Warriors owner Joe Lacob is in Las Vegas this week, takingin some Summer League games. On Wednesday, Lacob joined NBA TVs telecast ofthe Warriors-Miami game and had plenty to say on a variety of topics On the Warriors goals heading into the season:We just want to continue to show improvement, get bigger,get stronger. Weve got a lot of young guys so it might take a while. But wehave a lot of talent. Weve had two good drafts in a row and building throughthe draft is usually the best way to do it. We had a key trade the AndrewBogut trade. We think thats going to help us a tremendous amount. Its veryhard to find a center. Were looking forward. We think we have some good pieceshere to build on."On second-year shooting guard Klay Thompson:Honestly, Id watched him for three years as a Stanfordfan, sitting courtside at Pac-12 games. All our guys, Jerry West, our staff,felt he could be a special player and we feel thats even more so the case now."On Andrew Bogut: Hes ahead of schedule, looking great. We think hes goingto be healthy. His injuries were really freak injuries the elbow and theankle. Theres no reason in the world he cant recover. He does seem to be alittle injury-prone. Thats fair. Hopefully he stays healthy, Stephen Curryshealthy and were a much-improved basketball team.Monta Ellis is a great player, and we gave up a lot. ButBogut is one of the top three, top four, top five centers in the league. Youcant find them. You just cant find those players."On Festus Ezeli, whom the Warriors selected withthe No. 30 pick: We targeted him the whole draft, hoping hed be there at30, and I think we thought there was a pretty good shot. He didnt have thebest senior year (at Vanderbilt), but hes a four-year player, and hasntplayed a lot of basketball. Hes very talented, five percent body fat, 6-11,270.Hes the kind of player we need -- a very smart player. Fortunately,he was there. Perhaps more fortunate a player we thought would go in themid-20s, Draymond Green, was there at 35. It couldnt have gone much better. HarrisonBarnes could have gone (picked No. 7) in the top four, so it just couldnt havegone any better from our perspective."On the proposed arena in downtown San Francisco:Its a long process, but we are actively working ondeveloping that site, getting the approvals. It will take a couple of years todo that. Thats San Francisco. But its a tremendous site on the waterfront.Theres only one other arena on the waterfront and thats Miami. It is abeautiful site, it will be privately financed. It will be expensive. It will bea hard process to get through but we think we can do it. Were going to do it,and I think our fans are going to be richly rewarded with a tremendous arena."On being an NBA owner: Its pretty fun. This is the best. We have great fans. Iwas a fan for a long time for the Warriors, many, many years. We all havesuffered so much we all want to win so badly.I think the Western Conference is really tough. A couple ofteams might not be up to what they were in the past, but some have gottenbetter. Its going to be tough, but we improved a lot, too. I dont think ourrecord last year says much about the talent we have. I think between what wasinjured and what was added and another year of experience for our coaches I thinkwe can be pretty good and contend for a playoff spot.Wed be upset if we didnt. No predictions, but hopefullyeverything goes right and were going to be there. And our fans will be prettyhappy."On sitting courtside at games: I didnt pay 450 million to sit in the rafters."
OAKLAND -- Now that the Warriors have gone through a full-squad scrimmage for the first time in three weeks, there is only one issue to be resolved before they get back to the business of the playoffs.
Whom to play? And when?
As of Friday afternoon, the Warriors had no idea of either.
They will face the winner of the Clippers-Jazz first-round series, in which Utah took a 3-2 lead into Game 6 Friday night in Salt Lake City.
“Why are we talking about Utah like the Clippers are done?” Draymond Green wondered after fielding several Jazz-related questions after scrimmaging.
Well, because the Jazz won Games 4 and 5 and is favored to win Game 6 at home. If they win, they’ll come into Oracle Arena Sunday afternoon to meet the Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
If the Clippers win Game 6 to even the series, those teams will meet for Game 7 Sunday in Los Angeles, with the winner advancing to face the Warriors in Game 1 of the conference semifinals next Tuesday night in Oakland.
In any case, the Warriors appear about as healthy has they have been at any time since February.
Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, out with a finger/hand injury since Game 1 (April 16) of the first-round series against Portland, participated in the scrimmage, as did veteran forward Matt Barnes, who last played on April 8, when he sustained a bone bruise atop his right foot.
“They practiced today and they even went through the scrimmage,” acting head coach Mike Brown said. “But we’ll wait for our training staff to clear them, after they see how they feel today and (Saturday).”
In short, if swelling is minimal, both will be available for Game 1, regardless of when.
So, too, will Kevin Durant. After a strained left calf kept him out of Games 2 and 3 against the Trail Blazers, he started and played 20 minutes in decisive Game 4 without any ill effects.
Nothing changed during the scrimmage Friday.
“It felt great out there,” he said. “Nothing bothered me. It was definitely good. I’m just trying to hopefully put that injury stuff behind.”
Durant conceded that he continues to receive treatment and ice, but mostly to minimize potential swelling.
OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant wishes more NBA officials had a better grasp of the language of the game.
They don’t seem to understand that “trash talk” almost always is little more than an act in which healthy emotions are released. It’s as much of the game on the court as pointing out a bad haircut or a fashion error in the locker room.
“I was raised that if you weren’t talking on the court, then something (bad) is going on,” Durant said after Warriors practice on Friday.
Durant caught a glimpse of the chatter earlier this week between former Oklahoma City teammate Russell Westbrook and Houston guard Patrick Beverley in decisive Game 5 of the Thunder-Rockets series and was disappointed when the officials slapped each with a technical foul.
“I was like, ‘Man, just play on. It’s a part of the game,’” Durant said.
Though Durant himself is not a premier trash-talker, he plays alongside one in fellow forward Draymond Green.
“That’s why we started playing, to talk a little s--- here and there,” said Durant, who grew up in the Washington D.C. area. “Draymond is really good at it. There are a lot of guys in the league that are good. More guys are quiet now than before.
“But s--- talking is a part of the game. I love it. It’s fun when you’re on the same team as a guy that does it. And then, when you’re playing against it, it’s even better because it brings the best out of you.”
For Durant, there always will be a place for trash talk on the court. Not only did he experience it while growing up but he also was indoctrinated in the practice from the moment he arrived in the NBA in 2007.
He recalls, with fondness, being targeted as a rookie by Kevin Garnett and a few other Celtics.
“When I came into the league, that’s when the Celtics had just got together,” Durant said. “Paul Pierce and KG and those guys talked bad to me as a rookie. I was 19. And they talked so bad to me. And I was talking right back. It was just a fun exchange. That’s what basketball is about.”
Now if only he could get officials to realize this.