Warriors eye veteran guard Calderon after release of Weber

Warriors eye veteran guard Calderon after release of Weber

OAKLAND -- Briante Weber’s 20 days with the Warriors came to an end Saturday night, creating a roster opening expected to be filled by veteran point guard Jose Calderon.

“We think we have something in place, but it’s not finalized,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after a 112-95 victory over Brooklyn.

Calderon is in the process to be bought out by the Lakers, after which he will become a free agent. Once he clears waivers, the Warriors, according to multiple sources, will be waiting to offer a physical examination and a contract.

Though Warriors president/general manager Bob Myers stopped short of identifying Calderon by name, his insinuations late Saturday night line up with what was learned from league sources.

“You find that in the playoffs, experience matters,” Myers told CSNBayArea.com.

“I don’t want to diminish (Weber’s) contribution and say he’s not capable,” he added. “He could help a team. But I think sometimes you go with experience when going into the playoffs.”

While Weber is 24, with limited NBA experience, Calderon is 35 and has 12 seasons in the league, including three playoff appearances with two different teams. Moreover, Calderon is a career 41.1-percent 3-point shooter.

Calderon has played sparingly this season and has appeared only once, for five minutes, over the last nine games. In November, his most active month, he played in 11 games, averaging 5.5 points and 3.0 assists while shooting 54.5 percent from the field and 45.0 from beyond the arc.

Not that this made releasing Weber any easier. He had, in a short span of time, become popular with his teammates. Though Weber declined postgame interview requests, Stephen Curry spent a few minutes consoling and encouraging him.

Kerr struggled a bit in announcing that the team was releasing Weber, though the move was made by the front office in consultation with the coaching staff.

“We are making the decision thinking it’s the best thing for the team,” he said. “We make every decision based on that.

Weber played two minutes Saturday, scoring four points on 2-of-3 shooting. He logged a total of 46 minutes spread over seven games.

“He’s a good kid, did everything we asked of him,” Myers said. “But sometimes you’ve got to make tough decisions. Sometimes you’re not even right, but you make the best decision you can at the time.

“But he’s got a future in the NBA. He’ll have options. That’s the best thing about his situation. He’ll be able to choose what’s best for him.”

Instant Replay: Warriors become first to clinch playoff berth with win vs Nets

Instant Replay: Warriors become first to clinch playoff berth with win vs Nets

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- What was never in much doubt with the Warriors became official Saturday night at Oracle Arena. They will be in the playoffs.

Closing out a brief two-game homestand with a 112-95 win over Brooklyn, the Warriors clinched their fifth consecutive trip to the postseason while sending the Nets to their 16th consecutive loss.

With Kevin Durant missing his first game of the season, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson carried most of the scoring load. Curry put in a game-high 27 points, while Thompson finished with 24.

Rookie forward Pat McCaw, starting in place of Durant, finished with nine points, four rebounds and two blocks. He was plus-20 for the game.

In a game between two uptempo teams, the Warriors (49-9) outscored the Nets 30-16 on fast-break points while also making 11 of their 29 3-pointers.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 16 points to lead the Nets, who fell to 9-49.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

While Thompson and Curry handled most of the scoring, Zaza Pachulia submitted a strong all-around game on offense while making life difficult on Brook Lopez.

Pachulia’s line: Eight points (3-of-5 from the field, 2-of-3 from the line), nine rebounds, three assists and one block. He played 20 minutes and finished plus-29.

Furthmore, with Pachulia as the primary defender on Lopez, the Brooklyn big man didn’t score until midway through the third quarter and totaled only nine points.

TURNING POINT

After falling behind 46-45 on a Joe Harris 3-pointer with 4:02 left in the first half, the Warriors went on a 19-5 run that extended into the second half, taking 64-51 lead with 11:24 left in the third quarter.

The Warriors led by as much as 19 in the third quarter, and Brooklyn got no closer than eight (99-91, 5:10 remaining) in the fourth.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L hand contusion) was listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Nets: F Quincy Acy (L ankle sprain) and G/F Caris LeVert (illness) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Monday in Philadelphia, where they will face the 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. Pacific.

Warriors rookie McCaw starts vs Nets with Durant ruled out

Warriors rookie McCaw starts vs Nets with Durant ruled out

OAKLAND -- With Kevin Durant out of the Warriors lineup Saturday night with swelling in his left pinky finger, rookie wing Pat McCaw will start at forward against Brooklyn at Oracle Arena.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr made the announcement two hours before tipoff.

As for Durant, the contusion in his left pinky finger, sustained Thursday, is still in the healing process.

“Kevin’s hand is still a little swollen,” Kerr said. “It’s not anything we want to mess around with. We’ve got a long trip coming up, a lot of games. It made sense to give him the night off. We’ll have tomorrow off, flying in to Philadelphia. So hopefully the next couple days it’ll calm down and be fine. It’s kind of a day-to-day thing.”

The decision to start McCaw -- who often competes with Ian Clark for playing time -- was based mostly on how he matches up against the Nets.

“They both have my trust and my confidence,” Kerr said. “Both of them are very effective. It’s depending what we need. If we need ball movement and cutting, I’m more likely to go to Ian. He’s a great back-cutter and he gives our offense flow and he’ll make spot-up shots. If we need some size defensively, we’ll go to Patrick. They’ve both been effective. I wouldn’t say either one is ahead of the other. They’re both going to play.”