Warriors

Former Cavs GM defends Kyrie Irving's trade request: 'LeBron casts...'

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AP

Former Cavs GM defends Kyrie Irving's trade request: 'LeBron casts...'

On Monday, June 19, the Cavaliers and GM David Griffin "mutally" agreed to part ways.

On Monday, August 6, Cleveland's former general manager appeared on ESPN's "The Jump."

Naturally, the conversation began with a discussion surrounding Kyrie Irving.

"I think Kyrie is going to end up getting traded," Griffin said. "But I think what Ron was saying is really unfair to Kyrie. I don't think this is youth and ignorance. This is a guy who handled the situation exactly like he was supposed to.

"He went to Dan Gilbert privately, told him that he thought he would be happier somewhere else. The absolute worst thing this guy could have done was pretend to be all-in, and sink the ship from within.

"Most guys don't have the courage to do what he did. So that's not youth and ignorance. That's a little bit more courage than people give him credit for."

Who is Ron?

That would be former NBA player Ron Harper, who had some strong words for Kyrie and his trade request.

"Youth. Ignorance ... the inmates are in charge. So when the inmates are in charge, nothing but bad things can happen, right?" Harper told Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal. "You’re never going to be a guy who carries your team. You see when LeBron doesn’t play, you don’t carry the team.”

Irving -- the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft -- is a four-time All-Star and was named All-NBA Third-Team in 2014-15.

He will turn 26 years old in March.

"I see this as him looking for a fit for himself now to take the next step in his career," Griffin explained. "This is a guy who wants to know how good he can be.

"LeBron casts a very large shadow over an organization -- and most of it is really, really positive. You know you're expected to win a championship, but what that doesn't always allow is for a player like Kyrie to test his boundaries a little bit and see how good he can really be."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Warriors tease in first half, then torture Cavs

Warriors tease in first half, then torture Cavs

After all the battles over the past three years, the exchanging of championships and champagne celebrations, the Warriors truly respect the Cavaliers and give honest props to LeBron James for being a great player.

But the Warriors have moved beyond the days of considering the Cavs a legitimate threat to rob them of their goals. That much was evident in the first half of their 118-108 victory Monday night in Cleveland.

“I was a little upset at halftime just because we weren’t guarding anybody,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters at Quicken Loans Arena. “We didn’t play with much intensity.”

The Warriors spent the first quarter lounging about at scrimmage speed. They could’ve wearing robes and smoking pipes. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry combined for six shots. There wasn’t much sweat at all, yet the offense was effective: 35 points, 56.5-percent shooting and 11 assists on their 13 buckets.

The offense slowed to a crawl in the second quarter, as the Warriors managed only eight field goals while shooting 36.4 percent.

And Warriors defense was a rumor throughout the half, during which Cleveland shot 56.5 percent.

“We kind of let them do whatever they wanted in that first half,” Klay Thompson said.

That’s not the way Cavs big man Kevin Love saw it.

“We played well in the first half,” he summarized.

Fools gold. Cleveland went into the locker room with a seven-point lead, 64-57, in part because a Kevin Durant live-ball turnover in the final seconds resulted in at least a four-point swing.

Once the Warriors actually arrived in the second half, the blowout was on. They poured in 56 points in a little more than 20 minutes, during which time Cleveland managed only 35 points.

“We just started focusing more,” Durant said.

“In the first half, we were just out there,” Draymond Green conceded. “We played with more force in the second half.”

Put another way, the Warriors spent 24 minutes toying around, skipping and shrugging and whistling, before operating on the team they have faced in the last three NBA Finals.

The team widely considered No. 2 in the NBA despite its current 26-17 record.

When the Warriors pulled away for good early in the fourth quarter, Durant and Curry were sitting on the bench, peeking out from beneath hoods. They’d crushed it in the third quarter, combining for 27 points to equal Cleveland’s total for the quarter. Now they were watching Green and Thompson and the Vet Platoon -- Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and David West -- bury the Cavs under a ton of defense.

“Seemed like the rim got smaller and smaller,” James said.

“That group that was out there, they have hung their hats on being a defensive unit and getting stops and that’s what they did the first four minutes,” Curry said. “I don’t think they gave Cleveland any daylight.”

Leading by two entering the fourth quarter, the Warriors needed about six minutes to push it to 10. They were up eight, 105-97, when Curry and Durant returned with 5:29 remaining to deliver the goodnight kiss.

The Warriors well into that stage that most great teams experience. They know that if they do what they’re capable of doing, the competition is irrelevant.

They also are aware that if they are too careless or complacent, they can lose to any team. Five of their nine losses are to teams simply hoping to make the playoffs.

The Cavs aren’t hoping. They’ll be there. The question is will they be there in June.

“I don’t think this game was any indication of what’s going to happen with this team down the line,” Durant said of the Cavs. “They’re going to be much better than what they are right now. And we all know that.”

Durant is right. The Cavs will be better in April than they are in January. Isaiah Thomas, who missed the first 11 weeks before taking the court on Jan. 2, will have shaken off the rust long before the playoffs. James will be in championship-or-bust mode. Whether there is a trade or not, Cleveland’s rotations will be set.

But the Warriors know they’re the better team, able to keep up with the Cavs even while snoozing. When the defending champs decide to work at it, they know Cleveland is helpless, even if it’s not something said in public.

Report: KD wants to own an NBA team

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USATSI

Report: KD wants to own an NBA team

Kevin Durant figures to have a good chunk of his career ahead of him, but he's already thinking of his next move.

Durant is only 29-years-old, but is already in the midst of his 11th NBA season. For his post-basketball life, the reigning Finals MVP has his sights set on NBA ownership.

Over his last 18 months as a member of the Golden State Warriors, Durant's increasingly yearned to own an NBA team, according to a report from ESPN's Chris Haynes. 

"[This] is a genuine goal of his after he retires, to add another African-American in the position of majority ownership," a league source told Haynes under the condition of anonymity. 

Currently, Michael Jordan is the only African-American majority owner in the league. Durant said he would also like to see more African-Americans in front office roles. 

"[Jordan] was the first big Nike athlete, the biggest star of his time, but if you don't have the trajectory, that path, that journey, it's going to be hard to do what he did," Durant told ESPN. "But you can still affect the NBA and the game of basketball in a different way. You don't have to be an owner.

"I think it should be more guys in the positions of power like general managers and scouts and coaches. Anything that involves the day-to-day operations of these franchises. I think more players and more experienced players should be in those positions."

Durant and his business partner, Rich Kleiman, have met with multiple tech executives and team owners in order to "learn the lay of the land," Haynes wrote. 

He's not the only former MVP on the Warriors with ownership aspirations, either. Stephen Curry tweeted last month he wanted in on Sean "Diddy" Combs' prospective bid for the Carolina Panthers, and Curry told ESPN last month he's "really serious" about the opportunity.