Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical

  • How Stephen Curry and the Warriors pulled off one of the NBA's great comebacks

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 17 hrs ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. – In the end, there was Stephen Curry standing in the middle of it all: beating his chest, belting out a blood-curdling scream born of one of the great escapes in conference finals history. The Golden State Warriors and the NBA's Most Valuable Player should've been buried in America's Dust Bowl days ago, demoralized, demolished, left to rot with 73 victories and a fistful of what-ifs.

    Suddenly, the surround sound of Oracle Arena hysteria tumbled down upon Curry on Monday night, the Game 7 victory validating the genius of his talent and the prodigious pureness of his heart.

    Still standing, still the champs.

    For Curry to flourish in the middle of it all Monday night at Oracle Arena – to close out a 96-88 victory with 15 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter – had been because Curry never let Klay Thompson believe the Splash Brothers no longer existed. Curry could've transformed one of the great individual seasons ever – a unanimous MVP performance – and separated himself into a singular entity.

  • Sources: Bucks hiring Jazz's Justin Zanik as GM-in-waiting

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    The Milwaukee Bucks are hiring Utah Jazz executive Justin Zanik as the franchise's general manager-in-waiting, league sources told The Vertical.

    Zanik, an assistant general manager with Utah, will join the Bucks with a similar job title – and an agreement that he will eventually become the successor to Milwaukee GM John Hammond, sources said.

    Zanik has constructed a strong reputation within the league as a front-office executive and previously a player agent. Milwaukee was aggressive in pursuing him to eventually lead the franchise's basketball operations.

    Hammond was part of the Bucks' ownership process that identified Zanik and recruited him to Milwaukee, league sources said.

    A timetable on the succession plan is still unclear, sources said. Utah GM Dennis Lindsey was agreeable in letting Zanik make the move because the initial assistant GM role comes with the provision that Zanik will become the Bucks' top basketball executive, league sources said.

    The Bucks are moving toward a contract extension with Kidd as coach, league sources said.

    More NBA coverage from The Vertical:

  • The Woj Report: Mike D'Antoni's promise

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago
  • Sources: Mike D'Antoni finalizing contract to coach Rockets

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    The Rockets will hold a team option on the fourth year of the deal, sources said.

    D'Antoni, the associate head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, was the strong preference of Houston ownership, and brings with him his vaunted "Seven Seconds or Less" offense that he'll build around All-Star guard James Harden.

    Rockets center Dwight Howard has a chance to opt out of the final year of his contract, and the hiring of D'Antoni – whose style clashed with Howard's when they were both with the Lakers – could be another factor in Howard deciding to become a free agent.

    The Rockets plan to build a veteran staff around D'Antoni, which likely will include Memphis Grizzlies defensive coordinator Jeff Bzdelik and Washington Wizards assistant Roy Rogers, league sources said. Toronto Raptors assistant Rex Kalamian, whom Harden is fond of from his Oklahoma City days, is another possible assistant, sources said.

    D'Antoni, 65, revolutionized NBA offenses with Steve Nash and the Suns, and views the Rockets job as his final head-coaching stop.

  • Sources: David Fizdale agrees to coach Grizzlies

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    Miami Heat assistant David Fizdale agreed to a four-year deal to become head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, league sources told The Vertical.

    The contract includes a team option for the fourth year, league sources said.

    Fizdale and Spurs assistant James Borrego were the finalists for the Grizzlies' coaching position.

    Fizdale has been the top assistant to Miami coach Erik Spoelstra, a partnership that has included two NBA championships.

    Memphis officials became sold on a combination of Fizdale’s Heat pedigree, tactical abilities and a persona that has allowed him to build strong relationships and respect within the locker room.

    Fizdale replaces Dave Joerger, who was fired at season’s end because of his desire to pursue other jobs. Memphis has an important summer of player-personnel decisions ahead, most prominently the recruitment to re-sign point guard Mike Conley.

    Fizdale, 41, has been in the NBA since 2003, including stops with Golden State, Atlanta and the past eight seasons on the Miami staff.

    More NBA coverage from The Vertical:

  • The Vertical Pod with Woj: Chris Herren

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    Former basketball player Chris Herren joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast with Woj. In a moving and compelling interview, Herren details how basketball stardom – including three years in the NBA – spiraled into a drug addiction that thrust him and his family close to homelessness. Herren lays out the horrific details of a junkie's life in and out of basketball, and how sobriety has turned him into one of America’s most compelling speakers on addiction.

    2:00: How Chris’ drug addiction impacted his college career and the roots of his struggles.

    4:43: The environment at Fresno State, which enabled his behavior.

    7:37: His rookie season in Denver and the veterans who tried helping him

    9:02: Would his issues have spiraled out of control if he hadn’t been with his hometown Boston Celtics?

    11:25: Playing overseas and his addiction getting worse.

    18:42: The end of his basketball career and returning to Fall River, Mass.

    22:38: Overdosing, crashing his car, going to rehab and relapsing.

    29:26: His wife’s role in keeping their children away during his struggles.

    35:07: His profound impact on high school and college students from his speaking appearances.

  • Draymond Green on Warriors' fall from 73 wins to 3-1 hole: 'It's stunning'

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    "It's stunning," Green told The Vertical. "This is not where we expected to be."

    Alone in the corner of the locker room – only the sound of showers in the distance – Green considered the circumstances of the Oklahoma City Thunder train running through these wobbly Warriors. The Warriors are down 3-1, the greatest regular season in NBA history slipping away on a lost trip to America's dust bowl.

    "Yeah, it's pretty stunning," Green said.

    Green should've had Chesapeake Energy Arena livid that the NBA passed on suspending him, livid that he fed upon all the anger and channeled it into the destruction of the Thunder. All his life, Green found a way to validate his villainous basketball self, and he failed on Tuesday night.

    "It's who I am," Green told The Vertical. "It's what I've always done. It's what I've thrived off. It's frustrating, because I know that's who I always am.

    "And right now, I'm not myself. I'm thinking too much, and that's leading to all the things that I'm not supposed to be doing.

    "I just … I just have to be me."

    More NBA coverage from The Vertical:


  • Agent: Seton Hall’s Isaiah Whitehead to remain in draft

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    Seton Hall sophomore guard Isaiah Whitehead will remain in the NBA draft, his agent, Andy Miller, told The Vertical.

    Whitehead, who has an opportunity to work himself into first-round draft contention, is expected to make a formal announcement Wednesday. The NCAA deadline to withdraw from the draft and maintain college eligibility is Wednesday.

    Whitehead is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard who averaged 18.2 points and 5.1 assists in leading Seton Hall to the NCAA tournament.


  • How Kyle Lowry pulled the Raptors – and himself – from the brink

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    TORONTO – LeBron James backed him down and backed him down and backed him down, delivering the framed portrait of Kyle Lowry's untidy, unconventional, unrelenting career: too small, too limited, too unworthy. Fourth quarter, Game 4 of these Eastern Conference finals, and James had been groomed to treat the likes of Lowry as though a playoff pest to be flicked away like lint.

    Only, Lowry kept coming and coming in the final minutes on Monday night, big shots and big passes, bigger steals and the biggest steel of all.

    "I've always been counted out," Lowry told The Vertical. " 'He's not this, and he's not that.' That's the life, the position, that I've always been in.

    "And here I am."

    Somehow, he's here. Lowry had been magnificent in this 105-99 victory over Cleveland – 35 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals – and it inspired Toronto's general manager to proclaim and protect the virtues of his two-time All-Star point guard.

    "Here I am."

  • NBA doesn't suspend Warriors' Draymond Green for kick to groin

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    The NBA has decided not to suspend Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green for kicking Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams in the groin.

    Green's foul – initially ruled a flagrant-1 during the game – was upgraded to a flagrant-2 after the league's investigation into the incident. Green also received a $25,000 fine.

    Green is eligible to play in Tuesday's Game 4. The Thunder lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.

    Green kicked Adams as he went up for a shot in the second quarter of the Warriors' 133-105 loss to the Thunder in Game 3 on Sunday.

    "After a thorough investigation that included review of all available video angles and interviews with the players involved and the officials working the game, we have determined that Green’s foul was unnecessary and excessive and warranted the upgrade and fine," the NBA's executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe said in a statement.

     "During a game, players – at times – flail their legs in an attempt to draw a foul, but Green's actions in this case warranted an additional penalty."