Posts Tagged ‘NBA NEWS’

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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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Sunday was a quiet, leisurely day at the Milwaukee Bucks’ Sports Science Center. The basketball courts and weight room were unusually barren while many sets of eyes were glued on the day’s NBA playoff games.

Just 24 hours prior, the Bucks were part of the playoff picture. Then, with a Game 7 loss Saturday night to the Boston Celtics at TD Garden, Milwaukee was subtracted from the championship equation.

Instead of heading to Philadelphia, the team returned home for a final day of physicals and exit interviews before heading their separate ways for the summer.

“If you’re asking me do I still want to be playing, heck yeah,” Bucks coach Joe Prunty said when asked if Milwaukee’s 44-38 season followed by a first-round exit was a disappointment. “And would I want to be playing until June? Yeah. Absolutely. There’s no question there. …

“I’m sure there will be people that label it as a disappointment, but those people might also be people who don’t look at growth in a lot of things. For us, I think there are a lot of positives to take from it.”

With Saturday’s loss, the Bucks have unwillingly been thrust into the off-season, one that is full of critical decisions for the franchise as it prepares to move into its new arena next door to its now-former home, the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Among the numerous choices the Bucks must make are who will man the sideline as the team’s head coach next season and how will Milwaukee handle the restricted free agency of forward Jabari Parker.

Prunty inherited the position of head coach when the Bucks decided to fire coach Jason Kidd in January, citing his lack of production with a talented roster that was just one game over .500 prior to Kidd’s removal. With Kidd out, Prunty, his top assistant, was given the reins for the remainder of the season.

Under Prunty, the Bucks closed the season with a 21-16 record to finish as the No. 7 seed in

Paul George is set to become one of the most highly coveted free agents this summer. Several teams are expected to be in pursuit of the superstar, and after the way things ended this season with the Thunder, there is reason to believe he could be on the move. 

Here are the four best destinations for George:

Philadelphia 76ers

If Playoff P wants to become Finals P he needs to become a 76er. If George is your best player, the chances of winning a title are slim to none, but as a third option on a team like this, the chances are no longer slim. Even as the C-option, George may turn out to be the one they go to late in games until (if ever) Ben Simmons develops a jump shot.

The 76ers should be one of, if not the favorite, to win the East next season, and with George they can own the conference for years. The Big 3 in Oklahoma City was a failed experiment; George, Simmons, and Joel Embiid could become the most unguardable Big 3 in the NBA.

Los Angeles Lakers 

The Lakers have always felt like the ideal fit for George since he made it clear that he would “love” to play for his hometown team and listed the Lakers as a place he wanted to be traded to last summer.

Whether he would be joined by LeBron James or not, the purple and gold would be a natural fit for George. Without LeBron, it would be the return of the Indiana PG13 as the primary scoring option. With LeBron, George will get the opportunity to compete for championships.

Going home is one thing, playing with a pass-first point guard in Lonzo Ball and a young talented roster is another. Oh, and it is Los Angeles.

San Antonio Spurs

This move will require several moving parts, but with Kawhi Leonard’s relationship with the Spurs severely damaged, this trade scenario could satisfy all sides. If George is willing to commit to a sign-and-trade, a deal that involves the Spurs and Leonard is ideal. The Spurs can provide him with the best coach in the NBA, an unmatched system, and a ticket to be Batman on the River Walk.

Unless Leonard’s injury is career-threating, what better return can the Thunder receive? Even if the Thunder cannot get Leonard to sign an extension on their end, they have shown before they have no problem renting and hoping.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Of course, resigning with the Thunder cannot be ruled out. After all, the Thunder do own George’s Bird Rights and can potentially offer him a five-year deal worth $207.4 million. Along with the most money, familiarity, and minimal pressure, the Thunder’s GM Sam Presti has proven to be one of the best in the business. If Presti has both George and Russell Westbrook locked up, the smart money is on him providing them with a more than reasonable supporting cast.

The issue, however, is that Westbrook is difficult to play with on the court and the Thunder cannot even think about a championship as long as Carmelo Anthony is around.

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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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Click on link below for audio

www.spreaker.com/episode/14644696

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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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