As Livingston gets hot at right time, his free agency price on the rise

As Livingston gets hot at right time, his free agency price on the rise

OAKLAND -- On the heels of Andre Iguodala’s impressive late-season salary drive comes another Warriors veteran making a dash for cash as he approaches free agency and the team rolls toward the playoffs.

Highly proficient for the first four months of the season before falling into a slump that coincided with the Feb. 28 injury to Kevin Durant, Shaun Livingston is back to shooting with the automatic consistency of a fine timepiece.

Livingston scored a season-high 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting Sunday in a 139-115 victory over Washington, continuing a sizzling stretch of shooting that began seven games ago.

Livingston shot 80 percent Sunday and 78.9 percent over the previous six games. He’s at 79.3 percent during a stretch during which the Warriors have gone 7-0, winning by an average of 14.7 points.

“Shaun’s in a good groove,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We kind of changed his rotation a little bit a couple of weeks ago and he’s responded really well.”

Nearing the end of his third season with the Warriors, Livingston generally had served as Stephen Curry’s backup, entering games to start the second and fourth quarters and playing about six minutes in each stint. He occasionally found additional minutes, but those were not consistent.

Lately, though, Livingston has come off the bench midway through the first quarter, closing it out, and reentering midway through the second. Whom he replaces varies from game to game. He entered for guards Pat McCaw and Ian Clark on Sunday, for forwards Draymond Green and Matt Barnes in the previous game.

“He’s playing a little bit more small forward for us with KD out,” Kerr said. “Not just handling the ball, but playing off the ball some. He’s such a good player that he just recognizes things, sees the floor and guards multiple positions.”

Livingston, 32, is that rare point guard with superior length -- 6-foot-7, with a wingspan of nearly 7 feet -- and it plays into his versatility. He attributes his recent resurgence to body recovery and maintenance necessitated in the wake of a devastating knee injury in 2007 that nearly ended his career.

To be sure, no Warrior was more off his game than Livingston, who missed 19 of 22 shots during that stretch in early March when they lost four of six games, with five of the games coming on the road.

The turnaround is complete.

“I think it’s just my body feeling better,” Livingston said. “Coming off that road trip was rough, but I’m eyeing the playoffs now. Seeing the schedule, seeing this is kind of the last hurdle going into the postseason, you want to feel good about your body. The better I feel about my body, the better I feel about my game. Just staying with that confidence.”

Livingston’s three-year contract expires in July. He wants to return, and the Warriors realize he offers skills that would be exceedingly difficult to replace.

The Warriors don’t know if they can afford him and Livingston has played well enough during his time in Oakland, and surely during this sprint to the postseason, that his price is on the rise.

What did Kevin Durant say following confrontation with Draymond Green?

What did Kevin Durant say following confrontation with Draymond Green?

Lip-readers assemble! Your assistance is required.

As Kevin Durant made his way back onto the court following his bench confrontation with Draymond Green during Monday’s Warriors loss to the Clippers, video caught him mouthing something aloud. Depending on your interpretation, it’s either something of major concern to Golden State, or perhaps none at all.

So, what did Durant (who is due to be a free agent at season’s end) say exactly? I offer up three possibilities:

Option No. 1: “That’s why I’m out.” -- Uh oh. RED ALERT.

Option No. 2: “That’s just why I’m hot.” -- It was an emotional moment. Happens to the best of us.

Option No. 3: “That’s just wild, bruh.” -- Seriously. Who would have thought they’d get better without Lob City?

In all likelihood, we’ll never know for sure, unless Durant feels like opening up about it at some point. In the meantime, you be the judge. Offer up your favorite lip-reading possibilities in the comment section below.

Sources: Draymond Green crossed line bringing up Kevin Durant free agency

Sources: Draymond Green crossed line bringing up Kevin Durant free agency

OAKLAND -- Neither Warriors general manager Bob Myers nor coach Steve Kerr shed much light on the reasons for their decision to suspend Draymond Green on Tuesday. There is no doubt both men were deeply bothered.

That much was clear from their austere responses in separate pregame news conferences.

Multiple sources say Kevin Durant and Green exchanged profanities while quarreling late Monday night, as the Warriors were losing to the Clippers in Los Angeles. That happens, at some point, in most competitive locker rooms. It has happened with the Warriors, between Durant and Green.

What pushed this dispute to another level, according to sources, is that Green also brought up Durant’s upcoming free agency.

That, according to a team source, is where Green crossed the line. And it’s why Myers and Kerr, both accustomed to Green’s customary outbursts, felt a suspension was warranted.

Name-calling is one thing, contract-baiting another. It’s disrespectful.

“Something you don’t do in the NBA is talk about another man’s money,” one league source said Tuesday, prior to the Warriors' game against the Atlanta Hawks at Oracle Arena.

Which might explain why Kerr, usually willing to engage in conversation, kept most of his answers brief, looking as if he’d rather discuss anything else. And why Myers never looked so tired, his eyes redder than I can ever recall.

[RELATED: Steve Kerr recalls Michael Jordan fight in discussing Draymond ban]

The Warriors’ flight from L.A. didn’t arrive in Oakland until about 2 a.m. Tuesday, and we can safely assume neither Myers nor Kerr slept well.

Yet both insisted Durant’s free agency isn't a topic in the Warriors' locker room and that it was unrelated to the dispute between Durant and Green on Monday in LA.

“Nobody ever talks about Kevin’s free agency,” Kerr said.

“I don’t think it is [a topic],” Myers said. “I’m sure that’s going to be the idea in some people’s minds. But being around this team, being around these players ... it’s hard to win a championship. You can’t allow anything else your locker room, in the narrative. This team has done a good job of that.

“I know it may appear as if it looked easy over the last [few years]. It’s not. If you’re in the locker room, if you’re in our organization, it’s hard. We’ll get through it and we’ll keep moving.”

[RELATED: Warriors show Draymond where the third rail is by suspending him]

Given the history between Green and Durant, it’s altogether likely that this incident will not have lasting consequences. It’s not likely to drive the decision Durant will make in July. They fuss. They get on each other’s nerves. They hang out.

“I think we’ll be fine,” Kerr said. “We’re a team that goes through stuff just like everybody else. Things happen, bumps in the road. You’ve got to move forward. It’s all part of coaching a team and it’s part of being on a team. You have get through adversity, and there are some difficult time and you get through them.”

Though the Green-Durant squabble started with a basketball decision made by Green -- he dismissed Durant’s pleadings for the ball in the final seconds of a tie game Monday night, and the Warriors failed to get a shot -- that is not the basis for the suspension.

“As far as what decision coaches and player make, there’s a thousand decisions they make out there,” Myers said. “So I don’t get into this or that, as far as what he should or shouldn’t have done.”

It was, however, what set off Durant. It also bothered a few other Warriors who questioned Green’s decision. Passing the ball to Durant for a potential game-winning shot “would have solved multiple problems,” according to one source.

Instead, the Warriors have to hope any animosity will be brief, as it has been in the past. They have to hope Green still will be the fiery presence that stirs their offense and fuels their defense — and that he makes peace with Durant.

They also have to hope Durant is willing to forgive and move on.

Both conclusions are likely. That’s the history of the Durant-Green relationship. It’s at times tempestuous, but that always has passed for the sake of a greater goal.