SAN FRANCISCO — Warriors center Marreese Speights said Friday he wants to concentrate on playing basketball rather than his pending legal issue.
Speights, 27, had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence in Tampa. The next court date is scheduled for October while the team is wrapping up its preseason schedule.
Asked if he had remorse for the events leading up to his Aug. 5 arrest in his home state, Speights said, “I’m just really trying to focus on just basketball right now. All of that other stuff will fall in place.”
Speights after telling at-risk students at Visitacion Valley Middle School about overcoming obstacles as part of the Warriors’ Back to School in the Bay initiative wrote on Instagram, “never would say I am (perfect) but I am growing as a person that can help change (a kid’s) life!!!”
The 6-foot-10 Speights averaged 6.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in 12.4 minutes per game last season after signing a three-year, $11 million contract. He resolved this offseason to come into training camp in better shape so that he wouldn’t repeat the slow start he had last season.
“They’ve been going good,” Speights said of his offseason workouts. “I’m getting better every day. There’s always more room to improve, so we’ve got another week for that and camp.
“I feel way better, and all my teammates and coaches and people realize it too, so that’s a good feeling.”
SAN FRANCISCO — Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday that while Danny Ferry made a mistake with comments that caused the Atlanta general manager to take a leave of absence while embroiled a racial firestorm, Kerr was supportive of his former teammate.
“He’s a man of high character, I can tell you that,” Kerr said. “And I feel for him. He did make a mistake. It was a very poor choice of expression. It’s a difficult issue, but it’s one that needs to be discussed.”
Ferry while on a conference call with the Hawks ownership group that was recorded in June described then-free agent Luol Deng as someone who has “got some African in him,” adding, “He has a storefront out front that’s beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you.”
Kerr played alongside Ferry for three seasons in Cleveland and two seasons in San Antonio, winning a championship together with the Spurs in 2003. Both went on to become general managers.
“All I can say is with my own relationship with Danny, and I know I’ve got a lot of teammates from all over from San Antonio, Cleveland — it doesn’t matter whether they’re black or white or what race or religion — everybody who knows Danny knows that he’s a good person,” Kerr said. “And it’s just a difficult time for him, and he made a mistake, so hopefully he can get through it. But he’s got our support. It’s about all you can do.”
SAN FRANCISCO – The Warriors will no longer hold a portion of their training camp in Napa due to earthquake damage.
A magnitude 6.0 earthquake that struck Aug. 24 caused damage throughout the area, including the hotel where the Warriors had been scheduled to stay while holding three days of two-a-day sessions, coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday.
Training camp begins Sept. 30 at the Warriors’ practice facility in Oakland, where all workouts will now be held
“It’s disappointing for Napa, and we thought we could have a really good experience up there, and it would be sort of be a good sort of the time for the players to get away together,” Kerr said. “But logistically, there’s no place better than our facility. So it’ll be great. I just feel bad for the people in Napa who had gone out of their way to really set up a comfortable spot for us, and it would have been fun for us just to be in their community for a few days.”
Kerr said one factor in the decision to no longer practice in Napa was that the Warriors would spend plenty of time on the road in the preseason. Six of their eight games are away from home, including games in Des Moines, Iowa, Kansas City and Hidalgo, Texas.
“We’ll have plenty of bonding time, that’s for sure,” Kerr said.
Warriors centers Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli after being unable to play in the postseason due to injuries enter training camp with high hopes from the team despite their medical histories.
Bogut, who spent the offseason recovering from a fractured rib, played in 67 games last season while also missing time with shoulder, ankle and pelvic/groin issues.
“Bogut’s good,” general manager Bob Myers told Sirius XM on Wednesday. “I was just watching him play pickup about 10 minutes ago. But obviously he’s had these random acute injuries that you just get frustrated by. I know he does. But he had a healthy year last year.
“We’re hoping – and I know he is – for a healthy season.”
Ezeli missed all of last season recovering from major right knee surgery and then when it appeared he would return to the court in NBA Summer League, he was held out from games due to shin inflammation in the same leg.
Myers said Ezeli “should be ready to go,” though it appears unclear if the big man will be ready for the start of training camp when it opens Sept. 30.
“Festus is coming along,” Kerr told KNBR. “He’s now running on the floor. We’re hopeful that he’ll be ready to go when training camp starts, but it’s sort of a process, and we’ll let it unfold. But we feel good about where he is physically and that he’ll be a big factor this year.”
Warriors center Marreese Speights pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a charge of driving under the influence stemming from his arrest in August in Tampa.
A written not guilty plea was entered by an attorney at Speights’ arraignment, Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office spokesman Mark Cox said Wednesday. Speights’ attorney did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Speights was arrested following a traffic stop the morning after his 27th birthday and according to Tampa police submitted to tests showing breath alcohol levels of .103 and .106 percent, above the .08 unlawful level.
Speights, who has another court day scheduled for next month, averaged 6.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in his first year of a three-year, $11 million contract with the Warriors last season.
OAKLAND – Brandon Rush is back for a second stint with the Warriors and once again in what he called “a happy place.”
Rush, 29, is looking forward to contributing off the bench to the Warriors like he did during 2011-12 campaign when he averaged 9.8 points and 3.9 rebounds for one of the best seasons of his career. This time, it’ll be for new coach Steve Kerr.
“He told me he wanted me to play that role where I could come in and be a spark and just help do anything I can do,” Rush said Monday at the Warriors’ Back to School event at Markham Elementary School.
Things haven’t gone so smoothly since the 6-foot-6 swingman suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee while attempting a dunk on Nov. 2, 2012.
Rush missed the rest of the season while the Warriors went to the playoffs. He was then traded in a salary dump to Utah, where his first season coming off major surgery was a difficult one.
“Playing, not playing, playing little bits, and not being mentally ready, it took a toll,” said Rush, who having lost confidence played sparingly only 38 games.
Rush noted that when he tore his other ACL in 2007, it took a year and a half to get back to his old self. He indicated he was in a better place mentally now that he’s attacking the rim more often in workouts.
He chose to sign with the Warriors in July shortly after working out for them among other NBA scouts in Las Vegas.
“I’ve played with the guys before, so it was a no-brainer,” Rush said.
Warriors guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were named Friday to the 12-player roster that will represent USA Basketball at the FIBA World Cup in Spain.
The USA’s quest for the gold medal begins Aug. 30 with a game against Finland. The tournament runs through Sept. 14.
Curry has said he remained committed to USA Basketball after evaluating his participation in the days following Paul George suffering a gruesome compound fracture in preparation for the tournament.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who said Thursday he texted with Curry and Thompson after George’s injury, downplayed the risk and noted, “You can get hurt in a pickup game.”
“I think in the end this is a great experience for Steph and Klay, especially at their age,” Kerr said. “They’re young players.
“What I wouldn’t want is for both of them to play seven years for Team USA…It’s such a huge commitment to go along what they face during the regular season that I would hope over time there’s going to be sort of a recognition for all players – not just Steph and Klay – hey maybe this is best served as a two- or three-year commitment and then you move on because it’s just not worth wearing guys down over six or seven years. That’s something we’ll address as we go.”