UPDATE 12:10 pm: Not so fast. Kyrie Irving says he is not playing Thursday. But expect him to return soon, he wants to get a couple games under his belt before the Christmas Day showdown with Golden State.
9:00 am: At long last, the Cleveland Cavaliers will have all three of their stars back in the lineup. Nearly six months after fracturing his left kneecap in Game 1 of the Finals, Kyrie Irving is slated to make his return on Thursday night, on a big stage: at home, against the Oklahoma City Thunder, on TNT.
From ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin:
Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving is set to make his season debut Thursday at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder, a source familiar with Irving’s plans told ESPN.com.
Irving, sidelined for the first 23 games of the Cavs’ season while recovering from surgery in June to repair a fractured left kneecap suffered in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, was cleared for full contact more than a week ago and has been through a handful of practices since without any setbacks.
Irving’s final hurdle before the team approves of his intention to play will involve a series of physical tests to measure his body’s strength and responsiveness, a team source told ESPN.com. The tests will be similar to the ones administered on Irving before he was allowed to return for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against Atlanta last spring after sitting out Games 2 and 3 with tendinitis in his left knee.
This is obviously great news for the Cavs, who have the best record in the Eastern Conference even without Irving, starting a combination of Mo Williams and Matthew Dellavedova at point guard. A Thursday return will give Irving three games (the Thunder game as well as matchups with the Sixers and Knicks) to get his feet wet before the game everyone is waiting for: the Christmas Day Finals rematch with the Warriors at Oracle.
Anthony Davis‘ father said he didn’t want his son playing for the Celtics, given how they treated Isaiah Thomas. Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, tried to dissuade Boston from trading for the star big.
For someone who neither played for the Celtics nor in a playoff series against them, Davis has generated plenty of animosity in Boston.
But nobody can accuse Davis of ducking the Celtics.
After missing the last five games due to a butt injury, Davis will return for the Lakers’ game in Boston today.
Mike Trudell of the Lakers:
Davis has jumped headfirst into playing playing for the Lakers and everything that comes with it. Playing in Boston – given Los Angeles’ rivalry with the Celtics, given his personal history with them – is entering the eye of the storm.
Should be fun.
Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown will also return for the Celtics.
Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston:
Hawks forward Chandler Parsons was involved in a car crash last week.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
It’s easy to see where this is headed. Parsons is positioning himself for a lawsuit, laying the seeds for both lost earnings and emotional distress. We might see Parsons’ future NBA salaries be litigated.
Parsons signed a four-year max contract in 2016. He hasn’t had a reasonably productive seasons since, struggling with knee issues. Parsons recently touted how healthy he felt, but that had to be viewed in context of a 31-year-old with an extensive injury history.
Parsons had played sparingly the last four seasons, including just five games this season. Did he land outside the Hawks rotation because they’re focused on youth or because he’s just no longer good enough?
That could become a question for a court room.
Parsons will be a free agent this summer. I projected him for a minimum-salary contract somewhere. He was clearly hungry for an opportunity without the max-contract burden weighing on him.
It’d be a shame if Parsons lost that because of a drunk driver.
Kyrie Irving missed nearly two months with a confounding injury.
During that time… Kendrick Perkins accused Irving of faking to avoid returning to Boston. Celtics fans chanted “Kyrie sucks!” without him even there. More examples of Irving’s moodiness in Boston emerged. Kevin Garnett suggested Irving didn’t have the cojones to play for the Celtics.
YES Network (2:40 mark):
When I was out for those seven weeks and not saying anything and still people are still saying things about me. It’s inevitable. They crucified Martin Luther King for speaking about peace and social integration. You can go back to historical leaders and great people in society that do great things, and they’re still going to talk s—about them. It is what it is.
I don’t think Irving is putting himself on King’s level but rather pointing out that even great people get attacked. This could be a way for Irving to contextualize that he shouldn’t fret about the lesser criticism he faces.
I’d give Irving that benefit of the doubt, especially considering his comments on Brooklyn hosting the 76ers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, today.
Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report:
It’s more than an honor. I have done so much historic research on just my community as well as they voice that I have and where I am in the position I’m in as well on the platform. I just wish there were not just holidays to commemorate some of the historical black leaders that have really put their lives on the line and lost it in the line of Civil Rights or making a social impact. Those things hit you real deep when you know the history of where the society has gone. I’m really grateful to play on Martin Luther King Day, but his legacy exists more than just a game being played on that day or Nike shoes being put out or something else. It’s so much more for our society to realize what he was really involved in and what he did in terms of communities across the world on
Again, I don’t think Irving was equating himself with King.
But can I absolutely put it past Irving, who talks as if he’s on a higher plane of existence, emphasizes his own importance and makes weird self-comparisons? No.
It also wouldn’t be the NBA’s first case of being tone deaf about King.
The Hawks are reportedly are no longer interested in trading for Pistons center Andre Drummond.
What about the Knicks, whose trade talks with Detroit were reportedly more serious than exploratory?
Marc Berman of the New York Post:
According to an NBA source, the Knicks have no interest in a trade despite a report the Pistons approached them about a deal
Like Atlanta, New York both isn’t winning anything of note this season anyway and can easily open cap space to pursue Drummond in unrestricted free agency this summer.
The Knicks also have another center in Mitchell Robinson. They should develop him rather than surrendering assets for a replacement who might not be as good as Robinson once they’re ready to win.
New York is desperate. So, a Drummond trade seemed at least plausible.
But not trading for Drummond makes the most sense. Though the Knicks could do anything, I’m inclined to believe this report.