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Report: Warriors tender qualifying offer to Patrick McCaw

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What most people remember about Patrick McCaw‘s last season was the fall on March 31 that almost ended it and ended his NBA career.

He was almost paralyzed by that fall — when on the stretcher leaving the court he said he couldn’t feel his legs — and didn’t recover and get cleared to get back on the court until Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against Houston. Throwing a rusty young player into the mix against that level of basketball was never ideal, so he played a limited role for the Warriors the rest of the way.

But Golden State wants him back — they tendered the qualifying offer to him that makes McCaw a restricted free agent.

Besides the back injury and an earlier fractured wrist, McCaw had a sophomore slump on the court as well. He is a good perimeter defender with a 7-foot wingspan, but on the other end of the court he struggled — shooting 23.8 percent from three and with a true shooting percentage well below the league average at 47.7 — and so his minutes went to Nick Young and others.

Because of that, there isn’t going to be a massive market of teams trying to poach McCaw from the Warriors — and Golden State wants him back. They see a guy who fits their style, who can make a leap forward in his third year, and who will come at an affordable price as the costs of the top end of the Warriors’ payroll skyrockets. Expect the Warriors to keep him, no team is going to come in over the top and steal him away.

Golden State is a dynasty, but how long can they keep it up?

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CLEVELAND — Dynasty.

That word gets thrown around too casually in sports. However, we can legitimately use it referencing these Golden State Warriors, especially after Friday night when they held the Larry O’Brien Trophy aloft for the third time in four years (and they won 73 games and went to a Game 7 of the Finals the one year they didn’t pick up a ring). The team has everything a dynasty needs. It has the banners — and now back-to-back titles. It has the legendary players that will help define a generation in the league — Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. It has players who can put ego aside and do what is best for the team, who can handle a regular season filled with injuries and uneven play with their eye on the big prize at the end.

The Warriors are a dominant force that will enter next season — regardless of what happens this summer in free agency — as the team to beat. They have set the bar to clear — LeBron James may be on the move again because he needs a better situation to challenge these Warriors. The only question that seems left:

How many more years can they keep this up?

“We want to keep this thing going as long as we can,” Curry said, although understandably the Warriors’ players didn’t want to discuss the future as much as celebrate the present Friday night.

“Any question that kind of talks about the future and whatnot, you don’t want to cheat the moment,” Curry added. “So we’ll have plenty of time over the summer to talk about what next year’s going to look like and what it’s going to take for us to get back to this stage next year.”

What it’s going to take to keep these Warriors rolling is to keep their core four together.

Right now, none of them are pushing to get out the door and have a team of their own — Durant has said he’ll re-sign with the Warriors and Klay Thompson said he’d take a discount to stay. Those two were considered the most likely to want to step out on their own according to sources around the league. If they stay, the Warriors remain a force for years.

That’s because none of those core guys are old — Curry just turned 30 in March and Durant will do the same before next season starts, while Green and Thompson are 27. They are at their peak and will be for another four or five years. Andre Iguodala is 34, but aside that the heart of their rotation is not old — and GM Bob Myers keeps finding guys such as Jordan Bell and Patrick McCaw who can help now while on their rookie contracts. There will be changes in the role players around the core — they likely lose Kevon Looney in free agency this summer and probably David West, but they will have the taxpayer midlevel exception to add someone — but so long as the core is together this team will contend.

The challenge is financial — all four of those core guys are max contract players. At what point do the Warriors’ owners balk at the cost?

Curry got his max last summer (after being on one of the most cap-friendly contracts in the league), but also last year Durant took nearly $10 million less than he could have to help the team keep Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. Shooting down some odd speculation in the media (or maybe wishful thinking in some quarters), Durant said he will re-sign with Golden State this summer. However, he will not take that discount again, he will get his max starting at $35 million and the only question is how long the contract is for (four years, or does he take a one-plus-one so he is fully vested and can re-sign a five-year Bird rights deal with the Warriors next summer?).

Thompson is a free agent in 2019 and has talked about taking a discount to help keep the team together (probably not an extension, though, where he would leave as much as $80 million total on the table, he will just take less than the max in 2019). In 2020, Green will come up for a new deal that starts at $25 million.

The Warriors are in the luxury tax now ($32.7 million this season) and in the 2019-20 season will go into the repeater tax, jumping that bill up even higher — in 2020 they could pay $150 million or more in luxury tax, with a total team salary bill north of $320 million (that’s nearly double what they paid this season, already the highest salaried team in the NBA).

The Warriors owners have said they are willing to pay the tax for a winner (moving into a new building in San Francisco in a couple of years will help, that will open up revenue streams). Look at what Warriors’ co-owner Joe Lacob told the Athletic this week.

“I tell Bob (Myers, Warriors GM) every day, our job is not to let it end. It may change, just like we changed when we added Kevin and (let go of) some really good players that won the championship in ’15.

“So we have to recognize that and be willing to make some changes each year that are required. Some will be of our doing and some will sort of be handed to us….

“What I’d love for us to be able to do is have a Spurs-like 20-year run of being very consistently good and competing for championships, and that’s my job.”

A Spurs-like run of sustained excellence requires a lot of things to go right. It requires a little luck, too. The Warriors organization, however, is in as good a position as any team to do it.

Back to our original question: How many more years can they keep this up?

The Warriors aren’t going anywhere for the next three to five years at least — this dynasty has won three titles in four years, but it could be five-in-seven, six-in-nine, or more when all is said and done.

And if ownership gets its wish, the Warriors will not be done then.

Grizzlies win, Suns lose; Phoenix locks up worst record, best lottery odds

Associated Press
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PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns will have a 25 percent chance at the No. 1 pick.

That’s because Klay Thompson scored 22 of his 34 points in the first quarter and the Golden State Warriors beat Phoenix 117-100 on Sunday night in the final home game of the Suns’ awful season.

With the loss, and Memphis’ win over Detroit, Phoenix – at 20-61 – is assured the worst record in the NBA and, consequently, the most ping pong balls in the May 15 draft lottery.

Danuel House scored a career-high 22 for Phoenix. Alex Len added 16 points and 10 rebounds, Dragan Bender 14 points and 14 boards, and Tyler Ulis 15 points and 10 assists.

The Warriors, who had lost two in a row and five of their previous eight, were already locked in to the No. 2 playoff spot in the Western Conference and working to get healthy for the playoffs, but still had Kevin Durant, Thompson and Draymond Green in the lineup against the severely depleted Suns.

Phoenix was without Devin Booker (right hand sprain), T.J. Warren (left knee inflammation), Josh Jackson (right quad contusion), Marquese Chriss (hip soreness), Elfrid Payton (left knee) and Alan Williams (right knee soreness). Troy Daniels tried to play despite a sprained ankle but sat out the second half.

Golden State didn’t have Stephen Curry, still recovering from left MCL sprain, Andre Iguodola (left knee soreness) and Patrick McCaw (lumbar spine contusion).

Thompson scored 19 consecutive Warriors points in the first quarter, going 9 for 11 from the field and 4 for 6 on 3s in the period. But Golden State led only 33-29 after one.

The Warriors stretched the lead in the second quarter. Durant scored on a 3-pointer – his first field goal of the game – and added a driving layup to put the Warriors up 55-41. Golden State led by as many as 18 in the second quarter and were up 64-50 at the break.

The Suns never seriously challenged after that.

Phoenix has won twice – in 28 games – since Jan. 31 and is guaranteed to finish no better than 21-61, the second-worst record in the franchise’s 50-year history. Only the 1968-69 mark of 16-66 was worse.

The Suns will miss the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season.

 

Warriors say Patrick McCaw cleared MRI, will be released from hospital Sunday

AP
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Golden State Warriors fans can exhale, at least for now. Patrick McCaw, who took a nasty fall on Saturday night and had to be stretchered off the floor, has reportedly been given the OK to be released from the hospital sometime on Sunday.

The play that injured McCaw came late in the third quarter. McCaw was going up for a dunk when Sacramento Kings wing Vince Carter undercut him, causing McCaw to fall on his tailbone and spine.

Carter was visibly upset with the boneheaded thing he did, and even went to speak to the Warriors after the game about the play.

Meanwhile, McCaw has cleared his tests at the hospital — including x-rays, a CT scan, and an MRI — and gets to come home.

Via Twitter:

There’s no timetable for return for McCaw, but the main thing on everyone’s mind is that no major damage has been done to his spine or other vital areas. That’s a relief considering how violent the fall was and how severe McCaw reacted at the time.

Golden State lost their opportunity to clinch the division — the Houston Rockets have done that — so now the focus has to be on getting as healthy as possible for the playoffs.

Warriors Patrick McCaw taken off on stretcher after Vince Carter undercut him on dunk

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This was scary.

Late in the third quarter Saturday night, Warriors’ second-year player Patrick McCaw went up for a dunk and was undercut in the air by Vince Carter. Upon landing McCaw instantly rolled over and was writhing in pain. He was down nearly 10 minutes when the EMTs came out, strapped McCaw to a stretcher, and took him directly to the hospital.

Hopefully, this turns out to be nothing serious.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was yelling at Carter that he should “know better,” but it didn’t appear intentional and Carter was clearly troubled by what happened He does not have a reputation as a dirty player.

Carter was assessed a flagrant-1 foul.

The Warriors went on to win the game 112-96.