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Shootaround (Aug. 8): Steph Curry On Warriors’ Summer – ‘We Got Better’

Shootaround (Aug. 8): Steph Curry On Warriors’ Summer – ‘We Got Better’ News

No. 1: Steph Curry on the Warriors’ summer: “We got better” — Even as a two-time champion, two-time KIA MVP and global sensation, Steph Curry went into this summer knowing that the Golden State Warriors needed to get better. And according to Curry, that’s exactly what they did. He said as much to Daniel Brown of the Bay Area News Group:

In a busy off-season for Stephen Curry, the Warriors guard lived it up during a sponsor tour of Asia, gained respect by holding his own in a professional golf tournament and is gearing up to coach top high school players in a showcase game Tuesday night.

Somehow, Curry also found time to keep up with the tsunami of NBA transactions, all of them designed to tug on the cape of the Warriors’ super team. Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets, Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves … the list goes on for a while

“You look around the Western Conference and it’s going to be crazy the amount of talent up the board,” Curry said Monday during a break at his SC30 Select Camp at the Ultimate Field House in Walnut Creek.

“So just because we have the same team coming back, we’re going to have to go through some different challenges and answer the bell.”

Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Curry held his tongue on another potential blockbuster, Kyrie Irving’s request to be traded away from Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James. But it has his attention.

“I don’t know the ins and outs of how the conversations are going. It’s obviously surprising,” Curry said. “But at the end of the day, nothing is really surprising in the NBA.”

Nothing might surprise him, but Curry used the word “surreal” several times in describing his life these days. The two-time NBA champion and two-time MVP even joked that he’s coaching a camp he never would have been invited to during his own high school days.

Curry is teaming with Under Armour Basketball and Chase to host the SC30 Select Showcase game at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco. Doors open at 5 p.m. for the free event; seating capacity is limited to 2,000 general admission seats.

Curry will coach against his brother, Seth, in a game that features 23 of the nation’s top prep players. The siblings are already talking trash.

“I feel like my penmanship is much better, so I’ll be able to draw up better plays on the whiteboard,” Curry said. “Hopefully, I won’t be like Coach Kerr and break them every so often.”

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No. 2: Former Cavaliers GM says Kyrie handled trade request the right way — Don’t go looking for hot takes about Kyrie Irving’s summer trade request from the man who, had he been retained as general manager, been asked to execute said request. Former Cleveland Cavaliers David Griffin praised the way Irving handled his business with the organization, expressing that sentiment and more on ESPN’s “The Jump” Monday:

“He handled the situation exactly like he was supposed to,” Griffin said Monday on ESPN’s The Jump. “He went to [Cavs owner] Dan Gilbert privately, told him that he thought he would be happier somewhere else.

“The absolute worst thing this guy could have done was pretend to be all-in and sink the ship from within. Most guys don’t have the courage to do what he did.”

Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

“He handled the situation exactly like he was supposed to,” Griffin said Monday on ESPN’s The Jump. “He went to [Cavs owner] Dan Gilbert privately, told him that he thought he would be happier somewhere else.

“The absolute worst thing this guy could have done was pretend to be all-in and sink the ship from within. Most guys don’t have the courage to do what he did.”

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No. 3: Delon Wright’s opening in Toronto is now — Cory Joseph ins gone, traded away during a summer filled with moves around the league that has changed the landscape. That change in Toronto bodes well for Delon Wright, who is set to assume the backup point guard role behind All-Star Kyle Lowry. Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune explains:

Delon Wright had a hunch: Things were about to change.

The Toronto Raptors’ starting point guard was an unrestricted free agent, entertaining offers from other teams. But even after Kyle Lowry re-signed with the club, Wright figured another move was coming.

“I kind of had a feeling something was going to happen,” the former Runnin’ Ute star said. “And it just happened all fast. That opportunity presented itself for me.”

When the Raptors traded backup point guard Cory Joseph to the Indiana Pacers last month, it was, at least in part, a show of faith in the youngster behind him on the depth chart. And Wright intends to prove his bosses right next season.

“I think I’m ready,” he told The Salt Lake Tribune by phone last week.

Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images

Wright will be back in Salt Lake City later this month, hosting his youth basketball at East High School from Aug. 17-19. He’ll see some old friends, make a “mandatory stop” at his favorite breakfast spot, the Park Cafe. Then the 25-year-old will get back to work, preparing for an expanded role and his most important season as a pro yet.

A shoulder injury kept Wright sidelined for most of his sophomore campaign, but the point guard came on strong for the Raptors late. He played in 27 games, averaging 5.6 points and 2.1 assists. Wright’s emergence was a bright spot in Toronto when Lowry went down with an injury of his own.

The Raptors won 51 games last season, finishing third in the Eastern Conference. After a summer that saw a number of top talents from the East head West, Wright is hoping consistency will win out for his squad.

“A lot of moves are going on,” he said. “We made our moves by re-signing Kyle and re-signing Serge [Ibaka]. Those were our two priorities. … We kept our core together and we’re going to make a push.”

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The Knicks add high-profile help to the front office — The offseason reconstruction of the front office continues for the New York Knicks with the addition of Craig Robinson, the former Oregon State coach and brother-in-law of the 44th President Barack Obama. Robinson, a basketball lifer, has direct ties to the organization, having played alongside Knicks president Steve Mills in college at Princeton. Mike Vorkunov of the New York Times has more:

Robinson’s exact title is not yet known, but he is expected to have a versatile role, including working with the Knicks’ G-League team.

The 55-year-old Robinson was a head coach at Brown and Oregon State, and last season he was a vice president with the N.B.A.’s Milwaukee Bucks, in charge of player and organizational development.

He will now join General Manager Scott Perry and Assistant General Manager Gerald Madkins in what will be a new-look Knicks front office. All three have come aboard during the past month after Steve Mills was elevated from general manager to team president following Phil Jackson’s dismissal from that role.

Robinson and Mills were teammates at Princeton, where they played for the legendary Pete Carril. After a nondescript professional basketball career, Robinson became a vice president at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and then a partner at a boutique investment bank.

But he was still smitten with basketball, and in 2000 he took a job as an assistant coach at Northwestern. In 2006, he became the head coach at Brown, and he then took the same job at Oregon State two years later. He stayed there for six seasons before being fired in 2014.

During his years as a college coach, Robinson was an open supporter of Barack Obama in his first bid for the presidency and then his re-election, and he introduced Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Although Mills has not been team president for long, he is quickly making a break from the Jackson era, which lasted three years. When Jackson took over in New York, he made only one significant addition to the front office, bringing in Clarence Gaines Jr.