It was one of those injuries during a season filled with them that looked as though it might cause Kyrie Irving to miss significant time.
Late in the third quarter of the Pacers’ win over the Cavaliers on Tuesday, Irving’s knee seemed to buckle a bit on a drive to the basket, which caused him to grab for it immediately after he hit the deck. He tried to walk it off, but the pain appeared to get worse, and eventually he was helped to the locker room by two people.
Irving returned to the game, but remember, so did Brook Lopez in the one where he suffered the foot fracture that ended his season. The team has Irving set for an MRI on Wednesday.
From Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:
Kyrie Irving will have an MRI on his ailing left knee Wednesday after he injured it in the third quarter of Tuesday’s 91-76 loss to the Indiana Pacers. He was cleared to return to the court, but Irving said he felt a “pop” in the knee and it still felt weak even after he in the fourth quarter.
“I thought the worst had happened,” Irving said. “My left knee is pretty weak right now. I was falling all over the place. I didn’t have my legs under me.” …
“I’m still hoping that there’s nothing wrong, just something slight, if anything at all,” Irving said. “Just hoping for the best.”
Obviously, that doesn’t sound good.
Irving is averaging career highs this season in points (22.6) and assists (6.1), while playing 35.3 minutes per contest. If a season that began in Cleveland with playoff aspirations wasn’t off the rails after the Andrew Bynum mess, it will be if Irving misses very many games at all with what could be a serious injury.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.
On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.
But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.
Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:
Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.
Stephen Curry might be back sooner than expected. It’s been one week since he suffered the sprained MCL in his right knee that led the Warriors to rule him out for at least two weeks, but head coach Steve Kerr said Saturday that there’s at least an outside chance he could play Tuesday in Game 2 of Golden State’s second-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Via ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:
Obviously, the smart money is on Curry not playing this early in his timetable. But the fact that it’s even on the table would seem to indicate that, barring a setback, he’ll be back for at least some of the series, which tips off Sunday.