KD ‘unlikely to play’ at beginning of Finals, but Boogie might be back just in time

Steve Kerr On Injured Stars Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins…

Warriors’ Kevin Durant ‘unlikely to play’ at beginning of NBA Finals

Josh Schrock | NBC SPORTS 

After sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals, the Warriors have more than a week to rest up and hopefully get healthy for their fifth straight NBA Finals appearance.

The Warriors updated the progress of Kevin Durant (right calf strain) and DeMarcus Cousins (torn left quad) ahead of Thursday’s media availability, and it doesn’t look like either star will be able to go when the Finals begin May 30.

Durant has not yet resumed basketball activities, but the Warriors are hopeful he can return at some point. Golden State is hopeful that Cousins will be able to return for the Finals.

Durant initially injured his right calf during the third quarter of Game 5 in the Warriors’ second-round NBA playoff series against the Houston Rockets. The two-time NBA Finals MVP had been on a tear leading up to the injury, averaging 34.2 points per game during the postseason, and was unstoppable ever since his “I’m Kevin Durant” moment following the Dubs’ Game 2 loss to the LA Clippers in the first round. 

After waiting his entire career to see playoff action, Cousins injured his quadriceps muscle in the opening minutes of Game 2 of the Warriors’ series with the Clippers.

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Warriors GM Bob Myers explains tricky part about Kevin Durant’s injury

Drew Shiller | NBC SPORTS 

Warriors forward Kevin Durant sustained a strained right calf on May 8.

The injury is more serious than initially thought, as Golden State made the following announcement on Thursday morning:

“Durant, who has not yet been cleared to begin on-court activities, continues to make good progress with his rehabilitation. At this point, it is unlikely that he will play at the beginning of the 2019 NBA Finals, but it’s hopeful that he could return at some point during the series.”

Game 1 of the NBA Finals is on Thursday, May 30 in either Milwaukee or Toronto, and the Warriors will provide another update on KD next Wednesday.

“The tricky thing with Kevin is you cannot have a setback because we’re so up against it,” Dubs GM Bob Myers said on 95.7 The Game on Thursday afternoon. “This is not something you can push hard because if you have a setback, it kind of takes you out of the equation.

“So you have to be very diligent and smart. And [Director of Sports Medicine and Performance] Rick Celebrini is great and Kevin has been unbelievable in showing up twice a day and putting all the work in that he can. You don’t need to motivate Kevin Durant to want to get back.”

The reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP did not travel to Portland for Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference finals. Is it possible that he stays back in the Bay Area next week as well?

“I haven’t gotten to that place yet,” Myers said. “I’m speculating that at this point we’re assuming he will travel … that hasn’t even really been kicked around. I think all indications are that he would go and play or continue to rehab there.

“But we haven’t finalized that.”

Game 2 is on Sunday, June 2 with Games 3 and 4 at Oracle Arena on June 5 and 7 respectively.

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Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins could return in time for start of NBA Finals

Logan Murdock | NBC SPORTS 

OAKLAND — In a surprising twist, injured Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins practiced Thursday afternoon for the first time since tearing his left quad. 

With Cousins one step closer to game action, Golden State could be getting reinforcements at just the right time. 

“I feel good. A lot better than I was,” Cousins said Thursday afternoon. “I’m able to get up and down the court more. I’m able to play a little competition basketball.”

Minutes before Cousins spoke to the media for the first time in more than a month, the Warriors announced he, along with Kevin Durant, will miss the onset of the NBA Finals next week, but expressed hope both could play sometime during the series

Following Thursday’s practice, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Cousins’ availability for Game 1 of the Finals on May 30 will depend on his conditioning level. Additionally, Kerr wouldn’t commit to starting the big man when ready, saying the decision will depend on matchups. 

Cousins, who tore his quad diving for a loose ball in Game 2 of a first-round series with the Clippers, signed a one-year, $5.2 million deal with the Warriors in July in an effort to boost his value after the perennial All-Star tore his Achilles last season. After averaging 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 30 regular-season games this year, Cousins seemed primed for a summer payday before the quad injury occurred. Shortly after suffering the injury, Cousins vowed to return in the playoffs. 

“Initially, I thought it was worse than what it was,” Cousins said. “There was obviously a panic, but once the doctors came out and I realized what it was, I gathered myself from a couple of days of frustration, anger, sadness and all of the above. I told myself to get back to work and do it all over again. That’s what I did, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

“I feel like that’s what adversity does: It always builds you up and makes you stronger for the next bump,” he added. “That was one of my darkest moments, dealing with the Achilles. I feel like I was in a stronger mental capacity when it came to dealing with this one. Not to say that it’s been easy, but it’s a more comfortable situation.”

Over the last month, Cousins has been seen working on his lateral movement and taking light jump shots after practice. As for his pending return, Cousins believes that he can be a vital piece for a team in need of reinforcements. 

“I think people know what I can do,” he said. “It’s just about me being healthy. Of course, I want to be out there to help my team and to play the game that I love to play. I also just want to be healthy. This is an opportunity to do that.”

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Klay Thompson Remains Remarkably Calm Upon Learning He Lost A Chance At Another $30 Million

Lauren Theisen | DEADSPIN

The All-NBA teams came out today, and Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson isn’t on any of them. While teammates Steph Curry and Kevin Durant made the first and second teams, respectively, Thompson couldn’t even sneak onto the third team. Those honors went to Russell Westbrook and Kemba Walker.

There’s a strong case to be made that this was the right call by the voters, since most advanced metrics really do not like Thompson, and the sharpshooter’s efficiency is significantly behind Curry’s or Durant’s. Still, getting left off the list is tough for Thompson’s future, because it means he won’t be eligible for a supermax deal when he becomes a free agent this summer.

That difference, of potentially $30 million, is completely beyond Thompson’s control, but you wouldn’t know it from his reaction. Upon hearing of the snub, he somehow maintains his chill, reacting the way someone would if you stole their seat when they went to the bathroom. The closest he ever comes to showing his anger comes with a mere squint into the distance, when a reporter erroneously says Bradley Beal made the team over him.

Chin up, Klay. You can still get a spot on the Calm-NBA first team.

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And while he did remain “remarkably calm” upon hearing about the $30 million loss, he certainly didn’t appear very happy about it either…

Warriors’ Klay Thompson not happy after being snubbed from All-NBA team

Josh Schrock | NBC SPORTS 

Klay Thompson received some bad news Thursday when the All-NBA teams were released and he was left off the list.

Warriors star Steph Curry and Houston Rockets star James Harden were voted to the first team, and Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving made the second team. Kemba Walker and Russell Westbrook were chosen as the third-team guards.

The Warriors guard was in the “others receiving votes” category, right behind Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal.

When informed of the snub at Thursday’s media availability, Thompson was visibly disgusted at the voting and explained why he believes he deserved to be selected.

“Oh, I didn’t? It already came out?” Thompson said after being told he didn’t make an All-NBA team.

When told Walker made the third team, Thompson gave a heavy eye roll.

“I mean that’s cool and all, but like, when you go to five straight Finals — I respect those guys, but when you go to five straight, it takes more than just a couple All-NBA guys,” Thompson said. “It takes an All-Time team. But whatever. I’d rather win a championship than be All-NBA.”

The snub also costs Thompson $30 million, as he’s now not eligible to receive a super-max extension from the Warriors.

“It is what it is, you know I can’t control it,” Thompson said. “Do I think there’s that many guards better than me in the league? No. That’s the reason why we are still playing, so I don’t even want to get into it.”

Thompson certainly has a point on all counts.

The five-time NBA All-Star is one of the best shooters of all time, and he put his defensive prowess on display in the Warriors’ Western Conference finals sweep of the Trail Blazers by locking up Damian Lillard. 

Thompson has every reason to be upset, especially with Walker, whose Charlotte Hornets went 39-43 and missed the playoffs, making it over him. But a fourth NBA title would make it sting a little less.

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LeBron James already recruiting Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Josh Schrock | NBC SPORTS 

Say what you will about LeBron James, but he’s no fool.

The three-time NBA champion knows that despite the promise his Los Angeles Lakers showed early on this season, they have a long way to go to catch the two-time defending NBA champion Warriors.

So, with a historic free-agent class set to hit the market July 1, James reportedly has already started putting in work with some of the biggest stars who will be available this offseason, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Thursday.

“Have you seen the Lakers’ roster at the moment?” Windhorst said on “Pardon The Interruption.” “I don’t think LeBron is in position to be too picky. From what I understand, he has already begun the recruiting process. I’ve heard he has had contact with Kawhi Leonard. I’ve heard he’s had contact with Jimmy Butler. There’s no tampering enforcement with players … LeBron is Tamperer-in-Chief of the Lakers right now.”

Spicy.

Leonard and Butler are just two of the big names set to hit the market this summer. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both are expected to opt out of their contract and become free agents, while Klay Thompson, Tobias Harris and Kemba Walkers also will be available. 

The Lakers have been such a mess lately, it seems like their best options are to hope Irving wants a reunion with James or that Butler didn’t enjoy playing with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons during his brief stint with the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Most expect Leonard to leave Toronto for Los Angeles, just not for the Lakers. The Clippers have long been seen as the front-runners to sign the 2014 NBA Finals MVP, but it’s hard to count out the lure of playing with James and trying to bring an NBA title back to the Lakers’ franchise.

Durant doesn’t appear to be an option for the Lakers and most believe Thompson will re-sign with the Warriors.

Harris or Walker could be a “break glass in case of emergency” option for the Purple and Gold.

If the Lakers are unable to land a marquee free agent, they will once again have to turn to the trade market as a way to try and level the playing field with Golden State.

But if the Lakers can’t LeBron the help he needs, it could be another long year in Tinseltown.

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