Stephen Curry responds to “cooling” Chris Paul trade rumors

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There was a time, just 24 hours ago, when Stephen Curry being the heart of a trade that brought Chris Paul to Golden State looked very possible. (As much as anything looks possible in a whirlwind of rumors.)

But the Warriors are reluctant to send Curry out, tweeted Marc Stein of ESPN.

CP3 Update: Source close to process tells ESPN that NOR talks w/GSW “definitely cooling” because of GSW refusal to put Steph Curry in deal

Curry is trying to keep his head down and ignore the rumors through all of this. But after practice today Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com got Curry’s reaction to maybe staying put rather than heading to the Big Easy.

“Really? Sigh of relief for me. No, just playing. This is the time of year with big free agents and especially with the lockout and things condensed into a short period of time, it’s pretty much predictable there are going to be a lot of rumors going around.

“Just focused on being back here, being with my teammates. Being happy being a Warrior. I’m not really worried about everything that’s circulating outside of the gym…..

“I talked to (general manager) Larry, (Riley) and talked to coach (Mark) Jackson about it. They told me pretty much the same thing: You’re safe and secure here. They want me here.

“Obviously, there’s the business of basketball and there are things that may happen with a GM having to make a decision for the best interest of the team. When you have a guy like Chris Paul, who is a franchise player, that’s something you really have to think about it with anybody on the roster. I understand that. I’m not going to be upset if they entertained that.
“It’s nice to be in the conversation with a guy like that. I know myself, I’d be part of a package, but that’s something that’s going to happen when you’re in this career, in this business, and you’ve got to run with it.”

I like Curry, but I find it hard to believe the Warriors would not include him in a deal for Paul, unless the Warriors were not confident they could sign Paul to a long-term deal. You don’t want to give up Curry for nothing, but if the question is Curry and Klay Thompson for Paul, well, that’s not much of a question. (That said, a lot of teams seem to be balking at Paul trades if he does not commit to re-signing with them.) The Warriors courting of Tyson Chandler — the center Paul said would be key to him signing an extension in Golden State — could play into all of this.

Whatever the case, Curry is not worried about it.

Jared Dudley: Giannis Antetokounmpo practiced mean mugging in locker room

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Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s Game 3 dunk over Aron Baynes was great.

Antetokounmpo’s Game 4 dunk over Al Horford (seen above) is even better, because of the fantastic mean mug that followed.

The rise of Antetokounmpo is no accident. He worked hard to develop his on-court skills. And that includes all aspects.

Suns forward Jared Dudley, who played with Antetokounmpo on the 2014-15 Bucks:

This is the inside info we need.

Report: Knicks are Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer’s top choice for job

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Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer withdrew from the Suns coaching search, but that he was even involved with another opening while under contract with Atlanta is telling. It probably wasn’t about the Phoenix job being special. He’s also talking with the Knicks – and maybe that goes somewhere.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Mike Budenholzer is genuinely interested in the Knicks’ job, according to an NBA source who has spoken to the Hawks coach.

“New York’s his top choice,’’ the NBA source said. “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes. He wants to live in New York.’’

“Phoenix and the Knicks are trying to win every game,’’ said the NBA source who has spoken to Budenholzer recently. “There’s a good chance Atlanta is not looking to win games the next two years. This wasn’t Mike’s decision. He didn’t expect it. He doesn’t want to lose games.’’

Going to the Knicks to win? What a time to be alive.

But the Hawks are only one year into what appears to be a multi-year rebuild. Relative to that, New York is ahead.

When Kristaps Porzingis returns is the biggest variable. But Enes Kanter, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke are all in their primes. Atlanta is much thinner.

The Knicks would probably also offer Budenholzer a raise and the Hawks compensation. Though dealing with James Dolan carries downside, this could be a financial boon to everyone else involved. It’s no wonder Budenholzer and the Hawks are both into this.

The big question is whether New York, which is casting a wide net, tabs Budenholzer. He doesn’t have a clear connection to Knicks president Steve Mills or general manager Scott Perry. But Budenholzer is a demonstrably good coach, and that ought to matter plenty.

Andrew Bogut signs to play in NBL in native Australia

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Back in January, the Los Angeles Lakers waived Andrew Bogut. He had a very limited role on a Los Angeles team that was not making the playoffs, serving as a backup big man against teams who use a traditional center. That’s not much of a role anymore. He’s a center who can pass, shoot from the midrange a little, and knows where to be defensively, but the game has evolved as Bogut’s skills have faded. Bogut tried to latch on with a contender for the playoffs, but could not find a team to take him.

So he is going home.

Bogut is signing to play for the Sydney Kings in Australia’s NBL.

Bogut was the first No. 1 draft pick from Australia when he was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2005. He made the All-Rookie team that season, was All-NBA in 2010, but may be best known for his role as a crucial part of the defense of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors in 2015 (and his injury during the 2016 Finals is an underrated reason Cleveland was able to pull off a miracle comeback).

At age 33 Bogut may not have a spot in the NBA, but in the NBL he both will thrive for a few more years but also be a huge draw and get the welcome home from fans that he deserves.

When Lance Stephenson gets a traveling call, he earns it (VIDEO)

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Yes, guys get away with traveling in the NBA. James Harden on the step back (sometimes, not always), or guys sliding left/right to avoid a closeout at the arc and not bothering to dribble while they do it.

Lance Stephenson got called for traveling Sunday in the Pacers’ loss to the Cavaliers. In a game where Stephenson got under the skin of LeBron James and drew a technical (and tied him up for a jump ball at one point), this was the best Lance highlight of the game. Because if you’re going to travel, you should go all in.

Never change Lance. Never change.