Klay Thompson’s dad ‘heard it on good authority’ Warriors would ‘go hard after Kevin Durant’


Kevin Durant will become a free agent in 2016, and plenty of teams – Wizards, Knicks, Lakers, Raptors – have been mentioned as possible destinations.

Of course, the Thunder have a strong shot to re-sign Durant, too.

They might have to fend off another suitor, though – the Warriors.

Mychal Thompson – Klay Thompson’s dad/former NBA player/Los Angeles sportscaster – on ESPN LA (hat tip: Alex Torres of Warriors World):

I also heard it on good authority from a team that plays in the Bay Area that they’re going to go hard after Kevin Durant.

David Lee’s massive contract expires when Durant hits free agency, and the salary cap will skyrocket. But that doesn’t mean Golden State will have enough cap room to sign Durant.

The Warriors have five players under contract for 2016-17: Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut and Shaun Livingston. They’ll also likely give Draymond Green a max contract this summer. Plus, they have their own first-round pick each of the next two years.

With those eight players to the roster, Golden State projects to have a little less than $11 million in cap room. Durant’s starting salary projects north of $25 million.

It’s not inconceivable the Warriors could create the necessary room, though. Move Livingston and one of the eight-digit players, and Golden State should get there. They’ve been down the road of needing to clear salary to sign a free agent before.

Obviously, at this point, the idea is mostly fantasy. But the thought of Curry and Durant on the same team? As someone who enjoys quality basketball, yes please.

Billy Donovan’s blueprint to success in Oklahoma City laid out by Steve Kerr in Bay Area

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It’s a big gamble: Replace a coach the players like and respect, then tell the new guy to modernize the team’s offense, and turn team into a contender in his first season on an NBA bench.

It’s exactly what is being asked of Billy Donovan in Oklahoma City, where he was hired on Thursday after 19 years as the coach of Florida.

It’s also what was asked of Steve Kerr this past season in Golden State — and he had Jay-Z level success. The Warriors made the leap under Kerr, winning 67 regular season games (in a crazy deep Western Conference) and becoming title favorites.

Kerr has laid out a blueprint that Donovan can follow this summer and into next season to bring the same success to the Midwest. Donovan has been handed the keys to a Ferrari — healthy this team is a serious title contender — but crash the car and Kevin Durant likely bolts next summer in free agency. Then Russell Westbrook follows him a year later.

No pressure.

We need to start here: This hire was not some massive reach by Thunder GM Sam Presti. He was not pulling a coach from obscurity — this is a guy a number of NBA teams have eyed for years (including the Magic, who thought they had him as their coach until Donovan backed out last minute years ago). Donovan’s former players such as Bradley Beal, Al Horford, Corey Brewer, and Joakim Noah sang his praises and have said they know he can succeed at the next level.

“Billy Donovan is a fantastic coach, and one that probably doesn’t get enough credit for just how good he is,” Rob Dauster, the main man at our sister site CollegeBasketballTalk, told PBT. “Everyone knows about the back-to-back national titles that he won, but I’d argue that the best coaching performance of his collegiate career came back in the 2013-14 season. Florida went 36-3 that season, running roughshod over the SEC and reaching the Final Four with a roster that didn’t feature one NBA player on it.”

The first step in the Steve Kerr blueprint: Hire top-flight NBA assistants.

Get guys with experience, guys whose strengths are Donovan’s weaknesses. Kerr and the Warriors opened the checkbook to poach Alvin Gentry away from Doc Rivers and the Clippers — he was the best offensive mind among the assistant coaches out there. Donovan needs some guys who can show him where the potholes are, who can ease his transition to the next level.

Next step: Meet with the players on the roster during the summer and start to form a relationship.

Donovan may have left college, but he is still recruiting (primarily keeping Durant in OKC). Donovan can’t win his new players all the way over in one meeting, but he can start to build the foundation he will need come the season. Of course, sit down with Durant and Westbrook first. But Kerr flew to Australia to meet with Andrew Bogut and took the time to get to know everyone on the roster. Donovan needs to meet with everyone – and when he does he needs to have a vision and a plan. Kerr was specific, for example he told Harrison Barnes he wanted him to work off the ball more not be the sixth man asked to create for everyone (something Barnes welcomed with open arms). Donovan can’t walk in and make vague promises — he must tell his players exactly how he wants to use them and why this will be good for them and the team.

Third step: modernize the offense.

This is one of the things Presti wanted most of all, what he thought was holding back the Thunder was Brooks’ conventional offense. It was predictable and too often devolved into a Durant or Westbrook isolation (which worked because they are Durant and Westbrook but was not ideal). Presti wants an offense more like we have seen in San Antonio and Golden State.

“The thing that makes him so appealing from an NBA perspective is that his coaching style will fit in well at the professional level,” CollegeBasketballTalk’s Dauster said. “At Florida, he ran a ball-screen motion offense built around floor-spacing, which are offensive concepts that are quite prevalent in the NBA. Not all college coaches will fit in well at the professional level. Donovan will.”

Final step: Keep working toward the big picture.

The finish line is not when the season tips off, even though it’s going to take a lot of work to get there. A hot November is great but can be fool’s gold. Be committed to the process, be open to the suggestions of his assistant coaches and players, tweak things as needed, but always stay focused on the goal of being a team hitting its stride as the playoffs start.

Do all that, and he’ll still need some breaks to go his way — that is life in the NBA. Health is at the top of his wish list.

Do all that and he’ll have a chance to win big — and with that keep Durant in Oklahoma City in 2016.

Which is the real reason he was hired.

Warriors’ Andrew Bogut in line for contract bonus if he makes All-Defensive team


Draymond Green may have gotten more first-place votes for Defensive Player of the Year than the actual winner of the award did, but Andrew Bogut has been just as strong for the Warriors in anchoring the league’s best defense from the center position.

And he’s about to get a nice payday because of it.

Plenty of players have incentive bonuses worked into their contracts, and Bogut is no different. He’s already met a threshold for games played, and should he be named to one of the league’s All-Defensive teams, Bogut will receive a well-earned reward of almost two million dollars.

From Rusty Simmons of SFGate.com

(via HoopsHype):

Warriors center Andrew Bogut played more than 65 regular-season games and is expected to make one of the NBA’s All-Defensive teams this month.

If that happens, Bogut will get a bonus of 15 percent of his salary — more than $1.9 million. The bonus will be added to the three-year, $36 million extension he signed in October 2013.

The bonus would count against the Warriors’ salary cap, but team officials say it wouldn’t push the number into the luxury tax.

Bogut made the first team on three of our four unofficial All-Defensive team ballots, and made the second team on the fourth. He seems to be a lock to land on one of the two when the league makes the announcement official in the coming weeks.

Quote of the Day: Draymond Green compares himself to Al Gore


“Al Gore won the popular vote and didn’t get elected president, so I’m not going to sit here and kill myself over not winning Defensive Player of the Year.”

— Golden State’s Draymond Green, on coming in second in Defensive Player of the Year voting, despite having more first place votes than the winner, Kawhi Leonard. Via Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com.

Green was put first on 45 DPOY ballots, Leonard was first on 37. The difference was Green was completely left off 42 ballots (you can see who did that here). I would love to hear the explanation from voters who left Green completely off — Ernie Johnson could do that on TNT tonight. Marc Stein of ESPN thought Andrew Bogut was more influential for Golden State than Green. There are a number of quality candidates, but to me it would be hard to leave Green all the way off.

If Green is going to follow in the footsteps of Gore, next up would be making an environmental documentary. He might want to wait until after the playoffs to do that.

Kawhi Leonard wins Defensive Player of the Year despite more first-place votes for Draymond Green


Kawhi Leonard didn’t need long to make an impression.

Leonard returned from an extended injury-caused absence in mid-January, and he terrorized opponents. For the last half of the season, Leonard looked like the NBA’s best defender – hounding top perimeter scorers, switching inside, playing passing lanes and getting key rebounds.

That swayed voters to give him Defensive Player of the Year over presumptive favorite Draymond Green, whose versatility helped the Warriors play the league’s best defense.

I would have rewarded Green’s overall impact – and voters game him more first-place votes than they did Leonard – over Leonard’s better defense in fewer minutes. But this is hardly a bad call. Leonard played awesome, and to enough voters, he played enough.

Doc Rivers’ lobbying paid off with DeAndre Jordan finishing a higher-than-he-deserves third.

Here’s the full voting with player, team (first-place votes, second-place votes, third-place votes, points):

1. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio (37-41-25-333)

2. Draymond Green, Golden State (45-25-17-317)

3. DeAndre Jordan, L.A. Clippers (32-25-26-261)

4. Anthony Davis, New Orleans (11-15-7-107)

5. Rudy Gobert, Utah (2-4-11-33)

6. Andrew Bogut, Golden (0-6-13-31)

7. Tony Allen, Memphis (1-4-12-29)

8. Tim Duncan, San Antonio (1-1-4-12)

9. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte (0-2-3-9)

10. Jimmy Butler, Chicago (0-2-1-7)

10. Marc Gasol, Memphis (0-2-1-7)

12. Joakim Noah, Chicago (0-1-1-4)

13. LeBron James, Cleveland (0-0-3-3)

13. Trevor Ariza, Houston (0-1-0-3)

15. Patrick Beverley, Houston (0-0-1-1)

15. DeMarre Carroll, Atlanta (0-0-1-1)

15. Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia (0-0-1-1)

15. Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers (0-0-1-1)

15. Hassan Whiteside, Miami (0-0-1-1)