Warriors

With latest contract, Kevin Durant helps Warriors now and himself down the line

With latest contract, Kevin Durant helps Warriors now and himself down the line

For the second consecutive year, Kevin Durant has agreed to do a favor for the Warriors.

He also proved once more that, for now, his highest priority is not to extract maximum NBA dollars.

Durant’s decision Saturday to accept a $61.5 million, two-year contract, with a player option in Year 2, provides him maximum control of his future while the Warriors get an immediate financial break.

Durant can’t sign until the moratorium ends Friday, but under this agreement he’ll be paid $30 million, the maximum 20-percent raise over the discounted $25 million deal he signed last July, in 2018-19 with $31.5 million on the table next July.

If he were to sign a three-year contract, with the player option in Year 3, he could have gotten a salary of about $35.3 million in Year 1 -- and the additional $5.3 million would have pushed the Warriors considerably deeper into the luxury tax.

Though the Warriors plan to fill out their roster with minimum contracts and maybe -- maybe -- utilize their $5.38 million taxpayer midlevel exception, Durant’s decision could shave more $25 million from their luxury tax bill.

Co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have to like that.

Durant, however, sets himself up very nicely for next summer. If he declines his option, and there is no reason he wouldn’t, the Warriors would have his full Bird rights, making him eligible to re-sign a five-year pact worth roughly $220 million.

This agreement comes one year after Durant saved Lacob and Guber $9.5 million, ostensibly to help them re-sign veteran free agents Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston

With Iguodala and Livingston are safely in the fold for another year, Durant’s motives were different this time. He still helps the Warriors now, but he really, really helps himself later.

 

NBA rule changes announced for 2018-19 season

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NBA rule changes announced for 2018-19 season

Some of you may still be celebrating the Warriors' 2018 title in the street of Oakland.

Keep celebrating if you will, but it's time to move on to the 2018-19 season. And with that, the NBA is bringing more change to the game that keeps on growing. 

On Friday, the NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved three rule changes that will take place this season. With these changes, the league is looking to speed the game up while making it easier to follow.

Below is how the NBA describes each change: 

Shot Clock Reset – The shot clock will reset to 14 seconds in three scenarios: after an offensive rebound of a missed field goal or free throw that hit the rim; after a loose ball foul is called on the defensive team immediately following a missed field goal or free throw that hit the rim; or after the offensive team gets possession of the ball after it goes out of bounds immediately following a missed field goal or free throw that hit the rim.

The rule has been in effect in the NBA G League since the 2016-17 season, in the WNBA since 2016 and in FIBA play since 2014-15.  The rule was also in place during 2018 NBA Summer Leagues.

Simplification of the Clear Path Foul Rule – The changes to the clear path foul rule establish “bright line” standards based on the position of players at the time of the foul while also narrowing required referee judgment and reducing the number of variables impacting the rule’s application. 

A clear path foul is now defined as a personal foul against any offensive player during his team’s transition scoring opportunity in the following circumstances: the ball is ahead of the tip of the circle in the backcourt; no defender is ahead of the offensive player with the transition scoring opportunity; the player with the transition scoring opportunity is in control of the ball (or a pass has been thrown to him); and if the foul deprives his team of an opportunity to score.

As part of the clear path foul rule simplification, referees will no longer need to make judgment calls as to whether or not a defender was between (or had the opportunity to be between) the offensive player with the transition scoring opportunity and the basket.  In addition, referees will no longer have to determine whether or not the defender was at any time ahead of the offensive player prior to committing the foul, nor will it be relevant whether or not a defender beat the offensive player with the transition scoring opportunity into the frontcourt.  Further, plays of this nature will no longer have to originate in the backcourt (since transition scoring opportunities can originate in the frontcourt).

Under the simplified rule, a clear path foul cannot occur if the fouled player is in the act of shooting or if the foul is caused by the defender’s attempt to intercept or deflect a pass intended for the player attempting to score in transition. 

If a clear path foul is committed, the offended team will continue to be awarded two free throws and possession of the ball on the sideline nearest the spot where the foul occurred.

Expanded Definition of “Hostile Act” for Replay Purposes – For purposes of triggering instant replay review, the definition of a “hostile act” has been broadened to enable referees to determine the appropriate penalty for players or coaches if they are involved in hostile encounters with each other, referees or fans. 

Let the games begin. 

 

Pat McCaw, Warriors still waiting each other out before training camp

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Pat McCaw, Warriors still waiting each other out before training camp

Counting down the hours until training camp begins Tuesday, there is only one unresolved issue immediately facing the Warriors.

Guard Pat McCaw, a restricted free agent considered part of the team’s future, still has not accepted the $1.74 million qualifying offer the Warriors presented more than 12 weeks ago.

By extending the deal, the Warriors indicated they still want McCaw on the roster.

McCaw last season indicated a desire to return for a third season, something his father, Jeff, reiterated in an interview this week with the San Francisco Chronicle.

The lack of McCaw’s signature on a contract was not a concern in July or August. But with summer coming to a close, his absence leaves the Warriors wondering if he still wants to explore other options while also forcing them to prepare to do the same.

This is not what the Warriors wanted, nor is it what McCaw needs.

The biggest problem facing McCaw is that he was far less effective last season than he was a rookie. It was after his first season that veteran wing Andre Iguodala, speaking at the championship celebration in Oakland, identified McCaw as his potential replacement.

Was Iguodala joking? Yes. And no.

McCaw as a rookie showed smarts, instincts and a fearlessness that belied his 21 years. His shot was decent, with plenty of room to improve. His defense was solid, revealing an aptitude for reading angles and anticipating, an obvious asset for someone with such a rail-thin physique.

McCaw in Year 2 struggled with his shot. He finished at 28.3 percent from deep and 40.9 percent overall. His movements on the court became uncertain. And then, last March 31, he sustained a terrifying injury that sent him to the hospital by ambulance for an overnight stay and kept him on the sideline for nearly two months.

All those forces combined to depress McCaw’s market value and, therefore, punch a hole in thoughts of leverage.

Which makes the summer inactivity kind of puzzling. The Warriors have been patient, awaiting McCaw’s signature. McCaw has been waiting, presumably, for a team to come along offering something better, after which he would find out just how much the Warriors want him to come back.

That deal has not materialized. After experiencing a flurry of offer sheets and signings in July, the NBA quickly settled into a soft market by August. It has remained soft in September.

Nobody is shopping, and that won’t change unless someone, somewhere, gets hurt and a team suddenly needs a young wing with potential.

When the Warriors released their camp roster on Thursday, McCaw’s name was not on the list. It can’t be, because he is unsigned.

Which leaves two young wings thinking they have a shot to make the roster. Danuel House, a fabulous athlete, is coming on a non-guaranteed deal. Damion Lee, who snagged a two-way contract, also is on the list.

McCaw still has the edge, because his contract would be guaranteed. Unless or until he signs, however, that’s irrelevant.

Meanwhile, he waits. And so do the Warriors. The clock that was relatively quiet all summer is now ticking louder by the day.