New owner outlines direction for Warriors

Jan. 03, 2010: Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry during an NBA game between the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX Dallas defeated Golden State 110-101.

Joe Lacob held a couple of media events and answered some questions about his new team, the Golden State Warriors. Tim Kawakami has the details:

Lacob made it very clear he liked the David Lee-for-Anthony Randolph and others deal, plus the $80M contract for Lee.

On the TV side, Matt Steinmetz asked my No. 1 question and Lacob answered: No, he does not expect to bring the Warriors over the luxury-tax line for salaries.

Speaking of signals, Lacob made it all too obvious that he questions whether Don Nelson should coach the team this season, pointing out that Nelson is here for one more, tops.

Why waste that year with Nelson as a lame duck? The players will know–and could run wild. The fans know it. The management know sit. Nelson knows it.

Lacob sounded a lot more excited about Lee and Stephen Curry than he did about Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins.

Nothing wrong with that. I wouldn’t presume that these guys will definitely be traded. But it’s also something everybody in the league will be watching.

The Warriors could build around a Curry/Lee combo. I’m not sure how Monta Ellis will fit in alongside Curry now that Curry has established that the Warriors are his team. They make an undersized backcourt, for sure.

Curry, 22, had an oustanding rookie season, especially after the All-Star break when he averaged 22-6-8 and shot 47% from the field, 44% from 3PT and 91% from the free throw line. He did turn the ball over quite a bit (3.7 per game), but that should improve with time.

On the season, Curry averaged 17.5 points, 5.9 assists and 4.5 rebounds, becoming only the second rookie in league history to average at least 17-4-4 with 40%+ accuracy from long range. The other guy to do it? Larry Bird.

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David Lee won’t need surgery

Jan. 28, 2010 - New York, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - epa02010024 The Knicks' David Lee waits for the start of play during the second half of the game between the Toronto Raptors and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York, USA, on 28 January 2010. The Raptors won, 106-104.

Marc J. Spears reports that David Lee will not need surgery on his injured finger.

David Lee out 4-6 weeks with finger injury and will not play for USA @ Worlds, USABB’s Colangelo tells Y! Sports. Lee will not need surgery.

Obviously, Lee and the Warriors dodged a bullet here. The only concern is that the finger won’t heal properly on its own and will require surgery later, which could run into the season, but that’s pure speculation.

Revisiting my NBA free agency predictions

July 09, 2010 - Miami, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - epa02243342 LeBron James (L) joins with Miami Heat Dwayne Wade (C) for a laugh as Chris Bosh tries out his Spanish while they greet fans during NBA basketball team Miami Heat's 'HEAT Summer of 2010 Welcome Event' at the American Airlines arena in Miami, Florida, USA, 09 July 2010. The Miami Heat reached an agreement with LeBron James to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers, and sign with the Miami Heat.

Now that the top 10 NBA free agents have made up their minds, let’s check in with my list of ‘sure-to-be-wrong’ predictions and see how I fared.

1. Dwyane Wade will re-sign with the Heat.
Check.

2. Chris Bosh will also sign with Miami.
Check.

3. LeBron and Carlos Boozer will sign with Chicago.
I didn’t think that LeBron would join what many consider to be ‘Wade’s Team’ and the Bulls gave him the next-best chance to win a championship, especially if Boozer landed there as well. The Bulls were wise to grab Boozer, who is a very nice fit alongside Joakim Noah.

4. Joe Johnson will sign with the Clippers.
I bought into the report that Johnson was in L.A. leading up to free agency and that he had a good relationship with the Clippers’ GM. The Hawks shocked the league when they offered him a six-year max contract and methinks they’ll be regretting it in 2-3 years. Who would have thought that when everything was said and done, that Joe Johnson would get the biggest contract of this free agent class?

5. Stoudemire will land in the Big Apple.
…”the Knicks will be sure to throw gobs of money to save face after pretty much striking out on the other top free agents.” Yeah, that’s pretty much what happened, though the Knicks were proactive and signed Stoudemire before being shunned by LeBron and Wade. And Amare was happy to lap up the dough after the Suns wanted to negotiate a deal that included incentives related to his health.

6. The Knicks will re-sign David Lee.
Donnie Walsh elected to conserve most of his cap space so that the Knicks can be a player in next summer’s free agency, plus the Lee-for-Randolph trade gives the Knicks a good (and cheap) up-and-coming power forward to replace Lee.

7. The Knicks will trade Eddy Curry for Gilbert Arenas.
This could still happen, but it looks like it won’t, at least not now. The Lee trade signals that the Knicks are going to be careful with their cap space, and trading for Arenas would be a huge risk.

8. The Grizzlies will match a max offer for Rudy Gay.
Technically, this prediction wasn’t correct. The Grizzlies once again raised eyebrows around the league by signing Gay to a max contract without letting the market set his price.

9. Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce re-sign with the Mavs and C’s, respectively.
There were pundits out there that actually thought that Pierce could land with the Nets and that Nowitzki would join LeBron in Chicago, but Boston and Dallas made sure these players stayed put.

Overall, I didn’t do too badly, did I?

Knicks trade David Lee for Anthony Randolph

New York Knicks' David Lee (L) drives around Los Angeles Lakers' Andrew Bynum during first half action at Staples Center in Los Angeles on December 16, 2008. (UPI Photo/Jon SooHoo) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

Per ESPN…

Lee’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPN.com that Lee has agreed to a sign-and-trade worth $80 million dollars over six years with the Golden State Warriors.

The deal will send Lee to the Warriors for Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna Azubuike among others.

Knicks GM Donnie Walsh has coveted Randolph for years and feels he’d give the team another long, athletic forward to pair with Amare Stoudemire and Danilo Gallinari in the frontcourt.

If Turiaf is indeed included, it will cut into the Knicks’ projected cap space a bit ($4.3 million) next summer, but in Randolph, the Knicks get an up-and-coming power forward that won’t have to be paid until the summer of 2013. The Knicks liked Lee, but obviously didn’t want to cut into their cap space to re-sign him. With this sign-and-trade, Lee gets his big payday and the Knicks get a young player who can grow with the team.

Lee will be a nice fit in Golden State, as he’s already proven he’s an All-Star caliber player in an up-tempo system. Don Nelson and the Warriors were clearly frustrated with Randolph’s personality (immaturity?) and they were able to turn him into a very solid player.

Where do the Bulls go from here?

Chicago sports radio is predictably on fire right now with the news that hometown hero Dwyane Wade is going to stay with the Heat, and that he’s taking Chris Bosh with him. Couple that with the fact that it looks like the Bulls are a long shot to land the services of LeBron James, and Bulls fans are understandably panicked.

They can still improve their pitch to LeBron, but they need to move quickly. Here’s how they do it.

1. Sign Carlos Boozer (or David Lee). Boozer would be a very nice fit alongside Joakim Noah because he can score in the post and Noah can cover for Boozer’s lack of defensive. This is move #1 because the Bulls need to make this signing anyway to improve the roster. If Boozer wants the max, Lee would be a good backup plan. He’s not a good post scorer, but he can hit open jumpers and that would be appealing to both Derrick Rose and LeBron, if he were to come to Chicago. Lee is also younger and more durable.

2. Quickly work out an extension with Noah. The Bulls are known around a league as a franchise that has never paid the luxury tax, so if they were able lock up Noah long term, LeBron’s camp would take it as a sign that ownership will be willing to spend to win.

3. Ask LeBron for another meeting. Explain how the Boozer/Lee signing and the Noah extension makes Chicago the most attractive place to play. Ask LeBron if he really wants to face a loaded Miami team, the Magic, or the Celtics with the current roster in Cleveland. Underline how he’ll be the leader in Chicago, while the perception will be that he followed Wade and Bosh to Miami.
If LeBron decides to stay in Cleveland or bolt to Miami or some other team…

4. Go out and get drunk
, or do whatever someone does when they lose the love of their life. Get over it.

5. Wake up, drink a big glass of water and pop a couple of ibuprofen. Use the remaining cap space to sign a good shooting guard, like Ray Allen or Mike Miller, either guy would be a good fit in a lineup with Rose, Deng, Boozer and Noah. That lineup needs shooting and Allen/Miller can provide it. Kyle Korver or J.J. Redick are also options, though they will have trouble defending starter-caliber shooting guards.

The point is, all is not lost. The Bulls still might have a chance to sign LeBron, but they need to bring in a PF like Boozer or Lee and extend Noah so that he knows that the Bulls clearly have the best supporting cast this side of South Florida.

If they miss out on LeBron, they can still together a very nice lineup building around Rose, Boozer and Noah.

Step off the edge, Bulls fans. There are still a few balls in the air.

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