Kevin Durant is done for the rest of the Western Conference semifinals, and head coach Steve Kerr said the Golden State Warriors must grasp the task ahead: Replace the best player in the NBA.
“He’s been the best player in the NBA in the playoffs. He’s been phenomenal,” Kerr said Thursday night, confirming Durant is several days or more from being able to play basketball.
A return could potentially come in the Western Conference finals, but the Warriors, leading the Houston Rockets 3-2 in the semifinals entering Friday’s Game 6 at Houston, still need a win without Durant.
The Warriors also said that after an MRI, Durant was diagnosed with a mild right calf strain and will be re-evaluated next week. Durant’s status for the rest of the postseason — if Golden State beats the Rockets and heads to the conference finals — is up in the air. Curry is also dealing with a dislocated finger.
–Tyronn Lue reportedly turned down a three-year deal to become head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, leaving the wandering franchise to reset its search for Luke Walton’s replacement.
Lue reportedly had a chance to run the team, but considered the Lakers’ three-year, $18 million offer a snub after discussing a five-year contract. Lue coached LeBron James to the NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Jason Kidd and Juwan Howard interviewed for the job — as did Monty Williams, who was named head coach of the Phoenix Suns — and ESPN reported three others will visit with the team this week: Lionel Hollins, Frank Vogel and Mike Woodson. ESPN said Vogel would interview on Thursday.
–Seeking more gender diversity in the NBA, commissioner Adam Silver said he wants to see women comprise at least half of the league’s new referees.
“I’m not sure how it was that it remained so male-dominated for so long, because it’s an area of the game where physically, certainly, there’s no benefit of being a man, as opposed to a woman when it comes to refereeing,” Silver said during an appearance at The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.
He pointed out that in the developmental G League, two women were among five recent officiating hires, and there are three female officials currently working in the NBA. Silver also wants to see more equality among the league’s coaching staffs.