NBA AM: Momentum Riding High For Golden State
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Good Time To Be A Warrior: Momentum is riding high for the Golden State Warriors. The team snapped its five year playoff drought last season, advancing to the second round, and have the talent to potentially make a deeper run in 2014.
It was recently reported the franchise’s value had skyrocketed to $800 million, an increase of $350 million, from what Joe Lacob and partners purchased the club for in 2010. The latest valuation was an estimate but the franchise easily ranks in the top ten in the league in overall value. This, of course, is before the team moves into a new arena on the San Francisco waterfront in 2017.
The club has also been golden at the box office.
After 38 consecutive sellouts to end last season, the team announced this week it had established a new record in season tickets sold by eclipsing the 14,000 mark for the 2013-14 campaign.
Close to a quarter of those season tickets were sold this summer after the franchise made an assortment of roster moves in its attempt to join the ranks of the elite in the Western Conference.
The club acquired former All-Star forward Andre Iguodala in a sign-and-trade move back in July. The Warriors signed the veteran to a four-year $48 million deal and he will give the Warriors even more depth on the wing, likely relegating promising second year forward Harrison Barnes to a sixth man role. The team also added veteran forwards Jermaine O’Neal and Marreese Speights and guard Toney Douglas in free agency.
All four of the new additions boast playoff experience, combining for 148 postseason appearances and 4,400 minutes under the bright lights. They will support a core led by Stephen Curry, David Lee, Klay Thompson and Andrew Bogut.
The Warriors finished the 2013 campaign 47-35 and was eliminated by the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the playoffs (4-2).
Bucks Banking on Butler This Season: Every offseason there are a few teams who stump media and fans on just where to place them in the pecking order. The 2013-14 Milwaukee Bucks are currently a prime candidate for this distinction heading into training camp.
Gone are Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, J.J. Redick, Mike Dunleavy Jr., Samuel Dalembert and Drew Gooden. The newcomers include, O.J. Mayo, Brandon Knight, Carlos Delfino, Zaza Pachulia, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luke Ridnour, Gary Neal and Caron Butler.
Out of all the new editions, Butler may be the most important.
The veteran has amassed over 11,000 career points, is a two-time All-Star selection and boasts significant playoff experience.
Bucks new head coach Larry Drew pushed hard to add Butler to the roster and believes the team will benefit from his presence.
“I really felt we had done a really good job up to that point as far as putting this team together,” Drew said according to the Associated Press. “I would say we’ve done a great job now solidifying that small forward position and getting a guy with this guy’s ability.”
Bucks general manager John Hammond says the acquisition of Butler from Los Angeles (Clippers) is one of the building blocks in his quest to bring a championship to Milwaukee.
“We talked about trying to build a championship-caliber team and we’re really excited about some of the young pieces we have on our roster,” Hammond said. “And, we’re not going to stray from that. But, also at that time, we talked about needing veteran players that can help us in that process. A veteran player that can mentor, a veteran player that can help young guys. We know Caron can do that.
“But, make no mistake, he’s here for a lot more than just that. We need him on the floor. We project him to be our starting small forward, project him to play a lot of minutes for our team, project him to help us win games.”
The Bucks finished last season 38-44 but reached the playoffs despite the sub .500 record. The team was eliminated in the opening round by the Miami HEAT. The Bucks have finished below .500 in each of the past three seasons.
Butler averaged 10.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 78 contests last season.
Los Angeles Lakers Sign Xavier Henry: It wasn’t long ago Xavier Henry was a much ballyhooed prep prospect who garnered enough attention after a season at the University of Kansas to become a lottery pick (Memphis) back in 2010.
The forward played one season with the Grizzlies before being traded to New Orleans where he spent the past two campaigns unable to consistently break into head coach Monty Williams’ nightly rotation.
The Lakers signed Henry this week and the forward will head into the team’s training camp looking to secure a roster spot.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni was plagued all throughout last season by not having the personnel to fit the tempo he wanted to play offensively. The Lakers have spent the summer stockpiling younger more athletic options on the wing with the hope D’Antoni can find a gem in the rough.
Outside of Henry, Los Angeles has also added Wesley Johnson, Elias Harris and Shawne Williams.
Henry has career averages of 4.5 points and 1.8 rebounds on 40 percent shooting.