Kurt Helin

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Warriors’ owner’s “light years ahead” comment has become a meme around NBA

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” (The Warriors are) light years ahead of probably every other team in structure, in planning, in how we’re going to go about things.”

That was Warriors’ co-owner Joe Lacob in a New York Times Magazine profile of himself and the Golden State ownership group, where he talked about the turnaround in the organization. Make no mistake, Lacob, Peter Guber and the front office team with the Warriors deserve credit — if it weren’t for the legendary disaster that was Donald Sterling, the Warriors under Chris Cohan would have been the worst run team in the NBA. If not professional sports. Warriors ownership did turn the ship around and put them on a course to a title and becoming a 73-win team.

Still, that quote was arrogant. There are a lot of other smart, established ownership groups who make smart, forward-thinking decisions. It rubbed people the wrong way.

And after they lost in the Finals after being up 3-1, the quote basically became a meme. A running joke. Check out what Brian Windhorst said in a recent ESPN Podcast.

In within the NBA, there’s a belief that the Warriors are a bit arrogant. The story that was in the New York Times Magazine this spring with Joe Lacob where he issued the quote: “We’re light years ahead of everybody.” That quote has been a touchstone throughout the league. I can’t tell you how many times in the last four or five months, when I’m talking with other people in the league, whether it’s agents or executives or whomever, coaches… There’s the reference, “Well, they are light years ahead so they’ll be fine.”

Other executives enjoyed watching the Warriors getting taken down a peg in the Finals.

Then they groaned when the Warriors landed Kevin Durant this summer. The Warriors have reason to feel a little bit arrogant heading into this season.

(Hat tip Hoophype)

Excited Lakers provide early look at new training center

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) After Kobe Bryant’s retirement and the worst season in team history, the Los Angeles Lakers’ quest to rebuild a championship franchise is finally beginning in earnest.

Seems like the perfect time to get excited about moving into a shiny new home.

The Lakers provided an early look at their $80 million training complex Wednesday while announcing a naming rights deal with UCLA Health, the multi-hospital academic medical center. Just eight months after construction began in earnest, the Lakers are on schedule to open the 120,000-square-foot UCLA Health Training Center during the 2017 offseason.

“This was really an effort to make sure we had not only everything we needed, but also everything we were going to need in the future,” Lakers President Jeanie Buss said.

The Lakers will spend the next year just two blocks away at the Toyota Sports Center, their home since February 2000, before moving into the state-of-the-art complex in El Segundo, near Los Angeles International Airport.

Coach Luke Walton and the Lakers’ last three draft classes also took a break from working out down the street to tour the complex. D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Ivica Zubac and Anthony Brown all donned hard hats, fluorescent orange vests and safety goggles to check out the concrete-and-drywall shell of their new home.

“We have a place that players will want to come into,” said Walton, the former Lakers forward, who recalled hour-long waits to use the single-person ice baths at their current training complex. “It’s a place that offers the best of everything, all the best capabilities. It’s a part of creating that culture that you want for a franchise. It’s nice to have this place in our future.”

Although none of the Lakers’ youngsters has known any home except their current cramped quarters, they were still impressed by the project centered around a large gym that will also house the team’s D-League affiliate.

The Lakers’ players will have a spacious weight room and locker room along with three rehab pools, a cryogenics chamber, a theater, a lounge, a large kitchen and a barbershop.

“It’s more than helpful,” Russell said. “With the 82-game season, that’s wear and tear on your body. It starts with rehab and trying to keep your body 100 percent at every practice.”

The Lakers are an iconic sports brand, but their home base has never had the grandeur of their reputation.

The Showtime teams of the 1980s were forced to be nomadic, usually practicing at recreational centers or college gyms.

Shortly after the Lakers moved their games from the run-down Forum to the utilitarian Staples Center downtown in 1999, they leased half of a sprawling recreational complex in El Segundo for their training headquarters. They still share the Toyota Sports Center with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, who have public ice skating rinks in the noisy building.

The Lakers have practice courts and rudimentary training facilities, but the cramped confines forced them to move several business departments to another office building down the street.

“A couple of years ago, we realized that as we grew, we needed to find a new facility,” Lakers chief operating officer Tim Harris said. “We wanted to build our own facility and have our own identity. … We want players to treat this place like a second home.”

Buss has already made one executive decision: Just as they do in the old training complex, the 11 shiny Larry O’Brien trophies won during the Lakers’ Los Angeles tenure will still sit in the window of her office, which will still overlook the practice court.

“It’s so the players will always be reminded of the work they need to do to reach that,” she said with a smile.

Check out Top 10 plays from Timberwolves last season

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Minnesota is everyone’s team to watch this coming season — Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggings, strong supporting cast, now all coached by Tom Thibodeau.

But they already were a lot of fun last season. Check out their Top 10 plays from last season.

Heat owner Tweet to Chris Bosh: “look forward to seeing in camp”

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This is the clearest sign yet that Chris Bosh is going to suit up for the Miami Heat this season.

The past two years Bosh has missed the end of the season with a very serious blood clotting issue. He has been working out, saying this week he’s hooping. He’s been frustrated with how the Heat have handled his health situation, including leaving this season hanging. But it sounds like the owner wants him to be ready to play — and owners get what owners want.

There are questions still to be answered: Will Bosh still be on blood thinners, and will he come off them on game days? Will there be restrictions on his travel? Will there be restrictions on his minutes?

But Bosh wants to play, and it sounds like the Heat owner is down with that.

The Heat are a much better team with Bosh on the court — he averaged 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, shot 36.7 percent from three and a true shooting percentage of 57.1, plus he had a PER of 20.2. He was an All-Star, but couldn’t play in the game because of the clotting issue.

With Bosh, the Heat are in the mix for a playoff spot this season. The question is, will they have him for the full season.

Sixers waive both Carl Landry, just acquired Tibor Pleiss

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Carl Landry and Tibor Pleiss are going to get paid this year — they both had fully guaranteed contracts for this season.

But they are not going to be playing for the Philadelphia 76ers this season — both were waived by the team on Thursday. This was not unexpected. Both players salaries will count against the cap for the Sixers (they are still $16 million below the league salary floor).

Once they clear waivers, both players will be unrestricted free agents (Landry likely will latch on with another team for the league minimum, Pleiss may as well or could head overseas).

Landry will still make $6.5 million (fourth highest on the Sixers) but would have been battling for minutes in crowded and young frontcourt with Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Nerlens Noel, and Jahlil Okafor (among other potential players, for example the Sixers are high on Anthony Barber).

Pleiss is in the same boat in terms of minutes, he was acquired from the Jazz along with a couple of second round draft picks just a few days back (the Sixers sent Utah Kendall Marshall, who was promptly waived). That trade was really about getting the picks — a very Sam Hinkie move by Bryan Colangelo.

This didn’t move the needle much on the Sixers season.