Warriors

Warriors focus: Kent Bazemore

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Warriors focus: Kent Bazemore

Editor's note: This is the second of seven individual player analysis, focusing on new Warriors' faces.

The Warriors have made plenty of changes since the end ofthe 2011-12 season. They will likely have four first-year players on their rostercome the start of the season, and they also acquired veterans Jarrett Jack andCarl Landry.Center Andrew Bogut came to the Warriors in March, but hesa newcomer, too, if you factor in that he still hasnt played a game for theteam yet. With training camp set to begin in early October, lets begin ourplayer-by-player analysis of the Warriors new players.Kent Bazemore, 6-foot-5, 195 pounds, shootingguard.Whats most important to know about Bazemore -- at thispoint, anyway -- is that hes currently occupying the 15th roster spot, which isthe maximum number allowed in the NBA.Whats also very pertinent is that his contract isntguaranteed. That means that while the Warriors like Bazemore, there are noassurances hell be around for the whole season.Yes, theres a scenario in which Bazemore could spend theentire 2012-13 with the Warriors or their D-League affiliate, which is prettymuch what Chris Wright did last season.But Bazemore is also a candidate to be waived at any time --which is the nature of a non-guarantee.What Bazemore has going for him is that he has the potentialto be the teams best defender on point guards and shooting guards. That alonecould make him worth keeping around.Its not a secret that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, theWarriors projected starting backcourt, do not excel at the defensive end.Jack will help on thatend of the floor, but its not like hes a defensive stopper.Charles Jenkins is certainly improving defensively, butwere still talking about a stocky, 6-foot-3-ish sized player who isntoff-the-charts athletically.Bazemore, a left-hander, is a long 6-foot-5, and hesathletic. On top of that, hes got a defensive foundation, he has goodinstincts and he anticipates well. Bazemore comes into the league afterwinning back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards in the ColonialAthletic Association his junior and senior seasons.Bazemore defended well for the Warriors in the Las VegasSummer League. He also averaged 1.8 blocks per game, including one game inwhich he had seven. Bazemores length sometimes gives smaller playersdifficulty, and in Vegas, he showed an ability to block shots from behind intransition.There were times this summer when Bazemore and Jenkinsplayed together -- with Bazemore defending the point guard and Jenkins theshooting guard.When you look at the Warriors roster -- top to bottom -- youcould see how a player such as Bazemore could stick around. After all, he hasthe ability to do something very important -- defending guards -- better thananyone else on the roster.You can see why the Warriors like that and like Bazemore,too. Then again, the Warriors liked Wright and Jeremy Lin and even DominicMcGuire -- and none of those players are still with the team.Still, Bazemore has a shot with the Warriors. Lets see whathappens.

Cavaliers executives deny team is in chaos: 'We think that Kyrie...'

Cavaliers executives deny team is in chaos: 'We think that Kyrie...'

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) -- Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert spent more than 30 minutes presenting a positive portrait of his franchise.

The reality is that the Cavs are troubled.

In his first public comments since Kyrie Irving asked to be traded, Gilbert would not confirm whether he'll honor the All-Star point guard's request, but he also didn't rule out the real possibility that Cleveland may deal its second best player - or if he thinks LeBron James will stay around beyond next season.

"These things are fluid," Gilbert said. "We think that Kyrie Irving is one of the best guards in the NBA. He was part of a championship, three years straight to the Finals and we value his talent - significantly."

Despite several direct questions about Irving's status, Gilbert would not provide any specifics about recent conversations with him or his agent. Gilbert said he expected the 25-year-old, whose jumper in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals propelled Cleveland to its first championship since the Browns in 1964, to be at training camp with the team in September.

"Right now Kyrie Irving is under contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers for two or three years, depending on the last year," Gilbert said. "As of now he's one of our best players and sure, we expect him to be in camp."

Gilbert was clearly attempting to avoid making things worse for the Cavs or doing any further damage to the club's relationship with Irving, who has blossomed into the one of the league's best backcourt players.

While Irving may want out, the Cavs aren't obligated to move him and new general manager Koby Altman said Irving remains an important piece for a team that has been to three straight Finals.

"He's a core piece of what we've done," said Altman, who was promoted to full-time GM after filling in when David Griffin left earlier this summer. "Kyrie is a tremendous player. He has made great contributions to this franchise and we enjoy him as a player. We're going to keep this stuff in house in terms of what was said in those meetings, but he continues to be a core piece of who we are and what we do."

It's been turbulent summer for the Cavs, who didn't defend their title and were beaten in five games by Golden State in the Finals. The bumpy ride began with Griffin parting ways with the club over philosophical differences with Gilbert, who was then rebuffed in adding former Pistons guard Chauncey Billups to his front office.

And while numerous teams got stronger via free agency and trades, Cleveland was hamstrung financially by salary-cap issues.

Then, the Irving trade demand was a cannonball in Gilbert's backyard basketball pool.

"Well, how is your guys' summer going?" Gilbert quipped in a light-hearted moment.

Beyond its implications with the Cavs, Irving's appeal to be traded appears to have damaged his relationship with James. The stars have taken swipes at each other with posts on social media , and it remains to be seen if they can patch things up.

Altman dismissed any Irving-James rift.

"I think a lot of it has been overblown," he said. "I think the people who are in this building every day haven't seen any of that animosity. This is, along with Kevin Love, this is a group that got us to three straight Finals and won an NBA championship together. They play great together on the floor and a lot of that I do think is overblown."

Gilbert opened the news conference by introducing other members of Cleveland's front office, which was reconfigured following Griffin's departure last month. He then had high praise for Altman, who in the past few weeks has done all he could to bolster an aging Cleveland bench that was exposed by the Warriors.

Altman also signed free agent guard Derrick Rose, who could be an option to start if the Cavs can't work things out with Irving.

"We signed him on my first official day on the job, so that's not a bad start, right?" Altman said of the 28-year-old Rose, a former league MVP.

Truth is, things may not be as bad for the Cavaliers as has been suggested.

In James, the Cavs still have the game's best all-around player and Cleveland remains the Eastern Conference's elite team despite Boston's acquisition of Gordon Hayward. The Cavs may not have closed the gap on the Warriors, but there isn't anyone on their heels - yet.

That could change next summer when James can opt out of his contract and hit the free-agent market.

For now, though, Gilbert and Altman said the three-time champion is invested in the Cavaliers.

"LeBron remains deeply committed to this organization," Altman said. "He remains deeply committed to this team and deeply committed to this city. He has deep roots to this city. And it means a lot to him to be here and compete for championships for years to come. That's his goal, and so we have shared goals."

Gilbert paused for a moment before addressing James' future beyond 2017-18.

"That hunger is as strong as I've ever seen," Gilbert said. "I think beyond this season I don't know, we're focused on this season."

Cavs owner trolls Pacers over Paul George trade

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AP

Cavs owner trolls Pacers over Paul George trade

On Wednesday afternoon, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert introduced Koby Altman as the franchise's new GM.

During the press conference, a reporter asked about Paul George.

After Altman declined to talk about specifics of a reported deal that nearly landed George in Cleveland, Gilbert chimed in.

[SHILLER: Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wants to talk to Adam Silver: 'Little bit unusual...']

"I will say that Indiana could have done better than they did."

Shots fired at Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard!

Over the weekend, ESPN reported the following:

On the afternoon of June 30, the sides thought they had a deal. On a conference call between the teams, everyone tentatively agreed. George to the Cavs, Love to the Nuggets, Harris and other pieces to the Pacers, sources said.

Plans were put in place for a call to be arranged between George and Gilbert, an important step before the trade would become final, sources said. The front office began making other plans to complement George as free agency was about to begin.

But then Pritchard, who had been on the conference call when the deal was tentatively agreed to, sent the message that his team was backing out, sources said. There was no deal.

In the end, the Pacers shocked the basketball world by trading George to Oklahoma City for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Clearly, Mr. Gilbert is still upset with Mr. Pritchard...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller