Warriors

Warriors ready for wedding day at brand new Chase Center vs. Lakers

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AP

Warriors ready for wedding day at brand new Chase Center vs. Lakers

SAN FRANCISCO – With machines blocking the hallways, tape on the walls and organized chaos behind the scenes this week, it’s apparent that all previous events at Chase Center, the tours and concerts and the wrestling, were mere rehearsals for the wedding at 5 p.m. Saturday.

It’s a preseason game, but that’s when the Warriors, less than four months after breaking up with one city, will jog out of their locker room to marry another. Chase Center officially goes from vision to reality and becomes the official home of the Warriors.

The occasion will be, for many, a celebration for the completion of a project years in the making. San Francisco should be civically proud of its first full-size indoor showplace.

But let’s remember, this is a change of address for purposes of business. The owners of the franchise fantasized of a new home, spent years shopping, finally acquired it and now are committed to paying for it.

Though there was melancholy in watching the Warriors leave Oakland – shortly after reaching their collective peak, to intensify the burn – this is neither The Town’s loss nor The City’s win. The Warriors, after all, never once committed during their 48 years in the East Bay.

They never truly belonged to Oakland, and not one day passed without a reminder in the form of the “Golden State” moniker. They changed logos. They went through dozens of jersey combinations, none of which featured “Oakland” across the chest. The Warriors always were spiritually unsettled. They accepted Oakland as a convenient “home” largely because in the 1970s there was no better arena in Northern California.

That’s why this move should not raise the envy of anyone in Oakland. How many tears should be shed over losing something you never had?

The Warriors were born 73 years ago in Philadelphia, where they spent their first 16 seasons. They then moved to California, where for nine seasons they were the San Francisco Warriors, taking team photos on cable cars and playing most of their games at the Cow Palace in Daly City, a few steps south of San Francisco.

There is little evidence of animosity from San Franciscans when the Warriors moved to Oakland in 1971. They were leaving the Cow Palace, a musty 30-year-old warehouse that wheezed with the breeze and on a good night could almost fit 13,000 folks.

The Oakland Coliseum Arena was less than five years old. It had an exterior made mostly of glass, cut in the shape of diamonds. It had modern amenities, easy freeway access and expansive parking. It also held 2,500 more seats than the Cow Palace.

The move was ... a change of address for the purposes of business.

The Warriors didn’t come to Oakland because it was seduced by its blue-collar ethos. They came for a better sports arena. They stayed through renovation and name changes – Oracle Arena being the latest – because it was the superior sports arena in the central Bay Area.

And that will be true until Saturday, when Stephen Curry and Draymond Green lead the Warriors in their preseason opener against the Lakers, who presumably will unveil their latest superstar duo, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The real star will be Chase Center, which by then should be dusted, polished and fully operational, cables tucked out of view, ladders put away and not a hard hat in the house.

Warriors CEO Joe Lacob likes to say the arena is built for basketball. It’s fabulous, almost ornate. Its exterior has, like Oracle, plenty of glass, giving it an airy feel. Its concourses are wide, its sightlines clean. It has 21st-century amenities, with enough private rooms to find a different one for each game until 2044.

Its vehicle access is diabolical and its parking severely limited, but, hey, some elements should capture the charm of San Francisco.

[RELATED: How injuries are forcing Warriors to quickly bet on young core]

Now, some East Bay folks are vowing not to cross the bridge, saying they’ll root for the Warriors from the comfort of living rooms and nearby bars. Much of this is based on the cost of attending, which for many is prohibitive. Part of it is the teeth-clenching treachery of the trip. And part of it is that they feel abandoned.

They shouldn’t. Bitterness over the team’s departure from Oakland shouldn’t be a factor. Unlike the Raiders, who were born and bred in Oakland, the Warriors always rented space. They just did so for so long, sprinkling enough good deeds, that some considered it a marriage.

It was good while it lasted, but the Warriors never said, “I do.” They saved that for Saturday.

Kevin Durant gets Finals revenge on Drake in 'Laugh Now, Cry Later' video

Kevin Durant gets Finals revenge on Drake in 'Laugh Now, Cry Later' video

Any Warriors fans who wanted to dunk on Drake before, during or after last year's NBA Finals can now live vicariously through Kevin Durant.

The Toronto Raptors global ambassador and rapper dropped the music video for "Laugh Now Cry Later" featuring Lil Durk on Thursday, with Drake spending most of it on Nike's Beaverton, Ore. campus. Former Raiders star Marshawn Lynch steals the show by tackling Drake in a brief appearance, but Durant absolutely dominates the Canadian star in a 1-on-1 game.

https://youtu.be/JFm7YDVlqnI

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Durant hasn't played in an NBA game since rupturing his Achilles in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals against Drake's Raptors, and his rehab is, at the very least, far enough along to best someone who once air-balled a 3-pointer warming up with Kentucky. By my count, Durant was 5-of-5 from the field with a steal, a block and two dunks over Drake.

Yes, I counted stats from a fake 1-on-1 game in a music video. What did you do with your Thursday night?

Drake traded barbs with Durant and the Warriors when Toronto and Golden State squared off in last year's Finals. There was Drake's "Home Alone" hoodie worn before Game 2, followed by Klay Thompson dropping a "See you in the Bay, Aubrey" after the Warriors' win that night. Then Drake trolled Thompson, and later Draymond Green, but it was all good-natured. Green and Drake met up between Games 1 and 2, while Steph Curry even gave the rapper a congratulatory call after the Raptors won their first NBA title.

[RELATED: Draymond wants you to know he liked Trent Jr. before you did]

Durant's no longer a Warrior, of course, with Game 5 marking his last appearance in a Golden State uniform before he joined the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. Drake said he was "wrecked" seeing Durant get hurt, and he even referenced the NBA star's eventual road back to the court in a verse on Rick Ross' "Gold Roses" last summer. It's fitting, then, that we'd get one of our first glimpses at Durant back on the court in a Drake video.

That it plays out like a fever-dream revenge fantasy written by one of their own has to be a cathartic, added bonus for Warriors fans.

Draymond Green has been on Gary Trent Jr. bandwagon longer than you

Draymond Green has been on Gary Trent Jr. bandwagon longer than you

Warriors star Draymond Green wants you to know he was on the Gary Trent Jr. bandwagon before he became one of the restarted NBA season's breakout stars.

The Portland Trail Blazers guard entered Thursday shooting an impressive 52.6 percent from the field and an unconscious 52.6 percent from 3-point range. He didn't hit those heights in the Blazers' 134-133 win over the Brooklyn Nets, but they never trailed again after Trent Jr.'s fourth 3-pointer of the night gave them a 130-128 lead with 2:29 to go in regulation.

Porland's win locked up its spot in the play-in game(s) for the Western Conference's eighth and final playoff spot, and Green loved what he saw from Trent Jr. down the stretch.

Green has been a fan of Trent Jr. for (at least) a few months.

Back on March 6, Green tweeted his appreciation for the guard on the night Trent Jr. flashed his defensive chops guarding Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker.

[RELATED: Haberstroh believes Wiggins' game 'will rise' if not traded]

Green's praise of Trent Jr. should cost a whole lot less than the $50,000 tampering fine he laughed off stemming from praising Booker on an "Inside the NBA" appearance. That praise also involved a plea to "get my man out of Phoenix," of course, and the NBA didn't take too kindly to Green's suggestion.

Some good, old-fashioned Twitter tire-pumping won't make Green's pockets lighter, and it has the added bonus of bolstering his basketball hipster credentials by saying he was on the Trent Jr. train before everyone else.

Really, it's a win-win for everyone involved.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]