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OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry will likely make his much-anticipated postseason debut Tuesday for Game 2 of the Golden State Warriors‘ second-round series against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Warriors are officially listing Curry as probable.

Coach Steve Kerr said Curry will not be on a minutes restriction.

“I feel like he’s in a pretty good place to come back right now,” Kerr said.

Golden State won Game 1 123-101 over New Orleans.

It has been just more than five weeks since Curry, a two-time MVP, suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee, forcing him to miss 15 games. The plan all along was for him to make a return at some point during the semifinal round.

“He’ll want to get his legs underneath him,” Kerr said after practice. “So we’ll try to find that balance between being cautious and letting him go a little bit.”

Curry has participated fully in four consecutive practices. He had wanted to give it a go for Game 1.

“If it were up to me, I would have played for about 20 minutes tonight,” Curry told ESPN after the Warriors’ victory on Saturday. “The plan is to return Tuesday, but ultimately it’s up to the training staff. I feel good.”

Through 51 games in the 2017-18 season, the All-Star point guard averaged 26.4 points, 6.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 42.3 percent from 3-point range.

“I expect him to be who he is,” Kevin Durant said Monday. “I’m not saying it’s guaranteed to happen. But he puts in the work and prepares himself right when he’s put in that position, so when he comes out and he plays well it’s not a surprise to me at all.”

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As the San Antonio Spurs attempt to salvage their relationship with Kawhi Leonard, there is reportedly belief within the organization that the star’s camp is aiming to get him more into the national spotlight.

Per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Michael C. Wright, multiple league sources revealed San Antonio believes Leonard’s group wants him to play in a bigger market, such as Los Angeles, New York or Philadelphia. That could lead to a trade demand as Leonard enters the final year of his contract.

A quadriceps injury limited Leonard to just nine regular-season games this past season, and the Golden State Warriors eliminated the Spurs in five games in the opening round of the 2018 NBA playoffs.

Leonard missed the first 27 games of the season due to the injury and was eased back into action when he returned. However, after just nine appearances over a 17-game stretch, he did not play after Jan. 13.

He averaged 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game this season.

The injury lingered over the team the rest of the season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Wright reported the seventh-year forward had been “distant” and “disconnected” from San Antonio. Following that, ESPN’s Jalen Rose reported Leonard wanted a trade.

Wright noted last week that “an all-hands-on-deck summer meeting” with Leonard is a priority for the Spurs this offseason. As a $200-million-plus max contract offer could soon loom, the organization wants to see if the two sides can work things out or if the relationship is beyond repair.

Among Leonard’s complaints in San Antonio, per the New York Daily News‘ Frank Isola, is that he wants coach Gregg Popovich to “lighten up a little with practice and tweak some things.”

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He’s the reigning NBA MVP. He’s the first player in Association history to average a triple-double in consecutive seasons. Russell Westbrook’s personal accomplishments stand among the game’s greatest.

The Oklahoma City Thunder should still seriously consider trading the guard this summer after yet another postseason letdown for the squad. You read that right. An organization that Russ helped put on the NBA map following its move from Seattle should relieve itself of the future Hall of Famer.

 

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It seems pretty ridiculous on the surface. Relevance in the NBA is an important thing, especially for those in a small market. Just ask Milwaukee before Giannis or this year’s version of the Memphis Grizzlies. Having star power is needed to lift up a small market.

That’s the economic situation here. On the court, Russ and his Thunder have failed to do anything of substance during the most important time of the season: The NBA Playoffs.

This year saw OKC go down in six games to a much less-talented Utah Jazz team in the first round. That series was only extended beyond a fifth game due to Westbrook’s own performance. And thus tells us a story of the Thunder under his watch.

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The Bulls tanked so hard this year, the NBA warned them to cut it out. It was a rare instance of the league responding to actual tanking measures rather than just talk of preferring to lose.

Bulls executive John Paxson, via Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago:

“We did this year what we felt was in the longterm best interests of the Bulls,” Paxson said. “It’s not a situation that any of us want to ever be in again; it goes against everything as a competitive person that you believe in; but it’s the way the system is set up.”

Chicago could try to turn around quickly. The Bulls project to have about $25 million in cap space this summer – enough to land a good player or two.

The assumption in league circles is the Bulls will wait until 2019 to make their big move when players like Klay ThompsonKawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving could be on the market, and might consider signing with the Bulls after watching another year of development from LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn.

This is the wise course. It’s unlikely Chicago can lure anyone good enough to lift such a young core quickly. The Bulls are better off remaining patient – and bad, which will net another high draft pick as Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn develop.

This is also probably the course thrust upon Chicago. Even if they wanted to, the Bulls probably can’t land a premier free agent this summer. Star free agents can see the same problems with Chicago trying for a quick fix and will likely avoid the situation.

There’d be no harm in trying for top free agents like LeBron James or even Paul George. But the Bulls will probably be relegated to 2019 if they want to sign someone meaningful. Better they realize that than make a desperate attempt for relevance this year.

Phil Jackson might not be running the ship in New York anymore, but that doesn’t mean the downtrodden New York Knicks won’t look to move star forward Kristaps Porzingis.

Obviously, said deal would have to bring in an equal star for a Knicks squad that has not earned a playoff spot since the 2012-13 season.

According to Frank Isola of the NY Daily News, said trade could potentially include Kawhi Leonard making his way from San Antonio to the Big Apple for Porzingis.

“ONE PLAUSIBLE OPTION IS TO TRADE LEONARD, WHICH SHOULD BE OF INTEREST TO THE KNICKS,” ISOLA NOTED. “ANY DEAL FOR LEONARD WOULD HAVE TO INCLUDE KRISTAPS PORZINGIS, WHOM THE SPURS ARE SAID TO BE HEAD OVER HEELS WITH, AS WELL AS A FIRST-ROUND PICK. IT’S A STEEP PRICE, BUT THE ADDITION OF LEONARD PLUS AVAILABLE CAP SPACE IN THE SUMMER OF 2019 COULD DRAMATICALLY ALTER THE COURSE OF HISTORY FOR THE STAR-CROSSED FRANCHISE.”

Why would the Knicks even consider trading the face of their franchise for an injured star that just so happens to be years older? First off, Porzingis is coming off a torn ACL himself and has had multiple injury issues in his first three seasons with the Knicks.

Despite missing all but a couple handfuls of games this past regular season, Leonard has a more proven track record. He’s a former MVP candidate.

Discussions surrounding a potential Leonard trade from the Spurs have heated up in recent weeks. There seems to be a rift between the former NBA Defensive Player of the Year and his organization. If Leonard is indeed put on the block, Porzingis would have to be seen as the best possible option in a trade for the Spurs.

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