NBA mailbag: Are Warriors in luxury tax or not?

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NBA mailbag: Are Warriors in luxury tax or not?

Mailtime I was wondering what the salary capluxury taximplications are for the Warriors after signing Carl Landry and re-signingBrandon Rush. Wont the combined salaries of Landry and Rush push the Warriorsinto the luxury tax? Mark, Bay Area.Steinmetz: All right, heres the thing about theluxury tax and where the Warriors are it doesnt matter right now; you could argue it's irrelevant.Yes, the Warriors are into the tax right now as of Aug. 3 but they have more than eight months to get under the tax if need be. And inall probability and likelihood, when push comes to shove in mid-April theWarriors wont be in the tax.There are countless ways the Warriors could get back underthe tax, and theyve clearly left themselves wiggle room to get under or, tobe fair, go deeper into the tax if they want.It still remains remote that the Warriors will end up in theluxury tax 70.3 million -- when the appropriate time comes to compute suchthings (April 17). If you want the biggest reason why the Warriors won't be a tax team this season it's this: They don't need to be. And I'm right with them on that one.Right now, the Warriors are said to be approximately400,000 over the tax. That would mean they would have to pay a 400,000penalty, but more important they wouldnt be allowed to receive their share ofthe revenue collected from tax-paying teams that then gets disbursed tonon-taxpaying teams.When you think about it that way, you can be giving upmillions and millions of dollars.Just cant see that happening. Then again, Ill say this:the fact that were even addressing whether or not the Warriors could go intothe luxury tax is a positive change from the past.So, if the Warriors dont bring back DominicMcGuire, who do you think will? Im sure hell be picked up by someone.Matthew, San FranciscoWashington, D.C.Steinmetz: Heres the thing about McGuire he hadmore of a role than he should have had with the Warriors last season. Andbecause he had more of a role than he should have had, he got an opportunity todo some things (like play point forward and be on the court during crunch time,etc.) that he wouldnt ordinarily have had.Did he prove he could do them? Well, yes, but keep in mindhe was doing them for a team that finished 23-43, and not really even that goodthe final month-plus of the season.What Im getting to here is that I believe McGuiresrelevance on the team last year was skewed because of all the injuries and theopportunities he received. In all likelihood, hes not going to receive themthis year.Also, the Warriors have a re-signed Rush, a second-yearplayer in Klay Thompson, a rookie in Harrison Barnes, a second rookie they likein Draymond Green and a legitimate backup four in Carl Landry. Im not surethat I want McGuire taking minutes from any of those guys specialist ornot.The reality is that McGuire wasnt on a roster last yearwhen the Warriors brought him in. Even coach Mark Jackson would refer to him asa guy who was just sitting around When the Warriors signed McGuire.Taking nothing away from the season McGuire had a year ago,Im just not sure hes as good of a fit on this years team as last. Plus, Imnot saying McGuire isnt good enough to be in the league; in fact, where Ireally seem him fitting in is on an elite-type team.By what general manager Bob Myers said, it seemslike if the Warriors dont make the playoffs Mark Jackson is gone. Do youagree? Daniel, California.Steinmetz: Without trying to be cute or making funof your question because it is a good one Id say this: Welcome to theNBA.Facts are facts and NBA coaches dont have unlimited lifespans. Mark Jackson, whether it was his fault or not, coached the Warriors to a23-43 record in 2011-12.Its only fair, particularly after the offseason theWarriors had, to expect and even demand more. Lets face it, if the Warriorsarent in the Western Conference playoff hunt this upcoming season it meansthat something went drastically wrong.So you know what? Yes, I think if the Warriors dont makethe playoffs Jackson could be in trouble. How could he not be in this day andage of the NBA? Heck, he could be in trouble if the Warriors are doing poorlyhalfway through the season.But that goes for plenty of NBA coaches.Is there pressure on Mark Jackson? Yes, there is. More thanlast year? Yes, definitely. But thats the way it should be when the team yourecoaching clearly improved in the offseason.

Warriors as healthy as ever while playing waiting game for next opponent

Warriors as healthy as ever while playing waiting game for next opponent

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.

Durant makes plea to NBA officials: 'S--- talking is part of the game'

Durant makes plea to NBA officials: 'S--- talking is part of the game'

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.