SAN FRANCISCO — Fresh off an NBA championship, the Warriors are anticipating this will be a big summer for some of their younger pieces pegged to be the organization’s future.
James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody are all expected to play in Summer League action next month, general manger Bob Myers said Wednesday. Barring any setbacks, this will be the first time Wiseman sees game action since his stint with the team’s G League affiliate in Santa Cruz in March before he was shut down for the season due to persistent swelling in his surgically repaired knee.
It’s unclear whether the trio will play together or be separated. The Warriors are set to host the California Classic at Chase Center July 2 and 3, featuring games against the Lakers and Kings, before Las Vegas Summer League, which runs July 7-17.
Wiseman previously said there was a 90% chance he would play in the offseason competition and his health appears to be trending in the right direction. He worked out Tuesday and Wednesday, and coach Steve Kerr saying he’s been “coming along well.”
“It’s a big summer for James, and good news is he’s doing really well,” coach Steve Kerr said.
Added Myers, “He’ll scrimmage with our guys. He’s going to start doing live stuff. All indications are good.”
Wiseman has played in only 39 games since being drafted second overall in 2020 and none since April 10, 2021 due to a meniscus tear in his right knee. Wiseman was expected to return that fall in time for training camp, but setbacks prolong his rehabilitation process. He’s since undergone two additional procedures, including an orthobioligic injection in his arm in April in London, which is supposed to promote healing throughout his body.
Wiseman said Saturday that he hasn’t had any knee swelling since. Kerr said Wiseman’s health remains a top priority, but the Warriors coach is looking forward to evaluating the 7-foot center in five-on-five competition.
“Going forward, with his talent, with his size and athleticism, there’s no reason why he can’t be a dominant defensive player in the league, but it takes a lot of reps, it takes a lot of recognition, it takes a lot of being on the court with nine other people, not just being in a one-on-one workout or in the weight room,” Kerr said. “Hopefully — knock on wood — hopefully he gets healthy and gets to start putting those reps together and develops into a fine defensive center. That would be the idea. You see how gifted he is offensively. He’s a lob threat. He’s a good shooter. It’s all there for him.
“But he needs a break. He needs some things to go his way health-wise, and like I said, so far, so good, and we’re hoping that things continue to improve.”
As for Kuminga and Moody, additional games this offseason will give them more time to hone their skills. Kuminga started 12 of 70 games last season, averaging 9.3 points on 51.3% shooting and 3.3 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, Moody started 11 of 52 and averaged 4.4 points on 43.7% shooting.
Myers said Kuminga, Moody and Wiseman will have have the opportunity to play rotational minutes next season “if they earn it.”
“Hopefully we’ll be ready for training camp, and Steve will get a longer look certainly at James,” Myers said. “If those guys earned it and they can help us win, I think Steve will play them.”
Search is on
The Warriors are grateful that Kenny Atkinson passed up a head coaching job with the Charlotte Hornets to stay on Kerr’s staff. But winning the title wasn’t enough to lure Mike Brown away from the opportunity to take the reins of the Sacramento Kings.
Myers and Kerr have voiced their support for Brown, but his departure leaves an opening on the Warriors’ bench.
Kerr said his team is “kind of right in the middle of discussing” how they want to proceed with the search, and “nothing has been decided yet.”
Myers said the Warriors “prefer” to fill it with an internal candidate, possibly promoting a coach from the team’s G League affiliate in Santa Cruz, though the Warriors top executive also didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing in a fresh perspective from outside the organization.
“We don’t do everything perfectly,” Myers said. “It’s always nice to find someone like Kenny who was a head coach but coached in many other places underneath some good coaches and approaches things differently. We realized when we hired him last year we needed some new voices.”
Iggy’s big decision
After missing most of the regular season and playoffs with a laundry list of injuries, Andre Iguodala is still mulling whether he wants to play next season.
“I don’t know if Andre is done,” Myers said. “He’s got a lot going on outside of basketball, but I think he enjoyed the year. He’s seen everything now, so whatever he decides, I trust that it’ll have been thought out. But I don’t know the answer to that. He’ll probably send some cryptic tweet out.”
Iguodala, 38, was praised for his leadership throughout the postseason despite being sidelined for about a month with a neck injury. The now four-time champion, who led the parade Monday on the first bus, is well respected by the Warriors’ big three but can also connect with the younger players and serve as an invaluable mentor.
Both Myers and Kerr said they would welcome him back with open arms if he chooses to return for one last hurrah.
“It’s never an easy thing to retire and walk away from a game that you love, from people that you love,” Kerr said. “It’s a really big decision for him.”
Contributed by local news sources