Updated: Free agents for Warriors to consider

808904.jpg

Updated: Free agents for Warriors to consider

We know there aremock drafts 2.0, 3.0 and beyond leading up to the NBA draft, so theres noreason to not have a free-agent list 2.0 and maybe beyond.Its only fair as itpertains to the Warriors, after all, since their spending parameters havechanged some. Warriors general manager Bob Myers said on Monday that the teamis unlikely to use all of its mid-level exception -- worth about 5million.REWIND: Myers tamps down Warriors' FA expectations
Instead, it seemsthe Warriors are more likely to spend 1 million here, or 2 million there on aplayer or maybe 3 million or so at one guy. More than that and it gets alittle tricky with the luxury tax. With that information in mind, heres anupdated list of some players the Warriors will be looking at: GUARDSConventional wisdom isthat the Warriors need more insurance for Stephen Curry, who is coming offinjury, and Klay Thompson, entering his second season, than just Charles Jenkins. Ideally, theWarriors would be able to sign a veteran with some size and who can defend. Butunder current constraints Andre Miller (said to have agreed to re-sign inDenver), Jason Kidd, Kirk Hinrich, Jeremy Lin, Raymond Felton are all out ofthe picture.It remains to beseen about Brandon Roy, who will meet with the Warriors for the second timelater this week.ShannonBrown: He can get a little too wound up at the offensive end attimes, but Brown would be an athleticism upgrade and toughness upgrade on theperimeter.Randy Foye:Once upon a time, some thought Foye could be a big-time point guard.He never turned into that. But if you look at him as a third guard, hes morelikeable.Royal Ivey:Has gotten lost in the shuffle in Oklahoma City, but has size and candefend.RonniePrice: Hes not much of an offensive player, but is that really whatthe Warriors need? Hes not the greatest of decision-makers, but hed bring theWarriors a toughness in their backcourt that they lack.NateRobinson: Yes, its possible, though not likely he could return tothe Warriors. The reality is the Warriors would like to add size to theirbackcourt, and Robinson doesnt fit that description. But he contributed instretches last season, and coach Mark Jackson seemed to form a bond withhim.SashaVujacic: Before you say NO WAY, listen up. Vujacic, who played inTurkey last season, is 6-foot-7 and able to play both guard positions. And,yes, hes annoying as hell on defense. Thats the point. The fact he can make a3-point shot here and there is gravy.SMALLFORWARDSIts tough to seethe Warriors going in this direction. Right now theyve got plenty of playerswho can play that position: Harrison Barnes, Dorell Wright, Richard Jeffersonand Draymond Green. The Warriors also have made it clear they want to re-signBrandon Rush, who can play this spot. And we havent even mentioned DominicMcGuire, though we will in a minute.FRONTCOURTIn an ideal world,Andrew Bogut and David Lee are healthy, and Festus Ezeli turns out to be betterthan anyone expected. And while were at it, Andris Biedrins has an unforeseencomeback and Jeremy Tyler trends toward Karl Malone.Its always nice tohope, but the Warriors cant go into the season expecting that to happen.Theyd like to add another player of size, and someone with at least a fewyears under his belt. Remember, Myers has talked about adding veterans, but ithasnt happened yet.LouAmundson: He didnt make much of an impact the first time around withGolden State, and the Warriors seem to have gotten the better of the BrandonRush deal, but Amundson is a good guy and known commodity.J.J.Hickson: There are reports that have Hickson coming to the Warriors.Not so fast. Yes, he fits the Warriors financial parameters, but thingshavent nearly progressed that far.JordanHill: If Hill can build off of last season, he might be ontosomething. And thats the problem for the Warriors. If one other GM thinks likethat, Hill is likely out of the Warriors price range.RobinLopez: Hes a restricted free agent, so it wouldnt be easy to gethim. But hed be another big body to add to the frontline, and he does havetoughness.IanMahinmi: Hes quietly been improving every year, but the Warriorsmight be looking for someone a little more versatile. The same thing can besaid for Lopez, above. The Warriors already seem to have three true centers ontheir roster: Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli and Andris Biedrins.DominicMcGuire: The Warriors didnt extend a qualifying offer to McGuire,but that doesnt necessarily mean they dont want him back. But if someoneoffers him a contract on the high side, the Warriors will likely have to watchhim walk away.NazrMohammed: Hes also a true center, but if youre looking for solid,veteran leadership and a player young guys will look up to, Mohammed is yourman.RonnyTuriaf: Theres sentiment out there to bring back Turiaf, who justcompleted a championship season with the Heat. But the Warriors need someone alittle more reliable than Turiaf.SheldenWilliams: He makes a lot of sense. Affordable, professional and asolid veteran. Hes also part of Myers old stable of clients under ArnTellem.

Don't tell David West Cavs-Warriors means nothing: 'We need to win this'

Don't tell David West Cavs-Warriors means nothing: 'We need to win this'

OAKLAND -- Don’t tell David West that the game between the Cavaliers and Warriors on Monday is without significant consequence. He has played too long, seen too much. He knows better.

“This is a very important game for us,” West said Sunday, “because this is the last time we’re going to be able to measure ourselves against these guys.

“The only other time we’d get to face them would be in The Finals.”

Reaching The Finals was in the back of his mind when West signed with the Warriors last July. After scanning his options and doing his research -- including conversations involving Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and coach Steve Kerr -- he chose to come to the Bay Area to continue his quest to reach the NBA’s ultimate series.

At age 36, West has gone 933 games, and another 83 counting the playoffs, and gotten no closer to The Finals than back-to-back dismissals in the Eastern Conference Finals. West in both instances was a member of the Indiana Pacers, and the team that stood in the way both times was the Miami Heat.

That would be the Heat featuring LeBron James, who has since returned to Cleveland.

So, yes, Warriors-Cavs is is a big deal to West. It’s why he’s here.

“Obviously, it’s a regular-season game,” he said. “But for us, every game means something. That’s probably another driving force of why I wanted to be a part of this team. And why I chose San Antonio last year. When you’re playing with a group of this caliber, with these types of expectations, every game, every night, means something. There’s no dropoff or letdown and no room to let up. That’s a vital part of being in the NBA.

“But right now in the NBA, there are distinct levels of basketball. And I just wanted to be a part of the highest level.”

It gets no higher than the Warriors and Cavs. They’ve met in The Finals in each of the past two seasons, with each team winning one, and most conceivably will meet again in June.

Meanwhile, the sights and sounds on the road to the playoff is unlike that which he experienced with the former New Orleans Hornets or the Pacers or the Spurs. Those were good teams. The Warriors, coming of an NBA-record 73-win season, not only are favorites to win it all but perceived as the league’s super team.

It’s as if the Warriors have a bounty on their heads every time they take the court.

“When we play against younger teams, or teams with guys that don’t have a lot of experience, the point guard wants to prove he can stay on the floor against Steph,” West said. “Small forwards want to prove they can hang with KD. Same thing guys coming after Draymond; he’s a target. Then you have a bunch of Klay (Thompson) clones out there. You can see the guys that are modeling themselves after Klay. So when they play against him, they measure themselves against him.

“We all feel that. When you’re a part of this kind of group, that’s what makes the challenge so much fun.”

With Warriors-Cavs, the fun is in knowing that you’re facing the best, the reigning champs from Cleveland, who dethroned the Warriors. And on Monday, the Warriors will be trying to defend their turf.

“We need to win this; we need to win them all,” West said. “We know it's a high-intensity, emotional game. There will be a lot of people watching and a lot of energy in the building. We will have to control our energy and be the more fundamentally sound team.

“We have to be the team that hits more singles and doubles than they do. We don’t need home runs.”

Prepping for Cavs, Curry returns to roots on and off the floor

Prepping for Cavs, Curry returns to roots on and off the floor

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry turned back the clock a few days ago, returning to Davidson College.

Not in person but in spirit.

His latest haircut is, Curry says, the shortest he has allowed in at least a couple years and reminiscent of the close-cropped look he sported at Davidson. What’s different now is the beard. Invisible until a few years ago, it’s longer and fuller than desire and genetics had previously allowed.

“Proud of this beard,” Curry said Sunday, 50 minutes after the Warriors concluded practice. “Very proud.”

In the days running up to Warriors-Cavaliers II on Monday at Oracle Arena, Curry has transformed his dome. He is, once again the baby-faced assassin, only this time the look is accompanied by grown-man facial hair.

Curry’s new look comes on the heels of making alterations to his game. He’s playing with more force, being more assertive with the ball and taking a few more shots. His aggression has shifted into a higher gear.

“Lately, he’s been getting the rock and being aggressive and playing his game,” teammate Kevin Durant said of Curry. “Since that Cleveland game, he’s been playing on another level.”

Since that Cleveland game. That’s what it comes back to for the Warriors and for Curry. That Cleveland game, played on Christmas Day, is three weeks behind them yet the single-most eye-opening experience of the season. The Warriors led by 14 with 9:35 left and by 13 with 8:17 remaining and by 3 with 1:14 to play.

And lost, again, as in Game 7 of The Finals, on a late shot by Cavs guard Kyrie Irving.

“That was definitely a moment,” Curry said. “The Memphis game (Curry scoring 40 points but the Warriors blew a 24-point lead in a 128-119 loss on Jan. 6) was a moment. The Lakers game earlier in the year (a 117-97 loss on Nov. 4) was a moment. You’ve got to understand what went wrong in those kinds of games and figure it out as you go through, knowing you’re going to have some more slipups.”

Curry since the Christmas Day loss has advocated for more pick-and-roll action and gotten it, most notably with Durant as his partner. Curry wanted more time at point guard, and he's gotten it. His numbers have improved, and his overall effect has been more noticeable.

In eight games since Christmas Day, Curry has averaged 20 shots and 27.1 points per game. In the eight games up to and including the loss at Cleveland, he averaged 15.6 shots and 19.9 points.

Yet the real test comes when Curry sees the Cavaliers, against whom recent games have not been pretty. His last four games against Cleveland -- Games 5-7 of the NBA Finals and Christmas Day -- have produced 21.7 points on 36.6-percent shooting, 2.5 assists and 3.7 turnovers.

There’s another reason Curry wants to kill his Cavs demons, which began forming as the Warriors became the first team in league history to go up 3-1 in the NBA Finals and lose the series. That was mere months after Curry mentioned that the visiting locker room at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland still smelled of the champagne with which Warriors celebrated after winning The Finals in 2015.

Curry is tired of hearing about, well, his Cavs demons, whether the noise is coming from fans or players or folks he barely knows.

Playing golf in the Safeway Open pro-am at Silverado in October, Curry got an earful from playing partner Harold Varner III, who happens to be an Ohio native and, of course, a Cavs fan.

“He waited until the ninth hole because he was a little unsure about how I’d take it, how much of a good sport I would be,” Curry recalled. “And then, once he tested the waters, he didn’t hold back the rest of the round. But it was all in good fun.”

This is not the kind of “good fun” Curry cares to hear any more. As the Cavs come to town, he’s back in a familiar place, with folks doubting him, wondering if he has what it takes.

And he’s playing as if he has something to prove, just as he did at Davidson.