Last season was the greatest season in Raptors history — 56 wins and they reached the conference finals.
Tom Thibodeau likes his veterans.
The new coach/GM/Grand Poobah of the Minnesota Timberwolves has an incredibly talented but young team to work with. A team that has 15 guaranteed contracts on the books for next season. But he’s still willing to look at adding veteran depth, reports Darren Wolfson of ESPN Radio in Minny.
Minnesota could use some help at the two behind Zach LaVine, but it’s hard to imagine they are going to cut Adreian Payne and eat his $2 million salary so they can add Rasual Butler. Those veterans would be helpful to teach professionalism during training camp, but it’s unlikely they make the roster. Or even get a camp invite, this may not be the kind of team that works for them.
Somewhere some UC Santa Barbara fans are happy about this. For everyone else, this likely doesn’t mean much.
The Milwaukee Bucks have 15 guys under guaranteed contracts, so anyone who signs there headed to camp dreaming of making the squad is going to have to impress so much the front office decides to eat a contract (or make a trade) to create space. That’s not likely. But Michael Scotto reports Orlando Johnson is going to get a chance.
Johnson had 10-day contracts with the Suns and Pelicans last season, but couldn’t stick. It’s tough to imagine him sticking here.
The Bucks will start Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo as their wings (the latter as a point forward). Behind them are Rashad Vaughn, Malcolm Brogdon, and Steve Novak. So yes, they could use some depth. Not sure if Johnson is the guy who can provide that.
The Detroit Pistons are a team a lot of people are watching and expecting to make a leap this season. How big a leap is an interesting question, but they should step forward.
Making a leap starts with the little things. Foundational things. Such as conditioning.
Andre Drummond told the Detroit Free Press he’d spent his summer focusing on conditioning and the little things.
“I’ve had a very productive summer,’’ he said. “A lot of workouts. A lot of conditioning, I’ve been working on this summer. I stayed in the best shape I could be in. I’ve been working on the little things that need to be better in my game. Other than that, it has been a very eventful summer, and I’m ready for the season to start….
“At the end of the season, that was one of the biggest things we talked about: coming back in the best shape we can be in,’’ Drummond said. “All of the guys have really worked towards being in the best shape they can be in to play in those long, brutal playoff games.’’
Training camp hasn’t even opened yet. This is when optimism reigns, when everyone touts the hard work they put in all summer, when everyone is healthy.
We will see as the season wears on if Drummond and the Pistons’ hard work paid off. But like most Stan Van Gundy teams, I expect they will be prepared.
Next summer, Stephen Curry will be a free agent. He’s going to get a max deal. I feel pretty comfortable with that statement.
But this season, he’s the fourth highest paid player on the Warriors. Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green will all make more than Curry, who will make $12.1 million in the final year of a four-year, $44 million extension of his rookie contract.
Does that bother him? No, he told Darren Rovell of ESPN.
“I told myself, when I made the decision to sign for what I did back in the day, that I’m blessed to take care of my family for what it was,” Curry said. “And there would probably be a situation, if I played the way I was supposed to coming off that contract, that I could be underpaid or whatever. But at the end of the day, it would all come around and we won the championship and good things happened.”
People forget there was risk for both sides when Curry signed that deal.
Curry had shown flashes when healthy, he looked like be special — if could stay healthy. Curry had missed most of the previous season after another ankle surgery. There were no guarantees that Curry was ever going to be able to stay on the court to show what he could do.
Of course, $44 million isn’t bad money. Now he’s making a boatload of money in endorsements to pad that number. And, next summer, he’s going to become the highest paid Warrior. Your ego would have to be out of control to get bent out of shape considering all that.