Warriors

One former Warriors GM joins Hawks; another former Warriors GM promoted by Hawks

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AP

One former Warriors GM joins Hawks; another former Warriors GM promoted by Hawks

Larry Riley was the Warriors' general manager from May 2009 to April 2012.

Rod Higgins was the Warriors' general manager from May 2004 to May 2007. 

On Thursday morning, the Atlanta Hawks announced that Riley is the franchise's new Senior Advisor, and Higgins has been promoted to VP of Basketball Operations.

After Bob Myers was promoted to GM in April 2012, Riley became the Warriors' Director of Scouting.

Higgins played seven of his 13 NBA seasons for the Warriors, and was a Golden State assistant coach for six seasons (1995 to 2000).

The Hawks also made official the hirings of Chelsea Lane -- who was the Warriors' Head of Physical Performance and Sports Medicine the last two years -- and Michael Irr -- who was the Warriors' Head of Strength and Conditioning.

Atlanta's general manager, Travis Schlenk (who was hired in May 2017), served as assistant GM of the Warriors for the prior five seasons.

He brought Dan Martinez -- Golden State's Senior Direction of Public Relations -- with him to Atlanta.

So basically, you should expect the Hawks to trade for Steph Curry and Kevin Durant in the coming weeks ...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

DeMarcus Cousins shakes nerves, then rust in impressive Warriors debut

DeMarcus Cousins shakes nerves, then rust in impressive Warriors debut

LOS ANGELES — DeMarcus Cousins had a serious case of the nerves before his Warriors debut Friday night. His girlfriend, Morgan Lang, then reminded him how far he has come in his journey back to the NBA, and it settled him down.

Cousins’ return to the court not only was anticipated by the public but by the man himself. Nearly a year after his ruptured Achilles sidelined him from the sport he loves, he felt ready enough to play again.

Leading up to the game, Cousins felt a tightening of his stomach — butterflies. He was nervous. So much so that he text his family, who reminded him that he has been playing basketball his whole life. It should be like riding a bicycle.

It was Lang, however, who got through to Cousins most effectively.

“My girl,” Cousins said, “she sent me a great message before the game. It just put everything in perspective for me. She sent me this picture. It was the day after I had my surgery and I’m sitting in a wheelchair in L.A., staring out at a sunset.

“It wasn’t planned or anything, but you know she caught a good moment, and she sent it to me and was like, ‘Think about where you are now, and where you came from.’ It kind of put everything in perspective for me.”

Lang posted that same picture on Instagram.

Once the game clock started running, Cousins felt great, and the ride on the bike got smoother.

“Once the ball went up,” he said, “everything kind of went out the window, and it all fell from there.”

Cousins had a notable debut that was better than many expected. He played 15 minutes before fouling out to a standing ovation but only after scoring 14 points in the Warriors' 112-94 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Even Steve Kerr expressed that it was a kind of happy surprise.

“I would say so,” the Warriors coach said. “I didn’t anticipate him making three 3s. I know he can shoot from out there, we all know that, but first-game jitters and fatigue. I wouldn’t have expected him to knock down the two big shots that really broke the whole thing open. It was kind of fitting.”

Cousins said the entire night made him feel like a kid at Christmas.

“This is probably one of the best days of my life,” Cousins said. “Just being out there on the floor again playing the game that I love. My teammates were great. They supported me through this entire process.”

[RELATED: Cousins looks like perfect prescription for Warriors' needs]

While Cousins knows there’s still a long way to go in building chemistry with his new team and learning more of the offense, there were things that made him feel great about his first game back. One was his first-quarter dunk for his first two points as a Warrior.

“I’m just glad to know I can still dunk,” Cousins joked. “Nah, it felt good. I never would have thought in a million years that would have been my first basket playing ball again. But I like that it happened, and I wouldn’t change it.”

DeMarcus Cousins looks like perfect prescription for what Warriors need

DeMarcus Cousins looks like perfect prescription for what Warriors need

LOS ANGELES -- DeMarcus Cousins, still carrying the remnants of defiant reputation, fouled out of a basketball game Friday night, and walked off the court not with a sneer but a grin that lit up an entire arena.

Did it before thousands of curious eyes in America’s entertainment center, as well as millions around the globe.

Did it out of pure, unabashed joy.

Did it as his teammates, riding the wave created by a man who had to re-learn how to walk and run, were standing and grinning back just as broadly.

Playing for the first time in nearly a year, Cousins did not merely survive his Warriors debut. He thrived. And largely because he did, the Warriors carved out a 112-94 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.

“I felt like a kid on Christmas,” Cousins said. “It’s been a long journey ... but this was probably one of best days of my life.”

Merely by joining the Warriors in their 46th game of the season, Cousins sent a jolt of energy through his teammates and, perhaps, the entire franchise.

“It was just exciting, a good energy and feeling great about our teammate that is playing basketball again,” Stephen Curry said, describing the exuberance felt when Cousins was whistled for his sixth foul with 8:51 remaining.

Insofar as the Warriors are a talented bunch, accustomed to rousing success but also prone to lapses in focus, the big center is exactly what they need physically -- of course -- but also emotionally and even psychologically.

“He’s a really good teammate,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s an emotional guy. But he’s loved, because he cares about us. He’s hilarious. He’s just one of the guys.

“So that was one bright spot in the first half of the season. Even though he didn’t play, he was around our guys and they got to know him. And you could see how important that was in the second half when he was making those shots. Just how happy everybody was for him.”

Cousins played 15 minutes and finished plus-24 for his time on the court. He scored 14 points on 5 of 11 shooting, including 3 of 4 from beyond the arc. He grabbed six rebounds and also had three assists, one steal and one block.

[RELATED: Watch Boogie's powerful dunk for his first Warriors points]

“In 15 minutes, he had 14 and six,” Kevin Durant said. “You turn that to 25 minutes, that’s an easy 25 and 10.”

There were times when the rust showed. He tried to execute a “Eurostep” maneuver, and it failed badly, resulting in an air ball. He earned points for courage but demerits for execution. And the fouls kept coming, some plainly legitimate and others less so.

Only once did Cousins flare up ever so briefly before going back to work.

No doubt much of Cousins’ joy stems from him dropping in a pair of 3-pointers 32 seconds apart, which expanded the Warriors’ lead from nine to 15. The Clippers never got any closer.

“When he hit two big shots that really broke the whole game open, it was kind of fitting,” Kerr said. “We’re all really happy for him. It’s been a long haul, a long road back for him. He looked great out there.”

It’s one thing to participate, quite another to contribute in such an impactful way.

Returning to NBA basketball after 11 months of rehabilitating a ruptured Achilles tendon, Cousins had to learn to walk again, and to run. Then, too, the intensity of intrasquad scrimmages can’t begin to compare to that of actual game action.

“It was amazing,” Curry said.

[RELATED: Cousins shakes nerves, rust in first game as a Warrior]

Cousins will keep defenses honest, as Durant said. He will provide strength in the middle, as Kerr said. He made them better immediately, and it’s only the beginning, as Curry noted.

“My teammates were great,” Cousins said. “They’ve supported me through this entire process. The organization has supported me through this entire process. They made it easy and smooth for me as much as they could.

“I thank them.”

It was just as clear that, on this night, they thank him. The Warriors are playing well, feeling good, and now they have a weapon that energizes them. Look out, NBA.