Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant look to build a Warriors dynasty

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Stephen Curry tucked a celebratory cigar into his right sock for safekeeping as he handled all of his post-championship obligations.

He was still wearing his sweaty uniform, ankle braces, kneepads and game shoes but, oh, there would be more partying. Perhaps all summer long.

And if he and the rest of the Warriors have their way, for years to come.

Curry, Kevin Durant and their teammates are determined to build a dynasty together – and they might just be well on their way.

LeBron James believes so.

Two titles in three years for Golden State. A fabulous first one with and for Durant.

“We’re obviously just getting started,” Curry said after closing out Cleveland in Monday night’s NBA Finals Game 5. “This is something that we want to continue to do, but for us to have these conversations that we had almost a year ago and now being in this position, worth every shot we took in practice, fighting through injuries that he had this year, and it’s an unbelievable feeling.”

The second NBA championship feels drastically different for Curry, because this one was a comeback from a heartbreaking missed opportunity last year against James and the Cavaliers when the Warriors knew they should have won it all but squandered a 3-1 lead.

As a raucous crowd cheered at Oracle Arena, Curry watched freshly crowned Finals MVP Durant capturing his first ring in his 10th NBA season.

“It’s different just because of what happened last year to be honest,” Curry said. “We went through, for lack of a better term, basketball hell in that sense of just being so close to getting the job done and not realizing that goal and having to think about that for an entire year and compartmentalize and just try to keep the right perspective about this season and learn the lessons that we learned.”

Coach Steve Kerr cried. Golden State general manager Bob Myers also was moved to tears given Kerr’s courageous Finals comeback from an 11-game absence while dealing with complications from back surgery following the 2015 title run.

Kerr still found time to crack a joke on the stage afterward: “Well, we had very little talent, actually, it was mostly coaching.”

Later, he was straightforward and serious: “We were heartbroken last year, but this year was our turn.”

Myers realizes adding Durant might not have worked so well with anyone but the Warriors.

“Kevin’s journey, our team embraced him. Some teams wouldn’t embrace a guy who came into a situation like ours. It looks like it was easy, but guys like Steph Curry welcoming him and kind of let him shine – it worked out like it should,” Myers said. “If you want to win, it doesn’t matter. It’s not about who scored what. It’s about winning. I think he knew that. He won a championship, and then we were close and didn’t win one. So you have a clear sense of what matters when you go through that stuff.”

Now, the Warriors will face a frenzy of free-agent moves this summer to try to keep as many stars and brilliant backups as possible around for another run in 2018.

Owner Joe Lacob will be pulling out his pocketbook to potentially give Curry a $200 million deal. Whatever it is, the big-money contract will be a hefty raise from the $12 million he earned on the way to a 16-1 postseason.

Money and egos aside, the Warriors blended beautifully from the day Durant first walked into team headquarters.

“I mean, come on, you got a bunch of guys who are talented and can shoot and pass and dribble, and they’re unselfish,” Kerr said. “There was never any question in my mind that this was going to work. So, this is the culmination of a year where they grew together and learned each other’s games and got better and better all year, and it was just phenomenal to be part of.”

One moment late Monday captured the camaraderie that evolved. As a grinning Curry held daughter Riley in his arms, Durant stood next to them with his left hand on the point guard’s head.

Later, the two-time reigning MVP took off his new NBA champions hat and studied it briefly before pulling it on again, backward.

Curry had Durant to complement his game this time, to take some pressure off. They learned from each other every step of the way, they pushed one another through fierce shooting competitions that were pure entertainment on a practice floor.

At the start, Curry took a backseat to let KD get comfortable. Then Curry carried Golden State while Durant healed from a left knee injury that sidelined him late in the regular season.

“Steph definitely took a back seat to start the season until he realized we didn’t need him to take a back seat, we need you to be aggressive as you’re going to be,” forward Draymond Green said. “And when Steph turned that corner, I think it was after Christmas Day, when he turned that corner, we became almost unbeatable.”

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Report: Wizards signing Donald Sloan

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The Wizards look like they solved their backup-point-guard problems with Tim Frazier.

But they also looked like they solved their backup-point-guard problems with Trey Burke and then Brandon Jennings last year – and look how that turned out.

So, even after trading for Frazier, Washington is still trying to increase stability behind John Wall.
CSN Mid-Atlantic:

The Wizards added some depth to their backcourt on Thursday by signing veteran guard Donald Sloan to a one-year deal, CSN’s Chris Miller confirmed on Thursday night.

The 29-year-old Sloan has played for the Hawks, New Orleans Hornets, Cavaliers, Pacers and Nets in a five-year NBA career. He spent last season in China.

Sloan isn’t much of a scorer, and he’s only a decent distributor. But he makes up for it with all-around adequacy, highlighted by his rebounding for his position.

The veteran will compete with second-year Sheldon Mac, whose salary is just $50,000 guaranteed, to be Washington’s third point guard.

Report: Knicks sign Nigel Hayes to partially guaranteed deal

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Nigel Hayes became a cult hero at Wisconsin for bringing a “BROKE COLLEGE ATHLETE ANYTHING HELPS” sign to GameDay and soliciting Venmo donations, challenging the stenographer in a press conference and “accidentally” calling a stenographer beautiful in front of a hot mic.

After going undrafted, Hayes and his colorful personality are headed to New York, where Knicks fans are starving for fun.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Could Hayes stick into the regular season? The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one more spot for a player on an standard contract. Chasson Randle has an unguaranteed salary that becomes partially guaranteed around the time training camp opens. The Knicks could also sign other players, though they’re down to just minimum exceptions.

Hayes – a 6-foot-8 forward – has a chance, but he’s most likely ticketed to New York’s minor-league affiliate after being waived by the parent club.

Who is betting favorite to win Rookie of the Year? Lonzo Ball? Ben Simmons? Depends.

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The Rookie of the Year race is wide open heading into next season.

It’s that way every year — if you had predicted Malcolm Brogdon was going to win a year ago, you would have been laughed out of the building — but this coming season has a lot of talent at the top of the board who could win. Lonzo Ball, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, Jayson Tatum all have a real shot — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Who is the better favorite? Depends on where you do your betting.

The William Hill’s Nevada sportsbook (which works with a number of Las Vegas casinos, such as the SLS), has this (hat tip ESPN):

Lonzo Ball 9-5
Ben Simmons 5-2
Dennis Smith Jr. 4-1
Markelle Fultz 13-2
De'Aaron Fox 8-1
Jayson Tatum 8-1

The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas has Simmons as the betting line favorite at 9-4

The online betting site Bovda.lv has this line

Lonzo Ball 9-4
Dennis Smith 3-1
Ben Simmons 5-1
Jayson Tatum 5-1
Markelle Fultz 8-1

Traditionally, Rookie of the Year goes to a guy who has the ball in his hands, is aggressive, and puts up raw numbers. It celebrates scorers.

This year a whole lot of guys can fit that bill, more than are mentioned here. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Check out the first NBA 2K18 trailer (VIDEO)

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The NBA season is coming… and that means NBA 2K18 also coming.

To whet the appetite of you gamers out there, check out the first trailer for the upcoming game, with music by Mobb Deep.

You can pre-order the game now.