Tag: Festus Ezeli

Team USA Basketball Showcase

Warriors GM says team “focused and motivated” to get Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli extensions done


It’s the cost of winning titles — the players on your team come up for free agency and want to get paid.

The Warriors locked up Klay Thompson last summer, Draymond Green this summer, and now they are focused on keeping next year’s free agents, too: Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli.

With the salary cap about to spike and at least two-thirds of the NBA expected to have room for at least one max deal, the Warriors could be better just locking guys up at a fair deal now. Warriors GM Bob Myers was on KNBR Radio in the Bay Area and talked extensions a little bit. From Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group:

In the case of Barnes, the question is can the two sides find a number that works for them? If Michael Kidd-Gilchrist just got four-years, $52 million Barnes will want at least that and probably more. The Warriors already have five players making eight digits in salary for the 2016-17 season (Thompson, Green, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry). They are going to be bumping up against the new cap already. If you’re Barnes, do you want to see what the market will bring you next summer than ask the Warriors to match it? That might be the better option for Barnes.

With Bogut nearing the end of his deal (two seasons left), Ezeli has the ability to show the Warriors he can step into that role (guys around the team are high on him) and get paid like it. Right now, the Warriors would love to lock him down at a discount, Ezeli may want to get through the season and let the market set his price.

It’s something to watch. All summer long guys have taken discounts for security, can the Warriors get Barnes and Ezeli to do the same?

Australia qualifies for 2016 Olympics behind double-double from Andrew Bogut

Andrew Bogut

In the hours leading up to the second game between Australia and New Zealand — a game with an Olympic bid hanging in the balance — Andrew Bogut’s back was bothering him so much he struggled to get out of bed.

He found a way to the court Tuesday then scored 10 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, blocked two shots and led Australia to an 89-79 win that qualifies them for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Australia and New Zealand played a home-and-home series to decide the FIBA Oceanic area title and with it a spot in the Olympics, and the Boomers won both legs of the series by a cumulative score of 22 points.

In the second game Cavaliers point guard Matthew Dellavedova had 14 points, Bulls forward Cameron Bairstow had 10, and Spurs guard Patty Mills added nine for Australia.

The Boomers are the third team to qualify for Rio. The USA qualified by winning the World Cup last summer in Spain. Brazil is in as the host nation.

Bogut has a long history of back (and other) injuries, which is why nobody should be shocked if the Warriors reach a contract extension with Festus Ezeli. They need to be thinking long-term about the center spot on their roster.

Festus Ezeli working on his game, confident money will come to him

GBK Pre-ESPY Lounge

If you’re looking for a top candidate to get a head-scratching contract extension, thanks to the coming flood of money from the new NBA television deal, look no further than Festus Ezeli.

The Warriors backup big man is eligible for a contract extension this summer (before Nov. 1) and he is looking for one, but he’s not too concerned about it, according to Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com.

Ezeli will earn $2 million next season but can become a restricted free agent next July. It has been speculated that Ezeli could be in line for a deal averaging as much as $10 million….

“I deal with playing and training and getting ready for next season,” Ezeli said. “In terms of that stuff, I’m not really worried about it. The Warriors are committed to their players. They love our team. We’re going to be winning for a long time. It’s a young group.”

Talk to Warriors management and they see Ezeli as part of their future. It makes sense. He came into the league with a lot of athletic talent and real defensive potential, but he had a ways to go and this habit of dropping the ball. Manos de piedra. But his hands have gotten better and his defensive awareness has started to blossom.

“It’s never been about my hands,” he said Thursday, as he prepared to meet with about 150 boys and girls at a team-sponsored basketball camp. “It’s kind of weird, because I always hear people talking about my hands…

“It’s more of an issue of the game slowing down. The more I play, the more I get to see the game and it slows down. I get to have a feel for what to do and how to respond.”

In an old-school NBA that is nowhere near worth $10 million a year. But the new TV deal changes everything — the salary cap is going to jump by $40 million in two seasons.

For Golden State, seeing if they can reach a three-year extension averaging around $8 million a season could be a steal. Ezeli could start to take on more defensive load off the bench behind Andrew Bogut, who has two seasons left at $26.4 million total, and physically can only play limited minutes. The Warriors could have Ezeli for a couple seasons after Bogut at an affordable deal if they are willing to bet on his development.

There are going to be some crazy extensions coming in the next couple months, and they are all going to be similar — a team looking at the cap and betting on the player, thinking this could be a steal in a couple years. These teams have to spend 90 percent of the cap anyway — that is the salary floor — so if you have young player you like, why not bet on developing him?


Jason Thompson happy with stability of Warriors after seven years in Sacramento

Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings

Stability and continuity matter in the NBA.

No team is ever static, but there can be continuity of vision and a player core, and that matters. That’s what wins. It has mattered for the San Antonio Spurs for pushing two decades, and that stability has turned them into the model franchise in the league. More recently, Atlanta finally has some stability of system under Mike Budenholzer and they jumped to the top of the East with 60 wins (even while we debate if they can sustain that).

Then there are the Golden State Warriors. Since new ownership came in they have stuck with their vision and it paid off with a ring and a parade.

After seven seasons in Sacramento, Jason Thompson was traded to the Warriors (via Philadelphia) this summer and is excited by the idea of stability, he told the Associated Press.

“I haven’t been around much winning this past seven years,” said Thompson, sitting in the Warriors downtown practice facility Thursday. “A lot of instability with seven coaches in seven years, 180 teammates and things like that. That doesn’t ever lead to winning. To come to an organization that has and coming off a championship, that’s great for myself.”

The other thing stable organizations do is create competition for playing time — Thompson is going to have to earn minutes that could go to Festus Ezeli or Marreese Speights.

The obvious take away from what Thompson said is another insult piled on the Sacramento Kings. And it is that. But he’s also not wrong or alone. DeMarcus Cousins’ frustrations with the Kings have been over this same issue of instability of system (and players).

I don’t know that the Vlade Divac/George Karl combination is the answer in Sacramento — and I’ve got plenty of questions about their lineup, too — but Vivek Ranadive, stick with one combo and style for a while. Give this plan a chance to take root and work before you decide to rip it out and start over. This isn’t fantasy basketball, stability and continuity matter. A lot.

Warriors trade Gerald Wallace to Philadelphia in exchange for Jason Thompson

Dallas Mavericks v Sacramento Kings

Players have been traded, but it was all about the money.

The Golden State Warriors agreed to send Gerald Wallace to Philadelphia in exchange for Jason Thompson (Wallace had come to the Bay Area in the David Lee trade with Boston). The Sixers also get some cash and the right to swap the lower of Miami or Oklahoma City’s 2016 picks (the Sixers have the rights to both) for the Warriors’ pick. (That pick swap borders on meaningless, Golden State likely has a top three — top five at worst — record next year.)

Why did the defending champion Warriors make this move? To save money at the end of the bench without hurting their rotation. Former Nets executive and now Twitter star Bobby Marks breaks it down, n0ting you need to consider this move in tandem with the David Lee trade.

Thompson, who has spent his entire career in Sacramento not living up to his potential, is not going to see a lot of playing time behind Marreese Speights and Festus Ezeli on the bench. Thompson provides some inconsistent but at times solid defense, and he doesn’t take a lot of shots on offense.

Why do the Sixers make this move? To add some money to the payroll this season — they want to try to get to 90 percent of the salary cap number, which is the salary floor — plus save some money next summer. Wallace will get $10.5 million in this last season of his contract. Thompson makes “only” $6.4 million this season but has a $2.8 million guarantee next season (on a $6.8 million contract). Don’t be shocked if the Sixers just waive Wallace.

Neither guy is going to make a difference on the court for these teams. This was just moving some money around.