Stephen Curry

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.”

And-Ones: Iguodala, Gupta, Vesely, Williamson

Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala was elected First Vice President of the National Basketball Players Association, according to an NBPA press release. Iguodala has been on the Executive Committee since February 2013. He replaces LeBron James, whose four-year term has expired.

The BucksMalcolm Brogdon, the CelticsJaylen Brown and the HornetsBismack Biyombo were elected to serve as VPs on the Executive Committee. They replace Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry and Iguodala.

Chris Paul remains President of the committee with Anthony Tolliver, Pau Gasol, C.J. McCollum and Garrett Temple also serving on it.

We have more news from around the basketball world:

  • Pistons assistant GM Sachin Gupta never knew ESPN’s Trade Machine would become so popular when he created it in 2006, Rod Beard of the Detroit News reports. Gupta called it a “fun project” and took about a month to write the code for the Trade Machine when he worked for the network, Beard adds. “It’s not meant to replace common sense. It’s not meant to replace any GM’s job,” Gupta said. “It’s simply based on the rules and whether it works or not.”
  • Former NBA player Jan Vesely has signed an extension with Fenerbahce that keep him under contract until 2022, the Turkish team tweets. The 7-foot power forward was drafted by the Wizards with the sixth overall pick of the 2011 draft but only lasted three NBA seasons.
  • Stephen Curry is a fan of Duke’s Zion Williamson, considered the top prospect in this year’s draft, he said in an interview with The Undefeated and relayed by E. Jay Zarett of the Sporting News. “He’s unreal. We were talking about him the other day in our team room,” Curry said, via Justin Tinsley of the Undefeated. “He has a lot of hype around him and he’s unbelievably talented, but you can’t teach his passion and the way that … he plays. He plays hard every possession, and that’s an underrated skill that kids can kind of emulate.”

LeBron, Giannis Draft 2019 All-Star Teams

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo drafted their teams for the 2019 All-Star Game on Thursday, officially finalizing the rosters for this year’s contest. James and Antetokounmpo were chosen as captains because they were the All-Star starter from each conference with the most fan votes.

Both James and Antetokounmpo first had to select from a pool of starters, then from a list of reserve players. The starters, which consisted of eight other players, were voted on by the fans, players and media this season. The reserve players were voted on by the NBA’s 30 head coaches.

James drafted Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and James Harden as starters, choosing Durant as his first selection. His reserves were Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, Karl-Anthony Towns, Bradley Beal and Dwyane Wade.

Antetokounmpo drafted Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, Paul George and Kemba Walker as his starters, selecting Curry with his first pick. He drafted Khris Middleton, Nikola Jokic, Ben Simmons, Blake Griffin, D’Angelo Russell, Nikola Vucevic, Kyle Lowry and Dirk Nowitzki as his reserves.

James later traded Westbrook to Team Giannis in exchange for Simmons, making an effort to repair the relationship of Westbrook and Embiid.

The 68th NBA All-Star Game is set to commence on February 17 at Spectrum Center, featuring 26 of the best basketball players in the world.

NBA Announces 2019 All-Star Starters

The NBA announced the starters and captains for the 2019 All-Star Game on Thursday, with the Lakers’ LeBron James and Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo being named team captains for their respective conferences.

The Western Conference starters are comprised of James, Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, Rockets guard James Harden, and Thunder forward Paul George.

Antetokounmpo, Hornets guard Kemba Walker, Celtics guard Kyrie Irving, Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, and Sixers center Joel Embiid were named starters in the Eastern Conference.

James (4,620,809 votes) and Antetokounmpo (4,375,747 votes) received the most fan votes from each conference in the past month, giving them the honors of being captains this season.

James and Antetokounmpo will draft their teams from the list of these starters and reserves on Thursday, February 7, hours after the NBA’s trade deadline. The All-Star Game will take place on Sunday, February 17, with the reserve players set to be announced next Thursday night.

We made our All-Star picks for the Western Conference and Eastern Conference earlier this week.

Pacific Notes: Curry, Beal, Rondo, Kokoskov

Warriors point guard and two-time MVP Stephen Curry could be back in action this week, according to an NBA.com post. He will go through a full practice on Tuesday with the possibility of playing against the Raptors on Thursday, coach Steve Kerr told the media. Curry has missed 10 consecutive games with a left groin strain.

We have more news from around the Pacific Division:

  • Any potential Lakers trade for Wizards guard Bradley Beal would likely have Brandon Ingram as its centerpiece, according to Eric Pincus in a Bleacher Report column. Los Angeles probably wouldn’t agree to deal Ingram plus either Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma or Josh Hart, Pincus opines. However, a package of Ingram, Rajon Rondo and Michael Beasley would add up to enough salary to absorb Beal’s hefty contract. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope couldn’t be substituted for Rondo unless he agreed to the deal, due to a quirk in rules regarding players who re-sign one-year contracts, Pincus adds.
  • The Lakers’ offense has suffered without Rondo, who is currently out with a broken hand, Joey Ramirez of the team’s website reports. The Lakers ranked fourth in scoring (116.9 ppg) and fifth in assists (26.0) before Rondo’s injury, but are 22nd in points (106.6) and 29th in assists (18.6) in the first five games without him. Rondo has been cleared for non-basketball activities but is still several weeks away from returning, Ramirez adds.
  • Suns first-year coach Igor Kokoskov believes his days as an assistant in Detroit were pivotal in his coaching career, as he explained to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. He was a young coach with the Pistons when they reached the Eastern Conference Finals on a regular basis. “I had the privilege of being with Larry Brown for two years and Flip Saunders for three years,” Kokoskov told McCosky. “I was very fortunate to learn from those great coaches and those great players. Just being a part of that group, with those guys all in their prime, I had a chance to steal the best from those guys. I learned a lot. Especially when you are winning.”

Latest On Stephen Curry

Warriors guard Stephen Curry isn’t ready to return yet, but he’s making good progress in his recovery from a strained left groin, the team announced today in a press release.

According to the Warriors, Curry was re-evaluated today and is ready to begin to intensify his on-court workouts. If he continues to progress as the Dubs expect, the two-time MVP will likely start practicing with the team next week, with the goal of playing at some point during Golden State’s upcoming five-game road trip.

That means that Curry will sit out tonight’s game vs. Sacramento and Monday’s game vs. Orlando, at the very least. The Warriors will then embark on a road trip that includes stops in Toronto (11/29), Detroit (12/1), Atlanta (12/3), Cleveland (12/5), and Milwaukee (12/7).

While it remains unclear if Curry will be ready for the showdown with the Raptors at the start of that road trip, the team sounds hopeful that he’ll be back in action in time for the showdown with the Bucks at the end of the trip.

Curry has missed Golden State’s last eight games and the team has endured some uncharacteristic struggles in his absence. Including the game Curry left early with the groin injury, the Warriors are 3-6 since their star guard went down.

It hasn’t helped that the Dubs have had to deal with other injuries while Curry has been on the shelf. Draymond Green and Alfonzo McKinnie will both remain out of action for tonight’s game, and are still considered day-to-day, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

Warriors Notes: Centers, Curry, Green, Iguodala

Tyson Chandler‘s statement that he considered signing with the Warriors before joining the Lakers is a sign that Golden State is having second thoughts about its current group of centers, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Steven Adams dominated the Warriors on Wednesday with 20 points and 11 rebounds in Oklahoma City’s 28-point win, elevating concerns that Damian Jones, Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell aren’t doing enough in the middle.

The organization made the decision to go with younger centers this summer, letting JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia and David West all leave. However, after a few weeks Golden State was already reaching out to a veteran like Chandler to provide more stability.

Jones made his 17th start in 19 games Wednesday, but posted just four points and no rebounds, continuing his season-long struggle. Looney had four points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes, but Slater notes that his offensive limitations make it hard to trust him with a larger role. Bell has fallen out of the rotation and hasn’t played well enough to earn more minutes.

Of course, the Warriors’ problems at center could be solved in a big way once offseason addition DeMarcus Cousins is able to play. But there’s still no timetable for him to return after last season’s Achilles injury, which means center could be a lingering issue for the defending champs.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Stephen Curry didn’t appear to be bothered by a groin sprain during shooting drills at Tuesday’s practice, but the Warriors are being careful about bringing back their star guard, Slater relays in the same story. He has already been ruled out for games Friday and Saturday against the Trail Blazers and Kings. Golden State is 2-5 since Curry suffered the injury.
  • Draymond Green, who is sidelined with a sprained toe, may be losing his impact as a vocal leader, Slater adds. Green was caught on camera giving a fiery speech during a first-half timeout, but the reaction of his teammates suggests that it wasn’t inspirational.
  • Andre Iguodala hasn’t been able to provide a scoring boost with Curry and Green sidelined, writes Dieter Kurtenbach of The San Jose Mercury News. Iguodala is averaging just 6.4 PPG since the start of November. Kurtenbach contends he could be filling the roles of playmaker and third scorer, but appears to be coasting through the regular season.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Durant, Green, Lacob

Stephen Curry made his first public comments Saturday on the Kevin DurantDraymond Green altercation, trying to smooth over an incident that some have suggested could lead to the end of the Warriors‘ dynasty, relays Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“I think the way we’ve handled it as a team, the way Draymond’s handled it, the way KD’s handled it, it’s been nothing but professionalism and understanding that it’s about the team,” Curry told reporters before Saturday’s game. “And the conversations that we’ve all had, whether it’s one-on-one, as a team, is keeping that in mind. We have the opportunity to do something extremely special this year. There’s going to be ups and downs and bumps in the road, whether it’s self-inflicted or whether it’s from outside.”

The Warriors suspended Green for one game for a verbal tirade against Durant in an overtime loss to the Clippers. Durant was calling for the ball at the end of regulation, but Green kept it and committed a turnover. Durant snapped at Green and he unleashed an angry response in which he referenced Durant’s upcoming free agency and allegedly said, “We don’t need you. We won without you. Leave.”

“They have a lot of equity built in their relationship,” Curry said of Durant and Green. “We’ve won championships together. They’ve brought out the best in each other. Obviously, I don’t think they’ve had an incident to this level, but you don’t have the experiences you’ve had and go through the journey that we’ve been on and let it be derailed by something like that. Obviously, from a personal standpoint, there are things that need to be worked through. That’s like any relationship in life. But at the end of the day, they both understand that neither one of them is going to be a reason that we don’t win a championship this year. I can roll with that.”

There’s more Warriors news this morning:

  • Curry, who has missed the past five games, is making progress with a strained left groin, even though he won’t be re-evaluated for another week, Friedell adds in the same story. “Progress is moving in the right direction,” Curry said. “Haven’t had any setbacks or anything like that. But it’s more so about getting full range of motion, doing so where it’s pain-free and things like that. I’m learning about this one. I can tell you everything you want to know about ankles. But this is obviously a new one for me, so trying to make sure I stay cautious, but knowing that we’re moving in the right direction. So I don’t know how long it will be, but that’s all I can pretty much ask for.”
  • Owner Joe Lacob denies that the decision to suspend Green and not Durant means the organization is taking sides in their dispute, relays Al Saracevic of The San Francisco Chronicle“I’ve read and heard all the things people are talking about. That we’re choosing one person over another,” Lacob said. “We’re not choosing anybody over anybody.” He said the decision to discipline Green was “totally a management issue” and complimented GM Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr on how they handled it.
  • There’s still time to vote in our poll on Durant’s future beyond this season.

Stephen Curry Out At Least 10 More Days

Stephen Curry, who is currently sidelined with a strained left groin, is expected to miss at least five more games, according to the Warriors, who announced today in a press release that Curry will be re-evaluated in 10 days.

Based on that timeline, Curry will remain out of action for the team’s upcoming three-game road trip to Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, as well as next week’s home contests vs. the Thunder and Trail Blazers. The earliest Curry could return would be for the Dubs’ November 24 game vs. Sacramento.

According to the Warriors, however, Curry will travel with the club during that Texas road trip. As Anthony Slater of The Athletic observes (via Twitter), that’s not insignificant, given the drama surrounding the club these days.

Curry’s locker room presence could be important in the coming days, says Slater, noting that the two-time MVP wasn’t in Los Angeles in Monday when Draymond Green and Kevin Durant had an on-court and post-game confrontation.

[RELATED: Latest on Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Warriors]

With Curry not ready to return, Quinn Cook and Shaun Livingston will continue to handle point guard duties for the Warriors. The team also has an open roster spot if it wants to add more depth, but that’s probably not under consideration at this point.

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.