Thursday morning And-1 links: Plethora of playoff injury updates

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Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• Ray Allen says he feels good and will practice Thursday. I wouldn’t hold your breath on him playing, however.

• As a side note, Ray Allen may be the most OCD player in the league about his routine. And his ankle injury is throwing that off.

• The Clippers Mo Williams has a forearm contusion and will be evaluated before Game 3.

• Also with the Clippers, Nick Young has a sprained thumb but said he will play Saturday.

• If Young plays, he may start in front of Bobby Simmons.

• Finally for the Clippers, who may need to set up their own M*A*S*H* unit, Eric Bledsoe has a left elbow contusion, but he can play through it.

• The Pacers Leandro Barbosa is still feeling the effects of a sprained ankle.

• Matt Bonner did not play in the second half of Game 2 against Utah due to a quad injury. He will be evaluated again Thursday.

• And here’s a fan touching Marc Gasol’s butt. Don’t ever say PBT doesn’t bring you the most important NBA stories.

• The Suns have a league-high $23 million in cap space this summer, but they may not use it all. You can be sure Steve Nash heard that.

• John Lucas III finds it hypocritical of LeBron James to try and sell a foul on Tyson Chandler with a flop after the pick LeBron set on Lucas that led to a shoving match.

• Why have the Heat looked good so far in the playoffs? Because they have a better supporting cast — and it’s healthier than in the past — to go with the Big Three.

• After they finished the season playing their best ball, should Randy Wittman get brought back to coach the Wizards next season?

• Another report saying that injuries are not up this season, despite the perception (it is behind the ESPN pay wall). Hollinger makes a good point — if you think injuries are up in these playoffs you forgot last playoffs.

• Knicks GM Glen Grunwald was a fantastic high school basketball player derailed by knee injuries.

• Marc Gasol is playing very, very well these playoffs.

• What do the Pistons need in the upcoming draft? How about John Henson out of UNC?

Victor Oladipo’s practice dunk better than anything he – or maybe anyone – did in dunk contest (video)

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Victor Oladipo has grown into far more than just a dunker.

In fact, in Saturday’s dunk contest, he didn’t look like a dunker at all.

The Pacers star missed all three attempts of his first dunk, and a Black Panther mask was by far the biggest draw of his second. Oladipo was eliminated after the first round.

Maybe Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t the only eliminated dunker who left something in his bag. This Oladipo dunk – 180 degrees, throwing ball off the backboard with his left hand while in mid-air, dunking with his right hand – while preparing in Los Angeles was awesome.

Larry Nance Jr. had the contest’s best dunk. This would have rivaled it.

Pelicans owner Tom Benson hospitalized with flu symptoms

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson has been hospitalized with flu symptoms.

A statement released Wednesday by the NFL and NBA clubs says their 90-year-old owner is resting comfortably at Ochsner Medical Center, a hospital which also serves as a major sponsor and which owns naming rights to the teams’ training headquarters.

Benson has owned the New Orleans Saints since 1985 and bought the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012.

In recent years, Benson has overhauled his estate plan so that his third wife, Gayle, would be first in line to inherit control of the two major professional franchises.

 

Report: Seattle hosting Kings-Warriors preseason game

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Kevin Durant spent his rookie season in Seattle, before the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. He has said Seattle fans deserved to see him grow up in the NBA after supporting his promising start.

They’ll get their chance.

Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:

The Kings and Golden State Warriors have scheduled a preseason game next season in Seattle, according to multiple league sources.

The Oct. 6 meeting between Northern California teams will be the first NBA game in the Key Arena since the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City after the 2007-08 season and became the Thunder.

This game will be loaded with storylines. Not only Durant, but the Kings considered moving to Seattle a few years ago. And of course, the return of NBA basketball to Seattle.

At some point, Seattle will get its own team again. For now, this preseason game creates intrigue there.

Report: Kawhi Leonard cleared medically, seeking second opinion

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard played again this season, a stark reversal from just a month ago. Back then, even while announcing Leonard was out indefinitely with a quad injury, the San Antonio coach said Leonard wouldn’t miss the rest of the season.

What’s going on?

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.

Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said.

The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.

At first glance, this sounds like Derrick Rose five years ago. Even after he was cleared to play following a torn ACL, the then-Bulls star remained mysterious about when he’d suit up. His confidence in his physical abilities seemed to be a major issue, and he was never the same player since (suffering more leg injuries).

But the Spurs famously favor resting players to preserve long-term health. They seem unlikely to rush back Leonard. They might even sit players who want to play more often. And Leonard isn’t Rose.

Still, it’s clear something is amiss in San Antonio. Maybe not amiss enough to end Leonard’s tenure there, but the longer this lingers, the more time for tension to percolate.