Warriors

Updated: Free agents for Warriors to consider

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Updated: Free agents for Warriors to consider

We know there aremock drafts 2.0, 3.0 and beyond leading up to the NBA draft, so theres noreason to not have a free-agent list 2.0 and maybe beyond.Its only fair as itpertains to the Warriors, after all, since their spending parameters havechanged some. Warriors general manager Bob Myers said on Monday that the teamis unlikely to use all of its mid-level exception -- worth about 5million.REWIND: Myers tamps down Warriors' FA expectations
Instead, it seemsthe Warriors are more likely to spend 1 million here, or 2 million there on aplayer or maybe 3 million or so at one guy. More than that and it gets alittle tricky with the luxury tax. With that information in mind, heres anupdated list of some players the Warriors will be looking at: GUARDSConventional wisdom isthat the Warriors need more insurance for Stephen Curry, who is coming offinjury, and Klay Thompson, entering his second season, than just Charles Jenkins. Ideally, theWarriors would be able to sign a veteran with some size and who can defend. Butunder current constraints Andre Miller (said to have agreed to re-sign inDenver), Jason Kidd, Kirk Hinrich, Jeremy Lin, Raymond Felton are all out ofthe picture.It remains to beseen about Brandon Roy, who will meet with the Warriors for the second timelater this week.ShannonBrown: He can get a little too wound up at the offensive end attimes, but Brown would be an athleticism upgrade and toughness upgrade on theperimeter.Randy Foye:Once upon a time, some thought Foye could be a big-time point guard.He never turned into that. But if you look at him as a third guard, hes morelikeable.Royal Ivey:Has gotten lost in the shuffle in Oklahoma City, but has size and candefend.RonniePrice: Hes not much of an offensive player, but is that really whatthe Warriors need? Hes not the greatest of decision-makers, but hed bring theWarriors a toughness in their backcourt that they lack.NateRobinson: Yes, its possible, though not likely he could return tothe Warriors. The reality is the Warriors would like to add size to theirbackcourt, and Robinson doesnt fit that description. But he contributed instretches last season, and coach Mark Jackson seemed to form a bond withhim.SashaVujacic: Before you say NO WAY, listen up. Vujacic, who played inTurkey last season, is 6-foot-7 and able to play both guard positions. And,yes, hes annoying as hell on defense. Thats the point. The fact he can make a3-point shot here and there is gravy.SMALLFORWARDSIts tough to seethe Warriors going in this direction. Right now theyve got plenty of playerswho can play that position: Harrison Barnes, Dorell Wright, Richard Jeffersonand Draymond Green. The Warriors also have made it clear they want to re-signBrandon Rush, who can play this spot. And we havent even mentioned DominicMcGuire, though we will in a minute.FRONTCOURTIn an ideal world,Andrew Bogut and David Lee are healthy, and Festus Ezeli turns out to be betterthan anyone expected. And while were at it, Andris Biedrins has an unforeseencomeback and Jeremy Tyler trends toward Karl Malone.Its always nice tohope, but the Warriors cant go into the season expecting that to happen.Theyd like to add another player of size, and someone with at least a fewyears under his belt. Remember, Myers has talked about adding veterans, but ithasnt happened yet.LouAmundson: He didnt make much of an impact the first time around withGolden State, and the Warriors seem to have gotten the better of the BrandonRush deal, but Amundson is a good guy and known commodity.J.J.Hickson: There are reports that have Hickson coming to the Warriors.Not so fast. Yes, he fits the Warriors financial parameters, but thingshavent nearly progressed that far.JordanHill: If Hill can build off of last season, he might be ontosomething. And thats the problem for the Warriors. If one other GM thinks likethat, Hill is likely out of the Warriors price range.RobinLopez: Hes a restricted free agent, so it wouldnt be easy to gethim. But hed be another big body to add to the frontline, and he does havetoughness.IanMahinmi: Hes quietly been improving every year, but the Warriorsmight be looking for someone a little more versatile. The same thing can besaid for Lopez, above. The Warriors already seem to have three true centers ontheir roster: Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli and Andris Biedrins.DominicMcGuire: The Warriors didnt extend a qualifying offer to McGuire,but that doesnt necessarily mean they dont want him back. But if someoneoffers him a contract on the high side, the Warriors will likely have to watchhim walk away.NazrMohammed: Hes also a true center, but if youre looking for solid,veteran leadership and a player young guys will look up to, Mohammed is yourman.RonnyTuriaf: Theres sentiment out there to bring back Turiaf, who justcompleted a championship season with the Heat. But the Warriors need someone alittle more reliable than Turiaf.SheldenWilliams: He makes a lot of sense. Affordable, professional and asolid veteran. Hes also part of Myers old stable of clients under ArnTellem.

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

The Warriors are not ready to flip their seek-and-destroy switch. Not yet.

They’re closer to being ready than, say, their longtime rivals in Cleveland, but in going 2-2 on this four-game road trip the Warriors showed they are nowhere near full annihilation mode.

They went into Oklahoma City Wednesday night and, in gulping down a 108-91 loss on national TV, came away looking more vulnerable than they have in any game this season. The 17-point loss was their largest margin of defeat and this was awful close to being a wire-to-wire rout.

The Warriors defense, so splendid during the seven-game win streak they took out of town last week, was inconsistent throughout and downright atrocious by their standards as they concluded the trip.

Their offense, which had begun reducing the turnovers to acceptable levels, came apart like a pair of $3 sneakers.

Even their body language, aside from two well-deserved technical fouls, seemed to mostly vacillate between whispers and a whimpers.

“We didn’t have any focus or concentration,” coach Steve Kerr said. “The ‘millennials’ couldn’t lock in tonight. And their coach couldn’t do much either. Long night for us.”

These were not the Warriors who posted seven consecutive double-digit wins, and they’re certainly not the team that found its competitive blowtorches last April. They weren’t visible in this game, nor were they seen for most of this road trip.

This, ahem, regular-season road trip.

That’s the catch. Last April is when the playoffs got underway, and next April is when the 2018 playoffs begin. The time between now and then is for experimenting, fine-tuning and fighting through the monotonous joys of victory -- a factor on vivid display Wednesday night.

“We played with some decent energy,” Stephen Curry said. “We just didn’t play smart.”

“They completely outplayed us, outcoached us,” Kerr said. “It was just their night. It was absolutely their night. They brought the energy, they brought the juice, they brought the intelligence. And we didn’t bring any of that.”

The Warriors entered the game after studying video and stats that illustrated OKC’s ability to disrupt an offense. The Thunder leads the NBA in steals, deflections and -- this one punches the Warriors in the gut -- forcing turnovers.

The Warriors committed 22 giveaways, leading directly to 34 Thunder points.

“Thirty-four points off turnovers, you can’t win like that,” Draymond Green said.

“I’ve got to do a better job of getting them ready to play,” Kerr said. “We have a pretty loose, fun atmosphere around here. That’s great, but there are certain times where it’s like, ‘All right guys. Let’s throw it to our team. Let’s execute the play. Let’s remember the play.’ ”

Kevin Durant bemoaned the “silly turnovers” that were such a factor in the game, blaming it players rather than Kerr and his staff.

“For the most part he can’t control that type of stuff,” said Durant, whose four turnovers were second to Curry’s team-high six. “We’ve got to be better at keeping the ball in our hands, shooting more shots than our opponents and playing defense.”

Added Green: “We were pretty well-prepared. We just played bad.”

That happens to even the best of teams, a category in which the defending champions fit quite snugly. No team, not even the Chicago Bulls of the maniacally competitive Michael Jordan, is able to bring its best for 82 games a season.

The Warriors blew two 17-point leads, one in second quarter and another in the third, in losing at Boston.

They fell behind by 24 in the third quarter to the 76ers before coming back to win in Philadelphia before recovering the next night to submit their best performance of the trip in routing Brooklyn.

And in OKC, against a Thunder team that would seem to get their full attention, the Warriors were outhustled, outsmarted and played with considerably less fury.

“Right now, we’re just in a little bit of rut, where we’ve got to focus,” Kerr said. “And I know we will. We’ve done this many times in the past and bounced back. And we’ll bounce back. We need to lock in and tighten up everything.”

They will, eventually. It could happen next week, or next month, or after the calendar turns to 2018. They’ll turn it on and become the team of terror, punishing all before them. It might be April, though.

This road game indicated some truth, though, which is there will be games over the next four months in which they will lose the battle with themselves.

Durant addresses scuffles with Westbrook after Warriors' loss: 'That's just ball'

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AP

Durant addresses scuffles with Westbrook after Warriors' loss: 'That's just ball'

As you might expect when Kevin Durant returns to Oklahoma City, things got chippy at several moments Wednesday.

Once during the second quarter and again in the third quarter, Durant and former running mate Russell Westbrook could be seen yapping at each other. During the latter incident, the two literally went nose-to-nose, touching foreheads before being sperated.

After the Warriors' 108-91 loss to the Thunder, Durant was asked about the exchanges.

"Man, that's just ball. That's just ball me. He's competitive, I'm competitive. We like to go at it. Both of us. That's just part of the game, so I respect it. I got nothing but love for him. I'm expecting it again when we play them again. All fun and games to me," Durant told reporters.

Despite what the cameras caught, Durant tried to downplay the level of emotions between the two teams on the court.

"Can't let emotion seep into business. Can't do that. So I think on our end, we were just playing our game. They just played better than us tonight. The emotion around the court, around the arena, around the city I'm sure was a little higher than it was on the court. can't let emotion seep in. Just have to play better than that," Durant said.

When a reporter kept pressing about the incidents between Durant and Westbrook, the Warriors forward pushed back.

"Did you watch the game? Or did you watch for the scuffles? The story is about the game. We lost, they kicked our a**, they played a great. You should give them credit for how they played. We should be better. It's not about who's in each other's faces. That stuff is not real. So please, don't believe it. All the fans, they are lying to you. It's all about basketball. They played a great game. We didn't," Durant retorted.

So how did returning to his former home for the first time this season compare to his first trip back last year?

"It was a little better. Nothing like the first. I'm sure everyone in the arena said what they had to say," Durant said.

The next two times Durant and Westbrook meet up, it will be in Oakland (Feb.6 and Feb. 24). The Warriors don't return to Oklahoma City until April 3, 2018.