The Phoenix Suns will not fire first-year head coach Igor Kokoskov during the season despite their NBA-worst record, their acting general manager said in an interview.
“We’re committed to Igor, and we’re committed to finishing the season out on a high note,” James Jones told Arizona Sports 98.7 on Wednesday. “We have room for improvement. That’s the challenge across the organization for us to improve upstairs as well as downstairs, on the court, off the court. So we’re going to push it. But Igor, like I said, it’s a tough job, but he’s up to the challenge.”
The Suns are 12-50 and host the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.
Before joining the Suns, Kokoskov spent 18 years as an assistant coach, most recently with Utah. The 47-year-old, who is Serbian, is the first NBA head coach born and raised outside the United States.
—The Golden State Warriors announced that Kevin Durant would not play in Thursday night’s game against the Orlando Magic, giving the All-Star forward a day of rest.
Durant, the MVP at the Feb. 17 All-Star Game at Charlotte, N.C., is missing a game for the first time this season. The move came as the Warriors are set to play the second game of a back-to-back portion of their schedule. Golden State lost at Miami on Wednesday after a last-second shot by Dwyane Wade.
Not only did the Warriors miss out on Durant’s 27.5 points per game Thursday, they were also without Andre Iguodala, who did not play because of illness.
—Paul George was set to sit out the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Thursday home game against the Philadelphia 76ers due to a sore right shoulder, the team announced.
George, who is averaging 28.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game this season, has missed just one other game this season. The injury is not believed to be serious, and George’s status is considered day-to-day.
George is believed to have injured his shoulder at some point Tuesday during Oklahoma City’s 121-112 loss to the Nuggets. He scored 25 points, grabbed eight rebounds and handed out seven assists in 40 minutes at Denver.
—Sacramento Kings rookie forward Marvin Bagley III underwent an MRI exam that revealed he suffered a sprained left knee on Wednesday and could miss 1-2 weeks, the team has announced.
The No. 2 overall pick from Duke could miss as many as five games, and will be re-evaluated in one to two weeks.
Near the end of the third quarter in Wednesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Bagley fell after running into a screen by the Bucks’ Malcom Brogdon, and held his left knee while letting out a scream. He eventually was helped off the court by teammates Harry Giles and Kosta Koufos and didn’t return to the game.
—Dirk Nowitzki never wanted a retirement tour this year, and now comes an indication that he would consider returning for a 22nd season, even as he is being saluted in arenas across the country.
Belief around the NBA was that Nowitzki, 40, is wrapping up his career with the Dallas Mavericks. But on the heels of some better play this week and now that he is finally moving better following ankle surgery last spring, Nowitzki said Wednesday night that a return to the Mavericks is not out of the question.
“I don’t know,” Nowitzki told reporters after the victory over the Indiana Pacers, when asked if he is considering playing with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis next season. “I haven’t really thought about it. I would love to be there for the young guys one more year, but I think it depends on how the body feels. I’ve had issues obviously this year. I had some knee swelling here the last few weeks, actually before the All-Star break, so it’s not all great. But like I said, I am feeling better. I am feeling stronger.”
—Portland center Enes Kanter won’t travel to Toronto with the Trail Blazers over fears that he could be arrested. Portland plays in Toronto on Friday night.
In January, the Turkish government submitted a notice to Interpol soliciting his arrest, and Kanter is hesitant to leave the United States.
Kanter, who joined the Trail Blazers earlier this month after his release from the New York Knicks, skipped a trip to London in January while with the Knicks over fears that he might be killed.
—Field Level Media