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.

[RELATED: Steph reflects on KD's Warriors tenure]

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."

Watch Steph Curry try to freestyle rap at his charity golf tournament

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AP

Watch Steph Curry try to freestyle rap at his charity golf tournament

Stephen Curry makes playing basketball look easy, but the same cannot be said about his rapping. 

The Warriors star grabbed the microphone at the Stephen Curry Charity Classic at TPC Harding Park on Monday, and freestyled ... well, something. 

"I don't know where this ball's going, and I'm sure not good at flowing," Curry rapped. 

The former line is self-deprecation, considering Curry's handicap. The latter? That's spot-on. 

[RELATED: Why NBA's new tampering proposal won't make a difference]

During his time at Davidson College, Curry and his friends rapped about a campus cafeteria in a parody set to the tune of Asher Roth's "I Love College." Much like Curry's magical NCAA tournament run foreshadowed his NBA success, his rapping on the decade-old video did the same for Monday's display. 

As far as NBA point guards with Oakland ties go, the rapping should only be left to Damian Lillard

Warriors counted on Mike Dunleavy Jr. in D'Angelo Russell trade, draft

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AP

Warriors counted on Mike Dunleavy Jr. in D'Angelo Russell trade, draft

Mention the name Mike Dunleavy Jr. to a Warriors fan, and you're likely to get a sour face in response.

The No. 3 overall pick of the 2002 NBA draft never lived up to his potential over four-plus seasons in Golden State, and his seemingly relaxed disposition on the court didn't endear him any further. He was quite a talent drop-off from the first two picks of that draft -- Yao Ming and Jay Williams -- and he was selected six picks ahead of Amar'e Stoudemire, among others.

In fact, arguably the most helpful thing he ever did for the Warriors was be involved in the trade that brought Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington over from the Indiana Pacers.

Time heals all wounds, though, and Dunleavy recently was involved in an important Warriors trade once again.

Dunleavy is back with Golden State, having rejoined the franchise as a pro scout last season. But as The Athletic's Anthony Slater reported Tuesday, it was his involvement in the sign-and-trade for D'Angelo Russell on July 1 that had plenty to do with his elevation to his current position of assistant general manager.

On the night of June 30, Dunleavy sat in a Manhattan hotel room with Warriors general manager Bob Myers, trying to figure out how Golden State would proceed after learning that Kevin Durant was taking his talents to Brooklyn.

"Bob knew before everybody else, so that gave us a little bit more time to figure out what’s next,” Dunleavy told Slater. “But once that 6 p.m. time slot hit, things started flying. There was so much real-time action, intel collecting."

Having been based in New York for his scouting duties, Dunleavy got plenty of exposure to Russell during his time with the Nets, which aided in the Warriors' assessment of the dynamic guard.

"I didn’t see D’Angelo Russell play live 10, 20 times (like Mike),” Myers said. “There’s never been more information available, whether it’s analytics, your ability to watch tape, see games, dig into numbers. But I don’t think any of it is a substitute for actually going to a game in person, talking to coaches and watching the whole day develop, from when the player gets there to warm up, the stuff fans don’t see, interacting on a closer level, how they act when they get subbed out, how they react to winning and losing."

While Myers is at the head of the Warriors' basketball operations department, he encourages a collaborative decision-making process. When it came time to decide on Russell, Dunleavy's familiarity was utilized.

"When we were faced with that short window of time, we certainly asked him,” Myers revealed. “He gave a rundown of where he thought he improved, his strengths, potential weaknesses, fit, all that."

The rest, as they say, is history.

With input from Dunleavy, Golden State made the gutsy decision to complete the sign-and-trade for Russell, which required the Warriors to depart with Andre Iguodala and multiple draft picks. The frantic events of the opening hours of free agency actually served to cement Dunleavy's interest in that kind of work, rather than deter it.

"I kind of got addicted to it," Dunleavy admitted.

Over the course of last season, Dunleavy grew more involved in the draft process. He attended several Villanova games, where he studied Golden State's eventual second-round pick Eric Paschall, and was present for the entirety of the Big Ten Tournament, where he saw future first-round pick Jordan Poole play three times. Dunleavy then joined the rest of the front office in Oakland for the remainder of the pre-draft process, including the evaluation of prospect workouts.

[RELATED: Iguodala planned to teach math before titles with Warriors]

Given who the Warriors ultimately selected in the draft, it's evident Golden State liked what Dunleavy had to say about both Poole and Paschall. Then, after he had further proven his value during the madness of the opening hours of free agency, Myers quickly offered Dunleavy his new elevated role.

"I’m not so arrogant to think I know more than he knows about an NBA offense," Myers conceded. "So I’m just positing questions to him. He takes a deeper look -- kind of like Andre (Iguodala) and Shaun (Livingston) -- just a brilliant basketball mind. It kind of comes naturally."

Dunleavy's first go-around with the Warriors was rocky, to say the least. But if Russell proves to be a good acquisition and the draft picks pan out, the second one will be a lot smoother.