Warriors

Why Warriors are in power position with Alec Burks at NBA trade deadline

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Why Warriors are in power position with Alec Burks at NBA trade deadline

Alec Burks has made it clear that even in this deeply afflicted season he enjoys being a Warrior and is interested in remaining beyond his one-year contract, to see what it’s like to play with the fully restored roster expected to grace the court next October.

And he’d be good to have around. He’s a versatile wing, a proven scorer, a mature presence and would be fabulous as part of a revamped second unit.

To understand why, consider the work he put in Monday night in Portland: 33 points (team-high) on 11-of-23 shooting, including 2-of-6 from deep and 9-of-9 from the line; eight assists, seven rebounds, two blocks and one steal in 39 minutes.

What contender wouldn’t want someone who can produce that on a $2.32-million salary?

Aside from Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, who scored an astonishing 61 points to lead his team to a 129-124 overtime victory, Burks was the best player on the floor.

That performance also provides the kind of video that will raise his already solid stock on the trade market. It puts the Warriors, 17 days before the NBA trade deadline, in the flexible -- and enviable -- position of choice.

They can hold onto Burks and see if they can strike a deal to bring him back.

Or they can move him for future assets, which still seems most likely.

Several teams in recent weeks have expressed interest in Burks, according to league sources, and some have gone so far to scout him. That’s not likely to change. There is demand for veteran, low-maintenance wings unbothered by circumstances and capable of creating offense for both themselves and teammates.

The Warriors, for obvious reasons, continue to be very much involved in trade buzz around the league. The general belief is they’ll make at least one move and maybe two before the noon deadline on Feb. 6. 

Burks, with his ability to get buckets, remains their most valuable chip. Glenn Robinson III is a veteran wing, but he lacks the offensive dimension of Burks. Willie Cauley-Stein is a decent veteran center at a time when only exceptional centers are above being interchangeable.

With a 10-35 record and playoff teams Utah (Wednesday) and Indiana (Friday) coming to town, the Warriors likely will maintain their grip on the NBA’s worst record, a status they’ve held most of the season.

Moreover, with or without making a move, the Warriors are a virtual lock to post one of the three worst records in the league, thereby gaining advantageous position for the draft lottery.

There will be many more games like Monday, with the Warriors in it late but fall short down the stretch. That’s the roster they have, and the shortcomings are particularly acute when Draymond Green is sidelined.

“A lot of mistakes down the stretch in the second quarter, and again down the stretch of the game, regulation and overtime,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters at Moda Center. “I didn’t help the guys out much, I could have done some things better as well, so it was a group effort.

“But they’re competing, they’re playing together, they’re playing hard.”

That’s code for the desire to “build good habits,” an oft-used phrase this season. The goal, however, which went all caps once it was known Steph Curry would miss most of the season, is to audition the majority of the non-rookies on the roster. The only exemptions were known commodities Kevon Looney, who has missed 35 games, and Green, who has missed 13. They’re still exempt, for different reasons.

Everyone else, including D’Angelo Russell, is on trial and subject to discussion. The general belief is that D-Lo is almost certain to be moved but probably not during the season.

Which brings us back to Burks, who is both uncomplicated to deal and coveted. His contract is relatively simple to absorb.

[RELATED: Dubs' mistakes doom any chance of win in Dame's big night]

The Warriors have 17 days to make decisions that will impact next year and beyond much more than this year.

Though it would be nice to have Burks on the bench when Klay Thompson and Curry are healthy, the Warriors might feel he is even more valuable now than he might be then.

What Ex-Warrior Andre Iguodala thinks of NBA's bubble environment

What Ex-Warrior Andre Iguodala thinks of NBA's bubble environment

Andre Iguodala has played over 1,100 NBA games, but his next eight (at least) will be very different. Iguodala and the Miami Heat are in Orlando preparing for the restart of the 2019-20 NBA season.

So, how is the former Warriors forward approaching the "bubble" at Disney World?

"It's not really a different type of environment," the 2015 NBA Finals MVP said Saturday after practice. "The majority of the league comes from low to middle-class income families. We played in worse conditions. Obviously the NBA and every team should be giving all the players all the resources they need.

"It's just getting the mental side right, making the most of the moment and putting forth the mental and physical effort to keep our game in a healthy place ... we're doing it as a collective. We're competing on the court, but hopefully the players are getting a chance to interact and keep each other in a good mental space."

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

Iguodala -- one of the smartest players in the entire league -- understands the big picture and what's at stake for the NBA. He knows it won't be easy for everybody and that the logistics present challenges, but is willing to sacrifice for the greater good. So don't expect to hear any complaints from Iguodala when it comes to the food or accommodations in Orlando.

At 36 years old, it probably will take Iguodala a little longer to get himself to where he needs to be physically. But he made sure he put in the work while the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The body is solid," Iguodala said. "Just looking over the little nicks that may come up from being off so long ... everyone was getting after it throughout this time."

[RELATED: Spoelstra credits Iguodala's Warriors tenure for leadership]

Iguodala averaged just 4.4 points in 18.5 minutes over his first 14 games with the Heat.

But you definitely should expect his production and value to increase when the playoffs begin in mid-August.

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Why Kendrick Perkins gives Draymond Green 'D' grade for 2019-20 season

Why Kendrick Perkins gives Draymond Green 'D' grade for 2019-20 season

Kendrick Perkins gets paid to express his opinion.

And on Tuesday's episode of "The Jump" on ESPN, he voiced his thoughts on Draymond Green's 2019-20 campaign.

"Draymond disappointed me this season," the former NBA big man said. "I thought with the injury to Klay (Thompson) and the injury to Steph (Curry) he was gonna elevate his game offensively and shock the world. With him getting $100 million in the contract extension, I thought Draymond was gonna come out and prove a point.

"Also with them losing Kevin Durant, I thought we would see 'Defensive Player of the Year Draymond' ... (but) he took a few steps backwards. My expectations for Draymond Green were a little bit higher, and he didn't achieve it."

The truth is that it was a very, very frustrating year for Draymond.

The three-time NBA champion missed 22 games with various ailments, yet picked up a league-high 14 technical fouls. He shot below 39 percent from the field and less than 28 percent from 3-point range.

But as noted before, yours truly forever will give Draymond a pass for what transpired. There wasn't much incentive at all for the three-time All-Star after Steph broke his hand Oct. 30 against the Phoenix Suns, as the Warriors had no chance of reaching the postseason.

The truth is that Draymond needed a break -- physically and mentally -- after averaging 37.7 minutes over 104 Golden State playoff games from 2015 to 2019.

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

It's unclear why Perkins would expect the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year to produce big considering he didn't have Steph, Klay, KD, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston on the court with him.

"To everybody out there who want to talk s--t about this year -- I don't really give a f--k," Draymond said in April on the "All the Smoke" podcast. "In my opinion, I got better. I got better as a player, I got better as a person and a leader ... and that's gonna make me even better for next year.

"So, I appreciate everybody talking. I kind of needed them to relight that fire under my a--."

[RELATED: Beef squashed? Draymond, Barkley team up on TV show]

Draymond definitely pays attention to what is being said about him, his teammates and the Warriors. He uses the noise as motivation when necessary.

Needless to say, the three-time All-Star wants to send a message to the doubters.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram