A look back at the 76ers trade for Wilt Chamberlain

Here’s NBC Sports Philly with their take on what might be the best trade in 76ers team history:

Connie Dierking, Paul Neumann, Lee Shaffer and cash to the San Francisco Warriors for Wilt Chamberlain:

Shaffer retired shortly after the trade, while Dierking and Neumann both had some solid NBA years left. Neither player, however, was in Chamberlain’s stratosphere. Chamberlain averaged 27.6 points, 23.9 rebounds and 6.8 assists in three-plus seasons as a Sixer, winning the championship in 1967. He probably shouldn’t have been dealt for anything less than multiple All-Stars — or perhaps an All-Star and a heap of first-round picks — but the Warriors were struggling financially and gave up a player who’d led the league in scoring for five consecutive seasons.

It would be cool for more Wilt footage to pop up someday, somehow.

Some quick words on a few Steph Curry NBA accomplishments

Here’s NBC Sports Bay Area reminding the world of some of Stephen Curry’s style of play, and a few of his lofty accomplishments:

When Curry is on the court, he is a head-hunter. He lives for the kill shot and — like MJ and the others — is haunted by his misses. Don’t fall for the veneer, the displays of glee, the easy grin and the honey-colored skin. This genuinely joyful soul with scripture on his sneakers has spent most of his career as the league’s most prolific undercover executioner.

Over the past seven postseasons, Curry has beaten every MVP, or MVP candidate, that has beaten him. Only Kawhi Leonard, who as a member of the San Antonio Spurs played only 24 minutes over nine postseason games against the Warriors, can be argued as an exception.

Curry is 3-1 against LeBron James in The Finals and 4-0 against James Harden in the playoffs. He’s 3-0 against Damian Lillard. In the lone instance when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook represented the roadblock, Curry took them out.

There’s much more to say about Steph — namely his historic shooting from three-point range — but the above certainly speaks volumes.

With the Kevin Durant era over in Golden State, but the team presumably at full health by the time NBA play eventually resumes, it’ll be great fun seeing what Steph accomplishes in 2020-21.

How Steve Kerr learned to not yell at Klay Thompson

Different players react to coaching and motivational methods in different ways. A huge part of being a basketball coach is learning how to share information and instructions to players in a manner that the player will understand and, just as importantly, accept.

As for the Warriors, here’s NBC Sports Bay Area reporting on head coach Steve Kerr and what he learned about coaching shooting guard Klay Thompson:

“My very first season, I lit into Klay. I took an early timeout, lit into Klay, and he didn’t respond very well,” Kerr said on the Runnin’ Plays Podcast. “And he went out and was kind of rattled, made a couple mistakes.”

Confused, Kerr solicited advice from folks around the eccentric guard, then in his fourth NBA season, and found that Thompson is more receptive to a different style of coaching.

“I kind of checked that box,” Kerr said. “I said, ‘Klay’s not a guy who’s going to respond to yelling.’ ”

The adjustment worked.

After racking up multiple championships, then seeing the departure of Kevin Durant, all while suffering a big stack of injuries, the Warriors were at the bottom of the league in 2019-20. It’ll be interesting to see what they’re able to do in the next offseason in building up a supporting cast for 2020-21.

To Warriors coach Steve Kerr, the NBA season feels over

The NBA season has been put on hold since mid March. But it hasn’t officially been canceled. Though, it certainly won’t surprise anyone if that’s what winds up happening. And soon. Here’s ESPN.com reporting what Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said on Tuesday:

As the NBA continues to try to find ways to salvage the end of its season as the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr acknowledged that his team is operating as if its season is over.

“It feels like the offseason,” Kerr said during a video conference call in conjunction with the University of San Francisco on Tuesday. “And, in fact, we had a Zoom call, Bob Myers and I got on a Zoom with our players, our whole roster last week. And it was just a chance to check in, but it was also a chance for Bob to update the players on his contact with the league and the latest news, but it also kind of felt like our annual team exit meeting. Our coaching staff and I have been undergoing staff evaluations, offseason plans, so we are absolutely in offseason mode right now.”

As other teams in playoff contention try to keep their teams focused on a possible resumption of play, Kerr said that though the Warriors remain in communication with all their players and staffers, the team isn’t concerned about a possible resumption, given that Golden State had a league-worst 15-50 record when the season was suspended on March 11.

Clarity on the matter will likely come sometime in May.

Michael Jordan could have played for the Oakland A’s, says former GM

Here’s NBC Sports Chicago reporting on some interesting insight into a turn Michael Jordan’s brief pro baseball career could have taken:

Michael Jordan’s departure from his life as the greatest basketball player in the world to play minor league baseball with the White Sox is the stuff of Chicago legend.

But it might have gone quite differently. And with a different organization altogether.

Former Oakland Athletics general manager Sandy Alderson told ESPN’s Buster Olney on a recent edition of the Baseball Tonight podcast that he offered Jordan a spot on his major league roster in 1994.

“You recall when Jordan stopped playing basketball and decided to try baseball, and ultimately went down to the Birmingham Barons — the Chicago White Sox affiliate,” Alderson said. “When I heard that was happening, or about to happen, I called his agent right away and said, ‘Hey look, I understand he may be going to Double-A. I don’t even know who the 25th man is on our major league team right now, I will sign him and put him on the major league roster. He’ll be part of our 25-man team. Tomorrow.'”

Just speculating here, but unless Jordan had somehow magically been better at the major league level than he was in the minors, he’d still probably have wound up back in the NBA around the same time as he did. But this could have potentially been an even more fascinating detour.

On Andrew Wiggins and the Warriors

Here’s NBC Sports Bay Area reporting on Andrew Wiggins:

Wiggins came to the Warriors in the February trade that sent D’Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves, in large part for his better-perceived fit alongside Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. A talented but inconsistent wing, Wiggins had worn out his welcome in Minnesota following four years of failed expectations and sub-par defense.

But he was successful in his short time in the Bay Area, averaging 20.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists over his last five games. In a 112-106 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Feb. 12, he finished with 27 points, four rebounds and five assists and four blocks. Three weeks later, in his first game playing with Curry, he notched 20 points, 10 rebounds and two assists against the Raptors.

In 12 games played for the Warriors, Wiggins averaged 19.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.4 blocks per game, shooting 45.7% from the field.

The Warriors this season were short-handed. The real test — the chemistry test — comes in the future when the squad is healthy and at full strength.

Jayson Tatum says Stephon Curry is a top 20 NBA player of all time

Ranking the best NBA players on just about any best-of list is always a fun but tough challenge. And it’s especially hard choosing where to place players whose careers are still ongoing on an all-time list. Here’s young Celtics star Jayson Tatum talking about Stephen Curry’s place in NBA history, as reported by NBC Sports Bay Area:

One of Curry’s peers, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, believes Curry is the best point guard in the NBA right now.

Then Tatum backed that up with some high praise for the only unanimous league MVP.

“Steph’s a top 20 player of all time, bro,” Tatum said this week during an Instagram Live interview with Pep Stanciel, a basketball skills coach and consultant.

“Steph changed the game bro,” Tatum said. “They don’t want you to shoot mid-range no more.”

It’s definitely debatable why mid-range shots have declined. And crediting any single player for it would be a real stretch. But Steph is definitely a legendary, all-time NBA talent.

The next offseason is a pivotal one for the Warriors

Teams around the league are all dealing with the same key issue — the coronavirus. But getting more specific, here’s the Mercury News focusing on the Warriors:

In what will be a pivotal offseason for a Warriors organization aiming to vault back into contention next season, the fallout of the coronavirus could impact the quality of its draft pick, how much it is willing to spend on free agents and more.

Beyond the health concerns and the Warriors’ bottom line, this will also impact next season’s salary cap, which is based on a negotiated portion of basketball-related income. Without gate revenue, the league as a whole could stand to lose as much as $500 million, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Meanwhile, with seven home games at Chase Center likely lost, the Warriors could lose as much as $25 million in revenue, according to a source familiar with the Warriors’ finances. There are also television, radio and advertising partnerships to consider.

Steph, Klay and Dray obviously proved able to do big things together in the past. It’ll be interesting to see who their supporting cast is once the next offseason’s player movement results are set.

Of course, we’re all still hoping to see the rest of this currently-paused season played. But these Warriors are all about the future.

In G League, Capital City Go-Go add forward Jordan Bell

The Capital City Go-Go, the Washington Wizards’ NBA G League affiliate, added forward Jordan Bell off of waivers today. In a corresponding move, the team waived forward Stefan Jankovic due to a season ending injury.

Bell, a 6-8, 216 pound forward-center from the University of Oregon, has appeared in 29 games with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies this season. Originally taken with the 38th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls, Bell was traded on draft night to the Golden State Warriors and played in 125 games (16 starts) for the Warriors between 2017 and 2019, averaging 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. In his time with Golden State, Bell also appeared in 32 playoff games and was a member of the 2018 NBA Champion Warriors team.

Bell was signed as a free agent by the Timberwolves in 2019 and played in 27 games prior to being included in a four-team trade that sent him to Houston in February. Bell was traded from Houston to Memphis the following day and appeared in two games with the Grizzlies before being waived on March 2.

Bell played three seasons at Oregon, leaving as the school’s all-time leader in blocks (235) and field goal percentage (.610). Bell helped lead the Ducks to a Final Four appearance his redshirt junior season, where he also was voted the 2017 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Warriors did uncover some talent this season

Okay, maybe it hasn’t been the Warriors’ year. It’s nice that Stephen Curry recently made his return — though a common flu quickly put a temporary stop to that — but clearly this squad, which of course also includes Draymond Green and an out-for-the-season Klay Thompson, is all about next season.

Still, here’s NBC Sports Bay Area ounding up some 2019-20 positives:

In the front court, Eric Paschall has emerged as a potential future foundational piece, sporting an offensive game that combines unique strength to go with mature finesse. Marquese Chriss might end up being the starting center next season as he has blossomed into an impactful young big man.

In the backcourt, Damion Lee has proven himself to be a high energy, reliable rotation piece that can put up points in a hurry. Jordan Poole has struggled with an inconsistent shot this season, but at only 20 years old, has grown considerably in his playmaking and ball handling, making him more valuable than just a potential future floor spacer.

It’ll be interesting to see who starts for the Warriors next season alongside Steph, Klay and Dray. And almost as importantly, who the key bench guys are. With some slick signings and key role player additions, the Warriors next year could leap high up in the standings once again.