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Andre Iguodala says Warriors locker room talk about investing; he discusses money, wealth

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What is most NBA locker room talk like? Exactly what you think most talk is about with 20-something men: there’s plenty of trash talk, with other topics being women, cars, Fortnite, clothes, and, occasionally, their jobs.

However, things can be a little different in the Golden State Warriors locker room, as Andre Iguodala told Wealthsimple in an exclusive interview.

A number of my Warriors teammates — Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, JaVale McGee — are into investing and tech. But we never look at it as a competition. We inform each other of what’s going on. We have a lot of conversations. I learn something from all of those guys. Steph was having a conversation about net neutrality one day, and I wasn’t as caught up on it. He got started on it, and I was locked in, because he did his homework!

“That’s our locker room talk. We have free agents come to our team, and the first day the guy is walking in like, “What do you know about this business?”

We know the pro athlete stereotype: An alpha male making and spending a lot of money who will be broke three years after he is out of the league — and some players live up to that stereotype. However, there are a lot of players who are smart about their money. Players, especially ones who stick in the league longer than a handful of seasons, start to think long-term about how they can set up not just themselves but their children and grandchildren with the money they earn.

Iguodala is one of those guys. In this interview for the Website of the investing tool WealthSimple, Iguodala talks about the evolution of his thinking about money, wealth, and responsibility.

“I wasn’t thinking about all the money, the cars, jewelry (when he came into the league). I’d never seen that before, so I wasn’t looking for it. My first contract was for four years, $9 million. I think the fourth year was a team option, so if you don’t improve over the first three years, then they can cut you — so, really, three years, $7 million. You get an advance over the summer, and just before the draft, you get an advance for trading cards and an advance for a shoe contract. I remember a loan agency floating me until I got the advances. They sent me a check for $25,000. I think I just went to Niketown and bought a whole bunch of pairs of Jordans. I spent like two or three grand and it felt like I spent a million dollars. I didn’t know how to spend money. And it was so early that there wasn’t enough money to go buy a car, you know? I was happy where I was at….

“I had a few veterans who were really smart with their money (who were mentors). I mean, they had nice contracts, but in the scheme of the NBA, they were on the lower end. I asked a lot of questions, and they got me into good habits early. I think it’s always important for young athletes to position themselves with the veterans who are professionally and financially savvy.

“One of my favorite conversations was with Elton Brand, who had two or three max contracts. He talked about black wealth. He talked about Oprah’s situation, Will Smith — African Americans who created a lot of wealth. There aren’t too many of us. There are only 23 billionaires that are African Americans. It wasn’t like he was trying to teach me a lesson: Make sure you do this, make sure you do that. It was more like: You know how hard it is to have wealth. Period. And then how hard it is to be African American with wealth?

A lot of players see that as a responsibility — to take advantage of their financial opportunity (and to give back to the community).

The interview is worth reading and includes Iguodala’s business partner Rudy Cline-Thomas, who talks about their investing strategy and how they don’t go targeting basketball-related ventures or things where Iguodala is the pitchman. The goal is much bigger than that. They look for certain kinds of start-ups, knowing that there will be misses but also hits that really pay off. It’s a process.

And it’s something more and more players take seriously.

James Harden reiterates it was “false talk” he and Chris Paul were at odds

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The Houston Rockets — not in an anonymous way, but in a “we are putting our names on this, quote me” kind of way — have pushed back hard on the narrative that there was tension between Chris Paul and James Harden that led to the Rockets trading CP3 for Russell Westbrook this offseason. Rockets GM Daryl Morey has denied it, team leader P.J. Tucker called it fake news, and Paul himself has pushed back.

Harden has done that again, speaking at his camp on Saturday.

The counter-argument to this: Chris Paul is in Oklahoma City right now.

People will believe what they want to believe, but the Rockets guys have all gone on the record about this. Nothing leaked and anonymous.

From the Rockets’ perspective, they made a trade for Westbrook that is a roster upgrade. Houston has a dynamic duo that can compete with the Los Angeles teams and the other contenders around the league, and whatever questions fans and the media may have about the ultimate fit of Harden and Westbrook the talent level is not in question.

Do the Rockets make that trade if everything is great between Harden and Paul? Probably, if they saw CP3 as in decline and Westbrook as a talent upgrade (which they did). The Rockets can be a cold, business-like organization in terms of their pursuit of a title.

We will see next season if that calculation paid off. Whether or not Harden and CP3 got along.

Report: Kyle Korver reaches one-year deal to join Milwaukee Bucks

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The Bucks can never have enough shooting around a driving Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Enter Kyle Korver. The veteran sharpshooter will be headed to Milwaukee on a one-year contract, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

This is a quality pickup at the minimum (it is a veteran minimum contract). Korver averaged 8.6 points per game last season, taking 72 percent of his shots from beyond the arc and knocking down 39.7 percent of them. The man has gravity and pulls a defender because even at age 38 defenders cannot leave him. Shooting is a skill always in demand.

The Bucks will start Wesley Matthews at the two and have Sterling Brown behind him. They have Khris Middleton and Pat Connaughton at the three. Now they have some reliable veteran depth at those spots and a guy who can hit the big shot for them.

James Harden buys piece of MLS Houston Dynamo

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NBA players being minority owners in a soccer team is not new, LeBron James owns a small piece of Champions’ League winner Liverpool, for example.

James Harden is keeping it closer to home — he bought a share of the Dynamo, Houston’s MLS franchise.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to join the ownership group of the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash and proud to be a part of a club with tremendous history and a great future,” Harden said in a statement. “Houston is my home now, and I saw this as a way to invest in my city and expand my business interests at the same time. Soccer in general, and especially MLS, have exploded in this country throughout my lifetime. I’ve been a fan of the game for several years, and I know that Houston has a massive soccer fanbase, so it was an easy decision for me when this opportunity arose.”

Harden reportedly purchased a five percent stake in the team.

The Dynamo — a former MLS cup champion and a franchise that has consistently been strong — is primarily owned by Gabriel Brener, and it has boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya as one of its minority owners.

Harden has earned more than $141 million in NBA salary in his 10 NBA seasons and has four years left on the $228 million contract extension he signed with the team in 2017. In addition, he has a large shoe contract with Adidas and other endorsements.

Report: R.C. Buford moving on from Spurs GM role, Brian Wright taking over

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For 15 years, through championships and an unparalleled run of playoff berths and success, R.C. Buford and Gregg Popovich seemed to work as one brain. Popovich was the coach but also team president, Buford the GM, and together they built an NBA powerhouse.

Buford is moving on from that role. Or, more precisely moving up into a new management role, and assistant GM Brian Wright is taking over as GM, reports Jabari Young of The Athletic.

After a little more than 15 years serving as GM, Buford is getting prepared to bequeath the role to assistant GM Brian Wright, league sources have confirmed to The Athletic. Wright will report directly to Buford, who will officially get a new title that some around the NBA believe will be a role helping to oversee Spurs Sports & Entertainment.

When the Spurs initially hired Wright in 2016, he stayed behind the scenes and focused mainly on scouting. But sources have informed The Athletic over the last year Wright has been more involved, even fielding calls and packages for the trade of Kawhi Leonard the previous summer.

Wright came to the Spurs from the Pistons a couple of years ago. That said, don’t expect a big change in how things are done in the Spurs front office. For one thing, Popovich is still there. Also, Wright has an excellent reputation around the league as being smart and a straight shooter. On top of all of that, Buford will remain his ultimate boss, although Buford’s role will change into one of more of a business manager for Spurs Sports & Entertainment.

Young hints there could be more changes coming. Obviously, the biggest would be when Popovich decides to step back in his dual roles as coach and president, but there could be shifts in the assistant GM ranks as well.

Just don’t expect the Spurs to stop being the Spurs.