Warriors

Sources: Warriors' frustration with Bogut could lead to trade

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Sources: Warriors' frustration with Bogut could lead to trade

When the Warriors chose a 6-foot-11 center from Vanderbilt in the first round of the draft last week, the immediate reaction was that they were ready to move on from their incumbent 6-11 center from Vanderbilt.

That taking Damian Jones was a pointed message to backup big man Festus Ezeli.

Drafting Jones also was, according to league sources, an indication of the team’s frustration with starting big man Andrew Bogut, who is a candidate to be moved should the Warriors succeed in their pursuit of upcoming free agent Kevin Durant.

The Warriors, should they win the race to KD, will have to shed salary and several sources indicate they’d like to move Bogut as much if not more than anyone else.

[RATTO: Lacob should go bat-guano crazy, chat up Durant & LeBron]

Though Warriors coach Steve Kerr is committed to having a versatile lineup, able to play big or small, the team has grown frustrated by Bogut’s unreliability, particularly in times of greatest need. Because he turns 32 in November, it’s unrealistic to expect much to change.

Bogut’s well-documented injury history, according to sources, accounts for only part of the team’s annoyance. He missed the last two games of the NBA Finals after sustaining multiple bone bruises in his left knee when landing awkwardly after colliding with stumbling Cleveland guard JR Smith in Game 5 at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors lost Games 5, 6 and 7, becoming the first team in NBA history to blow a 3-1 series lead in The Finals.

The Warriors apparently were displeased with much of Bogut’s postseason work prior to the injury.

Though the team firmly believes Bogut’s value is only partially reflected in his individual statistics, his numbers were nonetheless unkind, particularly as related to rebounds – which became an increasingly higher priority as the Warriors continued their march through the postseason.

In 52 minutes over the first four games of The Finals, Bogut snagged 12 rebounds, never more than five in a game. Cavs big man Tristan Thompson, who during the same span played 110 minutes, grabbed 37 rebounds. Backup Timofey Mozgov grabbed seven rebounds in 21 minutes.

Net result: Even when the Warriors stayed big, they were battered on the glass, forcing Kerr to go small at times when he would have preferred to stay big.

[POOLE: Warriors knocking on Durant's door, ready to make dream a reality]

Bogut’s offensive numbers are not meant to impress; scoring is not his role. But the Warriors have grown weary with his reluctance to engage himself on that end, which is something scouts have noted and opponents have exploited.

If all things were equal and the Warriors were forced to choose between Bogut and Ezeli, two sources expressed belief the team would prefer Ezeli, who was cheaper last season but almost certainly won’t be next season.

Bogut, entering the final year of his contract, will make a base salary of $11.03 million in 2016-17. His failure to reach incentives in 2015-16 saved the Warriors about $4 million while also making his ’16-’17 incentives “unlikely,” therefore saving the franchise another $1.7 million off the salary cap next season.

The Warriors, by the way, are privately delighted with the savings. And it’s not because they’ve suddenly become obsessed with the bottom line.

Former Warriors coach Mark Jackson occasionally made subtle comments questioning Bogut’s fortitude. Some currently with the organization have moved toward a similar assessment.

While they’re trying to make the best of this, knowing Bogut could be back for another season, the Warriors are doing what they can to get more out of the big man who was one of the pillars to their rise to the elite.

Drafting a rookie center may not help but it certainly won’t hurt.

Chris Paul refutes multiple reports he demanded Rockets trade him

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USATSI

Chris Paul refutes multiple reports he demanded Rockets trade him

The rumors started eight days ago. All-Star point guard Chris Paul "wants out" of Houston, Stephen A. Smith reported.

Since then, there have multiple reports of chaos within the Rockets organization, one that even stated Paul's relationship with NBA MVP James Harden is 'unsalvageable.'

But on Sunday, Paul tried to put all those rumors to bed.

“I never asked for a trade,” Paul told The Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen. “I never demanded a trade.”

Trading Paul would be difficult for Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. Paul still is owed more than $124 million over the next three seasons, and finding a team that can take on that kind of salary for an aging point guard would be tough.

As for the reported rift with Harden, Paul claimed he's not unhappy in his current situtation.

“I’ll be in Houston,” Paul told Feigen. “I’m happy about that. I’m very happy about that. I’m good.”

[RELATED; Morey shoots down CP3 trade request rumor]

The Rockets gave the Warriors a good battle in each of the last two postseasons. With Golden State nursing its wounds during the 2019-20 season, this might be Houston's chance to pounce and get to the NBA Finals.

We'll find out over the next few weeks if Paul is telling the truth or if the whispers of his unhappiness actually were true.

NBA rumors: Kawhi Leonard 'seriously considering re-signing' with Raptors

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USATSI

NBA rumors: Kawhi Leonard 'seriously considering re-signing' with Raptors

The Kawhi Leonard-Toronto Raptors marriage might not be a one-year fling after all.

Yahoo's Chris Haynes reported Sunday that the 2019 NBA Finals MVP will decline his $21.3 million player option for the 2019-20 season, but that Leonard is "seriously considering re-signing with the Raptors."

Most experts have been predicting that Leonard will bolt Toronto for one of the Los Angeles teams. But Haynes' reporting changes things a bit.

Haynes also reported that rival front-office executives view the Raptors as the favorites to land Leonard.

The Raptors can offer Leonard a five-year, $190 million contract, according to Haynes.

[RELATED: Curry vows to not let Warriors' run end]

While the Warriors likely aren't in the mood for any Kawhi-related news, considering he just ended their bid for a three-peat, they have to be excited at the thought of Leonard not joining the Pacific Division.

Leonard put on a dominating performance against the Warriors in the NBA Finals, as he averaged 28.5 points and 9.8 rebounds over the six games.