Golden State Warriors Enter NBA Free Agency

Golden State Warriors Enter NBA Free Agency

Golden State Warriors Enter NBA Free Agency

The Golden State Warriors are the cream of the NBA crop after winning their third title in four years. Looming over the league with four All-Stars in their prime, including two recipients of the MVP award and a Defensive Player of the Year, the Warriors sure don’t seem like they’re under threat.

So when you’ve got an embarrassment of riches like that, how much does NBA free agency really matter?

Well, quite a lot actually. The NBA never rests, and other teams are always coming for that crown. While the games are won and lost on the hardwood between October and June, it’s often the NBA’s annual free agency bonanza in July that decides who is left standing when the confetti and streamers pour down.

For the Warriors, this is another big summer. Although they are restricted by the NBA’s salary-cap system, they’ll still look for ways to be creative and stay one step ahead of the competition. It’s their last year playing in Oakland before their big move to the Chase Center, so they’ll want to go out with a bang.

It’s also their last year before they collide head first with the dreaded “repeater tax,” where the luxury-tax payments teams operating over the cap have to pay are multiplied exponentially. Any value they can extract from a tight free agent market will pay off double later down the line.

So what’s their order of business?

Kevin Durant Is Back

The most important piece of business was taken care of early. Before free agency even officially began, reports leaked that Kevin Durant would be re-signing on a two-year deal starting at $30.5 million, with a player option in the second year.

Durant’s return was never in doubt, despite LeBron James’ equivalent of the phone call from the parking lot. What was in question, though, was the amount and the number of years. By taking this one-plus-one deal, Durant effectively took around $5 million less this year than he could have if he’d taken a longer-term deal. It does, however, set him up to sign a monster five-year, $221 million deal next summer, when he will be 30.

For the Warriors, the savings this year may make it easier to stomach the luxury-tax penalties for using the main tool at their disposal: the taxpayer Mid Level Exception, which starts at just over $5.3 million. The consequence is that the bills will rack up later on as they try to juggle paying all those All-Stars while operating deep in the repeater tax.

Changing of the Guard

Following on from the NBA Finals, General Manager Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr telegraphed their strategy to avoid the malaise that plagued a frankly bored Warriors team throughout the regular season.

That strategy? Drinking the elixir of youth. Older veterans such as Zaza Pachulia, David West, Javale McGee and Nick Young are expected to give way to younger models in Jordan Bell, Damian Jones and new draft pick Jacob Evans.

It’s an interesting inflection point where the core All-Stars begin to take on the role of wise sages on the team. The hope is that this youth movement can provide more energy and enthusiasm during the regular season while still being signed to good-value contracts.

Tied to this is a concern exposed by the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals, as the Warriors were almost caught out by a strange roster construction that left them with six centers in a series where Draymond Green was the best option to man the middle. Their vaunted small ball really suffered as an injury to Andre Iguodala forced them to hand crucial minutes to the mercurial Nick Young.

In the end they escaped the danger, but there’s no question that the league is trending more toward the versatile, switching defenses and the emphasis on speed, skill and shooting that the Warriors themselves pioneered. The need for players who can credibly stay on the floor against James Harden and Chris Paul — or, for that matter, a healthy Boston Celtics team boasting several top-tier prospects on the wings — is acute.

Young Free Agents

Two of the young players the Warriors hope to hand over the reins to are themselves free agents: Pat McCaw and Kevon Looney.

McCaw is perhaps the easier of the two to keep. He is a restricted free agent, meaning that the Warriors can match offer sheets he gets from the market. McCaw had a strong rookie season, but 2017-18 was not kind to him. He struggled throughout the year and then suffered a potentially devastating injury when he was undercut while in the air. Fortunately he recovered and made some cameo appearances toward the end of the playoffs, but his value this summer is likely fairly limited around the league.

Kevon Looney is a trickier situation. The third-year forward had a breakout year and led the Warriors centers in minutes throughout the playoffs. However, all this came after the Warriors declined to pick up his option following a slow start because of injuries in his first couple of years. It was an understandable decision at the time, but they are now limited to what his option would have been, around $2.2 million.

Looney has earned whatever contract offers he gets this year. After an impressive display in a very close Western Conference Finals where he used his length and smarts to great effect, you’d expect the offers to come rolling in.

Can the Warriors leverage a tight free-agent market?

However, the Warriors may be helped by the very tight free agent market this year.

The new TV deal led to a huge increase in the NBA salary cap in 2016. A splurge in spending followed that summer, and humongous contracts were handed out to mediocre players. League-wide, books are now clogged up with overinflated contracts until next year at the earliest.

Coupled with the cap rising more slowly than originally anticipated, there’s really not a lot of money around this year. This pressure in the market could help the Warriors both retain their younger free agents and allow them a real opportunity to extract greater value for their taxpayer mid-level exception.

And now that the Warriors have tied up Durant early, they can enter the free agent market with some clear goals: get younger, shift the balance on the roster, and extract as much value as possible from the limited tools at their disposal.

News Source:

Azad Hind News

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NBA Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers to challenge Pelicans to sign DeMarcus Cousins

NBA Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers to challenge Pelicans to sign DeMarcus Cousins

NBA Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers to challenge Pelicans to sign DeMarcus Cousins

The Lakers have been adamant about signing stars in this free agency period. They’ve been strongly connected to LeBron James so far, but there’s another player they could possibly make a run at: DeMarcus Cousins. The big man is coming off a solid year with the Pelicans that had a tragic ending.

NBA Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers to challenge Pelicans to sign DeMarcus Cousins

Cousins and the Pelicans seemed destined for the playoffs, but in January he had what is considered by many to be the NBA’s most devastating injury. Cousins blew out his Achilles, sidelining him for the season, and putting into question his effectiveness for the future. Players don’t easily come back from this kind of injury, especially big men, but Cousins will try to do just that.

NBA Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers to challenge Pelicans to sign DeMarcus CousinsCousins will need to find a team that’s willing to take a risk on him for a lot of money. The Lakers could maybe be that team. According to Marc Spears of The Undefeated, both the Pelicans and Lakers have scheduled meetings with Cousins.

Would the Lakers take a chance on Cousins? He would be an interesting option for the Lakers, and at his best, he’s arguably the best big man in the NBA, thanks to his varied skillset, especially on offense. However. with such a devastating injury, any contract he signs could prove to be harmful to the Lakers’ long-term goals. That’s why it would need to be a short-term deal as mentioned in the report.

The Pelicans, on the other hand, will need to enter this meeting with Cousins asking themselves a few questions. Do they believe that Cousins can play like he did before the Achilles injury, and is that worth the money he’ll be asking for? New Orleans went on an incredible second half run without Cousins. Nobody in the Pelicans organization believes they’re better without Cousins, but they have to know they can still find success if he walks.

It’s been heavily speculated that LeBron James could end up with the Lakers and several reports have surfaced of Los Angeles pursuing other star players around the NBA to build its roster to help land James. Cousins could be a part of that plan.

The report also notes that the Pelicans are still very interested in re-signing Cousins as the two are expected to meet as well. It’s not clear at this time whether the meetings would be in person or over the phone as Cousins is currently in his hometown of Mobile, Ala., according to ESPN.

NBA Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers to challenge Pelicans to sign DeMarcus Cousins

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters in May that the team will do everything it can to keep Cousins. He said, ““There’s not one single person, player, coach or in the basketball ops department or ownership that doesn’t want him back.”

Cousins also told ESPN in May that he was open to re-signing with the Pelicans, but he wants to ultimately go to a team that’s “ready to contend.”

The 27-year-old is coming off a 2017-18 season cut short by a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered Jan. 26 in a game against the Rockets. Despite the injury, he is still expected to be highly sought after in free agency. He told ESPN that he expects to be ready to play by the start of training camp.

Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 48 games last season as he was named an All-Star for the fourth consecutive year.

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Red Sox vs Yankees: Lefty earns trust to finish 7 IP with flourish

Red Sox vs. Yankees: Lefty earns trust to finish 7 IP with flourish

Red Sox vs Yankees: Lefty earns trust to finish 7 IP with flourish

There was a gleam in CC Sabathia’s eyes as he stabbed a tapper to the first-base side of the mound, a rush of adrenaline momentarily erasing the consciousness that he has continued to work on a pair of balky knees. Charging toward the bag, he flipped the ball to Greg Bird, pumping his left fist before unleashing a PG-13-rated bellow.

That weakly hit ball off Mookie Betts’ bat marked the final pitch thrown by Sabathia on Friday evening, as the big man came through in another huge spot. Rising to the occasion for what he had called his club’s most important games of the season, Sabathia hurled seven sparkling innings and led the Yankees to an 8-1 victory over the Red Sox on Friday evening.

Red Sox vs. Yankees: Lefty earns trust to finish 7 IP with flourish

“We played a good game against a good team,” Sabathia said. “I know what this team is capable of. I’m confident in this team and this bunch. Hopefully we can keep going out and playing like this the rest of the season.”

The Yankees reclaimed the best record in the Majors as the “Baby Bombers” carried the offensive load behind Sabathia, with Bird enjoying the second multi-homer game of his career. Miguel Andujar and Aaron Judge also homered, powering New York to its Major League-leading 30th win at home.

Working in front of a sellout crowd of 47,120, the Yankees’ largest of the season, Sabathia limited Boston’s potent lineup to a run on six hits in the 97-pitch effort. Less than a month shy of his 38th birthday, Sabathia improved to 7-1 with a 2.57 ERA in 12 starts against the Red Sox since the beginning of 2015.

“He was great. He’s been great all year,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “That might have been his best outing, and to kick off a homestand against them — that was a really good offense that he was in complete command against. CC set the tone by controlling their offense for the most part.”

Red Sox vs. Yankees: Lefty earns trust to finish 7 IP with flourish

“We feed off that, just the energy he provides when he pounds the strike zone,” Judge said. “He just dominates them. He doesn’t miss a spot. It’s fun to see out of him just pitching. I remember back in the day he used to go out there and throw 98, 99 [mph], but now he’s pitching. It’s fun to play defense behind a guy like that.”

New York thumped Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez for five runs and seven hits over six innings. Gleyber Torres legged out his first career triple and scored on an Andujar single in the second inning, then lifted a sacrifice fly that drove home the second run in the fourth.

Andujar continued the inning by launching a two-run homer to left, his 12th, and Bird immediately followed by slamming an opposite-field drive to left for his fourth homer. Judge put the game out of reach in the seventh, blasting a two-run shot to right off former Fresno State teammate Justin Haley, his 21st of the season, and Bird capped the scoring by homering off Haley in the eighth.

“It’s been all year,” Sabathia said. “Since all these guys came up, they’ve been the biggest part of our team, all these rookies. Aaron Judge last year, [Gary] Sanchez two years ago, now you’ve got Torres and Miggy. These guys come up here and they play like veterans.”

News Source:,

Azad Hind News

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