Shaun Livingston leaves Warriors a winner after saving career, finding home

Shaun Livingston leaves Warriors a winner after saving career, finding home

Shaun Livingston came to the Warriors in the summer of 2014 hoping to find a place he could call home and salvage what remained of a promising career derailed by a devastating injury.

He achieved both in Oakland.

That he was richly deserving was evident from the moment he arrived until Wednesday, when the Warriors announced they were waiving the 14-year veteran point guard.

The move was anticipated. Livingston, who turns 34 in September, was briefed well in advance, according to league sources. Though he was entering the final year of a three-year deal worth $23.7 million signed in 2017, only $2 million of his $8.3 million salary in 2019-20 was guaranteed. Utilizing the stretch provision, the Warriors will spread the $2 million in equal installments over the next three seasons.

Though it is being reported that Livingston is considering extending his playing career, it’s also conceivable he will retire and remain with the Warriors in a different capacity.

He would like that, and so would the Warriors.

Livingston is “Dot” to his now-former Warriors teammates, a reference to a Jay-Z lyric. The 6-foot-7 Illinois native spent five seasons as the restrained voice of reason in a locker room that spanned the spectrum of personalities, from the vocal abstinence of Klay Thompson to the moderating and disarming humor of Stephen Curry, and from the calculated wisdom of Andre Iguodala to the sheer boisterousness of Draymond Green.

Livingston spoke up when it was time to speak up, remained quiet when that was the more prudent option and was discerning enough to read the room and detect the difference.

The serenity was a direct result of his NBA experience. Drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers fourth overall out of Peoria Central High School in 2004, Livingston entered the league with one hand reaching for the torch carried by Penny Hardaway, who inherited it from Magic Johnson, all lengthy and creative point guards able to generate offense in every conceivable way.

Then in his third season, at age 21, came the career-threatening injury that haunts him still and will provide painful reminders for the rest of his life.

Livingston drove to the basket and landed awkwardly, in the process tearing -- take a deep breath -- the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medical collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral meniscus. Furthermore, he dislocated his patella.

Livingston spent the next 16 months recovering from multiple surgeries, rehabilitating and, as rotten luck would have it, being released by the Clippers.

Thus began what he referred to as his journey. Returning to the NBA 20 months after his injury, he signed with Miami Heat. Three months later, Miami packaged Livingston and cash to the Memphis Grizzlies for a top-55 protected second-round draft pick.

Livingston made his way through five more teams over the next five years before finding himself back on the free-agent market and signing a three-year contract with the Warriors worth $16.6 million on July 11, 2014. With youngsters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson set at the guards of the future, the front office overwhelmingly approved Livingston as the third guard. He was the only significant offseason addition signed before Steve Kerr’s first season as coach.

Five trips to the NBA Finals and three championships later, the Warriors have no regrets. They had rescued someone who would make big plays in big games on the court -- such as his 20-point outburst in Game 1 of the 2016 Finals -- and also provide perspective in the locker room.

Livingston also has no regrets. When he became a free agent two years ago, he didn’t bother testing the market. Minutes into the negotiating window, he agreed to his current deal.

[RELATED: Kawhi's short contract could be good news for Warriors, NBA]

Asked via text message why didn’t play out the process at the time, Livingston’s reply imparted the lessons of his personal journey:

“You can’t put a price on happiness.”

Warriors' Steve Kerr shares childhood story that explains competitiveness

Warriors' Steve Kerr shares childhood story that explains competitiveness

Steve Kerr and Draymond Green have had their fair share of verbal altercations over the years.

Everybody remembers what happened in the locker room at halftime of the Warriors' win in Oklahoma City on Feb. 27, 2016.

But do you remember what Kerr said to Draymond during his NBA Coach of the Year press conference in April 2016?

"Draymond -- don't ever change. Keep yelling at me, I'm gonna keep yelling at you," he said. "It's the best. He provides the edge that this team needs. Without Draymond, we'd be in trouble. We would be too quiet, and too nice."

Kerr recently sat down with NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke and Logan Murdock for a conversation on the "Runnin' Plays" podcast, and discussed how he and the three-time NBA champion are similar. In the process, he told an amazing story.

"We are equally as competitive and we are equally as likely to blow up," Kerr explained. "Either one of us will snap -- he'll get a "T" (technical foul), I'll break a clipboard. It's just the way we're built. That's how much it means to us.

"My family would tell you a story -- when I was about six years old, we had an Easter egg hunt at my cousin's house. They had all the eggs laid out and they had one big golden egg that was the big prize. I didn't find it, and when I saw somebody else found it ... I lost it. I completely lost it -- crying. My poor mom and dad, they were so embarrassed.

"And this kind of stuff used to happen all the time. If I didn't do well in sports ... pitching, if I gave up a hit, I'd throw my glove on the ground. I would snap.

"That's how Draymond is, right? We bonded over our ability to snap."

[REWINDNo more 3-pointers for Draymond? Steve Kerr's mom ...]

Are you also laughing hysterically thinking about little six-year-old Stephen Douglas Kerr throwing a temper tantrum?

Awesome stuff.

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Steph Curry scored 42 points after 18 holes of golf, Andre Iguodala says


Steph Curry scored 42 points after 18 holes of golf, Andre Iguodala says

Steph Curry is not of this world. but you probably already knew that.

The Warriors superstar is the greatest shooter the NBA has ever seen, helping transform the way the game has played over the past five seasons. When he is red-hot, Curry is a spectacle the likes of which the NBA has never seen. He's so unstoppable that even playing 18 holes in the middle of a back-to-back couldn't stop him from going off.

Andre Iguodala sat down with Erik Anders Lang to discuss golf and meditation and told the story of how he and Curry hit the links prior to the second game of a back-to-back and the two-time NBA MVP still went supernova.

"Like, we got a game tomorrow and it's important for him to play well," Iguodala told Anders Lang. "If I don't play well, it's whatever they ain't going to blame me. But he played great that day. He shot in the 70s like he always does ... I shot OK. I shot in the 80s so I was happy around that time. So I might have broke 90 that day and I was happy. I didn't play well that night because I was like, 'Whatever.'

"But he had like 40 that night. He had 40 that night. He killed them. And I was joking with him, 'If anyone on our team knew what we did today ...' Because nobody knew. Steve [Kerr] knew though. Steve was like, 'You guys better play good today.' Then he was like, 'Steph you should play golf every day."

The game occurred April 5, 2017, when Curry, Iguodala and the Dubs beat the Suns 120-111 and Talking Stick Resort Arena. Curry, fresh off a crisp round in the 70s, dropped 42 points and dished out 11 assists. The day before, Curry and the Warriors beat the Timberwolves 121-107 in Minnesota.

[RELATED: 'Authentic' political voice reaches Dubs players, Kerr says]

Maybe Steph should golf before every game once he returns from his broken hand.