So far, Warriors are on periphery of free agency


So far, Warriors are on periphery of free agency

Programming Note: Log on today at 11 a.m. for our live stream of the Warriors introductory press conference for rookies Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green, live from Oakland!

The NBA free agencyperiod is 36 hours old, and already a lot has transpired. The Warriors,however, havent been involved in a lot of it. Because they are over the salarycap, the Warriors only have their mid-level exception worth approximately --5 million to spend.Thats not going tobe enough to put them in the running for any of the big boys. Still, theWarriors would like to get something done. Heres a quick thumbnail on whatsbeen going on with Golden State and some moves that have affectedthem.AndreMiller to re-sign with Nuggets: Few players in free agency made asmuch sense to the Warriors as Miller, one of the leagues most solid pointguards and a positive veteran influence.Those are two areaswhere the Warriors need help, but Miller wont be the guy. He is reportedlysigning a three-year, 9 million contract to stay in Denver. It seemed alongshot that the Warriors would be able to acquire Miller.Conventional wisdomheading into free agency was that Miller would likely receive an offer worthmore than 5 million.That Miller istaking 3 million per year to stay is a little bit surprising. It would seem tosuggest that either the Warriors didnt want to play Miller more than that peryear which they could have or that Miller had no interest in coming to theWarriors.Either way, not agreat sign.What aboutKirk Hinrich?: Point guard Kirk Hinrich, who played last season withthe Hawks, is drawing interest from more than a half-dozen teams and the Warriorsare one of them.Hinrich, likeMiller, makes sense for the Warriors for a number of reasons. He can play bothguard positions, can defend and possesses the veteran savvy the Warriors arelooking at.Hes been banged-upa little bit for the past three or four years, but if hes healthy he wouldgive the Warriors a backcourt toughness they desperately lack rightnow.Warriorsinterested in trading for Dwight Howard: There was a report over theweekend that the Warriors are still interested in trading for Dwight Howardeven though he has made it clear he has no interest in playing in Golden Statelong-term.Well, a pattern isdeveloping and its this: When a star player seems to be available, theWarriors are always mentioned as a possible partner. Its happened with ChrisPaul, its happened with Lamar Odom, with Brandon Roy, Pau Gasol and a fewothers.It seems apparentthe Warriors dont mind when theyre linked to these types of players becauseit gives the perception they are in the middle of all the action and have ashot at acquiring some of them. But until the Warriors land a player of thatstature, its natural for fans to be skeptical that they even can.The reality isHoward coming to the Warriors is beyond remote. He doesnt want to play here,and the Warriors dont have a realistic package to put together.Warriorsinvolved in talks with J.J. Hickson: This would seem to make sense.Hickson is a player the Warriors were interested in signing after the Kings hadwaived him late last season.The Warriors seemedpoised to sign Hickson at that time, but he was claimed off waivers by Portland then subsequently waived again.Hickson certainlymakes some sense for Golden State. But he wouldnt be the kind of upgrade manyfans were hoping for.Noextension for Curry: It was reported a few days ago that the Warriorsand Stephen Curry were unlikely to reach an agreement on a contract extension.But that was not a surprise.Late in the season,Curry and the Warriors both acknowledged that it was probable that both sideshold off on any kind of deal. Why? Well, because the Warriors need to be sureCurry is healthy before they make him a part of the long-term future, and Curryneeds to be healthy to receive the kind of contract he likely feels hedeserves.Charactercounts: After Thursdays draft, Warriors owner Joe Lacob and generalmanager Bob Myers talked extensively about the character of their top threepicks: Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green.There seems to be apattern developing with the Warriors, and its that theyre targeting thesekinds of players.They traded StephenJackson for Richard Jefferson months ago, and even accepted an extra year onJeffersons deal. The reason was because the Warriors didnt want to bring avolatile veteran like Jackson onto their young team.While thats a toughstrategy to criticize, the logical extension is that theyre most likely notinterested in players such as Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, Reggie Evans orDelonte West.

'Woke' David West is going to fight the fight against Donald Trump

'Woke' David West is going to fight the fight against Donald Trump

Programming note: Warriors-Heat coverage starts today at 3:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

He is a credentialed NBA star, with enough personal wealth to choose achievement over dollars, the conviction to stand on principle and such an acute cultural awareness that he’s simply unable to tune out the despair gripping much of America.

David West has deep concerns and many questions.

It’s not that he questions himself and everything he was taught and remains committed to teaching others. The Warriors forward, 36, has seen inequality, up close, yet still continues to believe in the human spirit and its capacity to overcome.

Though he clearly is disturbed by the wave of crude belligerence represented by our latest president, Donald Trump, inaugurated only days ago, what’s more distressing to West is the transparent bigotry and misogyny, which points up the rampant ignorance behind his rise.

“He brought out an element of our society that a lot of folks assumed was dead,” West said on the CSN Bay Area Warriors Insider Podcast. “A lot of folks assumed that that part of our country was no longer, based on the election of President Obama. But what Donald Trump did was, he reached for a demographic of people who responded to some of the most infantile, non-decent language that you could expect coming from a president candidate. Folks bit.”

West didn’t bite. Didn’t even think about biting. No, he’s going the opposite way.

He’s going to fight the fight. The married father of two is going to do it by flexing his mind more than his imposing 6-foot-9, 250-pound physique.

He’s going to stand with the millions of women who marched over the weekend. He’s going to stand with the millions of people who feel their quest for justice is endangered. He’s going to stand with those whose health care is in peril. He’s going to stand with those who understand that science telling us that climate changes is a grave global threat.

West is going to stand for truth and fairness and courtesy, even if he is uncertain whether the president sending out angry tweets and advocating “alternative facts” will be standing at his side.

“All the tactics that he used to get elected are the very things that someone like me, who works with youth on a consistent basis, are the things that we try to talk our young folks out of being,” West said. “We try to talk our young people out of being bullies. We try to talk our young men out of disrespecting women. We try to talk our young people into being accepting of other people’s opinions and other people’s walks of life.

“And he is the complete opposite of all of that.”

West, who earned his degree in communications from Xavier University in 2003, studies people of all stripes, from the great philosophers such as Nietzsche and Plato, to his coaches and the youngsters he mentors. He has a passion for knowledge as well as a profound appreciation for others with similar pursuits. Moreover, he believes in first-hand involvement.

So he involves himself in issues pertinent to gaining knowledge and investing -- financially, emotionally and intellectually -- in the future. He examines reality and how it relates to such issues as the infant mortality rate, the hypocrisy contained within United States Constitution and the tenuous dynamic between law enforcement and people of color.

West doesn’t stop there. He is a crusader for human rights. He has made multiple visits to Africa to peel back the layers of those who inhabit the continent. He is acutely attuned to matters of climate change; he’s the lone athlete/celebrity on the advisory board of Zoetic Global, an American-based group devoted to clean-energy technology, specifically hyperkinetic turbines.

West is, in the vernacular, “woke.”

He vocalized full support for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose very public attempts to shine a light on the frequency of deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement.

There was considerable outrage over Kaepernick’s perceived disrespect of the flag as a symbol for the country when his actual cause is a plea for fairness.

“And people are too one-sided, too one-dimensional in their thought process, to get to that,” West said. “So all they saw him doing was a physical gesture. All they saw him doing was taking a knee.

“The issue, when we get to the basis of all this, is that there is a group of people who want justice -- people who want justice. And regardless of opposite or opposing views, justice should be just. And it should be for everyone. And when that environment doesn’t exist or is not readily available in terms of what we’re witnessing, then people are going to have things to say.”

Asked about the value of and prevalence with which sports celebrities speak up, as Kaepernick did, West offered an enlightening response.

“I’m not sure that the athletes, in terms of a collective group, are in a position, in terms of information, to take the type of stand that Colin took,” he said. “That’s kind of what gets lost in the interpretation as well. Folks see him, and if you’ve ever listened to Colin speak or if you ever followed him, he has a large information base. And I think it’s unfair to assume that other pro athletes have that same base.

“That’s very important, because what we have now, on the flip side, is very low-information athletes or former athletes who do speak up and who say things, who should not be saying anything at all.”

As for those NBA authority figures, such as Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, comfortable with sociopolitical dialogue openly and from a knowledgeable perspective, West expresses gratitude for their words and effort.

“Those guys are different,” he says, “because they take the time to become a little bit more understanding of the guys they are around most of the year.

“Steve wants to know how we feel about what popped up on the news yesterday or the day before, about what’s going on because all of that plays a part who you are.”

As irritated as West is with the disrespect frequently shown to former President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black commander-in-chief, he was pleased with Obama’s ability to reply with “dignity and class” under sometimes trying conditions.

We have elected in Trump someone who West, putting it mildly, “somebody who’s not as nuanced in dealing with folks.”

West is among a select group of high-profile athletes to speak openly of his concern about Trump. Knicks center Joakim Noah expressed his discontent, as has Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum and former 49ers receiver Torrey Smith.

West, however, is among the elder statesmen of American athletes. And someone who puts his mind and time where his heart is. So, there remains at least . . . hope.

“We’re just in for a very different type of administration, where we’ve got to brace for a different type of leadership, unlike anything this country has ever seen,” he said of Trump. “For a lot of folks, they’re just trying to see what he’s going to do next. What’s going to happen? Some of the things he’s said, the things that he’s backed up, the things he’s projected of himself out onto the world, I don’t think anybody expected him to be able to get elected to such a prestigious and powerful seat in this country.

“I don’t know how you balance it. We all have to just wait and see. Folks inside the political system, who are tasked with the job of keeping him in check and keeping him under control, we’ve got to hold their feet to the fire.”

Secret weapon: Warriors dial up more third quarter magic to beat Orlando

Secret weapon: Warriors dial up more third quarter magic to beat Orlando

Superman has his phone booth, Popeye his spinach and Ali had his rope-a-dope. The greats often have a secret weapon to be unleashed upon opponents who dare pose a threat.

The Warriors of the NBA have the third quarter.

Twelve masterful minutes, customarily the third quarter, is all they need to turn all anxieties to swagger and perspiration into perfume.

It was, on cue, the third quarter that doomed the temporarily uppity Magic in a 118-98 victory on Sunday at Amway Center in Orlando.

Tied 50-50 and down five (55-50) 90 seconds into the third quarter, the Warriors went on a 19-2 tear to go up 12 with 6:54 left. Orlando, which had been encouraged by outplaying the Warriors for the first 25-plus minutes, was powerless to prevent the onslaught.

“We found our energy and execution and stopped turning the ball over,” Stephen Curry, who scored a game-high 27 points, including 7-of-13 shooting from deep, told reporters in Florida. “And after that, we got stops and our talent plays over on the offensive end. It is nice to see shots going in obviously, but you have to get stops and take care of the basketball to get that done.”

The Warriors (38-6) shot 41.9 percent for the field and committed 12 turnovers in the first half, leading to 13 Magic points. Only one Orlando starter, point guard Elfrid Payton, shot less than 50 percent and he was 3-of-8.

So the Warriors, whose sloppy first half could be attributed to the usually early start (9 a.m. Pacific), reached for the prescription that best cures their every ailment. They turned to ferocious defense, which generated torrential offense. They outscored the Magic 42-24 in the third quarter, pretty much putting away the game.

“For whatever reason, we’ve had a bunch really good third quarters in the last couple of weeks,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It seems to be the time when we pick up our defense and it translates into some transition hoops and 3-pointers. I don’t know why, but that seems to be the key time for us these days.”

The third-quarter blitzes are more than a trend. It’s becoming an almost predictable act of magic.

The Warriors have outscored opponents in the third in 17 of their last 19 games -- with the margin double digits on nine of those occasions. In seven of those 17 games, they were tied or trailing at the half. They lost only two of those games, to the Cavs and the Grizzlies, to both of whom they blew sizable fourth-quarter leads.

Furthermore, the Warriors’ plus-268 points differential in the third quarter is by far the best in the NBA.

It was, indeed, the third quarter that shook them from the stupor of those early Sunday wakeup calls.

“There was no morning,” Draymond Green said. “It was wake up, grab some food, put on some sweats, and get out of there. I think my bus was 9:30 a.m. That’s 6:30 a.m. West Coast time . . . it was brutal.”

Must be nice to know that even on brutal days, and even after a throwaway first half, they can usually find enough lightning in the third quarter to find victory.