• Welcome, Hoop Ball readers, to another edition of The Week Ahead!

    The NBA Finals has not gone as expected as the dynasty of the Golden State Warriors is about to be torn down by the Toronto Raptors. Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors are up 3-1 in the series as the Warriors have been battling significant injuries all series long.

    Steph Curry scored 47 points in Game 3 and still lost due to the lack of help on the roster that night.  That performance was reminiscent of LeBron James in the 2015 NBA Finals, which did not leave many people feeling bad for Curry at all.  James did not have Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love and Curry did not have Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant for Game 3.

    The Raptors have been fully healthy — in terms of absences — and on top of their game each and every night aside from the third quarter of Game 2.  The Raptors will look to close the series out at home on Monday night as the Warriors could still be without Durant.

    Leonard has easily been the Finals MVP so far, which has sparked a debate about whether or not he is a top-3 player in the NBA.  Doc Rivers said that Leonard is the closest thing that we have seen to Michael Jordan, which does not seem too far-fetched considering that he is the only player since Jordan to score 35-plus points with zero turnovers on the road in an NBA Finals game.  Kobe Bryant is definitely the closest player that we have seen to Jordan in my opinion, but it is not outrageous to put Kawhi Leonard in that conversation if he can dethrone his second dynasty.

    He tore down the Miami Heat dynasty when he beat them with the Spurs and won Finals MVP and now he is on the cusp of doing the same to the Warriors.  Leonard will be a hero in Canada if he brings them a title and will likely return for next season as well, which immediately keeps the Raptors in the title conversation for next season.  Leonard is definitely a top-3 player in terms of impact on the court, which is a great indicator of individual and team success.

    Between his professional demeanor and complete skill set, Kawhi is a player that every team should want as he is bred to take down dynasties and win championships.  Tune in to the last games of the NBA Finals to see if the Raptors are able to close out the series and bring Toronto their first NBA title.

    The Warriors dynasty as we know it may finally be over.

    Now here is an overview of the week ahead:

    Weekly Schedule Breakdown

    Monday, June 10th– Warriors at Raptors at 9 PM ET (GAME 5)

    Thursday, June 13th– Raptors at Warriors at 9 PM ET (GAME 6)*

    Sunday, June 16th– Warriors at Raptors at 8 PM ET (GAME 7)*

    *  = if necessary

    Injury Report

    Kevin Durant (calf) was struggling during the Warriors’ practice after Game 4 and there is growing belief that he will be unable to suit up for Game 5. He is not ready and if he comes back, he will definitely not be at 100 percent.  It has been noted that he will be a game-time decision heading into Game 5.  Check for his status prior to Monday’s game.

    Thanks Hoopballers for reading another edition of The Week Ahead!

Fantasy News

  • David Vanterpool - Team - Minnesota Timberwolves

    The Wolves have hired David Vanterpool as an assistant coach.

    Vanterpool was a popular name on the interview circuit this summer but ultimately did not land a head coaching job. An assistant with Portland for the last seven seasons, one would expect that Vanterpool's responsibilities will increase in Minnesota.

    Source: Timberwolves PR on Twitter

  • Al Horford - F/C - Boston Celtics

    Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer is reporting that the Mavs, Lakers and Clippers have all shown interest in Al Horford, with some of O'Connor's sources indicating that the Mavs are the frontrunners.

    Horford was expected to re-sign with the Celtics but the two didn't appear to be aligned in what they wanted moving forward, and rumors have Horford set to cash in on a four-year deal worth more than $100 million. He is an extremely malleable player who does almost everything at a high level, and his availability drastically changes the open market. Horford is a fit on just about any team build and should have no problem commanding a big offer come June 30. He'd be a fantastic pickup for any of the three teams mentioned, and his fit in Dallas next to two young, do-it-all stars would be great entertainment.

    Source: The Ringer

  • Ja Morant - G - College

    Ja Morant says he’s pain-free after undergoing a surgery to remove loose bodies from his right knee, and also expects to play in Summer League.

    Morant is widely expected to be taken by the Grizzlies at No. 2 overall in Thursday’s draft, and Wednesday’s trade of Mike Conley completely clears the runway for Morant to play a ton right out of the gates. Delon Wright will also be around and is good enough to push Morant for minutes to an extent, but the Grizzlies figure to spend most of the season exploring a Morant – Jaren Jackson Jr. pairing and figuring out what works around that. Barring a draft night surprise, Morant looks like one of the safer rookies to project in terms of sheer opportunity. There was some worry that his knee procedure would put him behind the eight ball but it no longer seems like that will be the case.

    Source: Ben Golliver on Twitter

  • Kyle Korver - G/F - Memphis Grizzlies

    Kyle Korver, who will be traded to the Grizzlies when they complete Wednesday's Mike Conley deal, is expected to play one more season, and possibly another beyond that per Marc Stein.

    Korver, 38, was said to be mulling retirement but it looks as though he's going to give it another crack. A notorious fitness nut, Korver keeps himself in great shape and relies on a skill that hasn't degraded at all with age. His place on a rebuilding team is questionable, however, and it would be surprising if he spent the entire season in Memphis. Consider him the same 3-point specialist he always is.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Jae Crowder - F - Memphis Grizzlies

    Jae Crowder is headed to the Grizzlies as soon as Wednesday's Mike Conley trade is officially completed.

    Crowder reasserted himself as a quality stretch four last season after he struggled in his pit stop with Cleveland. He might not hold much utility on a squad that's rebuilding, and Crowder's best shot at fantasy value might be getting re-routed to another team. Regardless, Crowder would only be a late-round guy in 9-cat leagues at best, and he'll likely settle in as a streamer for threes, rebounds and the occasional steal. If he does play out the year in Memphis, he figures to impact the minutes of Kyle Anderson and Avery Bradley.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Grayson Allen - G - Memphis Grizzlies

    Grayson Allen is part of Wednesday's Mike Conley trade and will be headed to the Grizzlies when the deal is completed.

    Allen only appeared in 37 games for the Jazz, though he did end up dropping 40 points in the season finale when Utah rested most of its players. On a rebuilding team, Allen is a lock to play more, but whether he becomes more than a deep-league points and threes guy is up for debate.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Mike Conley - G - Utah Jazz

    The Grizzlies are trading franchise star Mike Conley Jr. to the Jazz for Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, the 23rd pick in Thursday's Draft and a future protected first-round pick.

    The Jazz were considered the frontrunner to trade for Conley in the last few days and they are able to execute a deal that upgrades their point guard position without selling the farm. It’s now obvious that the Grizzlies will be entering a rebuilding period and Ja Morant seems the obvious choice to replace Conley.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Kevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors

    ESPN’s Jay Williams, a Kevin Durant friend and a partner with KD’s manager, Rich Kleiman, told the NY Post that it’s too early for the Warriors superstar to figure out what the injury means for his free-agent future.

    Williams has spoken with Durant since the devastating injury as he is still trying to deal with the post-surgery period. KD has until June 29th, the day before free-agency courting period, to opt out of the final season of his pact. Even though he will miss next season, he is likely to get a max deal either with the Warriors or elsewhere. The Knicks are still interested, believing that if there’s any player who can come back from this debilitating injury, it is Durant, who will be 32 to start the 2020-21 campaign.

    Source: NY Post

  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist - F - Charlotte Hornets

    Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has opted into his $13M player option for the 2019-20 season.

    Ugh! This comes a week after Marvin Williams exercised his $15 million player option putting the Hornets in a tough financial situation with at least $98 million already on the books for next year. It’s highly unlikely that MKG would have commanded a salary anywhere close to $10 million per year in an open market so this was a no brainer for him. Kidd-Gilchrist is only 25 years old and is coming off a couple seasons where he struggled with injuries while the lack of a reliable jumper makes it hard for him to have value in today’s space and pace offense.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Khris Middleton - F - Milwaukee Bucks

    Bucks All-Star forward Khris Middleton is declining his $13M player option and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

    Middleton is expected to command a five-year max contract but he and the Bucks are planning to work together toward a new long-term deal. Middleton recently bought a new property in Milwaukee and Giannis has openly vouched for his teammate so we’d be shocked if the two parties don’t end up agreeing on a new deal. There will be plenty of suitors that can only offer him a four-year max deal, with the Lakers rumored to be one of them.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter