“[Kevon] Looney has become one of our foundational pieces.”
That was Steve Kerr on the night Kevon Looney had 12 points and 14 rebounds in the Warriors’ Game 4 Western Conference Finals win over the Trail Blazers. Kerr went on to say multiple times through the Finals how much he wanted Looney back — and it was obvious why, when Looney was at the five the Warriors offense just flowed better (much smoother than when DeMarcus Cousins was in).
Kerr got his guy, and the Warriors got a good deal. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news.
Houston was among several teams that had reached out to Looney, but the Warriors always planned to bring him back if at all possible.
The trade earlier today that sent Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham from the Warriors to the Timberwolves helped free up space for the Warriors to make this happen (remember they are hard capped at $138 million).
Looney moved into the Warriors starting center role by the end of last season, and in the playoffs he averaged 7.1 points and 4.5 rebounds a game. In the Finals, he tried to play through a fractured collar bone to help the Warriors, but the walking wounded — and an outstanding Raptors team — was just too much for them.
This is a win for the Warriors, who will take a step back next season with all the injuries and changes, but will not be bad. At all.
Team USA is just about ready to get underway for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. The United States beat Australia on Wednesday night in a tune-up game, 102-86.
Several big-name NBA players have dropped out of participating with the Team USA roster this summer, but it appears that things have solidified as we enter late August. To that end, we now have confirmation about who Team USA’s captains will be moving forward.
According to Kemba Walker, he and fellow Boston Celtics teammate Marcus Smart will be the captains for the international squad in this year’s World Cup.
Via NBC Sports Boston:
“We have a bunch of guys who don’t mind being the underdogs,” Walker told reporters. “We are hungry, and we are going to go out there to try and win a gold medal…I take pride in being a leader and guys looking to me and I’m here to set the tempo and bring my experience and energy.”
This is a point of pride for Celtics fans, and Walker and Smart appear to be two excellent choices as captains of this young Team USA roster.
It’s not going to be easy for Team USA to win the World Cup. Leadership and camaraderie has often been the deciding factor in the USA’s performance in international play. The team rallied around a strong locker room after their poor performance in the 2004 Olympics, coming together to win the gold in the 2008 Beijing games.
Walker and Smart should provide leadership and calmness for a team that will have many challengers who view them as vulnerable.
Last season in Minnesota — with Jimmy Butler torpedoing the team and ending the Tom Thibodeau era — was pretty much the figurative definition of a train wreck.
Out of that wreckage, the Timberwolves think they found some positives. Ryan Sunders was thrown into the fire as a young coach but bonded with Karl-Anthony Towns. Robert Covington sparked the defense before his injury. Josh Okogie emerged as a player. This summer the team drafted a player with a lot of potential in Jarrett Culver.
Minnesota also brought in the aggressive Gersson Rosas out of Houston to take over as team president and start reshaping the franchise into one that can live up to the promise of Towns’ potential. For that to start to happen, meaning a return to the playoffs, Rosas pointed to a couple of things needing to go right this season. First and foremost, they need more — and more consistency — out of Andrew Wiggins. Via Timberwolves writer/podcaster Dane Moore.
Most Timberwolves fans, and the rest of the league, have moved on from Wiggins, who has four years, $122 million left on his max contract. While he averaged 18.1 points per game last season, he doesn’t get those buckets efficiently nor consistently, and the result is an average/slightly below-average wing whose contract is an anchor on the franchise. We’ve learned no contract is untradable in the NBA, but this is as close to that line as it gets — the sweeteners Minnesota would have to throw in right now make a deal are prohibitive.
The only thing Minnesota can hope for is that in year six Wiggins takes some steps forward he did not take in the last five. Maybe continuity helps, but we’re all going to need to see it before we believe it.
The other thing Rosas said Minnesota needs: More consistent defense from Towns.
Saunders seemed to connect with Towns and got him to defend, and Covington played MIC linebacker calling out coverages and getting guys in position before his injury. Rosas said Covington would be good to go at the start of the season, if so that gives the Timberwolves real hope that the defense will improve.
Whether all of that will be enough to get them into the playoffs in a deep West is another question, but at least Minnesota seems to be moving in the right direction now.
WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump is set to present basketball legend Bob Cousy (KOO’-zee) with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The award is being handed out Thursday. It celebrates individuals with a wide range of achievements and is the nation’s highest civilian honor.
The 91-year-old Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame member played for the Boston Celtics from 1950 to 1963. He won six league championships and the 1957 MVP title.
Cousy is also known for speaking out against racism. He was an ardent supporter of black teammates who faced discrimination during the civil rights movement.
Cousy will be the second person to receive the award this year from Trump. Golfer Tiger Woods received the honor in May.
In 2014, published audio of a racist rant by then-Clippers owner Donald Sterling rocked the country.
It shouldn’t have. Sterling’s racism and sexism were well-established by then. But few cared. The audio poured gasoline on the fire and moved people to act. I wish it didn’t require that. But it did.
What if the audio didn’t become public through TMZ? Apparently, there might have been opportunity for another outcome.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
The fact is Shelly and several people in the Clippers organization heard the recording and decided not to act on it or weren’t appalled enough to act on it. Maybe they didn’t understand how big a splash this tape could make.
It’s unclear when Shelly Sterling (Donald’s wife) and other members of the Clippers organization heard the audio. Maybe it was while TMZ was doing due diligence. If so, it was probably too late to change the course of history.
But perhaps it was when V. Stiviano – Donald’s girlfriend who made the original recording and was being sued by Shelly – was still the only one in possession of it. Stiviano was clearly upset with how things were going financially between her and the Sterlings. For the right price, maybe the audio would have gone away before becoming public.
I’m glad it didn’t happen that way. The world is better off knowing exactly who Donald Sterling is.
Yet, this leads to an incredible “what if?” What if the people who heard the audio in advance understood the magnitude, acted in Sterling’s best interest and paid to have the audio kept secret? Would Sterling still own the Clippers today?