Kevon Looney

Getty Images

Stephen Curry on idea Warriors are not title contenders: ‘I just laugh at it’

3 Comments

The Golden State Warriors won a title — and had a 73-win regular season — before Kevin Durant walked through that door.

Now that Durant has walked (well, limped) out that door, combined with the facts this is an older and thinner Warriors roster, a lot of people are counting them out of the title chase. Klay Thompson already said do so at your own peril because the dynasty can continue, and the team re-signed Daymond Green to keep the core intact for a few more years.

Stephen Curry‘s reaction to the doubts about this team? Laughter. Via Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area.

“I just laugh at it,” Curry said during his second annual Warriors All-Girls basketball camp in Oakland on Monday afternoon. “Anybody can say anything about anything nowadays and it can pick up steam. So we’ve had lots of support. We’ve had a lot of criticism on the way that doesn’t change now. Just what they’re saying is different so doesn’t change how we go about our business.”

It’s not just that Durant is gone, but so are trusted role players such as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. Curry understands they have to build this thing back up.

“It’s just a matter of really trying to get guys comfortable with the system, be able to highlight the different skill sets that we have and different strengths and the chemistry,” Curry said. “It will take a little bit of time and a lot of hard work, but like I said, we have a lot of high IQ guys from our core and a lot of leadership and commitment to what we do, so starting in the training camp and beyond, you have to have a mindset that you will continue to get better as the season goes on.”

The last three seasons the Warriors started off with a massive margin for error and they went on to win two titles (and it took an avalanche of injuries to stop a three-peat). This year that is gone. This season the Warriors are going to be good, but they are just one of five or six teams in the West that enter the season with legitimate reasons to believe they can come out of it all and take a title.

For the Warriors, everything has to go right. Curry and Green have to stay healthy, Thompson has to return and be close to his elite self on both ends (he likely is not back until after the All-Star break), D'Angelo Russell needs to fit in next to Curry (or be traded for a player/players who do), big men Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley-Stein need to form a strong front line, and role players such as Alfonzo McKinnie and Alec Burks have to thrive in their roles.

It’s a lot of things that have to go right in Golden State next season.

It also all could happen, and we know how good the Curry/Thompson/Green combo can be when they are clicking.

Klay Thompson: ‘Premature to say there’s no more dynasty’ (VIDEO)

Getty
4 Comments

The Golden State Warriors might be in trouble this year. Kevin Durant is now with the Brooklyn Nets, and Klay Thompson will be recovering for most of the season with an ACL tear that he suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

But still, the Warriors still have a lot of talent. Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, D'Angelo Russell, and Kevon Looney are all going to be impactful players for this squad in 2019-20.

It was also good news for Golden State fans that Thompson’s injury — if he had to suffer a serious one — was an ACL tear. That’s a pretty normal thing to have in this league, and players can absolutely come back from it just as strong (if not stronger).

For that reason, Thompson thinks that people shouldn’t be counting the Warriors out. Speaking to ESPN this week, Thompson said that it was premature to assume that the Golden State dynasty is over just because Durant is on the East Coast.

Via ESPN:

“I think that’s a little premature to say there’s no more dynasty. We still have Stephen Curry, 2-time MVP. Draymond Green, Defensive Player of the Year. Adding D’Angelo Russell was an incredible get for us. I mean, the kid’s going to blossom into a superstar in this league.

To say the dynasty is over is a little ignorant because I’m going to come back better and even more athletic. It would not be smart to count the Dubs out.”

There’s a lot of questions surrounding this team. Everyone is getting older, Thompson is coming off of an injury, and they are more top-heavy than ever. But just because the team isn’t a guarantee to win the Finals each and every year doesn’t mean the dynasty is over. A dynasty can still be a run of dominant play mixed with championship wins.

At the end of the day, we should still expect Golden State to be one of the best teams in the Western Conference over the next three or four years. Until they show us otherwise, we have to point out that the dynasty in San Francisco is ongoing.

DeMarcus Cousins is still available, switches agents in effort to get signed

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
12 Comments

The center position is one NBA teams believe they can fill without spending too much money now. Sure, if you have a Joel Embiid or Rudy Gobert or Nikola Jokic at the five teams will back up the Brinks truck, but the Warriors brought back Kevon Looney at $5 million a season, and more and more it’s a position where teams are reluctant to pay big money without knowing they have an elite player at the position.

DeMarcus Cousins was once that elite player. However, after an Achilles tear that seemed to slow him when he did return last season, then a quad tear during the playoffs, not to mention some teams being scared off by his reputation as a locker room challenge (fair or not), there has not been much of a market for Cousins. Players such as Dewayne Dedmon (two years, $25 million) and Robin Lopez ($4.8 million) have found homes, and Cousins still waits.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN put it this way on the network’s air Tuesday:

“There’s not a market for him. I think he hoped that some big market teams would strikeout, they’d have cap space and he could get a one-year, $12 (million), $15 (million), $18 (million), $20 million deal. That’s not happening. The mid-level exception he got in Golden State last year? I don’t think that’s there.”

Trying to shake things up, Cousins is switching agents, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Once the Kawhi Leonard decision comes down there will be teams with some cap space to spend, but that may not help Cousins market much.

The Warriors brought back Looney and then signed Willie Cauley-Stein on Tuesday, ending the idea Cousins could return to the Bay Area. Celtics’ and Knicks’ rumors floated around, but neither team has yet made a move.

Cousins averaged 16.3 points and 8.4 rebounds a game for Warriors in the 30 games he played last season after coming back from his Achilles tear. He did so playing with good offensive efficiency, but he did not move terribly well (to be expected, considering the injury) and struggled when teams forced him to defend in space.

Cousins could be forced to take a minimum contract somewhere, or maybe a little more at best (there are rumors he would consider that with the Lakers if Kawhi Leonard goes there). If that happens, he will do it on a one-year contract hoping to find more suitors next summer in what will be more of a down free agent class.

Report: Willie Cauley-Stein agrees to contract with Golden State

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
3 Comments

Willie Cauley-Stein wanted out of Sacramento so he could prove he was more than a rim runner, that he could pop out and shoot (a skill he did not show with the Kings), taking what the defense gives him. He wants to prove he’s a center that fits in the modern NBA.

Golden State is going to give him that chance.

Cauley-Stein is headed to the Warriors according to multiple reports, with Marcus Thompson of The Athletic being first.

Cauley-Stein will back up Kevon Looney at center in Golden State, when they don’t play small and put Draymond Green at the five.

Cauley-Stein averaged 11.9 points and 8.4 rebounds a game last season for the Kings, shooting 55.6 percent overall but no better than 35 percent from the floor anywhere outside the restricted area. He wanted a chance in a new environment, now we’ll see what they athletic center out of Kentucky can do with that opportunity.

Warriors reportedly keep ‘foundational piece’ Kevon Looney on three-year, $15 million deal

Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images
1 Comment

“[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.