Warriors GM credits Kevin Durant with keeping team together

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Durant helped the Warriors win an NBA championship during his first year with Golden State. General manager Bob Myers is also crediting the Finals MVP with keeping the core of that team together.

Myers met with reporters Friday for the first time since a parade in downtown Oakland celebrating the Warriors’ second championship in three years. During the 20-minute session, Myers touched on several topics but repeatedly turned the conversation to Durant’s decision to take a pay cut and sign a team-friendly two-year deal worth approximately $53 million rather than go for a max deal.

That, Myers said, was the instrumental move in Golden State’s ability to re-sign key veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

“His gesture of taking less gave us the ability to be very aggressive in pursuing Sean and Andre,” Myers said. “I can pretty much unequivocally say without it, we’re not looking at the team we have right now. What Kevin did shows who he is, shows what he’s about and I think it’s clear that that’s winning.

“Without him doing that it would have been a different roster, and clearly to me, a roster that wasn’t as good as the one we have right now.”

Durant, 28, had been adamant about his desire to keep the heart of the Warriors roster together after he left Oklahoma City to sign with Golden State a year ago. His new contract will net Durant $25 million in 2018, with a player option for 2019. Durant is expected to decline the option and sign for the max then.

A seven-time All-Star, Durant could have earned as much as $36 million had he signed a max deal this season. As it is, Durant will earn even less next year than he did this year.

That opened the door for the Warriors to bring back 2015 Finals MVP Iguodala (three years, $48 million guaranteed), Livingston (three years, $24 million) and David West (one year, $2.3 million).

Additionally, Golden State signed shooting guard Nick Young to a one-year, $5.2 million contract.

All of it made possible, Myers said, because of Durant.

“He did it on his own volition, which makes it that much more impactful and impressive to me,” Myers said. “He’s a max player for the foreseeable future forever. For him to do something like that is commendable. Without him doing that other sacrifices as far as roster would have had to be made.

“That’s why people enjoy watching our team, the selflessness of the way we play on the floor. But that’s also the selflessness of who our team is as witnessed by what Kevin did and what other guys have done. That’s what people love seeing. Nobody likes seeing greed and individuals grab attention.”

Myers noted the rapid player movement in free agency as teams maneuvered to try to keep up with Golden State.

“That’s why it’s so important to keep our team together and stay as strong as we can,” Myers said. “I was worried, to be honest, that we would not be able to bring back the same guys. My thought was we were likely to get worse. I thought we were not going to come back as strong, and if we hadn’t, people are coming for us.”

Young gushed about joining the reigning NBA champs after spending the past four seasons with the rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers. Young’s decision came after he met with Durant, Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Draymond Green during a recruiting trip in Los Angeles.

Green followed up with numerous text messages before Young signed.

“At first I was like, `Y’all don’t need me, y’all got too much,”‘ Young said. “He said, `Ain’t no such thing as too much. We need all the firepower that we could get.’ I thought that was pretty cool.”

 

Report: Otis Smith withdraws from Kings’ job search

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The Kings need to replace Scott Perry – an important vacancy in what has been a clownish front office run by Vlade Divac and overseen by Vivek Ranadive.

Sacramento won’t be hiring Otis Smith, the former Magic general manager who met with the Kings.

Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times:

https://twitter.com/BA_Turner/status/891002351594622976

I wouldn’t beat up the Kings about this. They quite possibly chose not to hire Smith and allowed it be framed this way as a favor to him – a fairly common courtesy.

But that the Kings were even considering Smith, despite all his failings in Orlando, doesn’t bode well for their search.

Kevin Durant breaks Guinness world record in India

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NEW DELHI (AP) Kevin Durant is in India to help the NBA make inroads in a nation of 1.3 billion.

Durant took part in a camp in New Delhi, where the Golden State Warriors star helped set a Guinness world record Friday for the largest basketball lesson – 3,459 participants across multiple venues. The NBA Finals MVP met young players at the NBA Academy, with hundreds more joining by satellite from four other cities across the country.

Durant’s first trip to India is the latest move by the league to grow the game there, much as it is doing in China.

The academy opened in May to train some of the country’s top talents. Since 2008, the NBA has staged more than 1,500 events in 30 Indian cities.

Clippers sound like they’re pulling out of Kyrie Irving trade pursuit

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The six teams – Spurs, Clippers, Suns, Timberwolves, Knicks, Heat – that have reportedly proposed trades to the Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving are falling by the wayside, one by one.

The Heat denied making an offer. And it sounds as if the Clippers’ offer is leading them out of the chase.

Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Clippers:

The Clippers have DeAndre Jordan, who has made All-NBA teams in the last three years. They also have Patrick Beverley whose dogged defense and quality spot-up 3-point shooting would fit well with LeBron James, and Beverley would be a lower-paid replacement for Irving at point guard. Their only player on a rookie-scale contract is Brice Johnson, who has disappointed. But they can still trade their 2022 and 2024 first-rounders, theoretically one to Cleveland and one to get a rookie-scale player already in the league.

Jordan would be a bad fit in a frontcourt that already includes Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love and LeBron. But it seems a three-team trade could work.

Alas, if the Clippers have resigned themselves to not finding a three-team trade, that matters much more than whether one is plausible.

Kyrie Irving confidant, reportedly: "He’s saying he’s not about to let LeBron ‘SON’ him"

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In the wake of Kyrie Irving‘s trade request – clearly a reaction to LeBron James – I’ve often thought about the above video.

A reporter asked Irving how LeBron has been like a father to him. A clearly flabbergasted Irving responds: “He’s been a great leader for us. I wouldn’t – I have one father. That’s my dad, Drederick Irving.”

LeBron never called himself Irving’s father. LeBron didn’t direct the reporter to ask Irving that question.

But LeBron’s presence, his leadership, how he presents his leadership all led the reporter down that road. Even if LeBron, like the rest of us, would’ve cringed at the question, the mere fact that he plays on the same team as Irving made it so Irving was put into that awkward position.

So, there may or may not be personal animosity between Irving and LeBron. There could still be a disconnect between the Cavaliers’ biggest stars.

Stephen A. Smith of The Undefeated:

“Kyrie isn’t saying he’s better than LeBron and should be seen that way,” a close confidant of Irving’s told me. “He’s saying he’s not about to let LeBron ‘SON’ him … treating him like he’s the child and LeBron’s the father or big brother he’s supposed to look up to.

“Kyrie knows he’s a franchise-caliber talent. He wants to be treated like it. And he’s tired of hearing about what LeBron needs, and he’s damn sure tired of hearing LeBron sound like he always needs more. As if the crew they have isn’t enough.”

Is this about LeBron repeatedly saying the Cavs needed another point guard last season? He was clearly talking about a backup for Irving, not replacing Irving. Perhaps, Irving or someone close to him took it differently?

Or maybe LeBron makes even more noise behind the scenes about needing more.

He doesn’t have enough – not to have a reasonable chance of beating these Warriors. Irving and Kevin Love lead a strong supporting cast, but Golden State is one of the greatest teams of all time. For LeBron to win another title, he needs more. I don’t blame LeBron for pushing for it.

I also understand that – and so much else of what LeBron naturally invites – wearing on Irving.