With the drafting of Ekpe Udoh last week, there became a frontcourt logjam in Golden State. Which seems weird for a team that needed more on an interior presence last season, but welcome to the Warriors. Don Nelson does that to you.
General Manager Larry Riley cleared that up a little with a series of moves made public Monday by Comcast Sports Bay Area.
Anthony Tolliver and Chris Hunter did not get qualifying offers from the team. They are now unrestricted free agents. They will not be back.
Guards Anthony Morrow and C.J. Watson did get offers, making them restricted free agents. While Morrow would draw a lot of interest on the open market, the Warriors can — and will — match any offer.
Not signing Tolliver — a guy Don Nelson played 32 minutes a game last year — and Hunter shows where Riley wants this team to go. More Anthony Randolph. More Brandan Wright. Give Udoh some burn. Ronny Turiaf will be back as well and can give the team quality minutes. It was a message to Nelson, and likely would be welcomed by any coach who could come in after the ownership change.
Tolliver and Hunter should draw some interest. Tolliver (a D-League call up) should be playing the four — Nelson started him at center — and can help there. He gave the Warriors solid minutes, with a couple of big scoring and rebounding games. He started 29 games at the end of the season and gave Golden State 13.6 points per game but shot just 43 percent on the season. Still, he can give solid backup minutes every night for the right team.
Tolliver even made some big highlights, though not always for the right reason.
And the end of the season, it was Hunter who was spelling Tolliver off the bench and was the real center. He shot 50 percent and more importantly gave the Warriors a real defensive presence in the paint. He is another guy called up from the D-League, another guy who can give someone some solid minutes off the bench.
Tolliver and Hunter were not bad, but it’s a numbers game (even with them gone Warriors have 14 on the roster, 15 is the max, and you want flexibility for trades). Maybe now they land in a system better suited to their talents.
Andre Drummond is a terrible free-throw shooter…except, apparently, when he’s shooting from the other free-throw line. Monday night against the Raptors, Drummond cut Detroit’s deficit to five at the end of the third quarter with this three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer:
Now, if only he could work on his accuracy from his own free-throw line.
Not a lot has gone right for the Nets this season, but an impressive clutch shot by seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson gave them their 14th win of the season on Monday. With time expiring, Johnson banked in a long three-pointer to put Brooklyn up 105-104 over Denver and secure the victory:
Johnson had 12 points on the night.
For about a week, word has circulated throughout the NBA that George Karl’s days in Sacramento were numbered. They’ve lost eight of their last 10 games, and players have more or less checked out on him. Remember, it’s only been a year since the Kings unceremoniously ousted interim head coach Ty Corbin to bring Karl in, which came on the heels of their puzzling dismissal of Mike Malone in December 2014.
Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the Kings have made the decision to let Karl go:
The decision itself isn’t surprising—it always seemed to be a matter of “when,” not “if” Karl would be fired. But the optics here are not good. If everybody knows it’s coming, it makes no sense to leak that the change is going to happen hours or even days before it’s made official.
The report of the Kings’ decision on Karl comes on the heels of a concerning bombshell Rajon Rondo dropped following Sacramento’s 120-100 loss to the Cavaliers on Monday night.
Via the Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones:
Sports Illustrated‘s Jake Fischer further reported that only three players indeed showed up on Monday morning:
That’s a bad look for everybody involved. An optional shootaround is more or less unheard of in the NBA, and if only three players bothered to come, that’s an unignorable sign that the team has quit on Karl.
Since he came into the league, Karl-Anthony Towns‘ offensive footwork has been unusually advanced for a rookie. He showed off his impressive moves again on Monday night, getting to the basket around Luke Babbitt with this spin: