Warriors well-built for success over the long haul

UNTV News   •   June 14, 2017   •   13284

Golden State Warriors players and coaches celebrate with the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors made a strong case to be called one of the best teams in NBA history after a near-perfect run through the playoffs resulted in their second title in three years.

The scary part for the NBA’s 29 other teams? This may just be the beginning.

That is because the Warriors boast an intimidating starting lineup featuring four All-Stars in their 20s who are likely to be with the team for years to come.

Two-time reigning league MVP Stephen Curry is expected to sign the richest contract in NBA history this offseason as the league’s best three-point marksman will be eligible for a five-year deal worth an estimated $207 million.

“I’m just excited to do something special,” Curry said during the presentation of the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy on Monday in Oakland after his team beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. “I’m ready to do it again.”

If so he will have help from shooting guard Klay Thompson and do-it-all power forward Draymond Green, who are already locked into long-term contracts with the Warriors.

And then there is Kevin Durant. The 7-foot (2.13 m) small forward and 2017 Finals MVP has said that after his controversial decision leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and join the Warriors last offseason, he is not eager to move again.

Durant is so dedicated to winning multiple championships that he is reportedly considering taking less money from the team in order to free up space to re-sign key reserves like Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala.

That all spells trouble for the rest of the league, who saw the Warriors capture a title in 2015, win a record-setting 73 games the next regular season before Durant moved to the Bay Area and the team became a juggernaut.

“They’re going to be around for a while,” Cavaliers forward LeBron James said after suffering his second Finals defeat in three years to a Warriors team that went 16-1 in the playoffs.

“Pretty much all their big-name guys are in their 20s, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down.”

And the team’s coaching staff is equally formidable.

After being sidelined for part of last season and again during the 2017 playoffs with back pain, head coach Steve Kerr returned during the Finals and said he intends to coach “for a long time.”

General Manager Bob Myers, who helped assemble the Warriors lineup after the franchise spent years as the league’s laughing stock, and savvy owner Joe Lacob fill out the rest of the team.

The big question this offseason is what, if anything, will contenders like Cleveland, San Antonio and Boston do to counter the champion Warriors.

Some reports have suggested James, the best player on the planet, may head to California to join the Lakers or Clippers in 2018, likely bringing talented players along in an effort to topple the Warriors if the Cavaliers fall short again next year.

One thing is clear – if no one can assemble a truly special team, the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy could very well reside in the Bay Area for years to come.

“After the parade, the narrative will shift to ‘So, what does the league plan to do about this?'” wrote Ray Ratto, a veteran Bay Area sports columnist.

“Right now, the only answer seems to be ‘not a damned thing.’ Because that’s the only answer that makes sense. This is Golden State’s era.” — By Rory Carroll | OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

Vince Carter retires after NBA record 22-season career

UNTV News   •   June 26, 2020

Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter officially announced his retirement from professional basketball on Thursday (June 25) after an NBA record 22-season career during which his high-flying dunks made him one of the game’s top players in his prime.

Carter, widely regarded as one of the greatest dunkers of all time, had previously said the 2019-20 NBA campaign would be his last but had not addressed his playing status since the NBA suspended its season in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I am officially done playing basketball professionally,” Carter, 43, told the “Winging It” podcast.

Carter, the first NBA player to feature in four different decades, signed a one-year deal with the Hawks last August.

However, their season is over as they did not qualify for the NBA’s 22-team format for restarting action in late July at Disney World amid the novel coronavirus.

Carter played for eight teams during his career but will be most remembered for his time with the Toronto Raptors, where he put the Canadian city on the basketball map and earned the nickname “Air Canada” for his feats above the rim.

After his first season in Toronto, Carter was named the NBA’s rookie of the year in 1999. He was then named an All-Star for each of the following eight seasons.

In his second season, Carter won the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend with a dazzling display that further increased his stardom and helped ignite basketball’s popularity in what had otherwise been an ice hockey-mad country.

Carter, who ranks 22nd on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, averaged 16.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game during a career that also included stops in New Jersey, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis, Sacramento and Atlanta.

He also helped USA Basketball win gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2003 FIBA Americas tournament. (Reuters)

(Production; David Grip)

League approves plan to resume NBA season in July at Disney World

UNTV News   •   June 5, 2020

REUTERS – The National Basketball Association (NBA) Board of Governors have approved a plan to restart the suspended season with a tentative July 31 start at Disney World, Florida amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the league said on Thursday (June 4).

The plan would see 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams play eight games to determine a 16-team playoff field that would follow the traditional post-season format with four best-of-seven series that would crown a champion no later than October 12.

The league said approval from its Board of Governors, which came on the day originally scheduled for the start of the NBA Finals, is the first formal step among the many required to resume the season.

According to ESPN, the vote on the format was 29-1, with the Portland Trail Blazes voting against the proposal.

All games, practices and housing would be at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex which is inside the Orlando resort and has multiple hotels and arenas, and would allow the league to limit outside exposure.

The NBA was the first North American sports league to suspend its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic after one of its players tested positive for the new coronavirus in mid-March.

The 22 returning teams would be comprised of the eight teams from each of the two conferences currently in playoff positions plus the six clubs that are six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences.

If everything goes according to plan, the NBA said the 2020-21 season would begin on Dec. 1.

The league also said it plans to hold its 2020 NBA Draft Lottery to determine the order of the first 14 selections on Aug. 25. Lottery teams would be comprised of the eight clubs that do not participate in the restart and the six that go to Florida but do not qualify for the playoffs.

The actual NBA Draft, typically held in June, is now scheduled for Oct. 15.

(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)

Jordan’s autographed game-worn sneakers from his rookie season sold for record $560,000

UNTV News   •   May 18, 2020

NBA great Michael Jordan’s autographed game-worn sneakers from his rookie season fetched a record $560,000 (463,380 pounds) in an online auction, Sotheby’s said on Sunday (May 17).

The Air Jordan 1s, designed for Jordan in 1985 and the first ever signature sneakers, were expected to sell for between $100,000 and $150,000 in the auction.

Known for selling multimillion-dollar art, Sotheby’s held its first auction dedicated entirely to sneakers last year and had then set a world record of $437,500 for a pair of 1972 Nike running shoes known as the “Moon Shoe.”

“We saw tremendous bidding up until the moment the sale closed, with the value more than doubling in the final hour alone,” said Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s director of eCommerce development.

“That coupled with strong international bidding from six countries on four continents shows not only the incredible appeal of Michael Jordan… but also that sneaker collecting is truly a global and growing market.”

Like most of Jordan’s basketball shoes, they are a mismatched pair in a size 13 (left) and size 13.5 (right).

The auction coincided with the 35th anniversary of the Air Jordan brand and the screening of the 10-part ESPN documentary “The Last Dance” about the Chicago Bulls and Jordan. The final two episodes of the show are set to air later on Sunday.

The shoes were sold by collector Jordan Geller, the founder of the sneaker museum Shoezeum in Las Vegas. (Reuters)

(Production: David Grip)

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