Stephen Curry

“A Long Way To Go” For Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry is traveling with the Warriors for the first time this season, but his timeline for a possible return hasn’t changed, writes Mark Medina of USA Today. Curry, who has missed 35 games with a fractured hand that required surgery, will be re-evaluated February 1. That means Golden State will play at least 10 more games without the two-time MVP.

“There is a long way to go for him to heal and be ready to play in a game,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He just started really getting onto the court shooting and moving around. He has a ways to go, but it’s good to see him out there.”

Curry was averaging 20.3 PPG when he suffered the injury in the fourth game of the season. His jumper was still on target as he participated in a shooting drill yesterday with Draymond Green and assistant coach Bruce Fraser.

The Warriors’ plans also haven’t changed on fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson, Medina adds. His condition will be evaluated during the All-Star Break (February 13-17) to see how much progress he has made in his recovery from the ACL injury in his left knee he suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Thompson has been taking part in shooting practice with his teammates when they have been in San Francisco.

Medina suggests the Warriors might set up conditioning and scrimmaging drills for both players after they have been checked by team doctors.

And-Ones: 2020 Draft, Giannis, Curry, Silver

The 2019 NBA draft, like many in recent years, had an obvious hierarchy at the top, with No. 1 prospect Zion Williamson followed by clear top-tier options like Ja Morant and RJ Barrett. However, things don’t project to be quite so simple in 2020, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link), who suggests that the this year’s draft might be the weirdest one in years.

As Givony explains, James Wiseman‘s departure from the University of Memphis, Anthony Edwards‘ inconsistency at Georgia, and a handful of unknowns surrounding LaMelo Ball have ensured there’s no clear-cut favorite to be the No. 1 pick in June. Wiseman’s absence, along with injuries to Ball, Cole Anthony, and R.J. Hampton, have also resulted in a dearth of opportunities for evaluators to scout many of this year’s top prospects.

With so much uncertainty about the top of the 2020 class, a chaotic draft night is possible, according to Givony, who thinks teams might have big boards that look very different.

Despite Givony’s assertions, there seems to be at least a rough consensus among experts on the top of the draft order for now. In their latest mock drafts, Givony and Sam Vecenie of The Athletic each have Edwards, Wiseman, and Ball going 1-2-3, in that order. The two mock drafts do diverge significantly from there, however.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • After his postgame conversation with Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo on Wednesday went viral, Warriors Stephen Curry claimed to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (video link) that he wasn’t talking to Giannis about teaming up in Golden State in the future — he was giving him his gamer tag for the online game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. “Don’t shoot the messenger,” Haynes said, perhaps recognizing that some fans will find Curry’s explanation dubious.
  • Former NBA first-round pick Jared Cunningham, who had been playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League, has opted to return to China and sign with the Shanghai Sharks, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Cunningham, who has appeared in 84 regular season NBA games, played in the Chinese Basketball Association for Jiangsu in 2016/17.
  • Ethan Strauss of The Athletic identifies five issues facing commissioner Adam Silver in the coming years, including the NBA’s next TV rights deal and the league’s delicate relationship with China.
  • The National Basketball Players Association is creating an accelerator program to help current and former players invest in and create startup companies. Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg has the story and the details.

Pacific Notes: Kuzma, Bradley, Bowman, Lee, Curry, Thompson

The Lakers aren’t close to dealing Kyle Kuzma and want a substantial package if they do move the high-scoring forward, according to Sean Deveney of The Kings are reportedly among the teams interested in acquiring Kuzma. The Lakers would likely ask for a quality rotation player, preferably a point guard, along with a first-round draft pick that projects to be in or around the lottery, Deveney continues. The Lakers would also consider two lesser first-round picks as part of a package for Kuzma, Deveney adds.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers guard Avery Bradley suffered a right ankle sprain against Detroit on Sunday, Dave McMenamin of ESPN relays. X-rays were negative and it’s uncertain when Bradley will return to action. Bradley missed 13 games earlier this season due to a right leg injury and hasn’t played more than 63 regular-season games over the previous three seasons due to an assortment of ailments.
  • The Warriors will send Ky Bowman to the G League when D’Angelo Russell returns from a right shoulder contusion, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Bowman has six days remaining on his 45-day NBA allotment under the terms of a two-way contract. The team’s other two-way player, Damion Lee, has just two days remaining until he must remain in the G League or receive a standard contract. A roster spot is likely to be cleared for Lee at some point, Slater adds.
  • Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry are getting antsy as they rehab from long-term injuries, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Thompson is working his way back from the knee injury he suffered during last season’s playoffs, while Curry is rehabbing from hand surgery. “In an ironic way, this has been probably a good chance for them to blow off some stream and whatever metaphor you want to use,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “But that can only last for so long. They’re both dying to play. And we’re dying to have them back.”

Warriors Notes: Curry, 2020 Draft, Kerr, Chriss

Stephen Curry recently rejoined the Warriors as he continues to recover from his broken left hand, per Nick Friedell of Curry, who underwent a second procedure earlier this month to remove the pins from his hand, had been in Los Angeles for a couple weeks, but has since resumed rehabbing the injury with the club.

“He’s been doing basketball movements,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said on Sunday. “He hasn’t been shooting the ball, but he’s been out on the floor doing a lot of lateral movement, jumping, that kind of stuff. And it’s nice to have him in the gym; it just feels better when he’s around.”

Curry’s recovery timeline hasn’t changed at all since he underwent his first surgery on November 1, Friedell notes. The plan is still for the former MVP to be re-evaluated at the three-month mark, which will happen at the start of February.

Here’s more on the Dubs:

  • The Warriors’ down year represents a rare opportunity for the franchise to land a top-five pick, but Ethan Strauss of The Athletic wouldn’t be surprised if Golden State ends up trading its 2020 first-rounder. As Strauss observes, the Warriors will want to add win-now pieces to their veteran core in the offseason, and the 2020 draft class is short on players who can make an immediate impact.
  • After leading to the Warriors to the NBA Finals for five straight years, Steve Kerr has had a much different job description this year for the injury-plagued, lottery-bound version of the club. As Anthony Slater of The Athletic details, Kerr has welcomed the challenge of coaching Golden State’s young, non-star players. “I’ve learned how to be a better coach, honestly,” Kerr said.
  • Marquese Chriss, the only player on the Warriors’ roster without a fully guaranteed salary for 2019/20, seems unlikely to be waived before his guarantee deadline next month, writes Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. In fact, Thompson believes the former lottery pick might even stick with the club beyond this season. “I see a future for Marquese with this team,” Kerr recently said during an appearance on KNBR.

Warriors In No Rush To Deal D’Angelo Russell

From the time the Warriors acquired D’Angelo Russell in the Kevin Durant sign-and-trade, many around the league have been operating under the assumption that the Dubs would deal Russell once they were eligible to do so.

“It’s just going to come down to when they want to do it,” one executive tells Sean Deveney of “Could do it now. Could do it later. But they’ll do it.”

The majority of offseason signings will be eligible for a trade on December 15 (sign-and-trades like the acquisition of Russell count as a signing) and leading up to that date, one might suspect the Warriors to already be in the process of parsing the market.

However, Deveney hears that Golden State has been quiet with regard to Russell negotiations with other clubs. One rival GM doesn’t believe the Warriors are pushing for a deal.

“If it is something that they’re going to do quickly, like before the end of this month, I wouldn’t say they’re pushing for it,” one general manager said. “Maybe they have a deal in mind, maybe they’re sitting on something and laying low. But I’d be surprised. That’s not how they’d approach it, I’d think. You want to create a market if you are going to trade a player like him, you want to pit teams against each other, drive up the price. You don’t want to lock into one deal. But the market thing, that’s not really happening yet. They’re not pushing the market for him.”

Russell has struggled to stay on the court, as various injuries have limited him to just 11 games. When he has been able to suit up, he’s impressed. Russell is averaging 23.7 points per game, he’s sporting a career-high 21.6 player efficiency rating, and he leads the Warriors in NBA Math’s Total Points Added despite many of his teammates playing twice as many games as him.

It’s likely that the lack of trade talks between the Warriors and other teams doesn’t reflect a lack of interest from rivals. The franchise, which is expected to land a top pick in the 2020 draft, could be planning to keep Russell for the season and then package the point guard with the likely top-five selection for a star via trade since adding a rookie to the core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green wouldn’t exactly mesh timeline-wise.

Then again, the team could keep Russell and head into next season with a three-guard rotation that is unmatched by any around the league. Deveney writes that the Warriors have let it slip that this could be their approach in talks with rival teams, though one GM says that is likely a “smokescreen” intended to make the Warriors look less eager to trade Russell.

The Wolves are among the teams expected to pursue a Russell trade. Minnesota went after him in free agency. Perhaps a package that includes Robert Covington could entice Bob Myers and Golden State’s front office.

Russell is in the first year of the four-year, max deal he inked this past offseason. Where he finishes that contract is anyone’s guess.

The Latest On Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry has undergone another surgery on his broken left hand, Scott Cacciola of the New York Times reports. The latest surgery is to remove the pins that were inserted in his hand during the first procedure earlier this year.

Curry is still expected to be re-evaluated in February. There were whispers that Curry would not play again this season. The Warriors have refuted such reports and Curry told the media last that month that he “definitely” expected to play again during the 2019/20 season.

“I definitely expect to be ready to play — I don’t know when … I’m excited that the rest of the season isn’t lost,” Curry said.

The Warriors are 4-19 on the season, so even if Curry returns, it’s not a given that he plays big minutes for the rest of the year. The team may be better off resting the point guard and gearing up for a 2020/21 campaign where he and Klay Thompson are both expected to be healthy.

Stephen Curry Expects To Play Again This Season

Warriors star guard Stephen Curry will require another surgical procedure on his broken hand but he’s optimistic he’ll play again this season, he told Anthony Slater of The Athletic and other reporters on Monday (Twitter link).

Curry is aiming for an early spring return from a broken left hand. He underwent surgery at the beginning of the month and is expected to miss a minimum of three months.

He’ll need another procedure in a few weeks to remove the pins securing the broken bones, Slater adds in another tweet.

“I have to get a second procedure done, beginning of December probably, remove some of the pins there,” he said. “So swelling is going to be of the utmost priority early in the rehab process, to give me a chance to come back and get my range of motion back pretty quickly.”

There’s also some concern about nerve damage. Curry said he experienced some nerve irritation and that will be closely monitored. He won’t be allowed to travel with the team until after the New Year

“Nerves are tricky,” he said. “They can come back quickly or over a sustained amount of time. … When you’re dealing with hands, that’s where it gets tricky.”

Curry suffered the break against Phoenix on October 30. The Warriors had gone 1-5 since the injury heading into their game with Utah on Monday.

Pacific Notes: George, Fox, Ayton, Curry

The Clippers are getting encouraging signs that Paul George might be ready for action soon, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. George participated in a full-court, three-on-three scrimmage Saturday that lasted about 20 minutes, his most strenuous workout since having offseason surgery on both shoulders.

The team still isn’t offering a timetable for his season debut, and coach Doc Rivers didn’t provide any new information. Rivers speculated last month that George would miss the first 10 games, which would keep him sidelined for at least four more.

“At some point, someone’s going to tell me who can play,” Rivers said yesterday. “I’ve never really gotten involved in it.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:
  • De’Aaron Fox hasn’t lost faith in new Kings coach Luke Walton despite a rough start, relays Jason Jones of The Athletic. Walton wants Fox to assume more control over the team as the season wears on, and the confidence seems to be reciprocated. “We’re going to ride with him,” Fox said of Walton. “He’s been great since the day that he stepped in. I think we feel like we trust him and he trusts us.”
  • Deandre Ayton has served five games of his 25-game suspension, giving the Suns an opportunity to add another player to the roster, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Ayton is now on the suspended list, where he will remain until December 17 unless his appeal is successful. Phoenix already has 15 players with guaranteed contracts, and there has been no indication on whether the team plans to make a roster move.
  • A broken hand hasn’t affected Stephen Curry‘s desire to play in the 2020 Olympics, his father tells Marc J. Spears of ESPN. Former NBA star Dell Curry said his son is still looking forward to his first Olympic experience. “That was definitely a goal coming into this year,” he said. “He wants to play in the Olympics. This is a little setback, but hopefully it’s a goal he can strive for through his rehab.” Curry added that Stephen is “doing the best he can” after having surgery this week.

Stephen Curry Expected To Miss At Least Three Months

The Warriors are expected to be without two-time MVP Stephen Curry for at least three months, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times, who reports (via Twitter) that Curry underwent successful surgery on his broken left hand on Friday.

The Warriors have issued a press release confirming Stein’s report, announcing that there will be an update on Curry’s status in three months. Based on that timeline, the earliest we should expect to see the star guard back on the court is on February 1, which means he’ll miss at least the next 45 games.

It’s a crushing blow for the Warriors, who lost Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston in the offseason and will be without Klay Thompson (ACL) until at least the All-Star break. Golden State was off to a bad start this season even with Curry in its lineup, having been blown out in three of the team’s first four games.

Now, the Warriors will have to try to get by for the foreseeable future without either Splash Brother, and without the sort of veteran depth the club had during its run of five straight NBA Finals appearances. The Dubs have one of the NBA’s youngest rosters, as we noted earlier today.

The Warriors’ cap situation will make things even more difficult moving forward. The team is right up against a hard cap and can’t add a 15th man to its roster, let alone apply for a hardship exception for a 16th.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks observed earlier this week (via Twitter), Golden State still has more than eight healthy players on its roster, meeting the league’s minimum requirements, so the club is handcuffed for now. Even if that number were to dip below eight at some point, the Warriors’ hard cap means they’d have to petition the NBA to add a player, per Marks (via Twitter).

In the wake of Curry’s injury on Wednesday night, Warriors owner Joe Lacob dismissed the idea that his team would consider going into tanking mode, suggesting that tanking is “against every single thing I and we stand for.”

However, without Curry and Thompson, the Warriors have limited upside and will likely be lottery-bound, so it won’t be a surprise if they lean more into the idea of developing their young players over the course of the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Warriors Owner Dismisses Idea Of Tanking

Even with two-time MVP Stephen Curry in the lineup, the Warriors were off to a worrisome start this season. Now that Curry is set to miss time due to a broken left hand, the club’s short-term outlook looks even less promising. However, team owner Joe Lacob “scoffed” at the notion that it might be time for Golden State to consider tanking the season, as ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne writes.

“It is against every single thing I and we stand for,” Lacob said. “We will fight like hell. Develop our young guys. Learn to win. You don’t get better by trying to lose. Our entire organization is about winning. And we will win. Some bumps in the road, perhaps. But we will never accept losing.”

Klay Thompson has already been ruled out until at least the All-Star break due to his torn ACL. Curry’s recovery timeline hasn’t been set, but Shelburne says team officials are preparing for him to miss a month or two. Anthony Slater of The Athletic notes that an injury like Curry’s often sidelines an NBA player for about six to eight weeks. Even Draymond Green is banged up, though he may not miss any time as he nurses a back injury.

Given the Warriors’ lack of quality depth, the team probably won’t have to deliberately “tank” in order to land in the lottery, as those injuries to their stars could be enough to derail their season. While Lacob isn’t willing to concede that it’s time to start looking ahead to 2020/21, he admitted in comments to Tim Kawakami and Ethan Strauss of The Athletic that the club will certainly keep its long-term outlook in mind.

“I’m just telling you that the bottom line is I’m not negative and I’m not going to get negative,” Lacob said in the wake of Curry’s injury. “I’m an optimist and we’re building something. You’re always looking short term and you’re looking intermediate term and you’re looking long term.

“And I think we’ve got a lot of good young players in place,” he continued. “Potentially, there’s a silver lining in all of this, who knows? And I’m very optimistic about our future. Very optimistic about our future. I think we’re going to be there at some point. Can’t say when. We’ve obviously got a lot of injuries now, but we’re going to be there.”

As we wait for an update on Curry’s diagnosis and the Warriors’ next moves, one “silver lining” worth considering if that the club will only send its 2020 first-round pick to Brooklyn if it falls outside of the top 20. That scenario looks increasingly unlikely, so the Dubs can probably count on keeping that first-round pick. And unlike most traded first-rounders, its protections won’t just carry over to the next draft — if the Nets don’t get that first-round selection in 2020, they’ll instead receive Golden State’s 2025 second-rounder.