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Sports Data APIs for Individuals!
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (calf) is listed as questionable for Thursday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Nuggets have a three-game lead for the top seed in the West right now. That being said, the team might be cautious with their superstar big man as the playoffs get closer. The Nuggets are entering a back-to-back set on Thursday, which gives the team more reason to rest Jokic. He's reportedly dealing with a calf issue, so the team might take the cautious approach. The absence of Jokic would mean increased playing time for Thomas Bryant.
According to Jay King and Jared Weiss of The Athletic, Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard wants to be traded this offseason. Pritchard began his career by averaging 7.7 points in 19.2 minutes per game. However, his production and workload have decreased in the last two seasons. But with the C's looking to shed some salaries heading into the 2023-24 campaign, retaining the 25-year-old on his $4 million team option may be necessary for the club. Fortunately, Pritchard's path to playing time could open if Boston moves Marcus Smart, Derrick White, or Malcolm Brogdon this Summer.
According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, NBA commissioner Adam Silver reported he reached a decision on a potential punishment for Grizzlies guard Ja Morant. However, Silver will wait until the conclusion of the NBA Finals before making an announcement. Memphis suspended Morant on May 14 while the league investigated another social media post involving the All-Star brandishing what appeared to be a handgun. Considering Morant was suspended eight games during the season for a similar incident, fantasy managers should expect a longer suspension, especially since Silver revealed the league "uncovered a fair amount of additional information.". Fortunately, Memphis has Tyus Jones, who averaged 16.4 points, 8.1 assists, 1.8 steals, and shot 41.5% from deep in 22 starts in 2022-23. If Morant misses time, Jones' fantasy value will skyrocket.
Miami Heat guard Gabe Vincent (ankle) is listed as available for Game 1 of the NBA Finals against Denver Thursday. The 26-year-old hurt his left ankle in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals and sat out one game, but he managed to play through the ankle soreness in the final couple of games in the matchup with Boston and will continue to do so Thursday night. Vincent was outstanding in the Conference Finals and has played a big part in Miami's success throughout the postseason, averaging 13.1 points and 3.9 assists with 39 percent shooting from downtown.
Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (shoulder) is once again on the injury report ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, but he is listed as available. The two-time All-Star has been ever-present on the report with right shoulder discomfort. Adebayo shot just 32 percent from the field across the final two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, but he's had no trouble playing through the shoulder issue in the playoffs, averaging 16.8 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists. The Heat will hope to see him getting his scoring numbers up against the Nuggets, as Miami is a perfect 6-0 this postseason in games where Adebayo has gone for 20-plus points.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid is attracting interest from the Los Angeles Lakers, sources have told Peter Dewey of the Lakers Daily. Reid is set to be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason after spending four years with the Timberwolves. The 23-year-old averaged career-highs of 11.5 points and 4.5 rebounds this season in just 18.4 minutes of action. Reid has proven himself as a very productive performer, but he's been stuck behind Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert in Minneapolis, and it might not be easy for the Timberwolves to lure him back. However, the Lakers definitely won't be the only team interested in Reid's services if he moves on.
The Philadelphia 76ers are looking at Toronto's Fred VanVleet as a potential replacement for James Harden, reports NBA insider Brett Siegel. Harden has a $35.64 million player option for next season, but it's widely believed that he will decline it and could see his future away from Philadelphia. VanVleet also has a player option for next season and is expected to opt out of it to become an unrestricted free agent. The 76ers have just hired VanVleet's former coach Nick Nurse and the 29-year-old guard could be very interested in a reunion after the pair worked well together in Toronto, winning a championship in 2019. However, Siegel adds that Philadelphia's financial situation means that the club will have to do a lot of maneuvering if it wants to sign VanVleet outright.
Portland Trail Blazers guard Shaedon Sharpe surprised many with his performance this past season. The rookie guard averaged 9.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 22.2 minutes per game in 80 contests. The Blazers believe that Sharpe has All-Star potential, which might be true. The 20-year-old played extremely well for the Blazers down the stretch of the season. It seems unlikely that the Blazers would be willing to move Sharpe unless it's for a superstar player in return. It sounds like Sharpe has a bright future ahead of him in Portland.
New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas recently mentioned that he would like to remain with the organization. He continued by saying the two of them have discussed an extension, but Valanciunas knows this offseason isn't easy for New Orleans. The Pelicans have multiple key players that need to be extended, so Valanciunas might not be at the top of the list. Regardless, it sounds like the big man is open to staying in New Orleans long term. He still has one-year left under his current contract, so the two sides don't have to come to terms on a deal this offseason. The 31-year-old averaged 14.1 points, 10. 2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in 79 games with the Pelicans last season.
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler was recently asked about the health of his ankle heading into the NBA Finals. He responded by saying, "Nobody cares. You don't, either. I'm still expected to do my job at a high level if I take the floor, which I will. We're going to be okay. We're going to get the job done, bum ankle or not." It's unknown if Butler's ankle is still bothering him, but he's not going to let it hold him back. The 33-year-old isn't going to use his ankle as an excuse. Butler won Eastern Conference MVP for his performance during their last series.
Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (wrist) has been ruled out for Thursday's Game 1 versus the Denver Nuggets, according to head coach Erik Spoelstra. He continued by saying that Herro isn't quite there yet as far as returning to the court. There have been recent reports that Herro is targeting a Game 3 return. It's uncertain if that's true as the team is likely playing this day-to-day. Herro has been sidelined since fracturing his hand during the first game of the postseason on April 16. The expectation is that the 23-year-old should return at some point during this series.
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