Warriors

NBA rumors: Warriors 'looming threat' for Giannis Antetokounmpo in free agency

NBA rumors: Warriors 'looming threat' for Giannis Antetokounmpo in free agency

The retired Shaun Livingston was the last Warrior to wear No. 34. Will the next one be NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo? 

While it sounds wild and surely would set NBA Twitter ablaze once again, crazier things have happened. The Warriors always will be a threat to sign a star, and the Greek Freak is no exception. 

"The one team lurking out there -- I don't know how this would happen -- but the Warriors have always been the big threat to go after Giannis," ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne said Monday on "The Jump." 

The Bucks superstar shares the same agency as Warriors star Steph Curry and has the same agent as Steph's brother Seth. He is friends with the Curry family, and the New York Times' Marc Stein reported in February that the Warriors have "internally mused about a run at Giannis."

"It would be a difficult construction to make happen, but that is the one looming threat," Shelbourne said. "It comes down to what kind of guy is Giannis. What does he want his legacy to be? Is he the kind of guy who stays with one team his entire career and tries to bring a championship to Milwaukee or does he pull a Kevin Durant and go join a group of super friends?"

Antetokounmpo becomes a free agent after the 2020-21 season. Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all will be on the books at that time with contracts that total at least $100 million.

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The 24-year-old Antetokounmpo took home the league's highest honor last season when he posted 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. He already is a three-time All-NBA selection, three-time All-Star and twice has been voted to the All-Defensive team.

With a brand new arena and a hunger for more championships, the Warriors' front office will do anything they can to bring Giannis to the Bay Area. The summer of 2021 could be a big one in San Francisco.

Draymond Green: Warriors '100 percent' win title if Klay Thompson healthy

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Draymond Green: Warriors '100 percent' win title if Klay Thompson healthy

The Warriors had a chance to win their third consecutive championship in the 2019 NBA Finals, but crippling injuries to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson in tandem with Kawhi Leonard playing like a young Michael Jordan ended Golden State’s dream of a three-peat.

However, even after losing KD in Game 5 of the series, Golden State was still in the lead at home in Game 6 before Thompson’s knee buckled and dashed the Warriors’ hopes and dreams of glory in Oracle Arena’s NBA finale.

Warriors star Draymond Green firmly believes that barring those injuries to Klay and KD, he’d have a fourth championship ring to add to his extensive trophy case.

“If Klay Thompson had been healthy, I 100 percent believe that we win the title last year,” Green told ESPN’s Sam Alipour. “We have no way of ever knowing, but I 100 percent believe that.”

[RELATED: Why Draymond's excited to play like he did before KD joined]

The Warriors would have had to go back up to Toronto for Game 7 and win in order to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy, but a healthy Klay Thompson definitely would have made that a much more attainable mission.

Unfortunately for Draymond and all Warriors fans, the human race hasn’t discovered the ability to time travel, so we’ll never know who would come out on top in that ideal scenario.

Warriors' Draymond Green excited to play like he did pre-Kevin Durant

Warriors' Draymond Green excited to play like he did pre-Kevin Durant

It's wild how things can change so quickly in such a short amount of time.

In late September -- just before the Warriors opened training camp -- Draymond Green had lofty expectations for the 2019-20 season.

"I'm going back to the way I was pre-KD (Kevin Durant), and that's exciting to me," he told Sam Alipour of ESPN in an article published Friday. "I had to give up shots to make sure Kevin gets his touches, and I don't regret that. It got me a couple of championships.

"But as a competitor, as someone who's still in his prime, who's been in the gym all summer trying to improve my game, it's exciting to know that I can go back to playing the way that I was playing before.

"You haven't seen the best of me. I'm definitely not at my peak. I have so much room to grow, new heights that I can reach -- like becoming a 40 percent 3-point shooter. That'd be amazing, right?

"My shooting dropped off the last couple of seasons, but it's tough when you're taking only two or three 3s a game. My percentages were a lot higher when I took more."

Well, fast forward six weeks later and Draymond finds himself in unchartered territory as the Warriors (2-10) have the worst record in the NBA.

Plain and simple, he doesn't look like himself so far. He not only is playing without Klay Thompson, but Steph Curry also won't be taking the floor for several more months, and Kevon Looney remains out indefinitely.

As a result, the Warriors predominantly have become a pick-and-roll team, as Draymond finds himself watching D'Angelo Russell run the show.

"I’ve always been a playmaker. I don't really have the ball much," the three-time All-Star told reporters Monday night after Golden State's loss to the Jazz.

"This is going to allow him to play off the ball and space out and work on his shot," coach Steve Kerr told the media Tuesday. "I'm going to encourage that. He can get that confidence back."

Let's take a look at Draymond's 3-point shooting over the years:
-2015-16 = 38.8 percent on 3.2 attempts
-2016-17 = 30.8 percent on 3.5 attempts
-2017-18 = 30.1 percent on 3.7 attempts
-2018-19 = 28.5 percent on 2.5 attempts

So Draymond's earlier point about fewer attempts negatively impacting his percentage doesn't really hold up, because he shot more triples in the first two seasons with KD than he did during his career-year in 2015-16.

But in his defense, Draymond making those shots didn't matter as much with KD onboard because the loaded Warriors probably were going to win the game anyway.

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That no longer is the case. And even if Draymond were to go 8-for-10 from deep in a game this season, the Dubs still might lose.

But thinking big picture, the two-time All-NBA selection absolutely should use this season to regain his consistency from beyond the arc (he went 2-for-4 on Wednesday against the Lakers). As it pertains to that 40 percent goal, the mindset he had in late September should not change.

Given the circumstances, that won't be easy on a nightly basis.

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