Andre Iguodala

Warriors’ owner says Iguodala sent word during playoffs he liked Golden State

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Denver was a 57-win team last season, but one that lost a star player to injury (Danilo Gallinari) then was bounced in the first round by Golden State. Still, after that success the upheaval they underwent this summer was a surprise — gone was the GM to Toronto, the coach was fired, and their biggest name player Andre Iguodala bolted via free agency for Golden State.

Except maybe the last part of that wasn’t such a surprise.

Warriors owner Joe Lacob sat down with the San Francisco Chronicle for an in depth Q&A that covers the plans for a new arena and the challenges there, changing the culture of the franchise and more.

Then he slipped in this about the Iguodala signing (hat tip Denver Stiffs).

“It’s interesting, during one of the playoff games in Denver, I was sitting on the floor. It turned out per chance, that one of his cousins was sitting behind us. We introduced and got to know him during the first game. When we came back for the second game, he made it pretty clear that Andre liked the Warriors, liked the organization. Obviously, I couldn’t talk about that at the time, but when he did become a free agent, I didn’t have to sell a lot. He was pretty sold. He sees how we do things, and the word gets out among the players.”

Nuggets fans will read this and see as a guy ready to bolt, a guy who committed a treasonous act during the playoffs. I get that.

To me, what this really shows is how things get done in the NBA — there is a river full of back channel communications like this and we occasionally hear a few drops of it.

Between agents, family members and entourages a lot of things get passed along to owners, GMs, coaches and other people around teams. When a guy is about to be a free agent, franchises where he wants to land get word — as happened here — that said player would love for the team to make an offer. In this case, I’d be surprised if Golden State was the only team told to make an offer — this is a business and Iguodala wanted to have options. Iguodala took a little less to go there. He really did want to be part of what is being built in the Bay Area.

Whatever that turns out to be.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: