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Warriors signing DeMarcus Cousins not even best development of their summer

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NBCSports.com’s Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

The Rockets downgraded. LeBron James didn’t form a super team anywhere. Only the Raptors emerged as a new contender, and that’s only if Kawhi Leonard is healthy.

The Warriors’ path to another championship looks even clearer now than it did at the beginning of the summer.

Oh, and they signed DeMarcus Cousins.

Of course Golden State isn’t assured a third straight title and fourth in five years. I’ve been banging the drum against the inevitability of a Warriors championship during this entire run, and I’m sure not stopping now. There are too many variables just to assume one team will cruise against a field of 29 others. But few teams have ever looked so well-positioned entering the season.

Golden State returns its entire elite core. Kevin Durant re-signed, though on just another 1+1 deal. Uncertainty seems unavoidable with him.

At least he’ll be a known factor next season. The same can’t be said of Cousins.

Cousins’ Achilles tear makes it unclear when he’ll play, let alone when he’ll play at a high level. Even once he gets healthy and on track individually, there are real questions about how he’ll fit with the Warriors. Cousins won’t necessarily be the dominant force that stacks the deck insurmountably in Golden State’s favor.

There was also a real opportunity cost to signing him. The Warriors needed more wings rather than another center, and they used their biggest tool to upgrade – the mid-level exception – on Cousins. And they’ll almost certainly get him for only one year. The largest starting salary they can effectively offer him next summer is just $6,404,400. If Cousins can’t command far more than that on the open market, he probably wouldn’t be welcomed back, anyway.

All that said, Golden State had to sign him when he agreed to play for so little. He’s so darned talented. It’s worth the risk. If everything pans out, he could help the 2018-19 Warriors stake a claim as the greatest team of all time.

Otherwise, the Warriors were pretty conservative this summer.

They drafted Jacob Evans No. 28 and signed Kevon Looney and Jonas Jerebko to minimum contracts. Patrick McCaw will probably accept his qualifying offer.

David West retired. JaVale McGee signed with the Lakers. Zaza Pachulia signed with the Pistons. Nick Young remains unsigned.

On a team with Durant, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala, those players just don’t move the needle much. Golden State was mostly locked into a static summer by virtue of the team’s incredible standing already.

So, it was shocking the Warriors added a potential gamechanger in Cousins. But the biggest moves for Golden State were the ones that didn’t happen elsewhere to threaten its supremacy.

 

Offseason grade: A

Steve Kerr says DeMarcus Cousins is ‘right on schedule’ but will not set timeline

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DeMarcus Cousins is moving well in the videos we’ve seen of him, and according to Golden State’s Steve Kerr he is recovering “right on schedule.”

Just don’t ask him what that schedule is.

The Warriors can afford to be patient with Cousin’s return and that is what’s happening, Kerr told Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News.

“He’s right on schedule. He hasn’t had any setbacks. He’s doing well. Beyond that, there’s nothing. No prediction. Especially with an Achilles injury, you have to wait and see how the player responds once he’s on the court and moving at full speed.”

Because the Warriors can afford to wait, it would be a surprise to see Cousins before mid-December, and more likely it will be 2019 before he steps on the court. The Warriors are going to win plenty of games without him, there is no pressure to get him back so they can make the playoffs. The key is to have him healthy and in a groove when the second season starts.

In the interim, Kerr said that Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell, and Damian Jones will compete for the starting center spot. Expect the Warriors to rotate the heavy minutes at the five among those three depending upon matchups. That said, Kerr praised Jones — who spent much of last season in the G-League — and made it sound like he could get a legitimate look.

David West retires

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David West changed the NBA forever.

His own career was impressive enough. He made two All-Star appearances with the New Orleans Hornets, played a big role on really good Pacers teams and won titles the last two years with the Warriors.

But those accomplishments, though absolutely commendable, don’t loom over the league.

West’s 2015 decision to leave more than $10 million on the table to leave Indiana for San Antonio did – because Kevin Durant took notice.

Durant, of course, left Oklahoma City for Golden State the following year. His reasons weren’t precisely the same as those of West, who voiced displeasure with how the Pacers treated Roy Hibbert. But the blueprint – sacrificing to join a better team – was similar.

That should be West’s legacy as he exits the NBA at age 38.

West:

West influencing Durant should be no surprise, because West is so respected around the league. West is tough, wise, proud, socially conscious and just real.

He’ll definitely be missed in Golden State’s locker room.

On the court, it’s more complicated. He played limited minutes. He was exposed in certain matchups. But West was darn effective in his role off the bench last season.

The Warriors just want to move onto a less center-centric roster. DeMarcus Cousins, Jordan Bell, Damian Jones, Kevon Looney and Draymond Green can handle minutes at center. West’s roster spot will go to a wing.

It’s hard to imagine a career more fulfilling than West’s. And because Durant followed in his footsteps, West will see his impact on the game last far longer.

Warriors make it official, sign free agent forward Jonas Jerebko

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Free agent forward Jonas Jerebko has signed with the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors announced the deal Thursday and planned to formally introduce Jerebko on Monday.

A native of Sweden, Jerebko has played nine NBA seasons with Utah, Boston and Detroit. In 32 postseason games – four starts – for the Jazz and Celtics, he has averaged 4.0 points and 3.1 rebounds.

Golden State had already added center DeMarcus Cousins in free agency and re-signed two-time reigning finals MVP Kevin Durant and forward/center Kevon Looney after winning a second straight title and third in four years. Centers JaVale McGee (Lakers) and Zaza Pachulia (Pistons) have departed.

Warriors will reportedly ink Kevon Looney to one-year minimum

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The Golden State Warriors made waves this week by reportedly agreeing to a deal with free agent big man DeMarcus Cousins. Coming off of an Achilles injury, Cousins was once a max salary type of player. With the Warriors next season he will garner a much smaller total, but he’ll be able to move on and try to go for a larger contract in the summer of 2019.

Of course, the Warriors still need to tie up the rest of their roster, and that includes guys who were not former All-Stars.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Golden State reached an agreement with forward Kevon Looney.

Looney was taken by the Warriors in the 2015 NBA Draft with the 30th overall pick.

Via Twitter:

Looney has been a low usage guy for the Warriors, playing less than 10 minutes per game over his first three seasons in the league. Still, his advanced stats are good enough to make him a roster player and he has slowly improved over the past few seasons with Golden State.

Keeping Looney on the roster helps the Warriors have some solid rotational players at the end of the bench who know their system without having to bust more of their cap space to do it.