemic with his former Cavaliers teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye – plus Lakers studio host Allie Clifton – for their Road Trippin’ Podcast (h/t to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin).

James feels uncomfortable about potentially playing games without fans. “So to get back on the floor, I would love it,” he said. “Let’s just go to each other’s practice facility, put out a camera, just scrimmage and livestream it. … I just don’t know how we can imagine a sporting event without fans. It’s just, it’s a weird dynamic.”

On the podcast, James also advocates for the NBA playing a handful of regular season games before the playoffs, assuming the 2019/20 season can resume at all. “One thing you can’t just do is go straight to the playoffs… Because it discredits the 60-plus games that guys had fighting for that position.”

Here are a few more items related to the coronavirus pandemic and the NBA’s hiatus:

  • After the COVID-19 pandemic forced the NBA to postpone its season, All-Star Hawks point guard Trae Young returned from Atlanta to his offseason home near his family in Norman, Oklahoma, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.
  • Warriors All-Star point guard Stephen Curry has been a solid voice of reason amidst the coronavirus chaos, as Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Curry hosted an informative 30-minute Q&A on his Instagram with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
  • Nets wing Garrett Temple has opted to use the NBA’s indefinite postponement to study for the LSATs, as he told the YES Network’s Michael Grady (h/t to New York Post’s Brian Lewis). “I’m going to be honest, I’ve been sleeping a good amount, but also trying to take on a new task,” Temple said. “I’ve actually started practicing for the LSAT prep.”

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: Randle, Curry, Mulder, Toscano-Anderson

This season has been one to forget for the Warriors, as they have a record of 15-50 and remain on track for a top-five pick in this summer’s NBA Draft. That being said, despite all the losses, Golden State’s front office has been able to identify different players who could be key contributors in the future.

Players such as Marquese Chriss, Damion Lee, Ky Bowman, and Mychal Mulder are examples of Golden State finding diamonds in the rough this season, opines Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

The Warriors signed Mulder to a multi-year minimum, non-guaranteed deal on Tuesday, making him the latest player to get a commitment beyond this season from the team. John Hollinger of The Athletic reported that Golden State used a portion of its mid-level exception to sign the former University of Kentucky guard.

In seven games this season with the Warriors, Mulder is averaging 11 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 29.1 minutes per game.

Here’s more news out of San Francisco:

  • Juan Toscano-Anderson was seen in a walking boot and is scheduled to have an MRI on his ankle, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. Head coach Steve Kerr doesn’t expect the forward to join Golden State on its upcoming road trip.
  • In other Warriors injury news, superstar guard Stephen Curry is on track to play on Thursday night against the Nets, per Slater. Curry has been out with the seasonal flu. He made his return to his basketball court last Thursday after missing time with a fractured hand.
  • Steve Berman of The Athletic detailed point guard Chasson Randle‘s journey from the Chinese Basketball Association to receiving a 10-day contract with Golden State. Randle was one of the many American players in the CBA that were sent home over the Lunar New Year in January. Randle’s 10-day contract is set to expire on Thursday.

Kevon Looney Out At Least 3 Weeks; Stephen Curry Diagnosed With Flu

Warriors center/power forward Kevon Looney is experiencing left hip soreness and will be re-evaluated in three weeks, the team announced on Twitter. Looney has missed the past three games because of pain in the hip area and has played only 20 times all season.

It has been a tough fifth season for Looney, who signed a three-year, $15MM extension last summer. He dealt with a a neuropathic condition early in the campaign, then an abdominal strain caused him to miss 18 games in December and January.

With five and a half weeks remaining, Golden State may decide to keep Looney out of action and get him ready for next season. However, coach Steve Kerr says the organization hasn’t considered that yet (Twitter link from Nick Friedell of ESPN)

In a separate tweet, the Warriors announced that Stephen Curry has been diagnosed with the flu. Team doctor Robert Nied is calling it a “seasonal flu,” adding that Curry has “no specific risk factors” for the coronavirus. Curry returned to action Thursday for the first time since breaking his left hand in late October.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Wiggins, Green, Looney

Stephen Curry returned to the Warriors‘ lineup on Thursday night after missing more than four months due to a broken left hand. And while they couldn’t pick up a home win vs. the Raptors, the Dubs gave the defending champions all they could handle and looked like they were having more fun with their superstar back on the court.

Andrew Wiggins, who was acquired by Golden State a month ago in a deadline trade with Minnesota, was on the court whenever Curry was on Thursday, with head coach Steve Kerr aiming to establish some chemistry between the new teammates. As Nick Friedell of ESPN.com relays, Wiggins expressed enthusiasm after the game about playing alongside Curry for the first time.

“He makes everyone great,” Wiggins said of the two-time MVP. “He makes everyone play better. He finds open men. He’s like the most unselfish superstar. That’s a good way to put it. He attracts so much attention that he’s going to find the open man, and he makes the right play, so it was fun.”

The Warriors are still an NBA-worst 14-49, but Kerr believes Curry’s return represents a turning point for the team. The veteran head coach, who said that Curry felt good after playing 27 minutes and will get his minutes ramped up going forward (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic), added that he expects to feel a “sense of energy and enthusiasm” in Golden State for the rest of the season.

“To me, this is sort of the beginning of next season in a lot of ways; and I think we’re all starting to get some clarity as far as what our team’s gonna look like,” Kerr said, per Friedell. “And having Steph back is, obviously, a huge, huge part of that now. The next step will be getting Klay (Thompson) back, but that won’t be till next season. But I think these last 20 games are really going to be a springboard into next year, so I think that energy will be high and remain high.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Draymond Green missed his fourth consecutive game with knee soreness on Thursday, but an MRI showed no structural damage, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “I know he would’ve loved to have played tonight, but the training staff just doesn’t feel comfortable putting him out there yet,” Kerr said. “We’re hoping that in the next couple of days it’s something that clears up.”
  • While it sounds like Green should be back soon, that may not be the case for another injured big man, Kevon Looney. He has missed three straight games with hip soreness, an injury Kerr referred to as “a concern,” per Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. The Warriors expect to have a more concrete update on Looney later today.
  • After a month with the Warriors, Wiggins said on Thursday that he feels “right at home” with his new team, according to Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. “It’s all been positive here. Just learning how they do things and what it’s like to be a part of a winning culture,” Wiggins said. “I feel like it was time for a change and this is the best fit that could have happened for me, so I’m happy.”
  • Wiggins hasn’t confirmed one way or the other whether he intends to suit up for Team Canada during the 2020 Olympic qualifying tournament this June. However, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse – who is coaching Canada’s national team – is optimistic that the Warriors forward will participate, as Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca relays (via Twitter).

Stephen Curry Talks About Returning To Action

Stephen Curry plans to resume a regular playing schedule now that his fractured left hand is fully healed, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. The Warriors guard met with reporters this afternoon ahead of his return to the court tonight after missing 58 games.

Curry hopes to play in all 20 of Golden State’s remaining games, saying he doesn’t want it to be a “now you see me, now you don’t” situation. He has had “talks” with the team about playing on back-to-back nights, but no decision has been reached, relays Nick Friedell of ESPN (Twitter link). The Warriors have four back-to-backs remaining.

He also spoke about adjusting to playing again without being concerned about his hand (video link). “Hopefully there aren’t any thoughts and I get to play my game the way I see it, react and make plays without hesitation,” Curry said. “If I need to make a left-handed pass or finish with my left or defend and get a deflection or take a hit with it.”

Curry also hasn’t given up hopes of playing for Team USA in the Olympics this summer (video link). “Right now the focus obviously is just trying to stay healthy these last 20 games,” he said, “get my rhythm back, get to the level of basketball I know I’m capable of playing.”