Klay Thompson

NBA bubble Chicago
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Report: Eight non-restart teams nearing deal for second NBA ‘bubble’ in Chicago

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The eight teams with the worst records in the NBA, the ones not invited to Orlando for the NBA’s restart — Warriors, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Hawks, Pistons, Knicks, Bulls, and Hornets — have been asking the NBA to organize workouts and games for them, so they don’t lose ground to the teams that do get training camps and meaningful games.

ESPN’s Jackie MacMullen reports that is getting closer to coming together in the form of a second NBA bubble in Chicago.

The details are still being hammered out, and teams continue to push for an alternative plan that would enable them to hold mini-camps within their local markets and to explore the idea of establishing regional sites where teams could scrimmage against each other.

How close it is to happening depends on who you ask around the league, different sources say different things. This second bubble likely would take place in September, while the playoffs take place down into Orlando. There would be roughly two weeks of practices followed by four games each, according to reports.

Not every team is fully on board.

Veterans are less into the idea, but most teams are more focused on developing young players in this kind of setting.

The eight teams had been concerned that going from March to December without meaningful games — while the other 22 teams had training camps and played at least eight “seeding” games — would put the development of their young players and cultures behind. Teams pushed for practices and some organized games, although in what form has varried from team to team.

Michelle Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, reportedly is insistent that if the eight teams get together in Chicago the players be protected by the same protocols in place in Orlando.

“Unless we could replicate in every way the protocol that’s been established for Orlando, I’d be – I’m being tame now – suspicious,” Roberts said last week in a conference call with reporters. “I think there are conversations that could be had if there’s anything we can do with the other eight teams. I know there are some players, particularly young players, that seem concerned they’re not getting enough [opportunities]…

“But I am very concerned and frankly, my concern aside, our players, our teams are very concerned about any — in terms of play that doesn’t have the same guarantees of safety and health that we’ve provided for the teams in Orlando. So yeah, never say never, but there’s a standard. It’s a standard that’s got to be met.”

Mark Tatum, the NBA’s deputy commissioner, quickly agreed with Roberts.

Expect an NBA Chicago bubble to come together in some form. Some of the eight teams on the outside — the Atlanta Hawks with their young core, for example — have pushed hard to get their players opportunities for games and workouts. Each of the eight teams are in different spots, however, and have different motivations. Golden State likely will not send Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson, this would be about getting younger players some extra run.

No setbacks, but until Klay Thompson is back on court team can’t judge recovery

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Golden State Warriors expect to have a better idea about how Klay Thompson’s recovery from reconstructive left knee surgery is going once the team can finally reconvene after the long separation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

For now, general manager Bob Myers is encouraged Thompson has experienced no setbacks during the extensive rehabilitation process.

“I think we’ve got to take a look at him when we see him,” Myers said Monday on a conference call. “There’s different versions of 100% — 100% for you or I when we walk around the street is not 100% of an NBA basketball player playing basketball. So until we kind of test him and see him and he’s starting one-on-one and then two-on-two — and obviously the pandemic has not allowed him that opportunity to do those type of things.”

Thompson tore the ACL in his left knee on June 13 during Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors and had surgery July 2. He was reevaluated over the All-Star break and the team determined around that time that Stephen Curry’s Splash Brother wouldn’t play at all this season without the team being in the mix for the playoffs following five straight trips to the NBA Finals.

The Warriors finished 15-50 for the NBA’s worst record with Thompson out and with Curry nursing a broken left hand for most of the season. Two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant departed in free agency to join the Brooklyn Nets.

As eager as everyone is to see Thompson back to his dominant All-Star self, that will come in due time.

“There’s no rush, clearly. As far as I’ve heard he’s recovering fine, there hasn’t been a setback, but one thing that’s been a little bit difficult in the last couple months is our ability to oversee those things as much as you might normally,” Myers said. “So I imagine at some point when we collectively get together I can also answer that better.”

“I think what people really want to know is has he been playing and what’s he looks like and that’s really the answer to 100% and we won’t know that until we kind of reach that point in time.”

On this date in NBA history: J.R. Smith forgets the score

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There comes a point in almost every NBA playoff series when one team knows it’s beat. That team threw its best punch and the other team took it and won anyway. While no NBA team would never go into the postgame press conference and say “we’re beat,” it shows up in their tone and body language.

In the 2018 NBA Finals, that moment came after Game 1.

Two years ago today, May 31, the Cavaliers went to Golden State and were on the verge of stealing Game 1 on the road. LeBron James had targeted Stephen Curry on switches to keep the Cavaliers ahead, LeBron thought he drew a charge on Kevin Durant but it was overturned on review and called a block, and a back-and-forth end of the game saw the Warriors go up one when Curry drew and and-1 foul on Kevin Love with 23.5 seconds left.

Of course, the Cavs put the ball in LeBron’s hands out top, the Cavaliers got the switch and had Curry trying to guard LeBron, when LeBron threw a bullet pass to a cutting George Hill. Klay Thompson hooked Hill, and Hill went to the ground. The foul was called and Hill went to the free-throw line.  He hit the first and tied the game 107-107.

Then came the moment.

“He thought we were up one,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said after the game, although Smith was selling at the time he was trying to bring the ball out to get a better shot. The Warriors players thought he was trying to get the ball to LeBron, maybe.

Game 1 went to overtime, where the Warriors dominated (17-7) and got the win. After the game, you could feel it around the Cavaliers — this was their chance and they missed it. The series ended in a Golden State sweep.

It’s a legendary moment of the NBA Finals, even if it’s one Smith and Cavaliers fans would like to forget.

Warriors’ Bob Myers says he would ‘consider’ trading draft pick

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Even if the NBA decides to play a handful more regular season games upon return, the Golden State Warriors are going to finish the season with the worst record in the NBA (they have a 4.5 game “lead” for the worst record). That means they have a 14% chance at the No. 1 pick, a 40.1% chance of a top-three pick, and a 47.9% chance of having the No. 5 pick.

Those same Warriors are returning next season with a healthy Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, a team with title aspirations.

That’s led to a lot of speculation the Warriors would try to trade down, something Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob confirmed. Warriors president Bob Myers, speaking to NBC Sports’ Bay Area’s Monte Poole, said as much as any executive in his shoes would: He’d consider trading the pick.

“Yeah, we’re going to consider all that,” the Warriors president of basketball operations told NBC Sports Bay Area over the phone, before pausing for a moment. “Now, I don’t know if the headline is going to be that we’re trading our pick. So, be clear that I said ‘consider.’”

On the ProBasketballTalk podcast, NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster said if he were in Myers’ shoes he would try to trade down, get a veteran, and land in picks four through six. There he can likely land a player such as Obi Toppin, Isaac Okoro, or Deni Avdija — players who should not go No. 1 but are better poised to help immediately. The problem for the Warriors, or whoever lands the top pick, is this is a weak draft at the top, depressing the value. Dauster described it this way: the top three picks in this draft would go 6-10 most years.

The 2020 NBA Draft Lottery and Draft Combine have been postponed, and the draft itself will get the same treatment soon (it has yet to be officially changed, but everyone expects it).

Until there is a lottery and the Warriors know where they land, it’s tough for Myers to do much more than plan. Just like the rest of us.

Warriors GM Bob Myers says team will be ‘good partners’ if league tries to restart regular season

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“Look, for us, our season is basically over. If the league was somehow to start up again, it’s very unlikely we would be playing regular-season games given that they’d be in such a time crunch.”

That was Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr speaking a few weeks ago about the Golden State’s lack of motivation to return to play regular season games in a “bubble” somewhere. Kerr is not speaking in a vacuum, Nets’ owner Joesph Tsai said recently motivation is lacking for a number of teams at the bottom of the league to expend money and effort for games with little to no meaning (and no gate revenue). The Warriors can say Kerr’s comments were taken out of context (he did say he understood the motivation for contending teams to return), but Kerr isn’t wrong.

Despite that, if the league says teams need to report to a bubble city for some regular season games, the Warriors will be there, GM Bob Myers told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

“The truth is we have the worst record in the league. That’s a fact,” Myers said. “It’s hard to motivate in our unique position. But that doesn’t mean players don’t have pride and won’t come back and play and care about the league as a whole. We want to be good partners and we will be good partners.

“We’d like to see Steph [Curry] play with [Andrew] Wiggins; I think we got to see that for one game where we were hoping to see that.”

Of course if the league calls the Warriors will show up. Should they get that call is another question.

The league office would love to play some regular season games and help regional sports networks. However, Adam Silver told players on a conference call Friday as the lockdown moves into the summer it may not be possible to play enough games for teams out of the playoffs to pass teams already in, and the league may go straight to the postseason.

It’s a matter of timing. Silver said there would be at least three weeks of training camp in the bubble before games are played, plus ESPN was told it would take at least 55 days to complete a full playoff bracket to play out. That is 76 days minimum, meaning to end the season on Sept. 13 the NBA has to open training camps at the end of June. That is without one regular season game played. Since opening training camps much earlier is unlikely, the only to get in enough regular season games to be meaningful is to extend the season, possibly into October. Which starts to push back the goal of starting next season in December.

Nobody knows if or when the season will restart, and what format everything will take. Regular season games being played are not out of the question, because nothing is. However, most likely, Kerr and Myers will have to wait until next season to season starts to see Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins together, and then they can throw Klay Thompson in the mix.