Warriors of the East? Hawks GM building something with young nucleus

Warriors of the East? Hawks GM building something with young nucleus

Some players continue to await a contract offer. Others are under contract with one team but would rather play elsewhere. Every team sees Carmelo Anthony on the shelf and keeps shopping.

Team USA is facing its biggest roster-building challenge in decades. The Lakers are holding open tryouts. And, by the way, training camps open in a little more than a month.

As we sprint into the second half of perhaps the most fascinating summer in NBA history, it’s a good time to take note of what has transpired. News, notes and quotes from around the NBA:

News the Warriors didn’t need

The Mavericks re-signed point guard J.J. Barea to a one-year contract for the veteran’s minimum. Barea has a reputation as a good locker room guy, and he often finds ways to hurt the Warriors with his shooting. The pesky 5-9 veteran is a big reason why Dallas, one of the league’s weakest teams in recent years, has somehow beaten the vastly superior Warriors three times over the past four seasons.

Putting his teacher's hat on

“I’m looking forward to it. We have a lot of young guys coming in, more than we’ve had since I’ve been here. I’m looking forward to having the chance to work with them on a regular basis. I hope I can make an impact.” – Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams, who next season will operate with a reduced travel schedule while focusing primarily on player development.

The league needs more of this man

Marreese Speights. He reportedly is one of three big men being considered by the Lakers, who are reeling from the loss of DeMarcus Cousins. The other two, Joakim Noah and Dwight Howard, are bigger names, but neither has ever lit up an arena as Speights has. With his deep shooting, his inviting smile and his front-porch philosophy, he can get buckets while charming anyone crossing his path. Ask the Warriors. We’re shamelessly rooting for Mo.

We also admit, this would be, um, interesting

Howard returning to the Lakers. It would be a sequel to one of the most explosive soap operas in the 21st century NBA. Kobe Bryant’s disgust with Howard when they were teammates was epic and still echoes throughout Staples Center. Should there be a reunion, Howard will be joining his seventh team in less than 50 months, counting the Lakers twice. We wonder, though, if any ex-Laker who was a target of Kobe’s scorn has any real chance of making it in LA.

Big man faces 100,000-foot mountain

Cousins’ road back will be unlike that of any other player in NBA history, according to Jeff Stotts, a certified trainer that tracks and analyzes injuries across various sports through his cleverly named website “In Street Clothes.” Stotts tells The Ringer he could not find even one example of a player sustaining both a ruptured Achilles’ tendon and a torn ACL. Which makes Boogie the inaugural test as the worst-case scenario for NBA player’s lower body. We hope he recovers. He’ll deserve the standing ovation he gets upon his return – whether it’s with the Lakers or another team.

Speaking of ex-Lakers and Kobe’s scorn

Whatever happened to Smush Parker? Well, Smush, 38, was most recently affiliated with the LA Superstars of the Primetime Basketball League, a well-intentioned creation of former NBA player and coach Byron Scott.

Still the best . . . we think

With De’Aaron Fox withdrawing from the training roster, Team USA took 13 players to Australia, where the final three exhibitions will be played over the next seven days. Someone still must be cut before the team heads to China next week, the FIBA World Cup opener is scheduled for Sept. 1. Among the candidates to be sent home are Harrison Barnes, Mason Plumlee and maybe even terrific shooter Joe Harris. Can’t imagine coach Gregg Popovich cutting his only Spur, Derrick White, who can fill in at point guard.

Warriors East in the making?

Preparing for his third season as Hawks GM, Travis Schlenk received a contract extension while also adding a title this week: President of basketball operations. He went to Atlanta to rebuild, and there are indications he’s getting it done. Around a nucleus of point guard Trae Young, center-forward John Collins and sharpshooting guard Kevin Huerter, Schlenk added a strong draft that included small forwards De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish. In a poll of rookies entering the NBA, Reddish was voted the player from this class likely to have the best career.

He’ll always have ‘Linsanity’

Jeremy Lin turns 31 on Friday and feels he may have cycled out of the NBA. He’s probably right. He began last season with Hawks before being waived in February. Signed by Toronto two days later, he played decent minutes – until the roster gained full health. After spending the playoffs on the distant end of the Raptors’ bench, J-Lin questions whether there is a place for him in the NBA. He reportedly is considering an offer from the Beijing Ducks worth a little more than $3 million.

The OGs

“They basically are Bird, Parish and McHale and they deserve to retire after a very, very long tenure with the Warriors. They deserve to retire in that uniform and not play for any other franchise. That’s what they have earned. And that’s the way they view the Bay Area and the Warriors and how much they love playing there. I can’t see Steph and Draymond playing for anybody else.” – Lakers analyst Mychal Thompson, on his son, Klay, along with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green during the Warriors Insider Podcast this week.

[RELATED: Where Warriors fit in award conversation]

Send good thoughts overseas

Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt announced this week that he has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Blatt, 60, has no plans to retire. He currently is coaching Olympiacos of the Greek Basket League. Guard Will Cherry, a former start at McClymonds High in Oakland, is on the roster.

Why Steph Curry's gesture at Oracle Arena finale touched Monta Ellis

Why Steph Curry's gesture at Oracle Arena finale touched Monta Ellis

For the final regular-season game in Oracle Arena history, Warriors star Steph Curry arrived rocking a No. 8 Monta Ellis jersey.

"Obviously, a lot of history that Monta was able to be a part of with the 'We Believe' Warriors era, and when I got here my rookie year, he was that guy," Curry told reporters back on April 7. "And I think for me, in terms of representing him on the last game, it meant a lot because we were in that backcourt together. 

"When he was traded it was a tough time in terms of the transition of the organization and things like that. I wanted to pay, obviously, honor to him in terms of his story, coming out of high school and doing what he was able to do. He was an Oakland fan, Warrior fan. Beloved guy."

Shortly after he got wind of Curry's gesture, Monta reacted on Instagram. But he recently expanded on his feelings.

"The biggest thing that I always wanted to do, like, when I leave this Earth, is know that I impacted somebody in some shape or form, no matter if it was on or off the basketball court," he told Marcus Thompson of The Athletic. "That’s my biggest thing.

"So to hear that from him, man, it just means I did what I was supposed to do. I made an impact on somebody’s life before I left here.”

During the 2009-10 season -- Curry's rookie campaign -- Ellis averaged a career-high 25.5 points per game.

[RELATEDKerr explains why he prefers Thanksgiving over Christmas]

The following year, he racked up 24.1 points and 5.6 assists per contest, while Curry registered 18.6 points and 5.8 assists per night.

Although Monta was disappointed with how the franchise handled his trade to Milwaukee in March 2012, he has nothing but love for Dub Nation.

“That’s my second home,” he told Thompson. “I love Oakland. The fans are like no other. I’ve never seen any other fans in America like Oracle.”

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

Why Steve Kerr’s message to enjoy Warriors' dynasty should’ve been heeded

Why Steve Kerr’s message to enjoy Warriors' dynasty should’ve been heeded

Steve Kerr knew this season would be different, how could he not?

Still, even the Warriors head coach couldn't have predicted how drastically different his sixth season in the Bay would be. 

Kevin Durant left to become a Net. Klay Thompson likely will miss the entire season rehabbing his torn ACL. Then, Steph Curry broke his left hand and will be re-evaluated in February and D'Angelo Russell missed nine of the first 21 games with a thumb sprain. This has left Kerr to lead a group of rookies, role players and reclamation projects through the NBA season.

Dynasties aren't built to last. Kerr, a six-time NBA champion as a player and coach, knows that. He knows how fleeting championship runs can be. The Warriors have gone from dreaded bully thirsting for June champagne to a champion laying on the canvas as a 12-month recharge washes over them.

“No,” Kerr laughed when NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson asked if he thought anyone savored last season's run when he told them to. “It’s human nature to think we’re going to win it again and we’re going to keep going forever. Life changes quickly.

“I talked not only to the media and our fans but to our team. Last year there were several times when I said, ‘This is going to be our best chance to win a championship.’ We’ve got an incredible opportunity that may never come up again. That’s something that’s important for everybody to realize---fans, management, players. It is lightning in a bottle. You can do everything perfectly and you still may not get to where you think you might be.”

The Warriors will be back. That's the plan at least. This season serves as a reboot point. A mere pitstop in a dynasty that has been paused not concluded.

But plans, even those best laid, rarely go as drawn up. Kerr knows that. That's why he implored everyone from Curry to those sitting in the nosebleeds at Oracle Arena to enjoy one of the most impressive runs in NBA history.

You never know when things will come back, and things surely never will be the way they were when Curry and Warriors were pulverizing teams into oblivion en route to five-straight NBA Finals appearances.

That ride, as Kerr predicted, came to an end.

A new one has begun.

[RELATED: Warriors' plan might draw speculation after two inexplicable losses]

The Warriors sit at 4-19. Rookies Eric Paschall and Ky Bowman have played well, as has veteran swingman Glenn Robinson III. But it's unlikely to amount to many wins this season. It's instead about teaching, about growth for next season when a fully loaded Warriors team will enact its vengeance on an NBA that is taking pleasure in pummeling the wounded champions. 

That will be a sweet moment for Kerr and the Warriors, should it come.

Pleasure, in sports and in life is, fleeting. Titles come. Confetti falls. Elation hits. Then, it's on to next year, and one day, before you've blinked, things are different. The run is over and a new course has been charted.

That course is expected to get the Warriors back to the top soon. If it does, expect everyone to heed Kerr's advice and enjoy the ride.