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.
Through the first two weeks of training camp, the Pelicans have seen their frontcourt depth decimated by injuries to Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik, both of whom are out for a few weeks. A deal with Greg Smith fell through after he failed a physical. Now, Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re signing former Knicks and Nets center Jerome Jordan as a short-term solution:
Jordan has only played 65 games in his career and hasn’t been spectacular, but the Pelicans need a body while their two centers are out. Anthony Davis will spend some time at center, but considering the contracts Asik and Ajinca got this summer, Alvin Gentry clearly plans on playing him at power forward as well, and they need a center to at least fill time before Asik and Ajinca get back.
He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.
Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:
“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”
Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.
“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”
At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.