“We’re still really hungry.”
This, NBA champions Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob declared by way of reacting to the issue that his team is ruining the world’s oldest and biggest pro-basketball league.
In a feature article written by Ethan Strauss of The Athletic on Monday, Lacob addressed the backlash over the Warriors’ signing of DeMarcus Cousins this summer.
“There’s a lot of market inefficiencies in the NBA,” Lacob stressed. “Other teams could have gotten Cousins, but they didn’t. There’s always going to be some sort of opportunity, some inefficiency, I believe.”
Lacob then went on to issue an ominous warning to the rest of the league: “We’re still really hungry. And that’s what people should be worried about if they’re going to be worried about anything.”
The Warriors do deserve credit for building a championship culture from the ground up. But they did indeed benefit from certain market factors in landing both Kevin Durant two summers ago and Cousins this summer.
Lacob, who is known for gassing up his team almost to the point that it’s off-putting, if his frightening assertion that the Warriors are still hungry after back-to-back titles and three in the last four seasons is correct, the leap to full-fledged dynasty might not be far off.
Meanwhile, Durant whose Warriors and the Boston Celtics might very well meet up in next year’s NBA Finals, were seen hanging out at Wet Republic in Las Vegas over the weekend fuelling speculations that the two superstars might be playing for one team in the near future.
Both Durant and Irving will hit free agency after next season. Irving himself has signified interest in wanting to play for the New York Knicks. Separate reports also suggested that the Knicks could be a potential landing spot for Durant is not that remote a possibility.
Durant is known to be a party boy. The two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP taking shots while enjoying his summer in Vegas isn’t really news but hanging out with Mr. Irving could be.
Irving’s girlfriend, Chantel Jeffries, was the DJ for this exclusive event. Meanwhile, Durant was seen hanging out with model Jocelyn Chew. That could very well start another round of rumors.
Carmelo Anthony, who was recently traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Atlanta Hawks and subsequently waived, is set to become a member of the Houston Rockets for the veteran’s minimum of $2.4 million for the season.
It’s a move initiated by Houston’s current stars, particularly reigning league MVP James Harden and was expected by the league’s insiders. While Anthony is coming off a rough season, it’s a move that could bring some good to Houston, but there are plenty of reasons that this could go terribly, too.
The jump looks already a win for the Rockets, who have a bit of a void to fill with Trevor Ariza leaving for Phoenix and Luc Mbah a Moute leaving for the Clippers — both on free agency.
Melo, thus, becomes another wing to help space the floor for the Harden-Paul-Clint Capela core. While on paper, Anthony to Houston seems like things may go a bit easier than his year in Oklahoma City, there are still quite a few questions to be answered on both ends of the floor.
The most glaring questions, obviously, come on the defensive end of the floor — especially now with both Ariza and Mbah a Moute gone. When healthy, both players gave Houston the defensive flexibility to switch everything. Houston produced the sixth most efficient defense last year and pushed the Warriors to seven games in the Western Conference Finals.
Melo, on the other hand, was one of the NBA’s worst defenders last season, and at 34-years-old, we can’t expect any real jumps on that end. The Thunder lost to Utah in six games in large part because of Anthony’s struggles on the defensive end.
Offensively, Anthony wasn’t any better in the postseason, scoring just under 12 per game on 37.5 percent shooting. He shot 21 percent from three while posting the highest 3-point attempt rate of his postseason career.
And what about Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni’s and Anthony’s very public disagreements about how the team should be run while they were in New York together. Anthony wanted to play a “clear it out, let me do what I do” offense while D’Antoni was very much interested in ball movement, space and pace.
By EDDIE G. ALINEA