San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said he prefers Adam Silver's leadership to that of United States president Donald Trump.

Popovich was responding to criticism from Trump, who blasted the Spurs coach and Golden State Warriors counterpart Steve Kerr last week for their responses to questions about the NBA-China controversy.

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey issued an apology for a now-deleted tweet, that read "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong" amid the ongoing protests in the region.

While Popovich and Kerr unwilling to discuss the matter, NBA president Silver drew praise for his response after saying the league was "apologetic" but added that "we are not apologising for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression".

Popovich – who has been critical of Trump in the past – told reporters prior to the Spurs' 123-114 preseason loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday: "[Silver] stood by our nation and its principles. That's pretty huge in these days.

"Sometimes, it's kind of Orwellian. You think we're living in a place where, 'Is this really happening?' But that comparison was pretty stark when you put our president up against those leaders when he's with them or talking to him and how he reacts compared to the way Adam Silver reacted. I was proud of him. It was great."

Asked about Trump's comments, Popovich added: "All I did was make a comparison between Adam Silver's show of principle and courage in a tough situation, as opposed to how our president reacts when in the company of authoritarian figures, whether it's Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Russia or Turkey, whatever it is.

"It comes off as really feckless, impotent, cowardly by comparison."

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said superstar Stephen Curry is ready to have a great season in the NBA.

Following the departure of Kevin Durant in free agency and Klay Thompson's knee injury in the NBA Finals in June, all eyes are on Curry for the 2019-20 campaign.

Kerr spoke with media after Golden State's practice on Sunday and was asked if Curry will be tasked to do more this season in the wake of Durant's departure and Thompson's injury.

"Just the usual," Kerr said. "I'm not looking for anything different than what he's done for five years, but what he's done is pretty special: two MVPs and a perennial top-five player."

Kerr went on to say Curry's had an "incredible camp" so far and thinks the two-time MVP is in position for a special season.

"To me, he's at his peak physically, mentally," Kerr said. "He's seen every defense that people have thrown at him now during his career, and he's ready to have a great year.

"He's in his prime age-wise, strength and conditioning-wise and defensively he's seen everything that's come his way... So he's kind of in his sweet spot right now, and he has been the last couple years. And hopefully that continues for the next few years."

While Thompson is not expected to return to the team until at least February or March, Curry will not need to bear too much of a burden as the Warriors signed former Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell to a four-year, $117million contract during free agency.

"It's just the natural way of our offense and how we play," Curry said. "I'm going to have the ball in my hands a lot more. Just got to make the right plays, be confident, aggressive, assertive every possession." 

"Steph's smart," Kerr added. "And he realises what we've lost in the last couple of years from a veteran leadership standpoint. So he understands he's got more responsibility in that regard now."

The Warriors visit the Los Angeles Lakers for a preseason matchup on Monday, before Golden State open the regular season against the Los Angeles Clippers on October 24.

United States president Donald Trump blasted Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio Spurs boss Gregg Popovich for their responses to questions about the NBA-China controversy.

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey issued an apology on Sunday for a now-deleted tweet, that read "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong" amid the ongoing protests in the region.

The issue has highlighted the NBA's relationship with China, which Kerr was noncommittal about on Monday when asked about the fallout from Morey.

Kerr and Popovich have been highly critical of Trump in the past and the country's leader was scathing of the NBA coaches.

"I watched this guy, Steve Kerr, and he was like a little boy who was so scared to be even answering the question," Trump told reporters Wednesday when asked about Kerr's refusal to discuss the issue.

"He couldn't answer the question. He was shaking. 'Oh, I don't know. I don't know.' He didn't know how to answer the question. And yet he'll talk about the United States very badly."

On Popovich – who was also reluctant to discuss the issue of protests in Hong Kong – Trump said: "I watched Popovich. Sort of the same thing, but he didn't look quite as scared actually.

"But they talk badly about the United States, but when it talks about China, they don't want to say anything bad. I thought it was pretty sad actually. It'll be very interesting."

Trump added: "I watch the way that Kerr and Popovich and some of the others were pandering to China, and yet to our own country, it's like they don't respect it.

"It's like they don't respect it. I said, 'What a difference – isn't it sad?' It's very sad. To me, it's very sad."

Made aware of Trump's comments about Kerr, Warriors superstar Stephen Curry – who has also been critical of the US president – replied: "welcome Steve to the club".

Draymond Green said there is a lack of familiarity at the Golden State Warriors as the NBA Finals runners-up work on their chemistry following roster changes.

It has been a busy offseason for the Warriors after going down to the Toronto Raptors in the Finals, losing All-Star Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets via free agency.

Veterans Andre Iguodala (traded to the Memphis Grizzlies) and Shaun Livingston (retired) also departed as the Warriors acquired D'Angelo Russell and a number of young recruits.

With the Warriors eyeing a sixth successive trip to the Finals, star Green spoke to reporters after Friday's practice and said: "A lot different. But it's fun, though.

"Just the lack of familiarity. You get used to a certain thing for so long, and then it's not that. The normal reads that you would make, just kind of second nature, you got to make sure they're there.

"It's just a lot more making sure everyone's on the same page, or getting there. Everybody's not on the same page, which is to be expected, so just getting everybody there is the difference."

Green, who will lead the way alongside Stephen Curry as Klay Thompson recovers from a serious knee injury, added: "It's time. It's reps. Just kind of getting those reps. Figuring guys out, getting to know each other. That's a huge part of basketball, too, getting to know each other ... That will come with time.

"It's no tough love right now. You figure that stuff out as time goes on. But none of us really know each other, except a few. So you can't give a guy you don't know tough love, that's fake as hell. If you're going to give somebody tough love, you don't even know if you love that person or not yet. So you can't give somebody tough love at this point, you just got to teach 'em."

The Warriors will open their preseason against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

Golden State will get their first taste of Chase Center in San Francisco, after saying goodbye to Oracle Arena following 47 years in Oakland.

Asked about Golden State's new home, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said: "I think mainly the noise. It's hard to judge on a preseason game, but it feels like they did a really good job keeping the seats as close to the floor as possible.

"Some of the new arenas feel so vacuous, and this feels pretty intimate. I think we're going to have a really loud atmosphere in here, but we'll see."

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson wants to be like Golden State Warriors and NBA All-Star Stephen Curry when he takes the gridiron.

Wilson and Curry are champions in their respective sports – the former an NFL Super Bowl champion with the Seahawks in 2014.

Curry has led the Warriors to three NBA titles since being drafted by Golden State in 2009.

After the Seahawks' narrow 30-29 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday, Wilson said he is inspired by Curry.

"I think about Steph Curry and how he shoots a basketball — that's how I want to throw a football," Wilson said. "Put it on the money, make some crazy throws, make some crazy plays.

"I love watching sports, and he's one of my favourite guys to watch with how he shoots a basketball."

Wilson had an MVP-calibre performance to help push Seattle to 4-1 fir the season after finishing 17-of-23 passing for 268 yards against the Rams.

But nothing was as impressive as his first-half touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett that pretty much should have never happened.

The completion probability of the exact play was a mere 6.3 per cent, according to Next Gen Stats, and made for a Curry-like shot except for this time the ball was in Wilson's hands.

The pass to Lockett was one of four touchdown throws Wilson had on Thursday.

"He's been phenomenal," Lockett said. "The biggest thing is he's just doing his job. He's doing everything that we expect him to do and even more. He's putting us in a position to be great, to be able to win, to be able to finish games, to finish drives. That's what you want in a player. That's what you want in a captain."

Wilson continued his near-perfect performance, finishing with a 151.8 quarterback rating, to solidify one of the best starts of his career.

"It was just one after another after another after another after another," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said.

The Seahawks will take their momentum on the road to face the Cleveland Browns on October 13.

Draymond Green is confident the Golden State Warriors can reach the NBA Finals for the sixth successive season.

The Warriors contested their fifth consecutive Finals last season but went down to the Toronto Raptors in six games.

Since then, the Warriors have lost All-Star Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets via free agency, while veteran Andre Iguodala was dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies and Shaun Livingston retired.

Klay Thompson is also recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) suffered in the Finals but Green remains bullish about Golden State's chances in 2019-20.

"I am not sure what everyone's expectations are," Green told ESPN. "We haven't really had any team meetings yet. But I know what my expectations are -- they don't change from year-to-year. They are always the same."

Asked if the Warriors – who acquired D'Angelo Russell in the offseason – can reach the Finals, Green said: "Is Steph Curry on our team? Klay Thompson? "Yup."

Green added: "Because I think obviously what we have returning and myself, Steph and Klay-- with the experience that we have, the championship pedigree that we have, and obviously all of us still being in our primes.

"Then you add in a young D'Angelo Russell, you add in Kevon Looney who just got a new contract -- it is a lot of talent. Like I said, experience and also a lot of younger guys who are out to prove themselves."

Warriors team-mate Stephen Curry said: "As long as we have the solid core that we've got. And the experiences to kind of back us up, we're going to keep that goal in mind.

"The fun part about it is that we get to kind of recreate the look of it and incorporating the new pieces that we have and that part's the most exciting. The last five Finals have kind of been a certain way, so whatever we do from here, you're going to enjoy it even more."

Stephen Curry plans to make his Olympics debut for the United States in Tokyo next year.

The Golden State Warriors star revealed he had designs on the 2020 Games, which is good news for the USA after the nation's seventh-placed finish at the recent FIBA World Cup. 

"That is the plan, for sure," Curry said in an interview with ESPN. "You know, obviously knock on wood, you don't want any injuries or things like that to interfere."

Curry played for Team USA in the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Cup tournaments, winning the title both times, but this would be his first Olympics appearance.

"[I] definitely want to go," said Curry. "I've never been on the Olympic team. I've been on two World Cup championship gold-medal teams. But the Olympics is the experience that I want. And next year will hopefully be it."

While Curry is the first NBA star to commit to the squad, Warriors team-mate Draymond Green told CNBC last week that he also hopes to play. Meanwhile, LeBron James told The Athletic in April that playing for Team USA in 2020 could happen.

A USA squad shorn of their best talents due to a plethora of withdrawals produced their worst showing at a World Cup.

Curry, though, is understandably confident USA can reassert their dominance at the Olympics if their big names do decide to play.

"We're still the best," said the 31-year-old. "If we get the guys that are supposed to be there, in terms of, you know, representing us on the Olympic stage and the commitment's been there, and I think it'll be there next year."

Stephen Curry explained he is "extremely proud" of three "special years" playing alongside Kevin Durant, as he discussed his former team-mate's free agency departure for the first time.

Durant opted out of his player option with the Golden State Warriors to join the Brooklyn Nets, having helped the team reach three straight NBA Finals, winning two.

Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and DeMarcus Cousins have also left the Warriors, while Klay Thompson will miss most of next season with a torn ACL.

Curry's team are consequently not the favourites to win the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the first time in the last half-decade, but he made it clear the demands the squad place on themselves will not change.

"The three years we had were special," Curry told reporters at the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament about Durant, who reportedly opted to join the Nets while Curry was travelling from China to meet him.

"We had three straight Finals appearances and won two of them. We accomplished a lot as a group. 

"Everyone talks about all the talent we had on that team, but that doesn't mean you can put it all together. I like to look at what we accomplished and focus on that and be extremely proud of that run. Now we try to recreate that.

"There are a lot of changes, but the expectations of how we play, that championship-level basketball, won't change. I'm excited about it."

The Warriors managed to land D'Angelo Russell from the Nets as part of a sign-and-trade agreement involving Durant, and Curry is optimistic about the new arrival, even if he may not stay with the Warriors long term once Thompson is fully fit.

"I haven't had much personal interaction with him," added Curry. "Back when he got drafted, there were some comparisons of our games. He can handle the ball, shoot, pass. 

"Having versatile guys like that can only help our team. The chemistry will develop quickly. It's about encouraging each other and having confidence we'll get the most out of each other."

Curry, 31, added: "I'm the oldest on the team now, so I've got to step my game up. 

"It's a tough business. You knew at some point there would be some hard changes. You talk about Andre and Shaun, they're two guys who do things the right way. They have the ultimate level of professionalism, a respect for what they say and do. 

"They're both three-time champs, and I think they have a lot left in the tank. It'll be fun and weird to watch them on different teams."

D'Angelo Russell is surprised he ended up with the Golden State Warriors.

The 23-year-old guard had been linked to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers, among others, this offseason but was acquired by Golden State in a sign-and-trade after the Brooklyn Nets landed Kevin Durant.

Russell discussed the deal when he met with reporters during his introductory news conference on Monday.

"It was a lot of surprises, just all around, throughout free agency," Russell said, via The Athletic. "So, I think it's just one to add to it. I knew it was an opportunity, I knew it was something that could possibly be true. We had to wait until a few other pieces did what they did."

Russell is expected to slot into the Warriors backcourt next to star Stephen Curry next season as Klay Thompson continues to recover from the torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) he suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

"I think it's something that, you have guys that can shoot, dribble and play make for others. That's a dangerous combo," Russell said. "A guy like [Curry], who gets hot anytime throughout the game, it's something that gives you an advantage throughout the game. To add another guy that can possibly do that, consistently, I think that's just an extra piece."

Russell had a career year for the Nets last season, averaging 21.1 points and seven assists while shooting 36.9 per cent from three-point range. He made his first All-Star team, as well.

Russell inked a four-year max contract, but many have speculated the Warriors may look to move him for another asset once Thompson returns healthy.

"That's the business of it. It is what it is," Russell said. "You put yourself in position to go somewhere for a long period of time and it may not be what it is a year later. That's the business. I've come to the realisation of that, I understand that. Whatever situation I'm in, I know the business side of it. We'll just see. I can't predict it."

The Warriors traded Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies in order to create salary cap space to add Russell.

The Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship for the first time in their history after defeating the Golden State Warriors 114-110.

Toronto made history at Oracle Arena, where the Raptors sealed a 4-2 series victory over the two-time reigning champions in the NBA Finals on Thursday.

With less than 10 seconds remaining, the Warriors trailed 111-110 and had one chance to take the lead. But after a missed shot and a loose ball, Draymond Green picked up the ball and tried to call timeout.

The problem is the Warriors did not have a timeout, which gave the Raptors a free throw and possession in the Bay Area.

Kawhi Leonard made the free throw and the game was over. He also made two more free throws after the technical foul to extend the lead a touch more as the Raptors made history.

Fred VanVleet scored 22 points off the bench and made big shot after big shot down the stretch to lead the Raptors to an unforgettable win on the road.

But as inspiring as VanVleet's performance was and the crazy end to the game, the undeniable story on the night was what happened to Klay Thompson.

The Warriors' five-time All-Star – who scored 30 points – suffered a knee injury in the third quarter that saw him leave the arena on crutches.

It was a heartbreaking moment for a team that have had to deal with injury after injury in the playoffs. Kevin Durant ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 of the Finals, Kevon Looney fractured his collarbone and DeMarcus Cousins tore his quad during the playoffs.

Thompson had also already dealt with a hamstring injury in the Finals as Golden State's three-peat hopes were ended.

The Golden State Warriors have reached their fifth successive NBA Finals after sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers. 

Kevin Durant led Team LeBron to a 178-164 win over Team Giannis and was rewarded with his second career All-Star MVP award.

The Golden State Warriors forward was 10-of-15 shooting from the field and made six of his nine three-point attempts. He tallied a team-high 31 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks in the victory on Sunday.

"This is definitely going to give me some bragging rights," Durant said, as he will now get ready to return to the Warriors, where he plays alongside fellow All-Stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

This was Durant's 10th All-Star appearance. He has scored 30-plus points in four different All-Star games, which is the most in history.

Durant also took home the All-Star MVP in 2012.

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry put on a show but Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris won the NBA All-Star Three-Point contest.

Curry claimed the shooting event in 2014-15 and the two-time MVP looked on track for another victory in Charlotte on Saturday.

One of the best shooters in the NBA, Curry made his final 10 shots to post a first-round score of 27, while Harris managed 25.

Featuring in his first All-Star weekend, Harris scored 26 points in the championship round – two more than Curry.

Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings finished third with 19 points at the Spectrum Center.

"I'm just fortunate to be here," Harris told TNT. "We were talking about it coming in, obviously the field is stacked … It's just an honor to be here, an honor to compete with everybody."

Last year's winner Devin Booker, Danny Green, Dirk Nowitzki, Seth Curry, Kemba Walker, Damian Lillard and Khris Middleton all featured in the event.

Harris, who went first in the contest, added: "I actually thought it would be an advantage because I was able to warm up beforehand.

"Instead of coming down and sitting and getting cold, I was able to get warm and get myself in a rhythm."

The 2019 All-Star Game is almost here.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo completed the draft last week. James selected Kevin Durant with his top choice and Antetokounmpo followed by picking Stephen Curry.

Three of James' first four picks were impending free agents while Antetokounmpo chose multiple first-time All-Stars.

The game will be played at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday. Here are some Opta numbers to know about the matchup.

 

Complete rosters

Team LeBron: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, LaMarcus Aldridge, Karl-Anthony Towns, Bradley Beal, Dwyane Wade.
Team Giannis: Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, Paul George, Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton, Nikola Jokic, Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, D'Angelo Russell, Nikola Vucevic, Kyle Lowry, Dirk Nowitzki.

Team comparison (Team LeBron-Team Giannis)

Combined All-Star appearances: (81-52)
Combined points: (15,923-14,326)
Combined rebounds: (4,783-5,159)
Combined assists: (3,360-3,681)
Field goals attempted: (11,681-10,881)
Field goals made: (5,703-5,116)
Three-pointers attempted: (3,694-3,829)
Three-pointers made: (1,409-1,394)

– James will be playing in his 15th All-Star game. He will tie Kobe Bryant and former San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan for the second most appearances in NBA history.

– James will enter Sunday's contest with 343 All-Star game points. That is already the most by any player. He also holds the record for most field goals made and attempted.

– Dwyane Wade needs three steals to become just the fourth player ever to tally 30 or more in their All-Star careers. Bryant, Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas are the only three others to reach that mark.

– The players with the top six individual scoring averages in All-Star history will appear in the game on Sunday. They are: James (24.5), New Orleans Pelicans forward Davis (24.5), Oklahoma City Thunder guard Westbrook (24.4), Golden State Warriors forward Durant (24.3), Detroit Pistons forward Griffin (21.8) and Thunder forward George (20.8).

– James was also a captain in last year's game, which was the first that did not feature the East against West format. He scored 29 points to lead his squad to a 148-145 victory over Team Curry. The 293 combined points were the fewest since the 2013 game.

– Warriors sharpshooter Curry has made just 33.9 per cent of his three-point attempts in All-Star games. Celtics guard Irving is fourth all-time in that category at 48.4 per cent.

Juan Hernangomez saved the Denver Nuggets' win over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA on Sunday.

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