Kevin Durant offers analysis of top West contenders: 'That's a smart move'


Kevin Durant offers analysis of top West contenders: 'That's a smart move'

The Warriors were so dominant this past season, they forced several top contenders to make surprising moves in an attempt to compete with the champs during the 2017-18 season.

The Rockets acquired Chris Paul. The Clippers signed Danilo Gallinari and European guard Milos Teodosic. The Thunder got Paul George from Indiana. The T'Wolves added Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague. Denver signed Paul Millsap. Boston and Cleveland have (tentatively) swapped Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas. The Celtics also signed Gordon Hayward.

And Kevin Durant has some interesting thoughts on most of those moves. While speaking on The Bill Simmons Podcast recently, the NBA Finals MVP was asked about the Rockets, Thunder, Clippers, T'Wolves, Nuggets and the big Cavs-Celtics trade.

Durant on the Irving-Thomas trade:

I don't think that was because of us.

Durant on the Rockets trading for Paul:

I'm not surprised by anything, but it was kind of like 'Hmm. Damn, that's a smart move. I wouldn't think anybody would be that smart to pull that off.' I think it was a great move. You put two guys together that are crafty with the ball, they're going to get everybody shots and they going to get each other shots. It was a ballsy move to pull off by [Rockets GM Daryl] Morey. I don't think anybody would have thought to do that.

Durant on the Thunder added George to MVP Russell Westbrook.

That was a shock too. That was a shock. That was shocking because Indiana just gave him away. And I didn't think OKC would even think about giving up anything for to trade for him. I didn't think they'd do it. That was a ballsy move.

Durant on the retooled Clippers:

Teodosic...I can't wait to see him play. He made the greatest pass I ever seen my life last summer. We was all like 'How the hell did you see that?' He was running towards to the sideline and flicked around his head through two people on a dime, and he was at the 3-point line...with his right hand. It kind of faked me out. I spinned in a circle. I was like 'that's the greatest pass I've ever seen...from anybody.' Best pass I've ever seen. So I'm excited to see how he plays.

You could tell that at some point everybody there needed some new life and energy. Whether it was somebody leaving or somebody bringing in another big player, they needed new energy. And you can sense that now with the Clippers, especailly with Doc just being the head coach now. I think that's going to be good for them.

Durant on the new-look Timberwolves:

[Butler] was hurt. I could tell he was hurt he got traded. Ain't not loyalty, man. Do your thing, Jimmy.

That's a lot of talent. Let's see how that works.

Let’s go down the line with that:

Now Teague. Can’t really shoot that well but he can play. He need the ball though. And Jimmy. He can shoot it, but he need a rhythm so he need the ball, too. [Andrew] Wiggins, he the same way. He need the ball. They can all score. They all good, but somebody gotta give up something….

I’m just saying somebody will have to give up something in their games in order for it to work, and I believe that they will. But [Karl-Anthony] Towns needs to be the guy that they get the ball to, I think, because he’s so good. Jimmy needs to be facilitating. Wiggins is going to be the guy if you need a basket, he’s going to be the finisher.

Durant on the Nuggets:

Yo, they're the second best offense in the league. They were second in the league in the assists, they can shoot the 3-pointer, they got passing in their bigs and they got small guards. I think they need a point guard that they really, really believe in because they were putting [Emmanuel] Mudiay on the bench sometimes because he was hurt and they played Jameer [Nelson] and they were trying to make the playoffs so they didn't want to mess the rhythm up. I get it, but I feel like they need a stable point guard that they trust. And hopefully that's Mudiay because I'm pulling for him. But I like their team, their offense, Mike Malone. Man, when Sacramento let him go, I was like 'What are you doing?' This dude is a guru.

It's official -- Steph Curry will return vs Hawks, Dennis Schroder awaits him


It's official -- Steph Curry will return vs Hawks, Dennis Schroder awaits him

OAKLAND -- At a time when the Warriors could use a boost, they’ll get Friday night when Stephen Curry rejoins the lineup as they face the Atlanta Hawks.

The Warriors (53-18) have been shorthanded for two weeks, and still they’ll be without three of their four All-Stars. Curry’s return after a six-game absence, however, will send a jolt of energy through the team and the crowd at Oracle Arena.

The Hawks (21-51), in full rebuild mode, have lost 10 of 13 since the All-Star break, including a 105-90 loss to the Kings on Thursday night in Sacramento before the lightest NBA crowd of the season due to protests in the wake of a police shooting.


Warriors by 9


Stephen Curry vs. Dennis Schroder: Under normal circumstances, this is worthy of attention, but it’s particularly intriguing with Curry making his return. Schroder, who rested Thursday night, is a defensive pest, the type of player whose presence lights a fire under opponents. Not that Curry needs it. He’s downright anxious to get back on the court.


Warriors: F Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain) is listed as questionable. F Kevin Durant (R rib cartilage injury), F Draymond Green (pelvic contusion) and G Klay Thompson (R thumb fracture) are listed as out.

Hawks: G Kent Bazemore (R knee bone bruise), F De’Andre Bembry (abdominal strain), G Antonious Cleveland (L ankle surgery rehab), F/C John Collins (L ankle sprain), G Malcolm Delaney (L ankle sprain) and G Jaylen Morris (L ankle sprain) are listed as out.


Warriors: 6-4. Hawks: 2-8.


Sean Wright (crew chief), Kevin Cutler, Rodney Mott


The Warriors prevailed in the first of two meetings this season, 114-109 on March 2 in Atlanta. They swept the two-game series last season and are 6-1 against the Hawks in the Steve Kerr era.


DEFENSIVE INTENSITY: Green’s absence robs the Warriors of their best defender and emotional leader. How do they compensate? That’s going to be tough. Expect Jordan Bell (who will start) and Kevon Looney to handle most of the minutes at PF. They’re capable and willing defenders, but neither has Green’s savvy.

THE GIFTS: Though the Warriors, even without a full roster, are much the better team, those circumstances have guaranteed nothing this season. They have a tendency to keep games close by committing costly turnovers. The Hawks are second in forcing turnovers (15.5 per game) and third in points off turnovers (18.2).

THE GUARDS: Curry’s return gives the Warriors a fourth guard, with three PGs (Quinn Cook, Shaun Livingston, Curry) and SG Nick Young. Because Curry and Quinn Cook are capable of playing off the ball, there will be several variations. Any two can be paired as a duo. The coaching staff gets to satisfy its desire to experiment.

Former agent Christian Dawkins to blame? Jordan Bell knows 'exactly what happened'


Former agent Christian Dawkins to blame? Jordan Bell knows 'exactly what happened'

So here's a story for you:

At 9:25pm on April 16, 2017, The Vertical's Shams Charania sent out the following tweet:

This angered Jordan Bell, who soon thereafter tweeted twice:

So what actually went down? It turns out that former agent Christian Dawkins -- who is a key figure in the FBI's investigation into corruption in college basketball -- may have been responsible.

Bell explained everything to Logan Murdock on the Planet Dubs Podcast.

"I was mad ... I know exactly what happened. One of the agents I met with -- the one who got in trouble. What's his name? Dawkins or whatever. Something like that. When I met with him, he was throwing me shade -- he acted like he didn't know who I was. 

"We had dinner and he's on his phone like not really paying me attention. I'm like, 'Why am I meeting with you?  You're wasting my time.' ... I kid you not, he didn't read over his (research). It had all of the top power forwards, big guys in the draft. And he was like, 'Let's just look at this.'

"And he's looking at it, and he was like, 'Oh! You're Top 3 in everything!' And he started getting excited and I was like, 'I'm cool. I'm done with this meeting.'"

Bell then explained how one of his coaches at Oregon tried to teach Bell a lesson.

The coach wanted Bell to "be a man" and contact all of the agents that he was for sure not going to sign with to let them know.

Bell didn't want to do that because he wanted to announce he was declaring for the draft on his own terms, without any information potentially leaking to the media.

But the Warriors rookie took the coach's advice and texted Dawkins to say he was going in a different direction.

"And I kid you not, like an hour later, I get an (alert) -- I'm upstairs at my coach's house -- 'I hear Jordan Bell declares for (the draft)' and I just started screaming...

"... I feel like I have to go (to the NBA) now ... when that happened, I was like, 'I really want to go back now just to prove him wrong, just to make him lose all credibility."

Bell quickly came to his senses, and at 10am on April 18, 2017, he retweeted the following message:

Interestingly -- the last line of The Vertical's story that broke the news regarding Bell reads:

Bell is projected to be the No. 38 overall pick in The Vertical’s latest mock draft by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.

The Warriors paid the Bulls $3.5 million for the rights to Bell at... No. 38 overall.

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