Tag: Golden State Warriors

GBK Pre-ESPY Lounge

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


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?


Report: Kyle Korver was upset over being cut from Team USA for World Cup

USAB Practice at the Madison Square Garen
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Kyle Korver was among Team USA’s final cuts for the 2014 World Cup, but he had nothing but good things to say publicly about the experience.

Korver, via Kris Willis of Peachtree Hoops:

It was great. Obviously, it was a great honor just to be invited to that, to be a part of that. It was a good learning experience. It got me playing good basketball earlier in the summer. I usually do a lot of shooting, but I don’t usually do a lot of 5-on-5 playing. I think that will help me out as far as preseason and training camp. Overall, it was a really good experience for me.

Even when asked specifically about getting cut, Korver remained positive:

It was a long experience to not make it at the end. But it was good. We’re having our second baby.

So, it was good to be able to come back home, just be with my wife.

So, there’s always a silver lining.

But in reality, Korver might have felt a little differently.

Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops:

Korver told me in April that he did not watch a single game of the competition last summer because he was so upset at being cut

Korver was not among the 34 players in Las Vegas this week for Team USA’s minicamp. I assume Korver – an initial member of the Team USA roster pool for 2014-16 –  was invited. He’s recovering from ankle and elbow surgeries, though other players attended the camp without actually practicing. Unless he got an exemption (like Andre Iguodala), this all but certainly eliminates Korver from Olympic consideration.

Korver wasn’t the only player upset about being cut from the World Cup roster. Damian Lillard and John Wall also expressed their dismay. It’s especially tough for players so used to succeeding.

This is part of the reason Team USA will just pick 2016 Olympians rather than holding a tryout.

Austin Rivers tweets he’s ‘straight up better than a lot of those dudes playing’ in Team USA scrimmage

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game Seven

As a reminder, here were the rosters for last night’s Team USA scrimmage:

Blue Team (Monty Williams, coach):

Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal, DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson, Victor Oladipo, and Elfrid Payton.

White Team (Tom Thibodeau, coach):

Arron Afflalo, Michael Carter-Williams, DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, Blake Griffin, Terrence Jones, Kawhi Leonard, Mason Plumlee, Klay Thompson, C.J. Watson.

Austin Rivers’ takeaway?

Rivers certainly doesn’t lack confidence – which is his biggest problem as a player. He too often takes bad shots or dribbles into trouble, because he believes he’s good enough to handle it.

This tweet gives little hope he better grasps his limitations.

To be fair, Rivers has improved each of his three NBA seasons. How dreadful he was as a rookie certainly plays a part, but Rivers has made nice progress. Most Improved Player is a good goal for him.

The rest is nonsense.

Maybe – maybe – Rivers is better than Watson, a non-Team USA minicamper invited to fill out the roster. But a lot of those dudes? It’s just insulting to them, which Rivers seemed to realize before he went further:

Jerry Colangelo won’t completely rule out Derrick Rose, anyone for 2016 Olympics

Lithuania v USA - Semi- Finals

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said Derrick Rose wouldn’t play for Team USA in the 2016 Olympics, because Rose missed this week’s minicamp mandatory for Olympic consideration.

Don’t hold Colangelo to that, though.

Colangelo, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“I always said you never shut the door entirely on anyone. I mean, why? To prove what? Was I disappointed Derrick [Rose] wasn’t here? Sure. Because, we want the best for him. We want the best for him. We want him to get back to the level that he once was. So let’s just see how things go in the future.”

This is the logical approach.

Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Mike Conley and Michael Carter-Williams deserve credit for attending the minicamp. That should give them an advantage over Rose.

Even without that advantage, it’s difficult to see Rose being more deserving than three of that group. With the advantage, it’s nearly impossible.

But it’s not completely impossible. If Rose reverts to his MVP form – Westbrook indicates it’s possible – and other point guards don’t play for whatever reason, Rose might deserve to represent the Americans in Rio.

I’m hardly counting on that, but Rose is still in the running. He’s just starting behind the blocks.

Andre Drummond went off, Klay Thompson had highlight of night in Team USA scrimmage

Andre Drummond, Michael Carter-Williams

It was a meaningless exhibition that had less defense then your Saturday morning pickup game at the Y. Or a Chinese league game. Or a Summer League game. If you catch an NFL preseason game this weekend, you’ll see more defense. I think you get the point.

Still, there were some entertaining moments out of the USA Basketball exhibition game Thursday night in Las Vegas — and everybody got out healthy, which is what really matters.

Andre Drummond seemed to take things more seriously and had 27 points and 16 rebounds. I kept thinking of Apollo Creed’s trainer in Rocky: “He doesn’t know it’s a damn show! He thinks it’s a damn fight!” Aside that DeMarcus Cousins made some plays on his birthday, Victor Oladipo and Blake Griffin made some plays, and a good time was had by all.

The guy who had the roughest night? DeMar DeRozan. The Raptors wing missed a lot of jumpers on a night when nobody was contesting them. Then Klay Thompson did this to him.

I didn’t know Thompson had that in him, although he may want to work a little on the alley-oop pass at the end.