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Warriors’ Draymond Green makes sure rookie Aaron Craft wears pink backpack, not Ohio State gear

OAKLAND – Aaron Craft has been seen wearing a pink backpack as Warriors rookies often are forced to do, and it was former Big Ten rival Draymond Green that made sure the Ohio State grad got one with sparkles and a cartoon character on it.

“He came in the locker room with an Ohio State backpack,” Green said, the Michigan State alum smiling. “I went straight to the store and got the pink backpack. Tell them blame Craft, coming in with that ‘O’ on his back. Uh, (nobody) wants to see that.”

Craft and Green faced off numerous times in college. When Green was a senior and Craft was a sophomore, Ohio State clinched a share of the Big Ten regular-season title in 2012 after beating Michigan State on the road and preventing the Spartans from claiming the outright title. The Spartans avenged the loss in the Big Ten tournament, beating the Buckeyes in the championship game.

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Warriors sign veteran Jason Kapono

The Warriors signed free agent guard/forward Jason Kapono to a contract, the team announced Saturday.

Kapono, 33, is a nine-year NBA veteran who has averaged 6.7 points in his career, ranking fifth in the league’s all-time 3-point percentage list at 43.4 percent. He hasn’t played in the NBA since 2012 with the Lakers.

Kapono, whose signing had been delayed as he waited to receive his FIBA clearance, last played professionally in Greece in 2013.

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Warriors’ Festus Ezeli misses practice due to shin inflammation

OAKLAND – Center Festus Ezeli did not practice Thursday due to right shin inflammation that has caused him discomfort since July.

Ezeli, who also was held out of the team’s Tuesday evening scrimmage, was unable to play in the NBA Summer League because of the inflammation after missing all of last season while recovering from knee surgery in the same leg.

“That’s the hard part when somebody hasn’t played in so long,” coach Steve Kerr said. “You have to push them and see how they respond. If you don’t push them, you’ll never figure out where you are. So we pushed him a little bit the last couple of days, had a little inflammation, so now we back off.”

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Jerry West: Warriors’ Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson form NBA’s best backcourt

OAKLAND – Warriors executive board member Jerry West, one of the greatest guards in NBA, history, believes Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson form the best backcourt in the league.

“I saw an article in USA Today saying we have the best backcourt,” West said Wednesday. “I truly believe that.”

West, who advocated keeping the Splash Brothers together amidst trade discussions involving Thompson, once was part of a sweet-shooting backcourt with the Los Angeles Lakers alongside Gail Goodrich.

“It’s nice to have two young guys like that in the backcourt who know that maybe you don’t have to ever change for a long time, but we’re thrilled to have our backcourt,” West said.

West said after watching the first day of training camp that Thompson was the best player in those two sessions.

“Oh my goodness, his improvement is remarkable,” said West, who led the charge to draft Thompson. “I mean, remarkable.

“I mean, he was in the lane here all day.”

Thompson, who has spoken of a need to go to the basket more often, said it was “cool” West thinks highly of him. He didn’t care to weigh in on the backcourt debate that was touched off by Bradley Beal declaring Washington’s was the best with him and John Wall.

“Well there no games yet, so, you know, media’s got to talk about something,” Thompson said.

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Warriors’ Stephen Curry on Bradley Beal saying Wizards have best backcourt: ‘Everybody’s got to be confident’

OAKLAND – Warriors star guard Stephen Curry doesn’t necessarily agree with Bradley Beal’s comment to reporters that the Washington backcourt he forms with John Wall is “definitely” the best in the NBA.

But Curry, who’s in a backcourt with Klay Thompson, understands the sentiment behind the Beal’s statement.

“What was he supposed to say?” Curry said Tuesday. “I would have said the same thing. Just like the thing with freakin’ LeBron (James) this summer. What are you supposed to say? I’m going to say the same thing: We’re the best backcourt. He’s going to say that. Russell (Westbrook) said he’s the best PG yesterday.

“Everybody’s got to be confident. If (Beal) were to say, ‘We’re the second-best backcourt in the league,’ I’d probably go over there and…rag on him all day, ‘What are you talking about?’ I don’t get caught up in that stuff.”

Curry last month tweeted how “funny” he found it that his comment on The Dan Patrick Show that he was a better offensive player than James was written about and debated.

Beal’s comment Monday wasn’t the first time the Wizards have made proclamations about themselves being the best backcourt. Wall told reporters in May that he and Beal compared to Curry and Thompson “do everything better” besides shooting.

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Timberwolves owner: Warriors got ‘fairly close’ to trade for Kevin Love

The Kevin Love trade that didn’t happen for the Warriors was revisited as training camp gets going, and from Minnesota’s perspective, the Warriors could have gotten the deal done before the star forward was sent to Cleveland.

“Golden State we came fairly close, but they decided not to go ahead with the deal,” Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor told NBA TV, adding that Minnesota wanted players back that would help them in the future. “And finally Cleveland said that they would give us three draft choices.”

Warriors general manager Bob Myers was also asked on KNBR on Monday about how the deal didn’t get done and explained his reasoning for the decision to keep a core of players together that includes guard Klay Thompson.

“We felt like and we still believe this group hasn’t reached its ceiling yet,” Myers told the station. “And to a certain extent, changing the dynamics, changing the core of this team would almost be ripping it out before it had a chance to reach fruition, before we actually got to see where this team could go and where it could take us.

“And I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think that’s fair to the players. I don’t think that’s fair to the organization to basically say, ‘You know what? We’re pulling the ripcord early on this without giving you guys a chance.’ Now if you have a mature team, and you’ve played together five, six years, and you’ve got 28-, 29-year-olds and you say, ‘You know what? We’ve had the same coaching staff, we’ve had the same players, and it’s not getting the job done,’ then you look to make these larger moves.”

Myers said a deal not getting done “was a good signal” that sends a message the front office believes in the team and what it can accomplish.

That’s true for Thompson, who heard coach Steve Kerr was among those who didn’t want him included in any deal for Love.

“If it is the truth, it’s awesome,” Thompson said. “I appreciate Steve for that.

“It just makes me want to play even harder for him if he really did believe that, so it gives me a new sense of confidence, really.”

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Warriors’ David Lee on being involved in Kevin Love trade rumors: ‘No hard feelings’

OAKLAND – Warriors forward David Lee heard the offseason trade rumors involving Kevin Love and said they didn’t leave him feeling unwanted by the team.

“There was no hard feelings,” Lee said Monday. “There can’t be. Our front office is trying to improve the team, and Kevin Love is a great player.

“It happened, and I’m not mad at anybody. I don’t feel bad. It’s just this is a business.”

Lee, the Warriors’ highest-paid player making $15 million this salary, would have likely been shipped to Minnesota had the trade gotten done. Instead, Love was dealt to Cleveland and Lee got to joke about pondering a move to the Midwest that wasn’t to be.

“At that point, I go buy a jacket and maybe one of those old Hummers – the wide ones – I was thinking that was an option,” Lee said. “But after that, it doesn’t happen, so I stay with the hoodie instead for nighttime.

“The worst thing I could have done was let it bother me and not get prepared like I need to be prepared for this season.”

Lee, 31, averaged 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season and in the offseason underwent minor surgery to repair a core muscle injury that caused his withdrawal from the Team USA training camp roster.

Lee said not trying out for Team USA gave him time to work on his jump shot and change the mechanics of it. He expects to improve after losing confidence in that part of his game and focusing more on scoring in the paint last season.

“I’m not going to sit here and brag that I’m Chris Mullin now, but I’ve worked on it,” Lee said of his 15-footer. “I’ve made some improvements, and I’m really excited about getting back to taking and making that shot this year. And I think it’s going to be with what’s been explained to me about our offense, I think it’s going to be something that’ll be important for me to do.”

Lee said he met twice in Los Angeles with new coach Steve Kerr, who has spoken of the player having his role enhanced by the team’s emphasis on ball movement.

“After all that kind of blew over (with the trade rumors), I was just really excited about being back here,” Lee said.

“I’m excited to have the best year of my career. I think that’s very possible with what we have coming back and the position I’ll be put in.”