Warriors

NBA rumors: Warriors privately 'cool' on playing when season returns

NBA rumors: Warriors privately 'cool' on playing when season returns

To play or not to play?

That is the question facing the Warriors as the NBA nears a decision on how many teams will participate when the league resumes the 2019-20 season.

While coach Steve Kerr said the team is operating as if the season is over, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that owner Joe Lacob told his fellow owners that the team was "willing" to play if all 30 NBA teams were asked to play.

But ... Wojnarowski also reported, citing sources, that the Warriors have been "far more cool to the idea in private."

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Based on Wojnarowski's reporting from Friday, the NBA Board of Governors are expected to approve commissioner Adam Silver's proposal for a 22-team restart plan later this week, meaning the Warriors -- who hold the worst record in the league -- would not be asked to play any more games this season.

The Warriors don't have anything left to play for this season. They are the only team that has been officially eliminated from playoff contention. Does it make sense for the players to go through several weeks of training camp to play a handful of meaningless games?

"It's a hard thing to put your mind in that space, 'I'm gonna go out here and compete and bust my a-- and know in five games we're just gonna be back in the offseason again,' " Warriors star Steph Curry told former teammate Anthony Morrow recently on "The Life Podcast."

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Would it be advantageous for the Warriors to get a brief look at Curry playing alongside Andrew Wiggins? Sure, but they don't need to risk injury to either player when the goal is making sure the team is ready to bounce back for the 2020-21 season.

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Steve Kerr knows Warriors must 'begin to manage' Steph Curry's minutes

Steve Kerr knows Warriors must 'begin to manage' Steph Curry's minutes

Restarting a dynasty never is easy, and the Warriors will face many new challenges next season as they look to return to greatness after a pause year at the bottom of the NBA.

Among the new set of obstacles for coach Steve Kerr is something he hasn't needed to worry about in the past: managing Steph Curry's workload.

As Curry enters his age-32 season, Kerr knows it will be his staff's responsibility to make sure his superstar isn't overworked during the season, suggesting the Warriors will implement a version of the Celtics' "KG Plan," which Boston used toward the end of Kevin Garnett's tenure.

“Now, (Curry’s) at the point where he’s been at the peak of his powers for the last couple of years,” Kerr said on The Athletic's "Hoops, Adjacent" podcast. “If anything, it’s on us to try to begin to manage his minutes. We’ve always been really blessed. We’ve been able to do that because of the talent on our team. We’ve never really run Steph into the ground.

"We don’t have as much depth as we once did. It’s on us as a coaching staff to make sure we get him his rest every night, and we’re not wearing him out.”

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For the Celtics, that plan meant Garnett spending five minutes on the court and then five minutes on the bench. They tried to stick to that plan as diligently as possible during the 2011-12 season, but eventually, they needed Garnett to play more down the stretch and in the playoffs.

The Warriors' plan for Curry unlikely will be as regimented as Garnett's was in 2012. As Kerr noted, the Warriors no longer have the depth they once did, so even more will be placed on Curry and Klay Thompson's shoulders as they try to resurrect a dynasty that was brought down by injuries and exhaustion in the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

After playing just five games this past season, Curry no doubt is champing at the bit to return and prove that he and the Warriors should not be cast aside yet. Managing Curry's minutes will be important to keep him fresh for what the Warriors hope is an extended playoff run, but it's clear they will have to ask him to shoulder a heavier load in order to accomplish their goals.

[RELATED: How Steph feels about Warriors playing in NBA's second bubble]

A critical offseason now faces the Warriors. After sinking to the bottom of the NBA, the Warriors will have a top-five draft pick and a $17.2 million trade exception to use to bolster the roster around Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green.

Returning to the unprecedented level of greatness they once enjoyed is too much to ask of Curry and the Warriors. You don't simply absorb the massive blow of losing Kevin Durant and return to that level.

But the Warriors will return to the court rested and healthy in December when the next season is expected to begin, and they should automatically return to contender status atop a now-loaded Western Conference.

Curry wants to prove that the Warriors' dynasty isn't done. For the Warriors to succeed in returning to the top of the NBA, though, it's important Kerr makes sure the two-time league MVP isn't worn down by the weight he's asked to carry.

Steph Curry offers thoughts on Warriors playing in second NBA bubble

Steph Curry offers thoughts on Warriors playing in second NBA bubble

As 22 NBA teams get acclimated to the bubble in Orlando, Steph Curry and the Warriors are in offseason mode. For now, at least.

The NBA reportedly is looking into having a second bubble in Chicago, where the eight teams who did not get the Orlando invite would participate in a minicamp and play a few games against each other. For Curry, that's something he doesn't sound interested in, but admits it could be beneficial for the younger Warriors.

"At the end of the day, it would be hard for me to play meaningless games, and that's pretty obvious," Curry said Friday on SportsCenter. "But in terms of young guys trying to get as much basketball to break up, for the bottom eight teams, this potential eight-, nine-month layoff, I think it's a good effort. Obviously safety first, that's what everything is about. So if they can answer those questions, then we'll see what happens."

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Warriors general manager Bob Myers has said the Warriors will be a good league partner and participate in a second bubble if one gets OK'd. But it is unlikely Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green would participate in said second bubble. 

In June, coach Steve Kerr said that a minicamp-style bubble would not be something that appealed to the Warriors.

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After a 15-50 season, the Warriors will finish recharging during the extended offseason before attempting to restart their dynasty in December, when the 2020-21 season is expected to begin.

The Warriors face a crucial offseason as they look to maximize the remaining prime years of Curry, Thompson and Green. They will have a top-five draft pick and have a $17.2 million trade exception to use to add another piece around their championship core.

The second bubble doesn't have much intrigue for a team that spent the last five Junes playing in The Finals. There's little reason for Curry, Thompson or Green to suit up for exhibition games this summer. All that matters is being healthy and rested for when the games count again.