Warriors

Why Warriors will retire Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala's jersey numbers

Why Warriors will retire Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala's jersey numbers

When Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City in 2016, reaction from the only franchise he had known was petty and short-sighted. The Thunder deemed the best player in their brief history unworthy of a video tribune upon his return and, one year later, issued KD’s No. 35 to a rookie on a two-way contract.

That stung Durant. Moreover, players around the NBA took note of OKC’s flagrant disrespect toward someone who represented the franchise so well for nine seasons.

Six years earlier, in Cleveland, there was an even more display of sheer immaturity by Cavaliers chairman Dan Gilbert, who upon LeBron James’ decision to head to Miami wrote a screed to Cavaliers fans in which he described James as a narcissistic, cowardly deserter.

That, too, got around the league – as if it weren’t hard enough to sell NBA players on the merits of Cleveland and OKC.

The Warriors, it seems, are determined to avoid such self-defeating behavior.

Durant announced he was leaving the Warriors for the Nets on June 30. Roughly 24 hours later, Warriors CEO Joe Lacob issued a statement praising KD, concluding with this line: “As long as I am co-chairman of this team, no player will ever wear #35 for the Warriors again.”

This elicited more than a few eye rolls and looks of confusion, folks wondering why such a grand gesture for someone, no doubt great, who was a Warrior for only three seasons.

Lacob is ahead of such people. Maybe not light years ahead, but far enough to see the benefits that may be derived.

In the nine years since Lacob, Peter Guber and friends purchased the Warriors, the franchise has been committed to deep analysis, routinely soliciting a variety of opinions, occasionally resulting in conflict, before proceeding.

Every decision considers not only the next year or two but also the next 10 or 20. The goal is to become the world’s No. 1 franchise, transcending the NBA and sports.

The decision to trumpet the intention to retire Durant’s number was, to some degree, about honoring KD for his contributions. To a greater degree, it was about recruiting for the future.

The message to all future big-name free agents is this: If you come to our team and play an important role in its success, you will receive the highest honor we can give a player.

When the Warriors announced they were trading Andre Iguodala to Memphis on July 7, Lacob was even quicker with his recruiting pitch. The second paragraph of the press release is a statement in which the CEO thanks Iguodala “for all of his contributions and look forward to seeing his number in the rafters at Chase Center.”

Great players on the free-agent market are looking for more than money, minutes and a chance to win. They’ll get at least two of those. They also place value on how a franchise treats its employees. They’ve already canvassed prospective new teammates and wouldn’t be meeting if they didn’t like what they heard. But they also want to hear what those at the top of the business have to say.

There is not a player on earth who wouldn’t be moved by the idea of having, as I can imagine Guber saying, a visual monument to your greatness that will stand forever. Retired numbers have such status, as do statues.

Dangling easily visualized possibilities is perfectly legal as a recruiting tool, part of the routine for college coaches at powerhouse basketball and football programs. There’s a chance Zion Williamson was impressed when Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski pointed to retired jerseys -- Grant Hill and J.J. Redick to name two -- hanging in the rafters at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

[RELATED: Draymond needs to become offensive threat for Warriors]

Durant and Iguodala earned their way to such distinction at Chase Center, even if neither plays a game in the building as a Warrior. It’s gracious of Lacob to state his intention to thank each man with more than a handshake.

But that’s not the only reason for making such firm statements, which can’t be reconsidered without severe backlash.

Lacob understands the value of image and that a positive one can be profitable. Shows of appreciation make their way around the league. No matter how he may feel about a player leaving, he wouldn’t convey pettiness or bile. He’s looking beyond the moment. Far beyond it.

Kobe Bryant memorial live stream: How to watch service online

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Kobe Bryant memorial live stream: How to watch service online

Thousands will flock to Staples Center on Monday to celebrate the like of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. 

Kobe, Gianna and seven others tragically died in a helicopter crash in Calabassas on Jan. 26. 

The service is being held on Feb. 24 to symbolize both Gianna (No. 2) and Kobe's (No. 24) jersey numbers.

Tickets to the service are sold out and city officials have asked people who do not have tickets to stay away from the area.

The screens around Staples Center and L.A. Live will go dark during the service.

Bryant won five NBA titles with the Lakers and is regarded as perhaps the greatest to ever wear the Lakers jersey. In his post-playing career, Bryant won an Academy Award for his short film "Dear Basketball" and spent time coaching Gianna's basketball team.

[RELATED: How Kobe's death is first of its kind in a wireless world]

Here's how to watch Kobe and Gianna Bryant's memorial service online:

When: Monday, Feb. 24, at 10 a.m.
Live Stream: ABC News Live

Warriors sign former top pick Dragan Bender to 10-day contract

Warriors sign former top pick Dragan Bender to 10-day contract

The Warriors have filled one of their open roster spots.

Dragan Bender, who was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, siged  a 10-day contract with Golden State, the team announced Sunday.

The potential move was first reported Thursday.

As the Warriors season winds down, they plan to get a look at a number of players.

"I know we have a list of players who we'd like to take a look at," coach Steve Kerr told reporters Tuesday night. "We'll see how that all pans out.

"But there's a good chance that over the last couple months of the season we take a look at some different players. That's the idea."

Bender started the season with the Milwaukee Bucks, but he was waived Feb. 10 after appearing in just seven games.

The 22-year-old did play in 13 G League contests with the Wisconsin Herd, averaging 20.5 points and 8.9 rebounds while shooting over 38 percent from deep.

[RELATED: What Dubs can learn from Cuban's draft advice on Doncic]

His best season was in 2017-18 when he averaged 6.5 points and 4.4 rebounds over 25.2 minutes per game.

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