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Jay Williams: Warriors misdiagnosed Kevin Durant, mishandled public statements

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Charles Barkley and Jalen Rose led the charge criticizing the Warriors for playing Kevin Durant in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Another former NBA player’s assessment of Durant’s injury might carry even more weight.

Jay Williams does not speak for Durant. But Williams is close with Durant and hosts Durant’s web show. I’d listen closely to what he says.

Jay Williams on ESPN:

Ultimately, I think this falls on the Golden State Warriors. He got misdiagnosed. He got misdiagnosed. And I know for a fact that he was told that with a torn calf, a partial torn calf, that it unloaded the pressure on the Achilles, that there was no chance that the Achilles could be injured at all. And for that to happen in the first half of the ball game, I think just – I can’t even fathom that. Because watching it, I got ignited. I got pissed off. Because that’s what you came into the game thinking was going to happen.

Number two, from a public-relations perspective, I think the Warriors have handled this whole thing has been horrific. Their camp knew that they weren’t going to play until Game 5, Game 6. It was set from the beginning. The Warriors didn’t come out and say that. They said potentially even during the Portland series, “Hey, he could come back. Game 1, he could come back. Game 2, he could come back.” Joe Lacob is going on Stephen A. Smith’s show, Greenie, and saying, “He will be back.” I think all of that gives subliminal pressure to a player who we all know wants to compete at the highest level.

Now, if you really have his best interests at hand, if you really want this guy to be around the next four to five years, you say, “You’re not playing this game. We’re thinking long-term instead of short-term.” But when it seeps into your mind that you think he could leave, all of a sudden, “We have to get it right now.” And I don’t care what anybody says. That plays into your psyche a little bit, when you think this guy is going to leave and you want to make sure that you get a threepeat. Because for a team, it’s about winning right now if you’re not going to have that option next year.

Eventually, we’ll hear directly from Durant. I don’t know whether he blames Golden State as much as Williams does. But it is worth noting that someone close to Durant feels this way.

Durant was reportedly in agony about not helping his team earlier in the series. Meanwhile, teammates were reportedly frustrated he hadn’t returned. This was a tense situation.

If Golden State knew Durant wouldn’t play until Game 5 or 6, Williams is absolutely right. The Warriors made it worse by not giving a clearer timeline. The repeated hope of Durant returning followed by the repeated letdown of him not only created misery and pressure for everyone involved.

Did Golden State misdiagnose Durant? That’s hard to say without access to medical information. But even Steve Kerr said he was told the worst thing that could happen is an aggravation of the calf injury. It sure looks like the Warriors got this wrong.

Now, Durant can enter free agency this summer. Does he feel mistreated by Golden State and want to leave?

Durant’s injury carries massive ramifications, but we’re only just beginning to learn how they’ll manifest.

Bulls’ starting point guard Kris Dunn may be out for season with knee injury

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Bulls starting point guard Kris Dunn missed the last four games before the All-Star break with a sprained knee.

He could miss a lot more — like the rest of the season.

From K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago:

But sources said there’s a growing belief that Dunn will miss the remainder of the season with the injury, which occurred when Thaddeus Young took a charge and inadvertently crashed into Dunn’s knee on the first possession of a Jan. 31 road game against the Nets. When Dunn suffered a similar injury last season, he missed 23 games…

“Dunn still has some swelling in that knee,” coach Jim Boylen said before the Bulls lost to the Wizards on Feb. 11 in Washington, their final game before the break. “Once his swelling goes down, he will get re-scanned and re-evaluated.  But he had a lot of swelling.”

That’s less than ideal for Dunn as he heads into restricted free agency. He has averaged 7.3 points and  3.6 rebounds per game, however, his most significant contribution has been quality defense for Chicago this season.

This is the latest in a string of injuries for the Bulls. Otto Porter has only played nine games due to a broken foot. Big men Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. are currently sidelined due to injuries, although Carter could return after the All-Star break and Markkanen by early next month. Now Dunn.

Rui Hachimura gets destroyed by kid in Pop-A-Shot-like game (video)

Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura
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Rui Hachimura got kicked so hard in the groin by a teammate, the Wizards rookie needed surgery.

That’s pretty awful. Yet, there’s still a new contender for the worst moment of Hachimura’s season.

At All-Star Weekend in Chicago for Rising Stars, Hachimura faced a kid in a Pop-A-Shot-like game. It didn’t go well for Hachimura.

Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News:

An NBA player losing to a kid is bad enough. Twice, we’re entering troubling territory.

But claiming the game is cheating, demanding to switch sides and still getting routed?

That’s a ROUGH look.

Orlando Magic to build new practice/health facility

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Last week, before the NBA world headed off to Chicago for the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend, the Orlando City Council voted to approve the sale of a plot of land to the Orlando Magic.

That land, located between the Amway Center (home of the Magic) and Exploria Stadium (home of Major League Soccer’s Orlando City Soccer Club) will become the site of the Magic’s new practice facility. The building will also house a community health center an orthopedic center. The Magic hope to have the facility ready in time for the 2021-22 NBA season.

When the Magic moved into the Amway Center in 2010, it was a state-of-the-art building. Not only is the Amway Center the home of the Magic for games, it’s the center of their entire basketball operation. The backside of the building is entirely dedicated to the Magic practice facility, including weight room, therapy and training space, and offices for the basketball staff.

The challenge with this setup is that there is little to no room to expand. For example, there is just one full court, as was seen during the Orlando Summer League, which ran from the building’s opening through 2017. In addition, there are two shorter courts, which run horizontally across the main court.

Magic CEO Alex Martins said the Magic and AdventHealth (who will run the community health center and orthopedic center) “will build a world-class practice and health facility”. Martins and Magic President of Basketball Operations, Jeff Weltman, have toured other facilities around the NBA to gain insights and ideas in what Orlando should be looking for in a new facility.

The new building is expected to include at least two full courts, and likely additional baskets for drills and shooting work. In addition, as NBA teams invest more in health and physical science, the new facility will have space for equipment related to those advances as well. That type of addition to a facility allows a team to keep all of it basketball training and medical rehabilitation all under one roof.

When Kevin Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets, he commented that one reason was the Nets practice and training facility. Multiple players have commented that Brooklyn went all out when building the facility and regularly uses it as a recruitment tool in free agency. While facing a lengthy rehab from a torn Achilles’, Durant is able to work out and get treatment in the same building as his active teammates. In recent years, the Philadelphia 76ers, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, and others have upgraded their facilities.

NBA players desire simplicity when off the court. By keeping medical and practice facilities in the same building, it allows for them to go to one location. Where the Magic will build their new facility is right around the corner from the Amway Center, which allows players to commute to the same general vicinity as they do today.

The Orlando Magic already have some built in advantages when it comes to recruiting players. Central Florida has beautiful weather year-round, there is no state income tax, plus there are major players in the entertainment business and a growing technology sector in the Orlando area.

The Magic have used those benefits in the past to lure free agents like Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady. Adding a shiny new practice facility to the list, just as a banner crop of free agents hits the market, is something Orlando hopes can get it back in the superstar mix once again.

Report: Villanova coach Jay Wright not reciprocating Knicks’ interest

Villanova coach Jay Wright, rumored Knicks target
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A report of the Knicks being interested in Jay Wright and Wright emphasizing his happiness at Villanova.

Let’s do it again.

Adam Zagoria of Forbes:

League sources say Villanova coach Jay Wright could become the next head coach of the Knicks.

“There is a strong possibility that Jay Wright in New York could happen,” one league source said.

Dana O’Neil of The Athletic:

The Knicks are reportedly hiring Leon Rose to run their front office. Presumably, he’ll choose New York’s next coach.

Despite the Knicks’ denial, Steve Stoute let the cat out off the bag: The Knicks aren’t keeping interim coach Mike Miller. Perhaps, Miller can rally late in the season and change their minds. But it seems unlikely.

So, we’re in a limbo period where many candidates will emerge. Getting reported as a possibility is a great way for a coach to get publicity and maybe even gain leverage in contract negotiations at a current job. It can be difficult to tell which rumors are real.

But when a credible reporter like O’Neil states something with such certainty and attributes it to only a single source, that carries major weight.