Tag: San Antonio Spurs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

Stephen Curry: Real goal for Warriors is multiple rings


SAN FRANCISCO — It’s been a non-stop summer in the Curry household.

Stephen Curry played basketball deeper into the summer than he ever has before, to the middle of June. Right after that his second daughter was born, complete with the late-night crying and round-the-clock effort needed nurturing a new life. He was in Las Vegas for Team USA mini-camp, then showed up to win a surfboard at the Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards. His summer has been filled with increased demands on his time, from sponsor events to golfing with president Barack Obama.

Has he actually gotten any downtime to rest this summer?

“A little bit,” Curry said Wednesday to NBC Sports, in an event with Degree antiperspirants (which involved deeply in motion analysis and the study of human movement movement, such as Curry golfing) at the TPC Harding Park Golf Club outside San Francisco. “We’ve been moving around a lot this year, from place to place. Obviously there’s a lot of opportunity to celebrate what a great season it was, and obviously the new addition to our family. A lot has changed.

“But in the offseason I get out and play a little bit of golf, I stay moving that way, and then obviously you have to prepare for next season too and I’m already in that mindset. So it’s been a pretty crazy summer celebrating good things, great things, but there’s also been a good amount of time to reflect on how special it was.”

After the Spurs won their most recent title, coach Gregg Popovich was concerned about a drop-off in focus — he said it’s human nature to take a deep breath after winning a title, and that can be a setback the next season.

Curry is not worried about the Warriors keeping their edge.

“That’s going to be easy,” Curry said of the Warriors not taking that breath. “We’re all competitors, we’re all proud of what we did last season, but once you enter a new year, we’ll get our rings on opening night, and that’s the end of the celebrating of what happened and you look forward to the next journey, the next goal, which is to win another one.

“I’m hopefully going to lead that charge, and we have such a great core of guys that are young and hungry and want to relive that intoxicating feeling of winning a championship. You look at the history of the league, you understand how hard it is to win one, but the challenge of winning multiple is something that I’m happy to be gunning for now, that I’ve got one under my belt. But that’s the mission.”

The Warriors got that first title with a modern-NBA style offense that perfectly suits Curry — up tempo, a lot of three-point shots (Curry set the single-season record for makes from three), and going small with versatile players who can defend well plus create challenging matchups. Golden State’s offense is a counter to the Tom Thibodeau-style defenses that were the norm in the NBA, which itself was a counter to shut down isolation basketball teams. The end result is Golden State (and the Spurs, Hawks and a few others) play a fun-to-watch style with ball movement and fearless shooters on offense — fans loved it and watched the Finals at the highest levels since the Jordan era.

The Warriors are not changing what works.

“Who we are is who we are, we’ve just got to be better at it, more consistent at it,” Curry said.

But do they recognize what they are doing helping change the NBA, taking what Mike D’Antoni started in Phoenix with Steve Nash and evolving it into a system that can win a ring?

“It’s playing good basketball but it’s playing our way and not really getting caught up in defining it,” Curry said. “We have our strengths with our team and versatility is what we rely on — guys playing multiple positions — and just being gamers and competitors. We obviously shoot a lot of jumpers and we play fast, but we also play defense at a high level and that’s why we’re world champs right now. We’ve just got to embrace that style of play and be more consistent and be better at it — we’re going to get everybody’s best shot this year, even more than we did last year, but we’ll be ready for it.”

They will get that shot from some loaded teams — the Spurs added LaMarcus Aldridge, the Clippers added depth, the Rockets added Ty Lawson, and the Thunder will (hopefully) have a healthy Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The top of the West is a gauntlet.

But the Warriors have the rings — they are the team to beat. And Curry is ready to defend it.

Report: Tristan Thompson rejected $80 million contract offer from Cavaliers because his perceived peers got more

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

Tristan Thompson and the Cavaliers were reportedly near a five-year, $80 million contract.

Then, they weren’t.

What happened?

Was the report inaccurate? Did the Cavaliers pull the offer? Did Thompson back out?

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

Thompson and the Cavaliers had reached an agreement early in free agency that was believed to have been centered on a five-year deal worth some $80 million. The problem with doing a deal at that number is that virtually everyone in Thompson’s talent range got substantially more, most receiving the NBA maximum salary, some for less years, but most for the same year one dollar amount.

Thompson’s camp pulled back from the $80 million number, wanting the Cavs to step up with more based on what virtually everyone else in Thompson’s peer range got.

I’m not sure who Thompson considers his peers, but I place him solidly behind Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe, Draymond Green, Brook Lopez, Paul Millsap and Tim Duncan in the next group of big-man free agents.

Does that warrant more than the $16 million per season the Cavaliers reportedly offered?

Here’s how much other free agents in the tier will get annually, using data from Basketball Insiders:

  • Enes Kanter: $17,515,007 (four years, $70,060,028)
  • Robin Lopez: $13,503,875 (four years, $54,015,500)
  • Tyson Chandler: $13,000,000 (four years, $52,000,000)
  • Thaddeus Young: $12,500,000 (four years, $50,000,000)
  • Amir Johnson: $12,000,000 (two years, $24,000,000)
  • Omer Asik: $10,595,505 (five years, $52,977,525)
  • Kosta Koufos: $8,219,750 (four years, $32,879,000)
  • Ed Davis: $6,666,667 (three years, $20,000,000)
  • Brandan Wright: $5,709,880 (three years, $17,129,640)
  • Jordan Hill: $4,000,000 (one year, $4,000,000)

Thompson might think he’s in the same group as Monroe (three-year max contract) and Green (five years, $82 million), but he’s not as good as those two. They deserve to be paid more than Thompson.

But deserve has only so much to do with it.

Thompson holds major leverage. If he takes the qualifying offer and leaves next summer, the Cavaliers won’t have the cap flexibility to find a comparable replacement. They can sign Thompson only because they have his Bird rights. That won’t be the case with outside free agents.

The Thunder were in the same boat with Kanter, which is why they matched his max offer sheet from the Trail Blazers. Thompson should point to that situation for comparison. The Cavaliers, though, would probably tell Thompson to bring them an offer sheet, like Kanter did with Oklahoma City.

But Thompson has even more leverage. He shares an agent, Rich Paul, with LeBron James. Cleveland surely wants to keep LeBron happy, and LeBron wants Thompson back.

Thompson might get more than $80 million. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got his max ($94,343,125 over five years). It just won’t be because his on-court peers all got that much. The max-level free agents – with the exception of Kanter – are a class above in actual ability.

But that Kanter comparison works for Thompson, and he and Paul should hammer it until the Cavaliers relent. No need to bring up that Kanter signed well after Thompson’s talks with Cleveland broke down. This is only minimally a discussion about logic and production.

It’s mostly about leverage, and no matter what flawed viewpoints got us here, Thompson still has leverage.

Tim Duncan wins NBA teammate award despite teammates not being allowed to vote for him

Charlotte Hornets v San Antonio Spurs

I like the idea of the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award. It’s noble to honor the NBA’s best teammate.

Chauncey Billups won the inaugural award in 2013, and Shane Battier took it last year. Both seem to be good teammates.

As does Tim Duncan, who won this year.

Watch for the fine print, though.

NBA release:

NBA players have selected the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan as the recipient of the 2014-15 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award.  The award recognizes the player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team.

A panel of NBA Legends nominated six players from each conference for the award and then nearly 300 NBA players submitted their votes through confidential balloting conducted by the league office.

Ten points were awarded for a first-place vote, seven for second, five for third, three for fourth and one for fifth; players were not allowed to vote for a teammate.

Here are the full results (first-place votes, second-place votes, third-place votes, fourth-place votes, fifth-place votes, total points):

1. Tim Duncan, San Antonio (72-59-44-49-21-1494)
2. Vince Carter, Memphis (28-39-30-28-21-818)
3. Elton Brand, Atlanta (21-27-44-23-19-707)
4. Ryan Anderson, New Orleans (31-29-12-19-23-653)
5. Jameer Nelson, Denver (39-14-13-22-33-652)
6. Mike Miller, Cleveland (16-23-26-41-29-603)
7. Steve Blake, Portland (18-23-24-27-22-564)
8. Pau Gasol, Chicago (15-24-20-21-27-508)
9. Andre Iguodala, Golden State (19-18-21-19-15-493)
10. Udonis Haslem, Miami (15-13-24-22-13-440)
11. Caron Butler, Detroit (14-17-20-17-20-430)
12. Al Jefferson, Charlotte (11-13-21-20-46-412)

In case you missed it: “Players were not allowed to vote for a teammate.”

A lot of players outside San Antonio think Duncan is a good teammate. OK. That’s nice. Is that really worth celebrating, though?

They ought to rename it the Twyman-Stokes Hearsay Award.

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.

LaMarcus Aldridge says free agency left him “mentally drained”

LaMarcus Aldridge

Changing companies is stressful. Moving cities is stressful.

In that sense, it’s understandable that LaMarcus Aldridge found the free agent process he went through this summer taxing. He had big decisions to make about his career and lifestyle he wanted to lead. I wouldn’t know, but I imagine being wined and dined all over the country so you could sign an $80 million contract would ease some of that stress. But maybe not.

Either way, Aldridge opened up to the San Antonio Express-News about the adjustment to his new life.

“I don’t like change,” Aldridge said. “That’s been a little bit difficult for me, trying to get used to a new city. I got lost like twice yesterday. That’s not fun.

“In the end, it should be great for me. Right now, it’s been tough because everything is so new.”

Aldridge, who turned 30 on July 19, has spent most of the summer decompressing from a stressful free agency chase that left him – in his own words – “mentally drained.”

On the court, I think Aldridge will adjust very quickly and fit in — it may take a little while, but he and Tim Duncan will play well off each other. In an offense that allows players a lot of freedom, guys like Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, and Danny Green will make things easier. Aldridge said he expect to get better looks, and he will, plus he will help create those for others. He will like the Spurs cerebral game (which is not terribly structured compared to the micro-control some coaches demand).

When we talk about player changing teams, that’s usually all we think about — how will it work on the court? That and the money. We tend to ignore the fact these are human beings with families and changing teams means a host of challenging life changes as well. Aldridge may have willingly took those on this summer by agreeing to play for Gregg Popovich and the Spurs, but that doesn’t make the transition easier.

It only makes sense for Aldridge to be drained and struggling to adjust. I just have a feeling that by Halloween he’ll be past all that and focused on the game.