Warriors

Thompson: Warriors striving to reach heights of 1990s Bulls dynasty

Thompson: Warriors striving to reach heights of 1990s Bulls dynasty

Earlier this fall, Klay Thompson dropped the "D" words when discussing these Golden State Warriors.

Now, he has taken talks of a dynasty a step further. 

While in China, Thompson alluded to the great Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s -- the one that won six NBA championships in eight seasons with the greatest of all-time -- Michael Jordan -- leading the charge. 

"What's that, six championships in eight years?" Thompson said when asked whether the Warriors were the closest thing the league had seen to the Bulls dynasty. "So we're, what, like only a third of the way there? I think it's close. We still have a long way to go, but I do see the fandom, the fanfare like the Bulls had in the '90s.

"Every time the Bulls came to town, that was the ticket of the year. Now it's when the Warriors come to town, that's the must-see game. And we don't take that for granted; that's such a cool position to be in. We rarely play in front of a crowd that's not sold out. That's so special. It's hard to really grasp that as a player. So I think it's close. I still think we're not on their level yet, but that's what we aspire to be of the 2000s. We aspire to be that dynasty that will be in the minds of NBA fans forever."

The Warriors are set to defend their second championship in three seasons. And there were daily comparisons made between them and the Bulls when they were chasing the single-season record for most wins -- a record Golden State set at 73 but one that was overlooked after they dropped a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

The Warriors last season became the first team in NBA history to win at least 67 games in three consecutive seasons. They became the first team in 31 years to post the best record three consecutive seasons. Their 207 wins are the most ever during such a span.

"Just being compared to that team is an honor," Thompson said. "There's definitely motivation. I would love to match up, play against Michael Jordan. That would be a dream. Obviously we don't have a time machine, but that would be pretty special to see that."

Since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976-77, only two franchises -- the Lakers and the Bulls -- have won three titles in four seasons. Both did it twice. 

Daryl Morey admits Rockets make most decisions with Warriors in mind

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AP

Daryl Morey admits Rockets make most decisions with Warriors in mind

Grass is green, the sky is blue, and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is still obsessed with knocking off the Warriors.

Morey admitted as much in an interview with the Houston Chronicle, telling the paper that "a very high percentage" of the Rockets' decisions this offseason are made with one thing on their mind:

Same as last year, it's very likely to win the title we're going to have to beat the Warriors at some point. We're doing what we can to prepare for them. To me, that's what any rational person would do. I'm intrigued by some thinking it's odd that we say that. Maybe because it's not a norm. Ask any fan, 'Who do you have to beat to win the title?' They're going to say 'the Warriors.' It seems like [general manager] speak or coachspeak to not say that.

Morey told anybody who would ask last season that the Rockets were single-mindedly obsessed with beating the Warriors in the playoffs. Houston came close last season, jumping out to a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals, before Golden State stormed back to win the final two games in Rockets star Chris Paul's injury absence.

Morey responded with a substantial makeover of his roster. Defensive stoppers Luc Mbah a Moute and Trevor Ariza are gone, while Carmelo Anthony, Michael Carter-Williams, Marquese Chriss, James Ennis and Brandon Knight are in. The Rockets were one of the West's best defensive teams last season, and Morey expects the team to withstand the loss of Ariza and Mbah a Moute.

"We can be [as strong defensively]," Morey told the Chronicle. "They were both extremely good defenders. So it will be a challenge. That was a big part of our meeting. [Assistant coach Roy Rogers] was walking through what changes and how excited he was with what he was planning to do and the personnel we have to be better than last year."

Morey -- as well as the Warriors -- will get a first look at whether or not Houston's offseason was successful on Nov. 17, when the Rockets host the defending NBA champions.  

Kevin Durant follows ex-Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook on Instagram

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USATSI

Kevin Durant follows ex-Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook on Instagram

There might be hope for Jimmy Butler to mend fences in Minnesota after all.

It appears ex-Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are on better terms. Durant started following the Thunder point guard on Instagram on Saturday.

Durant and Westbrook played together for eight seasons in Oklahoma City, but their relationship seemingly turned sour two years ago after Durant joined the Warriors in free agency. Westbrook reportedly wasn't happy Durant spurned OKC for the Bay Area, and the two jawed at times during various Thunder-Warriors tilts.

But the icy relationship seemed to thaw at February's NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Durant and Westbrook again played for the same team, and it appeared they were enjoying themselves.

That was a departure from the previous year -- Durant's first with the Warriors -- and the back-to-back Finals NBA MVP took the blame for their beef. 

"I feel like I f---ed that up," Durant said at the time. "I feel like I made it a thing when it shouldn't have been."

For his part, Westbrook said the weekend in February was "normal." But, as of this writing, Westbrook still does not follow Durant on the platform. He did, however, post this image on his Instagram story to show where he stood.

Well, where he stood physically, at least.