Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka hopes to test his calf injury by the end of the week and is pushing to return for a potential appearance in the NBA Finals.
According to Yahoo Sports, Ibaka refuses to accept the diagnosis that his severe calf strain will keep him out for the remainder of the playoffs.
The San Antonio Spurs took Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday, scoring more than half of their 122 points in the paint without the 6-foot-10 shot-blocker Ibaka to contend with.
—Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor expects All-Star forward Kevin Love to be part of the team next season, even if it turns out to be his last before hitting free agency.
Taylor was responding to a report that Love will not re-sign with the Wolves when his contract expires at the end of the 2014-15 season and his preference is to be with a contender.
“I should never say never because who knows what might come up? But that’s not our plan,” Taylor said in the Pioneer Press.
Love, a three-time All-Star, did not formally demand a trade and Taylor reiterated he was commenting only on hypotheticals. Taylor said the Timberwolves have not talked to Love, his agent or any other teams about a possible trade.
—Twelve years after the losing their original nickname to New Orleans, Charlotte’s NBA franchise is once again the Hornets. The Hornets officially returned to Charlotte on Tuesday. Gone are the Bobcats in what the team called a re-branding.
The Hornets will unveil their new uniforms for next season on June 19. The franchise will participate in the NBA Summer League in July as the Hornets.
Charlotte entered the NBA as an expansion team and played as the Hornets from 1988 to 2002. After the franchise left, the NBA returned to Charlotte in 2004 as the Bobcats and used that name from 2004 to 2014. New Orleans dropped the Hornets’ name last year in favor of the Pelicans. The team also will reclaim the statistics from 1988 to 2002 to be merged with the team records and stats from the 10 years as the Bobcats.
—It did not take Steve Kerr long to stare up at the championship-level height at which the Golden State Warriors have set their team’s standard and immediately ask that the bar be lowered.
It might not have been what Warriors management expected to hear at Kerr’s introductory press conference on Tuesday as the new Golden State coach. But general manager Bob Myers did cite being “genuine” as one of the new guy’s most admirable traits.
“It is not my goal to win 52 games,” Kerr insisted, not coincidentaly picking a number one higher than the Warriors achieved under recently fired Mark Jackson this past season. “We all know how the NBA works. You can get a couple of breaks and make a nice run. Or you can have a couple of injuries … My goal is to continue the upward trend that the team is on.”
—General manager Chris Wallace will take full control of the Memphis Grizzlies’ front office this week with CEO Jason Levien and assistant general manager Stu Lash expected to be fired.
Lead attorney David Mincberg, who was involved in hiring Dave Joerger as head coach before last season, will likely assume a greater role in the front office, according to multiple reports. However, Joerger’s hire was largely credited to Levien, who helped shuttle out coach Lionel Hollins despite a strong season and playoff run last year.
Pera reportedly helped conduct player exit interviews independent of Joerger, who guided Memphis to a 50-32 regular-season record. The Grizzlies lost in the final game of a best-of-seven series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
—The Indiana Pacers enter Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat on Tuesday night with a little more depth. Guard-forward Evan Turner will be available after sitting out the series opener because of strep throat.
Turner has yet to make a major impact in the playoffs, averaging just 3.5 points in 13 postseason games.
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