Storyline: Kerr-Green Dynamic

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When Draymond Green sees Michigan State retire his No. 23 jersey Tuesday, Steve Kerr will be a part of the memories. The coach will leave the Warriors’ five-game, eight-day road trip to witness Green, whom he calls the “heartbeat” of the team, earn one of the greatest honors a player can know. “When I think about what’s he’s meant to the Warriors and my coaching career, the least I can do is be there for him on a big night,” Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area. “There’s not even a second thought.”

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9 months ago via ESPN

Green said he wasn’t outwardly concerned, because he wasn’t going to let one emotional outburst in a heated moment change how he felt. “Because someone else’s opinion or how they necessarily may feel ain’t getting me to where I am in the first place,” Green said, explaining his mentality. “So, I don’t really spend my time worrying about how anyone feels. I think everyone is entitled to their own feelings and opinions. So, I don’t take anyone’s feeling or opinions personal because it’s just that for them — it’s personal for them. So, who am I to feel a way about how someone else may feel or feel in the moment? That’s human nature, and we all have those [moments], so that’s how I’m able to move forward.”

Steve Kerr acknowledged using an expletive to air his frustrations with Draymond Green when speaking to assistant coach Mike Brown during Sunday’s 115-111 loss to the lowly Suns. The moment was caught on video and, while it wasn’t audible, viewers could read Kerr’s lips. Kerr wouldn’t go into details regarding any discussion he had with Green on Monday, saying “that’s private.” The two-time defending champions didn’t hold a formal practice and Kevin Durant was listed as day-to-day with a bruised right ankle he injured midway through the fourth quarter of the embarrassing defeat, which snapped an 18-game winning streak against Phoenix — longest in the NBA against a single opponent. The Warriors play again Wednesday at Houston to begin a tough four-game road trip.
1 year ago via ESPN

Steph [Curry] was asked on Bill Simmons’ [podcast] for his favorite Draymond story. He pointed to your beefs with Steve Kerr at practice, which he called “amazing entertainment.” Draymond Green: [Laughs] We used to battle in practice all the time. Steve would be like, “Get off the floor! You’re done!” “I’m not done! I’m not getting off this floor!” Eventually I’d get off, but to be a pr—, I’d just do the Stairmaster courtside, extra hard. But our relationship is incredible. Definitely in the past we would butt heads a lot — everybody knows about the blowup in OKC [at halftime during their 73-win season], where we had it out in the locker room — but I think I’ve grown up, and also Steve knows me now. He put effort into understanding me, not changing me.

“This year, we’ve even moved beyond that,” Kerr said, “to where I think we fully understand each other. And I understand you’ve gotta let Draymond be Draymond. In the end, it works. So I’ve got to give him the leash that he needs to turn it over and take some shots. “That’s fine, because in the end, the guy wins. He just wins. And he competes. One of the reasons he wins is because his emotional intensity is at a certain level. … So I couldn’t get too frustrated. I had to live through some nights where he didn’t have his full energy, was taking some bad shots and turning it over. As long as I was reminding myself that we’re getting the real Draymond in the playoffs.”

“We’ve got good guys. Nobody’s tripping. A very ego-less group,” West said. “In this environment, you can’t be mad. I’ve had to tell the young guys, ‘Y’all need to talk to some other people, ask guys what it’s like in other environments because this is not normal. You mu’fuckers better be thankful to God.’ Shiiiit. For a coach to, even when you’re young, sort of give you the freedom to be yourself and develop your own identity — as opposed to saying, ‘This is who the fuck you gone be.’ I told that to all of them. Damian Jones, Pat (McCaw), whoever else the fuck in here who’s young. Those of us who’s been to other places — Andre, Shaun, myself — we know this isn’t normal. Even Nick Young. He’s been saying all year, ‘I’ve never seen nothing like this in my life.’ A lot of it is the environment we have here.”

The Warriors were up 15 in the fourth quarter. They no doubt were going to beat the visiting Brooklyn Nets, but the drama was just beginning. Steve Kerr benched Draymond Green with 10:25 left in the game. And Green, who was 1 for 8 with four rebounds and three turnovers to that point, was furious. He was an All-Star headed for the Defensive Player of the Year award. He’d earned the right to play through his funk instead of being embarrassed with a benching. He sat the rest of the quarter and was still fuming after the game. “If he woulda said one more word to me, I was gonna go off on his ass,” Green said in the locker room, unapologetically loud. “One more word, I was ’bout to cuss his ass out. But he’s smart. I’ll give him that. He’s smart. He didn’t say one more word to me.”

Kerr had plans to go see “Hamilton” on Broadway with his wife. But Margot got a call from her husband. He was going to be late. He and Green grabbed a drink and just talked. “People don’t understand our relationship,” Green said recently. “I’m probably closer with Steve than any other player on this team.” When Kerr got the Warriors job and it became clear Green would be a central figure, he called up Michigan State coach Tom Izzo for advice on coaching Green. Izzo told Kerr to go at Green because that gets the most out of him. Kerr, whose competitive fire trends toward maniacal, had no problem acquiescing. “I might have gone too far a couple times,” Kerr recalled. But Green almost welcomes the friction. So the two were made for each other in some ways.
3 years ago via ESPN

IT’S FEB. 27 in Oklahoma City, during halftime of a nationally televised game, and Green is losing his holy mind. Inside the visitors locker room, he’s hollering “I am not a robot!” at Kerr. When Kerr tells him to sit down, Green screams, “Motherf—er, come sit me down!” When he goes after Kerr, his teammates, including Curry and Thompson, step in to stave off disaster. Minutes later, in her report following halftime, ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters will recite a portion of Green’s explosion: “I am not a robot! I know I can play! You have me messed up right now! If you don’t want me to shoot, I won’t shoot the rest of the game!” “I’m standing outside the locker room with the Oklahoma City police, which are always stationed outside of every locker room,” Salters will later recall. “They kind of moved me aside, and the officer just kind of stood by the door, with his hand on his weapon like he was trying to determine what he should do. It was clear that something bad was about to happen in this locker room. We’ve never heard anything like this before.”
3 years ago via ESPN

Publicly, the Warriors downplay the incident. At the next practice, Kerr says, “It’s the NBA. Every team I’ve ever been on has had stuff like this. Every team. Championship teams or not, it happens. It’s 15 alpha males in a room trying to compete, money on the line and prestige and trophies and competition. This is being so overblown.” Privately, according to sources close to the team, Green’s teammates respond by voting to fine him. (When asked a week later about the fine, a livid Green would insist, “I asked to be fined. You can report that!”) Green also does not take kindly to the coverage of his outburst, which leads to the Warriors brokering a sit-down between him and Salters. Salters recalls telling him, “What kind of bothered me about it was hearing the pain that was in your voice — you weren’t just mad, you were in pain, emotional pain.”
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December 13, 2019 | 8:27 pm UTC Update
Logan Murdock: Steve Kerr reasoned that Draymond Green earned the right to have rest days because he’s played five straight seasons into the Finals. So I asked if the same logic applies to him as a coach. His response: “The coach does not receive the same treatment unfortunately.” pic.twitter.com/I7y1sl7dpw
Storyline: Load Management
December 13, 2019 | 6:54 pm UTC Update
December 13, 2019 | 6:32 pm UTC Update
December 13, 2019 | 5:28 pm UTC Update
“Yeah, and it comes back to I think that we had the right leadership,” Van Gundy told Krzyzewski. “(Former team president) Dave Checketts, who I’m sure you know. Great leader. And then we had unfortunately, at the end of my time there, we had a dilution of talent with the Knicks and it happened rapidly due to some just age, some injury. Patrick Ewing, one of the greatest all-time players, aged and got traded. Larry Johnson, a legendary UNLV player but just a terrific teammate and someone to coach who set an example every day, back injury. Then they traded for [Antonio] McDyess, he had a knee injury. Allan Houston had a knee injury. These are career-changing type of injuries.”
Van Gundy says that whatever direction the Knicks go in next, the key will be patience, as the team must give whoever is brought in the chance to grow as a leader. “It’s been constant change and unfortunately that amount of change has led to an inconsistency of philosophy, of belief, and I just think they have to settle and give whoever they pick next the opportunity to grow and evolve,” Van Gundy said. “So many of these projects where you’re trying to turn a franchise around, they’re submarined because of a lack of patience. Everybody says, ‘We’re all in to the rebuild,’ and ‘We’re going to be patient,’ and then halfway through they lose the stomach for it and think change is the answer.”
December 13, 2019 | 4:14 pm UTC Update
Joel Embiid declared Thursday morning that Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal were right: He needed to start looking to dominate games. He didn’t waste time taking their advice to heart. In a spectacular performance at TD Garden on Thursday night, Embiid had 38 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists and a monstrous block of Daniel Theis in the final seconds, propelling his Philadelphia 76ers to a 115-109 victory over the Boston Celtics.
“I actually called Shaq yesterday,” Embiid said. “He thought I was mad at him. I was like, ‘No, I understand what he was saying.’ “I’ve had a bad year so far. I’ve been kinda frustrated, just because you’re not seeing the teamwork and you try to fit in with your new teammates. Just be aggressive … just go out there and just dominate. “Whatever they said, I think it was good for me.”
Almost nobody behind “Uncut Gems,” the Adam Sandler/Kevin Garnett drama steeped in NBA lore that opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles (and nationwide on Christmas), wanted the movie to have anything to do with Garnett and the Boston Celtics — unless it somehow involved the Celtics’ humiliation. Josh and Benny Safdie, the writer-director brothers, are diehard fans of the New York Knicks — which naturally means they hate the Celtics. “I hated Boston,” Josh Safdie told ESPN this week. “I hated KG.”
They moved on to Joel Embiid, but working around the schedule of an active player proved impossible. The studio gave them a list of retired players. They met with a few, including Chris Bosh, Josh Safdie said. Garnett’s name was on the list, too. They cringed. They agreed to meet with Garnett anyway. Garnett’s representatives told them they would have an hour. The meeting lasted three hours. Garnett regaled them with stories. He was different in person than he was on television and in media interviews.
“Acting is preparation, just like anything else,” Garnett told the group in New York. “I didn’t want to fail them. They took a risk on me. When I showed up to set, I was ready. It took me back to, ‘OK, it’s Rasheed Wallace tonight. It’s Tim Duncan tonight’ — watching film. I took those same things coming in here.” “He took his lines very seriously,” Josh Safdie told ESPN. “He added a lot of flair, too. He improvised a bit, but he stuck mostly to the script.”
December 13, 2019 | 2:06 pm UTC Update
As Carmelo Anthony’s basketball journey wandered beyond the bright lights of New York City, the 35-year-old forward said he would’ve been okay rejoining the Denver Nuggets. “I was open to it,” a reflective Anthony said Thursday of his options over the past few years. “We talked about it. People in my circle were like, ‘Go back to Denver.’ If it was that easy I probably would’ve done it. A lot of things came into play when it comes to that, kind of out of my control at that time, the timing was off. Similar to Portland, the timing has always just been off. All of the sudden that window of opportunity was there.”
After missing the FIBA Basketball World Cup due to a knee injury, Nicolò Melli is ready to return to wear Italy’s National Team jersey in next June’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Melli is now playing in the NBA with the New Orleans Pelicans. “I confirmed to the Federation my availability for the OQT. It will depend on my physical conditions. I have missed summers with Italy only when I was injured. I gave my availability. It will depend on my body” Melli said, as reported by Backdoor Podcast.
December 13, 2019 | 9:23 am UTC Update

Jeff Teague still available?

As well as Teague has played from a scoring standpoint of late, it is no secret that his fit with a system that is predicated on ball movement and shooting open 3s is problematic. The Timberwolves made it known throughout the league last summer that Teague was available for trade and that remains the case right now, league sources said.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 92 more rumors

Chris Paul staying put?

After polling executives, the league-wide sense is that Paul will remain with the Thunder this season simply because of his enormous contract. While it’s theoretically possible that Paul could agree to turn down his $44 million player option for 2021-22 to grease the wheels on a potential trade, right now, that is the longest of long shots. Besides overcoming the idea of giving up 44 million buckaroos, Paul is also the president of the players’ union and it would be a bad look to set that precedent of turning down that amount of money to make it more palatable to a team.
As it stands now, the Heat aren’t expected to make a run at Paul, per multiple sources. They like their locker room chemistry and aren’t actively looking to shake it up. More importantly, Paul’s contract complicates Miami’s potential future. Paul will be 35 years old in May and is due $41.4 million next season and will be 37 when he’s due $44.2 million. A glamour market like Miami doesn’t need to make trades to acquire a star. Smaller markets like Utah, Charlotte and Portland do.
The belief across the league this summer was that Wiggins could be had for the right offer. Rosas did not acquire him in trade and did not sign him to the max contract extension. But the two have formed a strong relationship in the early going and Wiggins has also responded well to Saunders’ coaching when it comes to changing his shot profile. There is no indication that the team is looking to trade Wiggins right now. The team has been both privately and publicly encouraged by Wiggins’ willingness to embrace this new approach and the results that have come with it. Saunders is firmly in his corner and Rosas has forged a strong working relationship with him.
Storyline: Andrew Wiggins Trade?
It is difficult for Boston to cobble together enough salary to add a major piece without including one of its core players. Boston does have Daniel Theis ($5M), Enes Kanter ($4.8M), all its own first-rounders and additional picks from Milwaukee and Memphis, but that’s not enough money to target a player like the Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge or the Cavaliers’ Kevin Love — unless Boston is willing to put Marcus Smart or Gordon Hayward in a deal, which is unlikely to happen.
Sunday, of course, is the first day players who were acquired in the offseason are eligible to be traded, even though Neil Olshey, the team’s top executive, said this week there is nothing brewing. That hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from heating up, which has included one report saying Kevin Love would prefer a trade to Portland. That rumor apparently reached the eyes and ears of Whiteside, who during Tuesday’s game against New York was shouting during play to Anthony that “Kevin Love doesn’t rebound like that!” “And Kevin Love doesn’t block shots like that, either,” Whiteside said Thursday when asked about the Tuesday exchange. “The trade talk … it don’t enter my mind a lot. I was more just messing with Melo. I’m not thinking about it. If we are struggling on defense and you want to (trade him), I mean, good luck. Good luck with that.”
Storyline: Hassan Whiteside Trade?