Klay Thompson out of boot, swimming in San Francisco Bay for rehab

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SAN FRANCISCO — Klay Thompson has taken up swimming in chilly San Francisco Bay to mix things up as he endures yet another year-long rehab for his right Achilles tendon immediately after working back from a torn ACL in his left knee.

Truly a Splash Brother now.

“It was life changing!” he declared, “It was amazing. I was like, ‘I need to do this more often.’”

“I’m going to incorporate that into my routine now,” Thompson added. “Tim Duncan swam his whole career and he played for 21 years. These last few years have allowed me to look at things and re-evaluate how I train and how I diet, that’s for sure. As I’m getting older I’ve got to do all the little things.”

He has ditched the walking boot and is driving again. He can lift weights and ride a stationary bike.

And for his cerebral side, the Golden State star is finding some non-physical activities to become more well-rounded during the grind of this recovery process.

“Read books, play chess and watch a lot of movies,” he said, smiling while speaking candidly before watching the Warriors host Utah. “Before I got hurt I realized all my hobbies revolved around me being athletic. These last two years have taught me I need to get some more hobbies that bring out the creative side of me because the human body can turn on you, unfortunately. I love to play golf, I love to go biking, I love to go hiking, and I’m without that right now. I’ve got to do other things and be patient with myself.”

Thompson didn’t play at all during the coronavirus-shortened season as he worked back from surgery in July 2019 for a torn ACL in his left knee. He suffered that injury in the deciding Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

Then in November he injured the Achilles playing in a pickup game in Southern California.

“It was very painful. It feels like someone kicks you in the back of your heel as hard as they could,” he recalled, noting how hard it is to even think about.

“It’s way harder than any basketball game I’ve ever had to play,” Thompson said, speaking formally to reporters for the first time since his latest injury. “Way harder than any conditioning drill or practice. The mental toll is not very fun, you always guess if you’re going to be the same player you once were so you have those naturally thoughts, but you can’t let those overtake you and you’ve got to realize this is not unique just to me so many athletes have been through this.”

The 31-year-old Thompson isn’t making any promises, but his hope is to be in uniform and ready for opening night next season.

“Absolutely,” he said. “It could be a few weeks after, maybe a month after, but it’s definitely going to be geared toward the very beginning of the season.”

He is counting on rediscovering his form and playing for years to come:

“With my style of play I feel like I can be effective ’til my late 30s,” he said. “I’m not going to feel sorry for myself right now I’m just going to keep buckling down and trying to get back to doing what I love to do. … It’s been a weird two years for me. I genuinely love the game so much, it’s been hard to find a lot of happiness without it, but it’s going to come back and it’s just going to make me appreciate what I do that much more.”

Thompson acknowledged the loneliness he felt during the pandemic and feeling so far from everything normal. He had gym access in Orange County and a support system yet still felt it.

Now, he is around the team and traveling on trips — that has been a big help.

“It was just lonely. I think everybody was going through it. You took for granted your daily routines, whether it was getting breakfast in the morning or going to a movie at night,” he said. “I mean, 2020 was just such a year of reckoning, not only for the pandemic but for the social justice. We lost so many innocent people to violence. It was awful, Kobe going out and Gigi (Bryant), and on top of that in the fall I tear my Achilles. It was just probably the worst year of my life, guys. I lost my grandmother. It feels good to be back here. I feel love when I’m back in the Warriors facility.”

T.J. Warren still out for Nets, team to reassess status in November

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The Brooklyn Nets bet that the T.J. Warren from the bubble in Orlando — the one who averaged 26.6 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for the Pacers — would re-emerge and give them a quality forward they could mix into a deep rotation.

Instead, so far it has looked more like the Warren who has played just four games since the bubble due to stress fractures in his foot.

Warren is improving and the Nets are bringing him along slowly, keeping him off the court until November at least, reports Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

Small forward T.J. Warren, who has missed nearly two full seasons following multiple foot surgeries, is “doing some shooting” and “a little bit more movement the last two weeks than he was prior,” Nash said. He added that Warren will be reassessed in about a month.

The Nets can afford to be patient. They have plenty of other questions to answer as a team before worrying about what Warren can or cannot contribute. But in the dream scenario where everything comes together for the Nets this season, Warren gets healthy and becomes a valuable contributor off the bench giving the Nets more versatility, scoring, and shooting along the front line.

For now, the Nets and Warren wait.

NBA returning to Seattle for exhibition game, when will it be more?

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SEATTLE (AP) — An NBA preseason game may not seem like a benchmark moment, even in a basketball-hungry city like Seattle, but Jamal Crawford believes there’s value even in an exhibition.

“It reignites a whole new generation of kids who need to see this,” said Crawford, a Seattle native who has been a basketball ambassador for the city through a 20-year NBA career and now with a pro-am that brings in NBA players every summer. “They need to be able to dream and know that it’s real.”

The NBA is making its latest brief return to the Emerald City. The Los Angeles Clippers will play the Portland Trail Blazers there on Monday night, the first time two NBA teams will meet in Seattle since 2018, when the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings played a preseason game. That was the last sporting event inside KeyArena before it was gutted and rebuilt into the gleaming Climate Pledge Arena.

There was a warm-up act of sorts Friday when the Clippers played Israeli team Maccabi Ra’anana in an exhibition, one where the most of the Clippers’ big names – Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, John Wall and Reggie Jackson – weren’t participating.

A sell-out crowd turned out for that Warriors-Kings game four years ago, the first one in Seattle since the beloved SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008 after 41 years in the Pacific Northwest. Another big crowd is expected Monday.

“The Sonics haven’t been a team since I’ve been in the NBA. So just to go play in Seattle is cool,” Blazers star Damian Lillard said. “We played in Vancouver a few years back. I think like two or three years ago, we had a preseason game at the (Memorial) Coliseum. So every time we get to do something like that, I always enjoy it because I wondered what was it like when it was a real thing, when the games were played in these different arenas. So I am excited to play in Seattle.”

Someday, possibly soon, the expectations are that Seattle will reclaim its place as an NBA town.

“It’s always been a great city to me,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said Friday. “It’s unfortunate that they lost their team and the team went to OKC. This city definitely deserves a team.”

Speculation is nonstop about when the NBA will choose to expand. Thanks to the resolution of its arena situation, Seattle seems likely to be at the forefront of those expansion talks, with Las Vegas likely right behind it.

But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been noncommittal about a possible expansion timeline, and it seems likely those talks won’t pick up steam until the league deals with the new collective bargaining agreement and television deals that are on the horizon.

The community’s commitment has never been in question. The appetite of Seattle fans hasn’t waned in the years since the Sonics left and as the region became a hotbed for NBA talent, whether it was Crawford continuing to carry the banner for the city, to Zach LaVine of Renton, Washington, to this year’s No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero, another Seattle native.

As if any reinforcement was needed, the summer provided a perfect example as fans camped overnight outside Crawford’s summer league venue for the chance to get inside and watch LeBron James make his first basketball visit to the city in more than a decade.

“Anyone that knows Seattle knows what a great basketball city we are,” Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said this summer when the preseason game was announced.

The idea for having the Blazers and Clippers meet in Seattle was the result of a brainstorm between Lue and Blazers coach Chauncey Billups. The two close friends wanted their teams to meet in the preseason and Lue noted the owners for both teams are Seattle based: Steve Ballmer of the Clippers and Jody Allen for the Blazers.

“I haven’t been back since I played there in 2008, I think it was. So just to be able to go back there and you know, Mr. Ballmer and kind of see his offices and how he lives, and (Chauncey) to get a chance to see his owner, and then to be with my best friend, I thought it would be a great common ground,” Lue said.

Steven Adams inks two-year, $25.2 million extension with Grizzlies

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Steven Adams signed a two-year, $25.2 million contract extension with Memphis, which will keep him tied to the team through the 2024-25 season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski broke the news on Saturday.

Adams has been crucial to the Grizzlies’ recent success. He’s coming off his first season with the team, where he averaged career-highs in rebounds (10.0) and assists (3.4). He also helped them lock up the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference and make it to the Conference Semifinals, where they lost to the eventual-champion Warriors 4-2. Despite the improved numbers, a lot of his value is from intangibles that don’t show up in the box score.

Adams spent the first seven years of his career with the Thunder before being traded to New Orleans in the four-team deal that sent Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee. Adams was moved again to Memphis in a package for Jonas Valanciunas.

Adams has found a new home with a young Grizzlies team that is looking to win a championship. The team is built around Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane, but Jackson Jr. is expected to miss time after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot. Memphis will rely on Adams more than ever to begin the season.

Watch Curry, Klay in 3-point shooting contest in Japan. Yeah, they’re good at this.

NBA Japan Games Saturday Night
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The NBA went to Japan to promote the brand, play a few games in a huge market — Japan specifically but Asia as a whole — and put on a show.

Is there a better show than Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson draining 3s? Here they are in a 3-point contest during a basketball exhibition (there were some pro dunkers) in Tokyo on Saturday.

Stephen Curry, was there any other possible outcome?

It’s preseason and they are the defending champs — they should be having fun, playing with some joy.

Thompson took part in the shooting contest but is not playing in either of the exhibition games in Japan as the Warriors ease him back into play this season. It’s a marathon of a season and the Warriors need the best version of Klay starting in April, not October.