Anthony Davis

Why Klay Thompson thinks DeMarcus Cousins will be 'huge asset' for Lakers

Why Klay Thompson thinks DeMarcus Cousins will be 'huge asset' for Lakers

DeMarcus Cousins wasn't consistent during his time with the Warriors, but the former All-Star big man did show flashes of his former self.

After returning from a ruptured Achilles in January, Cousins worked his way back into game shape and had a number of eye-opening performances, including taking Nikola Jokic's lunch money during a late-season stomping of the Nuggets.

But Cousins' health didn't hold up, as the big man tore his quad in Game 2 of the Warriors' first-round NBA playoff series against the Clippers. Cousins worked hard in rehab and made it back for the NBA Finals, but clearly was not himself. 

The Kentucky product hit the free-agent market and decided to leave the Bay for LA, joining LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers on a one-year, $3.5 million contract. 

LA's signing of Cousins caused some to scratch their heads, but Klay Thompson thinks Boogie joining the Purple and Gold might be the steal of the summer.

“DeMarcus is a great teammate and I developed such a great chemistry with him, coming off screens and cutting off from posts,” Thompson told Arash Markazi of The Los Angeles Times. “I’ll miss him. I know he’s going to be a huge asset for the Lakers. When they slow it down, he’s so good on the block and such a great decision-maker. People don’t realize what a great decision-maker he is. Above all, I love his will to compete. He was very hurt last year during our Finals run but he was still out there making a huge impact and getting double-doubles and he won us a couple games, honestly.

“He’s just such a gamer and I’m going to miss competing with him. LA got a very good player, who’s very hungry. I know he’s eager to get out there and show everybody he’s still one of the best players in the world because he has all the talent.”

[RELATED: Klay on Warriors' 2020 title hopes: 'All we need is a shot']

Cousins' departure wasn't the only change the Warriors absorbed this offseason. Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and Quinn Cook also are gone. D'Angelo Russell, Willie Cauley-Stein, Jordan Poole, Alec Burks, Alen Smailagic and Eric Paschall are in. Thompson, meanwhile, will be out until at least the All-Star break as he rehabs his torn ACL.

While the Warriors look to reinvent themselves, Boogie, Bron and the Brow will be out to snap the Lakers' six-year playoff drought and take over the Western Conference. If Boogie can rediscover his star form, the Lakers might just be Finals bound.

LeBron James isn't 'same animal' about winning, David Griffin believes

LeBron James isn't 'same animal' about winning, David Griffin believes

By now, you know the set up for the upcoming NBA season. 

The Warriors, fresh off five straight NBA Finals appearances, are wounded, limping into the new campaign without Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and DeMarcus Cousins. Klay Thompson is recovering from a torn ACL and is expected to be out until at least the All-Star break.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Western Conference got better. Anthony Davis joined LeBron James with the Lakers. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George teamed up on the Clippers, Russell Westbrook now is a Rocket and Mike Conley now calls Utah home. 

With the Warriors licking their wounds, many expect James and the Lakers to battle the Clippers for conference supremacy. 

Will James, fresh off his first missed postseason since 2005, still have the same juice he used to? Current Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations and former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin has his doubts. In a wide-ranging conversation with Sports Illustrated's Jake Fischer, Griffin noted how James' drive appeared to dissipate after he and the Cavs beat the Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals.

"There wasn’t a lot else for him,” Griffin told Fisher of James' mindset after that title. “I don’t think he’s the same animal anymore about winning.”

James has faced criticism of late, with a number of people proposing that he only joined the Lakers due to his desire to live in Southern California and that his play in Year 1 with the Lakers showed he no longer craved a title run as he once did. 

[RELATED: Klay thinks Warriors have many years of title contention ahead]

The three-time NBA champion will have a chance to prove Griffin and the rest of his doubters wrong this season. With Griffin trading Davis to the Lakers, James now has the co-star he was missing last season and a roster that is better suited to form a title-contender around him.

At 34 years old, James and the Lakers will need to manage his load in order to keep him healthy for what LA hopes is a lengthy postseason run. If he's healthy come playoff time, we'll see if James still has that winning drive when he and the Lakers face the likes of the Clippers, Warriors and Rockets with the title hanging in the balance.

Jared Dudley disagrees with Steve Kerr on Anthony Davis trade criticism

Jared Dudley disagrees with Steve Kerr on Anthony Davis trade criticism

Steve Kerr has filled several roles in and around NBA organizations, having spent the last 31 years as a player, general manager, commentator and currently as head coach of the Warriors. As such, he's quite experienced with the power struggles within NBA front offices and quite familiar with the league's history.

On the most recent episode of The Warriors Insider Podcast, Kerr reflected on that history and told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole that he isn't a big fan of what he sees as a bad developing trend, exemplified by the trade demands that ultimately got Anthony Davis to Los Angeles.

"Where a guy is perfectly healthy and has a couple years left on his deal and says, ‘I want to leave,’" Kerr explained, "that’s a real problem that the league has to address and that the players have to be careful with.

"If you come to an agreement with the team that, hey, it’s probably best for us to part ways, that’s one thing. But the Davis stuff was really kind of groundbreaking -- and hopefully not a trend, because it’s bad for the league."

Davis' new teammate with the Lakers and longtime NBA veteran Jared Dudley was recently asked about Kerr's comments, and he didn't hold back from disagreeing with his former GM.

"You know what, I am a huge Steve Kerr fan," Dudley told The Athletic's Ethan Sherwood Strauss. "Obviously, he traded for me. I was in Phoenix with the same agent (Mark Bartelstein). That’s the only time I think I’ve disagreed with him. Because, why can’t a player ask out of his contract if what you sold him on changed? Happens all the time. Hey, we want to win, but now we’re going to rebuild. Vice-versa where a guy gets traded after a year when there are three years left on his contract. And so why can a team be able to trade but a player can’t ask for a trade?

"Now, the only difference of this is the perception," Dudley continued. "Paul George asks for a trade, but no one knows about it. But Anthony Davis comes out and because it’s public, now he’s getting killed, just because it’s public. So you know, the way for players to do it is in private, but obviously, he thought he couldn’t get out of there if he did it privately. And so people ask for trades all the time, all the time. 

"And so I just don’t understand Steve’s stance on that because, if you run your organization well enough, Anthony Davis was in New Orleans, he didn’t make it past the second round in eight, nine years. Like, what do you want him to do?"

There's a lot to break down there, and Dudley brings up several relevant points. As Strauss writes, "In an age when players fear the repercussions of honesty, Dudley’s answers are often equal parts well considered and candid." For instance, it's awfully tough to argue with the hypocrisy that Dudley suggests, that it's more acceptable for teams to get out of unwanted situations than it is for players.

However, Dudley's assessment misses the mark in one particular area. Much like Kendrick Perkins, he fails to adequately distinguish between Davis and George's demands, which came about at different times in entirely different situations. 

George didn't request a trade -- publicly, at least -- until the season was over, after he had given everything he could to a full regular season and abbreviated playoff run and finished third in MVP voting. Conversely, Davis and his representation made his demands publicly known halfway through the regular season (at the latest), and essentially forced the Pelicans' hand into benching him throughout much of the second half.

In the end, Davis got what he wanted, just as George did. And, things didn't work out so badly for the Pelicans, who lucked into No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson and an expedited rebuild. 

[RELATED: Pelicans view Zion as an 'extremely athletic' Draymond]

Do the ends justify the means? If you ask Davis, he'd undoubtedly tell you yes. Chances are his new teammates would, too. As for the league as a whole, though, don't expect Kerr's concerns to be allayed anytime soon.