Steph Curry insists the Golden State Warriors are ready to adapt to their new role "chasing" the Los Angeles Lakers despite Klay Thompson's latest season-ending injury.

The Warriors reached five straight NBA Finals between 2015 and 2019, winning three titles, but slumped to a 15-50 record at the bottom of the West in 2019-20.

Golden State lost Thompson and Kevin Durant to long-term setbacks in their Finals defeat the previous season, before the latter departed for the Brooklyn Nets.

Curry's own injuries limited him to just five games last term as Thompson sat out the entire season and the team suffered.

The Warriors were expected to return to contention this season, challenging the champion Lakers, but Thompson will again be absent due to a major Achilles blow.

Talk of writing off another campaign is premature, however, according to Curry.

The two-time MVP told ESPN's The Undefeated: "We've been waiting seven months to get back out there.

"Not seeing [Thompson] on the court, at first, is going to be weird. But I think we've done a really good job in the offseason with James [Wiseman, the second overall pick] and our draft picks and in the free agency pool to put together a really solid roster.

"We're going to have to learn a lot really quickly, and we will need a full commitment from everybody.

"We know we can compete with anyone in the league. It's kind of crazy. We know how great Klay is - don't get me wrong - but we hear the chatter. 'It's the end for us', 'This year is a wash', 'What are we going to do in the future?'.

"But we are in the moment right now.

"It's kind of refreshing being in that category as guys that are chasing. We know [the Lakers] are the defending champs. We've got to beat them. We're ready for it."

Curry described news of Thompson's new injury as "a gut punch, for sure" and said it prompted "a lot of tears".

But Golden State are hoping to eventually welcome back the five-time All-Star who Curry still considers the best shooting guard in the league.

"He can come back strong. He's a guy that loves the game so much," Curry said. "He is going to do whatever it takes to get back out there on the floor and be himself.

"That's what we hope and that's the confidence that we have. Two and a half years of rehab is tough for anybody. But we're hoping for the best."

DeMarcus Cousins has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Houston Rockets.

Hit by injuries in recent years, the four-time All-Star will try to revive his career in Houston, ESPN reported on Monday.

Cousins, 30, has played just 78 regular-season and eight playoff games since the start of 2017-18 following numerous injuries.

The center ruptured his left Achilles in early 2018 while with the New Orleans Pelicans before joining the Golden State Warriors later that year.

Cousins tore his left quadriceps late in the 2018-19 season, but did return as the Warriors lost to the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals.

He signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers last year, but tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in August and was waived in February 2020.

The Lakers went on to win the NBA championship last month.

Cousins has averaged 21.2 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists in the regular season during an NBA career that started with the Sacramento Kings in 2010.

Houston have made the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons, but are seemingly set for a rebuild with James Harden and Russell Westbrook reportedly seeking trades.

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum has reportedly agreed a max rookie contract extension worth up to $195million.

Tatum's new five-year, $163m deal in Boston could rise to almost $200m, according to ESPN.

The 22-year-old – the third pick in the 2017 NBA Draft – led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, while earning his first All-Star appearance.

It was a coming of age for Tatum in 2019-20, much to the delight of the Celtics and all those connected with the team.

Tatum cemented himself as one of the best players in the league by averaging 23.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game – up on his 2018-19 averages of 15.7ppg, 6.0rpg and 2.1 apg.

The Celtics forward also enjoyed a fine playoff campaign, becoming only the third player in NBA history to average 25.0-plus points, 10.0-plus rebounds and 5.0-plus assists per game in a single postseason with 15 or more games played.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James (in 2014-15 and 2019-20) and Boston's Larry Bird (in 1983-84 and 1986-87) are the only other players to reach the feat.

NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly agreed to sign Toronto Raptors star Marc Gasol via free agency.

A free agent in Toronto – where he won the title in 2019 – Gasol is set to sign a two-year deal with the Lakers, according to ESPN.

After trading JaVale McGee and his contract to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the deal will also see Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie head to the Lakers on non-guaranteed contracts.

Gasol was initially drafted by the Lakers in 2007 but his rights were traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008 in a deal that sent his older brother Pau to Los Angeles.

Marc Gasol joined the Raptors from the Grizzlies last year, and the Spaniard enjoyed immediate success.

The 35-year-old averaged 9.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game following his February switch in 2019 – Toronto, led by Kawhi Leonard, capturing their maiden championship.

Last season, Gasol averaged 7.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game as the Raptors lost in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Gasol joins a Lakers side who ended their 10-year wait for a title in October's NBA Finals.

LeBron James and the Lakers have already recruited Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell from city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency, having seen Dwight Howard depart for the Philadelphia 76ers.

On Sunday, the Lakers also confirmed the signing of shooting guard Wesley Matthews, who played for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2019-20.

Donovan Mitchell has agreed to a five-year max extension potentially worth $195million with the Utah Jazz, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The All-Star guard has become a key component for the Jazz since the franchise moved up to draft him with the 13th pick in 2017.

Mitchell was named the NBA's Rookie of the Year following a spectacular debut season that saw him lead the team in scoring as they reached the playoffs.

The 24-year-old helped oust the Oklahoma City Thunder before losing in five games to the Houston Rockets. While Utah has made the postseason in the two years since then, they have failed to make it beyond the first round.

Still, Mitchell averaged a career-high 24 points and 4.3 assists in a 2019-20 campaign that saw him earn his first All-Star appearance for the Western Conference.

The season was completed in the NBA's Orlando bubble due to the coronavirus pandemic, Utah going down 4-3 to the Denver Nuggets at the end of an epic series, during which Mitchell averaged 36.3 points.

His new deal is the designated rookie max extension and follows on from De'Aaron Fox, a fellow first-round pick in 2017, agreeing a five-year deal worth $163m to keep him with the Sacramento Kings.

Gordon Hayward has ended his three-year tenure with the Boston Celtics and signed a $120million contract with the Charlotte Hornets, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Saturday.

The move ends a strange and disappointing chapter for the Celtics and ushers in new hope for a Charlotte organisation that has not won a playoff series since 2002.

Hornets management is hoping Hayward - who has agreed to a four-year deal - can bring star power and veteran leadership to guide young talents Devonte' Graham, Miles Bridges and Malik Monk – as well as No. 3 overall pick LaMelo Ball – out of a streak of four straight losing seasons.

As a restricted free agent in 2014, Hayward signed an offer sheet with the Hornets, but the Utah Jazz matched the offer and kept Hayward for three more seasons.

Charlotte will need to shed a little salary in order to fit Hayward's new contract under the cap, so the transaction could transform into a sign-and-trade move.

Hayward's run with Boston began with a broken ankle in his first game. While he gradually recovered to score 17.5 points per game last season, the 30-year-old was rumoured to be looking for a new team and turned down a $34.2m option to stay with the Celtics, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Taking another coveted piece off the board, the Toronto Raptors will keep point guard Fred VanVleet on the roster for the next four seasons.

VanVleet, who went undrafted out of Wichita State, re-signed with the Raptors for four years and $85 million on Saturday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

A playoff hero in Toronto's 2019 title run, VanVleet assumed a larger offensive role last season, starting 54 games and averaging career highs with 17.6 points and 6.6 assists per game.

The news comes one day after the Canadian government denied the Raptors' appeal of national travel restrictions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, forcing the team to play home games – at least to start the season – in Tampa, Florida.

The Raptors will likely now turn their attention to their frontcourt, where Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol are unrestricted free agents.

Gasol has been expected to move elsewhere, while Ibaka has been linked to joining Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the Brooklyn Nets.

With the Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis and New Orleans Pelicans' Brandon Ingram are expected to re-sign with their teams, perhaps the top available player is now restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic, who averaged 15.1 points per game with the Sacramento Kings last season.

De'Aaron Fox has agreed to sign a five-year max contract extension with the Sacramento Kings that will be worth at least $163million.

The point guard's agent, Chris Gaston, confirmed the agreement to ESPN.

Fox's deal will rise in value if the NBA's annual salary cap increases above $112m or if he makes an All-NBA team, with $196m the highest potential total value if he became a first-team selection.

The Kings have not made the NBA playoffs since 2006 and are hoping Fox can help them to end that streak.

Since being drafted at fifth overall in 2017, Fox has increased his minutes per game and scoring in each year, averaging a career-high 21.1 points in 32 minutes across 51 games in the 2019-20 season, which was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Fox, 22, finished the season on a high in the Orlando bubble, scoring at least 26 points in four of his last six games, including a career-high 39 against the San Antonio Spurs in July.

Across the year he led the Kings in points, assists and steals (1.5 per game), while his field goal percentage of 48 was third in the league among point guards, behind only Ben Simmons and Derrick Rose, though his three-point shooting was a career-low 29.2 as he increased his attempts to 3.6 PG.

Fox had also been a standout performer in his second season, seeing his minutes increase to 31.4 from 27.8 in his rookie season, starting all but one of the Kings' 82 games in 2018-19.

He averaged 6.8 assists in 2019-20, just down from the 7.3 in his second year but still good for 15th in the NBA.

Joe Harris has agreed to return to the Brooklyn Nets on a four-year deal, his agent confirmed on Friday.

Harris, 29, was a free agent but the guard will reportedly earn $75million after re-committing to the Steve Nash-led Nets, Mark Bartelstein told ESPN.

The Nets were desperate to retain sharpshooter Harris, despite growing links to Houston Rockets superstar and former NBA MVP James Harden.

Harden reportedly wants to leave the Rockets, with the All-NBA guard believed to be eyeing a trade to the Nets, while Eastern Conference rivals the Philadelphia 76ers have also emerged as a possible destination.

Harris – the 2019 NBA Three-Point Contest champion – averaged a career-high 14.5 points per game for the Nets last season, while he also averaged 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

In the playoffs at Walt Disney World Resort amid the coronavirus pandemic, Harris averaged 16.5 points and 10.0 rebounds as the Nets were swept by the Toronto Raptors in the opening round.

Since entering the league as the 33rd pick via the Cleveland Cavaliers, Harris has a career average of 10.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists, while he boasts a three-point percentage of 42.6.

Harris' renewal comes after the acquisitions of Landry Shamet and Bruce Brown in Brooklyn, where the Nets already boast Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Meanwhile, De'Aaron Fox's agent Chris Gaston told ESPN that the Sacramento Kings guard has agreed a five-year, $163m max extension.

Fox averaged a career-best 21.1 points per game last season, to go with averages of 6.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds.

Dwight Howard has agreed to join the Philadelphia 76ers on a one-year deal after celebrating an NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Howard's agent Charles Briscoe confirmed the free agency move to ESPN on Friday – the eight-time All-Star teaming up with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in Philadelphia.

Veteran center Howard was a free agent following the 2019-20 season, having signed a one-year contract in Los Angeles, where he helped the Lakers to their first title since 2010.

It appeared Howard was heading back to LeBron James' Lakers on Friday, when he tweeted – and later deleted – a Twitter post, which read: "I'm staying right where I belong. Laker nation I love y'all. Purple and gold never gets old."

Later, speculation of Howard's switch to the 76ers emerged – the 34-year-old's deal reportedly for the veterans minimum exception of $2.6million.

Howard will reunite with former general manager Daryl Morey in Philadelphia after the pair worked together at the Houston Rockets between 2013 and 2016.

Morey has made moves as president of basketball operations in Philadelphia, dealing Al Horford and draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for three-time champion and Howard's former Lakers team-mate Danny Green and Terrance Ferguson.

The 76ers – swept in the first round of last season's playoffs, prompting Doc Rivers' arrival – also acquired Seth Curry from the Dallas Mavericks for Josh Richardson and pick 36.

In his second stint with the Lakers, Howard averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game as the storied franchise ended their decade-long drought.

Howard made a significant contribution upon his return following his disappointing first spell in 2012-13 – he and JaVale McGee becoming the first pair of NBA team-mates to each have 75-plus blocks while shooting 60.0-plus per cent from the field in the same regular season since blocks became an official stat in 1973-74.

With Howard departing, the Lakers have turned to Los Angeles Clippers star and Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell.

Harrell's agent Rich Paul confirmed the two-year, $19million cross-town deal to ESPN.

The 26-year-old averaged 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game as the Clippers sensationally squandered a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Clippers team-mate Ivica Zubac (110) had the third-highest plus-minus in the postseason, behind Lakers pair Anthony Davis (131) and Green (118). Harrell was among the lowest with -68 – only Tim Hardaway Jr. (-82), Monte Morris (-82), Tyler Johnson (-73) and Maxi Kleber (-72) were worse.

Dwight Howard has agreed to join the Philadelphia 76ers on a one-year deal after celebrating an NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Howard's agent Charles Briscoe confirmed the free agency move to ESPN on Friday – the eight-time All-Star teaming up with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in Philadelphia.

Veteran center Howard was a free agent following the 2019-20 season, having signed a one-year contract in Los Angeles, where he helped the Lakers to their first title since 2010.

It appeared Howard was heading back to LeBron James' Lakers on Friday, when he tweeted – and later deleted – a Twitter post, which read: "I'm staying right where I belong. Laker nation I love y'all. Purple and gold never gets old."

Later, speculation of Howard's switch to the 76ers emerged – the 34-year-old's deal reportedly for the veterans minimum exception of $2.6million.

Howard will reunite with former general manager Daryl Morey in Philadelphia after the pair worked together at the Houston Rockets between 2013 and 2016.

Morey has made moves as president of basketball operations in Philadelphia, dealing Al Horford and draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for three-time champion and Howard's former Lakers team-mate Danny Green and Terrance Ferguson.

The 76ers – swept in the first round of last season's playoffs, prompting Doc Rivers' arrival – also acquired Seth Curry from the Dallas Mavericks for Josh Richardson and pick 36.

In his second stint with the Lakers, Howard averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game as the storied franchise ended their decade-long drought.

Howard made a significant contribution upon his return following his disappointing first spell in 2012-13 – he and JaVale McGee becoming the first pair of NBA team-mates to each have 75-plus blocks while shooting 60.0-plus per cent from the field in the same regular season since blocks became an official stat in 1973-74.

With Howard departing, the Lakers have turned to Los Angeles Clippers star and Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell.

Harrell's agent Rich Paul confirmed the two-year, $19million cross-town deal to ESPN.

The 26-year-old averaged 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game as the Clippers sensationally squandered a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Clippers team-mate Ivica Zubac (110) had the third-highest plus-minus in the postseason, behind Lakers pair Anthony Davis (131) and Green (118). Harrell was among the lowest with -68 – only Tim Hardaway Jr. (-82), Monte Morris (-82), Tyler Johnson (-73) and Maxi Kleber (-72) were worse.

Goran Dragic has decided to stay with NBA Finals runners-up the Miami Heat in free agency, the star guard announced.

A free agent following Miami's memorable run to the Finals at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Dragic opted to re-commit to the Heat on Friday.

Dragic's deal is reportedly for two years, with a team option in the second year.

In a Twitter post, Dragic wrote: "I'm glad that I can announce that I'm staying with my #HeatNationFamily.

"Let's finish the job we started!!! #LetsGoHeatnation #HeatNation #HeatFamily."

Dragic has called Miami home since being acquired from the Phoenix Suns in 2015.

The 34-year-old Slovenian – pick 45 in the 2008 NBA Draft – averaged 16.2 points, 5.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game last season as the fifth-seeded Heat eventually fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals.

Heat team-mate Meyers Leonard also reportedly decided to return to the Eastern Conference champions.

Leonard – who joined from the Portland Trail Blazers in 2019 – averaged 6.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game last season.

With a truncated NBA offseason charging ahead and the official start of free agency just hours away, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks said he does not anticipate making any blockbuster moves - despite James Harden's reported interest in being traded from the Houston Rockets.

Marks is charged with building a championship-worthy supporting cast around superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who now appear healthy for the start of the NBA season on December 22.

"I sincerely mean it when I say I like this group that we have," Marks said. "The group has been together for a while now and we continue to add some pieces to it.

"Training camp is going to be competitive and it is going to be fun with the group we have, and if things change, things change."

The Nets have already made a three-team deal that brought in Landry Shamet and Bruce Brown, a trade that Marks said cements the organisation's "win-now" strategy.

While Marks understandably would not make any definitive comments about his plans for the roster, he seemed to make subtle references to the speculation involving Harden.

"I couldn't tell you if we're done yet or not," he told reporters. "But I don't see us changing five or six guys on the roster if that's what you mean."

While it is unknown what Brooklyn would be required to give up for a former MVP and three-time scoring champion like Harden, the likes of Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen have been mentioned frequently in rumours.

"It's the ugly part of the business, the strange part, the awkward part, and I think it needs to be discussed," Marks said. "I've talked to several guys about this, and just said, 'Look, they're just rumours'.

"Let's go out there and concentrate on what we have at hand, which is the group that's here. They understand this is a business and let's be prepared."

Another hurdle in any potential move to acquire Harden is that the Nets likely would be unable to retain sharpshooter Joe Harris, who scored a career-high 14.5 points per game last season.

"[Keeping Harris] is definitely a priority. We hope that we can continue to build with Joe," Marks said. "Joe is an intricate piece to the programme here, not only what he does and what everybody sees on the court but off the court as well.

"He's seen this programme develop and developed alongside this programme. It would certainly be great to have him continue this ride with us."

The price for acquiring the 31-year-old Harden would certainly be high, but Brooklyn have never had a player average 30.0 points per game across a season. Harden has done so on three occasions.

Durant has two such campaigns, too, with the pair accounting for seven of the previous 11 scoring titles - a prize never won by a Nets player.

A potential Durant-Irving-Harden trio is tantalising, yet it may ultimately be too short-sighted for Marks' taste.

"There is the other side of look: take advantage of what we have right now and take advantage of the moment. We obviously have a talented group that we can put on the floor as is," Marks said. "Until we know what deals are being offered or what we are offering, it would be difficult to say.

"We wouldn't want to mortgage our future, no."

The Toronto Raptors will start the 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida after being unable to secure permission to play in Canada. 

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Canadian government requires any "non-essential" travellers to quarantine for two weeks when arriving in the country. 

The Raptors, NBA champions in 2019, will now relocate to Tampa for the start of the new season, which begins on December 22. 

In a statement, Raptors president Masai Ujiri said: "The Raptors worked diligently with public health officials at the local, provincial and federal level to secure a plan that would permit us to play our 2020-21 season on home soil and on our home court at Scotiabank Arena. 

"These conversations were productive and we found strong support for the protocols we put forward.

"Ultimately, the current public health situation facing Canadians, combined with the urgent need to determine where we will play, means that we will begin our 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida. 

"So, we'll be away from our home and our fans for now. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I'm not sure that's possible for us. We love Toronto and Canada and we know we have the best fans in the NBA."

Romario Gill has signed with the Utah Jazz after not being selected in the 2020/21 NBA Draft.

Los Angeles Lakers vice-president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka said the NBA champions are ready to be "aggressive" in free agency.

Spearheaded by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers claimed their first title since 2010 after topping the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals last month.

The drought-ending success at Walt Disney World Resort sparked celebrations but attention has already turned to 2020-21, with the season due to get underway before Christmas next month.

Dennis Schroder has already been acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Danny Green, and Pelinka insisted the Lakers are not prepared to rest on their laurels in pursuit of sustained success.

"Our approach will be to be aggressive," Pelinka, whose Lakers tied the longest postseason drought in NBA history that a tea mended by winning the title – matching the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers, said on Thursday. "I think there's a handful of teams that probably hope to contend or be in a position to contend.

"We're not going to just sit back and not expect others who are in position to try to better their roster or better their teams. So we have to stay aggressive.

"I think the danger of winning is complacency, and I won't -- we won't allow that to creep in here. We're going to try to improve our team and put head coach [Frank] Vogel and his staff in the best possible position to defend."

It remains to be seen whether JaVale McGee and Avery Bradley will exercise their player options to stay next season, while the future of star Davis is dominating headlines.

Davis – a blockbuster acquisition from the New Orleans Pelicans at the start of 2019-20 – reportedly opted out of the final year of his contract, though the championship winner is tipped to re-sign with the Lakers.

The seven-time All-Star, who has been linked with hometown team the Chicago Bulls, averaged 26.1 points, 9.3 points and 3.2 assists per game last season.

James, meanwhile, is under contract, along with the likes of Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker and Kyle Kuzma – who is eligible for an extension.

"When the time is right, we'll sit down and speak with them," said Pelinka. "But we're proud of drafting Kuz. We're incredibly proud of his growth as a player. I think he showed in the bubble his ability to play at the wing and the four -- so some three and some four.

"When you lose a defender and a wing player like Danny Green, I think Kyle, we're going to count on him to step in and play some of that wing role as well. But he has the versatility to do it. So he's been a great, great player for us and I would expect that he will continue to grow next season."

The new season is fast approaching and Pelinka added: "That'll just be a balancing act throughout the season. Recognising that there was an extremely short layoff between championship and the start of the season.

"Kind of figuring out what's best for LeBron, what's best for his health, the team's health, what's best for the league and kind of walking that carefully and thoughtfully throughout the year."

James appeared in 67 of the Lakers' 71 regular-season games before adding a fourth NBA ring to his collection and a fourth Finals MVP.

The 35-year-old averaged 25.3 points, 10.2 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game in 2019-20.

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