Kawhi Leonard trade widens gap between Warriors and teams chasing them

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AP

Kawhi Leonard trade widens gap between Warriors and teams chasing them

Wouldn’t it be odd if the Golden State Warriors actually became the last “super team” of this generation?
 
Kawhi Leonard, who was ticketed to the Los Angeles LeBrons as a sure thing by NBA fabulists across the nation, has been traded as far from Los Angeles as the NBA allows -- Toronto. And Paul George, the third peg of this super team, decided to stay in Oklahoma City, which is as far from Los Angeles culturally as the NBA can offer.
 
And no, that is not some left-handed swipe at Oklahoma City. If it’s good enough for Paul George, it ought to be good enough for you.
 
The point is, Leonard and Danny Green now are Raptors, at the price of DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick. And while Leonard still is a rental who might end up in Los Angeles, it's still a sign that super teams don’t just happen at one person’s whim.
 
And it also means that the Warriors, who introduce DeMarcus Cousins on Thursday in one of those weeks-after-the-fact press conferences that never make much sense, remain untroubled by the field.
 
It should be mentioned here that the Warriors, while fitting the rough definition of a super team, were a championship winner before Kevin Durant, and as such gained his love as someone who could dramatically lengthen the title odds for all the other teams in the league. And Cousins is a Warrior to rehabilitate his own career rather than Golden State’s.
 
The notion that James was going to Los Angeles to build a super team of his own was predicated, though, on other great players joining him, and none have. George wouldn’t even talk to the Lakers, and Leonard couldn’t because he didn’t own his employment freedom -- and might not have been interested in any event.
 
In short, the Warriors now are further from their closest pursuers than ever, and the most interesting part of this NBA season will be to see who comes closest to them without actually thinking anything can be done about it.
 
There is an extraordinary level of hubris here, as though the Warriors shall be invulnerable forever. They won’t, of course, for something will separate them eventually, most likely either time or money.
 
But the NBA’s most interesting developments have been at the fringes of the Warriors empire, and the most notable thing is that the super team to challenge them was not built this year, or even approached. The Raptors took a huge gamble with Leonard but one they are willing to undertake. The Rockets got worse. The rest of the West is sort of milling around playoff spots three through eight, with the Lakers making the biggest leap despite getting only one-third of the things on their shopping list.
 
But there is no super team to challenge the super team, and another narrative dies a hideous death. That’s OK, though. The concept of the narrative never is as much fun as the surprise ending anyway. Maybe someone will knock off Golden State this coming season, and the fascination will come not in the planning but the shock value. That’s not the way to bet, mind you, but the NBA arms race has stopped with only one clear winner.
 
At least for awhile. Given that LeBron couldn't make a super team in one summer, maybe for a longer while than we think.

Report: Steph Curry will not participate in Team USA minicamp

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AP

Report: Steph Curry will not participate in Team USA minicamp

The USA Men's National Team will hold a minicamp next week in Las Vegas.

Steph Curry will not paricipate, according to ESPN's Chris Haynes.

Why won't he be in attendance?

Ayesha Curry gave birth to a baby boy on July 2 and Steph is going to be with his newborn son and family, according to the report.

Despite his absence, Curry will still be eligible to earn a spot on the 12-man roster for the 2020 Olympics.

The three-time NBA champion won a gold medal at the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Championship.

Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins are among the 35 players invited to the minicamp.

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

Would Ray Allen beat Steph Curry, Klay Thompson in 3-point contest? 'Ummmmmm'

Would Ray Allen beat Steph Curry, Klay Thompson in 3-point contest? 'Ummmmmm'

Ray Allen made 2,973 3-pointers in his career -- the most in NBA history.

Steph Curry is currently seventh all-time at 2,129.

Klay Thompson is at No. 24 with 1,557 makes.

Over the weekend, Allen and Curry played some golf in the American Century Championship in Tahoe.

The day before the tournament started, Allen was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show, and the following back-and-forth took place:

Patrick: "You at your best vs Steph Curry at his best. Who's a better shooter?"

Allen: "Ummmmmm (pause) ... you know, Dan -- I always compare myself how I played more to Klay Thompson. Just watching Steph, he's somewhat in a world of his own because he's got great handles and he has the ball 80 percent of the time, so..

Patrick: "Just a shooting contest. Just shooting contest. It's you, Steph, Klay -- you pick your spot -- who is the better shooter out of you three?"

Allen: "Ummmm. Again, I think it would be a helluva shooting contest. But what I would do -- I would put them on the move ... they're both not stand-still shooters, but moving backwards, moving left to right, front to back in 3s -- and both of them can do that well -- that is really where you see shooting at its finest. The 3-point contest is fun and it is interesting, but imagine if you adapted a contest where you had to start in one position to get to the next spot and then shoot it and make that shot. That would be a much more interesting contest."

Thanks for not answering the question whatsoever, Ray!

But don't worry everybody. We know how things would turn out...

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