SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker didn’t participate in practice on Wednesday, after an MRI revealed a Grade 1 hamstring strain.
He refused to speculate on his availability for Game 4, but he and Gregg Popovich confirmed to reporters at this morning’s shootaround that he would in fact be in the lineup for the Spurs on Thursday night.
“I will be ready to go,” Parker said, via Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News.
The hamstring limited Parker to just six points in 27 minutes of action in Game 3, but thanks to the play of Danny Green and and Gary Neal who combined for 51 points, San Antonio rolled to a 36-point victory.
Parker was the Spurs’ leading scorer during the regular season, and even if he’s limited by the injury, just having him out there initiating the offense is extremely important to what his team does on that end of the floor.
Heat players largely said they wouldn’t concern themselves with Parker’s status on Wednesday, and Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra echoed it from the top, stating that it’s more about his team’s effort than it is about who suits up for the opposition.
But being the competitor he is, Spoelstra wants to beat the Spurs at nothing less than 100 percent.
“If we bring the level of effort and focus that we brought [in Game 3], it doesn’t matter who plays for them,” Spoelstra said. “We’re hoping he plays. We want both teams to be healthy. We don’t want any excuses and they don’t want any excuses, either.”
There won’t be any excuses from either side now that Parker is officially a go for Game 4.
Trade talks for Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler have apparently gone dormant. Things fell through with the most likely deal between the Wolves and the Miami Heat earlier in October, and now we are in sort of a weird limbo state where Butler is still playing for Minnesota.
The season has started, the Timberwolves have new jerseys, but everyone knows what is coming.
It certainly doesn’t mean that interest in Butler’s services have waned. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, four teams still have adding Butler at the top of their list.
Windhorst appeared on Alex Kennedy’s podcast this weekend and said that the Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, and Houston Rockets are still gunning for Butler.
Windhorst gave a caveat for both Dallas and the Clippers, who have the ability to sign Butler this offseason through free agency. That makes a trade between the Timberwolves and those teams less likely, especially because Minnesota’s asking price for Butler apparently keeps going up (rather than down) as time goes on.
No doubt this saga will continue for some time until Butler eventually gets traded to somewhere strange, like the Milwaukee Bucks.
Much like the Kawhi Leonard situation last season in San Antonio, we could be waiting all season for something to happen on the Butler front.
Things aren’t pretty with the Minnesota Timberwolves right now. The team is still trying to figure out what to do with Jimmy Butler, and a willing trade partner doesn’t seem available at the moment.
But that doesn’t mean that the Timberwolves can’t still look good.
On Tuesday, some of Minnesota’s alternate uniforms for this season leaked on Reddit. They of course made their way to Twitter, and they have a very specific theme: “Purple Rain”.
The jerseys are of course based on Prince’s iconic 1984 album/film combo. Prince, a Minneapolis native, passed away in 2016.
Meanwhile the Wolves may be bad, but at least their uniforms will rock.
DETROIT (AP) — Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons is out Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons because of back tightness.
76ers coach Brett Brown says Simmons is questionable for Wednesday at Milwaukee after he left Saturday’s game in the first quarter against Orlando and did not return. Brown says Simmons wasn’t fully comfortable and that resting him Tuesday boosted the chances he could play Wednesday.
Simmons, the 2017-18 Rookie of the Year, was averaging 16.0 points, 14.0 rebounds and 9.5 assists in the first two games before playing just eight minutes Saturday.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — A museum is being planned to tell the story of basketball great Larry Bird, an Indiana native.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Saturday that the museum will be located in a new convention center that’s being built in Terre Haute in western Indiana. The Tribune-Star reports Bird plans to donate personal items and memorabilia from his career with the Boston Celtics, Indiana State University, the U.S. Olympic team and beyond.
Holcomb predicts the museum will be a global draw, describing Bird as “Larry the Legend – Indiana’s favorite son.”
Details about the museum are still being developed, but plans include interactive displays to detail Bird’s life and career. He won three NBA championships with the Celtics.
Construction on the convention center is expected to start in the spring.