Dwight Howard C HOU 2 days ago
Howard (knee) is officially listed as questionable for Game 2 against the Warriors on Thursday, Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston reports.
Howard left Tuesday's Game 1 with a bruised left knee, sitting out down the stretch and playing only 26 minutes. After the game, Howard said he doesn't consider the injury to be serious and is hopeful he'll be ready for Game 2. The Rockets will evaluate him Wednesday, but a decision on his status likely won't come until after Thursday's morning shootaround.
Kevin Garnett PF/C MIN 2 days ago
Garnett (knee) told president/coach Flip Saunders that he wants to return to the Timberwolves next season, Alan Horton of Timberwolves Radio reports.
Garnett is set to become a free agent this offseason and should re-sign with the Timberwolves. Last season, Garnett averaged 7.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.8 blocks and 1.0 steal on 58 percent field goal shooting in 20 minutes per game for Minnesota. While only playing in five of the Timberwolves' last 29 games, Garnett started every game he played. With Nikola Pekovic (Achilles) and Gorgui Dieng (concussion) under team control for the next three years, and Adreian Payne under team control for the next four years, Garnett will likely be used in a limited role even if he is used as the nominal starter at power forward in what would be his 20th NBA season. The Timberwolves went with a youth movement down the stretch of this season, but if they are going to try and fight for a playoff spot next season, Garnett will likely play in as many games as he physically can.
Jusuf Nurkic C DEN 2 days ago
Nurkic (knee) is scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday to repair a slight tear of his patella tendon, the Denver Post reports. He's expected to be sidelined 3-to-4 months.
Nurkic played through the tendon injury for much of the second half of the season, but his minutes, and effectiveness, waned down the stretch while also nursing a sprained ankle. The Second Team All-Rookie performer is expected to miss at least a few months, putting him on schedule to return to basketball activities in late-August/early-September. With training camp set to open in late-September, Nurkic hopes to be close to full health at that time.
DeMarcus Cousins PF/C SAC 2 days ago
Kings' vice president of basketball operations, Vlade Divac, called Cousins "untradeable" in a recent interview, NBC Sports reports. "DeMarcus is untradeable," Divac said. "He's a guy who we're going to try to build around and see where he's going to take us."
While Divac's words far from guarantee anything, they reaffirm the belief that the Kings are comfortable going forward with Cousins as their franchise centerpiece. The Kentucky product has emerged as one of the best two-way big men in the league, but his individual numbers have not translated to team success. For the past few seasons, rumors have swirled suggesting that Cousins may want out of Sacramento, but the All-Star, himself, has never said as much. Even so, the prevailing belief seems to be that he's close to fed up with the team's losing ways, and his name has surfaced as a potential trade target this offseason. Divac's comments suggest the Kings have no interest in parting ways with Cousins, but that likely won't prevent teams from pursuing deals this summer.
Kosta Koufos PF/C MEM 2 days ago
Koufos' future with the Grizzlies is unclear as he heads into unrestricted free agency this offseason, ESPN's Marc Stein reports.
Koufos has played primarily a bench role in two seasons with Memphis after coming over from Denver prior to the 2013-14 season. He's thrived behind Marc Gasol, posting modest numbers but establishing himself as an excellent rim-protector and serviceable scorer around the rim. While he's yet to tip his hand as to his free agency plans, the general belief is that Koufos will seek a destination where he can step in as a starter. The Ohio State product has started 139 games in his career, including all 81 games in which he played during the 2012-13 season. After a strong postseason performance, Koufos is expected to garner considerable interest on the open market. That puts the Grizzlies in a difficult spot, as their primary focus will be re-signing Marc Gasol. As such, there is a chance they may not truly know how much money they could devote to Koufos until it's too late.
Ricky Rubio PG MIN 2 days ago
Rubio's (ankle) camp has been pushing for a trade for quite some time, Chad Ford of ESPN reports.
Rubio averaged 10.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 8.2 assists, 0.1 blocks, and 2.3 steals on 37 percent field goal shooting in 32 minutes per game this season. That's good production, but he played in just 22 games, sitting out most of the season with a high-ankle sprain. With Rubio out, the Timberwolves were able to evaluate their team without him in the lineup, and if they like the way Andrew Wiggins plays with Zach LaVine more than they do Rubio, it's possible a trade could materialize at some point. The Timberwolves landed the first-overall pick for the 2015 NBA Draft at Tuesday's lottery. Ford is on record as saying that the Timberwolves have no preference between Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor, the consensus top two picks. The Timberwolves could go against conventional thought and draft a guard like Emmanuel Mudiay or D'Angelo Russell, which could mean a trade involving Rubio. At this point, it's all speculation, but the fact that Ford was willing to put his name on the story means there may be smoke where there's fire.
Trevor Ariza SG/SF HOU 3 days ago
Ariza posted 20 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals in 34 minutes of action in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Warriors.
Ariza has been remarkable during the postseason so far, and his three-point shot has been a key factor for the Rockets. In spite of his strong performance Tuesday, the Rockets came up empty-handed. Look for him to be aggressive again in Game 2.
James Harden SG HOU 3 days ago
Harden grazed a triple-double in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Warriors, posting 28 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, and four steals in 42 minutes of action.
Harden had a remarkable performance Tuesday, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to put the Rockets on top by the end of regulation. They blew a decent lead in the game, and Harden wasn't able to carry them through the fourth quarter. Still, look for him to have another chance to put up a strong performance in Game 2.
Klay Thompson SG GS 3 days ago
Thompson had a cold shooting night in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Rockets, posting just 15 points (6-18 FG), two rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block in 33 minutes of action.
Thompson had a cold shooting night, and part of it was because he couldn't get into rhythm due to foul trouble (five total for the night). Fortunately for the Warriors, they were able to pick up the win. Look for Thompson to bounce back in Game 2.
Draymond Green SF GS 3 days ago
Green stuffed the stat sheet in a Game 1 Western Conference Finals victory against the Rockets, posting 13 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and one block in 43 minutes of action.
Green barely missed a triple-double in Tuesday's game, but his all-around contribution undoubtedly helped the Warriors take on the 1-0 lead. He also had a remarkable +10 plus-minus rating on the court in spite of playing a game-high 43 minutes.