1

Warriors’ Camp Proving Intense, Competitive

Toney Douglas played college ball in the vaunted ACC and cut his NBA teeth playing home games at Madison Square Garden. And he makes his living on the defensive end of the court. So he knows something about intensity.

His comments about Warriors practices, following Day 3 of training camp on Monday, comes with that context.

“Oh yeah. Every possession,” said Douglas, who signed with the Warriors in July to back-up Stephen Curry. “This is a different level. … We’re so deep. We have like 12 guys who could play. Blue team against white team, and we go at each other We make it fun and we make each other better.”

Coach Mark Jackson said being two deep at every possession, with some capable talent at the end of the bench, has made for some competitive practices.  The drop off in talent on the depth chart is minimal enough to force the best players to go hard, yet the gap is wide enough to make the reserves have to step it up to earn minutes.

You better believe Curry has his hands full in practice, either being hounded by the pesky Douglas or trying to get around the long and athletic Kent Bazemore. Veteran center Jermaine O’Neal described going up against starting center Andrew Bogut as “a wrestling match.”

Forward David Lee and Marreese Speights, former Florida Gators, are buddies with a history of going at each other, and Speights has the skills to make Lee look bad if he doesn’t bring it. Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes are both having to contend with the All-NBA-caliber defense of Andre Iguodala.

And you know whoever second-year work horse Draymond Green gets matched up with is getting the business.

“We were an extremely hard working team in the past, and we’re continuing that,” Jackson said. “The difference right now is probably the battles at every position. … I think that’s what stands out the most. Last year we had young guys facing Bogut or David. … This year, there are big live bodies that are really competing and attacking one another.”

Continue Reading

1

Skinny Warriors looking to pick up the pace

Andrew Bogut has lost about 15 to 18 pounds. Draymond Green shed about 20. David Lee is now looking like he should be standing in front of Abercrombie & Fitch. Jermaine O’Neal is hardly looking like a guy entering his 18th season.

Clearly, the Warriors took advantage of the offseason. The improved conditioning has already impacted training camp. The pace is faster. The energy is high.

“They are in shape,” coach Mark Jackson said, “and now its just a question of developing chemistry and a sense of what we are trying to do on both ends of the court.”

He wants the Warriors to play at an even faster pace now that all are healthy and his big men are conditioned to run. Jackson said he isn’t content with just going small to pick up the pace. But he wants to run even with his big men in the game.

Jackson said since his guys – most of whom have been working out in Oakland since early September – came to camp in shape, he doesn’t have to worry about that. He said there’s no need to go “White Shadow” on them and have them running lines.

Instead, Jackson has already begun diving into the playbook.

Continue Reading

0

The Curry rivalry is about to reach new heights

currybrothers

They went at each other as kids on their home court. As preteens they went one-on-one full court at the Toronto Raptors practice facility while their dad was at work. They played pick-up games around the way as teenagers and college students. Every summer lately, they workout together, keeping each other sharp.

Now, brothers Stephen and Seth Curry, are facing off in training camp. The older a bonafide stud, the younger trying to prove he belongs at this level.

Think it’ll be different?

“We’ll see when practice comes around,” Seth said while flashing a sneaky smile. “I think so. We’ll see how it goes in an organized, practice setting.”

Continue Reading

2

Warriors C Festus Ezeli remains on pace for 2014 return

Warriors second-year center Festus Ezeli gradually made his way from stop to stop at the Golden State’s annual Media Day on Friday. Known for his athleticism and strength, he was reduced to a ginger pace.

“This is my first time walking without my brace,” Ezeli said.

Ezeli had right knee surgery in June. Per the team, doctors went in to “reinforce both the medial collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligament…” He was initially expected to be out six to nine months and Ezeli said he is still on that track.

Continue Reading

1

Stephen Curry Leaves Nike for Under Armor

Warriors star point guard Stephen Curry has decided to leave Nike and sign a new deal with the up-and-coming brand Under Armour, according to multiple sources.

Curry will debut is new allegiance at the Warriors’ media day on Friday.

His contract with Nike expires at the end of September. His rising stardom, coming off the Warriors’ playoff run, prompted Under Armour to go hard after Curry. After months of negotiations with both companies, Curry made the surprising move to leave the shoe giant, who he signed with as a rookie, to become the face of the new kid on the block.

Many in the sneaker world will view this is a risky, gutsy move by Curry. Nike, according to a Forbes report in April, owns 34 percent of the basketball shoe market. The Jordan Brand, a division of Nike, dominates 58 percent of the market. Under Armour has 0.6 percent of the market.

Under Armour is mostly known for its football equipment. Curry is the big splash the brand was looking for to give its basketball line credibility. Other endorsers of Under Armour include Detroit point guard Brandon Jennings, Charlotte guard Kemba Walker, New York guard Raymond Felton, Sacramento guard Greivis Vasquez, Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and Warriors guard Kent Bazemore.

32

Warriors Taking Dwight Howard Matters in their Own Hands??

According to ESPN, the Warriors are aggressively shopping centers Andrew Bogut and Andris Biedrins, and forward Richard Jefferson. Why? Golden State wants to prevent the Los Angeles Lakers from hatin’ on their Dwight Howard pursuit.

The Warriors are $11 million over the projected salary cap (at about $69.9 million including Kent Bazemore), not including the cap holds. That means in order to get Howard, the Warriors would have to agree to a sign-and-trade with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Reports are the Lakers aren’t interested in working a sign-and-trade and would rather let Howard walk and save the luxury tax bill. And they certainly aren’t keen on strengthening a division rival. And whatever hopes the Warriors have of convincing the Lakers to deal, many suspect, would involve giving up young stars Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes.

But the Warriors don’t want to give up either. According to a source, their pitch to Dwight Howard on Monday — in which I am told Mark Jackson shined — included Howard playing with Curry AND Thompson AND Barnes. Those prospects intrigued Howard, as Marc Stein reported. So much so, the Warriors are now actively trying to create enough salary cap space so they don’t need to do a sign-and-trade with the Lakers.

It’s a monumental task, to be sure. The projected salary cap is $58.5 million, which means the Warriors would need to cut their salary down to $38 million or less to have the space needed to pay Howard the max contract he commands.

Cutting that much money would require the Warriors moving their three major expiring contracts: Bogut ($14 million), Richard Jefferson ($11 million) and Andris Biedrins ($9 million). Dumping all three without taking any money back would chop $34 million off the Warriors’ cap figure, getting them down to about $35 million. (NOTE: They would have to renounce the rights to their free agents, including Jarrett Jack, to remove their capholds).

The difficult part, finding teams to take on those big contracts getting anything (or much) in return.

The Warriors would need to find teams with enough cap space to absorb their expiring contracts. That’s probably easiest to do with Bogut because in addition to being an expiring contract he is a legit center when healthy. Teams like Portland, Atlanta and Cleveland are in need of a good, defensive center.

Then the Warriors could use a future draft pick to pair with Jefferson to sweeten his salary dump. To sweeten Biedrins’ dump, the Warriors could send a team $3 million in cash considerations, trimming Biedrins’ salary to $6 million.

Another route the Warriors can go is to raise the stakes and adding Lee’s contract. Pairing Lee with one or more of the expirings would allow the Warriors to dump the contracts while being able to take a contract back. For example, Bogut + Lee + Biedrins is $37 million in salary. Golden State could take back up to $14 million in contracts and still would have accomplished the task.

But what if the Warriors trade Bogut and Howard decides to stay with Los Angeles or go to Houston? That wouldn’t happen, per one source. The Warriors are paving the way to be able to get under the cap if Howard says yes (which he hasn’t yet).

At this stage, anyway, teams can only agree to deals. No trades can be completed until the league-wide moratorium ends. So if Howard chooses elsewhere, GSW can cancel the deals. They may even know Howard’s answer before the moratorium ends anyway, if reports are true that Howard will decide by Friday.

31

Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes Invited to 27-player Team USA Minicamp

USA Basketball officially announced the 27 players its inviting to the minicamp in Las Vegas in July, and two Warriors made the list (as previously reported). Oakland native Damian Lillard was also selected.

The invited players will assemble in Las Vegas on July 21, and will conduct daily training sessions July 22-24 (12:00-2:30 p.m. PDT) and close out the mini-camp with the 2013 USA Basketball Showcase, a blue-white intra-squad game on Thursday, July 25, 6 p.m. PDT at the Thomas & Mack Arena on the campus of UNLV.

All USA practices will take place at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center and are closed to the general public. Here is the full roster. Some of these potential match-ups look intriguing.

NAME                                   POS        HGT       WGT        DOB      NBA TEAM / COLLEGE

Ryan Anderson                        F            6-10        240        05/06/88   New Orleans Pelicans / California

Harrison Barnes                     F            6-8          210        05/30/92   Golden State Warriors / North Carolina

Bradley Beal                            G           6-5          207        06/28/93   Washington Wizards / Florida

Mike Conley                            G           6-1          185        10/11/87   Memphis Grizzlies / Ohio State

DeMarcus Cousins                   C            6-11        270        08/13/90   Sacramento Kings / Kentucky

Anthony Davis                        F/C          6-10        220        03/11/93   New Orleans Pelicans / Kentucky

DeMar DeRozan                      G           6-7          216        08/07/89   Toronto Raptors / USC

Andre Drummond                   C            6-10        270        09/10/93   Detroit Pistons / Connecticut

Kenneth Faried                        F            6-8          228        11/19/89   Denver Nuggets / Morehead State

Derrick Favors                         F/C          6-10        248        07/15/91   Utah Jazz / Georgia Tech

Paul George                             F/G         6-8          221        05/02/90   Indiana Pacers / Fresno State

Taj Gibson                               F            6-9          225        06/24/85   Chicago Bulls / USC

Gordon Hayward                     F            6-8          210        03/23/90   Utah Jazz / Butler

Jrue Holiday                            G           6-4          205        06/12/90   Philadelphia 76ers / UCLA

Kyrie Irving                             G           6-3          191        03/23/92   Cleveland Cavaliers / Duke

DeAndre Jordan                      C            6-11        265        07/21/88   Los Angeles Clippers / Texas A&M

Ty Lawson                               G           5-11        195        11/03/87   Denver Nuggets / North Carolina

Kawhi Leonard                        F/G         6-7          225        06/29/91   San Antonio Spurs / San Diego State

Damian Lillard                         G           6-3          195        07/15/90   Portland Trail Blazers / Weber State

Greg Monroe                           C            6-11        250        06/04/90   Detroit Pistons / Georgetown

Chandler Parsons                     F            6-9          227        10/25/88   Houston Rockets / Florida

Larry Sanders                          C            6-11        235        11/21/88   Milwaukee Bucks / VCU

Klay Thompson                      G           6-7          205        02/08/90   Golden State Warriors / Washington State

Dion Waiters                            G           6-4          215        12/10/91   Cleveland Cavaliers / Syracuse

Kemba Walker                          G           6-1          184        05/08/90   Charlotte Bobcats / Connecticut

John Wall                                G           6-4          195        09/06/90   Washington Wizards / Kentucky

Tyler Zeller                              F/C          7-0          250        01/17/90   Cleveland Cavaliers / North Carolina