Warriors 95, Trail Blazers 90: Stephen Curry noticeably ‘hawking people,’ taking steps forward on defense

PORTLAND, Ore. – Draymond Green, one of the Warriors’ defensive stoppers, has noticed how Stephen Curry is getting in on the action.

Curry, assigned to guard fellow All-Star point guard Damian Lillard, held the Oakland native to 11 points on 4-for-18 shooting. He then came up with the steal and the ensuing free throws to seal the Warriors’ 95-90 win at Portland.

“He’s really been hawking people up there, and it’s good to see that because that’s how people try to do him,” Green said. “When you give people a taste of their own blood, they’re really not expecting it. They don’t know him as a great defender, and he’s gotten so much better. He’s giving people problems.”

Coach Steve Kerr, who also remarked how Curry guarded Jeremy Lin on Saturday as well as anyone could have, noted that his point guard has “turned into an excellent defender.”

“He’s quick and has great instincts,” Kerr said.

The compliments are something Curry has heard before, and he wants to keep up the defensive pressure for the good of the entire team. When he can guard a team’s opposing point guard, that frees up the more noted defender, Klay Thompson, to shut down shooting guards.

“We were a top-five defense last year, and that’s why we were so successful,” Curry said. “No matter how offensively talented we are and how many points we can produce, if we don’t put forth that effort on the other end, you’re just kind of wasting talent on the offensive end. We have the personnel and the talent on the defensive end to do that and to be another top-five defense.”

Green has seen Curry pick up the defense since the preseason. When matched up against the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul in that first game at Staples Center, Curry gave Kerr a glimpse of how he wanted to take on the star point guard.

“Forget what he did today,” Green said. “He’s been doing that this entire year for the first few games, in the preseason. I can see he’s really made an effort to do better defensively, and the more he does that, the better we’re going to be as a team.”


Warriors’ Nemanja Nedovic says not playing is ‘confusing,’ looks to prove front office wrong after option declined

PORTLAND, Ore. – Warriors point guard Nemanja Nedovic said the disappointment that comes with not playing is worse than learning the team declined to exercise the third-year option on his contract.

Nedovic, the Warriors’ first-round draft pick in 2013, was in street clothes again Sunday at Portland after being placed on the inactive list for a second straight game.

Nedovic said he was disappointed in coach Steve Kerr’s decision not to play him thus far, but respected the decision and would stay ready.

“I really didn’t care too much,” Nedovic said of the Warriors declining his $1.15 million option next season. “All I really care about right now is playing. I wasn’t thinking too much about the option. I don’t care about the money. I just care about minutes and playing time.

“It’s confusing a little bit (not playing), but it is what it is.”

The 23-year-old Nedovic was available to play in the season opener, but saw top offseason signing Shaun Livingston come back from offseason toe surgery in time to play over him. Once Brandon Rush was healthy enough to play, Nedovic was made inactive as Kerr has preferred to use Leandro Barbosa and Andre Iguodala as ball-handlers.

Nedovic said he spoke with general manager Bob Myers and the front office while being informed of their contract decision last week.

“They just told me that doesn’t mean they’re giving up on me,” Nedovic said. “They invested a lot of money in me. I can use the season to prove them wrong. That’s what (Myers) said, so I’m trying to do the best out of it, keep working, stay in shape, and that’s the most important thing.

“It is a motivation, of course. I’m going to try to prove them wrong, and we’ll see what happens.”

Nedovic averaged 9.2 points and 2.6 assists in 15.9 minutes in the preseason.

“I think I’ve proved myself that I can play here, and that’s the most important thing,” Nedovic said.

“Not playing hurts. It’s different when you go home after a game where you played and after a game where you didn’t play.”


Warriors 127, Lakers 104: Klay Thompson makes strong statements with 41 points, thoughts on vocal leadership

OAKLAND – Nothing about what the Warriors’ Klay Thompson did to the Los Angeles Lakers in a 127-104 win was understated.

He got the best of Kobe Bryant, dropping a career-high 41 points on his childhood idol. He gestured excitedly after making big-time shots in the heat of a shootout.  He said after the game of the struggling Lakers: “I think it’s the Warriors’ turn, man.”

But it was a statement made shortly before the game during his press conference celebrating his four-year, $70 million contract extension that the soft-spoken Thompson hasn’t said often if at all.

“Just be a better leader,” Thompson said of how he can improve. “These past few years I’ve kind of sit back and let Steph (Curry) and the vets do most of the talking, but knowing I’m a big part of this team and I have a lot of knowledge now being three years in the league believe it or not, I can teach some guys a few things.”

Could Thompson start speaking up more often? Right now, his play is doing plenty of talking. He scored the 41 points on 18 shot attempts, making 8 of 9 free throw attempts.

Thompson might never be truly labeled a vocal leader and comfortable in front of microphones, but his mere nod to the notion that he needed to do more as a leader spoke volumes about his maturation process continuing.

Before the season opener, Sacramento coach Michael Malone, the former Warriors assistant indicated that he could tell there was change in the 24-year-old. Malone went to Spain to follow DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay at the FIBA World Cup and ended up also coming across Thompson.

“Klay in his first couple of years barely said a word,” Malone said Wednesday. “He was a guy that wouldn’t say a whole lot.

“We probably had the longest conversation I’ve ever had with Klay was this summer over in Bilbao, Spain. So he’s really grown up. He’s matured.”


Warriors’ Bob Myers: Klay Thompson got the $70 million contract extension he deserved

OAKLAND – Warriors general manager Bob Myers said he was negotiating with agent, Bill Duffy and saw out the window that Klay Thompson was the only player on the court shooting.

Thompson’s daily work ethic was a main reason that the shooting guard was awarded a four-year, $70 million contract extension Friday. Myers also noted that he had never seen a player’s teammates show so much support as Thompson’s did during a contract negotiation and that it was a testament to the 24-year-old.

Thompson is the first Warriors players to be under contract through the 2018-19 season.

“It’s really amazing that I can be on this team come new arena time in moving over to the new city,” Thompson said Saturday before the team’s home opener against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Myers added that there were once questions about Thompson’s defense, and those have since been answered since by the team’s first-round draft pick in 2011. Thompson excelled at 3-point shooting as expected according to Myers has improved daily in his all-around game.

“This contract is well deserved, and I think that’s the best compliment I can give Klay,” Myers said. “He earned it.

“I think what it says to fans is this organization will do whatever it takes to win.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he was thrilled for Thompson, adding “The whole team is.”


Warriors’ Klay Thompson getting contract extension gives Stephen Curry something to consider

OAKLAND – The Warriors’ signing of Klay Thompson to a four-year, $70 million not only rewarded the shooting guard, but also sent a message to star point guard Stephen Curry.

Curry, who signed a four-year, $44 million extension exactly two years earlier at a time when he was dealing with ankle issues, had it enter his mind that Thompson will be in place the next time he has his own contract decision to make.

“That’s a big statement for sure,” Curry said Saturday of ownership and the front office awarding Thompson a maximum-salary contract. “They’re committed to putting together the roster that they feel is capable of winning a championship and doing whatever it takes to maintain that. Obviously I don’t know what the situation will be in two years (when his contract expires at the end of the 2016-17 season). The direction that we’re headed is definitely promising for sure.

“To know a guy that I’ve been playing with for four years now who will have a couple more years under our belt and hopefully have some things to be proud of once we get to that point, then that will be something that I’ll definitely take into account and know what the situation might be at that point.”

Together, Curry and Thompson have flourished and led the Warriors to back-to-back playoff appearances. They combined to hit 484 3-pointers last season, breaking their own record set the previous year for the most by a pair of teammates in NBA history.

“It speaks a lot about what he’s been able to do in his career so far and what they plan on seeing from him for the next four years, and I’m excited to know who my backcourt mate’s going to be,” Curry said.

Draymond Green said it was “amazing” to see Thompson paid handsomely and downplayed how the deal would affect his own contract year. The third-year forward will become a restricted free agent in the offseason.

“I got what, nine months before I worry about my situation,” Green said, smiling. “I’ve got a lot of games to worry about before I worry about that.

“If I run around here thinking every day, ‘Oh, Klay got paid, I wonder what I’m going to get,’ I’ll play awful, and I ain’t going to get nothing.”

Green is expected to start a second straight game to begin the season as forward David Lee was ruled out for the home opener against the Los Angeles Lakers due to a strained left hamstring.


Warriors to pay Klay Thompson with maximum-salary four-year contract extension

OAKLAND – The Warriors reached agreement with shooting guard Klay Thompson on a four-year contract extension worth about $70 million on Friday.

The Warriors are expected to officially announce the deal to beat the 9 p.m. deadline to extend Thompson before he hit restricted free agency after this season, as the 24-year-old received the maximum salary he was seeking.

The 6-foot-7 Thompson is the first player in NBA history to hit 500 3-pointers through the first three years of his career and has combined with point guard Stephen Curry to become regarded as the best shooting backcourt in the league.

“Happy for you bro,” Curry tweeted. “Well deserved. Splash bros continue.”

Thompson received the maximum salary at a time when the team views him as one of the top shooting guards in the NBA. Coach Steve Kerr has spoken of Thompson as a possible All-Star in the near future.

A Warriors first-round draft pick in 2011, Thompson has blossomed into a multi-dimensional scorer and defender while remaining durable having never missed a game due to injury in his career.

The Warriors throughout the process had expected to pay Thompson a large sum of money – whether it was by the deadline or next summer when another team might have . In the end, he was awarded the max after negotiations with his agent, Walnut Creek-based agent, Bill Duffy, went into the season.

Thompson has averaged 16.1 points per game in his career after just starting his fourth season, and news of the extension had his teammates congratulating him on Twitter.

“Congrats bro, so proud of u!!!” Mychel Thompson, Klay’s brother, wrote on Instagram. “U earned it!!”


Warriors exercise contract options on Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, decline option on Nemanja Nedovic

The Warriors announced Thursday they did not exercise the third-year contract option for next season on guard Nemanja Nedovic, the team’s 2013 first-round draft pick.

The team did exercise the fourth-year contract options on forward Harrison Barnes and center Festus Ezeli, who is playing after missing all of last season recovering from knee surgery.

The Warriors’ announcement to decline guaranteeing the $1.15 million option to Nedovic came the day after the 23-year-old from Serbia was the only player on the team’s active roster not to play in the season opener at Sacramento.

Nedovic played in five of the team’s eight preseason games after averaging 5.9 minutes in 24 games during an injury-plagued rookie season. The Warriors acquired Nedovic in a draft-night trade with Phoenix for the 30th overall pick.