Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors

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.

Watch the 50 best long-distance shots of last season (video)

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There’s something majestic about the ball floating through the air on a long shot headed toward the rim, especially when it splashes through the net.

Enjoy the top 50 of those baskets from last season.

Kevin Durant doesn’t like Durantula nickname either

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant (35) poses with an emoji cutout during NBA basketball media day Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
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Kevin Durant is long and thin, a combination that has inspired two great nicknames: “Durantula” and “Slim Reaper.”

Durant has already disavowed “Slim Reaper.”

Now, he’s professing his dislike for “Durantula.”

Henry Wofford of CSN Bay Area:

https://twitter.com/HenryWoffordCSN/status/780502572264075264

I see Durant is embracing his role as villain. This is a terrible opinion.

That leaves just loathsomely boring “KD” as a nickname, which is unjustifiable with such better options on the table. Durant might just have to buck up and accept “Durantula” and “Slim Reaper.” At least neither rolls off the tongue easily enough for people to address him that way in person.

Joakim Noah skips Knicks dinner with West Point cadets due to anti-war stance

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Professional Basketball Player Joakim Noah (C) attends the DKNY Women fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows September 2016 at High Line on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week)
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week
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The Knicks have held training camp at West Point the last few years, and last night, the team dined with Army cadets:

But Joakim Noah didn’t participate.

Noah, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:

“It’s hard for me a little bit – I have a lot of respect for the kids here fighting — but it’s hard for me to understand why we go to war and why kids have to kill kids all around the world,’’ Noah said. “I have mixed feeling about being here. I’m very proud of this country. I love America. I don’t understand kids killing kids around the world.’’

Noah received permission from Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek to skip the team function. He was the only member of the team not in attendance. Noah said his decision to skip the dinner and speech was not intended as a form of protest.

“It’s not my way of saying anything – I was not comfortable,’’ Noah said.

Noah has dual citizenship in the United States and France, the home of his father, Yannick Noah, the former tennis star. Noah admitted he’s “not very patriotic,’’ believing people should respect people more than “flags.’’

Noah’s view will be unpopular, but he has every right to hold it. There’s a growing current of people asking for more athlete activism, but people better realize: You might not always like the stance players take. For those who claim to value politically minded players, this is part of what you get.

Personally, I disagree with Noah. The Revolutionary War helped him secure the right to speak out on this. World War II kept his beloved France from being run by a tyrannical Nazi regime. Just because some wars are unjust doesn’t make all wars unjust. I also believe in honoring American soldiers who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms.

But I also respect Noah’s right to seek a comfortable situation for himself. Some people can be anti-war and easily separate the soldiers as individuals. For others, apparently including Noah, all war machinery is intertwined.

Keep in mind, Noah didn’t actively disparage any soldiers. He’s not seeking supporters for a cause. He just chose not participate in an event he never asked to be apart of.

LeBron James on Cavaliers negotiations: ‘I just hate to deal with this s— again,’ J.R. Smith ‘did his part’

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 22:  Kyrie Irving #2, LeBron James #23 and J.R. Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers look on during the Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 NBA Championship victory parade and rally on June 22, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
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LeBron James has implicitly loomed over contract negotiations between the Cavaliers and J.R. Smith. LeBron shares an agent – Rich Paul, whose clientele (including Tristan Thompson) LeBron considers to be family – with Smith.

Now, LeBron is getting more explicit.

Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports:

LeBron has frequently praised Smith, including this offseason. If the Cavs haven’t gotten the message by now, it ought to be clear: LeBron values Smith and winning and believes the former will help the latter.

This doesn’t mean LeBron will leave in free agency in 2018, but with a rumor that LeBron believes delivering a title to Cleveland frees him to bolt if he so chooses, do the Cavaliers really want to test him? Do they really want to restrain a team capable of defending its championship?

I respect the Cavs’ desire to sign Smith to a sensible contract, and LeBron is well within his rights to advocate for a fellow player (and himself getting a better supporting cast). These negotiations are all about leverage – and LeBron is using his.