Mailtime Assuming the Warriors re-sign Brandon Rush and adda backup power forward, is this a playoff team? Robert, Petaluma,Calif.Steinmetz: On paper its the closest theWarriors have been to being a playoff team since 2007-08, when they won 48games.Now, Im not saying this is a 48-win team. Im saying thisis the best roster the Warriors have had since that time. However, here comethe disclaimers.First, the Western Conference is still a bear. OklahomaCity, the Lakers, the Clippers, the Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies are allmore talented than the Warriors.As long as Dallas has Dirk Nowitzki, I think theyre going tomake the playoffs, particularly because I think they did enough to maintainthis offseason. So, that leaves two openings and teams such as the Warriors,Denver, Houston, Portland, Utah, Phoenix and Minnesota.Can the Warriors compete with that group? Yes, assumingtheyre healthy. And, really, thats what so much of this comes down to. CanStephen Curry and Andrew Bogut play full seasons or relatively close to fullseasons? That will, in many ways, dictate the Warriors season.If theyre healthy, I think the Warriors can compete for oneof the final two playoff spots in the West. I see the Warriors as a teamknocking on the door of .500 again, if healthy and if theyre knocking onthat door it means theyll be in the vicinity.I think if everything goes right for them, maybe this teamcan climb above .500. If theyre banged up or have some bad luck, then I thinktheyre under. But as of right now, yes, I think the goal for the team and thefans should be the playoffs.Whats going on with Brandon Rush? Mark, PaloAlto.Steinmetz: You want to talk about the normalcourse of things this is the normal course of things a lot of time with arestricted free agent. Particularly with the way the Warriors have handled itfrom back in the regular season and shortly thereafter.Its not accurate to say nothing is going on with Brandon Rush,because something could break at any time with another team signing him to anoffer sheet. At the same time, its the kind of situation that could lingerbecause some teams are likely very leery of signing Rush to an offersheet.See, the Warriors have made it clear that Rush is a priorityfor them and that they want to re-sign him. Rush made 3 million last season,so youve got to figure the Warriors are willing to go somewhere in thevicinity of 5 million per season to keep him.So, the question is this: Why would another team sign Rushto an offer sheet, knowing the Warriors are going to match? Not only that, theWarriors could take up to three days to match, meaning that the team thatsigned Rush to the offer sheet might have to remain idle during thattime.Its one thing to come up with a whopper of an offer likeMinnesota did with Nicolas Batum or Houston did with Jeremy Lin but Rush isdifferent. Hes not so coveted that a team is going to offer him that kind ofmoney.So, again, I could see this lingering for a while, and if itdoes, it does. But you never know maybe a team like Minnesota, which struckout on Batum, might be trying to put something together for Rush.But the reality is that the Warriors are in control of theRush situation, and they know it.Any word on whether the Warriors are interested inAndray Blatche? Ryan, Santa Clara.Steinmetz: Oh, lordy, I hope not. Few players inthe NBA have underachieved like Andray Blatche. He came into the league withcomparisons to Kevin Garnett, but hasnt turned out to be a shell of the playerGarnett wasis.Blatche seems to be everything the Warriors are trying tosteer away from these days. Owner Joe Lacob and general manager Bob Myers havebeen stressing the importance of bringing in character people, and thats notthe reputation Blatche has.From a practical standpoint, what concerns me most aboutBlatche is that he seems to have lost all the athleticism he once had. Thatmeans hes a player without know-how and a player without athleticism.Ill pass on him, and Im sure the Warriors will,too.
On Friday afternoon, news broke that Kyrie Irving reportedly requested a trade from the Cavs.
Shortly thereafter, a Twitter account with over 296,000 followers tweeted the following:
Hi @KevinLove, how are things— InsideHoops.com NBA (@InsideHoops) July 21, 2017
A little over an hour later, Kevin Love responded:
Life is amazing. No complaints. Things are a little peculiar. But no complaints. Now go kick some rocks 🙌🏼 https://t.co/Tz62YyGeYt— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) July 21, 2017
On Tuesday night, Irving told Sports Illustrated the Cavs are "in a very peculiar place."
In the weeks between Cleveland's Game 5 loss to the Warriors and the start of free agency, Love was reportedly on the trading block.
The Cavs and GM David Griffin "mutually" parted ways three days before the NBA Draft.
Cleveland is finally finalizing a deal with assistant GM Coby Altman to become the permanent general manager, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
LeBron James can opt out and become a free agent next summer, and there is already speculation about where he may go.
Man. The last six weeks in Cleveland have been wild...
Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller
The only way this Kyrie Irving trade request story makes any sense at all is if he demands to go to Houston. And gets there.
Yes, Houston. Home of James Harden. Potential future home of Carmelo Anthony. The Place Where Passing Goes To Die. The Antidote To Everything Warriors.
I mean, Irving reading the tea leaves and knowing the Cavs are about to enter a very dark period in their history is not the news here. Dan Gilbert no longer caring about running a basketball operation without empty offices has been the catalyst for LeBron James looking forward to life on the West Coast. The Cavs are a sinkhole collapsing so fast that the assumptions of them cakewalking to the 2018 NBA Finals are heading directly for the earth’s core.
But it’s where Irving goes that is fascinating, and Houston is the perfect place because (and we are presuming Daryl Morey can pry Anthony from the joke shop that is the New York Knickerbockers):
1) It would turn Golden State’s version of cap hell into a slight checking overdraft by comparison
2) It would make the Rockets’ offense a high-powered mess of glorious proportions
3) It would subject the Warriors to a direct stylistic showdown – namely, whether rapid, smart-minded ball movement is just a fad to be replacing by 21st century offensive stagflation.
Oh, Harden can pass, and Irving can pass, and Anthony . . . well, okay, Harden and Irving can pass. But they all function almost entirely with the ball, which means that at any given moment 66 percent of the Rockets’ most important players will be unhappy.
Thus, this is what we need, and what we need now. Trading Kyrie Irving is just satisfying his whim. Trading him to a place where we can put competing basketball styles to the test – now that would make the Western Conference playoffs worth caring about again.
And the Eastern Conference? Well, we’ve always wanted a relegation system in American sports, and now we’ve got it. Just fly toward the sun and hold your nose.