Josh Robbins: The only significant news from the Magic’s practice today was that Nikola Vucevic said he’s feeling better from the stomach bug that prevented him from playing last night. Also, Steve Clifford would not be specific about Jonathan Isaac’s progess in the NBA concussion protocol.
May 28, 2023 | 10:23 am EDT Update
The early around-the-league reaction to Washington’s hiring of Michael Winger to take over its front office: Pretty much every rival team I’ve spoken to is already expecting aggressive activity from the Winger-led Wizards. Don’t forget, though, that Bradley Beal can’t be in play for a trade unless he wants to be. Beal holds the NBA’s only active and full no-trade clause as he enters Year 2 of a five-year, $251 million contract, so Washington can’t send him anywhere without Beal’s consent. Also TBD: Is Kristaps Porziņģis still a near-lock to receive a contract extension from the Wizards, as it appeared earlier this season, or likely to join the in-demand Kyle Kuzma on the Wizards’ list of marquee unrestricted free agents?
Justin Kubatko: Jayson Tatum last night: ✅ 31 PTS ✅ 12 REB ✅ 5 AST It’s the seventh time Tatum has recorded at least 30p/10r/5a in a game in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, tying LeBron James (2018) for the most such games in a single postseason. Read and subscribe: open.substack.com/pub/statitudes…
NBA on ESPN: Al Horford is set to play in his 10th career Game 7. He’ll join Ray Allen (11), Paul Pierce (10) and Bill Russell (10) as players who’ve played in 10+ Game 7s. All of them played for the Celtics 🍀 pic.twitter.com/SNQWBtGTIi
One week after shocking the world in Kaunas with the two-pointer that gave Real Madrid the win against Olympiacos and the 11th EuroLeague in the club’s history, Sergio Llull wrote that history once again. The 35-year-old Spanish veteran just became Real Madrid‘s leading scorer in the ACB. With a three-pointer to give Real Madrid the 25-point lead in the last minutes of the second quarter against Gran Canaria, in Game 1 of the ACB Quarter-Finals between the EuroLeague and EuroCup champions, Sergio Llull overcame Felipe Reyes in this special ranking, crossing the line of 6.019 points.
May 28, 2023 | 7:43 am EDT Update
Mavericks not interested in Kyrie Irving sign-and-trade with Lakers for D’Angelo Russell
A popular topic all week, in the wake of Denver sweeping the Lakers out of the Western Conference finals, was the notion that L.A. could emerge as a potential sign-and-trade destination for Dallas’ free agent-to-be Kyrie Irving. While we await a clear indication about the Lakers’ intentions there, with no verifiable signal to date that pursuing Irving is among their offseason priorities, league sources say that the Mavericks would have no interest in a sign-and-trade with the Lakers that features D’Angelo Russell as the primary Dallas-bound player. All indications are that the Mavericks remain intent on re-signing Irving.
The former No. 2 overall pick has already expressed a desire to return to Los Angeles, but his future with the team remains unclear especially after Darvin Ham decided to bring him off the bench in Game 4 against the Denver Nuggets. Russell acknowledged it was a tough situation for him but wanted to remain as professional as possible about it. “I mean, it was tough,” Russell admitted. “It was tough to agree with it obviously, but in a short period of time to not become a distraction to your teammates and to everybody else that’s preparing just like you to get the one goal done which is win. I knew that was where you had to be professional. You can’t be a distraction at this point of the season and things like that, so that’s kind of how I went about it. I wanted to be professional and try to dominate my minutes when there were minutes for me.”
Lakers preferred offseason course is retaining Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura
Retaining restricted free agents Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, continues to be regarded as the Lakers’ preferred offseason course. Less clear is the extent of their appetite to re-sign Russell, who averaged 6.3 points per game and shot 32.3% from the field (including 13.3% from 3-point range) during Denver’s four-game sweep.
The Celtics had to find their togetherness and it was his job as the OG to make that happen. Horford told Mazzulla to ditch the film session, organizing a team trip to Topgolf instead. They needed to have fun with each other and feel the joy again. “We completely skipped film,” Grant Williams told The Athletic. “We kept basketball away and we just focused on each other and getting that camaraderie and team back. We disconnected from the actual pressures and we were able to just enjoy one another. We’ve done movies before, we’ve done dinners. But that was our first time doing something active like that. Then we hit the film the next day.”