Warriors

NBA rumors: Kevin Durant demanded Warriors give Nets first-round pick

NBA rumors: Kevin Durant demanded Warriors give Nets first-round pick

On June 30, Kevin Durant announced that he would sign with the Nets in free agency.

But technically, he ended up signing with the Warriors and then was shipped to Brooklyn in a "sign-and-trade" that brought D'Angelo Russell to the Dubs.

Although the transaction came to fruition, KD wasn't on board from the beginning.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN has the details:

Durant initially balked at being traded for Russell straight up, multiple sources said. He didn't think it was a fair deal, and in this case, the Warriors had to not just satisfy the Nets, but also Durant.

Leverage was applied by the player, and Golden State had to include a first-round pick before Durant would agree to sign off. The Warriors begrudgingly gave it up and did so with a heavy condition: If the pick falls within the top 20 next year, they don't have to send it, and instead will only give Brooklyn a second-round pick ... in six years. It's one of the most unusual pick protections the NBA has seen recently.

One school of thought is that the two-time NBA Finals MVP did the Warriors a favor because he could have said no under any circumstances.

Another is that Durant comes across as being a little petty by refusing to cooperate unless the first-round pick was included.

If the Dubs ultimately send their 2020 first rounder to the Nets it means the 2019-20 season was a success.

[RELATEDNew details emerge regarding Durant's contract with Nets]

It seems that the perfect scenario from a Golden State perspective would be for the pick to fall between 15 and 20, which would mean the Warriors made the playoffs and they get to keep the draft pick.

It will be fascinating to see how it unfolds.

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Watch Warriors' Andrew Wiggins show off handle in offseason workout

Watch Warriors' Andrew Wiggins show off handle in offseason workout

The Warriors haven't played in an NBA game for five months, and they might not play for (at least) another two or so.

Andrew Wiggins is trying to make the most of that time, working out with trainer Chris Johnson in Los Angeles. Johnson posted a video on his Instagram on Wednesday of Wiggins flashing his handle on a slot pick-and-roll.

Steph Curry and Draymond Green figure to share the bulk of the ball-handling duties if and when the Warriors' projected starting lineup is fully healthy to start next season, so Wiggins might not get many chances to show off what he learned working with Johnson. Projected over a full season, Wiggins' 25.4 percent usage rate in his first 12 games with the Warriors would be the fourth-lowest of his career. Curry played in just one of those games, so that number almost certainly will drop in Wiggins' first full season with Golden State.

[RELATED: Steph, Dame deserve better than these ridiculous debates]

Still, Wiggins initiating plays as a primary ballhandler would be an added bonus.  The Warriors are plenty high on him already, though.

Assistant coach Ron Adams said in June that the "sky's the limit" for the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, and head coach Steve Kerr said earlier this month that "[Wiggins] fights right in" on the wing.

Wednesday's video provided a brief glimpse of how Wiggins is trying to reward their faith.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Why Klay Thompson thinks it's 'hard time to play' during NBA restart

Why Klay Thompson thinks it's 'hard time to play' during NBA restart

Klay Thompson said he can't blame any NBA players having trouble focusing on basketball right now.

The restarted season is occurring in a "bubble" at the Walt Disney World Resort amid a global pandemic that has killed nearly 170,000 Americans alone and within months of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor's deaths at the hands of police. The coronavirus' disparate impact on people of color, coupled with renewed attention on African Americans disproportionately dying in police custody, has laid bare the entrenched systemic inequalities within the United States. 

Around three-fourths of NBA players are Black, and Thompson said he empathizes with his peers on the 22 NBA teams still playing.

"Honestly, these last few months, it was like divine intervention happening for the world to see what is really going on to a lot of marginalized peoples in this country," Thompson told Brandon Williams in an interview for Bleacher Report. "So I feel for the players right now. It's a hard time to play."

Thompson marched in a protest against systemic racism organized by teammate Juan Toscano-Anderson back in June, and NBA players and coaches have maintained that focus in Orlando.

[RELATED: Steph, Dame deserve better than these ridiculous debates]

Players are mentioning Taylor in their pre- and post-game press conferences, calling for the officers involved in her death to be arrested. Gregg Popovich's media availability routinely serve as history lessons about American injustice. League-approved social-justice messages adorn the backs of players' jerseys. The NBA announced it's committing $300 million over the next decade to spur economic growth in Black communities.

This all is happening as the NBA seeks to complete its season and crown a champion, with teams resuming for the first time in months in pursuit of the sport's ultimate prize. That's a tall order on its own, and an even taller one for players and coaches using their platforms in an effort to enact meaningful, systemic change.

It's understandable they're doing so with heavy hearts.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]