Kurt Helin

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Blake Griffin picks up shoe on court, tosses it in Cory Joseph’s face

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Blake Griffin‘s shoe tossing is in mid-season form already.

This wasn’t intentional, but it was pretty funny.

Jamal Crawford lost his shoe during a possession during the first half of the Clippers preseason game against Toronto. Griffin picked the shoe up, but when he realized that a pass was coming his way and he had to get rid of the shoe, he tossed it toward the sidelines — right into the face of Cory Joseph.

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Ouch.

Like I said, I don’t think this was intentional. Then again, would I put it past Doc Rivers to draw something like this up? Maybe this is just the team working on their new “high pick with a shoe” play.

A week in, star-studded Warriors still finding chemistry. As should be expected.

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — At Warriors team headquarters, Zaza Pachulia sits alongside Kevin Durant in the locker room as they dress for practice or ice down each day afterward.

They chat about life, not just basketball. It’s these very moments and conversations, face to face and a few minutes without the distraction of their smartphones, that Pachulia is counting on to help new-look, star-studded Golden State begin to find a chemistry that will carry the group deep into the postseason once more. And, they hope, another championship.

Pachulia is so passionate about it that he spoke up the other day, reiterating to his new teammates the importance of building relationships to reach the top.

“Understanding that it’s only been a week since we’ve been together, so we’re still trying to get to know each other on and off the court,” said Pachulia, who accepted just $2.9 million to join the Warriors. “It’s very important. This team so far has been successful for a couple reasons – obviously talent that we have and the chemistry they had before. That’s why I’m mentioning on and off the court. Seven days you can’t make everything happen but we’ve got to understand and we’re working on steps to move forward.”

Shortly before tipoff of Tuesday night’s preseason blowout of the Clippers, Durant and Draymond Green briefly chatted during warmups and exchanged a snazzy handshake.

Before the jump, Durant pointed to the crowd on either side of the court. Then, he immediately showed the Warriors and their adoring crowd at Oracle Arena just what he brings on both ends with that 7-foot-5 wingspan and ability to score and create shots for others.

Durant has already said he expects a nightly double-double from himself.

“That’s the goal,” he said. “I’m not saying it would be a for-sure thing. If you set your mind to something you can always do it. Nothing’s impossible. My teammates believe I can do it, the coaches believe I can do it. It’s a matter of me going out and trying every night.”

He is challenging himself “to do a better” job rebounding to take pressure off Pachulia and fellow newcomer David West.

Coach Steve Kerr, reigning NBA Coach of the Year, has warned it will take time for this All-Star Warriors bunch to find its way. He doesn’t expect Durant to be perfectly comfortable yet, not a week into the preseason with only a limited number of practices with fellow starters Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Green and Pachulia.

Kerr has pulled KD aside a few times to check in or go over a quick video clip as a learning tool. Durant is determined to become more instinctive on both ends.

“I let him know it’s cool to coach me up,” Durant said. “At any moment if I need to make a cut or set a screen, he’s letting me know it would be a good time to do that.”

Durant believes he can learn and adjust on the fly, even if he’s out of his comfort zone right now.

Curry appreciates Durant’s drive.

“He has a great attitude when it comes to that,” Curry said. “Coach also has a great attitude about coaching everybody, no matter who you are. We’ve got to remember we’re still in literally the first seven, eight days of this.”

There have been flashes already of what can be.

West dished to Shaun Livingston for a dunk late in the first quarter, then Durant drove for a layup the next time down. Golden State led by 51 points – 102-51 – after three quarters in the 120-75 rout Tuesday.

While Kerr warns about patience in putting things together, this was hardly a bad first look for the loyal home fans. He doesn’t buy any big predictions from outsiders about his team at this early stage.

This is a far different roster than the one that won an NBA-record 73 games last season and lost in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to Cleveland.

Nobody’s overly concerned about the adjustment process for Durant.

“Nothing really has surprised me. He’s so talented, he’s such a good guy, he’s such a good teammate, he cares about the team, he cares about people,” Kerr said. “Like anybody going to a new team, it’s not easy. Sometimes it’s harder going to a new team when you’re a star than it is when you’re a role guy and you’re used to just finding that niche right away and nobody’s talking about you and you figure it out.

“When you’re the star and the spotlight’s on you and you’re thinking all these thoughts about `What about shots for Steph and Klay and I don’t want to screw anything up.’ I know Kevin thinks about all that stuff. He’s a wonderful guy, incredible talent. It will take some time. Obviously he’s going to be great.”

Report: Kristaps Porzingis signs shoe deal with Adidas, Nike not expected to match

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Adidas has opened its checkbook up to add big names to its list of endorsing players: James Harden, Derrick Rose, Harrison Barnes, Andrew Wiggins, John Wall, and on down the line. How much that has helped is up for debate, but the shoe wars have been back the past couple years as Adidas goes after every potential star.

Now add Kristaps Porzingis — the man carrying the hopes of all Knicks fans — to the list.

Nick DePaula of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports broke the story.

New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis has signed a multiyear footwear and apparel endorsement deal with adidas, sources told The Vertical.

The deal will pay Porzingis, 21, between $3 million and $6 million annually, depending on incentive bonuses met. It’s the most lucrative shoe deal signed by a European player to date.

Nike, his previous sponsor, has until mid-October to match the exact terms of the adidas contract because of the brand’s standard “right to match” clause, but Nike is not expected to match the deal, sources said.

Porzingis played in Kobe Elite Highs last season (a lighter shoe than most bigs prefer).

Adidas put together a package of money and marketing that is more than Nike apparently wants to spend. Which seems a little surprising considering the market and the popularity of the player, but on the flip side big men have never sold shoes (guards and wings have always had more success with signature brands).

If Porzingis develops into what Knicks fans dream… well, that may be an unreasonable standard, some Knicks fans expect him to walk on water. But if he leads the Knicks back to contention, this could be a steal.

(And if all you’re going to do in the comments is make a “joke” about his knees/ankles now, do better. That isn’t why guys get injured.)

Steve Kerr: Stephen Curry isn’t going to make 400 three-pointers this season

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Last season, Stephen Curry hit 402 three-pointers, the most ever by an NBA player.

The record before that was 286 — by Stephen Curry the season before.

Like many things from the record-breaking 73-win season of the Warriors, they don’t plan on chasing that again. This is Steve Kerr, via Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com.

The Warriors are done hunting records. Besides, Kevin Durant‘s usage rate will mean fewer shots for Curry, Klay Thompson, and on down the line. So long as the wins pile up, nobody will care (or at least talk)

Kyle Lowry says he’ll opt out of $12 million deal next summer, will seek near max

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Kyle Lowry doesn’t want to leave the Raptors, he just wants to get paid.

In what should be a surprise to nobody, Lowry will opt out of the $12 million he is set to make for the 2017-18 season and seek the big bucks as a free agent next summer. With the cap reaching unprecedented levels, you can’t blame him. The question is, at age 31, will the Raptors pay to keep him and for how long? Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports has the details after speaking to Lowry.

Lowry plans to opt out of the final year of his contract, he told The Vertical, passing on a $12 million salary in 2017-18 to join a point-guard marketplace that will include the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul and Golden State’s Steph Curry, who has already said he plans to re-sign with the Warriors.

As an organization, the Raptors have richly rewarded those responsible for the franchise’s unprecedented success: From DeMar DeRozan’s five-year, $139 million extension in July, to the extensions and high-end raises for president Masai Ujiri and coach Dwane Casey, Toronto conducts itself as a legitimate big-market powerhouse.

“If you’re that franchise’s guy, and you’re the guy that they’ve been rolling with, and you’ve given that franchise everything you have, yeah, I think [the talks] should be easy,” Lowry told The Vertical. “I think it should be a situation where a guy shouldn’t have to talk to another team. DeMar didn’t have the chance to talk to another team. For me, I think that at 12:01 a.m. on July 1 – something should be close. If not, I’m open to seeing what else is out there.”

Few players have improved year over year and put as much into their game as Lowry, who has risen to the level of All-Star, franchise cornerstone point guard, and Olympic gold medal winner. He has earned the big payday coming his way, and no doubt the Raptors will be willing to back up the Brinks truck to keep him.

The question is less the money than the years. Lowry will be 31 next summer, approaching the age when point guards often start to see a decline in production. This has the potential to be the kind of contract where it is a fair deal the first few years but the team may regret that fifth season. Can they convince him to take four years (which is all other teams could offer him as a free agent)? Is there a deal to be had?

That said, don’t expect Lowry to be a guy playing the field — expect the Raptors to step up, Lowry to agree, and the deal to get done soon after free agency opens.