Warriors

Warriors aren't NBA title contenders? Steph Curry laughs at the notion

Warriors aren't NBA title contenders? Steph Curry laughs at the notion

OAKLAND - With Kevin Durant gone, Klay Thompson injured and immense roster turnover, many observers don't see the Warriors as NBA title contenders entering the 2019-20 season. 

Stephen Curry, Golden State's oldest and best player, is amused by this notion. 

"I just laugh at it," Curry said during his second annual Warriors All-Girls basketball camp in Oakland on Monday afternoon. "Anybody can say anything about anything nowadays and it can pick up steam. So we've had lots of support. We've had a lot of criticism on the way that doesn't change now. Just what they're saying is different so doesn't change how we go about our business."

Curry's optimism comes as his team has undergone a summer of transition. Aside from the team's move to San Francisco, the roster now has eight new faces, including All-Star guard D'Angelo Russell, was acquired in a sign-and-trade for Durant last month. In recent weeks, Curry and the young guard have been working out around the Bay Area with Curry's trainer Brandon Payne, a practice the two-time MCP believes will help during the season. 

New roster changes means Golden State will enter the season without trusted pieces. In the wake of the Durant sign-and-trade, Andre Iguodala was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies to free up cap space. Additionally, Jordan Bell and Quinn Cook signed with other teams, while veteran guard Shaun Livingston was waived for more salary cap relief. Now, with eight new additions, including big man Willie Cauley Stein, Curry still believes the new team can coexist.

"It's just a matter of really trying to get guys comfortable with the system, be able to highlight the different skill sets that we have and different strengths and the chemistry," Curry said. "It will take a little bit of time and a lot of hard work, but like I said, we have a lot of high IQ guys from our core and a lot of leadership and commitment to what we do, so starting in the training camp and beyond, you have to have a mindset that you will continue to get better as the season goes on."

As Curry navigates the change around the organization, his commitment to the advancement of women remains constant. Last year, he wrote an op-ed in the Player's Tribune pushing for equal pay for women. Five months ago, after nine-year-old Riley Morrison pointed out that Curry's Under Armour shoe line didn't include women's sizing, the Warriors point guard released a women's only colorway of his Curry 6 with the phrases “Be Fearless,” “Girl Power,” “Girls Hoop Too” and “Rock The Currys," inscribed in the sock liners. On Monday, Curry enlisted a five-woman panel that included broadcaster and Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman to speak to the crowd of young girls clad in Curry "30" jerseys. 

"There's a lot of people kind of speaking on the topic and speaking on the women's game and doing amazing work in terms of creating awareness, trying to get things changed and creating experiences like this camp." Curry said. "So I'm not alone in that fight. But in terms of just giving these girls between eight and 15,16 years old, a vision of who they can be in life, what they can accomplish in the world of sports."

Monday's camp makred one of the last events in Golden State's downtown Oakland facility. In the next two weeks, staffers will move out of their cubicles and into Chase Center as part of the organization's move to San Francisco.

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That's something Curry is still adjusting to. 

"It's still always bittersweet for sure," Curry said. "Cause I guess I've spent 10 years here. I remember my first training camp with Don Nelson and Kelenna Azubuike and the whole roster and 10 years later for guys that have come through this organization ... It's just weird and different but exciting for sure."

Ex-Warriors' Kevin Durant not limping three months after Achilles surgery

Ex-Warriors' Kevin Durant not limping three months after Achilles surgery

This doesn’t look like the walk of a man who suffered a torn Achilles tendon just 12 weeks ago.

Former Warriors star Kevin Durant was seen climbing into a van in New York City on Thursday, and he was showing no signs of trauma from his season-ending Achilles tear suffered in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals.

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Durant moved on from Golden State and signed with the Brooklyn Nets in July, and the 30-year-old appears to be enjoying his new city. He recently was seen in a Nets uniform for the first time since joining the team, although he is expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season while he recovers from his Achilles tear.

The good news for KD is at least the rehabilitation process appears to be proceeding smoothly.

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Doc Rivers clarifies how Clippers acquired Paul George, Kawhi Leonard

Doc Rivers clarifies how Clippers acquired Paul George, Kawhi Leonard

“Mr. Ballmer, I love the things you do and what you stand for, but your team is not good enough and if you don’t change your team, I’m not coming.”

That was the blunt statement Kawhi Leonard gave to Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer during the team’s recruitment meeting with NBA Finals MVP prior to the start of NBA free agency, as told by head coach Doc Rivers in a recent conversation with the Los Angeles Times’ Arash Markazi.

“We actually had a list of guys, which was a mistake, but we got lucky,” Rivers said. “We shouldn’t have had a list, because then he got to choose who he wanted to play with and the assumption was that we could get them. We didn’t know if we could get anybody. We just showed him guys that we thought would match him and when he saw Paul George’s name he said, ‘I want to play with him.’”

The Clippers clearly needed some star power if they wanted to compete for championships, as Rivers and his club have been unsuccessful in advancing past the first round of the NBA playoffs three of the last four years, including missing the postseason entirely in 2017-18. The Clippers did make some noise in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, taking a pair of games from the Warriors before ultimately succumbing in a six-game series defeat.

LA parted with a record-number of draft picks to make the trade work with the Oklahoma City Thunder, sending a total of six future first-round draft picks and former first-rounders Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari to acquire George.

“Steve Ballmer was nervous about the picks,” Rivers said. “I said, ‘Steve, you keep saying six picks for Paul George is insane, but you’re saying it wrong. It’s not six for Paul; it’s six for Paul and Kawhi. So three for each. I would do that.’ You have to look at it in those terms.”

[RELATED: Warriors will need eight things to go right to make NBA playoffs]

After the dust settled on 2019’s topsy-turvy free agency period, the new-look Clippers stood with arguably the best superstar duo in the NBA, as Kawhi is coming off a dominant season ending with his third championship and second Finals MVP, while George was named to his first All-NBA First Team in a breakout season.

There’s no doubt Ballmer and Rivers now believe they have the best team in a wide-open NBA, but Steph Curry and Draymond Green may have something to say about that when the Warriors and Clippers face off in the first regular-season NBA game at Chase Center on Oct. 24.