LuolDengs name has surfaced in trade rumors, and no team has been more linked tothe Chicago small forward than the Warriors. The Bulls are apparentlyinterested in trading Deng, and the Warriors could be in the market for a smallforward.Butacquiring Deng wont be easy for the Warriors, and according to separatesources in the league the teams have not had dialogue about a possibletrade.AcquiringDeng would most certainly cost the Warriors the No. 7 pick, but its the kindof move Warriors general manager Bob Myers has said he would be open to onethat would yield Golden State a veteran-type player.The mostsignificant obstacle to acquiring Deng would be that the Warriors would have tosend approximately 13 million in salary back to Chicago or about what Dengwill earn in 2012-13.Thatwould make Richard Jefferson, who will make 10.2 million in 2012-13, or AndrisBiedrins, who is set to make 9 million, the most likely candidate to be in adeal for Deng. Question is, would the Bulls be willing to trade Deng, who ledthe league in minutes last season, in a move for the No. 7 pick and one ofthose two?Remember,were talking about the Bulls here, a team that very much considers itself atitle contender as long as Derrick Rose is on the roster. And were talkingabout Deng, a player whom coach Tom Thibodeau relies on as an important andconsistent defender. Last we checked, defense is pretty importantthere.Jeffersonis five years older than Deng, and is on the downside of his career. Biedrinshas two more years remaining on his deal, and he has been ineffectual in eachof the past two seasons.Deng, 27,has been the Bulls mainstay at small forward over the course of his eight-yearcareer. Despite a poor shooting season in 2011-12, he is considered a very goodmid-range shooter. But what he excels at is defense, which is the Bullscalling card.Its noteasy to see the Bulls trading Deng because they would likely get worse in theshort term, and thats not what their organizational thinking would seem to beas long as they have Rose. Its also unlikely that the No. 7 pick would be ableto contribute immediately for a team the caliber of the Bulls.Deng wasnamed an NBA All-star this past season, and also was all-NBA defensive secondteam. Deng shot just 41.2 percent from the field and averaged 15.3 points pergame. That is five percentage points below his career mark and about two pointsoff his scoring average over the past two years.Dengplayed some of 2011-12 with torn ligaments in his left wrist, and hes informedteam officials in Chicago that he will postpone surgery on it until after theOlympics are over in August.Thatdecision will likely mean Deng will miss at least the first month of theregular season.And thatis one more thing to consider. Do the Warriors want to acquire a player whowill likely miss the early part of the season with injury, when remaininghealthy is going to be such a key to their upcoming season?StephenCurry and Andrew Bogut, the teams starting point guard and center,respectively, are both coming off injuries. Curry missed most of 2011-12 with asprained ankle, and there are questions about whether he can stayhealthy.Ditto forBogut, who has struggled with injury in each of the past four seasons, missing54 games in 2011-12, missing 17 games in 2010-11, missing 13 games in 2009-10and missing 46 games in 2008-09.
Just before the Warriors officially lost the game in Memphis on Saturday night, their superstar point guard lost his cool.
After not getting a foul call with 43 seconds left in the game, Steph Curry chucked his mouthguard in the direction of referee Scott Wall in a fit of rage reminiscent of Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals.
Wall immediately ejected Curry, who continued to argue with the officials.
After the game, Curry wanted to make it clear he wasn't trying to his Wall with his mouthguard.
"If I tried to throw it at him and hit him, I've got a pretty good aim," Curry said told reporters after the game. "I've thrown my mouthpiece plenty of times and thrown it on the floor. Probably not the best thing to do, but I've done it. I own up to it.
"If I was trying to throw it at him or hit him, I would have been able to executed that."
Curry explained why he reacted the way he did.
"That last play, I thought I got fouled. My frustration boiled over, did something stupid, deserved to get kicked out and that's what happened. Obviously learn from it and try not to do it again," Curry told reporters.
Now Curry and the Warriors wait to see if the NBA will suspend or fine him. He has an expectation of what the punishment will be.
"Don't think it will be a suspension or anything. My pockets will be a lot lighter," Curry said after the game.
It’s much too early to get legitimately nervous, much less start tumbling into a panic.
The Warriors are going to be fine.
They most certainly are not yet what they will become in about two weeks, when they settle in for a four-game homestand that begins Nov. 6. That’s 10 games into the season, and it’s conceivable the Warriors might be 6-4.
After a 111-101 loss to the ever-tenacious Grizzlies on Saturday in Memphis, the Warriors are 1-2 and, by their lofty standard, looking about as lost as a stray cat in a hurricane.
“We’re obviously not ready. We knew that,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re not ready to put together a full effort. And I’m not doing a great job of putting together combinations, finding the right motivation to get guys going, to get some joy and laughter in here.
“It’s just one of those rough patches. And, hopefully, we can climb our way out of it. I’m sure we will. It may take some time.”
It will take some time, and of that there is plenty.
Do not blame this lull entirely on China, not when there is so much more. The Warriors are coming off their third consecutive prolonged season, this one followed by the training camp disruption caused by spending eight days in Oakland, eight days in China, followed by eight days in Oakland leading up to opening night.
It’s easy to see the timing is off on an offense that relies on precision. The spacing is off on an offense that requires room to operate. The energy is lacking on a defense that lapses into ordinary without its bedrock intensity. Both body and spirit appear less than peak.
“We’ve been playing hard,” Kevin Durant told reporters at FedEx Forum, “but I think we’ve got to take it up a level.
“We’ll be fine. It’s 79 more games left. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”
Understand, a team that won an NBA-best 67 games last season and posted a league-record 16-1 postseason doesn’t lose it because opponents load up. When the Warriors are on their game, opponents don’t matter.
For now, though, there is an individual listlessness that results in collective slumber. Stephen Curry has gambled himself in foul trouble in both losses and was booted in Memphis. Andre Iguodala missed an entire game and Draymond Green missed the fourth quarter of the first loss, a game in which the Warriors gave up a 13-point lead over the final 12 minutes.
And Durant’s 4.6 blocks per game is impressive. It also happens to be offset by his 6.3 turnovers per game.
“That’s on me,” he said. “I’m turning the ball over at a high rate right now. I’m really pissed at myself about it. I’ve just got to hold on to the ball. Just make the correct pass. I think I’m just rushing. I just need to calm down, settle down, and that would ignite the whole team. But if I turn the ball over, that’s contagious.”
The Rockets turned 17 Warriors giveaways into 21 points. The Pelicans turned 14 into 20. The Grizzlies turned 17 into 24.
Asked what has to change, Klay Thompson went to exactly the right place, saying “probably our defensive intensity from the jump.”
That’s where it starts, at least on the court. Meanwhile, there is more video work, more group texts about details and the need for more time for their bodies and minds to become one.
“We’ll be better,” Durant said. “We’re still finding a groove with each other. We’re still getting back into shape as far as playing our game, the flow, just the reads off not calling plays. We’ve got to get used to that again.”
Thompson is, however, displaying a modicum of impatience.
“We’ll come out Monday and we’ll play a great game,” he said. “I guarantee it.”
He’s probably right. The Warriors will be playing at Dallas, against a Mavericks team that is built to be devoured by the powerful.
That might be a quick fix. But it won’t be the final fix. That is weeks away.