Warriors

The true test: Facing Warriors will show exactly why Celtics traded for Kyrie

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AP

The true test: Facing Warriors will show exactly why Celtics traded for Kyrie

BOSTON -- Danny Ainge loves Isaiah Thomas. The Boston Celtics' franchise, from ownership on down, feels the same way. 

No one knows fully how tough it was for them to part with him for a package centered around Kyrie Irving, who'd made it clear that he wanted out of Cleveland. 
 
For those who question Irving’s motives as well as the Celtics’ desire to part with a player like Thomas -- who made such a huge impact in so little time -- here’s what you need to know.
 
You do that deal if you're Boston because you feel that, going forward, Irving gives you a better shot at winning a title.

You do that deal because you know that adding Irving to this culture would be a win-win for both the player and the franchise. 
 
You do this deal because you believe Irving can elevate your franchise in a way that makes you, at a minimum, in the conversation to compete and ultimately win a championship. 
 
Thursday’s game against Golden State?
 
That’s why you did the deal. 
 
Because for all the second-guessing that went on relative to the blockbuster trade with Cleveland, the end-goal was to be positioned to win games like Thursday night’s battle with the defending NBA champion Warriors. 
 
And making the matchup all that more enticing is that the Celtics (13-2) come in with the league’s best record -- not Golden State -- and have done it in impressive, emphatic and historic fashion. 

READ MORE AT NBCSportsBoston.com

Could Steph Curry buy the Panthers? 'I want in!'

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USATSI

Could Steph Curry buy the Panthers? 'I want in!'

The Carolina Panthers will soon be for sale. After allegations of workplace minconduct recently surfaced, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced Sunday night that he plans to put the team up for sale

It looks like Steph Curry wants to be more than just a fan of his hometown team. 

The Warriors' star was responding to Sean "Diddy" Combs saying he wants to buy the team. 

Diddy responded to Curry, looking to make a partnership on the Panthers.

Curry grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, when his father played shooting guard for the Hornets. He's frequently at Panthers games whenever he gets a chance. 

When the Panthers played the Broncos in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Curry was awarded with his own custom Panthers jersey and he banged the team drum before kickoff. 

Richardson was awarded the Panthers in 1993. The team played their first season in 1995. 

Time to raise a red flag? Kerr's tone on Draymond's injury changes

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AP

Time to raise a red flag? Kerr's tone on Draymond's injury changes

OAKLAND -- When a defending NBA champion goes without an All-Star for a game or three in the first half of the season, it’s not necessarily significant.

When it extends beyond a week without any discernable timetable for his return, it’s time to raise the red flag.

That’s where the Warriors are with Draymond Green and his ailing right shoulder. Something is wrong and there has been no interpretation, much less an expressed diagnosis.

Green’s absence Monday night in Los Angeles, where the Warriors face the Lakers, will be the third in a row and fifth in the last six for the starting power forward. Unlike center Zaza Pachulia, who also has missed the last three games, Green has not participated in any basketball activities while sidelined.

If Green can’t take the court, in any way, that’s cause for concern. He lives to play the game.

“Draymond’s not happy. I can tell you that,” coach Steve Kerr said Sunday. “He’s happiest when he’s on the floor, hair on fire, screaming at everybody and competing. It’s been hard on him.

“But Draymond also knows that this is the smart approach. So he’s not complaining. But I wouldn’t call him happy, either.”

All of which explains why when discussing Green’s condition with the Warriors, the tone in recent days has shifted from relative unconcern to apparent apprehension.

“It just got sore, probably wear and tear,” Kerr said. “There’s nothing we can do about it. I don’t spend any time worrying about it. When he’s ready, he’s ready. He’ll be all right. I’m sure of that.”

Though the mystery around Green’s shoulder woes would seem to merit an MRI test, none has been scheduled, according to Kerr, who described Green’s status as “day to day.”

Meanwhile, with Green and Pachulia out, the Warriors are wading knee-deep in contingencies.

Rookie Jordan Bell and veteran Omri Casspi have started the last two games and filled the majority the minutes that normally would go to Pachulia and Green. Kevon Looney can fill in at center. The Warriors on Sunday activated center Damian Jones from G-League Santa Cruz, and he will be available against the Lakers.

The injury issues and contingencies don’t end there. With starting point guard Stephen Curry already out -- he’s scheduled for reevaluation Tuesday -- primary backup Shaun Livingston will be sidelined, too, with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee.

“It’s got to be as beaten up as we’ve ever been since I’ve been here,” Kerr said. “I don’t remember having this many guys out, particularly starters. It’s all part of it and we’ve handled it really well. It’s created some opportunities for other guys.”

Though the Warriors are comfortable running their offense through several available players, including Andre Iguodala and Kevin Durant, the bulk of the point guard minutes will go to second-year guard Pat McCaw and Quinn Cook, who is in his third season bouncing between the G-League and the NBA.

Cook is on a two-way contract with the Warriors, which means he can spend up 45 days in the NBA before the team has to decide whether to offer a standard contract.

“The way the season is going, we’ll probably use all 45 of his days by the end of the year,” Kerr said.

Though half the regular rotation will be out of action, there is some good news for the Warriors: guard Nick Young, who has participated in the last two practices, is expected to clear the NBA’s concussion protocol and be available to face his former team at Staples Center.