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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

Gilbert Arenas brings $100k cash to gym for bet with Nick Young, makes 95/100 shots (video)

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Gilbert Arenas has a flair for gambling and shooting.

He combined those in this video about a bet with Nick Young. Arenas said (warning: with plenty of profanity mixed in) he had a $100,000 bet with Young on jumpers, but that Young no-showed. So, Arenas proceeds to shoot 95-for-100 to show his dominance over his friend and former Wizards teammate.

A few caveats:

  • We don’t know how many takes Arenas took from each spot. Though his sets of 20 shots from each spot were each continuous, there are breaks between each set. He could have filmed each set as many times as necessary.
  • We don’t know exactly where each spot is. I think they’re all 3-pointers, but the camera angle is usually too tight to know for certain.
  • We don’t know whether Young actually said he’d be there. This could all be for show.

But it sure is a fun show, at least.

Nick Young, Corey Brewer reportedly will work out for Timberwolves

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Minnesota has a couple of open roster spots — they have 12 guaranteed contracts, plus a non-guaranteed deal for James Nunnally and he likely makes the roster — and they are looking for some added depth on the wing and at forward. For a lot of teams, those last couple of end-of-the-bench spots go to younger players the team is trying to develop and bring along.

Not in Minnesota, because Tom Thibodeau.

Minnesota is bringing in some veterans to look at, the well-connected Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News in Minneapolis reports.

Nick Young, Corey Brewer, and Arron Afflalo are all veteran guys who could provide some scoring punch off the bench (none of them defend that well anymore).

I say “could” because anyone the Timberwolves bring in at this point likely would be third or deeper in the mix at their position, which means they are going to spend most of the season on the bench because Thibodeau runs his starters into the ground. The Warriors found 17 minutes a game last season for Young, not because he was playing within the system or providing valuable defense, but rather because they knew he could give them minutes that would keep their stars rested and healthy for the long grind of the season and into the playoffs.

Is that going to happen in Minnesota? Either way, one or more of these guys could make the roster.

Nick Young reportedly arrested after traffic stop Friday night

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This is not how you impress teams when you are a free agent.

Nick Young was reportedly arrested Friday night in Hollywood following a traffic stop, as reported by TMZ Sports.

Law enforcement sources tell us … the former Golden State Warriors star was pulled over just before midnight for a routine traffic violation when something went wrong.

We’re told the 33-year-old refused to cooperate with the officers on scene, and so he was arrested for obstruction of justice….

He was taken to a nearby station where he was booked. We’re told Young’s vehicle was impounded.

We don’t have a lot of details here on exactly how this went down, so it’s difficult to draw and real conclusions.

Young won a ring last season with the Golden State Warriors, where he played 17 minutes a game, shot 41 percent from deep, and made some plays. The Warriors, frustrated with young not playing within the offense and not playing much defense at all, were looking to move on.

Young may not have a home when training camp starts, but he is the kind of player who gets picked up as a mid-season replacement by some team.

Five free agents still available who can help teams

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The NBA summer is basically over. We are now closer to the start of the new season than we are the end of the NBA Finals and most teams have their rosters set, they are just adding training camp invites. Or, guys who could maybe get the 14th or 15th roster spot.

Still, some name free agents can help teams.

Here are the big five on the market still.

1. Rodney Hood (restricted). At this point, he’s going to remain a Cavalier next season. No team is making an offer the Cavaliers wouldn’t just match (only Sacramento has the cap space to do it, and they are focused on others at the wing), meaning the only question left is if he plays for the $3.4 million qualifying offer or if the two sides work out a different deal.

How his stock has fallen. One year ago he was preparing for a season where he expected to be the go-to scorer of the Utah Jazz. By the end of the season he barely got off the bench in Cleveland (and in one case would not get off the bench).

That said, he can help a Cavaliers team that doesn’t want to just tear it down despite LeBron James leaving (see the Kevin Love contract). Hood is a 6’8” wing who can get buckets, and the Cavaliers could use that. Play well, rehab his image, and he will not be in this situation a year from now.

2. Jamal Crawford. He’s 38 years old (which scares some teams), and his efficiency has slipped, but the man can still get buckets off the bench (10.3 points per game last season) and more than a few teams could use that. Plus he’s seen as good in the locker room. He turned down a $4.5 million player option with the Timberwolves because he wanted a bigger role (he was getting 20 minutes a game last season) but at this point that is apparently off the table. Still, some team is going to pick him up.

3. Dwyane Wade. He’s made it clear, if he comes back it will be with the Miami Heat for one year. While a rumor got going on Twitter Tuesday that he was close to signing a contract with the Heat, I was told by sources that is not the case. Then Wade Tweeted this:

Nobody knows for sure, but I would lean retirement over return at this point. That said, the decision will come when Wade is ready, not before. He’s earned that right.

4. Nick Young. No team could use some Swaggy P? He’s a character, often doesn’t play within the flow in the offense, he doesn’t play great defense, but he just played 17 minutes a game for the NBA champions, hr hit some threes and shot 41 percent from deep, and made some plays. Another guy who is not young (11 years in the league) but some team will likely give a chance (if not at the start of the season, as a mid-season replacement).

5. David West. His role shrank with the Warriors last season — he averaged 6.8 points last season on 13.7 minutes a game — but he was still efficient when he was on the court (a 20.9 PER). Plus, he is excellent in the locker room. A lot of younger teams could use his presence in the locker room, but he may be a mid-season replacement for a team looking for front-line depth.

Honorable Mention: Joe Johnson. He’s 37-years-old and has 17 seasons of miles on his legs, but he still knows how to play the game. He struggled to help Houston or Utah last season, but don’t be shocked if he is a mid-season pickup by a team.

• Added note: Trevor Booker would have been on this list, but he decided to take the cash in China for a season.