Warriors

Warriors the establishment, and the field the barbarians at the gate

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AP

Warriors the establishment, and the field the barbarians at the gate

Programming note: Warriors-Rockets coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm on NBC Sports Bay Area, and continues immediately after the final buzzer.

The NBA offseason ended as it began – with someone burning money for our amusement.

The San Antonio Spurs re-upped center LaMarcus Aldridge, with whom head coach Gregg Popovich had an off-season hug-it-out to repair what seemed to be a fraying relationship.

Thus, after the Golden State Warriors boatraced the field, the NBA responded by firing out $1.942 billion in free agent signings. This proves yet again that the problem with rising salaries in sports is not the fault of the players, but of the owners.

And that contreacts and player movement are an increasingly powerful turn-on in a sport that is facing an existential crisis.

Namely, how to build suspense into a season that looks foreordained for the Warriors without hoping for catastrophic injuries. Indeed, as the Warriors open with Houston tonight, there is far more national buzz around the new-look Rockets than the seemingly invulnerable Warriors.

[SHILLER: Draymond responds to D'Antoni's 'they're not gonna stop us either' claim]

It’s a bit like the old comic book conundrum – why was Wolverine a more compelling character than Superman?

Now this may be our fault as consumers for wanting something new to support our pathetically small attention spans. Or more intriguingly, being drawn to the flawed unknown rather than the excellent known.

But changing the American character is not an easy thing to do, as our most recent political developments have shown. We are who we are, and while we will watch the superb team every time, we will be more interested in the one that looks like it could blow itself to bits at any moment (Houston, or Cleveland, or Oklahoma City), or the long-downtrodden failure that suddenly looks like it might no longer be so downtrodden (Philadelphia, Minnesota, or maybe even Philadelphia again).

Or, weirdest of all, the team that used to be the standard, fell off the edge of the planet to the nation’s glee, and is just now showing signs of reconstruction (the Los Angeles Lakers).

Evidently what we want to say is that we like is change – violent, bizarre change, the crazier the narrative the better.

But here, we have the Golden State Warriors, who have chosen a far more conservative path – winning four of every five games, no matter what month, no matter what opponent, and winning nine of every 10 at home, no matter what month, no matter what opponent. And the measured eyeballs of media ratings say the Warriors are the bait behind which all other teams draft.

In short, the Warriors are the establishment, and the field is the barbarians at the gate. It’s just a matter how you feel about the barbarians, and the gate.

I know how the voting here would go. The rest of you are on your own, watching money getting thrown around in hope of some kind of regime change before the end of the decade.

Draymond responds to Embiid: 'Man, I love that dude'

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AP

Draymond responds to Embiid: 'Man, I love that dude'

Draymond Green and Joel Embiid are two of the biggest trash talkers in the NBA. 

After the 76ers blew a 22-point halftime lead to the Warriors on Saturday, Embiid tweeted "we know what it feels like to blow a big lead" to take a jab at the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals two years ago. 

Green finally saw the tweet and it looks like it's all fun and games between the two. The Warriors' defensive star says he's "looking forward to playing against you (Embiid) for years." 

While tweeting the response, Green had even more to say. 

In the Warriors' 124-116 win over the 76ers on November 18, Green scored eight points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished eight assists. Embiid scored 21 points to go with eight rebounds.

Why did David Lee retire? Warriors impact on NBA 'did limit my options'

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USATSI

Why did David Lee retire? Warriors impact on NBA 'did limit my options'

Last season, David Lee appeared in 79 games (10 starts) for the Spurs, averaging 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds over 18.7 minutes a night.

He doesn't turn 35 years old until April 29.

But over the weekend, he officially announced his retirement from the NBA.

On Tuesday, the two-time All-Star explained his decision during an interview with Greg Papa and Bonta Hill on 95.7 The Game.

"I kind of had a little bit more of a strict criteria coming into this offseason. At the most I wanted to play another two years, and as you know -- I had another injury last season, so a lot of the summer was spent rehabbing.

"And with the NBA changing right now, the Warriors have caused a lot of teams in the league to say either we're gonna try to put as many guys on one team as possible to try to compete with the Warriors, or we're gonna go super young. So it did limit my options."

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

You know the story: When Steve Kerr arrived in Golden State, Lee was slated to be the team's starting power forward. But after he injured his hamstring during the preseason, Draymond Green became the starter and Lee never got his starting role back.

In July 2015, Golden State traded him to Boston. Lee was waived in February 2016 and finished the season in Dallas.

So what is Lee going to do next?

"I either wanted to be in a situation where I was on a team that could be a contender -- which once again as you know limits it to maybe six teams if we're being generous -- or a team where I could play significant enough minutes to really be worth coming back and to feel like I was doing something meaningful.

"And while I had a couple opportunities, that criteria wasn't really filled. And at the same time, I actually got a call from a couple of my very good friends that I met while I was a Golden State Warrior -- that run an unbelievable venture capital firm and are doing incredible things in the Bay -- and offered to have me come work for them and have some very exciting things that could happen in the future.

"When the offers didn't come in the way that I wanted them to -- although I could go be someone's fourth big man on a team that's gonna win 30 games -- I decided to roll the dice and to try something new and I'm really excited about my decision."

Lee's new venture will have him flying back and forth between New York and the Bay Area.

So it's quite possible that Warriors fans will bump into Lee at some point soon...

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