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C.J. McCollum on the Warriors being bad for the NBA: “I think that’s garbage”

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The Golden State Warriors drafted most of their top players. Stephen Curry was No. 7 in 2009. Klay Thompson was No. 11 in 2011. Draymond Green was No. 35 in 2012. Save for Kevin Durant, they are the epitome of built and not bought. They were unfair when they won 73 games a season ago without Durant’s help.

But with Durant?

The complaint of some NBA fans has shifted from unfair advantage to exploitation.

Not everyone agrees with this complaint. I certainly don’t, at least not from a procedural standpoint. Sure, watching the Warriors mow down the NBA for the next few years doesn’t give a sense of hope, but the way they came about their riches was relatively by the book.

Even some NBA players, like Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum agrees. Speaking with Alex Kennedy on a podcast recently, McCollum spoke to whether he thought the Warriors were bad for the NBA.

Via Soundcloud:

No, no, that’s garbage. They’ve done things the right way. It’s not like they cheated. They drafted well, they developed players and then they bring in an outsider in KD, who was a free agent and had every right to sign with the team he wanted. If anything other teams need to get better, other teams need to figure out ways to execute trades, to execute the draft, develop players internally, and try to put something together.

McCollum, when asked whether he wanted to then go out and recruit stars like the Warriors did responded with a joking, “Paging Paul George.”

I’m with McCollum here, even if I do find watching the Warriors to be a bit tiresome at times. I’m definitely in the camp that Durant had every right to go to Golden State by the rules of the league, so he can’t be penalized for that. As far as him playing on that team, it’s a little wack. You should be able to separate the two.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are trying to make a superteam of their own and Paul George appears headed to the Los Angeles Lakers in one way or another. The NBA: where weird happens.

Report: Andre Iguodala to ‘seriously consider’ leaving Warriors in free agency

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Has Andre Iguodala already agreed on a salary to re-sign with the Warriors?

This sure doesn’t sound like it.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Iguodala plans to seriously consider other teams in July, league sources told The Vertical. Prospective teams would need to show in meetings a vision to move toward contention to pry Iguodala from Golden State, league sources said.

Many teams are expected to pursue discussions with Iguodala, including the Warriors, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves and Atlanta Hawks, league sources said. Among teams around the league, there’s a belief that the value this summer for a two-way wing such as Iguodala could reach $20 million annually.

When mapping out how high the Warriors’ payroll could get next season, I budgeted Iguodala at $18 million – taking a small discount to stay in Golden State.

Other teams know how happy he is there. To lure him away, it’ll take a monster offer. If it also takes a roadmap to contention in a league that still includes the Kevin DurantStephen CurryDraymond GreenKlay Thompson Warriors, it might be an insurmountable challenge.

But Iguodala can still use the threat to get more from the Warriors.

He already holds immense leverage.

Durant is reportedly willing to accept less than his max, which would allow the Warriors to maintain Iguodala’s Bird Rights. They could pay Iguodala any amount up to the max – and have no mechanism to adequately replace if he leaves. If they somehow lost him, Durant would probably want his max, creating additional complications.

Iguodala is a key cog on a team with a team with its championship window wide open. He unlocks the death lineup, entering for a traditional big as Green slides to center. That’d be a major weapon to lose, even if Golden State would still have an overwhelming talent advantage at the top.

One other possibility with this report: It could be a smokescreen to avoid scrutiny into the Warriors breaking league rules by agreeing to a contract with Iguodala before free agency. Especially with that previous report out there, this could be designed to cast doubt on the inevitability of Iguodala re-signing – accurate or not.

Lonzo Ball: LaVar Ball’s notoriety ‘makes it a little bit harder’

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — By now the entire basketball world knows Lonzo Ball is a singular talent with a unique parent.

The UCLA product with preternatural court vision is among the most intriguing prospects in the NBA draft this week. In perhaps the greatest testament to his abilities, his father LaVar Ball’s bombast and $495 shoes and racially insensitive comments don’t appear to be scaring off the Los Angeles Lakers or any other team that believes Lonzo could be the next great point guard.

Because of his headline-magnet father, Ball’s celebrity has already outpaced his talents before he plays his first professional game. Yet ever since his days leading the Big Ballers AAU team set up by his dad, Lonzo has shown nothing but maturity and calm in the face of LaVar’s audacious approaches to hoops, parenting and the business of sports.

“I think it definitely doesn’t help,” Ball said of his father’s notoriety. “Definitely makes it a little bit harder. But any good player is going to have attention on him at all times, and I’m pretty used to it by now.”

Ball’s mental steadiness is another big reason he’s almost certain to be a top-three pick on Thursday. Ever since the Lakers got the No. 2 choice in the lottery last month, most draft observers have believed Ball will wear a gold jersey in the fall, completing a serendipitous match of player and team.

That’s been the dream scenario for the entire Ball family ever since Lonzo showed the first inklings of world-class talent. He was raised in Chino Hills, a suburb about 35 miles east of Staples Center, and LaVar Ball is an ardent fan of the Lakers – and specifically Magic Johnson, the Hall of Fame point guard now running their basketball operations.

After Ball worked out for the Lakers last week, he didn’t mince words about his hopes to make it permanent: “Of course. I want to stay home.”

Los Angeles and its sprawling suburbs have produced an incredible portion of the NBA’s top talent of recent years. All three MVP finalists this season – Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard – are from the area, as are Paul George, Klay Thompson, Tyson Chandler, DeMar DeRozan and many others.

Although the Lakers have been his family’s team since before he could walk, Ball said he hasn’t been to many games in person: “My dad didn’t like the seats, because I guess they were too small for him.”

That’s understandable, since father and son are both 6-foot-6. Lonzo watched on television and then emulated the stars from Magic to Kobe Bryant while playing with his brothers at home.

“I patterned my game after (Johnson),” Ball said. “My dad asked me what position I wanted to play. I told him, `Point guard.’ He was like, `All right, if you’re going to play point guard, you’ve got to get the ball up.”‘

That’s what Ball does better than almost any guard in recent college basketball history.

He led the nation in assists (7.7) while turning the Bruins into the highest-scoring team in Division I basketball. The freshman showed astonishing passing ability while orchestrating the UCLA offense, utilizing angles and defensive creases that made him look more like an attacking soccer midfielder than a basketball player.

And if any NBA team is worried about having the ultimate sports parent in the front row, UCLA coach Steve Alford has repeatedly said LaVar wasn’t a problem for him – and Lonzo’s two little brothers are both planning to play in Westwood.

Ball admits his father gives him unwanted notoriety. He also promises he can handle any distraction.

“That was said about me in college, said about me in high school,” he said. “I don’t think it affected me.”

Just a few days away from the decision, Ball still appears to be a splendid fit with the Lakers, whose up-tempo offense under coach Luke Walton looks tailor-made for Ball’s skills. The Lakers just completed the worst four-year stretch in franchise history, but their fans hope that another playmaking superstar will be their reward for the 16-time NBA champions’ misery.

Ball is one of those fans.

“They need a leader,” Ball said after working out for the Lakers recently. “They need a point guard, and I feel like I can fill that hole. … They said they want me to come in – if I get picked – come in and be a leader and play with a lot of pace. So the stuff they were saying was very positive, and it kind of fits my game.”

Steve Kerr forgot to mention Stephen Curry during parade speech, felt “embarrassed”

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With the microphone in his hand, on the end-of-parade championship stage, in front of thousands and thousands of Warriors fans, with a national audience watching on NBA TV, coach Steve Kerr lavished praise on his players and coaches. He talked about what role players like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston brought to the table, he talked about Klay Thompson‘s shooting, and he could not say enough things about what Kevin Durant meant to the team.

He forgot to mention Stephen Curry. At all.

“Oh my God. I’m such an idiot,” Kerr said he told himself in an interview with Marcus Thompson of The Mercury News. “I blew it. I completely spaced.” Here’s more from CSNBayArea.com.

Kerr immediately went over to Curry and apologized, who brushed it off.

“Steph, I’m so embarrassed. I forgot to talk about you. You’re not that important to the team anyway,” Kerr joked with his star point guard….

 

“What I should’ve done is gone back up there and grabbed the mic. What I would’ve said, what I should’ve said, is he makes this whole thing work. Everything revolves around him. The whole culture revolves not only his talent, his unselfishness, but his joy.”

With the team partying all weekend in Las Vegas, I’m sure Kerr is going to have to buy Curry a few rounds — and he’s not drinking PBR, it’s going to be expensive.

Then they’ll get over it and get back to dominating the league again next year.

Las Vegas oddsmaker: 2017-18 Warriors biggest preseason favorites in any sport ever

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The Warriors were the first team since Michael Jordan’s Bulls to be favored against the field in the preseason for a championship. Whether or not its odds actually were that high, Golden State made the betting odds look correct, dominating its way to the 2017 NBA title.

The Warriors are already favored to repeat in 2018 – but the degree is astounding.

David Purdum of ESPN:

The Warriors, fresh off Monday night’s 129-120 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers to clinch the NBA title, are listed as -200, odds-on favorites to win next year’s championship, a historic price on a preseason favorite.

“They’re going to be the highest favorite we’ve ever had going into a season, any team in any sport,” Jeff Sherman, NBA oddsmaker at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, told ESPN.

Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are free agents, and I can’t even begin to argue with Golden State as overwhelming favorites. Both players appear all but certain to return with Draymond Green and Klay Thompson – and in a way that allows Golden State to retain Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston if it spends.

Is this a problem for the NBA? Commissioner Adam Silver has given simplistic responses about making other teams better, and TV ratings were up for the finals. But Silver previously said the perception of overwhelming favorites was bad for the league, and betting odds reflect perception.

Maybe people will just appreciate greatness, but if the Warriors become too predictable, it’s hard to see sustained interest.