Warriors

Derek Carr still Raiders' franchise QB, but Mike Mayock leaves door open

carrbackturnedusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Derek Carr still Raiders' franchise QB, but Mike Mayock leaves door open

Derek Carr is the Raiders' franchise quarterback.

Until he's not.

Oakland's brain trust continues to say the right thing about Carr. But they're also hedging their bets in case something unexpected happens.

“I’m going to tell you, [Oakland Tribune Raiders beat writer] Jerry [McDonald], the same thing I told you at the combine and that I believe in, and I’ve said before: Derek Carr is a franchise quarterback, and we believe that," general manager Mike Mayock said Thursday. "Beyond that, just like in any other position, we’re going to do our due diligence. If we found somebody we like better or thought had bigger upside, then you got to do the right thing for the organization.

"We love Derek. We love what he brings to the table, but like every other position, we’re going to do all of our due diligence. I happen to work with a head coach [Jon Gruden] that absolutely loves that position. We’re always going to know about those guys.”

Why does this topic keep coming up? Because, as Mayock mentioned, Gruden loves him some quarterbacks, and the team is poking around NFL draft prospects Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins.

It might be inconvenient for Carr and Raiders fans to hear Gruden and Mayock waffle on this subject. But it shouldn't surprise them.

[RELATED: Why trading down could help Raiders]

Gruden and Mayock inherited a roster they didn't construct. If they don't believe in a player, it's their duty to make a change and bring in a player in whom they believe.

So, Carr might be the Raiders' franchise quarterback in this moment. He might not be if the team finds someone else it likes better.

NBA rumors: Raptors could trade Kyle Lowry after $31M contract extension

lowryus.jpg
USATSI

NBA rumors: Raptors could trade Kyle Lowry after $31M contract extension

The Warriors don't play the Raptors in an NBA Finals rematch until March, but they might see point guard Kyle Lowry before that. 

Toronto recently signed Lowry to a one-year, $31 million contract extension, pushing his free agency back one year to 2021. That doesn't mean he will be a Raptor for that long, though. 

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said on "The Lowe Post" that "a lot of the reason Toronto signed him to the deal is he is easier to trade under contract for next year at $31 million."

It sounds like there could plenty of interest in the five-time All-Star from two intriguing Western Conference teams, too. While the two colleagues brought up the Heat and Pistons as possible destinations, Lowe and Wojnarowski also named the Clippers and Timberwolves. 

This certainly could spell bad news for the Warriors. The Clippers are trying to take Golden State's crown as the kings in the West with the additions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and Lowry could be the icing on the cake. 

Lowry played a key role for the Raptors on their way to winning their first championship in franchise history, averaging 16.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.0 rebounds per game against the Warriors. 

Adding Lowry to the T-Wolves could be a tough pill to swallow for the Dubs, too. If the Warriors struggle without Klay Thompson as he rehabs his torn ACL and the new roster can't find chemistry, they could be fighting for playoff contention. Behind star big man Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota might be the team to make a leap this season.

[RELATED: Why Jay Williams believes Warriors will miss NBA playoffs]

With the departure of Leonard, the Raptors might fall in the Eastern Conference standings. It long has been speculated that president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri has wanted to tank to some degree and field a much younger roster. This could be the perfect season to do so. 

Shipping Lowry to a new team would start a fresh era of basketball in Toronto. If that team is in the Western Conference, the Warriors won't be happy.

ESPN's Jay Williams thinks revamped Warriors will miss NBA playoffs

warriorscorefourusatsi.jpg
USATSI

ESPN's Jay Williams thinks revamped Warriors will miss NBA playoffs

Chris Webber is not alone.

Much like his "NBA on TNT" peer, ESPN's Jay Williams predicted earlier this week that the Warriors would miss the playoffs. In a segment on the league's most intriguing duos that aired Wednesday on "NBA Countdown," Williams said that D'Angelo Russell and Stephen Curry fit the bill ... because Golden State won't be playing in the postseason?

"The Golden State Warriors -- mark down the day -- they are not going to make the playoffs," Williams said Wednesday. "The Golden State Warriors are not going to make the playoffs, and this is why I say D-Lo and Stephen Curry are the most intriguing duo.

"Now, D-Lo played extremely well last year. He got the Brooklyn Nets to the playoffs. He made the All-Star Game. He wasn't the guy at first, Caris LaVert was the guy. Then D-Lo started to find his swagger. I wonder how D-Lo will do in a system that he cannot dominate the ball."

Curry and Russell's chemistry is still a work in progress. Russell posted the highest usage rate of his career (31.9 percent) last season, and only once in the Steve Kerr era has one of Curry's teammates had a usage rate greater than 30 percent (Kevin Durant in 2017-18).

Williams pointed to Klay Thompson's rehab from a torn ACL as well as Curry and Russell's defensive deficiencies as cause for concern, incorrectly claiming that the team lost defensive guru Ron Adams. Adams remains with the team, but Jarron Collins now runs the Warriors' defense. Williams doesn't think Russell is a fit for Golden State's system, either.

The Warriors will have to discover a new identity on both ends of the floor this season, given what they lost this summer. The Western Conference pecking order has also re-organized, now that Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis are in Los Angeles. Golden State has far more concerns heading into 2019-20 than it has at any point under Kerr.

[RELATED: Kerr shakes head, refuses to respond to Trump's latest jab]

But with all of that said, are there really eight teams in the West better than the Warriors? The Los Angeles Lakers likely will bump out a playoff team from a year ago, but no other team in the conference is guaranteed to do the same. Sure, the Kings and Dallas Mavericks could make the leap, and the New Orleans Pelicans are loaded with young talent after trading Davs to the Lakers and drafting Zion Williamson straight out of a video game Duke. But each of those teams have significant question marks beyond their lack of experience.

The Warriors likely will not reach the heights of title contention this season, but that doesn't mean they're destined for the depths of the draft lottery, either.

Related content from TMZ Sports

Rihanna turned down Super Bowl for Kap: 'I couldn't be a sellout'
Antonio Brown looks in great shape working out at police field
Kevin Durant says the Knicks aren't a 'cool' team anymore
Swaggy P blames Instagram for hurting Carmelo's NBA chances