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Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green — Fighting for play-in spot ‘doesn’t motivate me’

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Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green says that he is not motivated by the NBA’s new play-in games, despite the fact that his team currently sits in 9th place in the Western Conference — squarely on the fringe of the league’s reformatted playoff system.

“To be honest with you, I don’t go into these games thinking like, ‘Man, we need to win these games to get to the playoffs,'” Green said after Thursday’s 116-109 loss to the Miami Heat. “I hate f—ing losing, so when I step on the floor I want to win. But I’ll be 100 percent honest with you, fighting for a play-in spot does not motivate me. We’re in what, [9th]? Fighting for a [play-in] spot doesn’t motivate me at all.”

Green, who has won three NBA championships during his nine-year career with the Warriors, added that the idea of squeezing into the postseason isn’t going to motivate him any more than not wanting to lose already does.

“I want to win every game I play because I hate losing,” he said. “That s— really bothers me. So that’s what motivates me, not fighting for some play-in spot.”

After the interest in last season’s Western Conference play-in game in the bubble, the NBA changed its playoff format prior to this season to allow more teams the opportunity to qualify for the postseason. The seventh-seeded teams in both conferences play the 10th-seeded team, and the eighth-seeded team plays the ninth-seeded team in a pre-playoff bracket.

The higher-seeded team must win two games in a row to make the playoffs, while the lower-seeded team needs to win only one game. If the playoffs started Friday, the Warriors would square off against the San Antonio Spurs — but Green isn’t concerned about that as his team continues to find a consistent rhythm that has eluded it all season.

Green was asked if his feelings about the play-in game would change in a few weeks if it were the only option the organization had to get into the postseason.

“No, it still won’t motivate me,” Green said. “I step on the court and I’m going to give 110 percent whether it’s the play-in game or not. But, no play-in game is going to motivate me at this point in my career. That’s just kind of what it is. Playoff basketball is definitely motivating, but a play-in game don’t motivate me. And that won’t change today, tomorrow, in a month or two months or two years from now.

“I want to win. That’s enough motivation for me, but I’m not going to spend every day like, ‘Man, we’re right on the cusp of that play-in’ — I don’t give a damn about that play-in game. If that’s where we are and we’re in the game, yeah, I’m going to do all I can to win the game. But, the play-in situation isn’t going to get me out of my bed like I got to bust my ass today because we’re fighting for the play-in spot. That ain’t going to push me.”

What is motivating Green is seeing teammate Stephen Curry continue to play through pain to try to help his teammates. Curry, who scored 36 points in Thursday’s loss, is still dealing with the lingering effects of a painful tailbone bruise suffered during a fall on March 17 in a win over the Houston Rockets. Curry said he would have to see how he felt after waking up on Friday before making a decision as to whether he would play against the Toronto Raptors in Tampa, Florida.

“I gotta see how I feel when I wake up,” Curry said. “This is an injury where Monday to Tuesday it was a tough day-after-game feeling. I’m hopefully progressing where I wake up and feel good and know what I’m dealing with and be able to play, but we’ll monitor that.”

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Markieff Morris finalizing deal with Miami Heat, sources say

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Free agent forward Markieff Morris is finalizing a one-year deal with the Miami Heat, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Morris is coming off two seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. The veteran forward averaged 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in 2020-21. He spent time out of the rotation but then became a starter when Anthony Davis and LeBron James were out with injuries.

Morris started 22 straight games at one point and scored in double figures in 15 of those games.

He played a key role in helping L.A. win the 2020 championship in the bubble, slotting in as the team’s most-used big man aside from Davis in the NBA Finals.

Morris, however, played in only four games in the Lakers’ 4-2 loss in the first round to the Phoenix Suns this year.

ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.

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Golden State Warriors unveil 75th anniversary uniforms that throw back to Wilt Chamberlain era

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The Golden State Warriors will celebrate the NBA’s 75th anniversary in style with a uniform from one of the game’s most iconic moments.

On Tuesday, the team unveiled its “Warriors Origins” uniforms, which will be featured throughout the 2021-22 NBA season. The uniform is an update on a look worn during the 1961-62 season. That year was the franchise’s last season as the Philadelphia Warriors, before moving to the West Coast. The updated uniform features a blue jersey with blue shorts, yellow-and-red trim and red-and-white numbers. It changes the script “PHILA” on the front of the uniform and replaces it with “WARRIORS.”

The last time this design was seen, it was part of league history. On March 2, 1962, against the New York Knicks, Wilt Chamberlain, wearing the home white version, scored 100 points. That season Chamberlain averaged 50.4 points per game and 25.7 rebounds per game.

The team plans to wear the uniform in the home opener of the 2021-22 season.



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Los Angeles Lakers, Carmelo Anthony agree to one-year NBA free-agency contract

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LOS ANGELES — Free-agent forward Carmelo Anthony agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, Anthony’s manager, Bay Frazier, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The deal is for one season, according to Frazier. Anthony’s agent, Aaron Mintz of CAA Sports, completed the agreement with Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka on Tuesday.

Anthony, who moved up to No. 10 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list last season, rehabbed his career in two seasons in Portland after being out of the league for a year following an ill-fated stint with the Houston Rockets.

The 18-year veteran flourished in a bench role with the Blazers last season, averaging 13.4 points in 24.5 minutes per game while shooting a career-best 40.9% from 3.

Anthony, 37, entered into the league with LeBron James in the famed 2003 draft class, and the two have maintained a close friendship.

Anthony has earned more than $260 million in salary in his career and is a 10-time All-Star, six-time All-NBA selection and three-time Olympic gold medalist. Success has eluded him on the postseason stage, though. In 13 career playoff appearances, Anthony’s teams have made the conference finals just once, and he has yet to play in the NBA Finals.

After being traded by the New York Knicks to Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017, Anthony had an up-and-down season with the Thunder as the team failed to meet expectations. He was traded to the Atlanta Hawks the next offseason and immediately waived.

He signed with the Rockets, agreeing to play a long-anticipated bench role for the James Harden and Chris Paul-led contender, but was waived after just 10 games. Anthony wasn’t signed by another team that season, casting doubt on the future of his NBA career.

But the Blazers offered a lifeline, and Anthony accepted the role and opportunity to contribute to a Western Conference playoff team. He started all 58 games his first season with Portland as it dealt with a series of injuries but came off the bench in 66 of his 69 appearances last season.

A surefire future Hall of Famer, Anthony currently sits at 27,370 points, just 39 points behind Moses Malone for ninth all time.

He won the scoring title with the Knicks in 2012-13, averaging 28.7 points. Anthony spent 10 consecutive seasons in the top 10 in scoring and finished as a runner-up for the scoring title twice in that stretch.

The Lakers also on Tuesday agreed to a deal with guard Malik Monk, a source told Wojnarowski.

Monk, 22, enjoyed a breakout fourth season with the Charlotte Hornets as he averaged 11.7 points per game and shot a career-high 40.1% from 3-point range last season.

The Hornets did not extend a qualifying offer to Monk, which made him a free agent.

ESPN’s Royce Young and Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.

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