Heated exchange with Durant a tactic, says Green

UNTV News   •   February 9, 2017   •   2645

Feb 4, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) argues with forward Draymond Green (23) during the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. The Kings won 109-106 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green downplayed his recent blow-up with team mate Kevin Durant and called the verbal exchange “a tactic” on Tuesday.

The two players were caught on camera having an animated discussion during the team’s loss to the Sacramento Kings on Saturday when Durant appeared to confront Green on the sidelines during a break.

But Green insisted that all is well between him and his fellow All Star forward.

“If you can’t (air out issues with team mates) you’re probably on a losing team,” Green told reporters. “It was actually a tactic. But that’s for us to know and everyone else to figure out.” Durant struggled through one of his worst nights of the season, shooting 2-for-10 with just 10 points against the Kings but made no mention of the spat following the contest.

It was not the first time Green and Durant have been involved in a testy encounter as the fiery Green was also seen yelling at the newcomer last month during a defeat to Memphis.

Golden State (43-8) leads the NBA standings but is still adjusting to the presence of leading scorer Durant who joined the team in the off-season.

“Anyone who knows anything about winning knows (conflict) is going to happen,” Green said. “Just is what it is.”

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Lakers boast .500 record after win over Kings

UNTV News   •   November 12, 2018

The Lakers’ LeBron James speaks during a news conference on Monday in El Segundo, California. | USA TODAY / VIA REUTERS

The Los Angeles Lakers have a .500 record for the first time this season after a 101-86 win against the host Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.

LeBron James scored 25 points for Los Angeles, which has won four of five and six of nine. The Lakers have another winnable game Sunday against the visiting Atlanta Hawks.

Brandon Ingram had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma scored 11 apiece for the Lakers. Tyson Chandler had a team-high 12 rebounds off the bench in his second game since joining the Lakers.

De’Aaron Fox scored 21 points to lead Sacramento. Marvin Bagley III had 13 points off the bench and Willie Cauley-Stein had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings, who had won six of eight coming in.

Kuzma made a 3-pointer on the first possession of the second half to extend the lead to 53-44. Los Angeles missed its next seven shots, including three open 3-point attempts on one possession, which would have extended the lead back to double digits.

At the same time, the Kings went on a 7-0 run to get within 53-51 and they pulled as close as one point on two occasions before Lakers backup point guard Rajon Rondo capped a 10-0 run by hitting a wide-open 3-pointer for a 67-56 lead with 3:50 left in the third quarter.

The Lakers took a 76-65 lead into the fourth and Lance Stephenson sank a 3-pointer off a loose ball on the first possession, extending the lead back to 14. They soon went up by 20 on Josh Hart’s 3 with 8:01 left and maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

The Lakers led by 16 midway through the second quarter before taking a 50-44 lead into the half.

James led the way with 15 points in the first half for the Lakers.

—Field Level Media

NBA free agency roundup: Big names signing as world waits for LeBron

UNTV News   •   July 2, 2018


Jun 8, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) passes the ball against Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) during the second quarter in game four of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA free agency period began at 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday, and the wait for LeBron James to decide where he will play next season officially began. But not everyone was interested in waiting around.

Reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors will reportedly continue their successful partnership, agreeing to a two-year deal with a player option for the second year late Saturday night.

According to multiple reports, Durant will make $30 million in 2018-19 and have a $31.5 million option for the following season. While he declined his $26.2 million option for next season to become a free agent, Durant had said all along he wanted to stay in Golden State.

Durant, 29, averaged 26.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 68 regular-season games in 2017-18, missing time due to a rib cartilage fracture.

In the postseason, Durant contributed 29 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 21 games, guiding Golden State past the San Antonio Spurs, the New Orleans Pelicans, the Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers.

—ESPN reported that James’ agent, Rich Paul, is meeting with the Philadelphia 76ers’ brass in Los Angeles, adding that James is not expected to attend the meeting despite being in Southern California.

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76ers coach Brett Brown was said to be on hand with owners to lead the meeting, likely pointing to the assemblage of young stars like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid they could surround James with.

Cleveland Cavaliers GM Koby Altman also spoke to both James and Paul in a phone call right after free agency opened at 12:01 a.m., according to the network.

James, 33, would have made $35.6 million in the 2018-19 season had he exercised his option with the Cavs. According to ESPN, James could still fetch as much as $207 million over five years from the Cavaliers, while other teams can offer a max of $152 million over four years. James has been linked to multiple teams in free agency, most notably the Los Angeles Lakers and 76ers.

—At the stroke of midnight, Paul tweeted that he has “unfinished business” in Houston. At that same time, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the star point guard is poised to sign a four-year, $160 million max contract to stay with the Rockets.

With Paul running the offense, the Rockets surged to the best record in the NBA’s regular season at 65-17. But Houston lost to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors in seven games in the Western Conference finals, losing the final two games with Paul out because of a hamstring injury.

The Rockets also will bring back swingman Gerald Green on a one-year minimum salary contract worth $2.4 million, according to multiple reports, while starting swingman Trevor Ariza is reportedly heading to Phoenix on a one-year, $15 million deal.

—George committed to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder with a four-year, $137 million max contract, multiple outlets reported late Saturday night.

George was actually in town Saturday night, as star teammate Russell Westbrook reportedly threw a big party. TheHoopCentral tweeted a video of George, standing next to Westbrook, announcing, “If y’all didn’t quite get it, let me say it again: I’m here to stay. I’m here to stay.”

George, who would have been among the top prizes available in free agency, was traded to the Thunder last summer from the Indiana Pacers, giving Oklahoma City a season to try to work out a longer-term relationship. George declined to exercise his player option for 2018-19, making him an unrestricted free agent as of midnight.

The Thunder also re-signed forward Jerami Grant to a three-year, $27 million deal, according to ESPN. Per the report, the third year of the deal is a player option.

—Jordan, who declined his player option with the Los Angeles Clippers last week, agreed to a one-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks, according to multiple reports.

The center’s salary with the Mavericks will approach the $24.1 million that he would have earned with the Clippers had he exercised his option, according to the New York Times.

Jordan has a bit of history regarding offseason talks with both the Mavericks and the Clippers. In July 2015, he verbally agreed to join the Mavs on a four-year, $80 million contract during the moratorium period before contracts could be officially signed. After having second thoughts and getting recruited by his Los Angeles teammates to re-sign, he reneged and signed a four-year, $88 million deal to stay with the Clippers.

—The Denver Nuggets and restricted free agent center Jokic agreed on a five-year max contract, according to multiple media reports.

The deal reportedly is worth $148 million and does not include a player option for the fifth year, as many similar deals do. The Nuggets reportedly sought the lack of a player option in exchange for previously declining Jokic’s $1.6 million option for 2018-19.

Jokic, 23, led the Nuggets in three offensive categories last season when he averaged 18.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists. He also shot 39.6 percent from 3-point range and 85 percent from the free-throw line.

—The New Orleans Pelicans and Lakers each called center DeMarcus Cousins after free agency began and Cousins is expected to schedule meetings with both teams, according to The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported that Cousins would be an “increasingly likely target” for the Lakers on a short-term, max-level contract.

** Houston will reportedly meet with restricted free agent center Clint Capela and his representatives in Los Angeles on Sunday after agreeing to terms with Paul and Green.

Capela is coming off a career year with the Rockets in which he averaged 13.9 points and 10.8 rebounds while making a league-best 65.2 percent of his field goal attempts.

—Guard Will Barton is reportedly expected to re-sign with the Nuggets on a four-year contract reportedly worth more than $50 million and containing a player option in the fourth year.

—Former Dallas Mavericks forward Doug McDermott will join the Indiana Pacers on a three-year contract that, according to ESPN, is worth $22 million and fully guaranteed.

—The Brooklyn Nets kept their best long-range shooter, guard Joe Harris, and also picked up frontcourt depth with well-traveled Ed Davis, most recently of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Harris is expected to get a two-year, $16 million contract while Davis reportedly agreed to a one-year, $4.4 million contract.

—Stein reported that Minnesota plans to offer guard Jimmy Butler the maximum extension, four years for around $110 million, once he is eligible to sign on July 9.

However, Butler is not expected to be interested in an extention this offseason, as he could sign a five-year deal for $187 million or become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Wojnarowski reported that free agent guard Derrick Rose agreed to a one-year deal to remain with the club.

—Big man Ersan Ilyasova, who began his 10-year career with the Bucks, is returning to Milwaukee, according to ESPN.

Ilyasova reportedly agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract. The third year of the deal is reportedly not guaranteed.

—The Toronto Raptors have reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with restricted free agent Fred VanVleet, a finalist for Sixth Man of the Year last season.

The deal is worth $18 million, according to a report by Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania.

—The Boston Celtics are retaining unrestricted free agent center Aron Baynes with a two-year, $11 million contract, according to multiple reports.

He averaged 6.0 points and posted career highs in rebounds (5.4) and assists (1.1) per game in 81 appearances (67 starts) in his first season with Boston.

—The San Antonio Spurs are keeping forward Rudy Gay and re-adding swingman Marco Belinelli, according to multiple reports.

Earlier this month, Gay opted out of his contract with San Antonio that would have paid him $8.8 million in 2018-19. Instead, he will make $10 million next season on a one-year deal, according to multiple reports.

Belinelli, 32, will sign a two-year, $12 million contract, according to Wojnarowski.

—The Memphis Grizzlies reached an agreement on a one-year deal with forward Omri Casspi, according to ESPN.

Terms were not available, but the Grizzlies are limited to smaller moves unless they can unload Chandler Parsons, who has $49 million owed to him over the next two seasons.

—The Portland Trail Blazers opened free agency by reaching a one-year deal with guard Nik Stauskas, ESPN reported.

Terms were not announced, but the deal is likely for the league minimum given the Blazers’ salary cap constraints. Stauskas, 24, was the eighth overall pick by the Sacramento Kings in 2014, but has been limited to 7.0 points and 2.1 rebounds in 267 career games.

—Field Level Media

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

New blood bring life to weary Warriors

UNTV News   •   November 1, 2017

FILE PHOTO: Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) moves the ball as center JaVale McGee (1) provides the screen against Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) during the first half at Staples Center, October 30, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

 

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – With each passing trip to the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors add to the championship miles that threaten to stall their run.

The price of continued excellence in the National Basketball Association (NBA) is the grind of long seasons and the challenge of sustaining concentration throughout.

Having reached the last three NBA Finals, winning two, the Warriors have shown signs of such weariness during their inconsistent 5-3 start to the campaign.

But helping to balance the redundancy of another Golden State regular season is the insertion of new faces.

Reserves like Omri Casspi of Israel, Nick Young and rookie Jordan Bell will not steal any headlines from Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant this season but their arrival is invaluable to the Warriors’ long journey.

“It’s always important to add some new guys, new blood to a championship team,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told Reuters following his team’s 141-113 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

“I think that’s where Omri, and Nick and Jordan Bell come into play. They will help us through the year for sure.”

When the Warriors enter each off-season to target acquisitions it is not just to retool, but to refresh.

Last season, veteran pick ups like David West, Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee renewed the team’s spirit and helped propel another title run.

The Warriors are counting on the same effect from this year’s fresh faces.

Chemistry and good vibes aside, Casspi brings versatility at 6-foot-9 as a ball handler and passer; Young is a fun-loving streak shooter and Bell is a spry athlete.

“I think they’re better when you look at all the stuff they’ve added,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “I think they had a great summer.”

The Warriors were a unit in command of all their weapons against Los Angeles on Monday, shooting and passing the Clippers out of the arena.

“Great teams have that balance where every night, no matter what lineup is out there you know what your identity is and how you’re going to get a win,” Curry said.

This year’s version of the Warriors are still finding that identity, and Kerr knows the season will include letdowns like the team’s blown lead defeats to Houston and Detroit this month.

Kerr remembers playing for the two-time defending champion Chicago Bulls who began their 1997-98 campaign with a lackluster 8-7 mark.

“There’s a mental fatigue (after winning championships) more than anything. You feel it after a number of years,” Kerr said.

“I can tell this year is going to be a lot harder than that first year (in 2014).”

Editing by Steve Keating in Toronto

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