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Report: Raptors optimistic Anunoby could return during Finals

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The Raptors punched their ticket to the franchise’s first NBA Finals, and they could get a key piece back for their matchup with the Warriors.

According to Ryan Wolstat, the Raptors are ‘quietly optimistic’ forward OG Anunoby will return at some point during The Finals, which begin Thursday. 

Anunoby has missed the entire postseason after having an appendectomy April 12. Anunoby was seen working out before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals in Toronto.

Anunoby averaged 7.0 points and 2.9 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game and served as one of Toronto’s best defenders.

The Finals start Thursday night in Toronto (9 ET, ABC).

 



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PBWA selects Wade as Magic Johnson Award winner

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MIAMI (AP) — Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat has been selected as this season’s winner of the Magic Johnson Award, presented by the Pro Basketball Writers Association.

Wade, who just completed his final season before retirement, was chosen as “the player who best combines excellence on the basketball court with cooperation and dignity in dealing with the media and the public.”

Wade averaged 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists in his 16th and final NBA season. He was a three-time champion, the 2006 NBA Finals MVP and a 13-time All-Star.

The PBWA created the Magic Johnson Award in 2001. Other finalists this season included Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors and Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic.

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Report: Pelicans open to multiteam Davis trade

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The Pelicans have been in the midst of Anthony Davis trade chatter for several months now, with most of that talk centering on New Orleans sending Davis to one team for a trove of either assets or young players (or both).

However, a change may be afoot for the Pelicans’ front office and new executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin. The Pelicans are reportedly open to multiteam trades for Davis as Griffin has started to provide potential suitors with the framework of the trade package he’d want for Davis, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

The New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers are among the front offices inquiring New Orleans about Davis, Wojnarowski reports. The Boston Celtics have long been considered to be in the mix for Davis, but cannot realistically pursue Davis in trades until guard Kyrie Irving makes his future plans with the team known. 

Other, non-preferred teams have been emboldened in pursuing Davis after seeing how the Toronto Raptors’ pursuit of Kawhi Leonard has that franchise on the cusp of an NBA title tonight. Overall, Wojnarowski reports, Griffin hasn’t sounded convinced that a team-to-team swap for Davis is likely to fulfill his wishes for the franchise in a post-Davis state. 

 

Will the Pelicans be able to convince Anthony Davis to stay put?

While Griffin has offered no firm timetable on a trade taking place, he has indicated he prefers the acquisition of 2019 draft picks to take place before the June 20 event in Brooklyn, Wojnarowski reports. Overall, Griffin is pursuing a combination of assets that include an All-Star player, a young player who has All-Star potential and two first-round picks.

New Orleans has the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft. Per Wojnarowski, the team wants to build around whomever it picks at that spot as well as Jrue Holiday, who was an All-Defensive second teamer this season.

Griffin met with Davis in Los Angeles at the end of May, having what was a reportedly “respectful” and “productive” conversation about his future in New Orleans. However, it was considered “highly unlikely” that Davis would change his mind about wanting to be traded. 

Before that, Griffin reiterated his belief that he can convince Davis to stay put. Those comments came during a conference call to introduce newly hired GM Trajan Langdon, at which time Griffin also said he planned to talk with Davis and his agent, Rich Paul, in Los Angeles at some point soon. 

 

How does Anthony Davis affect the Pelicans going forward?

Davis, 26, initially asked to be traded in late January, midway through his seventh season with the Pelicans. He holds a player option that will allow him to reach unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2020. The six-time All-Star has averaged 23.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 466 career games. The Pelicans have reached the playoffs just twice during his tenure, with one series victory.

Overall last season, Davis averaged 25.9 points, 12 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.4 blocks per game. He appeared in 56 games, a career-low, and saw downturns in his overall shooting (51.7 percent) and 3-point shooting (33.1 percent) from 2018-19. Following the Feb. 7 trade deadline, Davis never played more than 34 minutes in a game

Davis was fined $15,000 by the NBA after he made an obscene gesture to a fan after a 115-109 home loss to the Charlotte Hornets on April 3.

The disgruntled six-time All-Star, who missed his seventh straight game to close out the 2018-19 season with what the team has listed as back spasms, wore a T-shirt with the famous Looney Tunes sign off, “That’s All Folks,” written across the chest. As he walked down the tunnel toward the locker room after the game, he gave one fan a high-five.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Kerr: Durant a game-time decision for Game 5 of Finals

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Kevin Durant’s status has been slightly upgraded as Game 5 of The Finals nears.

Per Golden State coach Steve Kerr, Durant will be a game-time decision for Game 5 (9 p.m. ET on ABC) as the Warriors look to climb from a 3-1 series deficit. Additionally, Kerr said if Durant does play tonight, there is no firm minutes restriction for him. 

“He looked good, and we’ll see where it goes,” Kerr said.

With the Warriors’ backs to the wall now in the NBA Finals, Durant — now out for more than a month with a strained calf — took the practice floor on Sunday in an effort to determine if he will be able to play in Game 5 of the title series on Monday night. His status for the game was upgraded to questionable Sunday evening. 

Durant was not made available to comment on Sunday or after today’s shootaround. The Warriors had their media availability in Toronto on Sunday prior to the practice session. Durant averaged 26.0 points per game for the Warriors during the regular season and 34.2 points in 11 playoff games before he got hurt in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against Houston.

The Warriors are 6-3 in the nine games Durant has missed.

“It’s just having another powerful weapon out there who can do some very dynamic things on the floor,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said on Sunday.

Kerr said the plan was to see if Durant could clear some hurdles that he hasn’t crossed during his recovery. Kerr said earlier in the series that Durant could return after completing one practice.

Toronto allowed Kobe Bryant to score 81 points on Jan. 22, 2006. In the 1,175 Raptors games since, the most anyone has scored against them is 51 points – done twice, done both times in Toronto, and done both times by Durant.

 

Kevin Durant practiced with the Warriors on Sunday in Toronto.

He had 51 for Oklahoma City in Toronto on March 21, 2014, and scored 51 for the Warriors on the Raptors’ home floor back on Nov. 29. Even if he isn’t 100%, Durant’s mere presence should make the Warriors more potent on the offensive end.

The Raptors will have a plan, of course, if Durant gets on the floor Monday night.

“If he plays, he’s an MVP, he’s an All-NBA player, he’s an All-Star, Finals MVP,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said. “But we can’t focus on that. We have to focus on ourselves.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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