The Thunder plan on having guard Josh Giddey available on Saturday – and going forward – while the NBA looks into allegations that he had an improper relationship with a minor, head coach Mark Daigneault told reporters this afternoon (Twitter video link via Andrew Schlecht of The Athletic)
“Just with the information we have at this point, that’s the decision that we’ve made,” Daigneault said when asked why the team feels comfortable keeping Giddey active. “It’s really not even a decision, to be honest with you.”
A Thunder spokesperson later clarified that Daigneault meant the decision on Giddey’s availability isn’t within his jurisdiction and is in the league’s hands, according to Joel Lorenzi of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Of course, Oklahoma City could decide on its own to hold Giddey out, but it sounds like the team will continue playing him while the investigation is ongoing unless the NBA advises otherwise.
“It’s obviously a league matter at this point,” Daigneault said. “So the ball’s in their court on that.”
Here’s more from around the Northwest:
- There’s good news and bad news for the Jazz on the injury report for Saturday’s game vs. New Orleans, tweets Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. Utah will be without its top two scorers, as forward Lauri Markkanen has been ruled out due to left hamstring soreness while Jordan Clarkson will be unavailable due to an illness. However, the Jazz appear likely to have their starting center back in the lineup, as Walker Kessler, who has missed the last seven games due to a sprained left elbow, has been upgraded to probable.
- Former Jazz guard Jeff Hornacek remains involved with the organization behind the scenes as a coaching consultant. In a story for The Salt Lake Tribune (subscription required), Larsen explores what that role entails and the impact that Hornacek has had on head coach Will Hardy. “He’s been a really, really good friend and confidant and in some ways like a mentor for me in this role, because he also knows what it’s like to be a head coach and a first-time head coach,” Hardy said. “There are tough moments during the season where sometimes he just offers a ‘Hang in there, you’re doing what you should be doing.’ It’s just a tough stretch over 82 games and so he’s been a really calming influence for me.”
- The Timberwolves had high hopes that their 2022 trade for Rudy Gobert would help create an elite defense. The results were mixed last season – Minnesota narrowly cracked the top 10 in defensive rating – but it has all come together for the team so far in 2023/24, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune, who takes a closer look at the parts Gobert, head coach Chris Finch, and top defensive assistant coach Elston Turner have played in building one of the league’s best Ds.