Saturday, July 19, 2008

WARRIORS MEDIA EXCERPTS

Turiaf appears set for Warriors
Steve Springer / Los Angeles Times

Ronny Turiaf has expended his last burst of energy as a Laker. As expected, General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced Friday that the Los Angeles team will not match the four-year, $17 million offer sheet Turiaf signed a week ago with the Warriors.

... Still, Turiaf is about more than numbers. The native of Martinique exuded a contagious passion for the game that could be felt even from the bench. A crowd favorite at Staples Center, he could turn that passion into a high-energy performance on the floor that often provided a much-needed lift when the Lakers' fortunes were sagging.

"We will miss Ronny's contributions," Kupchak conceded, "the emotion he brought whether he was playing or not."

... Watson will not be with the Warriors at the upcoming Rocky Mountain Revue summer league in Salt Lake City. Instead, he will be attending Tim Grgurich camp's in Las Vegas, which is attended by many NBA players. Watson said his absence was approved by Coach Don Nelson.

... Louis Amundson, the power forward out of UNLV, is close to signing with the Warriors, according to a source close to the third-year player. The deal is for a minimum contract; Amundson is seeking a guaranteed deal.

... Another new player expected to join the Warriors soon is Jamont Gordon, a 6-4 guard out of Grand Valley State who played on Philadelphia's summer league team.


The Sleeper? DeMarcus Nelson
Marcus Thomposon II / Contra Costa TImes

... Nelson will stick with the Warriors’ summer league squad in Utah. He said he felt good about his chances of being invited to training camp in October.
One thing that really stands out about him is his hunger. He plays with an aggressive urgency, like he knows he has something to prove.

..."I don’t think anybody else in the country had a better senior season than me. I don’t think anybody had the pressures of leading their team every night, defending the best offensive player (point guard through power forward), scoring, being the leading scorer, being the leading defensive player, and then still setting up your teammates on the offensive side. I had to do that every night for me team. There was not one player who had that type of responsibility. And then going into predraft, I played well at Orlando, second-leading scorer at camp. And then workouts, I went against some of the top guys and had great workouts. Everywhere I went, I had a good showing. So the draft was tough for me because it didn’t feel like I was fully appreciated for what I do. It never shook my confidence in who I am. But it just more so ignited a passion, a deeper passion, a fire."


Turiaf brings energy to town
Rusty Simmons / San Francisco Chronicle

...What the Lakers lose is a winner, who infuses his team and the fans with energy. With the Warriors, Turiaf is expected to be center Andris Biedrins' main backup. He provides hustle (1.4 blocks in 18.7 minutes) and has already proven he can produce when given the chance (averages of 11 points and 6 rebounds in nine starts when Gasol was hurt).

...Since then, Turiaf has become a fan favorite for his in-your-face style of play and sideline action. He may have become a Warriors favorite Nov. 1, 2006, when he made of 8 of 10 shots for a career-high 23 points in Oakland.

A Warriors official said Turiaf could be in Oakland as early as Tuesday for a physical and could be introduced to the media at practice Wednesday.

The Warriors "don't have anyone like him in the front court," Bartelstein said. "He'll be their most-skilled big guy, and with big minutes in the Don Nelson system, he'll have what is conducive to what he does.


Warriors' Marco Belinelli a hotshot in summer league play
Marcus Thompson II / Contra Costa Times

..."I can't understand why he didn't play," said New York Knicks rookie forward Danilo Gallinari, who played with Belinelli on the Italian national team.

The answer is fairly simple: One-trick ponies don't get playing time, not on good teams - even when your trick is as good as Belinelli's.

...He's been working on his defense and playing one-on-one with Warriors guard C.J. Watson and forward Brandan Wright. He has worked on his dribbling and improvising and spent a lot of time in summer league handling the ball and creating his own shot.

Belinelli acknowledged he has trouble when teams pressure him, but he's good enough with the rock that he can push the ball in transition.


Warriors want Williams, Miles wants in, Smith wants out

Marc Stein / ESPN

...NBA front-office sources say that the Warriors -- hoping they can find someone else of quality to spare young Monta Ellis from inheriting all of Davis' old ballhandling duties -- are intrigued by the idea of signing Sixers guard Louis Williams to an offer sheet.

It's not yet clear whether Golden State would have enough leftover salary-cap space to extend an offer to Williams sufficiently prohibitive for Philly to match after the Warriors' expected re-signings of their restricted free agents, Ellis (coming soon) and center Andris Biedrins. There would also be questions about how much Williams and Ellis could play together in a less-than-physically imposing backcourt and with Maggette and Stephen Jackson sure to command lots of minutes.

It's also possible that the Warriors could identify another prime target to chase, since I'm told they're evaluating numerous scenarios these days.

Yet there's little doubt that Williams' scoring knack would make him an intriguing fit in Don Nelson's system. Which must be why one plugged-in source believes that the Warriors, in spite of the obstacles, are planning to make a "big run" at him.

Friday, July 18, 2008

TO MATCH OR NOT TO MATCH, THAT IS THE QUESTION

It's Clipper turn. First they took Baron, next we tried to take Brand but failed, then we took Maggette, now it's there turn to answer by trying to take Azubuike. The Roster War is in full swing this offseason between the Warriors and Clippers. They just signed Azubuike to an offer sheet in the range of $9 mil over 3 years - question is.... do the Golden State Warriors match?

A Case for Matching:
  1. one of the few Warriors that could play good perimeter defense
  2. very good all around game with few weaknesses
  3. numbers are deceivingly average because of season long knee tendinitis
  4. performs in the clutch and makes few mistakes on the court
  5. great work ethic, coachable, no off-court issues
  6. only 24 years old
  7. 3 years / $9 mil is very reasonable, especially if its the typical escalating deal that starts out at around $2.5 mil and peaks at $3.5 mil
  8. knows the system and excels in it
  9. bring back a familiar face in an off-season full of change
  10. one can never have enough talent on the roster no matter how much of an apparent log jam there may be at certain positions
  11. contract and player values are fair and could potentially be a steal for the team if Azubuike continues to get better
  12. could easily be traded or packaged as a deal sweetener because of his youth, talent and reasonable contract
  13. can backup the SG and SF positions
  14. rebounds well from the SG/SF position and does not give up on plays
  15. Clippers get better, while Warriors get worse

A Case for Not Matching:
  1. Warriors have enough depth at the wing positions
  2. $3 mil is too much to pay for Azubuike and will put a dent in our capspace when maximizing cap flexibility will be key in the offseasons of 2010 and 2011.
  3. SG is the easiest positions to fill
  4. matching the offer will stunt the growth of Belinelli and Randolph
  5. he won't improve as much as you think - what you see is pretty much what you'll get
  6. his stats are not that impressive
  7. once he gets his contract, he'll pull a Brian Cardinal and become less than ordinary
  8. save the money and use it on a quality backup PG or sharp shooting big man

Mind of Mullin's Take:

Not too long after joining the Warriors two seasons ago, Azubuike showed that he had what it took to play in the NBA. I had my eye on him in the D-League where he dominated like no other and put up amazing numbers across the board and I was ecstatic to learn that the Warriors had called him up.

I've looked at both sides of the issue and find that the benefits of matching the offer sheet out-weigh letting Azubuike walk. His current productivity and remaining upside is in line with his new salary. The deal is low enough and short enough to get out of via trade even if things don't work out as planned or if there comes an opportunity to improve the team by using Azubuike as a trade asset. It is a low risk, moderate reward type of move.

My biggest concern is that Azubuike's presence will stunt the growth of Belinelli and Randolph by taking their minutes away. This might not necessarily be the case since Azubuike would play most of his minutes backing up the SF position (as he did last year) while Belinelli plays SG and Randolph plays some point PF, a classic Nellie maneuver. What I like about Azubuike the most is that he is a great compliment to Belinelli in that he is a much stronger defender that can be called upon when the Warriors face the Kobe's and Wade's of the NBA. Belinelli would be eaten alive, while Azubuike can make it much more difficult for the top SG's to function as we had seen last year when he limited Kobe in crunch time in their game in LA.

Maggette has a long history of injuries, so it would make sense to have a very capable backup waiting in the wings and not leave it up to a rookie in Anthony Randolph to start at SF just yet. Sure, Jackson could slide over from SG, but that would force the Warriors to shift Monta to SG and leave the PG spot vulnerable. Belinelli could start at SG, but until he proves to me that he can man-up on defense, he will have to come off the bench as instant offense unless the Warriors are facing a team with no scoring threat at the 2.

I think a lot of people are forgetting how explosive a healthy Azubuike can be. After a strong start, he injured his knee and had been playing hurt for much of the season with knee tendinitis. This hindered his performance and weighed down his impact. Judging from Summer workout reports, he has completely healed and is ready to return better than ever. Fans tend to have short memories and the lasting image of a less than healthy Azubuike may lead to clouded judgment and evaluation of talent.

I hope Mullin realizes the pros out-weigh the cons when it comes to matching the Clippers offer sheet. Just because there may or may not be depth issues or logjams in certain positions, that shouldn't stop a team from hanging on to a valuable asset, especially one that is reasonably priced.


H: 6' 5"
W: 208 lbs
Bday: 12/16/1983
(24 Years Old)
SG/SF



2007-2008 Game Log


Kelenna Azubuike '07-'08 Highlight Reel
From: BBJ




Kelenna Azubuike '06-'07 Highlight Reel
From: BBJ

Thursday, July 17, 2008

WARRIORS NEWS EXCERPTS

July in the NBA: Anything But Summer Vacation
Adam Lauridsen / Fast Break

....I’m keeping my fingers crossed until tomorrow evening that the tax hit from Ronny Turiaf will keep the Lakers from matching the Warriors’ offer. The more I run through scenarios, the happier I am with the Turiaf deal (which I liked to begin with). Under scenario 1, the roster stays as it is now and Ronny splits time as a back-up center and power forward, mixing lots of hustle, rebounding, and defense with a bit of opportunistic scoring. He’s ideal counter-programming to the guys in front of him in the depth chart at both spots. Under scenario 2, the Warriors trade Harrington and continue to wait on Wright’s body to fill out. In the meantime, Turiaf might get the call to start at power forward. His presence next to Andris, again, is highly complementary. The Warriors would also sport something looking like a properly proportioned line-up with Ronny up front. Coming off the bench, either Wright or Randolph could be great changes of pace. Regardless of the path the Warriors take, Turiaf provides a young, still improving piece on a diminishing salary. He’ll likely be a key rotation player if here next year and has an easily tradeable contract should his game mysteriously disappear upon arrival (once again, looking at you Derek Fisher).

....Back in Oakland, negotiations should heat up with Monta and Andris as money disappears from the free agent market and the Warriors’ open offer to Turiaf is resolved. The list of teams with money to throw at either above the mid-level exception is dwindling quickly. The Camby trade makes it even less likely a team will try to drive up their value. The challenge for Mullin, now likely bidding against himself, will be to find that sweet spot where the deal is not so low as to be insulting but not so high as to be completely ignorant to the fact that other teams likely can’t offer either player more than a starting $ 6 mil a year deal. Starting at $6.1 million would be a slap in the face to both players, but we should also be taking the starting $10-12 mil deals off the table.



Mid-Day Report:
Jason Fleming / Hoopsworld

Suns, Warriors Want PG: Shaun Livingston and Sam Cassell are a couple of the names many teams seem to be saying they are interested in giving a look to for a reserve point guard position. In reality there are other teams who want a PG besides just the Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors, and there is other, better talent available.

If the Portland Trail Blazers decide to sign Petteri Koponen – playing well at NBA Summer League in Las Vegas – Sergio Rodriguez could quickly become available for relatively cheap.

If Stephon Marbury gets released by the New York Knicks, he could have a chance to re-build some of the career that once had him as a multiple All-Star. There will be a few teams willing to give him a chance for cheap, because the potential return on investment is high.

The Memphis Grizzlies also might be showcasing Javaris Crittenton, a talented point guard who can score and dish, for a trade.

Either Earl Watson or Luke Ridnour, with first round pick Russell Westbrook impressing everyone in the Orlando Summer League, is eminently available. Both are very experienced and while they would both like to start, a change of scenery would be nice on its own. Both can shoot and pass, but play little defense.

Delonte West is another player who can play a solid backup point guard and is a good defender and shooter, even if he isn't the classic distributor.

Given those names available, taking a risk on the knee of Livingston or the age of Cassell – after his less than stellar play in the NBA playoffs with champion Boston – seem like odd choices.



Former Duke guard tries to secure NBA roster spot
McClatchy News Service

Nelson is playing only about 10 minutes per game in Las Vegas. Draft picks get priority and second-year Warriors, C.J. Watson and Marco Belinelli, are the starting guards.

In two games at the point, Nelson has grabbed one rebound with three assists and five turnovers and made three of five shots and three of four free throws.

"The knock on him is his shooting," Smart said. "As a smaller guard, you have to get your shot off so everyone respects you on the floor. That will be the most important part of his development."

Nelson has a decent shot with the Warriors because Golden State has three open roster spots.

"I have to be prepared to do anything," he said. "All the feedback I'm getting says I'm an NBA-caliber player destined to play in the league. I can only be who I am. I just need an opportunity. When I get it, it'll be the perfect one."



Warriors' 'Quiet Storm,' Watson, hopes to make some noise
Marcus Thompson II / Oakland Tribune

Through three summer league games, he's averaged 17 points, 4.3 assists and 4.3 steals. He's also averaging nine field goal attempts and 10.6 free-throw attempts, a contrast that illustrates his aggressiveness at getting to the basket.

"We know who he is. We know what he can do," said Warriors assistant coach Keith Smart, the coach of the summer league squad. "He's improved a lot. He's doing what he needs to do."

Smart added that Watson has become much more decisive, a requirement in Nelson's system, and has displayed a noticeable improvement in court vision.

Chris Mullin, the Warriors' executive vice president of basketball operations, has said he's looking for a point guard who also can play some shooting guard. At 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, Watson doesn't fit the mold of a typical NBA shooting guard. But he's been a scorer all of his career and played most of his minutes last season alongside, and not behind, Davis.



Pistons' Dumars is on the case

Terry Foster / The Detroit News

He believes there is a 50-50 chance something will happen before training camp. Dumars is not allowed to talk about players on other teams. But he reconfirmed that all players on his team are up for grabs, but he refuses to give them away in a fire sale.

That is why the rumors that the Pistons would send guard Chauncey Billups to Golden State for center Andris Biedrins are so far-fetched. The Warriors play a running style and Billups is a power point guard who excels in half-court situations and cannot keep up in up-tempo situations.

The other factor is Dumars puts high value in point guards and apparently wouldn't consider trading him straight up for Biedrins, a 6-foot-11 center. He started 59 of 76 games and averaged 10.5 points and 9.8 rebounds.




Vegas chatter: Trades, restricted free agents and the Artest sweepstakes
Mark Stein / ESPN

The Memphis Grizzlies are the last team with salary-cap space to throw at the likes of Smith, Okafor, Deng, Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala, Golden State's Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins, Chicago's Ben Gordon and Atlanta's Josh Childress. But the Grizzlies have made it clear they aren't spending any of that money this summer, content to field trade offers for guards Kyle Lowry and Javaris Crittenton and maybe even 2007 first-round pick Mike Conley.

So the league's top restricteds can only create leverage to either secure the level of compensation they desire or force a sign-and-trade by threatening to sign a one-year qualifying offer that would lead to unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2009.

Who will succeed?

Iguodala was in Vegas early in the summer league to watch the 76ers play and sounded, even before the Clippers had landed Camby, like he was expecting to go nowhere. "If I stay," Iguodala said, "we're going to be a great team. We're going to keep getting better as a young group with Elton."

The Warriors are likewise expected to re-sign Ellis (very soon) and Biedrins without any significant threat, while Gordon already was a well-chronicled candidate to be traded, irrespective of the tight market for restricteds, unless the Bulls decide to move Kirk Hinrich instead.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

BELINELLI SUMMER LEAGUE HIGHLIGHTS

Aside from the missing Warriors vs. Sixers game that featured the breakthrough debut of Anthony Randolph and nice supporting role of Marco Belinelli, here are the stellar performances put on by our Italian Stallion. If Las Vegas Summer League had a Hall of Fame, he would be a first ballot shoe-in. Belinelli is leading his summerleague squad to an undefeated tour of Vegas.



Marco Belinelli Summer League 08 vs Mavs

From: DannyCollaterali





Marco Belinelli Summer League 08 vs Bobcats
From: DannyCollaterali

Sunday, July 13, 2008

PROPOSED REALIGNMENT OF DIVISIONS

CURRENT DIVISION ALIGNMENT

Since the team formally known as the Sonics are moving to Oklahoma City, now would be as good a time as ever to realign the conferences to both balance out the competition and improve geographic relationships between divisions.


Proposed Moves:

Oklahoma City goes to Southwest Division
New Orleans moves to Southeast Division
Washington moves to Atlantic Division
Toronto moves to Central Division
Milwaukee moves to Northwest Division


New Divisions:

Atlantic Division
Boston Celtics
New Jersey Nets
New York Knicks
Philadelphia 76ers
Washington Wizards

Central Division
Chicago Bulls
Cleveland Cavaliers
Detroit Pistons
Indiana Pacers
Toronto Raptors

Southeast Division
Atlanta Hawks
Charlotte Bobcats
Miami Heat
New Orleans Hornets
Orlando Magic

Northwest Division
Denver Nuggets
Milwaukee Bucks
Minnesota Timberwolves
Portland Trail Blazers
Utah Jazz

Pacific Division
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
Phoenix Suns
Sacramento Kings

Southwest Division
Dallas Mavericks
Houston Rockets
Memphis Grizzlies
Oklahoma City
San Antonio Spurs

NEW DIVISION ALIGNMENT

The OKC 'TBD's' don't make sense being placed in the Northwest Division because they are neither North nor West in relation to the rest of the NBA teams. In the propose realignment, the Hornets join the Southeast Division because they are located in the SE quadrant of the United States.

The Wizards slide north to the Atlantic Divisions which makes a lot of sense since they are much closer to the other Atlantic teams than those in the Southeast.

The Raptors slide over to the Central Division because they are in close proximity to Detroit and Cleveland and the rest of the Central teams.

Finally, the Bucks join the Western Conference by merging into the Northwest Division. This division could be renamed 'North' to more accurately describe the teams that reside in the division.

The big change is the switching of conferences between the Buck and Hornets. Due to the decade long overall dominance of the West, it makes sense to shift Hornets over to the East to bolster the competition and allow for a grouping of divisions that make more sense geographically.