Posts Tagged ‘2018 NBA Season’

The Golden State Warriors will need to spend deep into the luxury tax in the coming years to retain their championship core.

Fortunately, the back-to-back champions should have plenty in the bank after making The Finals in each of the last four seasons.

In this year alone, the Warriors took in approximately $130 million across 11 home playoff games, up from $95 million in last year’s playoffs, according to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic.

The Warriors will also be moving into a new arena in downtown San Francisco in 2019, which will give them another boost in revenue. Golden State became the first NBA franchise to collect membership fees, which should roughly rake in another $300 million, according to Kawakami.

Golden State has more than $103 million on its books next season before accounting for a new contract for Kevin Durant, and perhaps an extension for Klay Thompson, on top of filling out its rotation.

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Kobe Bryant doesn’t buy the narrative that LeBron James doesn’t have any help on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The five-time champion defended James’ supporting cast, one that has largely saddled him over the Cavaliers’ improbable run through these playoffs, most notably with J.R. Smith‘s brain fart in Game 1 of The Finals.

“It seems like he has some good talent to me,” Bryant told Benjamin Hoffman of the New York Times. “He’s got (Kyle) Korver who’s a great shooter, J.R. Smith who has always been a solid player – we focus on his one mistake and that tends to overshadow all the things he’s done to help them win a championship before.

“You’ve got Kevin Love, who was an All-Star and an Olympian; Rodney Hood, who was a 17-point scorer in the Western Conference; you’ve got Tristan (Thompson) who is back to playing like he played a few years ago. He’s got some workable pieces there.”

Cleveland’s supporting cast might be talented, as Bryant insists, but the production has not been there. Love is averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds in the Finals, but Korver, Smith, Hood, and Thompson have been largely ineffective. Smith shot 26 percent in the first two games, Korver only made one shot in two games, and Hood didn’t even play until garbage time.

Having said that, there’s also a narrative about everyone around James, and the current story centers on how James is carrying a collection of nobodies. Bryant says that part is unfair.

“I don’t understand how, in order to talk about how great LeBron is we need to s— on everybody else,” Bryant said. “That’s not O.K. Those guys have talent. I don’t buy this whole thing that he’s playing with a bunch of garbage.”

The Detroit Pistons have finally found their next head coach.

Detroit announced Monday that it’s officially hired Dwane Casey. The two sides agreed to a five-year contract, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Casey’s deal has an average annual value just above $7 million per season, reports the Detroit Free Press’ Vincent Ellis, citing a source. Additionally, sources told NBA.com’s David Aldridge that part of the sales pitch that landed Casey involved giving the longtime head coach autonomy to choose his assistant coaches.

The Kentucky-born basketball lifer replaces former coach and team president Stan Van Gundy, whom the Pistons parted with in May. In four seasons as the organization’s front- and back-end decision-maker, Van Gundy went 152-176 (.463); the Pistons were swept in the first round of the 2016 playoffs in their lone postseason appearance under Van Gundy.

Casey is coming off a seven-year stint as the head coach of the Toronto Raptors, stewarding the team to a franchise-best 320 wins and five playoffs appearances. But after back-to-back second-round sweeps at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Raptors elected to dismiss Casey. Toronto has yet to announce Casey’s successor at the time of his reported hiring by Detroit.

Prior to his time behind the Raptors’ bench, Casey helped set the defensive tone for the Dallas Mavericks‘ 2011 title-winning team as one of Rick Carlisle’s top assistants. Casey also coached the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2005-07.

Overall, the 61-year-old has amassed a head coaching record of 373-307 (.549) in the regular season and 21-30 (.412) in the playoffs.

The Pistons’ offseason overhaul is far from over, with more changes expected to come to the front office this summer. Longtime NBA executive Ed Stefanski, who was the Raptors’ vice president during Casey’s first two years with the team from 2011-13, was hired to help rebuild the front office. The Pistons have yet to install a full-time general manager ahead of the June 21 draft.

Head coach Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard will meet between now and the June 21 NBA draft in an effort to rebuild the relationship between the San Antonio Spurs and franchise forward, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

It’s been previously reported that a meeting between the two sides this summer was of paramount importance to the Spurs, but the timing before the draft is noteworthy given Leonard’s contract status. The Spurs can offer the two-time Defensive Player of the Year a five-year super-max extension worth about $219 million starting July 1. If he doesn’t sign it before the October deadline, Leonard would become an unrestricted free agent if he opts out of his existing deal next summer.

That’s probably not a situation the Spurs want to be in, and it could lead Leonard to the trading block. Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that teams continue to inquire about the former NBA Finals MVP, but that they have no intention to deal him yet.

Serious cracks formed in the relationship between Leonard and the Spurs this past season, with the forward being limited to just nine games due to a severe quad injury. According to Popovich, Leonard insisted that his own medical team – not that of the Spurs – make the decision when he would return to action. That never happened, with Leonard last playing a game on Jan. 13.

Since then, rumors have swirled that Leonard’s handlers are plotting a trade to a bigger market, while the Spurs have reportedly said the relationship between he and Popovich remains strong.

Contractually speaking, the Spurs likely won’t have much flexibility this offseason. Only Danny Green and Rudy Gay opting out of their deals would create any meaningful cap space. The era of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili may also come to an end this summer, with the 36-year-old Parker an unrestricted free agent and the 40-year-old Ginobili again considering retirement.

Golden State. Golden still.

Stephen Curry scored 37 points, NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant added 20 and a triple-double and the Warriors stamped themselves a dynasty after winning their second straight title and third in four years Friday night, 108-85 over the Cleveland Cavaliers to complete a sweep and perhaps drive LeBron James from his home again to chase championships.

Overcoming obstacles all season long, the Warriors were not going to be denied and won the fourth straight finals matchup against Cleveland with ease.

”This is so hard to do and doing it three out of four years is incredible,” guard Klay Thompson said.

It was the first sweep in the NBA Finals since 2007, when James was dismissed by a powerful San Antonio team in his first one. His eighth straight appearance didn’t go well either, and now there’s uncertainty where the superstar will play next.

James finished with 23 points and spent the final minutes on the bench, contemplating what went wrong and maybe his next move.

Act IV between the Warriors and Cavs featured a drama-filled and controversial Game 1. But from there on, Durant, Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green and the rest of this California crew showed why they’re the game’s gold standard.

And they may stay that way.

”Can’t get enough of this feeling so we’re going to celebrate it together,” Curry said.

Not wanting to give the Cavs or their fans any hope despite the fact that no team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit in the NBA playoffs, the Warriors built a nine-point halftime lead when Curry ignored a closeout by James and dropped a 3-pointer.

Then the league’s best team tightened the screws on Cleveland in the third quarter, outscoring the Cavs 25-13 and prompting Golden State fans to begin those drawn-out ”War-eee-orrss” chants that provide a perfect musical accompaniment to their 3-point barrages.

By the start of the fourth quarter, the only question was whether Curry would win his first NBA Finals MVP or if it would go to Durant for the second year in a row.

And again, it was Durant, who added 12 rebounds and 10 assists – more satisfaction and validation for a player who couldn’t beat the Warriors so he joined them.

After surviving a rougher-than-usual regular season and beating top-seeded Houston in Game 7 on the road in the Western Conference finals, the Warriors withstood an overtime scare in Game 1 and joined an elite group of teams to win multiple championships in a four-year span.

Only Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics, the ”Showtime” Lakers and the Los Angeles squad led by Kobe and Shaq, and Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls have been as dominant in such a short period of time.

The City of Brotherly love continues to trust the process.

The Philadelphia 76ers reached an agreement with head coach Brett Brown on a three-year extension, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo inherited Brown from his predecessor Sam Hinkie but has seen enough promise to reward his efforts. Brown had one year left on his contract, but this new deal will carry him through 2022.

Brown oversaw the 76ers through their lean years, which saddled him with a 75-253 lifetime record coming into this season thanks to Hinkie’s ambitious tanking project. Brown was expected to be the public face of the most controversial team in the league.

Philadelphia finally broke through this season with a clean bill of health for Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Those two led the team to 52 wins and an appearance in the second round of the playoffs.

Brown was a longtime assistant under Gregg Popovich before the Sixers gave him his first NBA head coaching gig in 2013.

The Los Angeles Clippers are armed with two lottery picks in the upcoming draft, but they may be looking to move up from their pedestrian slots at Nos. 12 and 13 to give themselves a better chance at drafting a blue-chipper.

The Clippers, who have their own first-rounder and the Detroit Pistons‘ pick (acquired in the Blake Griffin trade), are “open to moving up in the draft,” rival executives told The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.

One player they would likely target with a higher pick is Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr., a front-office exec. told O’Connor. Porter profiles as a fluid, scoring combo forward, not unlike the Clippers’ own Tobias Harris. He could make the team more dynamic and versatile on both ends of the floor.

It’s unclear, though, whether the Clippers – who have been reckless about tossing away first-rounders in recent years and have whiffed on just about everything since taking Griffin first overall in 2009 – would be willing to swap both their late-lottery picks for a crack at drafting Porter. Most mock drafts currently have him going in the top eight.