Report: Warriors lower asking price in potential David Lee trades

39 Comments

The Warriors have been linked to Kevin Love, and of course, acquiring Love would be great for Golden State.

It wouldn’t be so great for David Lee, currently the Warriors’ starting power forward.

That – and the fact the 31-year-old Lee probably wouldn’t intrigue the Timberwolves much beyond his ability to make salaries match – explains why Golden State is reportedly exploring Lee trades

Marcus Thompson of Bay Area News Group:

The Warriors have tried to move David Lee in the past. But it needed to be a no-brainer in order for them to pull the trigger. But now, per a couple league sources, the Warriors have lowered the bar realizing they’ve got to come off that contract so they can go after a co-star for Stephen Curry. Plus, with Steve Kerr acknowledging he wants a stretch-four, which Lee is not, the writing is really on the wall for Lee.

I’ve been told to watch out for Orlando as a potential trade partner for Golden State. They have cap space and after a second consecutive year finishing way down in the Eastern Conference standings, they need to make a move. They might be a taker for David Lee for the same reasons the Warriors were back in 2010: they need someone who can produce reliably and usher the franchise into respectability.

The Warriors might not want to trade Klay Thompson, but if they want Love, they might have to. It’s difficult to create a package including neither Thompson nor Stephen Curry, who’s not going anywhere, and tempt Minnesota.

So, not only would a Love-to-Golden State probably leave a hole at shooting guard, it would create a surplus of power forwards.

Enter Orlando.

The Magic could easily have as much as $26 million in cap space this offseason. It will be difficult for them, coming off back-to-back miserable seasons, to attract a free agent better than Lee, and they have to reach the team-salary floor.

So, this could be a good opportunity for Orlando to pluck Lee. Lee’s contract ($15,012,000 in 2014-15 and $15,493,680 in 2015-16) isn’t so costly that the Magic can request a sweetener from Golden State, but Lee’s salary certainly lowers his value.

On the plus side, Lee is still good enough to boost Orlando’s play. Maybe he can even have an Al Jefferson-like impact.

The Magic’s most obvious trade chip is Arron Afflalo. With Victor Oladipo emerging and Dante Exum or Marcus Smart possible picks at No. 4, Afflalo is becoming especially expendable.

But the Magic trading the cheaper Afflalo for Lee wouldn’t really be taking advantage of their advantageous position. They should do better in the end, but Afflalo-for-Lee can be a starting point.

And then there’s Golden State’s side.

Curry and Lee, teammates the last four seasons, have an excellent offensive chemistry. Knowing where each other will be, they have the confidence to whip passes back and forth – creating space that way. The Warriors shouldn’t throw that away just to chase a stretch four who spaces the floor more traditionally through outside shooting.

But Love isn’t just any stretch four.

If the Warriors have to trade Thompson and take a loss on a separate Lee trade – either giving up more to get Afflalo or accepting less from Orlando – that could very much be worth it.

Kevin Durant apparently likes Instagram comment critical of Russell Westbrook (photo)

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
1 Comment

Last summer Kevin Durant tweeted and deleted that the Thunder’s surrounding cast around him and Russell Westbrook was lacking when he played for Oklahoma City. Those tweets – another criticized Thunder coach Billy Donovan – appeared to be intended to come from a burner account, but Durant said he actually meant to send them from his own account.

Now, he apparently liked an Instagram comment with the opposite message about Westbrook. (I say apparently, because I can’t verify the authenticity of these screenshots, but they at least pass the initial smell test.)

“Like” is Instagram’s word. Maybe Durant uses the function for a different purpose – to note a comment, rather than endorse it.

Perhaps, Durant misread the conversation. The comment he liked rejected the notion that the Thunder were “subpar,” but it criticized Westbrook for them not living up to their ability. Perhaps, Durant focused on the comment sticking up for Oklahoma City overall and missed the part about Westbrook being the shortcoming. Skimming that conversation, it’s a plausible mistake.

Maybe Durant just actually hit the like button. It’s easy enough to do.

Or maybe Durant and Westbrook haven’t really gotten less hostile toward each other. Maybe Durant meant to like this from a burner account.

Those nefarious possibilities are the scintillating ones.

After getting crushed for those tweets last summer and repeatedly downplaying his feud with Westbrook, the Warriors star clearly wanted to move on from these storylines. But all those questions have suddenly reemerged. Perhaps for legitimate reasons, perhaps for benign ones. But we won’t know more about Durant’s intent until he answers to this.

Amir Johnson on South Beach: 2006 Pistons ‘let the streets beat us’

Eric Espada/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Amir Johnson is a savvy veteran on the young 76ers.

On the 2006 Pistons, he was a scarcely used rookie straight out of high school.

But he was learning lessons he’d apply to his current role.

Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press:

Philadelphia heeded Johnson’s advice. The 76ers won Games 3 and 4 in Miami to take a 3-1 series lead.

The Pistons went 0-3 in Miami during the six-game 2006 Eastern Conference finals. There was little shame in losing to those Heat. They pushed Detroit to seven games in the 2005 conference finals and were – with Dwyane Wade transcendent while Shaquille O’Neal remained in his prime – even better the following year.

But too much partying is a major charge and a somewhat surprising one. The Pistons were led by the same veteran core – Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace – that made the previous two NBA Finals and won the 2004 title. They’d been around long enough to know better.

Gregg Popovich to miss Spurs-Warriors Game 5

AP Photo/Eric Gay
1 Comment

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has missed Games 3 and 4 of his team’s first-round series against the Warriors following the death of his wife, Erin.

Unsurprisingly, he won’t coach the Spurs as they leave San Antonio for Game 5 tomorrow at Golden State.

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

Popovich should take all the time he needs. Ettore Messina is capable as acting coach, and Popovich being with his family now is more important anyway.

This will probably be the final game of the series. Up 3-1, the Warriors are the better team and at home.

LeBron James on Lance Stephenson-drawn technical foul: ‘I gave him a little nudge, and he falls to half court. Come on’

5 Comments

LeBron James and Lance Stephenson have met in 23 playoff games.

Stephenson has tried to agitate LeBron throughout all of them.

From the choke sign back when Stephenson was still a benchwarmer to the infamous ear blow to the tapping of LeBron’s face the next game, Stephenson has been relentless. And LeBron has mostly kept his cool.

But not last night.

Midway through the fourth quarter of the Cavaliers’ Game 4 win over the Pacers, Stephenson stuck close to LeBron as LeBron went to the Cleveland bench. LeBron pushed Stephenson away and received a technical foul.

LeBron:

I mean, I should never have gotten a tech in the first place. There’s a timeout called, and this guy’s following me to my bench. I gave him a little nudge, and he falls to half court. Come on. But I should know better. I should know better. I’ve been dealing with this since elementary. It’s like I tell you a joke – I tell you a joke and then you laugh, and you get caught. That’s what happened. Lance told me a joke. I laughed. Teacher caught me. Now, I’ve got to go see the principal. That’s what happened.

Stephenson earned that technical foul. He did just enough to bait LeBron, but too much where Stephenson would get a tech. Then, Stephenson exaggerated the contract.

LeBron got got, and he knows it.

He’s also probably savvy enough to remain on greater alert to Stephenson’s antics the rest of the series and avoid responding again.