Thu May 23 5:18pm ET
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Kevin Durant won't be ready to play in time for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on May 30.
The two-time reigning finals MVP has yet to return to on-court work while recovering from a strained right calf.
Big man DeMarcus Cousins might be healthy for Golden State's series opener against either Milwaukee or Toronto.
''Potentially,'' coach Steve Kerr said Thursday, ''but it's up in the air.''
The team re-evaluated both players Thursday and they are expected to be ready at some point during Golden State's fifth straight finals.
Durant is making progress in the training room and with moves he is able to handle in the weight room, Kerr said.
''We've known all along, it's how he responds. There's never been a point during this process where we've been able to say, `he's going to play on such and such date,' and there still isn't, so we just keep going, keep moving forward,'' Kerr said. ''... But again, he hasn't spent any time on the court with us, hasn't gone through an individual shooting workout.''
Cousins is working back from a torn left quadriceps muscle sustained in Game 2 of the first round against the Clippers. He practiced Thursday for the first time since getting injured April 16 in just his second career playoff game.
''We'll see where my body takes me and we'll see what happens,'' Cousins said. ''I feel good, a lot better than I was, I'm in a better place. I'm able to get up and down the court more. I'm able to play a little competition basketball.''
Andre Iguodala, who missed the Game 4 clincher against the Blazers with a sore left calf, didn't practice Thursday but is expected to be at full strength to start the finals.
Golden State took two days off after completing a sweep of the Trail Blazers on Monday night in Portland. The Warriors will again take a day off Sunday and won't begin full game-planning until they have an opponent.
Durant was averaging 34.2 points this postseason when he got injured during the third quarter of Game 5 in the conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets. He landed awkwardly on his right foot following a baseline jumper.
Kerr wouldn't commit to a role for Cousins when he returns, unlike when the center returned from a nearly yearlong absence Jan. 18 following surgery for a torn left Achilles tendon and started immediately.
It will depend on Cousins' health, ''how he's moving,'' Kerr said, how the series is going and matchups.
For Cousins, just getting back on the court before the offseason and free agency would be a huge boost emotionally.
Raising a championship banner would also mean so much after such a difficult year of rehab. The Achilles injury and recovery was ''one of my darkest moments,'' he said.
''It's been a wild year for me all season,'' Cousins said. ''I'm happy to be in this moment. If I get the opportunity to play I'm going to take full advantage of it, leave it all on the floor.''
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Andre Roberson (knee) was able to go through practice on Friday, according to head coach Billy Donovan. "He participated in everything," Donovan said. Roberson has been banged up for quite some time, so it's nice to see him back on the court. It was reported that Roberson was ready to play around mid-June after not playing since the 2017-2018 season. It's unclear where he'll fit into the rotation, but the Thunder might be careful with him right away. Roberson brings elite defense to the table, but his fantasy value could be limited since he might only see minutes in the teens.
Free-agent guard Jamal Crawford has agreed to a deal with the Brooklyn Nets. The 40-year-old guard brings valuable depth to the organization after seven players decided to opt out of the restart. Crawford dropped a 51-point game with the Phoenix Suns during the 2018-2019 season. He clearly still has the ability to shoot the ball, which is great for Brooklyn since the team is thin at guard. Crawford should get plenty of playing time with the second unit. He should carry decent DFS value since the Nets are desperate for someone to shoot outside of Caris Levert.
Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and did not travel with the team to Orlando. This is unfortunate news since Bryant mentioned recently he was fully healthy after dealing with a foot issue. There is a decent chance he opts out, but Bryant has not decided yet. Davis Bertans has already decided to sit out due to injury concerns. Moritz Wagner and Anzejs Pasecniks would be asked to play significant minutes if Bryant decides to opt out. Wagner would have the slight edge in terms of fantasy value, but both of them should make an impact.
Brooklyn Nets forward Rodions Kurucs was reportedly starting at power forward during practice on Friday. The team is already down seven players for the upcoming NBA restart. Taurean Prince recently opted out which opened up more playing time for Kurucs going forward. The organization went through it's first 5-on-5 practice on Friday with Kurucs starting. It's unclear who else the team plans to bring in, but Kurucs is expected to have a significant role. He could have sneaky DFS value because of how much playing time he'll receive with the Nets shorthanded.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George (shoulder) mentioned he had some insecurities with his shoulders earlier in the season, but he's feeling better now. Im feeling back to myself again, George said. He has only played in 42 games during his first season with the Clippers due to injuries. However, George has been given plenty of time to rest up because of the shutdown. He could see his playing time shrink during the reseeding games since the Clippers don't want to push him too hard. George is going to be an important player for the Clippers during the playoffs.
Los Angeles Clippers center Johnathan Motley and forward Amir Coffey will not join the organization for the NBA restart in Orlando. Motley has seen minimal playing time this season and would've been the fourth center on the depth chart behind Joakim Noah. Coffey was getting spotty playing time whenever Kawhi Leonard would sit out. He wasn't likely going to see significant playing time with the Clippers basically fully healthy. The Clippers rotation should stay pretty much the same since Motley and Coffey weren't regular contributors.
Brooklyn Nets forward Taurean Prince has tested positive for COVID-19 and will sit out the during the upcoming NBA restart. He'll join Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie, Wilson Chandler and Nicolas Claxton as the seventh Nets player to sit out. The Nets are expected to sign a few players in order to fill the void left by these players. At the moment, Rodions Kurucs stands to gain the most fantasy value from the loss of Prince. He could be a low-cost DFS option, but it really depends on what the Nets decide to do with their rotations and who they sign.
Memphis Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke (quad) is expected to be fully healthy for the upcoming NBA restart later this month. Clarke mentioned that his health is back to the way it was before his injury. "Over these past five to six weeks, I've gotten back to the player that I was," Clarke said. The stats might not show it, but Clarke has played a significant role on the Grizzlies this season. They will be glad to have him back alongside Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee) and Justise Winslow (back) who were battling injuries before the shutdown. Getting all three of them back into the rotation gives the Grizzlies a solid chance of holding onto a playoff spot. Clarke is not expected to have reliable DFS value, but will be a good contributor for Memphis.
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Isaiah Roby (foot) has been ruled out for the rest of the regular season. He will sit out the upcoming NBA restart after undergoing a minor procedure on his right plantar fascia. The Thunder don't plan to fill his spot on the roster, but he only played in three games with the team. He was acquired by the Thunder from the Dallas Mavericks in January. He averaged 8.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists over 20.2 minutes per game in the G-League. Roby has the potential to be a possible rotational piece in the NBA, but likely won't have much fantasy impact next season. The loss of Roby shouldn't impact the Thunder rotation during the restart.
Orlando Magic forward Al-Farouq Aminu (knee) did not accompany the organization to the bubble on Tuesday. He is still rehabbing a knee injury and might not play with the team at all during the restart. Jonathan Isaac (knee) and Aaron Gordon were asked to fill the void during the regular season. Isaac did join the team to the bubble, but is still rehabbing his knee. Gordon, Terrence Ross, and Wesley Iwundu will be asked to step up if Aminu and Isaac are unable to play. Both Gordon and Ross could be DFS options, but Gordon has more upside.
Indiana Pacers guard Aaron Holiday is looking at an increased role with Victor Oladipo opting out of the upcoming restart. There's a good chance that Holiday starts at point guard and sees roughly 30 minutes per game. The Pacers will be without Jeremy Lamb (knee) and Oladipo during the restart and both of them played huge roles during the regular season. T.J. McConnell is expected to see more minutes coming his way, but Holiday sounds like the one who is going to benefit the most. He could carry decent DFS value if he does end up seeing around 30 minutes per game in the starting five.
Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard has decided to opt in for the upcoming NBA restart in Orlando. Howard will head to Orlando on Thursday and plans to donate his checks to a non-profit organization. A few weeks ago, Howard was unsure about playing, but has decided to return in the hopes of helping LeBron James win his fourth title. Howard returning means JaVale McGee and Kyle Kuzma won't have increased roles. Anthony Davis could have a slight uptick in fantasy value now that he is back to full health.
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (shoulder) has decided to opt out of the upcoming NBA restart. He is dealing with a right rotator cuff injury, but is not expected to need surgery, according to Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard. Beal has been dealing with a shoulder issue for roughly eight months. He has progressively got worse over time, but the Wizards believe he'll be 100 percent healthy by the start of next season. Beal was able to average 30.5 points with a bad shoulder, so at this point his fantasy value should rise once healthy.
Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie has announced that he will not be participating in the NBA's season restart after testing positive for COVID-19. "After another positive test yesterday and considering the symptoms, Brooklyn Nets, team doctors and I have decided that it would be in the best interest for me and the team that I do not play in Orlando," Dinwiddie said. The 27-year-old was averaging 20.6 points, 6.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game while spending most of the season in the starting lineup due to the injury of Kyrie Irving. With Dinwiddie and Irving set to miss the resumption of the season, Caris Levert, Joe Harris and Tyler Johnson will see extended minutes and larger roles in the Nets backcourt.
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (shoulder) will not be participating in the NBA's season restart as a result of a right rotator cuff injury, the team announced on Tuesday. Beal becomes the second member of the Wizards to opt out of the NBA's restart in Orlando, with power forward Davis Bertans announcing that he will not be playing on June 22. The 27-year-old Latvian explained that he would not participate due to his pending free agency, after posting 15.4 points per game on 42% shooting from three-point range. Beal's tremendous season was highlighted by career-highs of 30.5 points, 6.1 assists and 4.2 rebounds on 45.5% shooting from the field. The loss of Beal and Bertans will result in additional minutes and opportunity for players such as Thomas Bryant, Rui Hachimura and Ish Smith in the eight games scheduled to begin on July 30.
Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis mentioned that he has developed a new element to his game during the hiatus. Its a secret," Porzingis said. "Ill show it on the court. The shutdown has been great for Porzingis to get back into shape. He mentioned that he was able to get back to 100 percent health during the shutdown. It's unclear what Porzingis added to his game, because he can do just about everything on the court already. His fantasy value should increase with him back to full health.
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal is expected to travel with the organization for the upcoming NBA restart later this month. Beal is reportedly still undecided about playing during the restart. It sounds like Beal's decision hinges on his conditioning, according to head coach Scott Brooks. The Wizards have a decent chance of catching the Brooklyn Nets after the organization lost multiple key players. However, the Wizards appear more concerned with evaluating young talent than competing this postseason. It's unclear who would benefit on the Wizards if Beal sits out. The team would be in big trouble on offense if that happens.
Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. (knee) is expected to travel with the team for the upcoming restart in Orlando. The Suns are not ready to rule out Oubre yet, according to GM Jason Jones. It was reported back in mid-June that Oubre was unlikely to play, but the Suns appear to be taking the wait-and-see approach. The Suns are facing an uphill battle for the No. 8 seed, so they don't have much incentive to rush Oubre back to the court. Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson would benefit if Oubre sits out. Bridges could be an interesting cheap option for DFS contests.
Dallas Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said that his status for the NBA restart is up in the air, but he is leaning towards playing. "When you have the opportunity to do the one thing you love, you just go for it," says Hardaway. He was averaging 21.5 points, 2.1 assists and 3.9 triples during the last 10 games before the hiatus. The Mavs would love to have him on the court, but it is understandable if he decides to sit out. Dorian Finney-Smith would likely benefit the most if Hardaway opts out.
Philadelphia 76ers guard Shake Milton could be asked to run the offense when Ben Simmons is off the court, according to head coach Brett Brown. He put his hand up in a pretty definitive way," says Brown. During the last nine games before the hiatus, Milton averaged 17.8 points and 4.1 assists. To be fair, the Sixers were fairly banged up, so Milton is not expected to produce the same when the season resumes. However, the team appears to be impressed by Milton, so he should see more chances coming his way.