A new home for your Warriors coverage

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As many of you have already noticed, we have made some changes to the way you receive your Warriors coverage, but not the coverage itself.

The Bay Area News Group recently launched a new and improved website that functions much better across all platforms (desktop, mobile, tablet) and increases our ability to get the latest news out to you as fast as possible.

With that launch, the Inside the Warriors blog will no longer be populated. The blog site will still be here in an archived form, but we won’t be adding new content and all our new Warriors coverage will be posted at http://www.mercurynews.com/sports/golden-state-warriors.


Photo: Kevin Durant gets Rick James tattoo on his thigh

Earlier this summer, Kevin Durant unveiled a new Tupac tattoo on his calf, as captured at Team USA camp in Las Vegas by Bay Area News Group columnist Marcus Thompson (seen below).

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But apparently, the offseason ink wasn’t done flowing. Durant, soon after leading Team USA to gold in the Olympics, got a picture of Rick James tattooed on his left thigh, done by famed tattoo artist Steve Wiebe, who posted a picture of it to Instagram (seen below) before deleting it.

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Durant has a number of other tattoos, most of which cover his chest, stomach and back. They include bible scriptures, a huge ‘MARYLAND’ (he’s a DC native) in writing and a Washington Nationals logo. But this summer, he’s expressing his love of music by getting murals of some classic artists on his body.


New-look Golden State Warriors to make preseason debut in Vancouver, face the Kings in San Jose


Kevin Durant has already played his first game in Oracle since joining the Warriors. But it was for Team USA. His first game in a Warriors jersey doesn’t come until early October. And it won’t come in this country.

Golden State will make its preseason debut against the Raptors in Vancouver on Oct. 1, the league announced on Tuesday, tipping off the NBA Canada series. It’s the third straight year the Raptors have played a preseason game in Vancouver. The past two have been sellouts of nearly 19,000.

The Warriors then travel back to the Bay Area for an Oct. 4 tilt in Oracle against the Clippers before making the quick trip south to San Jose for a matchup with the Sacramento Kings.

It’ll be the second straight year the Warriors have played a preseason game in San Jose after not appearing there since 2000. Last year, the Warriors beat the Raptors in front of a sellout crowd in the SAP Center, which received Stephen Curry bobbleheads pregame.

This year, San Jose fans will receive a Klay Thompson Sharks-themed bobblehead.


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From there, the Warriors travel to Denver, Las Vegas and San Diego before returning home to wrap up a seven-game, six-city preseason slate.

Here’s the full Warriors preseason schedule:

-vs Raptors — Oct. 1 — Rogers Arena in Vancouver, 4:30 p.m.

-vs Clippers — Oct. 4 — Oracle Arena, 7:30 p.m.

-vs Kings — Oct. 6 — SAP Center in San Jose, 7:30 p.m.

-vs Nuggets — Oct. 14 — Pepsi Center in Denver, 6 p.m.

-vs Lakers — Oct. 15 — T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, 7 p.m.

-vs Lakers — Oct. 19 — Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, 7 p.m.

-vs Blazers — Oct. 21 — Oracle Arena, 7:30 p.m.

There are two other bobblehead nights scheduled in the preseason — a Steph Curry one on Oct. 4 and a Draymond Green one on Oct. 21, both at Oracle.

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ESPN’s Brian Windhorst discusses the parallels between LeBron James’ and Kevin Durant’s free agency moves, plus a potential Warriors-Cavaliers Part 3


Welcome to the home of the Bay Area News Group’s new Warriors podcast, titled All-82 because of our commitment to provide extensive coverage — including a podcast — after all 82 games of this upcoming, highly anticipated Warriors season.

But we’re jumpstarting this feed in the offseason. And the initial episode is embedded below. It’s a conversation with ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst.

Windhorst covered LeBron James’ entire first stint with the Cavaliers. Then, when LeBron jumped to Miami in 2010, Windhorst followed to cover the Heat.

There are some parallels between Windhorst’s move to Miami and my move from Oklahoma City to cover Kevin Durant and the Warriors. We discuss those. And we also discuss the parallels between LeBron and KD, including the possibility that they re-stoke a once burning rivalry in a potential Warriors-Cavaliers Part 3.

Here’s the podcast:


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


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.”


Warriors fan dressed up as the Ultimate Warrior, got on the dance cam, made incoherent postgame promo

Warriors fan Brian Tong attended Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals dressed up as the Ultimate Warrior, the late WWF championship wrestler.

That got everyone’s attention.

Tong danced during a timeout in the action with such vigor that he was featured on the Warriors’ dance cam and appeared on the video scoreboard. A sampling of his moves while in costume can be found here in this video.

A host and editor for CNET, Tong has interviewed the Warriors in a media setting in his day job.

On Tuesday night, Tong made it to television in costume, appearing to scare the bejesus out of the guy in the next seat.

Then came the Ultimate Warrior impersonation.

After the Warriors won, KRON shot him doing an Ultimate Warrior-like promo outside of Oracle Arena, and it was as bizarre and incoherent as one might expect.

“The Warriors came from the sky and took down Portland into a tailspin like the Ultimate Warriors,” Tong told the television station.

Tong pointed to the championship belt he brought to the game, pointed to it, and called out Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.

“Lillard, see this Lillard,” Tong said. “You will fall to the Ultimate Warrior.”

Tong laughed. He had some more words for the Trail Blazers on Instagram.

“Send your hopes into a tailspin of despair…the cold abyss of no return…Portland…Trailblazers…,” he wrote.


Luke Walton won’t address Lakers job opening, says of Warriors: ‘I love my job here. I absolutely love it.’

Golden State Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton walks to the bench while playing against the Chicago Bulls in the second quarter of their game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Golden State Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton walks to the bench while playing against the Chicago Bulls in the second quarter of their game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

OAKLAND — Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton smiled as he deflected questions about head coaching openings and said he would only answer ones about the playoffs.

Asked about the Los Angeles Lakers job opening, the former Lakers player said, “All I’m worried about is the playoffs right now.”

Told he was among the coaches being mentioned for the Sacramento Kings job opening, he said, “Nice, it’s nice of them.”

Walton has also been linked to the New York Knicks’ possible opening if interim Kurt Rambis isn’t retained as head coach.

Walton spoke after he had been on the dais during the Coach of the Year press conference for Steve Kerr. Walton finished ninth in the voting, receiving one second-place vote and two third-place votes. He served as interim head coach when the Warriors went 39-4, including an NBA-record 24-0 start.

“I love my job here,” Walton said. “I absolutely love it. I love the playoff battles that we’re in right now. We’ve got prep work to do. Every bit of focus right now should be on the playoffs. So any questions I’m asked about anything else is a distraction in my opinion, and then I’m being selfish. So I’m not answering anything about anything except for our team and the playoffs.”