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Steve Kerr on Klay Thompson’s free agency: ‘Klay wants to be here, we want Klay’

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When ESPN’s scoop master Adrian Wojnarowski said recently the Warriors were preparing for a “seismic change” this offseason, some took that to mean more than just the expected Kevin Durant departure from the Bay Area.

Klay Thompson is a free agent as well, and there are a lot of teams that will pitch him more than a max contract — that’s a given no matter where he lands — but the chance to step out of Stephen Curry‘s shadow and lead a team. Rumors are floating around that he is unhappy with the touches he gets after Durant and Curry.

Don’t bet on it. I have heard all season from sources that Thompson would stay with the Warriors as long as they offered him a full five-year, $190 million max contract, which they intend to do. (Try to sell him on taking less and then things change, his camp has been very clear about that.) I said that again just this week on the Lakers’ flagship radio station in Los Angeles. Thompson himself has said he wants to be a Warrior for life.

The Warriors are not worried about Thompson leaving, it’s a very different situation than with Durant, reports Nick Friedel of ESPN. This quote from Andrew Bogut may sum the story up best:

“You’ve never heard [Thompson] say anything bad about wanting to leave here or going to another team or being the No. 1 option. You’ve never even heard that off the record. Some players say the right thing publicly but have different feelings [in private]. He completely wants to be here and he gets it that this is a very rare situation.”

“I know that everybody — coaches, management, ownership — everybody wants Klay back,” Kerr said. “I think the feeling is just, Klay wants to be here, we want Klay.”

Another reason for all that Warriors’ confidence — they know Thompson is not a guy who seeks out the spotlight. Rather the opposite. He may want more touches (which he will get plenty of if/when Kevin Durant leaves), but he’s not a guy who needs “his” team to lead to be happy.

“It’s super rare,” Draymond Green told ESPN. “Especially in the day and age of social media. In this league, so many dudes just want attention. It’s kind of sickening. Just want attention. Don’t even do much for it but just want attention. It’s rare to have a guy that don’t want any. … It’s a new age with dudes. Klay just happen to not be one of them.”

Predicting in May what will happen in July is a tenuous exercise, things change and minds change. But the Warriors believe Thompson will join Curry and company in the move to the Chase Center. We will find out July 1 if that faith will be rewarded.

Manny Pacquiao says he has thought about buying part of NBA team when he retires

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At age 40, Manny Pacquiao is not retiring. Even if you and some boxing pundits think he should. Tonight (Saturday) he fights Keith Thurman at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and is expected to pull down about a cool $26 million for his trouble. If you’re getting paid like that, why retire exactly? He has said he wants to fight another five years or so.

After that, he’d like to buy part of an NBA team.

That’s what he told TMZ in a pre-fight interview.

He said he has thought about buying a piece of an NBA team after he retires. Pacquiao, a basketball nut who uses the sport as part of his training, owns an entire semi-pro league — the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League — in the Philippines (one of the most basketball-crazy nations on earth). Pacquiao said he thinks his experience with that league would help him as an NBA owner, that some of the skills will translate, which is likely true. Pacquiao said it’s about finding the right opportunity.

Forbes estimates that Pacquiao will have earned, after Saturday’s fight, more than $500 million in his career. Various websites estimate his net worth in the $200 million range. He’s got the money to jump in as a part owner.

In an NBA that loves personalities and characters — and one always trying to gain more traction in Asian markets — don’t be shocked if this happens someday.

Once Pacquiao retires.

C.J.McCollum, Eric Gordon both withdraw from USA Basketball for World Cup

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First Anthony Davis. Then James Harden.

Now add C.J. McCollum and Eric Gordon to the list, as reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Don’t be surprised if a couple of new players are added to the USA roster for training camp.

The loss of those four stars strips the Team USA of some international experience. As pointed out by John Schuhmann of NBA.com, now only four members invited to USA camp have played in the World Cup or Olympics: Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, and Kyle Lowry — and Lowry just had thumb surgery and is questionable for the playing in China.

USA Basketball can still roll out this starting five:

Damian Lillard
Bradley Beal
Khris Middleton
Tobias Harris
Andre Drummond

Then off the bench have Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Lowry, Jayson Tatum, P.J. Tucker, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez.

That’s still enough talent, coached by Gregg Popovich, to win the World Cup. The USA remains the heavy favorites for a reason.

USA Basketball is scheduled to begin its pre-World Cup camp in Las Vegas Aug. 5, with an intrasquad exhibition game at the T-Mobile Arena on Aug. 9. Then the team heads to Southern California for more training followed by an exhibition against Spain on Aug. 16 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Then the team heads overseas for the World Cup, which begins in China on Aug. 31.

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.