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Getty Golden State Warriors wing Gui Santos handles the ball during a summer league bout with the New York Knicks.

While all eyes were on the Golden State Warriors‘ lottery trio of James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody during summer league, the spotlight was unexpectedly stolen away from them on more than one occasion.

Right out of the gate, it was the team’s pick at No. 55 in the 2022 NBA Draft — Brazilian wing Gui Santos — that got the hype train rolling in a different direction.

In his first-ever game for the Warriors on July 2, the 20-year-old managed to outduel Kings swingman and No. 4 overall pick Keegan Murray. In 25 minutes of play, Santos scored 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting and added six rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot.

Flash forward to now and the baller has continued to impress with his offensive rebounding and some highlight dimes, but he’s not consistently setting himself apart from the G League pack, which leaves one to wonder whether he’ll actually see any main roster minutes in 2022-23.

Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney spoke to a Western Conference executive for their take on the situation.

Exec Drops Truth Bomb on Santos’ Main-Roster Chances Play
Gui Santos Makes His Summer League Debut! 23 PTS & 6 REB????Sacramento Kings vs Golden State Warriors – Full Highlights | July 2, 2022 NBA California Classic ????SHOP WARRIORS CHAMPIONSHIP MERCH! ???? Follow our Instagram: ???? Follow our TikTok: ???? Follow our Facebook: #HouseofHighlights #NBA #HoH2022-07-03T01:31:34Z

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Santos just had what might have been his best game with the Dubs’ G League affiliate — the Santa Cruz Warriors — to date. Playing 32 minutes against the Salt Lake City Stars, he put up 14 points and 11 rebounds, both of which were season highs. He also knocked down two of his four attempts from three-point range.

For the year, though, he’s only logging a 7.4-6.5 line, which doesn’t exactly scream “NBA-ready.” Even if things were going better for him, though, he might not get much of a chance to play with Golden State given the team’s current struggles.

“If they thought he could help them, he would absolutely get a shot. But they are not in a position to be bringing guys along right now, not with the issues on the bench.” the exec declared.

“Pat Baldwin Jr. is probably next up to get a chance, if any new young guy is going to crack the rotation, it would be him, they are high on him. That just makes sure that Santos is that much farther from the rotation. He has some promise but he is not ready yet.”

Patience Is a Virtue

Back in July, a league GM indicated to Heavy Sports that fans should probably be playing the long game where their expectations of Santos are concerned. But there was also a belief that the Warriors are willing to give him some time.

“The joke is always, he’s two years away from being two years away and that might be the case for him. But he’s 20, so he’s either NBA-ready in two years or they will move on,” the GM said.

Still, the exec noted that Santos has some attributes that make him intriguing as an upside play/developmental project. And those continue to be apparent with the Sea Dubs.

“He can get there. He is fun to watch but he is like a lot of young players coming out of Brazil, very raw,” the exec added. “He is not a crazy athlete and he has good ball-handling instincts but he needs high-level experience.”

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Disgraced crypto exec Sam Bankman-Fried spent big in two SoCal Congress races

During her campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives this spring, then-state Sen. Sydney Kamlager was endorsed by a little-known nonprofit called Guarding Against Pandemics.

A few weeks later, a group called Protect Our Future began to spend heavily to support Kamlager in her primary election in South Los Angeles, dropping $500,000 in less than a month on mailers, television ads and radio spots, federal records show.

The two events had one connecting thread: San Francisco Bay Area native Sam Bankman-Fried, 30, the co-founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

Before his business empire imploded, Bankman-Fried was the world’s youngest billionaire and the second-biggest donor to Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections. He gave $27 million to the Protect Our Future political action committee and also contributed to the Guarding Against Pandemics group, run by his younger brother.

In more than a dozen congressional elections, including two in California, the two groups seemed to have overlapping interests: Guarding Against Pandemics endorsed a House candidate, and Protect Our Future spent heavily to support the political hopeful.

In addition to Kamlager’s bid for the 37th Congressional District, Protect Our Future spent more than $1 million to support Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia in the 42nd District in southeastern L.A. County.

Kamlager and Garcia both won election by a wide margin.

Groups connected to Bankman-Fried spent about $2.4 million in the two races, raising questions about how the Bahamas-based billionaire zeroed in on Kamlager and Garcia, and whether he wanted them to support his plan for crypto regulation in Washington.

The vast majority of Bankman-Fried’s contributions were funneled through political action committees, which are barred under federal law from coordinating with candidates. Still, some Democrats have tried to distance themselves from Bankman-Fried, wary of the optics of being backed by a mega-donor whose FTX customers may have lost everything.

“I was definitely surprised by the amount of spending,” Kamlager said in an interview. She said she didn’t know why Bankman-Fried’s group had backed her, or whether a crypto bill she introduced in Sacramento in February had been a factor.

Garcia’s representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

The central mystery of Bankman-Fried’s political giving is whether the crypto executive had an ulterior motive in backing congressional candidates. Bankman-Fried, who did not return a request for comment, has previously said that “most” — but not all — of his contributions were “for pandemic prevention,” and were not made “with crypto in mind.”

Bankman-Fried had been lobbying for crypto markets to be regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission rather than the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has a bigger budget and a more aggressive stance on crypto interests. Bankman-Fried told The Times this summer that he was “spending a lot of time” talking to members of Congress.

Political committees linked to Sam Bankman-Fried reported more than $1.2 million in outside expenditures to support Congressman-elect Robert Garcia of Long Beach, federal filings show.(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Bankman-Fried made a $2-million contribution to a committee called GMI, which then transferred funds to a pro-crypto committee called Web3 Forward, according to federal records. Web3 Forward spent more than $440,000 to support Kamlager and more than $231,000 to oppose state Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), who ran against Robert Garcia in the primary, according to federal filings.

Bankman-Fried also contributed $250,000 to the Democratic Majority For Israel, federal filings show. The committee reported more than $88,000 in outside expenditures to support Kamlager and nearly $143,000 to oppose Democrat Daniel Lee, who came in third in the primary. In Long Beach, DMFI spent nearly $66,000 to oppose Cristina Garcia.

There are no limits on what such outside groups can spend to support or oppose candidates, and such spending has the potential to reshape races without input from candidates.

In an email, the Protect Our Future committee described Kamlager and Garcia as “champions for pandemic prevention in the next Congress.”

Protect Our Future credited Kamlager’s work to keep small businesses afloat during COVID-19 and praised Garcia’s proactive handling of city issues during the pandemic. Pandemic preparedness received top billing on Garcia’s campaign website, above voting rights and a nationwide $15 minimum wage.

Protect Our Future was the single largest spender in Garcia’s race, producing an avalanche of advertisements, including videos on Facebook and Instagram that described him as “the best of America.” The ad said he would “fight to give every family a shot, from strengthening Medicare and Social Security to making investments we need to prevent pandemics.”

Garcia has not taken any public positions on crypto.

Groups connected to Bankman-Fried reported nearly $1.2 million in outside spending to support Kamlager — pictured here with actress Jane Fonda — in her bid for U.S. Congress, federal filings show.(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Kamlager said she filled out a Google survey for Guarding Against Pandemics, then sat for a Zoom endorsement interview. The questionnaire, reviewed by The Times, had six yes-or-no questions about pandemic preparedness.

Kamlager said she didn’t know that Guarding Against Pandemics had a connection to Bankman-Fried. Neither she nor her team had spoken to him, she said.

“I wouldn’t know the person if he walked up and sold me a Snickers bar,” Kamlager said.

In February, Kamlager introduced a bill in Sacramento that would have allowed state agencies to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment. The bill, SB 1275, received coverage on financial news websites such as Blockworks and Motley Fool.

Kamlager’s office said the change would make California more “user-friendly.”

State Controller Betty Yee opposed it, writing in a legislative analysis that venturing into digital payments would be “fiscally irresponsible.” A legislative analyst said crypto could be used in tax evasion and money laundering and is not backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

When the bill died in committee, Kamlager said on Twitter that there would be “another bite at the crypto apple.”

Kamlager’s campaign also drew support from the pro-crypto political action committee Dao for America, which spent more than $151,000 on her behalf, filings show.

Kamlager said she had been intrigued by the idea that digital currencies could help people of color build wealth, especially for those who had been shut out of traditional financial institutions.

But, Kamlager said, the collapse of FTX “revealed a lot of things.” Asked if she planned to introduce any crypto bills in Congress, Kamlager said: “Probably not right now.” She said her priorities will be criminal justice, housing and generational wealth.

“It’s important for folks to know that just because someone supports you doesn’t mean that you support them,” she said.

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