Warriors

Dirk Nowitzki remembers one thing most about 2007 Game 6 loss to Warriors

Dirk Nowitzki remembers one thing most about 2007 Game 6 loss to Warriors

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Saturday afternoon at 4 P.T., streaming live on the MyTeams app.

May 3, 2007 is a special day in Golden State Warriors history.

The No. 8 seed Warriors knocked off the No. 1 seed Mavericks in Game 6 at Oracle Arena to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.

Dirk Nowitzki -- who was named MVP about two weeks later -- had one of the worst games of his career. He scored just eight points and went 2-for-13 from the field.

But it was something that took place off the court that stands out more than anything for Dirk when he thinks about that difficult day.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic has the details:

“Crazy atmosphere,” Dirk remembered. “Crazy. One of the loudest buildings I’ve been in. The fans were so in it, any run they had.”

What does Dirk remember most? The pregame tailgates.

“It doesn’t happen much in basketball,” Dirk said. “Happens more in football, when the fans cookout before. But that was the case when we drove up to the arena two-and-a-half hours, three hours before tip.

“Fans were out there flipping us off, mooning us on our way in. It was crazy. As a competitor, fun to play, but it kind of pushed them to another level. The fans were a big part of that.”

On Saturday night, Dirk will play at Oracle for the last time in his career.

The crowds might not be as consistently loud as they were during the "We Believe" run in 2007, but the man who has scored the sixth most points in NBA history has a lot of respect for the people who have filled up Oracle over the years.

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“Oracle was always a fun place to play,” Nowitzki told The Athletic. “Even in the years early in my career, when the team wasn’t good, I thought the fans were always amazing there. Always great crowds. Always loud when they made runs. A great stop.

“They say the fans have changed a little bit. Because, yeah, obviously the ticket prices are a little higher than they used to be 20 years ago. But I didn’t really notice. It’s still super loud. Honestly, when Steph gets on one of his runs and starts shooting 3s from 35 feet, the place goes absolutely bonkers.”

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Warriors' Marquese Chriss grateful for opportunity at redemption

Warriors' Marquese Chriss grateful for opportunity at redemption

SAN FRANCISCO -- For the last two weeks, Marquese Chriss has walked into Chase Center uncertain if he'd last in Golden State past training camp. 

Now, with a lack of frontcourt depth forcing Golden State to waive Alfonzo McKinnie, the team has made room for the former first-round pick. 

"I haven't heard anything officially," Chriss said Friday morning. "So just going into it like I have the past couple games and still trying to prove myself and trying to show that I belong here." 

Golden State's decision to choose McKinnie comes as the Warriors are battling a thin frontcourt. On the eve of training camp, Warriors general manager Bob Myers announced big man Willie Cauley-Stein would miss most of October with a foot strain. Two days later, rookie Alen Smailagic rolled his ankle and Kevon Looney strained his hamstring in the same controlled scrimmage.

Adding to the peril, Spellman tweaked his back in the Warriors' first preseason game against the Lakers. As injuries mounted, Chriss -- who signed a non-guaranteed deal prior to training camp -- averaged 9.5 points, 8.3 rebounds in 22 minutes through four games. 

"It was kind of a perfect storm the way things happened. Obviously, I would never wish injury upon anybody," Chriss said.

Chriss' latest opportunity comes as the 22-year old is hoping to revitalize his career. He was drafted eighth overall by the Kings before being sent in a draft-night trade to the Phoenix Suns. He spent two seasons with the Suns, before playing stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets, garnering some reported character concerns along the way. 

"He was immature," former teammate Jared Dudley told NBC Sports Bay Area Friday afternoon. "But it's not a bad immaturity, he just had to grow up and they threw him into the fire and sometimes kids aren't ready for that." 

However, in his short time in Golden State, Chriss has been a model teammate in the locker room, garnering the praise of forward Draymond Green, who came to Chriss' defense this week. 

"[People] always want to blame the kid," Green said following Wednesday's preseason loss to the Lakers. "It's not always the kid's fault. He's getting older now, so he's not a kid anymore. But he came into this league as a kid, but it's never the organization's fault. It's always that guy. So I'm happy he's gotten the opportunity to show what he can really do because it's a prime example. But no one will still blame any organization. It'll always be the kid's fault, and it will be the next kid that comes in's fault and the next kid after that. So I'm happy he's gotten this opportunity."

"At the time Phoenix didn't have the infrastructure to manage and control people and to develop people at that time," Dudley added. "Three coaches in his year and a half. He was partially to blame, he was getting technical fouls, he was shooting bad shots but sometimes it's on the organization and they failed him."

On Friday, Chriss expressed appreciation for Green's words. 

"I appreciate him for having my back and I wholeheartedly believe what he said," Chriss said. "Being a person to go through things like that. Having a lot of blame on you for stuff you can't really control is tough and its growing pains with being in the NBA. I feel like it takes time to develop and learn.

"It bothers me when people try to come for my character," he added. "I know what type of person I am and I know how my mom raised me and I know how I want to represent myself and my family so that's the biggest thing for me is just showing that things that have been said are not true." 

As Chriss spoke Friday, Golden State's need for the 6-foot-10 big man was evident. A few feet from his media availability, Cauley Stein was just starting to get on-court work, while Looney -- who is hoping to play in the season opener Oct. 24 -- rehabbed on the other end of the court.

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With the opportunity, Chriss will once again have an opportunity to rectify his career. 

"When I came here I was just ready to compete and ready to try to work for a spot and I had no idea that this many people were actually hurt," he said. "But it happened the way it did and I'm just happy." 

How Warriors can navigate hard cap, sign two buyout players in March

How Warriors can navigate hard cap, sign two buyout players in March

The NBA's CBA (collective bargaining agreement) is extremely complicated. Unless you are a member of a front office -- and/or read it many times over -- you simply can't comprehend all of the details and minutiae. 

You've probably heard by now that the Warriors face the dreaded "hard cap" this season, which means they cannot -- under any circumstance -- have their payroll go above $138,928,000.

As a result, they cannot fill their 15th roster spot until March 3. 

On Thursday morning, John Hollinger of The Athletic -- who had worked in the Memphis Grizzlies front office for the last seven years -- explained in great detail how the Dubs can put themselves in position to sign not one, but two players in early March.

Hollinger assumed the Warriors would part ways with Alfonzo McKinnie to make room for Marquese Chriss, which reportedly came to fruition Friday morning.

So without further ado, here is Hollinger's complicated, complex explanation:

If the Warriors waived Chriss after the game against Boston on Nov. 15, he would accrue $247,205 in salary before he was waived (including the two days he spent on waivers).

Here’s the trick: They would have to sign a 14th player to fill Chriss’ spot based on league rules, but would NOT need to do so immediately. Teams have up to two weeks to fill the hole. Those two weeks of a zero salary on the books are huge for Golden State.

It wouldn’t need to sign another player until the end of November. The Warriors could then repeat the dance a couple more times – sign a player (perhaps bringing back Chriss) to a non-guaranteed deal for two weeks, waive him, wait two weeks, sign a player for two more weeks, waive him, wait two weeks. This is the exact trick Miami used in the second half of last season to skirt the luxury tax.

By signing players from Nov. 29 to Dec. 12, and again from Dec. 26 to Jan. 8, the Warriors would add another $146,492 in salary each time. (Note that even a zero-years of service player would count as making the two-year veteran minimum for the purposes of the hard cap calculation, so they can’t cheat the system here by signing a rookie.)

The next time they’d need to sign somebody would be Jan. 22, when 10-day contracts are in play. They could sign a player to a 10-day from Jan. 22 to Jan. 31, costing them $91,557. Again, the date matters: Jan. 31 would be a strategically great time for that 10-day to end. Golden State can leave the 14th spot open through the trade deadline and, if it remains unfilled, through the All-Star break before signing another 10-day coming out of the break.

That 10-day span, lasting from Feb. 19 to Feb. 28, would again cost $91,557 and end just in time for the Warriors to take advantage of buyout season. The last date to waive a player and have him be playoff eligible is March 1.

As a result, the total cost of that 14th roster spot — listed on their cap sheet at $1,620,564 if they keep Chriss — could end up only being $723,303 on their books as of March 1.

That is a huge deal for the Warriors because it would leave them $1.13 million from the hard cap line … meaning they could sign not one but two buyout players for the veteran’s minimum ($421,164 as of March 1) and still stay under the hard cap.

Makes perfect sense, right? Your head isn't spinning?

Did you get all of that, Bob Myers?

So in a nutshell -- if Chriss signs a non-guaranteed contract (like Alfonzo McKinnie), the Warriors can treat the 14th roster spot like a revolving door until early March when they can finalize the final two spots for the stretch run.

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If this, in fact, is what the Warriors plan on doing, the whole operation could be derailed by one injury.

For now, you should probably scroll up and re-read the details.

Perhaps do it multiple times until they sink in.

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