Five Key Stories: 4/13/19 – 4/20/19

If you missed any of this past week’s biggest headlines from around the NBA, we’ve got you covered with our Week in Review. Here are some of the most noteworthy stories from the last seven days:

The Warriors are still the favorite to capture a third straight title, but their playoff road got more difficult with the loss of DeMarcus Cousins. The standout center suffered a torn quad while diving for a ball in Game 2 of Golden State’s playoff series with the Clippers. Injury issues will hang over Cousins in free agency for a second straight summer.

Zion Williamson, projected to be the top pick in this year’s draft, officially declared himself eligible. Williamson had an outstanding freshman season at Duke, averaging 22.6 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.8 BPG and 2.1 SPG in 33 games. He moved into the top spot in most mock drafts early in the season and managed to stay there.

The Pelicans landed one of the top available executives when former Cavaliers GM David Griffin agreed to become their new executive VP of basketball operations. Griffin’s top job this summer will be to work out a trade for star center Anthony Davis, who requested a deal prior to this year’s deadline.

The Grizzlies continued their front office overhaul by hiring Rich Cho as VP of basketball strategy and Glen Grunwald as a senior advisor. Since the season ended, Memphis has demoted GM Chris Wallace and hired Jason Wexler as head of basketball operations and Zach Kleiman as VP of basketball operations.

The Kings finalized a deal to make Luke Walton their new head coach. Walton was unemployed for less than a day after being fired by the Lakers. GM Vlade Divac reportedly wanted to hire Walton three years ago.

Here are 10 more headlines from the past week:

  • The Lakers made progress in their coaching search, meeting with both Tyronn Lue and Monty Williams. Heat assistant Juwan Howard will also get an interview.
  • Howard is also a candidate for the Cavaliers‘ head coaching job. Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley, Jazz assistant Alex Jensen and Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool are also expected to receive interviews.
  • ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups is among the candidates for a front office position with the Timberwolves. Billups previously interviewed for management jobs with the Cavaliers and Hawks.
  • Former All-Star center Dwight Howard opted in for the final year of his contract with the Wizards. He will receive a little more than $5.6MM next season.
  • Hornets center Bismack Biyombo also picked up his player option for 2019/20. Biyombo will make $17MM in the final season of a four-year, $68MM deal.
  • Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. had surgery on his left tibia to relieve a stress injury. The team expects him to be fully ready in time for training camp.
  • Thunder swingman Hamidou Diallo had an arthroscopic procedure on his right elbow to ease the soreness. He was inactive for Game 2 of OKC’s playoff series with the Trail Blazers.
  • Blake Griffin missed the first two games of the Pistons‘ playoff series because of swelling and pain in his left knee. He will find out if surgery will be necessary once Detroit’s postseason run is over.
  • Kevin Durant said again this week that he doesn’t plan to focus on a free agency decision until the playoffs are over. He will be eligible for a five-year, $221MM deal with the Warriors or four years and $164MM from anyone else.
  • Sixers backup center Amir Johnson was fined for looking at his cell phone on the sidelines during the playoff opener with the Nets. Using a cell phone on the bench is a violation of the NBA’s Operations Manual.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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