Report: Warriors hesitant to move Klay Thompson even in potential Kevin Love deal

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Golden State is a very good team, but one a notch below the contenders in the West — San Antonio, Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers. Steve Kerr enters with the expectation he will help lead this team to another level (no pressure, Steve).

But whoever is the coach his roster needs more talent — someone like Kevin Love. Which apparently is a possibility. The question is how much of their core would Golden State give up to get Love?

Love has reportedly told Minnesota he will choose to be a free agent in 2015, which has Minnesota realizing they have to trade him. Love has power in this process because only teams where he says he will sign an extension will put decent assets into a trade for him.

Love’s people reportedly have said Golden State is one of those teams. For the Warriors to make a deal work would require David Lee for salary purposes then some younger players that intrigue the Wolves. Who Minnesota will ask for is Klay Thompson, but the Warriors might be hesitant to go there reports Marcus Thompson at the Mercury News.

Ideally, the Warriors could pull it off with a package of Lee, forward Harrison Barnes and the 2015 draft pick. That’s probably the best the Warriors could offer.

A team source said the Warriors don’t want to give up Klay Thompson to land Love. Draymond Green doesn’t make enough to impact the trade financially. That leaves Barnes, whom the Warriors stuck by during his sophomore slump.

Perhaps Barnes and Green, in tandem, would qualify as enough young talent to pair with Lee — but that’s giving up too much as Green has proved invaluable off the bench. Maybe the Warriors could get their hands on another first-round pick to bolster their offer.

I love how much Green improved but you throw him in the deal if you’re Golden State. Talent wins and Love upgrades the Warriors dramatically at the position they most need it, plus it creates a potentially deadly pick-and-pop partner for Stephen Curry. There are a lot of possibilities.

Thompson is a harder call — great shooters who can defend as well are not that easy to come by. That said, if I were the Warriors I would likely still do it because there are more shooters on the market than there are elite power forwards, you can come closer to getting a replacement for Thompson.

The Warriors may have to consider it because teams like the Bulls or Rockets can also put together interesting packages, as could the Lakers and Celtics (depending on how the draft lottery goes). There will be competition.

If the Warriors can get Love they just need to find a way to keep Andrew Bogut healthy, then they are in the mix.

Devin Booker demolishes youthful scoring records

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When a 20-year-old LeBron James scored 56 points in a game, he called it, “probably the best game of my life.”

Devin Booker just topped him with 70 points in a game at age 20.

LeBron has obviously gone onto bigger and better things since dropping 56 in a loss to the Raptors during his second year, but that game was a harbinger. Booker – whom LeBron singled out before the season as an under-the-radar rising star – could be on a similar track.

Or Booker could be following Brandon Jennings, who scored 55 in his seventh game, also at age 20.

The future is bright – and unknown – for the second-year Suns guard.

What’s clear: His accomplishment last night is unmatched, and nobody else has come close. Here are the highest-scoring games in NBA history by someone under age 21:

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This is the result of Phoenix going so young and Booker playing so well. Not every team would provide such an opportunity, but Booker seized it.

Not only is he the youngest player ever to score 70 points in a game, he’s the youngest to score 60 in a game.

Somebody ought to buy him a drink to celebrate – in October, once it’s legal.

Union: Joakim Noah would not have been suspended under next CBA

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Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator LGD-4033 was not banned by the current Collective Bargaining Agreement when it was enacted.

The next CBA will offer a new challenge policy for failed drug tests.

Perhaps Joakim Noah, whom the NBA suspended 20 games, just tested positively at the wrong time.

SARM LGD-4033 (Ligandrol) was added to the banned list after the current CBA was signed in 2011. The drug is also banned by the next CBA, which will take effect July 1.

But the next CBA would also allow Noah an opportunity to contest his suspension – which his union says he would have done successfully..

National Basketball Players Association:

“After a thorough investigation, the National Basketball Players Association believes that Joakim Noah did not intentionally or knowingly violate any policy of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).  Under the recently negotiated CBA effective July 1, a player’s unintentional ingestion of a prohibited substance would be taken into consideration, and we believe the conduct here would not result in discipline.  Unfortunately, the current CBA does not permit such consideration.”

“Joakim was completely forthcoming and cooperative throughout the investigation and we believe that this isolated occurrence was a regrettable mistake.  Joakim has offered his deepest apologies for this infraction, and neither he nor the NBPA will pursue an appeal.”

Unlike the current CBA, the new CBA allows a player to challenge a suspension if he “did not know or suspect, and could not reasonably have known or suspected, even with the exercise of considerable caution and diligence, that he was taking, ingesting, applying, or otherwise using” the drug. He must also establish how the drug entered his system.

That’s obviously a high burden. The CBA even defines it as an “unusual circumstance.”

Could Noah have presented such convincing evidence? Maybe, but it’s far easier to make that claim in a statement than actually convince an arbitrator.

Stephen Curry with touchdown pass to Andre Iguodala, who finishes with reverse lay-up (VIDEO)

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The 49ers may want to give Stephen Curry a call, because I’m not sure Brian Hoyer can throw that pass.

Curry showed a soft touch on a touchdown pass over a defender to the streaking Andre Iguodala, who had to finish with the reverse layup, a little no-look flip. It was vintage Warriors, a little playground in transition.

The Warriors beat the Kings 114-100 behind 27 from Curry. With the win the Warriors are 2.5 games up on the Spurs for the best record in the West, but Golden State has a tough road back-to-back this week in Houston than San Antonio. Get at least a split there and the Warriors will be tough to catch.

LeBron James says he has scratched cornea, could sit Saturday vs. Wizards

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With time running down in the third quarter, LeBron James went hard to the basket for a layup, and the shot was contested by Jeremy Lamb, who ended up poking LeBron in the eye on the play.

It isn’t intentional, but it looks painful.

 

 

That blow could have LeBron sitting out Saturday night when the Cavaliers take on the Washington Wizards in Cleveland. From Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

LeBron James said he suffered a scratched cornea in his right eye in Friday’s 112-105 win over Charlotte after being examined by a Hornets team physician.

James, who scored 32 points in 40 minutes, could not keep his right eye open during his postgame interview session and said his vision was blurry… Summing it all up, James said “if coach decides to give me a game off (Saturday), it’s not because I’m resting. It’s because I’m banged up.”

He was treated by the Hornets’ team doctor who administered eye drops, but the Cavaliers will make the call closer to game time depending on how LeBron is feeling.

The Cavaliers are 0-6 without LeBron this season. They also have just a one-game lead over the Celtics for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. (Boston beat Phoenix on Friday, despite Devin Booker dropping 70, and they have a key game with the Heat on Sunday.) That said, the Cavaliers are two games up in the loss column on the Celtics, which is a decent lead, but the Cavs need to start winning consistently.

And beating a hot Washington team will not be easy even with LeBron.