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Seth Curry: Warriors harder to guard without Kevin Durant

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If Kevin Durant didn’t know any better, he might think the Curry brothers are dissing him.

I think Durant does know better. But the comments are coming one after another.

First, when Durant got hurt against the Rockets, Warriors teammate Stephen Curry said, “During the timeout, we all looked at each other, and there were a couple smiles in terms of what that meant for us as a team and the guys that were going to need to step up in those moments. Again, next-man-up mentality.”

Now, Trail Blazers guard Seth Curry, via Sam Amick of The Athletic:

“I think they are harder to guard (without Durant),” Seth said. “They move around faster when he’s not out there. They’re definitely not a better team, but they’re harder to guard. Obviously, they play a different style of basketball when Steph and Klay (Thompson) are the focal points offensively, and we haven’t played that team in a while. We’ve got to reshift our focus and make some adjustments coming into Game 2.”

We went through this a couple years ago, when Tyronn Lue said the Celtics’ sets were harder to defend than Golden State’s.

In a very narrow sense, Lue and Seth Curry are correct. It’s harder to get in position against the Durant-less Warriors, who have much more ball and player movement without him. There are a lot of actions to stay on top of.

But Golden State is not easier to defend without Durant when it comes to the primary purpose of defense – preventing scoring. The Warriors don’t pressure defenses to keep up in the same ways when Durant plays, but he’s still an elite scorer. He doesn’t need complex sets to get good shots. So, the defensive game plan can be simpler to execute. It’s just harder to defend effectively.

Seth Curry essentially acknowledged this. When he said the Warriors definitely aren’t a better team without Durant, Seth Curry didn’t mean because of Durant’s defense. Seth Curry meant they’re better offensively with him. Lue, whose Cavaliers were in the midst of a rivalry with Golden State, might have been at least partially trying to tweak the Warriors.

And it’s not as if Golden State completely stagnates with Durant. He, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala still play plenty of beautiful basketball. But there is a give-and-take between style preferred by Durant and the style preferred by his star teammates and Steve Kerr.

As for Stephen Curry’s comments about smiling, the phrasing was weird. I think the idea was the Warriors, as competitors, relished this opportunity to prove themselves. Durant might even respect that.

He also might feel, if they want to prove themselves without him, he can give them that opportunity by leaving in free agency.

As I’ve said all along, this postseason run will matter toward Durant’s decision. His injury adds a wrinkle. How will Golden State play without him? How will he feel about that?

Another question: How will he receive what people say about the Warriors’ play without him?

Rudy Gobert says he’ll relinquish DPOY to little girl playing adorably intense defense (video)

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I’ve been looking all day for an excuse to post this video on a site called ProBasketballTalk.

Jazz center Rudy Gobertwho just won Defensive Player of the Year – provided it.

Gobert:

Everyone frets about young basketball players emulating Stephen Curry. But Patrick Beverley apparently also has influence.

Report: Knicks considering offering DeMarcus Cousins big one-year contract if they miss on stars

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The Knicks will reportedly roll over their cap space if they don’t sign Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving or Kawhi Leonard this summer.

Of course, New York must still field a team for 2019-20. After six straight losing seasons – including a franchise-worst 17-65 this season – the Knicks might even want to be somewhat competitive.

A candidate to fill the roster: DeMarcus Cousins.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

If the Knicks are intent keeping cap space clear for 2020 (when the free-agent class looks weak) if they strike out this year, Cousins could make sense. His shot-creation skills would raise their floor. He was a star not long ago.

But leg injuries have sidetracked Cousins’ career. He’ll turn 29 before the season. It’s not certain he’ll ever return to form.

For that reason, Cousins might prioritize multi-year offers with more total compensation, even if the annual average salary is lower. He can’t assume he’ll stay healthy and productive next season and that huge offers will follow in 2020.

Of course, Cousins might not get those multi-year offers this summer. That’s why a one-year deal in New York could work for him. It’d be another chance to improve his stock, much like his season with the Warriors was supposed to provide.

I doubt either the Knicks or Cousins want this. New York prefers better players. Cousins surely desires a larger long-term deal. But they might have to settle for each other.

Kevin Durant reportedly sells home in California, rumored to have bought one in New York

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Kevin Durant‘s company moved its office to New York. He could follow, to the Nets or Knicks, in free agency.

Maybe he’s already on the way?

Neal J. Leitereg of the Los Angeles Times:

Kevin Durant has wrapped up some business in Malibu, selling his oceanfront home on Broad Beach for $12.15 million.

Accounting for real estate commissions and other fees, the sale comes out as a bit of a wash for the 10-time all-star. He bought the place last year for $12.05 million, The Times previously reported in April.

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:

sources familiar with Durant’s off-court business say Durant has since purchased a new home in New York and moved his belongings there.

Many NBA players spend their offseasons in Southern California. I’m not sure what to make of Durant selling his house there. This isn’t Durant selling his condo in San Francisco, where the Warriors will open a new arena next season.

Buying a place in New York would be more significant, but a player buying a house in a city where he could sign is a classic rumor. It often gets spread whether or not it’s true. I’m skeptical of the sourcing here.

But if Durant no longer plans to play in California, it could make more sense to sell his Malibu home. Of course, he could buy another house near Los Angeles. We just know he sold this specific place on Broad Beach. We can’t extrapolate with certainty.

And Durant could buy a house in New York for the offseason. He might want to be closer to his company in the summer. That doesn’t mean he’ll play for New York or Brooklyn.

So, I’d nudge the odds of Durant leaving Golden State for the Nets or Knicks slightly higher based on this information. But I wouldn’t overreact to it.

Report: Allen Crabbe charged with DUI (video)

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The Nets will officially trade Allen Crabbe to Hawks in July.

In the meantime, he faces a legal issue.

TMZ:

we’re told he blew a .08 — which is EXACTLY the legal limit in California … so Crabbe was arrested and booked for misdemeanor Driving Under the Influence.

If convicted of drunk driving, Crabbe would likely receive a two-game suspension – the NBA’s standard punishment for that crime. But considering he appears to complete the field-sobriety test OK, breathalyzers have questionable reliability and his blood alcohol concentration tested relatively low, Crabbe has a chance to beat the charge.