The suddenly-relevant Warriors have made big strides. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Bogut, & Co. have turned the Bay Area into a basketball hotbed – you could practically feel the crackle of energy in the air as they upset Denver in last year’s playoffs.
The sky’s the limit for this team, and local investors are taking notice. The Oracle’s lease runs out after the 2017 season, and plans are in the works across the bay for a sumptuous brand-spankin’-new waterfront arena tagged at $1 billion – that’s billion with a B.
Beyond the arena itself, however, is what the whole project says about the team:
1) They’ve electrified the town.
Big-dollar investors don’t drop that kind of cash without good reason. There is big money to be made through licensing, media rights, merchandising, advertising, concessions, and the list goes on. This all happens when strong public support goes hand in hand with investors’ attention – both of which the Warriors suddenly have.
2) They’re here to stay.
After all, Oracle 2.0 won’t be ready for another 4 seasons. As it stands now, every contract on the team will have expired by that time. The only ones still on the books through the end of the 2016-17 season are Curry and offseason newcomer Andre Iguodala. Bay Area med-tech venture capitalist and Warriors owner Joe Lacob’s potential use for that cap space doesn’t bode well for the rest of the NBA.
- First, keep the major players – Curry is key, and Thompson and Bogut are a close second. Barnes is no slouch either. Curry-Thompson is a potentially deadly 1-2 punch, if next year they can adjust to defenses who figure them out after last year’s lights-out playoff performance and if Thompson can avoid a sophomore slump. Bogut is a reliable rebounder with good hands and instincts, and he can score when needed. Curry is signed through 2016-17, but Bogut’s is up next summer and Thompson’s has a club option the summer after that. Get them back.
- Second, build around that core. They’ve got a good thing going and just need to make a few well-timed tweaks. Andre Iguodala might prove to be just that. However, my first response is no, due to his age for two reasons. First, he turns 30 in January, not old but also not young. Second, in his 9 years he’s proved himself as a good player but not a franchise cornerstone. Still, he could be a solid missing piece and a good small-forward addition to supplement Curry at point, Bogut inside, and Thompson/Barnes on the wing.
Keep an eye on the Warriors. They’ve got a great chance to do some big things. Not right now, not this season — they’ve got a ways to go before competing with the Heat and Thunder. But keep an eye on them, come spring. And definitely keep an eye on their new arena, come 2017.
Jason Terry has talked about reaching out to multiple teams, including contenders, during free agency before settling on the Milwaukee Bucks. When he talked about why the Bucks, he spoke of believing in what Jason Kidd was building.
There may have been another reason: Minutes.
From Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times:
Some NBA officials contend he signed with Milwaukee and rejected overtures from a handful of teams, including the reigning NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, because of potential playing time.
“He wants his minutes,’’ said an NBA executive, whose team had shown some interest in signing Terry. “He didn’t go there (Milwaukee) to sit on the bench.’’
Terry’s agent denied this, saying he wanted to be part of the Bucks.
If minutes was a key part of his decision, so what? Guys choose teams for money (usually), wins, to play with friends, lifestyle, and weather, plus other reasons — how much run they get is in that mix. It’s never just one thing. And playing time matters.
No doubt Terry will get run with the Bucks behind Matthew Dellavedova, although Giannis Antetokounmpo with the ball as point guard is what is going to make this team fun to watch.
The vultures have been circling.
Other teams have called Sacramento GM Vlade Divac since the day he took office to inquire about the availability of DeMarcus Cousins — however, only George Karl took those calls and tried to run with it. The Kings know they have a franchise player, the best traditional center in the game right now, in Cousins and that is hard to come by. While it may not be easy — Cousins has always been demanding of those around him — they need to make it work.
Enter coach Dave Joerger, the guy who had success with difficult personalities in Memphis and got that team to the conference finals a couple of times.
Cousins has this season and next on his deal, and around the league the conventional wisdom is he bolts when this contract is up (hence the trade calls). Here is what one executive told Zach Harper of CBSSports.com.
“They’re fooling themselves if they think he’s sticking around,” said one league executive. “The good news for them is his value will always be high. There isn’t a point of no return in which you’re not getting high value for him. Teams will bid against each other in the trade market. Maybe [Cousins] doesn’t go for the biggest money in free agency but you’d love to have that card to play.”
The Kings aren’t giving up on being able to keep Cousins. They hope Joerger, the Olympics experience, some winning, a new building, and a trip to the playoffs will have Cousins thinking Sacramento is his home, where he wants to stay and build something.
I’d be surprised if the Kings seriously considered any move before next summer. But if Divac and company get the sense after this contract that they may not be able to keep Cousins — and let’s be clear, up to this point the organization has given him little reason to put his faith in them, Cousins is not unreasonable here — they have to make a move. This is not Oklahoma City where they can just turn the team over to Russell Westbrook, if Cousins goes it’s a rebuild in Sacramento (for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in a decade).
Celtics fans (and the rest of you convinced Cousins is coming your way), you need to wait it out. This is not going to be some quick move this summer.
But the vultures are circling.
Harrison Barnes is the new gun in Dallas — a four years, $94 million contract says so. Dallas is betting the No. 4 option in the Warriors attack is ready to blossom as the No. 1 option with the Mavericks.
But make no mistake, the Mavs are still Dirk Nowitzki‘s team.
Barnes knows it and told Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News he has to prove himself.
“Out of respect, this is Dirk’s team,” Barnes said. “He’s put in the years and won a championship. But I have to go out and earn that. People assume that just because you get paid a lot of money and have a lot of attention that all of the sudden you’re guaranteed this many shots. I have to prove that every day in practice. I have to prove that to the coaching staff, and ultimately, if I’m going to be the guy taking shots, I’ve got to prove it to Dirk.
“You have to have that balance of scoring and playmaking, and learn how to be a closer. I think that’s the beauty of it, that I get to learn from one of the best to ever do it in Dirk Nowitzki. You talk about guys closing games, he’s got to be top-five all time. I’m just looking forward to learning from that guy.”
That’s exactly what he’s supposed to say. Well done by Barnes.
There is going to be an adjustment period in Dallas. Barnes may be able to handle being a No. 1 option — don’t let his rough Finals or riding the bench in the Olympics cloud your judgement — but we will have a better sense of that in February and March rather than November. He needs time to grow.
By the way, good on Mark Cuban for using the cap space he had to make Nowitzki the highest paid player on the team at $25 million — reward the guy who has been loyal to you.
It is a heartbreaking story. Nykea Aldridge, a mother of four, was pushing her stroller down the street in Chicago when she was caught in the crossfire of a couple of men, and she was shot in the head and arm and died. Aldridge happens to be the cousin of Dwyane Wade, which brought this to national attention.
Two men have been arrested for the shooting, reports NBCChicago.com.
Two adult brothers have been charged with the murder of 32-year-old Nykea Aldridge on Friday, Chicago police said Sunday morning…. Derren Sorrells… is a documented gang member and was on parole for motor vehicle theft and for escaping custody, police said….
Darwin Sorrells… was a co-conspirator in the crime, police said, and was also on parole for a gun charge. He was sentenced to six years in prison in January 2013 and released early in February 2016, according to police….
Johnson said the Sorrells brothers approached another man nearby and opened fire, targeting an individual who “was driving females from a suburb to Chicago in a fair exchange program.”
Wade tweeted this on Saturday, referring to the violence in his home city.