Warriors

Zaza Pachulia gets 2018 championship ring, visits ex-Warriors teammates

Zaza Pachulia gets 2018 championship ring, visits ex-Warriors teammates

OAKLAND – Even now there are times when the Warriors long for the assets of Zaza Pachulia, who did so many “little” things exceptionally well that it amounted to a unique greatness.

Take his picks, for example. Zaza is one of the best in the NBA at using screens to get in the way of defenders trying to get to his shooters.

Take his humor, for another example. The 6-foot-11, 270-pound center was quick with a quip, which often was made funnier by an accent from the Republic of Georgia.

Pachulia, one of the league’s ultimate blue-collar teammates, returned to Oracle Arena on Sunday as a member of the Detroit Pistons. He wanted to beat the Warriors, with whom he spent the past two seasons, but he wanted a reminder of the success he enjoyed with them.

Zaza wanted the jewelry he earned as a member 2017-18 NBA championship team.

He was presented his ring by the teammate to whom he was closest: Klay Thompson. The two met at midcourt a couple minutes before tipoff, with Thompson presenting the ring and Pachulia receiving a long ovation as a video tribute played on the big screens above.

“The championship ring experience is amazing,” Paculia said before the game. “But what I value the most is the friendships and relationships I’ve built with some of the guys and the things I learned from the coaches.

“That’s the most important thing because life is more than basketball. The friendships and relationships are going to go on for the rest of my life. I’m just lucky to experience such a time with this team on the court and, more important, off the court.”

Pachulia made 127 regular-season starts and 15 more in the postseason during his two seasons with the Warriors. His two young sons, Davit and Saba, were regular visitors at the Warriors practice facility in downtown Oakland, using the place as their playground.

Pachulia exchanged pregame hugs with most of the Warriors, with Kevin Durant interrupting his pregame routine to for several minutes to engage in conversation with Zaza and his sons.

[RELATED: Zaza shares Steph's text message]

“It’s great seeing them,” Pachulia said of his former teammates. “We’ve been in a lot of battles and winning a championship brings you even closer . . . because you truly understand each other. Without the culture and chemistry that you build, it’s impossible to win.

“Those guys are special to me. They’ve been great to my family and I call them family as well.”

Kevon Looney would 'love to stay' with Warriors, hopes it works out

Kevon Looney would 'love to stay' with Warriors, hopes it works out

LOS ANGELES -- Aware that Steve Kerr one day earlier urged the Warriors to offer him a long-term contract, Kevon Looney paused and broke into a broad grin at the mention of it Saturday.

“Yeah, I heard what he said,” Looney said. “It’s good to have that kind of support from the coach. I hope it works out.”

Kerr made it clear Friday that he was glad Looney did not leave upon becoming a free agent last summer, adding he believes the 23-year-old center/forward had done enough to earn a long-term deal -- and that he hopes it’s with the Warriors.

So does Looney, who has become a staple of the team’s playing rotation.

“I’d love to stay here,” he said. “I like being on this team. I want to be there when Chase Center opens later this year.”

Looney is earning $1.57 million this season. The valuable backup becomes an unrestricted free agent in July, the second consecutive summer he will hit the market.

[RELATED: Why Iguodala hopes Looney leaves]

This time, however, the Warriors have Bird rights on Looney, giving them considerable financial flexibility to pursue a new contract.

“For two years now, he has been a rock for us,” Kerr said Saturday morning. “So when I mentioned that [Friday], yeah, I really hope that’s here. I want him to be here for a long time. I think everybody in this locker room wants Loon to be rewarded for his effort.”

Looney set career highs in games played (80), minutes (18.5 per game), points (6.3 points per game) and rebounds (5.2 per game), among other categories, during the 2018-19 regular season. He has averaged 11.7 points in the Warriors' three playoff games thus far.

Steve Kerr believes Andre Iguodala can play as long as he wants, but will he?

Steve Kerr believes Andre Iguodala can play as long as he wants, but will he?

LOS ANGELES -- Andre Iguodala has one more year left on his contract, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr believes the 16-year NBA veteran isn't close to being done.

"I think he can play beyond this contract if he really wants," Kerr said after practice Saturday morning. "He may not want to -- he may just go to the golf course and call it a career -- but he can keep playing if he wants."

Despite his NBA mileage, Iguodala, 34, continues to be a key contributor, averaging 10.7 points, 4.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds in the postseason, making good on the three-year, $48 million deal he signed with the Warriors in 2017.

"Not a lot of players who stay relevant deep into their careers, almost all of them have high basketball IQs," Kerr said. "He still has his athleticism. It takes him longer to warm up and longer to cool down, but it's still there."

In Game 3 of the first-round series against the Clippers, Iguodala finished with 15 points, three assists and two rebounds, helping the Warriors take a 2-1 series advantage, showing athleticism not normally seen from a player his age. 

"Some of those dunks the other night, plays he was making in the paint," Kerr said. "The guy is a remarkable athlete, and the combination of his athleticism, his work ethic and his brain is going to allow him to play." 

However, Iguodala might be out of the league sooner than his coach thinks. Last November, he told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole that his NBA days could be numbered. 

“I’m going to be done soon,” he said. “I could probably play a legit five more years, but I’ll probably max out at three more after this year -- maybe three more.

[RELATED: Kerr jokes about trading spots with Iguodala]

“But if I’m not here, that will weigh heavily on what I will do. I possibly have another year here -- if we win. That’s it. I know that. I’m fine with it.”

Only Iguodala knows how long he can play, but however long he wants to stay with the Warriors, it seems his coach will welcome with open arms.