Julius Randle fires back at report he’ll need foot surgery, but multiple reporters confirm it’s a real possibility

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A report surfaced on Thursday stating that Julius Randle, who is expected to be selected with one of the top 10 picks in the upcoming NBA Draft, has a foot issue that is likely to require surgery.

This isn’t Joel Embiid and something as severe as a back injury we’re talking about here, and if Randle had the surgery as expected, he’d likely be ready to go in time for the start of training camp in October.

But Randle apparently wasn’t thrilled with the surgery option being reported as being a foregone conclusion, so he fired back a little later via (what else?) his Twitter account.

Now, Randle is only 19 years old, so we’ll forgive his youthful exuberance here. But there is nothing to be gained from refuting information that is not only being reported by one of, if not the top breaker of NBA news in Adrian Wojnarowski, but also by a whole host of others.

Randle’s response caused Wojnarwski to back up his report, and caused others to chime in, as well.

From Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

Couple of comments on Julius Randle’s foot — 1st, teams have seen his medical and will form their own opinions about what is next. Randle may be denying reports – but teams may feel like he’ll require surgery hence the “sourced” comments. That does not mean Randle is planning for surgery or that he will have it — this happened to Jared Sullinger – teams predicted he would.

And from Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:

Don’t understand Julius Rande’s strategy of trying to discredit . There is an issue w/his foot. Heard same from multiple teams.

Other reporters have the same information, all of which means that yes, there is an issue with Randle’s foot. Has surgery already been declared a necessity? No, and that’s why the original report has the word “likely” in the headline.

Randle may have misunderstood, or may have been simply reacting to second-hand information. But with something like this that is coming from just about everywhere, taking the time to publicly refute it was a mistake.

Marreese Speights opts out of Clippers contract

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The Clippers are unraveling.

Of course, whether they can re-sign Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are the big questions. But they also must deal with smaller matters in free agency – like Marreese Speights.

Speights will opt out, his agent tweeted:

The Clippers will hold Speights’ Non-Bird Rights (technically a form of Bird Rights), allowing them to give him a starting salary up to $2,540,346 without using cap space or the mid-level exception.

The 29-year-old Speights, a stretch five who takes charges, fits the modern NBA. He could probably get more if he seeks it.

The Clippers won’t have cap space unless they lose Paul and Griffin, and at that point, re-signing a veteran like Speights is of little use. So, it would likely require the taxpayer mid-level exception or Speights taking a discount to keep him.

Luc Mbah a Moute can and likely will also opt out, and he’ll fall in the same Non-Bird situation. The Clippers would likely prioritize their mid-level exception for him – if it’s enough for either player.

Keeping Paul and Griffin is of the utmost importance, but that’s not the Clippers’ only challenge. Even if they keep those two stars, assembling even a decent supporting cast will difficult. Possibly losing J.J. Redick is the main issue there, but handling Speights’ and Mbah a Moute’s roster spots will also be pivotal.

Warriors struggle to get Zaza Pachulia’s 2017 NBA Finals hat on his big head (video)

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Zaza Pachulia became the villain of the Western Conference finals when he injured Kawhi Leonard and torpedoed the Spurs chances of upsetting the Warriors.

But his teammates stood by him – then shared this fun moment with him after Golden State won the West.

Reporter asks Spanish-speaking Manu Ginobili whether he just announced retirement (video)

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Manu Ginobili received an emotional sendoff in the Spurs’ season-ending – and maybe Ginobili’s career-ending – loss to the Warriors last night.

The postgame press conference featured a lighthearted moment when, after the Argentinian guard answered a couple questions in Spanish, an American reporter – not wanting to miss big news – asked whether Ginobili had just announced his retirement.

No, Ginobili assured the reporter. He says he plans to take a few weeks to consider his options.

Warriors make most dominant playoff run ever to NBA Finals

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Moses Malone famously predicted the 76ers team would go “”Fo’, Fo’, Fo'” in the 1983 playoffs, sweeping all three rounds in four games. Philadelphia didn’t quite do it – sweeping the Knicks, beating the Bucks in five then sweeping the Lakers for the title.

Thirty-four years later, an NBA team went “”Fo’, Fo’, Fo'” for the first time.

Golden State swept the Trail Blazers, Jazz and Spurs in four-game series. But with an extra playoff round, the Warriors’ 12-0 run merely gets them to the Finals.

It’s the ninth undefeated run to the Finals, third since the league adopted four playoff rounds in 1984 and first since the first round became best-of-seven. The Lakers went 11-0 in the playoffs en route to the Finals in 2001 and 1989.

By winning an extra game and outscoring opponents by 16.3 points per game, Golden State now claims the most dominant postseason run to the NBA Finals ever.

Here are the top paths to the Finals, with Finals results, by playoff…

Record (point difference per game in parentheses):

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Point difference per game (record in parentheses):

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This doesn’t guarantee Golden State a championship. The Cavaliers (10-1, +11.9) are on track for an elite run to the Finals themselves, and they have LeBron James.

But the Warriors put ridiculous expectations on themselves by signing Kevin Durant to join a 73-win team featuring Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. I’m unsure a Golden State title this year will be properly appreciated, but so far, the Warriors are doing all they can to clear a bar set unreasonably high.