Klay Thompson said it’s hard to not close: “Yeah, you kidding me? To go from one of the best players…It’s hard for anybody.”— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 6, 2024
Klay credited the young guys.
Draymond from off camera (to reporters): “I didn’t close Game 5 of the Finals. Who the f*** cares?” pic.twitter.com/CzYNX4vulw
"Gui Santos was amazing."— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 6, 2024
Steve Kerr with high praise after Santos was a team-high plus-13 in tonight's win pic.twitter.com/IqzCidY9vI
There have been whispers among league personnel about the Magic pursuing veteran point guards. The NBA’s game of telephone has led many rival executives to believe Orlando has been actively targeting Chris Paul in Golden State and Kyle Lowry in Charlotte.
Those whispers don’t seem to be accurate. Perhaps Orlando would look to add Lowry if the 37-year-old does reach the buyout market, but there has been no trade interest from the Magic to make a deal with the Hornets at this juncture, according to league sources. The same goes for Paul in Golden State, sources said.
Seven NBA Observations on Joel Embiid’s Injury, LeBron’s Future, and the Trade Deadline | The Ringer
But just for fun, let’s pretend that this week gets even crazier and the Lakers do entertain trades for LeBron. Here are the five teams that might want him and what they could theoretically offer:
Golden State Warriors: LeBron for Chris Paul, Jonathan Kuminga, Kevon Looney, a 2026 First, a 2028 First, and a 2028 Second
LeBron has long said that the player he’d most like to play with is Stephen Curry, and he’s BFFs with Draymond Green. But the Warriors’ supporting cast feels so depleted at this point that the team would need to make an additional deal using its remaining assets. A LeBron-Steph two-man game could be glorious to watch. But the Warriors look like a sinking ship right now, and the team could turn into a laughingstock if things don’t work out.
Shams Charania on Warriors’ trade market: “They just don’t have anything on the table that really moves the needle”
Teams in the first and second apron had better like their own players and also have a strong pro personnel department, a team executive told ESPN, because it will become more difficult to add from the outside — especially if teams do not control their first-round picks. (The Clippers, Bucks, Nuggets, Wolves and Suns are projected to fall into this category).
If a team finishes over the second apron after the 2024-25 season, its 2032 first-round pick is frozen and cannot be traded.
“Making a trade is not only about ownership signing off on a larger luxury tax penalty,” a team executive told ESPN, “but now [dealing with] the consequences of the first and second apron.”
Elsewhere, Chicago continues to have a high asking price on Alex Caruso of the equivalent of two first-round picks to consider moving the All-Defensive guard. Caruso is signed for $9.89 million next season, which is considered a great value across the league, given his production.
Sources: Among the commitments for the NBA Three-Point Contest at All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 5, 2024
Indiana's Tyrese Haliburton, Milwaukee's Damian Lillard and Malik Beasley, New York's Jalen Brunson and Utah's Lauri Markkanen.
In case you missed it at Golden State of Mind:
The Warriors’ defense did its job — something that’s been pretty much the exception as opposed to the norm this season. They came into this game as the 21st ranked defense with garbage time eliminated; in the half court, they came in as 19th. The fact that a key defensive wing in Andrew Wiggins wouldn’t be available should’ve made things more difficult.
But key people on defense stepped up — especially Gui Santos, a rotation plug-in to compensate for Wiggins’ absence and Klay Thompson’s struggles.
15 minutes, 4 points, 1 rebound, 1 block, 1 turnover, 2-for-5 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 40.0% TS, +5
Moody’s back! After a nine-game absence with a strained calf, the third-year guard returned to action. He seemed to be on a bit of a minutes restriction (understandably), and he had a fair amount of rust (also understandably). But it was just good to see him out there, being his usual smooth, mistake-free self.