For Warriors, never a better opportunity to overhaul


For Warriors, never a better opportunity to overhaul

With the new collective bargaining agreement and theamnesty clause it includes theres never been a better time to completelyreshape your NBA team. When teams rebuild or overhaul, the process of gettingto ground zero can sometimes take a little time, maybe a year or more.In other words, it takes some time to tear down before youcan start construction. Not anymore. Not with the amnesty clause, which allowsa team to waive a player and have his salary come off their books. The playermust still be paid, but he comes off the cap.If youre a team thats so inclined, using the amnestyclause can jump-start your makeover. Take the Warriors for example. TheWarriors have an opportunity to completely remake their team, right here, rightnow, if they really want to.

If owner Joe Lacob really wanted to emphasize fresh startand follow through on his promise of bold basketball moves, hed use theamnesty clause to get things started.First though, the Warriors basketball team of Lacob, JerryWest, Bob Myers and Larry Riley would have to acknowledge that the MontaEllis-David Lee-Stephen Curry three-man core isnt going to get itdone.Individually, each of those players have legitimatestrengths, but if theyre together and theyre the three best players on yourteam, youre not going to go deep into the playoffs.Not this year, not next year and not the year after. Not tomention, as long as those three guys are on your roster and taking up bigpayroll the prospects of getting a difference-maker are slim.The reality is that the upside for that core is probablymaking the playoffs. So, if thats not good enough for you or Lacob andcompany why not clean house, start from scratch?Or at least start building around Curry, the most logicalplayer to build around?All Lacob would have to do is amnesty Lee, then beginseriously looking for a trading partner for Ellis. Theres no doubt any numberof contending teams would have interest in Ellis, particularly if they couldkeep most of their core intact.Rest assured, the trade for Ellis is not going to look good,with a big-time scorer leaving and a lesser statistical player coming back. Butmaybe the player you get back for Ellis is a piece and when I say piece Imean piece to a really good team, an elite team. Maybe its a role player orrotation player; it wont be a star. So be it.Perhaps that player is instrumental in actually changing theculture to a defensive one. Lets be honest, even if new coach Mark Jacksongets the Warriors to buy in theres only so good they can be defensively witha nucleus of Curry-Ellis-Lee.Anyway, you amnesty Lee and get his 65 million or so offyour cap, and you trade Ellis and his 30-ish million owed. If you want to putthe finishing touches on the demolition, you move Andris Biedrins and his 9million to a contender. Championship-caliber teams can never have enough bigmen.Make no mistake, this year would hurt. The Warriors wouldstruggle. But you could make a case theyd have more upside if they went inthat kind of direction. First of all, the silver lining of a bad season for theWarriors is that they would likely end up with a top-seven pick in the 2012 NBAdraft and therefore get to keep it.Remember, if the Warriors end up with the No. 8 pick orlater, the pick will go to the Utah Jazz, via New Jersey. And the 2012 draftfigures to be very good.The other upshot of starting anew would be that youd send amessage to Curry that hes your guy. Curry has said all the right things aboutbeing with the Warriors long-term, but hes also expressed a pang for playingin front of his hometown fans in Charlotte.Now look, theres a perfectly reasonable approach in whichthe Warriors would use the amnesty clause on Charlie Bell. That could put theWarriors about 10 million under the salary cap, and they could be a player inthe free agent market.Not a big-time player, but a player. But its certainlyconceivable that by waiving Bell the Warriors could find two rotationplayers with that money or perhaps even a starter and a rotation player. The thinking there would be that the Warriors could turnlast seasons 36-46 into a 35-31 this season and squeeze into the eighthand final playoff spot in the Western Conference.It would also mean Lacob would have fulfilled his playoffpromise to season-ticket holders. But where would the Warriors go from there with the same locked-in core and Curry coming up on free agency?Common thinking is that Lacob wont amnesty Lee because Leeis one of Lacobs favorite players. And according to Lacob, he was in on theLee signing despite not officially owning the Warriors at the time. All thatmay be true.But whats also true is Lacob has talked for more than ayear now about being bold. To his credit, hes been bold with his front officemoves. But right here, right now, hes never had a better opportunity to bebold with basketball moves.

LeBron goes off after latest loss: Cavs 'not better than last year'

LeBron goes off after latest loss: Cavs 'not better than last year'

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James has alluded to flaws with Cleveland's roster all season.

He got much more detailed about the cracks and crevices in the NBA champions after their fifth loss in seven games.

James urged the team's front office to do more after a 124-122 loss Monday night to the New Orleans Pelicans, who were missing star forward Anthony Davis.

"We're not better than last year, from a personnel standpoint," he said. "We're a top-heavy team. ... I just hope we're not satisfied as an organization."

On Tuesday, James went on Twitter to explain that his comments weren't directed at Cavs general manager David Griffin or Cleveland's coaching staff.

"I not mad or upset at management cause Griff and staff have done a great job, I just feel we still need to improve in order to repeat..." James tweeted. "If that's what we wanna do."

After speaking to a larger group of reporters on Monday night, James saved his most biting comments for Cleveland's traveling beat writers.

The Cavs haven't played well for weeks, and James felt the need to unload.

"It's been a (lousy) 2017 so far," he said.

His biggest issue is with the current makeup of the Cavs, who have been hurt most by allowing backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova to leave as a free agent and injuries to forward Chris Andersen and guard J.R. Smith. James watched the Golden State Warriors retool after losing in last year's NBA Finals and feels the Cavs haven't done enough to address their biggest needs.

James said he's expressed his opinions directly to Griffin, who recently obtained Kyle Korver in a trade with Atlanta.

"We need a (expletive) playmaker. I'm not saying you can just go find one, like you can go outside and see trees. I didn't say that," James said.

Griffin has an open roster spot and two small trade exceptions. The trading deadline is Feb. 23 and free agents can be signed until March 1 to be eligible for the playoffs.

Now in his 14th season, James knows his time to win more titles is dwindling.

"I don't know what we got to offer," James said of possible deals. "I just know me, personally. I don't got no time to waste. I'll be 33 in the winter, and I ain't got time to waste."

It remains to be seen whether James' public rant will spark the team. But James also knows that the Cavs will do anything within reason to accommodate him. What King James wants, he usually gets.

Despite their recent slide, the Cavs still have the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Cleveland hosts Sacramento on Wednesday as well as Brooklyn and Oklahoma City later this week.


Many reasons behind Warriors' loss in Miami: 'They played harder'

Many reasons behind Warriors' loss in Miami: 'They played harder'

So, what happened to the Warriors in Miami?

They were undone by a combination of factors, from the locale to the challenge of playing on consecutive nights to their tendency to saunter through the first half before unleashing the full force of their talents in the second.

From the poor long-distance shooting to the thrashing they took on the glass.

There also was the absence of Andre Iguodala, sitting on a rest night, and perhaps most of all, Heat guard Dion Waiters performing as if he were Superman.

Each of these was a factor, and the combination of challenges was too much for the Warriors to overcome in a 105-102 loss at American Airlines Arena.

“Tonight was an NBA loss on a Monday, nothing to panic over,” Kevin Durant told reporters in Miami.

“We were just a step slow.”

That they were, at both ends. The offense too often trudged about as if jogging in mud, and the defense lagged along as if affected by fatigue or disinterest.

“Give Miami credit: They played harder,” Klay Thompson said.

The Warriors (38-7) through the first three quarters were outrebounded 37-29 and outshot from 3-point distance -- their specialty -- 37.5 percent to 18.2 percent. If go into the fourth quarter shooting their average (38.7 percent) from deep, they have an eight-point lead.

Instead, they were down four, 77-73, and in need of a comeback on a night when Waiters was a force field against that possibility. He scored a career-high-tying 33 points on 13-of-20 shooting, including 6-of-8 from deep.

“You have to tip your hat to him,” Durant said of his former teammate in Oklahoma City. “He made big shots all night. He was aggressive. He had his jumper going. He didn’t hit the rim tonight; everything went straight in.”

The Warriors were down, 98-88, with less than four minutes to play before embarking on a stirring comeback to tie the game, 102-102, on a Durant dunk with 11.7 seconds left. They came alive, suddenly playing with their hair on fire.

And Waiters, who scored 24 points in the second half, poured water right on top of their heads, draining a 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds to win the game.

“We didn’t have a good effort just trying to execute the first 3[1/2] quarters,” said Stephen Curry, whose 10 rebounds were more than Draymond Green and Durant combined. “You feel like you still have a shot down seven to 10 with six minutes left.

“But when you get down like that on the road and a guy hits some tough shots like Dion did, you have to take that pill and understand we put ourselves in that position to allow those shots to effect the game. He played well, but we didn’t do anything to help ourselves the first 3[1/2] quarters.”

So ended the seven-game win streak during which the Warriors were utterly dominating, beating opponents by an average of 19.4 points per game. The usual culprit, death by turnover, is not to be blamed.

The Warriors committed 14 turnovers, off which the Heat scored 8 points, while scoring 18 points of 15 Miami giveaways.

“It was more a case of not being fully engaged defensively and on edge like we need to be,” coach Steve Kerr said.

In Miami, of all places, the Warriors strayed from their normal routine. They arrived late Sunday afternoon and did not have a shootaround Monday morning. They rested Iguodala. They missed eight free throws and 22 triples.

They found no real rhythm until the final, futile minutes.

“We just have to play from the beginning,” Draymond Green said. “I don’t think we really ever established ourselves in that game. Other than a little at the end, that was it.”

And, still, that might have been enough, if not for Waiters.