Nick Young eager to help champion Warriors in any role

Associated Press
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Nick Young passed up a shot, and then another, uncharacteristic of the charismatic guard with a sweet stroke.

That’s when he heard from Andre Iguodala. And Steve Kerr.

Just shoot it.

Regardless of how large his role or his number of minutes on the loaded NBA champions, the Warriors want Young looking to score whenever he sees a chance he likes.

“We had to remind him, like, `Listen man, you’ve gotta shoot, be you,”‘ Iguodala said. “Shaun Livingston and myself are going to put him in a position where he won’t have to worry about where his shots are going to come from or if he’s going to be able to get as many attempts as he would like. We’re going to make life a lot easier for him and we’re going to make basketball fun for him, too.”

That’s already clear, given Young’s big grin and playful nature his first few days on the job.

Kerr took a turn getting on him, and Young is already used to a full-court press from the reigning NBA champions: His new coach, Finals MVP Kevin Durant and Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green all went to Los Angeles to take “Swaggy P” to lunch and recruit him to Northern California.

Young called their efforts “very persuasive,” and he’s still appreciative.

“They took me out on the town a little bit. I like to go out a little bit,” he said. “They just knew me. They just get me.”

Now, they all are eager for him to get comfortable – and fast. The Warriors open the preseason schedule at home Saturday against Denver before a trip to China to face the Timberwolves twice, Oct. 5 and 8.

“I’ve been saying the same thing to Nick, `Shoot it, shoot it, shoot it,”‘ Kerr said. “The whole thing for any of our new guys is to understand that we want the first good shot we can find. If we don’t have a good shot, try to get a great shot but let’s keep the ball moving but be aggressive and find that balance. I don’t want Nick out there thinking. He’s one of the best shooters in the league and he should let it fly every time he’s open. And then as he gets more comfortable with the guys he’ll understand where those opportunities will come, when to move the ball on and when to shoot it.”

Young played for former Warriors top assistant Luke Walton last season with the Lakers, so he got a bit of a glimpse at how Golden State might operate with its music-filled practices and focus on fun.

The 32-year-old Young in June declined the player option in his contract for this season with Los Angeles that would have paid him more than $5.6 million. He had said in April that it was “60/40” he would leave the Lakers in hopes of joining a playoff team.

Then a free agent, Young received a $5.2 million, one-year contract in July.

Hard to beat the star-studded defending champs featuring Durant and Stephen Curry – even if Young is finding his way initially.

“The more I get used to the plays, the more the shots will be open. I’m just in everybody’s way right now,” he said, then laughed while adding: “I was with Draymond and Steph a little bit today, I found myself passing a little bit more than normal. It felt good. I’m all about getting some assists.”

He averaged 13.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 60 games for the Lakers. He will provide the Warriors with the kind of depth Kerr loves to have as he regularly mixes and matches rotations.

Young is ready to do whatever is needed for the Warriors and Kerr, who rotates lineups often.

“Nick’s going to fit in great,” Iguodala said. “The thing with our team is that guys come in from different places and they don’t want to try to disrupt any of the flow. I saw it the first day. He didn’t want to disrupt the flow, but we encouraged him to shoot, we encouraged him to be aggressive, just have good intentions. I know Nick and JaVale (McGee) knows Nick and we know he’s a great person, he’s a funny guy. If you’re a good guy, a naturally good person, like to play basketball, you’ll fit in perfect.”

 

Watch Celtics shooters look sharp in easy preseason win over Hornets

Charlotte Hornets v Boston Celtics
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It’s just one meanless preseason game, but for a franchise that could use some good news the Boston Celtics will take it.

The Celtics’ shooting looked in mid-season form in their preseason opener against the Hornets on Sunday — 57.1% overall and 22-of-47 from 3 (46.8%). Boston just couldn’t seem to miss, especially early.

Jayson Tatum had 16 points in 22 minutes, while Jaylen Brown was the leading scorer with 24 points in 24 minutes.

The one unexpected bright spot was a strong game from Mfiondu Kabengele, who is currently on a two-way contract with the team. He ended up with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting and showed some hustle.

Kelly Oubre led the Hornets with 17 points, while LaMelo Ball had 14 points, seven rebounds and four dimes.

It’s just one preseason game, don’t read much of anything into it. But the Celtics will take the good news where they can find it.

T.J. Warren still out for Nets; team to reassess status in November

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The Brooklyn Nets bet that the T.J. Warren from the bubble in Orlando — the one who averaged 26.6 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for the Pacers — would re-emerge and give them a quality forward they could mix into a deep rotation.

Instead, so far it has looked more like the Warren who has played just four games since the bubble due to stress fractures in his foot.

Warren is improving and the Nets are bringing him along slowly, keeping him off the court until November at least, reports Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

Small forward T.J. Warren, who has missed nearly two full seasons following multiple foot surgeries, is “doing some shooting” and “a little bit more movement the last two weeks than he was prior,” Nash said. He added that Warren will be reassessed in about a month.

The Nets can afford to be patient. They have plenty of other questions to answer as a team before worrying about what Warren can or cannot contribute. But in the dream scenario where everything comes together for the Nets this season, Warren gets healthy and becomes a valuable contributor off the bench giving the Nets more versatility, scoring, and shooting along the front line.

For now, the Nets and Warren wait.

NBA returning to Seattle for exhibition game; when will it be more?

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SEATTLE — An NBA preseason game may not seem like a benchmark moment, even in a basketball-hungry city like Seattle, but Jamal Crawford believes there’s value even in an exhibition.

“It reignites a whole new generation of kids who need to see this,” said Crawford, a Seattle native who has been a basketball ambassador for the city through a 20-year NBA career and now with a pro-am that brings in NBA players every summer. “They need to be able to dream and know that it’s real.”

The NBA is making its latest brief return to the Emerald City. The Los Angeles Clippers will play the Portland Trail Blazers there on Monday night, the first time two NBA teams will meet in Seattle since 2018, when the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings played a preseason game. That was the last sporting event inside KeyArena before it was gutted and rebuilt into the gleaming Climate Pledge Arena.

There was a warm-up act of sorts Friday when the Clippers played Israeli team Maccabi Ra’anana in an exhibition, one where the most of the Clippers’ big names – Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, John Wall and Reggie Jackson – weren’t participating.

A sell-out crowd turned out for that Warriors-Kings game four years ago, the first one in Seattle since the beloved SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008 after 41 years in the Pacific Northwest. Another big crowd is expected Monday.

“The Sonics haven’t been a team since I’ve been in the NBA. So just to go play in Seattle is cool,” Blazers star Damian Lillard said. “We played in Vancouver a few years back. I think like two or three years ago, we had a preseason game at the (Memorial) Coliseum. So every time we get to do something like that, I always enjoy it because I wondered what was it like when it was a real thing, when the games were played in these different arenas. So I am excited to play in Seattle.”

Someday, possibly soon, the expectations are that Seattle will reclaim its place as an NBA town.

“It’s always been a great city to me,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said Friday. “It’s unfortunate that they lost their team and the team went to OKC. This city definitely deserves a team.”

Speculation is nonstop about when the NBA will choose to expand. Thanks to the resolution of its arena situation, Seattle seems likely to be at the forefront of those expansion talks, with Las Vegas likely right behind it.

But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been noncommittal about a possible expansion timeline, and it seems likely those talks won’t pick up steam until the league deals with the new collective bargaining agreement and television deals that are on the horizon.

The community’s commitment has never been in question. The appetite of Seattle fans hasn’t waned in the years since the Sonics left and as the region became a hotbed for NBA talent, whether it was Crawford continuing to carry the banner for the city, to Zach LaVine of Renton, Washington, to this year’s No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero, another Seattle native.

As if any reinforcement was needed, the summer provided a perfect example as fans camped overnight outside Crawford’s summer league venue for the chance to get inside and watch LeBron James make his first basketball visit to the city in more than a decade.

“Anyone that knows Seattle knows what a great basketball city we are,” Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said this summer when the preseason game was announced.

The idea for having the Blazers and Clippers meet in Seattle was the result of a brainstorm between Lue and Blazers coach Chauncey Billups. The two close friends wanted their teams to meet in the preseason and Lue noted the owners for both teams are Seattle based: Steve Ballmer of the Clippers and Jody Allen for the Blazers.

“I haven’t been back since I played there in 2008, I think it was. So just to be able to go back there and you know, Mr. Ballmer and kind of see his offices and how he lives, and (Chauncey) to get a chance to see his owner, and then to be with my best friend, I thought it would be a great common ground,” Lue said.

Steven Adams inks two-year, $25.2 million extension with Grizzlies

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Steven Adams signed a two-year, $25.2 million contract extension with Memphis, which will keep him tied to the team through the 2024-25 season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski broke the news on Saturday.

Adams has been crucial to the Grizzlies’ recent success. He’s coming off his first season with the team, where he averaged career-highs in rebounds (10.0) and assists (3.4). He also helped them lock up the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference and make it to the Conference Semifinals, where they lost to the eventual-champion Warriors 4-2. Despite the improved numbers, a lot of his value is from intangibles that don’t show up in the box score.

Adams spent the first seven years of his career with the Thunder before being traded to New Orleans in the four-team deal that sent Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee. Adams was moved again to Memphis in a package for Jonas Valanciunas.

Adams has found a new home with a young Grizzlies team that is looking to win a championship. The team is built around Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane, but Jackson Jr. is expected to miss time after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot. Memphis will rely on Adams more than ever to begin the season.