“I’d love to play, I really would,” said Ibaka. “It’s just not going to happen. There’s no way I’ll be on the court for Game 1 or any games of the series.”
That said, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs have to be skeptical, considering Ibaka was said to be out for the entirety of the Western Conference Finals, only to return and play well in Game 3.
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. “Let’s say they were less than forthright last time about his status.”
Ibaka said he is nursing his calf injury and also “my team lost in the Western Conference Finals. We can’t play in the Finals.”
But Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he finds that characterization “suspicious.”
“They can’t play in the Finals? They played in the Finals two years ago. I know. We played against them,” he said. “And they had a young team then. They should be much better now. This all seems to be a blatant attempt to mislead. I fully expect to see Ibaka on the court.”
Calls placed to the Thunder front office to confirm Ibaka’s status were not returned. All voice mail recordings said the office is currently closed for the offseason.
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