Steph Curry pours into the next generation


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Can writers workout with other writers? I’m pondering a camp at a cafe.

Steph Chefs Up A Mini Camp

Curry’s trainer talks offseason workouts

This summer, Brandon Payne, the founder of Accelerate Basketball and Steph Curry’s personal trainer, has been leading minicamps for other NBA players. Curry and Payne, who trained No. 2 pick Scoot Henderson prior to the draft, started this to share secrets with the next generation.

Payne has been a wizard behind Curry’s world-class skills and conditioning dating back to 2011 when Curry’s recurring ankle injuries hampered his career. He’s been integral to Curry becoming an all-time great and still going strong at age 35.

“When we were working out early, the first three or four years,” Payne told The Athletic, “people would kind of look at it, see what we’re doing, but they just had their own kind of thing. Then, you get to the middle of Steph’s career, and now his contemporaries are guys that went from being guys that were encouraging him to guys that were just flat out jealous of him. So, they didn’t want to work out with him. Now, we’ve gotten to the point where, as his career has progressed, a lot of the young guys are really curious and really interested in coming in to work out with him.”

The first minicamp was earlier this summer in the Bay Area. Attendees included Henderson, Klay Thompson, De’Aaron Fox, Seth Curry, Davion Mitchell, Jordan Poole and Josh Christopher. By the second minicamp — which took place this weekend in Las Vegas — the likes of Trae Young, O.G. Anunoby, Jarace Walker, Brandin Podziemski and free-agent forward Kenneth Faried stopped by.

“We had a great cross section of some young guys,” Payne said, “some veterans that are working out trying to get in some camps. And then, we have some guys that are emerging stars. And then, you have Stephen.”

The attendees got a nice dose of Payne, who can be a mad scientist with training. His workouts are known to challenge a player’s mind and body. The sessions focus on efficient movement, skill development and decision-making under duress.

A shooting drill on Saturday night gave attending players a dose of Curry’s regimen.

“It was as close as we can get in a group setting to what he does, at his pace,” Payne said.

“It was pretty good. I think they got enough of it that night. I knew during that workout, I was getting outside of the boundaries of a few of the guys. I knew they were at a very uncomfortable point with the pace. But every single one of them didn’t show it. And they all finished. To me, that was impressive.”

Let’s check in with Shams for some NBA news.

The Latest From Shams

Houston seeks KPJ resolution

Earlier this week, I reported the Rockets are working on trying to trade Kevin Porter Jr. in the wake of his charges of felony assault and strangulation due to an alleged attack on his girlfriend, according to league sources. Those talks remain ongoing with multiple teams.

So, why exactly would any team want to do that? It’s difficult to comprehend how any team would want any involvement with Porter at the moment, but the reality is that this move wouldn’t be about actually adding Porter to a roster.

The Rockets, league sources say, have contacted multiple teams offering draft compensation as incentive to receive Porter, who has the 2023-24 season slated for $15.9 million in Year 1 of a four-year, $82.5 million deal, with three non-guaranteed years. In deal scenarios using Porter’s contract, the Rockets would be using his salary to target a player under contract who can play immediately and help the team.

For any team that would make the trade with Houston, they would clearly have to compartmentalize the contract and the player himself. What they would be really trading for is Porter’s contract in exchange for draft pick compensation, with no intention of ever having Porter play for the team. Teams that consider taking on Porter’s salary via trade would obviously have to keep in mind the optics of being even only temporarily associated with Porter, however, and that is what teams are likely weighing in their conversations with Houston right now.

Is there a price where this would be worth it for another team? We’ll find out soon enough. As The Athletic’s Kelly Iko reported on Thursday, the Rockets are hoping to find a resolution — either trading or waiving Porter — before training camp.

Porter was released Tuesday on $75,000 bail and is due back in court in Manhattan on Oct. 16. One way or another, his days playing in the NBA are likely at an end.

Beef Court

The case of E. Turner v. G. Antetokounmpo

Transparently, this beef is fully manufactured — just a bit by Evan Turner, social media and the reality we’re a couple of weeks from training camp, so not much is happening. But a philosophical clash remains.

Giannis was minding his own business and made his first-ever podcast appearance on 48 Minutes. One of the hosts is former NBA assistant coach Ross Geiger, with whom Giannis is close.

The conversation steered toward Giannis’ connection to and similarities with Nigerian hoops pioneer and NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon. Giannis spoke of Olajuwon’s significance on his life and revealed he’d been working out with him this summer before dropping a very Giannis-like nugget:

“I usually do not workout with active NBA players. I try to kinda stay on my own side, on my own court, do my own thing in the offseason. I always compete against them, so, when I am on the court, I want to go as hard as I can. Because I am a very authentic person. I feel like the moment I am around you, I become your friend because I give everything I have to you. I don’t know how to be, how you call it, phony. I don’t know how to be fake. That’s why I kind of keep my distance, because I know that if I work out with people, it takes — active players — it takes off my edge when I play against them.”

The next day, Turner, co-host of the Point Forward podcast with Andre Iguodala, tweeted out this:

“Ain’t nobody coming to Milwaukee to work out with you and your brother.”

Six hours later, Turner tweeted again:

“Just got off the phone with my man (Jayson Tatum) and he said he would pull up to Columbus to workout with me and my brother.”

The case for G. Antetokounmpo

Giannis’ logic fits him. He remains with Milwaukee because he thought joining a ready-made contender would be weak, though Bucks fans may worry about that sentiment changing. He’s not buddy-buddy with other NBA superstars and operates as his own entity. It’s hard to argue Giannis’ philosophy due to his status as an all-time great. It clearly works for him.

If Giannis, a reputed nice guy, believes he’d soften up if he got close with players, then his stance makes sense. It’s not a foreign concept. Many other players stay in their own lane. 

The case for E. Turner

Turner said he wasn’t talking about Giannis, but nobody’s buying that. Let’s presume Turner opposes Giannis’ training approach and thinks working out with other players or being friendly during the offseason doesn’t hamper competitive play.

Unquestionably competitive players workout together all the time. Kevin Durant comes to mind — as does fellow former MVP Russell Westbrook, who is celebrated for his competitive spirit. Popular NBA trainer Chris Brickley has famous “Black Ops Runs” featuring NBA players going hard in pick-up games, including the likes of LeBron James, Chris Paul and Devin Booker.

Iron sharpens iron, right?

The Verdict

Giannis wins because his style clearly works for him. The idea of working out with other players dulling one’s competitive edge isn’t universally applicable. Plus, you are definitely winning when your list of workout partners is as impressive as the two-time MVP’s.

“It’s a few people that I’ve worked out with,” Giannis said. “KG, Kobe … and Hakeem will be the third guy.”

It sounds like Giannis knows what he’s doing.

RIP Brandon Hunter

Former NBA forward passed away at age 42

On Feb. 27, 2004, the Celtics snapped a seven-game skid against the Raptors. Paul Pierce led Boston with 21 points. The game featured two power forwards taken in the now-famed 2003 NBA draft. On this night, the best one wasn’t Chris Bosh.

It was Hunter, the 6-foot-7 rookie out of Ohio University, who was selected with that year’s No. 56 pick. He had 11 points and 16 rebounds in his second career start as Bosh finished with eight points and five rebounds.

“He’s been phenomenal the last two games,” Pierce said of Hunter, whose 17 points in the prior outing and first career start marked his NBA career-high. “He’s helping us out in an area we’ve struggled in all season long.”

On Tuesday, Hunter died at the age of 42 upon collapsing while doing hot yoga in Orlando, Fla. He played two seasons in the NBA — one apiece in Boston and Orlando, respectively. After his NBA career, Hunter played in the G League and overseas until 2013 before becoming a coach and opening his own sports management company after becoming certified as an NBPA and FIBA sports agent.

As a college senior in 2003, he led all Division-I players with 12.6 rebounds per game before leaving as the best rebounder and fifth-best scorer in Ohio University history. Hunter was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame last year.

Bounce Passes

On and off the court, Breanna Stewart proved a profitable investment for the New York Liberty.

Ignite forward Ron Holland looked every bit the 2024 consensus No. 1 pick at the G League Fall Invitational.

The Suns are giving away free TV antennas so local fans can watch the NBA’s newest super team.

(Top photo: Noah Graham / Getty Images)

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