Warriors

Warriors' Welts: 'No final decision' on possible name change

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AP

Warriors' Welts: 'No final decision' on possible name change

Any presumption that the Warriors, upon departing Oakland for San Francisco in 2019, will dump the Golden State moniker is premature, according to the team executive who has spent five years devoted to completing the impending move.

Despite speculation that the Warriors will reassume the name San Francisco Warriors, team president/COO Rick Welts said Thursday that the odds are against it.

“The team’s success has caused us to really rethink whether or not that’s something we should or want to do,” Welts said on the Warriors Insider Podcast. “I guess it’s fair to say there’s been no final decision made.

“But if you were a betting man, I think you would probably want to wager that the name might remain the same.”

Upon moving to San Francisco from Philadelphia in 1962 the Warriors, playing primarily at the Cow Palace, adopted the name San Francisco Warriors. Though the Warriors played at the Oakland Coliseum Arena (now Oracle Arena) as early as November 1966, they retained the San Francisco name.

Five years later, in 1971, the franchise completed the move to Oakland and was renamed the Golden State Warriors.

The nebulousness of the name confused many beyond the Bay Area. The Warriors have in fact drafted players who admitted to now knowing where the franchise was located prior to arriving in Oakland.

Because the team has spent the past five years working so diligently toward returning to San Francisco, informed speculation has been the team would reattach the name San Francisco Warriors.

“Four years ago, I think the conventional wisdom in our building here in Oakland was that, yes, we should attach a city name to the team, that it would become a more global franchise,” Welts said. “There was a lot of head-scratching four years ago about where the Golden State Warriors even played, in other parts of the world.

“What’s happened with the team over the course of the ensuing years, until today, has made the Warriors if not the preeminent, at least among the three best-known NBA franchises around the world. And everybody who didn’t know where the Golden State Warriors were four years ago, if you’re a fan today, anywhere in the world, you know where the Golden State Warriors are.”

The implication: the greatly increased profile of the team has better defined the identity of the franchise, making “Golden State” more palatable to the brain trust.

Whether the name stays or goes is, according to Welts, not yet decided.

Gameday: Iguodala out for Warriors' season opener vs Rockets

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USATI

Gameday: Iguodala out for Warriors' season opener vs Rockets

Defense of their second NBA title in three seasons begins in earnest Tuesday night, when the Warriors invite the reconfigured Houston Rockets into Oracle Arena.

There will be a pregame ceremony in which the Warriors will receive their championship rings.

The Warriors, who believe the additions of Nick Young and Omri Casspi will result in improved the bench production, are coming off a season in which they led the NBA in scoring offense, with the Rockets finishing second.

Houston made considerably more adjustments over the summer, acquiring perennial All-Star point guard Chris Paul and rugged forward PJ Tucker.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 9.5

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Chris Paul: These two veterans, both headed for the Hall of Fame, have been at war for the better part of a decade, with Curry gaining in decided edge in recent years. That was when Paul was the leader of the once-hated Los Angeles Clippers. With Paul moving to Houston, it will be interesting to see if a change in scenery means a different type of battle. The winner likely decides the outcome.

Klay Thompson vs. James Harden: Familiar from their days as prep stars in Southern California, these two, by most accounts, are the top two shooting guards in the league. Though Harden assumed the point role last season, he’ll have greater latitude to generate his own shot now that Paul is on board.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain) is listed as probable. F Andre Iguodala (back strain) is listed as out.

Rockets: No injuries listed.

RECENT SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won three of four meetings last season and have won 12 of the last 15 regular-season meetings overall. They also have won eight of the last 10 meetings in the postseason.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE SCOREBOARD: Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni implies this will be a shootout. Warriors forward Draymond Green responds by saying one team (the Warriors) plays defense. It’s conceivable the teams could combine for 75 3-point attempts. The scoreboard could blow out before the final buzzer.

THE NEW GUYS: Because he is in constant motion and feels the angles, Casspi seems to be a good fit for the Warriors offense. Young is coming along, but admits he’s still learning the nuances of the offense and feeling out his teammates. It may not be fair to expect much in Game 1, but their work is sure to be examined.

THE POMP: There is the celebration of a championship, the ceremony in which rings (and the ultra-elaborate boxes) will be presented, and the adoration of a sellout crowd. The Warriors are becoming veterans at being celebrities, but what happens when emotions are part of the equation?

QUOTABLE

“I saw what happened last year when San Antonio just drilled us. Saw that we were able to recover. So whatever happens, it’s just one game.” --Warriors GM Bob Myers on opening night nerves

Thunder give No. 35 -- Kevin Durant's old number -- to rookie

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AP

Thunder give No. 35 -- Kevin Durant's old number -- to rookie

On Tuesday, the Thunder signed P.J. Dozier to a two-way contract.

The rookie will wear No. 35 with Oklahoma City.

That's the number Kevin Durant rocked as a member of the Thunder.

Why did Dozier pick it?

"My cousin, my second cousin, is Reggie Lewis. He used to play for the Boston Celtics," Dozier explained to reporters. "That's all it is. It wasn't anything other than that, honestly."

Did anybody say anything to him when he asked for No. 35?

"No. Honestly, I didn't even think twice about it. I had it in preseason at Dallas. I saw it was open and just took advantage of it."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller