Kurt Helin

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Warriors’ GM on this year’s team: “it’s gonna take some time to evolve”

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The Golden State Warriors are not going to win 73 games again.

There are a few reasons. For one, they don’t really want to. There is the lack of desire to chase that number again from players who felt it might have worn them out more before the playoffs. Another reason, a lot of breaks fell their way last season — staying healthy for one — and that may not happen again.

But the biggest reason 73 is off the table is this simple fact: These Warriors are not last year’s Warriors. Gone are Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli, Leandro Barbosa; in are Kevin DurantZaza Pachulia, and David West. You can argue this coming season’s team is better, but mostly they are different.

And different takes time to meld, something Golden State GM Bob Myers talked about in an appearance on KNBR’s Murph & Mac.

“I think a lot of people think we signed Durant and everything is great, which in reality, that is a really good thing. But we have a lot of new parts. This is not a team like last year’s team, where we could just hit training camp in stride. As much as we like our roster, it’s gonna take some time to evolve with guys like Durant, David West, [Zaza] Pachulia. We lost six guys. So even though we’re happy with the offseason, I do think we’re gonna have some turbulence….

“It takes time to develop chemistry. And that doesn’t happen in one day or one week or one month. It’s exciting. I think it’s gonna be a great process to watch unfold. But I do think because of the expectation level, probably the highest expectation you can ever put certainly on a Warriors team — even though I think a lot of people thought we would win the championship last year, I think people now are even having higher expectations. When you have that level of expectation, that’s where you want to be as an organization, but it also magnifies any adversity or any stretch of losing.”

When the Warriors start a little slow this season — not necessarily .500 slow through 20 games, but slower than some expect. That will mean hand-wringing in some quarters and analysis of what is going wrong. There will be rough spots at the end of games. Around the league, some fans and front offices will enjoy that.

The Warriors have to shrug it all off and follow the process. By Christmas they will have started to figure things out; by the All-Star break they will be the Warriors the rest of the league fears.

But November is not going to easy.

Kings’ Darren Collison accepts plea deal in domestic violence case; suspension expected to follow

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Sacramento point guard Darren Collison was arrested and charged with two counts tied to a domestic abuse case in May where sheriff deputies had seen the “woman had visible injuries.”

Friday, Collison accepted a plea deal in the case that will include 20 days in jail (although he will not serve his time in a traditional jail) and three years probation. James Ham of CSNBayArea.com had the details.

According to the plea agreement, Collison received a 20-day jail sentence, which he will serve in an Alternative Sentencing Program, where he will work on community service projects overseen by Placer County. Collison will not serve any actual jail time.

The Kings’ training camp starts Sept. 27, it’s not clear if Collison will be available when camp opens. The county released a statement saying this was the appropriate punishment considering “the law and the standards of the county.”

Ham also had statements from Collison and the Kings.

The Kings released a statement: “Domestic violence is a serious issue across our nation and one that runs contrary to our organization’s values. We’re disappointed by Darren’s behavior and today he accepted full responsibility for his actions. He is committed to using this incident to help raise awareness through education of this critical issue in the community. We’re working with Darren and the NBA on the appropriate next steps.”

“Words cannot describe the feelings and regret that I have been experiencing the last few months,” Collison said in a statement. “My family and I found ourselves in such an unfamiliar situation and it has been a difficult few months. This is far from who I am as a person and not something I am proud of. I take full responsibility for my actions. I have apologized to my beautiful wife that I have known and loved since high schooI. I appreciate and am thankful for the love and understanding from my family, friends and supporters. Now it is time to put this behind us and move forward.”

The league is not going to let Collison move forward from this immediately — he will face a suspension from the league. The Hornets Jeff Taylor for 24 games following his guilty plea for domestic violence. Collison likely will face the same — and the league should come down hard on this. It is unacceptable. This is something worth being upset about far more than whether one sits or stands for an anthem.

For a Kings team trying to turn a corner with a new coach, new arena, and new uniforms, this is the last thing they needed.

The Kings recently signed Ty Lawson to a contract for the year to be Collison’s backup, and this potential outcome was likely part of the plan. After that, it’s Isaiah Cousins at the point.

Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell says Luke Walton is “one of the best people I know”

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D'Angelo Russell and Byron Scott did not get along.

Like 95 percent of screwed up relationships, both parties shared blame in this one. Russell came in with an ego and was not putting in the work the team wanted to see. Scott responded to this with old-school discipline — benching Russell — and not communicating why. This led to a downward spiral, both of their relationship and the Lakers last season.

Luke Walton relates to players. How good a head coach he will be remains to be seen, but he was a player and is not old enough to have reached Scott’s “get off my lawn” level of distaste for the players entering the league. Check out what Russell told Serena Winters of Lakers’ Nation about his relationship with the new Laker coach.

“He’s one of the best people I know, as far as off the court,” Russell said of his new head coach on Wednesday. “We communicate on and off the court as much as possible. I feel like I can call him anytime. He’s not like a head coach that will sit back and just watch his other coaches and colleagues just train other players, he’s always involved.

“He’ll get out there and play with you if he wants. It’s just great to have a young coach like him in the building.”

Walton comes from being a hands-on assistant in Golden State and still has that approach. He wants to teach, he wants to be part of everything. He’s younger, he probably has Pokémon GO on his phone, and he is an open communicator.

The real test is how Russell feels about Walton the first time Walton disciplines him. It’s easy to be buddies before camp opens.

We don’t know how good Walton the coach will be, but he is someone connecting with the young Laker players. And that is a good start for a Laker team that has a few more years of development and building to get where they want to be.

Knicks’ Courtney Lee: “We’re contenders, man”

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The Knicks are going to contend… for a playoff spot.

But that’s not the attitude fans want to hear from their players heading into the season. Now is the time of optimism. Right now everybody’s healthy, and it’s all puppy dogs and rainbows — nothing is going to go wrong. So talk of just making the playoffs isn’t good enough, not for the Knicks anyway.

Enter Courtney Lee, speaking to Basketball Insiders.

“We’re contenders, man. They didn’t make the playoffs last year, but we’re looking to change that and win big. The ring is the ultimate goal for everybody on the team; I know it is for me. When they talked to me and told me about the pieces they were adding alongside the players who were already there, I didn’t think anything less than a championship [was the goal]. We’re trying to get the Knicks back into the playoffs and win big. … Everybody is hungry and everybody has their own motivation or chip on their shoulder. We just need to come together, get that chemistry and see it click. Once everybody is together and everybody is hungry, I think we can be very scary.”

Notice the other players in that Basketball Insiders piece spoke in somewhat more realistic terms. Myles Turner talked about the Pacers finishing in the top three in the East — that’s a reasonable goal for them (I have them fourth). Other guys talk about their teams taking a step forward from last season.

I guess that doesn’t fly in New York.

If the Knicks stay healthy — and that is a huge “if” — they can make some noise. New York’s starting five has potential: Derrick Rose, Lee, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, and Joakim Noah. The question is how many games will that five play together? If I set the over/under at 55, what would you take? Also, can those five guys play up-tempo like new coach Jeff Hornacek wants? There isn’t great depth behind that five with Brandon Jennings at the point being the best one of the bunch.

Still, the Knicks have an improving Porzingis, Rose in a contract year, and some talent on that roster. They can win enough games to make the playoffs. That’s a step forward, one they can keep building upon.

But that’s not what sells. So enter Lee.

Report: Pacers reach two-year, $3.6 million deal with Kevin Seraphin

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Indiana already had a full roster of 15 players with guaranteed contracts.

However, after working him out, the Pacers decided they couldn’t pass on adding the depth of Kevin Seraphin to their front line. So they inked him to a two-year deal (team option the second), reports The Vertical’s Shams Charania.

Seraphin is an undersized center at 6’9″ who was solid but unspectacular as a member of the Wizards the first five seasons he was in the league. He has no shooting range, but he can pass, is tough, and is someone teams can trust for 15 minutes a night. At least he was until last season in New York. Seraphin had his worst NBA season as a Knick, shooting 41 percent overall and he suddenly struggled to finish at the rim (he shot just 53.7 percent inside the restricted area). Seraphin is also a physical man defender inside who can step out a little on the perimeter and be effective.

The Pacers already have a full roster so they need to trade one of their guaranteed contracts, or they need to cut someone — maybe Jeremy Evans or maybe Rakeem Christmas. But someone making north of $1 million is going to get paid not to play.

Seraphin is not going to get a lot of run in Indy, he’s an insurance policy. The Pacers will start Myles Turner at the five and bring Al Jefferson off the bench behind him. Seraphin will get the minutes that are left.