Warriors

Draymond Green, Steve Kerr unable to process Kobe Bryant's death yet

Draymond Green, Steve Kerr unable to process Kobe Bryant's death yet

Steve Kerr said he has not processed it.

Draymond Green said he doesn’t want to talk about it, that he’s not yet able to deal with the painful truth.

Through one day and most of another, the Warriors on Monday night still were imprisoned in the denial and misery that is gripping the NBA, global sports and much of the world in general.

The repercussions of Kobe Bryant’s sudden death in a helicopter accident Sunday morning are not going away anytime soon.

“I don’t think it’s news that can be processed, you know? We’re all in shock,” Kerr told reporters after the team arrived in Philadelphia and went through a light practice. “We were in shock (Sunday) when we found out at the beginning of practice. Everybody just stopped in their tracks and basically sat down on the floor in disbelief. Nobody said a word because there’s no words to describe what everybody was feeling.

“Everybody just kind of wandered off and went home. We didn’t know what to do.”

Green went home, sank into his couch and waited. Watched TV. Waited some more. When he got tired of waiting, he took action. He was going find proof that the news of the day was a cruel hoax.

“I sat there and (thought) somebody will break the news that it wasn’t Kobe,” Green said. “Or Kobe is – I kept checking his Instagram – he’s going to post an Instagram story that that was a false alarm.”

The brutal truth of Kobe’s death, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, has people inside the NBA and elsewhere shedding tears, trying to make sense of this tragedy that continues to rock the world.

Suddenly, the Warriors’ 10-37 record, worst in the NBA, seems inconsequential. The list of injuries that has haunted them since last June seems of small concern.

Real life, and death, have intruded in the most shocking and aggressive way. And, so, they lean on what they have. Memories.

“Michael Jordan brought it every single night, and that’s what Kobe did,” said Kerr, a former Chicago Bulls teammate of Jordan. “He brought it every single night and never took a game off. And did things that were superhuman. Even at the NBA level, in a league full of these incredible athletes, he stood out.”

Bryant’s exploits have taken up residence in the minds of many, an endless loop of soaring dunks and picturesque fadeaway jumpers and that Kobe sneer that either served notice or left defenders in tiny pieces scattered about the floor.

But Draymond has a more personal recollection, one in which Kobe offered some sage advice that he devoured and still provides emotional nourishment.

After being suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals for engaging in a brief altercation with Cavaliers star LeBron James in Game 4, Green reached “probably the lowest point of my NBA career.” He felt victimized and temporarily questioned his place in the game.

“And Kobe reached out to me,” Green recalled. “And I was, like, ‘Kobe (pronounced “Kohb).’ It was almost like crying to your older brother. I was like ‘Kobe, I don’t know what to do. These people trying to take me out. The league is trying to take me out. The media is trying to take me out. Everybody is trying to take me out. And I don’t know what to do. It just felt like my career was caving in on me.'

[RELATED: Draymond's emotional message to Kobe]

“To get that call. He told me, he said, ‘Draymond, 99 percent of the world is OK with mediocrity – or worse. But, at best, mediocrity. You’re chasing something so much bigger. How do you ever expect anyone to understand you?’

“That was all I needed to hear, especially coming from a guy that I’ve loved since I was a kid. That I have the utmost respect for and that I ended up building a relationship with. That meant the world to me because Kobe said (expletive) everybody. I was able to hold onto that and rally and keep going and build on it.”

Green secured his place in the NBA and, like many others, thanks Kobe for providing support in a time of need. That’s the other side of Mamba, the one that was just emerging for the public before the unthinkable occurred.

Marreese Speights discusses joining BIG3 prior to coronavirus pandemic

Marreese Speights discusses joining BIG3 prior to coronavirus pandemic

Marreese Speights didn’t have an extended tenure with the Warriors, but it was full of exciting moments.

The reliable stretch four was a valuable reserve in Golden State, including being part of the 2015 NBA championship team. Since leaving the Bay Area after the 2015-16 season, Speights has played for two other NBA teams and spent a few seasons playing in the Chinese Basketball Association.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak putting a hold on American sports, Speights was slated to join the BIG3 via one of the league’s new expansion franchises.

“I just think it’s a platform for me to play basketball,” Speights said on a special, virtual edition of “Warriors Outsiders" last week. “I did a lot of things in the NBA, I won a championship, that’s the most important goal.

“So for me, being back to playing basketball is just gonna be fun.”

[RELATED: How Warriors are getting creative with workouts during break]

The roar Speights would get if he took the floor at Chase Center sometime in the future would be incredible.

The league was scheduled to get underway in June, although it remains to be seen when many American sports will be able to pick things back up after this extended hiatus.

Eleven players Warriors could target with taxpayer mid-level exception

Eleven players Warriors could target with taxpayer mid-level exception

General manager Bob Myers and the Warriors front office have some work to do whenever the NBA offseason begins.

After five straight NBA Finals appearances, the Warriors have the worst record in the NBA this season.

So, it’s up to Myers and Co. to add a few pieces that will help the Warriors get back into contention for an NBA title.

In addition to having one of the top picks in the 2020 NBA Draft and a massive $17.2 million trade exception acquired in the Andre Iguodala deal, the Warriors will have the ability to use the taxpayer mid-level exception, which ESPN’s Bobby Marks estimated will be around $5.9 million.

That number is based on the salary cap, and if that number goes down due to the loss of revenue caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, the value of the taxpayer mid-level exception could shrink as well.

Hard capped by the D’Angelo Russell-Kevin Durant trade with Brooklyn last summer, the Warriors couldn’t go over the luxury tax line this past season. But in 2020-21, the hard cap is gone and Draymond Green’s contract extension kicks in, meaning Golden State will cross the luxury tax threshold.

[RELATED: Steph among Giannis' favorite players]

The Warriors can use the entire taxpayer MLE to sign one player or they can split up the total to sign several players.

Here are 11 pending free agents, in no particular order, that the Warriors could use the Taxpayer MLE on this offseason:

VIEW 11 WARRIORS' TARGETS HERE