Stephen Curry

Pacific Notes: Cook, Chandler, Durant, James

Warriors guard Quinn Cook took the place of Stephen Curry against the Nets on Saturday, with Curry out due to a left adductor strain. Cook was red-hot in his first start of the season, finishing with 27 points on 11-16 shooting and registering a plus-16 rating in 29 minutes.

He played exactly the way Golden State needed him to play in Curry’s absence, and it resulted in the team’s 11th win of the season.

“He did the Stephen Curry imitation tonight,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell (Twitter link). “He hit a lot of tough shots, he’s a heck of a competitor.”

Cook showcased his talents and made the most of his opportunity, with the 25-year-old receiving inconsistent playing time when the team is healthy. He’ll likely stay in the starting lineup until Curry returns, then head back to the bench for backcourt depth.

“More than anything, I’m just impressed with Quinn’s professionalism,” coach Steve Kerr said, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “To not play at all for a while and be able to perform all of a sudden, out of nowhere, when we need him, that’s the mark of a pro. He’s a great fit for us and always prepared and always ready.”

Here are some other notes from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers center Tyson Chandler has impressed in his first full week with the team, Matt Eppers of USA TODAY writes. Chandler tipped back a clutch offensive rebound to help seal a win against the Timberwolves Wednesday, then grabbed 12 rebounds off the bench on Saturday.
  • Kevin Durant toured the Chase Center arena this week, which is under construction and set to open for the Warriors next season, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN. Durant will likely enter free agency on July 1. “I’m thinking about a lot of points being scored,” Durant said as he toured the facility. “The fans are going to love it.”
  • Bleacher Report’s Ken Berger explores the influence LeBron James has on the Lakers and their roster decisions, despite only being with the team for four months. James held similar influence with the Cavaliers and Heat during his first 15 NBA seasons, and requested the Lakers sign Chandler when he reached free agency last week.

Stephen Curry Suffers Adductor Strain

2:02pm: Kerr said today that the Warriors were encouraged by the results of Curry’s MRI, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Curry won’t play on Saturday and it will be at least a few days before he gets back on the court, but the club is glad it’s not more serious, tweets ESPN’s Nick Friedell.

8:40am: Warriors guard Stephen Curry left Thursday’s loss to Milwaukee in the third quarter with an injury that was later diagnosed as a left adductor strain, according to the team (Twitter link). Head coach Steve Kerr confirmed after the game that Curry will undergo an MRI on Friday (Twitter link via Mark Medina of The Bay Area News Group).

We’ll have to wait until after that MRI is completed and the Warriors provide an update to get a sense of whether Curry will miss time. However, as a point of comparison, Rockets guard Eric Gordon suffered an adductor strain last week and has missed Houston’s last three games.

“I’m not nervous,” Curry told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link) on Thursday night after the game. “I have nothing to go off of. If this was an ankle I could tell you four days, 12 days. But I will see tomorrow… I’ve honestly never done this before so I have nothing to go off of.”

If Curry has to miss some time, Quinn Cook‘s role in the Warriors’ rotation should expand. Golden State has also been missing Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston due to injuries, but Spears tweets that Green could get back on the court Monday vs. the Clippers, while Livingston may also return in the “near future.”

The Warriors do still have an open spot on their 15-man roster if they need to add some backcourt depth, but it seems unlikely to come to that.

Pacific Notes: Walton, James, Curry, Cousins

The arrival of LeBron James has changed life for Lakers coach Luke Walton in several ways, writes Bill Oram of The Athletic. After two relatively stress-free years at the helm, expectations just went way up in Los Angeles. Walton only has to look at Erik Spoelstra in Miami and David Blatt in Cleveland to see the pressure that comes to coaches who are suddenly paired with the NBA’s top talent.

And Walton has more than just the LeBron dynamic to be concerned with. The Lakers have a large collection of veterans on one-year contracts who will all want playing time to maximize their value for next summer. There’s a huge hole in the roster at center, along with a point guard battle between Rajon Rondo and Lonzo Ball. There’s also the watchful eye of management, where team president Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka are also under pressure to produce a winner.

“That’s one of the reasons Luke is good,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who once employed Walton as his lead assistant. “He’s grown up in the NBA and he understands what a weird world we live in. The job changes almost daily depending on your circumstances.”

There’s more tonight from the Pacific Division:

  • Walton plans to monitor James’ minutes to keep from burning out his new star, relays Dave McMenamin of ESPN. James played a league-high average of 36.9 minutes per game last season in Cleveland without taking a night off. Walton plans a much more relaxed approach to avoid tiring out James, who turns 34 in December. “We’ve got four years,” he said, referring to the length of James’ new contract.
  • Stephen Curry tells Marcus Thompson of The Athletic he doesn’t believe he’ll be in the MVP race regardless of the numbers he posts. The Warriors guard already has a pair of MVP trophies, but he says “the narrative” doesn’t work in his favor. “I don’t care,” he said. “I just know the narrative isn’t there, so I would have to go above and beyond. So, it’s whatever. I’m blessed to have three rings. I’m good.”
  • Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins has a new shoe deal with Puma after Nike refused to match his offer, tweets Nick DePaula of ESPN. Cousins becomes the top player associated with the Puma brand.

Warriors Notes: Durant, Curry, Nash, Green

With Kevin Durant set to enter free agency in less than nine months, many have begun to speculate whether this could be the final season the Warriors have their championship core together.

Durant, who joined Curry, Thompson, Green and the Warriors in 2016, will certainly register league-wide interest once he reaches free agency at season’s end, but that hasn’t stopped the team from staying focused on the main goal: Winning the NBA title this year.

“Maybe there is a little bit of fatigue in terms of covering us, because it feels like people trying to plant seeds that aren’t there,” Stephen Curry said, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times. “At the end of the day, N.B.A. players have the opportunity to go where they want to go, but I feel like people want to be here. We have a great thing going that we want to sustain and keep together for as long as we can.

“Whatever happens next summer is going to happen — regardless of what anybody says right now. So my job — and I think the way we’re all approaching this — is that this year is about this year. It’s nothing for us to worry about right now, because it’s all kind of wasted breath.”

The Warriors signed center DeMarcus Cousins to a one-year deal this past offseason, meaning he could also leave in free agency next summer. Regardless, the team’s sole priority remains winning a third straight championship and accomplishing their goals for the upcoming season.

There’s more out of Golden State:

  • Draymond Green will likely see his minutes limited in the first few regular season games, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater (Twitter link). Green dealt with a sore knee throughout the preseason, but he’s expected to play in Tuesday’s home opener against the Thunder.
  • Warriors owner Joe Lacob doesn’t understand the added speculation surrounding Durant’s future free agency, Mark Medina of The Mercury News writes. “It’s not even on my mind,” Lacob said. “There’s no more uncertainty this year than there was last. He’s been on a one-year deal each year. So I don’t really understand what all the hullabaloo is about.”
  • Steve Nash, a consultant for the Warriors, added his thoughts on the Durant situation and predicted that the two-time Finals MVP stay, according to Dejan Kalinic of Sporting News. “I think it would be strange for me to predict at this point that he would leave. I think he would probably stay, but you never know what happens next year.”

No Suspensions For Curry, Cousins

Stephen Curry and DeMarcus Cousins won’t be suspended for leaving the bench area during Friday’s preseason finale, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Both players stepped onto the court during a skirmish between Quinn Cook and the Lakers’ Lance Stephenson, but the NBA office ruled that the incident didn’t rise to the level of an altercation.

Curry could have been forced to sit out the season opener Tuesday night against the Thunder, while Cousins’ suspension would have taken effect once he returns from an Achilles injury.

The play happened in the fourth quarter when Cook committed a hard foul on Stephenson, who was driving to the basket. Stephenson swung his right arm in retaliation, and officials and players stepped in to break them up.

Curry and Cousins both walked onto the court, but assistant coach Jarron Collins quickly moved them back to the bench area.

Steph Curry Wants To Be A Warrior For Life

It’s hard to envision Stephen Curry playing for another franchise and for Warriors fans, it sounds like that’s something they’ll never have to do.

“I love the Bay Area, man,” Curry said on The Bill Simmons Podcast (h/t Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports). Curry added that he doesn’t think about going back to his hometown of Charlotte. “The only reason I go home now is if my sister’s getting married or to go play the Hornets for that one game, so I haven’t really been back much. I haven’t put my mind there.”

The two-time MVP has four years remaining on the massive five-year, $201MM contract he signed back in the summer of 2017. Curry will be 34 when his deal expires and he has no plans of moving on from the franchise at that time.

Simmons asked him if he feels like he’ll be a Warrior for life and the point guard’s response was great news for the Bay Area. “For sure I do,” Curry said “This is home. This is where I want to be, for obvious reasons.”

Western Notes: Okafor, White, Canaan, Curry

The signing of big man Jahlil Okafor is a low-risk, high-reward proposition for the PelicansScott Kushner of The New Orleans Advocate opines. The former No. 3 overall pick was signed this week to a partially guaranteed two-year, $3.27MM contract, which includes a team option for the second year. That means Okafor can easily be cut loose if he doesn’t impress in training camp, Kushner notes. If he sticks, Okafor’s scoring ability could allow him to carve out a niche role off the bench behind starters Anthony Davis and Nikola Mirotic, Kushner adds.

We have more from around the Western Division:

  • The losses of Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Anderson, Danny Green and Tony Parker should expand Derrick White‘s role with the Spurs next season, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio News Express. The 6’4” guard appeared in just 17 games last season but the 2017 first-rounder is poised to be a rotation player after a strong showing in summer-league play. “It’s nice to know they have faith in me, that they are confident in me,” White told Orsborn. “It’s tough to see all those guys go. They did so much for the organization. But I’ve got to make the most of my opportunities.”
  • Point guard Isaiah Canaan wants to repay the Suns organization for helping him recover from a fractured left ankle, Clevis Murray of the Arizona Republic reports. Canaan re-signed with Phoenix this summer after rehabbing the injury with the team’s medical staff. Canaan was waived in February after playing 19 games with the Suns but they committed to helping him with his recovery. “The Suns organization helped me get back on my feet and back to doing what I love to do,” Canaan said. “I couldn’t ask for anything else but an opportunity and I told them they won’t regret it and I’m going to take full advantage of it.”
  • Warriors guard Stephen Curry was both surprised and delighted that DeMarcus Cousins signed with the club in free agency, according to an Associated Press report“It’s interesting because nobody going into free agency thought about DeMarcus as an option then all of a sudden he found his way onto our team,” Curry said. “So for us to have a new dynamic, a new look, whenever he’s fully healthy it should be amazing. I think we got better.”
  • The addition of LeBron James has made the Lakers national TV darlings once again, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register notes. The team will have 43 nationally-televised games, three more than the two-time defending champion Warriors.

Pacific Notes: McLemore, Davis, Curry, Durant, Knight

Shooting guard Ben McLemore and power forward Deyonta Davis probably won’t stick around with the Kings, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area speculates. That duo was acquired, along with a future second-rounder, from the Grizzlies on Tuesday for veteran guard Garrett Temple. Adding a draft pick and clearing a little more cap space attracted Sacramento to the deal, Ham continues. McLemore joins a crowded backcourt and he could be waived or his $5.4MM contract could be bought out. Davis has a team-friendly $1.5MM salary but also doesn’t have an obvious role with the current roster.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Temple trade gives the Kings more than $20MM of cap room, making it a smarter move for them than the Grizzlies, in the eyes of Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Sacramento can use that additional wiggle room take on bad contracts or chase a restricted free agent, Pelton continues. The 2021 pick it acquired could very well wind up being at or near the top of the second round if Memphis goes into rebuild mode, Pelton adds.
  • Warriors guard Stephen Curry has decided to skip next week’s USA Basketball mini-camp, Chris Haynes of ESPN reports. Curry wants to spend more time with his family. Golden State forward Kevin Durant will take part in the mini-camp, David Aldridge of NBA.com tweets.
  • The Suns will head into the season with Brandon Knight as the starting point guard unless they make a trade, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic declares in his latest mailbag. If Phoenix strikes a deal, the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley would be an obvious target because of Los Angeles’ backcourt logjam, Bordow adds.
  • The Clippers will promote their G League coach, Casey Hill, to Doc Rivers’ staff with coaching associate Brian Adams replacing Hill at Agua Caliente, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links). Natalie Nakase will be promoted to Clippers player development staff, Wojnarowski adds.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Cook, Bell

Stephen Curry has been the face of the Warriors franchise for the team’s three championships the past four years. He has shared the spotlight alongside Kevin Durant and two other All-Star teammates to form a modern-day dynasty.

While he was in the hospital for the birth of his child, a call from general manager Bob Myers notified him that the best team in the league got better. DeMarcus Cousins, recovering from a torn Achilles, agreed to join the Warriors for $5.3MM, giving Golden State a fifth All-Star for its starting lineup.

“I don’t think (adding Cousins in free agency) was on anybody’s radar going into the summer,” Curry said to USA Today’s Sam Amick. “(Myers) laid out how it happened with DeMarcus’ free agency, and the early stages and what-not, and he was like, ‘Hey if we can sign him would you like to play with him?’ And I said, ‘Obviously, hell yeah. That would be amazing.’”

However, the Warriors’ latest challenge will be competing with the LeBron James in the Pacific division. Curry said that Los Angeles has yet to establish an identity but when it does, the main challenge will be beating Golden State.

“There’s a lot that’s been made about the competition in the West and his eight straight Finals appearances and all that, but that just makes everybody raise the antenna up a little bit – including us,” Curry said. “It’s going to be fun for fans, playing (more) in the regular season and who knows in the playoffs. So the West obviously got stronger with LeBron but you’ve still got to beat us.”

Check out more Warriors notes below:

  • Just before the postseason started, Quinn Cook, who filled in for Curry while he was sidelined, signed a multi-year deal with the Warriors. During an appearance on  the Warriors Outsiders Podcast, Cook explained why he never considered restricted free agency (via NBC Sports).“I wanted to be part of the team,” Cook said. “They gave me a tremendous opportunity … I didn’t care.”
  • Jordan Bell is headed for restricted free agency next summer and it may come at a poor time for Golden State, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes (subscription required). When Golden State inked Nick Young using a full mid-level exception, Bell was only offered a two-year pact. Now, he will become a RFA a year sooner and it could cost Bell money and Golden State a useful player. “I don’t mind betting on myself, though,” Bell said. “I think it was a good thing for me, especially at my age.”

NBA Finals Roundup: James, Lue, Durant, Curry, West, Young

With the season now over, the focus turns to LeBron James and his pending free agency decision. James can opt out of the final year of his contract and hit unrestricted free agency for the third time. He has until June 29 to make a decision.

Following the Cavaliers‘ loss to the Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, which completed a sweep of Cleveland, James discussed his pending decision, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin writes. While James has not made up his mind, he said input from his family will be a major factor this summer.

“The one thing that I’ve always done is considered, obviously, my family,” James said. “Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I’ve got a teenage boy, a preteen and a little girl that wasn’t around as well. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I’ll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that. So I don’t have an answer for you right now as far as that.”

James has left Cleveland once before, signing a deal in 2010 with the Heat, where he won two championships in four seasons. The 33-year-old returned to the Cavaliers prior to the 2014/15 season, leading the organization to a championship the following year.

Check out more news to come out of the NBA Finals below:

  • As we relayed earlier, James suffered a self-inflicted injury to his right hand after he punched a whiteboard out of frustration following the Cavaliers’ loss in Game 1.
  • After battling some health issues throughout the season, Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue intends to return next year, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. “Yeah, I do,” Lue said of his intentions. “I had some tough problems going on throughout the course of the season, and … I probably could have folded myself, but I wasn’t going to do that.” Lue previously told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that was treated for anxiety this season.
  • Kevin Durant became the 11th player to win two NBA Finals Most Valuable Player awards, per The Associated Press. With back-to-back championships and Finals MVPs to his credit, Durant’s focus will now turn to his contract situation. He intends to remain with the Warriors, but will likely sign a new deal.
  • Stephen Curry has two regular season MVPs to his credit but Durant has taken home that honor the last two NBA Finals. However, Curry prioritizes the team success over his individual accolades, Mark Medina of the Mercury News writes. “K.D.’s been amazing these last two years, especially in The Finals, and so deserving of back-to-back Finals MVPs,” Curry said. “I’m going to be his biggest fan in there with what he’s able to do. I think the biggest thing we appreciate in the locker room is, again, what everybody brings to the table and we kind of unlock the greatness out of each other.”
  • One of the most visibly excited players to win his first championship was the Warriors’ Nick Young, per Alysha Tsuji of USA TODAY. ‘Swaggy P’ only played 38 combined minutes in the NBA Finals but he helped the team off the bench during the regular season. “I went from getting snitched on to putting a ring on!” Young told reporters.
  • Warriors veteran David West said the team’s championship victory is even more remarkable given various behind-the-scenes issues the public is not aware of, tweets The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears. “Y’all got no clue. No clue. That tells you about this team that nothing came out,” West said.
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has now coached the club to three championships in four seasons. We noted earlier that Warriors ownership believes Kerr will sign an extension with the team this summer.