Warriors

Draymond: 'That's what stood out to me' about Kyrie Irving trade

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AP

Draymond: 'That's what stood out to me' about Kyrie Irving trade

OAKLAND -- Though Draymond Green has spent the past three months enjoying the fruits of his labor, traveling the world, making friends and finding time for family, he still managed to keep an eye on this most intriguing NBA summer.

When the Warriors forward met with reporters Tuesday after the team’s news conference announcing a three-year jersey sponsorship with Rakuten, a Tokyo-based electric commerce and Internet company, one thing rang loud and clear.

Draymond has a new level of admiration for Kyrie Irving.

The former Cavaliers star expressed a desire to escape LeBron James’ massive shadow -- and the accompanying success -- and did what it took to maneuver his way into being traded to the Celtics, another Eastern Conference contender.

“You have to deliver with that,” Green said. “He’s basically saying, ‘OK, I’m ready to deliver.’

“He wasn’t a free agent. So he could have gotten traded anywhere. But he pretty much said, ‘I don’t care where I go. I’m going to make it happen.’ That says a lot about who he is, as a competitor. His character. That says a lot about him.”

It’s a gutsy move, to be sure, for Irving to want out after he and James led Cleveland to three straight NBA Finals appearances, all against the Warriors, with the Cavs winning one of the three trips.

“I wouldn't necessarily say it surprised me. I'd say more than anything, (it upped) the respect level I have for him,” Green said. “That's tough to do. I don't think people take into account that he put so much pressure on himself by doing that.

“But the willingness to do that, knowing the pressure that comes with that, and saying ‘I'm ready to do it. Let’s do it.' That's what stood out to me, more than anything.”

Irving’s departure doesn’t crush the Cavs, who have evolved into the greatest rival of the Warriors. James remains, and All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas was among the players going from Boston to Cleveland.

Irving’s decision to force his way out of a championship contender is not novel, but it puts a new spin on the Eastern Conference.

“It’s not the surprise of, ‘Hey, Kyrie wants to leave.’ That happens all the time; it happened with Shaq (O’Neal) and Kobe (Bryant), and it’s happened with a ton of other guys in the NBA over the course of the years,” Green said. “But for him to be willing to step out and say (I want to do my own thing) is big.”

Warriors GM Bob Myers has zero tolerance for two things

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USATI

Warriors GM Bob Myers has zero tolerance for two things

Warriors general manager Bob Myers traveled to the East Coast for the team's current road trip.

With Golden State playing in Brooklyn on Sunday, Myers joined "The Woj Pod" for a conversation with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

One question from Woj: "What do you have no tolerance for? Is there something that you've just said, 'I will not allow that.'" 

Myers' response: "There's a couple things I don't like. I don't like arrogance and I don't like selfish -- people that think they're more than the whole team. One thing I've heard about San Antonio -- that I think is true -- they tell their players, or anybody that works there, that you have to get over yourself. And I think that's great. It's not about one person. And when it ever does become about one person, I think that everyone suffers.

"The team is the most important thing. You're a part of that -- whatever part you play in our team is to serve the team and the goals and to win. And when that happens, you'll get your own individual accolades, or whatever you're hoping to obtain. But when I see someone that tries to step outside of that a little bit and says, 'What about me?' Whether it's deflecting blame or having credit, I just don't like that.

"I just don't subscribe to one person doing anything by themselves. It's not true."

The Warriors' general manager must be referring to arrogance off the court, because Steve Kerr has repeatedly said that Steph Curry is "incredibly arrogant on the floor and humble off the court."

We deserve some clarification Mr. Myers... (kidding, of course).

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

In his own way, David Lee was a launching pad for the new age Warriors

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AP

In his own way, David Lee was a launching pad for the new age Warriors

So we say Goodbye, once and for all, to David Lee, who was nothing less than the visible lightning rod for all that was good and bad about the Warriors during their advancement from a hut on the outskirts of the NBA to the league’s penthouse suite.

Lee was, in his own way, every bit as much of a launching pad for the New Age Warriors as was Stephen Curry.

Lee, who disclosed his retirement Sunday in a very 2017 America way -- with an Instagram post -- came to the Warriors from the New York Knicks in a July 2010 sign-and-trade deal. He was the one-man brass band providing accompaniment to the announcement of the team being purchased by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.

An expensive band, too, as the Warriors handed Lee a six-year contract worth $80 million.

Fairly popular in New York, having been the team’s only All-Star in the nine-season span from 2001-02 to 2010-11, Lee became a fast favorite among many Warriors fans because he produced impressive individual numbers for a struggling team with a richly earned inferiority complex.

In 2012-13, Lee’s third season as a Warrior, he became the team’s first All-Star since Latrell Sprewell 16 years earlier. Lee led the NBA in double-doubles, his favorite statistical category. That season, not coincidently, also marked the team’s return to the playoffs after a five-year absence.

Lee by then was partnering with Curry as the leaders of a team -- no, a franchise -- determined to became a player in the NBA. With Guber’s theatrical flair and Lacob’s naked ambition, the Warriors were not going to be stopped.

It became apparent the following season, even as the team was making its second consecutive playoff appearance, that Lee had a ceiling. He could score and rebound well enough to rack up double-doubles, but he was giving away points on the other end. Lee was an awful defender, constantly picked on by opponents.

The Warriors could win a lot of games with Lee as their starting power forward, but they weren’t going to win any championships.

That door didn’t crack open for the Warriors until late in the 2014 season, and it opened wide during the playoffs against the Clippers. Three games into the series, with LA’s Blake Griffin having his way with Lee, Warriors coach Mark Jackson realized he had an answer to his Griffin problem.

Jackson turned to Draymond Green, who played well over the final weeks of the season as Lee recovered from an injury. Green immediately got under Griffin’s skin and stayed there for the rest of the series. More than three years later, Green still terrifies Griffin, which is why the Warriors own the Clippers.

The Clippers won the series in seven games, but the Warriors were enlightened.

Jackson was fired after that series, and Steve Kerr was hired as the new coach. Kerr says he came in believing Lee would be his starting power forward. Lee had the misfortune of straining a hamstring in the final preseason game, pressing Green into the starting lineup. He has been there ever since.

As their 2014-15 season marched on, the Warriors coaching staff began carefully rationing Lee’s reserve minutes to obscure his defensive limitations. In two years, he had gone from a numbers beast and Curry’s chief sidekick to being marginalized on a team bound for a championship.

A member of the 2015 championship team, Lee also was the most glaring casualty of the Warriors amazing ride to the top of the NBA.

His arrival had given them a modicum of credibility, something utterly lacking at the time. That helped the franchise. His departure, traded to the Celtics in July 2015 -- five years to the day after he came to the Bay -- gave the Warriors some immediate cap relief. That also helped the franchise.

After two years bouncing around the league, from the Celtics to the Mavericks to the Spurs last season, Lee is hanging up his sneakers. He’s diving into life with his new fiancée, the tennis star Caroline Wozniacki. Life was good and it should stay good.

Lee has much about which to be proud. He did his job well enough for the Warriors, but not as well as they needed it to be done to reach the very top. No shame in that, none at all.