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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Basketball

Mychal Thompson shares advice he gave to son Klay about free agency

Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson will have an interesting decision to make when his contract expires and he becomes a free agent this summer, but the Golden State Warriors star’s father has made it clear on numerous occasions what he thinks his son should do.

In an interview with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN Sunday, Mychal Thompson — a former NBA player himself — was asked what advice he would give to Klay about his impending free agency. He indicated he thinks Klay should stay put.

“Any advice any mother or father would give to their child in their place of employment. If you are happy where you’re at and comfortable and this is where you want to be, just stay where you are,” Mychal Thompson said. “There’s no reason to go looking for anything else if you’re happy and content with where you’re already at, which he definitely is. He loves the Bay Area, loves playing for the Warriors, loves their fans.”

Of course, money will be a factor. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnaorwski previously reported that Thompson will re-sign with the Warriors without hesitation if they offer him a max contract, but that may not be a guarantee. Kevin Durant could make things interesting if he decides to remain with Golden State.

Most people seem to think Durant will leave, which would free up a max slot for the Warriors. Of course, they can offer Thompson a max contract either way and spend beyond the salary cap because they hold his Bird rights, but you have to wonder if there’s a limit to the amount of luxury tax they want to pay.

When you look at the comments Mychal Thompson made over the weekend and what he said last year, it would be quite the surprise if Klay signed with another team after the season.

Damian Lillard does not think injured ribs are impacting his play

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard has not had the impact on the Western Conference Finals that he would have wanted to have, but he refuses to blame his injured rib for that.

Lillard is dealing with separated ribs sustained during Game 2. In Game 3, he shot just 28 percent from the field while being held to 19 points, and the Blazers were outscored by 23 when he was on the floor. The guard admitted that he feels the injury, but he doesn’t think it’s impacting his play.

Lillard has not played well. However, he was also held to 19 points in Game 1, before any injury happened. A large part of this is simply Golden State hounding him defensively and wearing him down.

Cavs hire JB Bickerstaff as associate head coach

JB Bickerstaff

JB Bickerstaff was fired as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies this year following a 33-49 season, but he was not unemployed for very long.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers have hired Bickerstaff to join new head coach John Beilein’s staff. Wojnarowski also notes that Bickerstaff drew interest from several prominent teams for assistant coaching roles, but he was intrigued by the idea of helping Beilein adjust to the NBA.

Bickerstaff was an associate head coach with the Grizzlies before being promoted to head coach in 2017. He was an assistant coach and interim head coach for the Houston Rockets prior to that.

Unlike Bickerstaff, Beilein has no prior experience coaching in the NBA. Bickerstaff should be a valuable asset for a 66-year-old coach making the transition to the pros.

Andre Iguodala MRI comes back negative

Andre Iguodala face

The Golden State Warriors got good news on the status of Andre Iguodala on Sunday.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Iguodala underwent an MRI on his leg, which caused him problems in Game 3 against the Portland Trail Blazers. That MRI came back negative, and the team officially listed him as questionable for Game 4 with what has been described as an Achilles injury.

As good as the Warriors are, they can only absorb so many injuries. With Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins already sidelined, they can’t really afford to lose Iguodala, who has stepped in ably with some big plays during the Western Conference Finals. The good news is, with a 3-0 series lead, Golden State does not desperately have to rush him back.

Report: Kevin Durant unhappy with ‘prodding’ from Steve Kerr

Kevin Durant

It would be a surprise at this point if Kevin Durant decided to re-sign with the Warriors this summer, and there has been no shortage of reasons cited for why the soon-to-be free agent is looking to leave Golden State. Could the head coach be among those reasons?

Steve Popper of Newsday spoke with several NBA executives about Durant at the NBA Combine last week, and the general consensus is that Durant is a lock to sign with the New York Knicks. According to one exec, two of the issues Durant is having in Golden State are that he is tired of “prodding” from Steve Kerr and knows the Warriors will always be Stephen Curry’s team. With the Knicks, Durant would be the centerpiece of a tortured franchise rather than a superstar who joined a championship team just to get a ring.

It’s no secret that Durant is a sensitive guy. He reminded us of that after the Warriors’ over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 3 on Saturday by blasting a fan on Instagram for what seemed like no reason. As Durant continues to sit with a calf injury, the Warriors continue to win games. They could probably win a championship without him this year just as they did before he arrived, and it would not be hard to imagine that bothering someone as thin-skinned as KD.

As for Kerr and his alleged “prodding,” it’s unclear exactly what that refers to. Perhaps Durant is sick of playing in Kerr’s heavy ball movement system now that he has two championship rings. Whatever the case, all signs continue to point to him leaving the Warriors this summer.

Pelicans hire former Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon as their new GM

new orleans pelicans logo

The New Orleans Pelicans are in the process of revamping their front office, and they have found a new general manager.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Pelicans have agreed to a deal to make former Brooklyn Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon their new GM under president of basketball operations David Griffin.

Langdon just finished his third season as the assistant GM in Brooklyn. He was previously mentioned as a candidate for the Atlanta Hawks GM job that opened up two years ago.

The top priority for New Orleans this offseason is obviously convincing Anthony Davis to stick around, and he is supposedly going to give the Pelicans an opportunity to make their pitch in the near future. Langdon will likely be part of that meeting now that he has entered the mix.

Draymond Green gave awesome pep talk to teammate during Game 3

Draymond Green has been considered one of the most important players on the Golden State Warriors’ roster during their run of dominance, and he showed us yet another example of why during Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Saturday night.

Jordan Bell had one of the most embarrassing moments of his career when he missed a wide open dunk attempt with the Warriors trailing the Portland Trail Blazers 65-73 midway through the third quarter.

Luckily, Bell has veteran teammates like Green to pick him up when something bad happens. Green was mic’ed up during the game, and what he said to Bell following the missed dunk was awesome.

“It’s OK. You missed a shot,” Green said. “All of us have. Nobody’s perfect.”

While a missed dunk is obviously different from missing a 20-foot jumper, it all shows up the same on the stat sheet. More importantly, the Warriors stayed in the game and came all the way back to beat Portland and take a commanding 3-0 series lead.

Green may be known for losing his cool with officials and opponents, but there’s a reason he’s considered a great teammate and leader. Bell would almost certainly agree with that.