OAKLAND -- The Warriors on Monday practically glided through media day. It was relatively tranquil, a welcome respite from the sensory assault of the last two years, and for that, they can thank LeBron James and the Lakers.
While national media descended upon Los Angeles, the Warriors still had plenty of issues that required addressing. Here are four takeaways from Warriors Media Day.
Is this the end?
The theme of the day seemed to underscore the possibility that the Warriors we’ve come to know are soon to part. From general manager Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr and down to the players, there was a faint sense of finality.
The one thing we know for certain is that this is the final season at Oracle Arena.
“The goal is going to be to enjoy this journey this year -- all of it, the highs, the lows, the in between,” Myers said.
"We're not going to go this whole season talking about how much uncertainty it is as far as contracts,” said Draymond Green, who will be eligible for free agency in 2020. “We've got the team that we've got right now you've got to win with that team.
“When all that stuff comes up, it will get handled. But right now we're all together, and that's the most important thing is trying to be the best that this team can be.”
Kerr spent most of last season conveying the difficulties of winning back-to-back NBA titles, as well as chasing The Finals for a fourth consecutive season. His approach to this season is more, um, relaxed.
“Last year, we made it through,” Kerr said. “It was a grind, and we won. And I think we should look at that as its own experience, and this year as a brand new one. And there's no doubt if we can get back to the Finals and it's another nine-month haul, we're going to have some bumps in the road and it's not going to be easy.
“But I do think there should be a slightly different theme this year. We are playing with some house money. We won three of the last four championships. Our place in the history of the league is pretty secure.”
Block out the noise
Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will be asked about their futures. Green will be asked about his. The Warriors will have to contend with sideshows in every town.
Stephen Curry, the lone All-Star whose future is not up for discussion, would like to shut down the “future” questions that began Monday.
“That doesn't matter right now,” he said. “We have five preseason games, 82 regular-season games and hopefully 16 wins in the playoffs. And then you can ask all the questions you want.
“I think KD is going to have that perspective, DeMarcus [Cousins] had that perspective, even Draymond and Klay with their contract situations, you can nit-pick everything, and that's what's going to happen. It's part of what we do for a living.
“But the best teams and the best individuals are able to shut that out when it comes to playing basketball and enjoy the opportunity that we have as a team to do that.”
As mentioned earlier, much of the low-key atmosphere at Warriors Media Day can be traced back to the events in L.A., where James sat before a room of hundreds.
The Warriors were cool with that. They don’t mind the some of the attention being diverted from the Bay Area to Southern California.
“Everybody loves something new,” Durant said. “This is our third year together now, so you guys kind of know who we are and have shown things. Obviously us having DeMarcus, but I think him not playing early on is taking away a little bit of allure of us as a team from a media perspective, I guess.
“But it's the same ol' story with us, same ol' personalities, and we are who we are when you walk in here. Just having a whole new team down in Los Angeles, just gutting that whole team out and bringing in the biggest face in basketball and sports, obviously that's going to be a sexier story.”
Shaun Livingston, drafted by the Clippers in 2004, knows what it’s like when the SoCal media comes out in full force. He welcomes the relative quiet.
“Definitely takes some of that spotlight away,” he said. “But it's good, it's great for the league, it's great for the Lakers, even better for the Western Conference, with obviously L.A. being more competitive now with a guy like LeBron coming to play.
“So I think it's positive. It's only positives. Talked to my guy Luke [Walton, Lakers head coach and former Warriors assistant], wished him the best, incredible opportunity for all those guys down there. It should be fun. Definitely should be fun this year.”
Fun with in-laws
Curry’s sister, Sydel, got married in August. Her name now is Sydel Curry-Lee, as her husband is Damion Lee, who aspires to become Stephen Curry’s teammate with the Warriors.
Lee signed a two-way contract and will be present when training camp begins Tuesday.
“It's fun,” Stephen Curry said of being around Damion. “He's part of the family, obviously. We spent a lot of time the past two years especially working out. He's been out here in the Bay with Santa Cruz and whatnot, and I've been rooting him on when he was in Atlanta last year playing. To have him obviously in training camp as a two-way player back and forth, the opportunity he has to impact our team, it would be fun, and obviously I get to keep close eyes on him.”
Lee, a Drexel product, appeared in 15 games with the Atlanta Hawks last season, starting 11. The 6-foot-7 wing is hoping to impress the Warriors enough to at some point see his two-way deal converted to a standard NBA contract, as happened with Quinn Cook last season.
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