Warriors

Agent provides rationale for Nick Young choosing Warriors: 'He met with...'

Agent provides rationale for Nick Young choosing Warriors: 'He met with...'

Over the last couple of days, Nick Young potentially joining the Warriors became a thing.

On Wednesday morning, it became a reality.

Young's one-year deal will pay him $5.2 million.

[RATTO: The Nick Young addition is fascinating and nearly riskless for Warriors]

"We're excited. There were a number of opportunities for Nick -- he's been recruited by four different teams," his agent Mark Bartelstein said on ESPN. "The players have been calling; getting a number of pitches. He had some really interesting opportunities in different places.

"But he met with Steve Kerr and with Kevin Durant and Draymond Green -- and he had a great meeting with them, and they made it very clear how much they wanted him."

Giving Young the full taxpayer mid-level exception will cost the Warriors $18.5 million, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks.

"And the Warriors are in the luxury tax and they extended their full taxpayer mid-level to him, which is a huge investment in a guy," Bartelstein explained. "While Nick had some other opportunities that I think were exciting -- and maybe a chance to even have a bigger role -- I think he just felt that how much these guys had gone after him, and to play on a world championship team and the style they play, the way the ball moves, the way they share it, they look after each other and the way Steve coaches 'em.

"He wanted an opportunity to be a part of all that."

Young has developed quite the reputation since joining the league as the 16th overall pick in the 2007 draft.

Exhibit A:

Bringing Young into the mix would seem to indicate that Ian Clark will not be back with the Warriors next season.

Kerr could simply plug Young into the role Clark had last year.

One thing is clear -- it will fun to see how it all unfolds...

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

NBA rumors: Warriors nemesis Trevor Ariza at center of Lakers-Suns trade talks

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AP

NBA rumors: Warriors nemesis Trevor Ariza at center of Lakers-Suns trade talks

The Warriors have essentially played a third of their regular season schedule -- 27 of 82 games -- and currently sit atop the Western Conference standings with a record of 18-9. Stephen Curry recently returned from injury, Draymond Green will return against the Timberwolves on Monday, and DeMarcus Cousins will add to the embarrassment of superstar riches on the active roster before long.

[RELATED: Why Draymond Green is the unique fizz that makes the Warriors sparkle]

Suffice to say, Golden State remains a heavy favorite to reach a fifth-straight NBA Finals.

In each of the last four instances, LeBron James awaited them on the other side. If they're to meet the King in the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season, it wont be with the league's ultimate prize on the line.

James, of course, took his talents to Los Angeles in the offseason, and thus far he has provided the kind of lift to the Lakers' franchise that most expected. The Lakers sit at 16-10 on the season (fifth in the West), winners of five of their last six games. And, according to reports, they could be further emboldening their roster soon.

The Lakers and Phoenix Suns have recently been engaged in trade discussions surrounding Phoenix forward Trevor Ariza, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Per the report, if the Suns are to part with Ariza, in exchange they desire a draft asset and a playmaking guard to pair alongside sharpshooter Devin Booker. The Lakers have reportedly reached out to other teams to help faciliate a potential three-team trade, with Los Angeles guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope rumored to be a centerpiece.

The timing of the report is not a coincidence, as players who signed in summer free agency -- such as Ariza -- are not eligible to be traded until this coming Saturday, Dec. 15.

The Warriors, of course, are extremely familiar with Ariza. He was a part of the Rockets team that pushed Golden State to the brink of elimination in the 2017 Western Conference Finals. There was his run-in with Curry in the first round of the 2016 playoffs, in which he enraged Curry to a point we've rarely seen. Oh, and it was Ariza's knee that collided with Klay Thompson's head and concussed the Splash Brother in Game 5 of the 2015 Western Conference Finals.

Ariza, who signed a one-year, $15 million deal with Phoenix this past summer, is averaging 9.7 points per game on 36.8 percent shooting from the field and 34.8 percent from 3-point range for the last place Suns (4-22) so far this season. Those are modest numbers for the 15-year veteran, but based on the record of his previous team -- Houston is 11-14, second-worst in the West -- it's clear his presence has been missed. 

Ariza's track record over 102 career postseason games would be attractive to any team with their eyes set on contending, and the Lakers certainly qualify -- particularly so if they are successful in their pursuit of Ariza.

It would hardly be the first time a Lebron-led team added a quality veteran in the lead-up to a potential postseason matchup with the Warriors. The Cavaliers made a habit of adding veterans made available by buyout ahead of their four Finals meetings with Golden State, such as Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut. Los Angeles already signed center Tyson Chandler after he was bought out by the Suns earlier in the season, and he's made an immediate impact in the middle for the Lakers.

As long as the Warriors have a chance to win the title ever year, they'll have plenty of veterans interested in joining them for the ride. But as long as James is at the top of his game, so will whichever team he's on.

Why Draymond Green is the unique fizz that makes the Warriors sparkle

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APUSATI

Why Draymond Green is the unique fizz that makes the Warriors sparkle

 

OAKLAND – The clatter of chatter spiking the air at Rakuten Performance Center on Sunday was a clear signal that Draymond Green is healthy and back in his element.

When Draymond is feeling good and confident, his mouth is the first indicator. The noise is inescapable. Everybody can hear him because he’s constantly talking.

Communication may be Green’s most valuable asset factor. His return to the lineup Monday night does more than add a premier defender, a devoted playmaker and a generous sprinkle of spice to the Warriors. It makes them whole.

Regardless how balls splash through the net from shots by fellow All-Stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, this team’s backbone is Green’s ability to articulate, verbally or otherwise, the needs that best boost overall proficiency.

Green’s dual roles are perhaps best illustrated in football terms. He is the signal-calling quarterback and the signal-calling middle linebacker. He lines up teammates and provides direction at both ends.

“He’s the best defensive player in the league,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Our defensive efforts have reflected that in terms of not being as efficient, not being able to cover as much ground.

“We know we’re capable of defending without him. But we’re just a lot better with him.”

The same, however, applies to Green’s offensive value. His passing promotes movement that clears clogs and allows the offensive to flow.

“He has the ball in his hands quite a bit in transition, which means we’ve got, with the starting group, three lethal shooters on the perimeter while Draymond has the ball,” Kerr said. “We should get more transition baskets also because of the improved defense that I would expect.

“But his ability to push the ball and handle it at the top of the floor allows our best shooters to work off the ball and screen for each other. We’ve used that to our advantage over the years. But it’s not something we’ve been able to do at all without him.”

The Warriors played a strong game, perhaps their best this season, last Friday in Milwaukee. They rode a blend of active team defense and explosive team offense to a 10-point victory. That they did it without Green was particularly impressive.

Green’s contributions on defense are widely known insofar as he as been named to the All-Defensive first team in his first three seasons as a starter, culminating in being voted Defensive Player of the Year in 2016-17. His displeasure with being named to the second team last season is providing motivation this season.

His absence in recent weeks is a major factor in the team ranking 18th in defensive efficiency at the start of play on Sunday.

His absence on offense has forced others, most notably Durant and Thompson, to be more pass-conscious on offense. If they’re passing, that’s one less shooting threat.

If Draymond is passing, teams are in trouble.

“We play a completely different style,” Green said. “I think we play with more pace with Steph and me on the floor; there was more pace when Steph came back. (There is) more random offense, less play calling.”

There also is less talk. Green inherited the defensive communication duties from former center Andrew Bogut, who was traded after the 2015-16 season. When Green is absent, there is no natural substitute. It certainly isn’t primary starting center Damian Jones, who sustained a season-ending injury on Dec. 1. Durant made the effort, with mixed results.

“We’re much quieter, naturally,” Kerr said. “We’re just more reserved without him. One of the things that he has brought to us for many years is that edge that complements the other guys pretty well.

“Draymond’s a fireball. He just comes in just stirs it up. We need that.”

In the days after Green’s very public sharp criticism of Durant, there was speculation that maybe the Warriors had tired of his mouth. And maybe they have.

But the Warriors also realize that if Green were to be traded away, they’d need to find someone who brings the same combination of tangibles, intangibles and active communication.

Anything less and the Warriors know they wouldn’t be whole and that winning a championship would be considerably more difficult. -30-