1

Struggling Harrison Barnes listens to Steve Kerr tell real story behind hitting game-winning shot in the NBA Finals

Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes, left, makes guard Stephen Curry laugh on the bench during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The Warriors won 136-97. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes, left, makes guard Stephen Curry laugh on the bench during the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The Warriors won 136-97. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

OAKLAND — With Warriors forward Harrison Barnes in a shooting slump heading into Game 7 of the NBA Finals, it was story time with coach Steve Kerr.

Kerr told Barnes of how before he made the winning shot in Game 6 of the Finals that clinched the championship for the Chicago Bulls in 1997, he was struggling himself having missed six straight 3-pointers before the game.

“Me and Coach Kerr were talking about him in ’97 saying he couldn’t throw a shot into the ocean,” Barnes said. “He couldn’t make anything. He felt like he was playing terrible. He only knocked down three threes in the fourth quarter, one of them with five seconds to go. It was like, ‘Oh wow, you’ve been balling all series!'”

Barnes said he would put the past aside after he was 2-for-14 from the field in Game 5 and 0-for-8 in a Game 6 in which he was held scoreless.

“It’s like, whatever you need to do for the next 24 hours to get your mind right for 48 minutes. Just be yourself for 48 minutes. Nothing spectacular. Just be you.”

Asked if it would be easy to flush those two performances mentally, Barnes smiled and said, ” For sure. Because the only way I can go is up from there.”

1

NBA commissioner Adam Silver says Draymond Green’s kick was reckless but unintentional, swears there’s no conspiracy

The Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green (23) makes contact with Oklahoma City Thunder's Steven Adams during Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference in Oklahoma City (left), and during Game 2 in Oakland. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group; Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

The Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) makes contact with Oklahoma City Thunder’s Steven Adams during Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference in Oklahoma City (left), and during Game 2 in Oakland. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group; Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that while Draymond Green’s kick in the groin of Steven Adams in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals was reckless, the league determined it was unintentional.

“I acknowledge that that was a close decision on upgrading Draymond’s kick to a Flagrant 2, but not suspending him for (Game 4),” Silver told ESPN Radio on Sunday. “I will say that we do full investigations around those plays the next day. We interview the officials. We interview the players who are involved, and ultimately we made a decision that he did not intentionally try to kick him in the groin, but it was a reckless act, and it was upgraded to a Flagrant 2.”

Silver acknowledged he has heard the conspiracy theory that the league prefers Golden State reach the Finals instead of Oklahoma City.

“I hear it, and it’s the most sensitive issue for me, and it goes to the core integrity of the league and frankly to my integrity,” Silver said.

“Even from a business standpoint, it would be impossible to predict which Finals would have a greater following. It depends on how many games, how close the games are. I can only thus sort of swear to the world that we do the best we can and that we don’t prefer one market or one team over another.”

6

Gary Payton: Warriors’ Stephen Curry shouldn’t have been voted first unanimous MVP in NBA history

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses with his back-to-back MVP trophies at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Curry was the first player in the NBA to be unanimously voted MVP. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry poses with his back-to-back MVP trophies at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Curry was the first player in the NBA to be unanimously voted MVP. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Gary Payton, the Hall of Fame point guard and Oakland native, said Thursday he has an issue with voters who gave the Warriors’ Stephen Curry the honor of becoming the NBA’s first unanimous MVP.

“People have to understand we don’t have an issue with Stephen Curry,” Payton told SiriusXM. “Stephen Curry doesn’t vote for himself. You had 131 people that voted for him. I’ve got an issue with them.”

Payton listed to Sports Illustrated previous MVP winners Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

“I think all of them guys were unanimous decisions, too,” he said. “It just happened in an era that, it went his way. He was the first one to do it. I commend him again of what he’s accomplished, but you gotta think about who were voting for Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem and all of them during their time, why in the heck would they not give all their votes to them guys at that time when they were doing it?”

A vote of NBA players decided the MVP up until the 1980-81 season when balloting was done by a panel of sports writers and broadcasters from the United States and Canada.

“We forgot Wilt Chamberlain averaged 50 points and 30 rebounds,” Payton told SiriusXM. “You didn’t think he was a unanimous decision? Who else ever did that and scored 100 points in one game? And he didn’t even win it (in 1962). That’s what I’m trying to say.

“You look at Michael Jordan. When they set the record at 72-10 in 1996, he didn’t get all the votes. So you’re trying to tell me these reporters or whoever’s voting that you and them guys back then, they didn’t know that he was a unanimous decision? Don’t blame that on Stephen Curry. Blame that on them reporters.”

Payton told the radio station that the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard and Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, who finished second and third in the voting, deserved first-place votes.

“If you look at LeBron, what he does for his team, he does everything,” Payton said. “I still think he’s the best all-around basketball player. As we say, Stephen Curry was the best player this year but I’m saying all-around – who gives you assists, who gives you rebounding, who gives you points, who does a lot of things for his team to have it? If you take LeBron off that team, I don’t think Cleveland is a good team like that. If you Curry off of it, uh, right now I don’t know. They probably would win games. They wouldn’t have won 73, but they would win a lot of basketball games.”

1

Warriors president Rick Welts on how wealth could result in new people attending Warriors games in San Francisco

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Warriors president Rick Welts was in New York to accept the Sports Business Awards honor for Sports Team of the Year on Wednesday and beforehand spoke about Warriors fans as they relate to business.

Asked by CNBC about the wealth in the Bay Area and if that has shifted the kind of people that want to buy tickets and attend games, Welts said it hasn’t yet.

“I think there’s greater interest because of the winning, but I think the fan base has remained remarkably the same,” Welts said. “I think we have an incredibly diverse fan base. We cut off our season ticket sales at 14,500 three years ago, and really it’s those same 14,500 people that have been there ever since. We’re renewing at 98, 95 percent, so we’re not bringing a lot of those new people you’re talking about into the fold yet. But hopefully we’re designing a stadium that will take advantage of that wealth.”

Chase Center, which is scheduled to open in San Francisco for the 2019-20 season if the team can clear legal challenges, will cost “a billion and a half dollars” in privately-funded money for the project, according to Welts.

Season ticket renewal rates surpassed 90 percent for a fourth straight season at Oracle Arena in Oakland, and those holders will have priority for Chase Center when the prices of tickets are expected to rise.

The season ticket holder wait list, meanwhile, has grown to over 28,000 members, according to the Warriors. They paid non-refundable deposits to join and will have priority over the general public for Chase Center.

Asked about the economy, Welts said, “We are living in a very unusual environment in the Bay Area right now. The whole Bay Area is on fire in a good way. It’s the center of innovation of the world. The economy is roaring. There is very little that we have to complain about right now.”

Asked about issues about California’s economy and how they could affect how the Warriors plan, budget and strategize, Welts said affordability is becoming “a front burner issue in the Bay Area.”

“The cost of housing is really not where it needs to be for everyday people who have regular jobs to be able to afford to live there,” he said. “Now some of that’s going to accrue to the benefit of Oakland and some of the surrounding areas, but it’s a real problem we have to address.”

1

Leg injury to Warriors’ Andrew Bogut ‘wasn’t too bad,’ according to Steve Kerr

Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green (23) and Golden State Warriors' Andrew Bogut (12) guard Portland Trail Blazers' C.J. McCollum (3) as he goes up for a basket in the first quarter of Game 5 of the second round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) and Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Bogut (12) guard Portland Trail Blazers’ C.J. McCollum (3) as he goes up for a basket in the first quarter of Game 5 of the second round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Warriors coach Steve Kerr indicated Thursday the right adductor strain that caused center Andrew Bogut to leave Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals was not a serious injury.

“He was pretty good today,” Kerr told KNBR after speaking with the training staff. “He came in, and the injury wasn’t too bad. He’s going to test it tomorrow. We’ll practice tomorrow morning, and it’s great to at least have four days of rest before the next game.”

Bogut suffered the leg injury in the second quarter of the Warriors’ 125-121 win against the Portland Trail Blazers and wasn’t able to return to action.

The Warriors open play in the Western Conference finals Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

0

Warriors’ Draymond Green says ankle ‘feels a lot better’ after tweaking it against Portland Trail Blazers

Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green (23) and Golden State Warriors' Andrew Bogut (12) guard Portland Trail Blazers' C.J. McCollum (3) as he goes up for a basket in the first quarter of Game 5 of the second round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (23) and Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Bogut (12) guard Portland Trail Blazers’ C.J. McCollum (3) as he goes up for a basket in the first quarter of Game 5 of the second round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Warriors forward Draymond Green said Thursday the left ankle he tweaked in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals was improving.

“It feels a lot better, a lot better than it did last night,” Green told KNBR. “Just really been icing, getting a massage, and you’re really just normal things that it takes to get it back healthy and get ready to go for Monday.”

Green was hobbled after a drive to the basket in the third quarter of the Warrors’ 125-121 win against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, going back to the locker room to get the ankle re-taped. He returned to the game in the fourth.

The Warriors open play in the Western Conference finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.

5

LeBron James more valuable to his team, NBA than Stephen Curry, according to Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (30) and Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) exchange some words in low tone toward the end of the fourth quarter of a NBA game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. Warriors 112-94. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) and Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (23) exchange some words in low tone toward the end of the fourth quarter of a NBA game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. Warriors 112-94. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said Thursday he believes LeBron James is more valuable to his team and the NBA than two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry.

“I would have said that Michael Jordan was the MVP every year of his prime, and I would tell you that LeBron is as well,” Griffin told the Jim Rome Show on Thursday. “If V is valuable, I don’t see any way that there’s a player that means more to our league or to his individual team than LeBron does or than Michael did. But I certainly think the seasons that Steph has put together are historically good. He’s a player that has taken a team to an unprecedented record and a championship, and he deserves all the accolades he gets, but in terms of value to a league, I think LeBron is the face of this league just as Michael Jordan was.

“I think so just in terms of the word ‘value,’ and again, we can get into a semantics question there, but I think if we’re really talking about who’s carrying a franchise and a league, I think LeBron does that, and our record without LeBron on the floor is not terribly good. He’s a guy who transcends every analytic metric you could ever use.”

Griffin’s comments came a day after Curry on the court was presented the MVP trophy after becoming the first player to win it by a unanimous vote and James following a third-place finish congratulated the Warriors star.

“I think he definitely deserved it,” James told reporters. “Obviously you look at his numbers, you look at their success. But I think there’s a lot of valuable guys in our league that add value to their team.

“You look at Steph’s numbers. I mean, he averaged 30 (points per game). I think he led the league in steals. He was 90-50-40 (percent on free throws, field goals and 3-point attempts), and they won 73 wins. Can you have really any debate over that really when it comes to that award? But when you talk about most valuable, then you can have a different conversation. But take nothing away from him. He’s definitely deserving of that award for sure.”