Kevin Durant reiterates Warriors couldn't stop him from playing in Finals

Kevin Durant reiterates Warriors couldn't stop him from playing in Finals

If you were hoping Kevin Durant would say disparaging things about the Warriors now that he plays for the Nets, you are going to be disappointed.

Back in early August, the two-time NBA Finals MVP was asked by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports if the Dubs mishandled his injury during last year's playoffs.

"Hell, no," he declared. "How can you blame? Hell, no. I heard the Warriors pressured me into getting back. Nobody never said a word to me during rehab as I was coming back."

"Right when the series started, I targeted Game 5. Hell, nah. It just happened ... no matter what the series was, I was aiming for Game 5. That’s why I played when it was 3-1. No matter what, I just wanted to play in the Finals ... I really wanted to play in that series.”

On Monday morning, KD doubled down during an appearance on "Hot 97" radio in Brooklyn:

"I was excited. I was like a kid. I wanted to play. It was the Finals. You don't get the opportunity to try to win three in a row. I was working to get to that point.

"A lot of people said the Warriors might have pressured me. But they're probably saying that they (the Warriors) could have stopped me from myself -- put up a wall and say 'No, you're not playing.'

"But nobody would have stopped me at that point. I was gonna play no matter what ... I thought I was gonna go out there and cruise through the game ... s--t happens."

Remember, it wasn't just the Warriors who cleared KD to return for Game 5 in Toronto. Durant's outside doctor was a part of the process and gave the thumbs up, also.

Nobody thought the 10-time All-Star was at risk for tearing his Achilles. And at this point, nobody should be blaming Golden State.

But that's just wishful thinking.

Get well, KD.

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NBA rumors: 'No world' where Andre Iguodala gets buyout from Grizzlies

NBA rumors: 'No world' where Andre Iguodala gets buyout from Grizzlies

The Warriors faced Andre Iguodala and the Grizzlies on Monday night.

Oh wait, the 2015 NBA Finals MVP -- although he is on the roster and is getting paid by Memphis -- effectively isn't a member of the Grizzlies.

He almost assuredly will not finish the season with Memphis, but it won't be because he and the franchise strike a buyout.

The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor has the latest intel:

As much as the Lakers would love for Iguodala to get bought out, I’m told there’s no world in which that happens. The Grizzlies will trade Iguodala—it’s only a matter of when and to whom. According to a source, Memphis is open to any type of trade package, including deals that bring back a long-term salary.

This makes perfect sense from a Grizzlies perspective, as there most likely will be a bidding war for Iguodala's services between contending teams as we get closer to the Feb. 7 trade deadline.

The Warriors sent Memphis a 2024 first-round pick (top-four protected) in the Iguodala trade in July, and the Grizzlies understandably want to acquire an additional asset.

As for Iguodala's perspective -- it's safe to assume he would prefer a buyout so that way he could sign with whoever he wants. But as he told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole in late September:

“At this point, the only buyout that makes sense -- if I’m speaking on someone else’s behalf, thinking as an agent -- is you don’t leave money on the table."

So the three-time NBA champion doesn't want to give back any of his $17.2 million for this season, and the Grizzlies don't want to strike a buyout agreement.

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We shall see if either side softens their stance in the coming weeks and months, but the logical outcome will be a trade in late January or early February.

As they day, deadlines spur action.

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Sources: Warriors plan to send first-round pick Jordan Poole to G League


Sources: Warriors plan to send first-round pick Jordan Poole to G League

SAN FRANCISCO -- When the Warriors send Jordan Poole to G League Santa Cruz, and that definitely is in the works, the move will not be a surprise.

Nor should the decision be considered punitive.

Rather, it will be a major step in the process to help the rookie shooting guard rediscover his game.

Poole’s trip to the Santa Cruz Warriors could come as early as this week, according to multiple league sources, but several other factors are influencing the timing.

The Warriors, for one, are considering the future of two-way point guard Ky Bowman, who has played well but is up to 30 days of NBA service. Another 15 days and the Warriors either waive Bowman, hand him a standard NBA contract or send him back to Santa Cruz. One way to extend his time with the franchise is to send him to the G League. Such a move is more likely with the return of point guard Jacob Evans III on Monday night.

The Warriors are disinclined to send both Poole and Lee to Santa Cruz. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but they’d much prefer to avoid it.

The second consideration involves shooting guard Damion Lee, the team’s other two-way player. Largely because he has missed the last four weeks, he still has 31 days of NBA service remaining. Initially listed as probable (generally considered a 75-percent chance of playing) Monday afternoon, Lee was downgraded to “out” two hours before tipoff.

Insofar as Lee plays the same position as Poole, Lee’s return could trigger Poole’s journey 90 minutes south of San Francisco.

The Warriors, according to multiple team sources, already have decided to meet with Poole before laying out the plan for once he arrives in Santa Cruz. He crept closer toward that direction Monday night when he received his first DNP-CD of the season as the Warriors fell, 110-102, to the Grizzlies.

The move is a response to Poole failing to find any shooting rhythm, the aspect of his game that was unquestioned when the Warriors selected him in the first round, No. 30 overall, last June. He’s shooting 25.8 percent from the field, including 24.5 percent beyond the arc.

Those numbers surely played a part in Poole exhibiting some shooting uncertainty, even mimicking reluctance, that bespeaks low confidence. The result is a shot without touch and, often, an outright brick.

The Warriors are certain Poole is better than what he has shown. Poole, 20, also realizes he needs to be better. He’s a natural scorer, with a natural stroke that suddenly looks unnatural.

The Warriors realized weeks ago that Poole could benefit from the kind of shooting rehab that can only happen in the G League. But injuries -- five guards were on the injured list most of last month -- left them in no position to be without any healthy player.

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One of the three injured guards, D’Angelo Russell, returned last week. Evans III returned Monday night. A third, Lee, is expected back this week.

With that level of depth, the Warriors can give Poole the opportunity to get regular minutes in the G League and maybe rebuild the confidence he insists he hasn’t lost despite statistics showing otherwise. A place where microscopes won’t follow is the smart move, and Santa Cruz is perfect for a talented scorer in search of his gift.

The Warriors drafted Poole largely because of his ability to score. Playing in a democratic offensive system under John Beilein at Michigan, Poole didn’t put up massive numbers. But he knew how to get buckets.

Even though taking Poole in the first round was perceived by many around the league as a “reach,” the general belief was that his shooting was NBA-ready.

That has not been the case. The numbers don’t lie. The general belief now, at least among the Warriors, is that it’s past time to see if Poole can find his bearings in the G League and return to the NBA and actually be the shooter he’s expected to be.