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Klay Thompson on re-signing with Warriors: ‘It’ll be a goal of mine’

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Already teams are eyeing him. Klay Thompson is a free agent in the summer of 2019 and a host of teams — most prominently the Los Angeles Lakers, but there are a host of other ones — have him on their target lists. He’s one of the game’s best shooters (45.5 percent from three this season), can work off the ball or off the dribble, and is a good defender. Every team could use a guy like Thompson.

Including the Golden State Warriors, who plan to keep him.

Thompson has said before he wants to stay — and is even willing to take a discount to do so — and as he heads to Los Angeles for his third All-Star Game this weekend he reiterated that to Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News.

“Absolutely (he wants to re-sign in Golden State),” Thompson told Bay Area News Group. “I’ve always said that. Playing for one team your whole career is definitely special. Only so many guys have done it in professional sports, so it’ll be a goal of mine. Hopefully it all works out…

“It’s so far away,” Thompson said of his pending free agency. “Anything I can do to stay with the Warriors is first and foremost. God willing, it happens. If not, I don’t even think about that.”

Thompson is a different guy, less ego driven than most NBA stars. Thompson values winning more than being the No. 1 option on a team. He doesn’t treat money as the status symbol and sign of respect other players do. Thompson has always valued winning and good camaraderie over the cash… within reason. Maybe it’s because he grew up with a father (Mychal Thomson) who was a former No. 1 pick but was happiest winning rings with Magic Johnson’s Showtime Lakers.

Thompson is still going to get a massive, near-max contract, but he may well consider a haircut on his salary to help keep the team together.  He values winning more than most young players.

The big question on Golden State keeping Thompson and the core together falls on Golden State ownership — there are some big tax payment coming. Last summer the team re-signed Andre Iguodala and Shawn Livingston, and this summer Kevin Durant gets an updated deal — and no discount this time, he wants a max. When Thompson’s new contract hits Warriors’ tax bill going to go up heavily. The money is there — the Warriors made $91 million in profit last season (according to leaked NBA documents) and soon they will move into a new home arena that will be a revenue generation machine — but how much of that will ownership funnel back into the team?

Lakers’ fans can dream. Front offices around the league can plot. But the smart money is on Klay Thompson staying put in the summer of 2019.

Kings hire WNBA’s Lindsey Harding as assistant coach

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Sacramento Kings have hired former WNBA player Lindsey Harding as an assistant and player development coach on Luke Walton’s staff.

The team also hired Stacey Augmon and Rico Hines on Friday.

Harding played nine years in the WNBA before working as a pro personnel scout and then player development coach for the Philadelphia 76ers.

She becomes the latest woman to serve as a coach in the NBA, joining others like Boston’s Kara Lawson, San Antonio’s Becky Hammon, Dallas’ Jenny Boucek and Cleveland’s Lindsay Gottlieb.

The Kings have a history of hiring female coaches, notably Nancy Lieberman and Boucek.

 

Wizards reportedly to finally remove interim tag from GM Tommy Sheppard

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Tommy Sheppard has been doing the work as the Wizards GM since April when Wizards owner Ted Leonsis finally ended Ernie Grunfeld’s run as team GM.

Sheppard was the GM through the draft. Through free agency. All the time with the “interim” tag on his job title. In Las Vegas for Summer League, plenty of other executives wondered why that tag was still on Sheppard’s title.

It’s finally coming off, reports Candace Buckner of the Washington Post.

The Washington Wizards removed the interim tag from Tommy Sheppard’s title Friday, promoting him to be the 12th general manager in franchise history, according to a person with knowledge of the situation…

The promotion of Sheppard, who will be entering his 17th season with the Wizards, mirrors the internal hiring decision Leonsis made with his hockey team. In 2014, Leonsis elevated Brian MacLellan as the Washington Capitals senior vice president and general manager after firing George McPhee. Before the promotion, MacLellan had spent the previous seven years under McPhee as an assistant general manager.

This likely will be made official in the next 48-72 hours.

Part of the delay may have been that a couple of prominent names were linked to the Wizards job at different times. There were reportedly talks with Tim Conley, who built Denver into a real threat, but he decided to stay in the Rockies. There were rumors of Masai Ujiri coming to the District, but he has chosen to stay in Toronto after winning a title.

Making Sheppard the full-time GM provides some stability just as the Wizards reach their most important moment of the summer.

On July 26 the Wizards can offer star two guard Bradley Beal a three-year, $111 million extension. The Wizards have been talking to Beal’s people and the offer will be made.

What Beal decides will decide the Wizards future for years. If Beal doesn’t sign that offer, the Wizards have to look at trading him. If he signs it, they need to build more around him.

Beal has spoken numerous times in the past about wanting to stay with the Wizards. However, there was plenty of informed speculation at Summer League that he is frustrated with the franchise and could choose to not sign it and essentially force his way out.

Either way, Beal’s decision will define the next steps for Sheppard for years.

 

Child tries to call out James Harden for step-back travels, he says it’s no travel

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If you tried this move in a high-school game 10 years ago, you would have been called for traveling.

In today’s NBA, as the rules are interpreted, James Harden‘s step back is not a travel.

At an event on Friday, a young fan tried to call Harden out on the travel and he defended himself. Via Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

Harden’s stepback is not a travel (when he executes it properly). Even if it looks like it is.

Here is the play in question.

The official response — meaning from officials:

I know when you played Junior High basketball in 2002 that was a travel, but the NBA hasn’t called it that way in years.

The NBA rule here (Rule 10, Section XIII) simplified is a “gather and two steps.” Meaning one step while Harden is gathering the ball, plus two more. Nobody pushes the boundary of the gather step like Harden, he has mastered the grey area. But when he executes it properly — and he doesn’t every time — it’s not a travel.

No matter what that young boy’s father tells him.

Justin Holiday reportedly reaches deal with Pacers, will join forces with brother

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The Pacers just added the wing depth and some defense at the position they have been looking for.

It’s through someone they have long had their eye on, Justin Holiday, the six-year NBA veteran who split time last season between Chicago and Memphis. He has reached an agreement to join the Pacers — and his brother, Aaron Holiday — for a season in Indiana. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news.

The Pacers have been in touch with Holiday for a while, reports J. Michael of the Indy Star.

Holiday averaged 10.5 points a game last season, shot 34.7 percent from three, and played solid wing defense.

Victor Oladipo is the team’s best wing player, once he returns from injury (the Pacers are hoping around Christmas or a little after). Beyond him there is Jeremy Lamb, C.J. Wilcox, T.J. Warren, Doug McDermott, and Brian Bowen. Holiday can find minutes in that group.

This also sparks the dream of an all T.J./Holiday lineup. The Pacers have two Holidays, Justin and Aaron, as well as three un-related players named T.J. — T.J. McConnell, T.J. Warren, and T.J. Leaf. We need to see those five on the court together next season, if only for a few minutes.