Stephen Curry

Western Notes: McKinnie, Cauley-Stein, Silva, Grant

Willie Cauley-Stein will likely start at center for the Warriors but Kevon Looney will probably play more crunch-time minutes, Anthony Slater of The Athletic opines. Alfonzo McKinnie may get the nod at small forward with Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III in reserve, since McKinnie is a high energy player who should mesh well with the backcourt of Stephen Curry and D’Angelo Russell, Slater continues. However, rookie Eric Paschall is a darkhorse candidate to play down the stretch due to his versatility, Slater adds.

We have from the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors preferred Cauley-Stein to DeMarcus Cousins even before Cousins committed to the Lakers, Slater writes in the same mailbag story. Cauley-Stein provided a younger option who better fit their new priorities, according to Slater. However, they never really had a decision to make because they were hard-capped after the sign-and-trade for Russell with the Nets was agreed upon. The hard cap meant the Warriors couldn’t give Cousins a max raise up to $6.4MM, Slater notes. Cauley-Stein agreed to join the Warriors on a two-year contract on July 2 and officially signed on July 8.
  • Pelicans draft-and-stash prospect Marcos Louzada Silva – aka Didi Louzada — has developed a solid perimeter jumper that should translate well to the NBA game, according to a Heavy.com story. The 6’5” guard can also attack the rim and has shown good strides in his development in recent months. Louzada, the 35th overall pick in June who was acquired in a draft-day deal, will play in Australia with the Sydney Kings during the upcoming season.
  • Jerami Grant should be an ideal frontcourt complement to Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic opines. Grant, projected as the top big off the bench, is a nimble perimeter defender who can guard ball-handlers. Grant, acquired from the Thunder for a protected first-round pick, is also a solid help defender who can block shots.
  • Jared Cunningham will work out for the Warriors on Tuesday, Marc Spears of ESPN tweets. Cunningham, a shooting guard who recently worked out for the Rockets, hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since the 2015/16 season.

And-Ones: Loyd, MVP Race, Bucks, Sterling

Guard Jordan Loyd views his upcoming season in the EuroLeague as an opportunity to showcase his talents before returning to the NBA, Blake Murphy of The Athletic reports. Loyd played on a two-way contract with the Raptors last season and feared he’d get stuck on a similar deal if he stayed in Toronto. The Raptors waived him after he agreed to a one-year contract with Valencia Basket.

“This year, I have a one-year deal, and then try to get back to the league, man. I think it’s gonna help me, honestly,” he said. “I look at it as a year to better myself and to get back to the league. I feel like I am an NBA player, but I’m not naive enough to sit there and let great opportunities pass me by overseas.”

We have more from the basketball world:

  • The Most Valuable Player race for the upcoming NBA season looks wide open, according to a panel of ESPN experts. While reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is favored to win it again, former MVPs Stephen Curry and LeBron James as well as Joel EmbiidAnthony DavisNikola Jokic and Kawhi Leonard are all logical candidates for the top individual award.
  • The Bucks’ biggest challenge will be handling the pressure of high expectations, Malika Andrews of ESPN writes. Not only will they have a target on their backs but it will be a pivotal season in terms of whether they can retain Antetokounmpo long-term. A group of ESPN writers examines the strengths and biggest question marks looming over seven contenders.
  • ESPN took a deep dive into the saga of former Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was forced to sell the team after making racially insensitive statements. Perhaps the most eye-opening revelation by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne was that the league nearly shut down during the 2014 playoffs until commissioner Adam Silver took swift and bold action. “I was all-in. Like shut down the whole season,” then-Warriors forward Andre Iguodala said. “Maybe that was too far, but as far as that game that day, you can reschedule it, you gotta sort this thing out, because there’s some deep-rooted stuff with him that had to be addressed.”

Pacific Notes: Curry, Miles, Fox, Walton

Stephen Curry remains optimistic that the Warriors can retain their status as an elite team, Janie McCauley of The Associated Press reports. Despite losing Kevin Durant in free agency and Klay Thompson to a major knee injury, along with trading Andre Iguodala, Curry believes younger players and key additions are ready for the challenge.

“It’s just a change in dynamic all the way around,” the Warriors’ star guard said. “We’re excited about the opportunities, the challenges for the whole roster, because we’ve got a lot of guys that have the opportunity to really prove themselves and make a difference in our team. Obviously our core, ’til Klay gets back, we know how to win and we know how to play. We’re just going to do it a little differently.”

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors have named Aaron Miles as a player development coach, according to a team press release. He served as the head coach of the G League’s Santa Cruz Warriors for the past two seasons, posting a 57-43 record. Miles’ promotion was previously reported by 2 Ways & 10 Days. Kris Weems has officially been named the organization’s new G League coach.
  • Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox has caught everyone’s attention at the USA Basketball training camp with his quickness and Celtics guard Kemba Walker sees Fox’s jumper improving as well. “What impressed me the most is probably his shooting,” Walker told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and other reporters. “He has really been knocking it down. That is what is going to take him to that next level. Like for myself entering the league, the next step for me was my jump shot. That is what helped me get to the next level.” Whenever he consistently gets that, it will be over.” Fox shot 45.8% overall and 37.1% from long range in his second NBA season.
  • Luke Walton has already made a good impression with Kings players prior to training camp, as Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register details. Big man Marvin Bagley is one of the players that Walton has supervised during personal workouts. “He’s been there helping me out,” Bagley said of his new coach. “Been there for my workouts, telling me what I’m doing right, what I’m doing wrong, what I need to get better at. I think it’s gonna be an exciting year. I’m looking forward to playing for him as a head coach and getting into it.”

Warriors Notes: Green, Durant, Curry, Russell

Draymond Green still considers Kevin Durant to be a close friend, despite their highly publicized confrontation last November and Durant’s decision to leave Golden State in free agency. In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that aired today on “The Jump” (video link), Green talks about the success they had with the Warriors and says he learned that Durant was joining the Nets at the same time everyone else did.

“He don’t owe it to me to tell me before everybody else,” Green said. “We did what we had to do. The thing that people forget about in this league is this is our lives. I’m not about to go to Kevin Durant and say, ‘Hey Kevin, can I get my fiancé pregnant?’ But that’s my life. I’m sorry but that’s my life. Am I supposed to come to you and A) Let you know that that’s what I wanna do? Or B) Ask you for permission? No. So I found out when everybody else found out, which is exactly how it should be.”

Green also said he talked to Durant yesterday and still thinks of him as “my brother.” He’s grateful for what they accomplished as teammates, including two titles and a loss in this year’s Finals, calling it “a major success.”

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Green also touched on the four-year, $99.7MM contract extension he signed last week. Although he might have earned more on the open market, he’s happy to be tied to the Warriors through the end of the 2023/24 season. He also considers it validation for the aggressive way he likes to play the game. “This contract tells you that all the garbage that you tried to say about me — arguing with Kevin or about the things with Steve Kerr or about the suspension (in the 2016 NBA Finals) — it just tells you that there was a method to that madness,” Green said.
  • This summer’s roster upheaval has left Stephen Curry as the Warriors’ oldest player for the first time in his career, notes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. A few months ago, Curry was the fifth oldest, but the team parted with five players who were past their 30th birthday.
  • With D’Angelo Russell joining the league’s most celebrated backcourt, Curry tells Slater that a three-guard approach can be successful once Klay Thompson returns from a torn ACL. “You get creative on how you mix up matchups, create good offense throughout the entire game,” Curry said. “Even defensively, I know there’s a lot of talk about that, our size, but the competitive fire will come out and find ways to get it done on that end of the floor.”

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.