The NBA Conference Finals are about to come to an end and the basketball community will eagerly await the NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors won Game 5 against the Dallas Mavericks in the West and have now closed the series out 4-1. On the opposite coast, the Boston Celtics lead the Miami Heat 3-2 and also have a home Game 6 to close the series out.
Odds suggest we are in for a Boston vs. Golden State NBA Finals matchup. It will be the first time these two teams will face each other in the championship stage since the 1964 NBA Finals were held between the Celtics and San Francisco Warriors.
That said, let's dive into the news stories around the league from the last 24 hours.
Damion Lee makes a bold statement after the school shooting in Texas
NBA players were asked about the school shooting in Texas and their thoughts on the tragedy. These players are global personalities with a massive following, so their words resonate with important lawmakers as well.
Before Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, Damion Lee of the Golden State Warriors was asked about his emotions after the mass shooting. He said:
"Guns shouldn't be as easily accessible. Like it's easier to get a gun than baby formula right now. That's unbelievable in this country that we live in."
Jayson Tatum reveals his shoulder injury was bothering him in Game 5
Jayson Tatum and co. took care of business in Game 5 on the road and took a commanding 3-2 series lead against the 1st-seeded Miami Heat. They now have a home game to close out the series and advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010. However, Celtics Nation must be bummed to hear that their superstar forward is hurting and might not be 100% moving forward.
Jayson Tatum mentioned that his shoulder injury was bothering him in Game 5 but his trainers and coaching staff helped manage the pain. In his postgame press conference, he said:
"It was bothering me but I got Nick, my trainer, taking care of me and we just figure it out."
NBA looking to expand to Seattle and Las Vegas after 2024
The NBA is reportedly planning on expanding to two new cities and adding two teams to its body of 30 teams. The two proposed cities are Seattle, Washington, and Las Vegas, Nevada, and both teams will be added to the Western Conference.
Hence, many have speculated that any two teams amongst the New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Memphis Grizzlies are expected to move to the Eastern Conference.
The NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire in 2024 along with its media rights deal. Sports journalist John Canzano reported:
"The rest of the owners in the league are being told that Vegas and Seattle are the expansion targets."
Zion Williamson cleared to return after missing entirety of 2021-22 NBA season
The New Orleans Pelicans started 3-16 in the 2021-22 season and anyone would have been right to assume that they are entering the lottery. However, the franchise wasn't willing to settle for an off-year with Zion Williamson sidelined with a fracture. They acquired CJ McCollum and eventually made the playoffs but Williamson still didn't lace up.
He has now been cleared to return and his injury is reportedly healing at a great pace. In theory, the Pelicans are set to make the playoffs next season with Williamson joining their already playoff-ready roster.
Glen "Big Baby" Davis set to join Jake Paul's pay-per-view
The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that Glen "Big Baby" Davis will be part of Jake Paul's pay-per-view event on August 13th. Paul is ready to have the sixth professional fight of his career on that day and is promoting Davis to be part of the Basketball-Boxing crossover. Charania tweeted:
"Hoops-boxing crossover: 8-year NBA vet Glen “Big Baby” Davis is targeted to be part of Jake Paul’s PPV event on Aug. 13, per sources. Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions was working on Davis-Larry Sanders, but is now evaluating new opponent due to Big 3 commitment for Sanders."