First Cup: Friday
September, 21, 2012
By Nick Borges
- Ethan J. Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post: It is customary at this point in the NBA calendar to generate and pose preseason questions. It is customary, in part, because it is so easy to do. And in many other corners and crannies of America, there will be too many questions to contain on one printed page, let alone in a single column. In the Southeastern-most corner of the country, however, this exercise is a bit of a struggle. With one week remaining before the Heat’s unofficial opening to the season – its Media Day – it’s apparent that this training camp will start with virtually every contingency covered. It is apparent that only the most wobbly of worrywarts would find fault with Pat Riley’s reloaded roster as the Heat sets out to defend its championship.
- Craig Stouffer of the Washington Examiner That Darko Milicic signed with the Boston Celtics before training camp again demonstrates 7-footers with NBA experience can find work until they aren't able to run. Just ask Jermaine O'Neal. But Milicic is unlikely to move the needle in Boston's pursuit of one more NBA championship before the window for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce closes. Milicic has just as many rings as those future Hall of Famers, having averaged 4.7 minutes as a rookie for the Detroit Pistons during their 2004 championship run. More recently, though, he was amnestied by Minnesota with two years and $10 million remaining on the four-year deal he signed with the Timberwolves in 2010. In Boston, Milicic becomes a low-risk backup for Garnett, who is sure to brutalize him in practice. The Celtics also have veteran big men Chris Wilcox and Jason Collins along with rookie Fab Melo, a group that doesn't exactly inspire fear. If Milicic and that group play a significant role in Boston's season, it would be more surprising than the fact that Milicic is still in the league.
- Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: Channing Frye said he expects to miss the coming season due to an enlarged heart caused by a virus that is rare and only treatable with rest, if that even works. It was caught during a recent treadmill stress test that players undergo before each season's October training camp. Suns cardiologist Dr. Tim Byrne discovered that Frye, 29, had dilated cardiomyopathy and Frye underwent a battery of tests before visiting the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota on Wednesday for a final accord among more doctors. "It was very shocking and, at the same time, scary," Frye said. "It's not like an arm or knee or an elbow where you're like, 'Maybe I can just rehab this.' It's something that keeps you going. The only time you hear about things going on like that is (Boston's) Jeff Green getting open-heart surgery or (Sacramento's) Chuck Hayes getting a little scare." The Suns said Frye, who is signed through 2015, will be re-evaluated in December for the possibility of activity but Frye told azcentral sports several times that he must have six months of rest and expects to miss the season that runs to April. He said his activity will be limited to yoga and golf.
- Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: The Celtics announced that they have waived Keyon Dooling after the veteran guard decided to retire from the NBA. Dooling agreed to a one-year deal at the veteran's minimum in July and was expected to enter the season as Rajon Rondo's primary backup. ... "Keyon has decided that he has given the NBA twelve good years and that it's time to pursue other interests and spend more time with his family," said Dooling's representative Kenge Stevenson in a team statement. "He will never forget his time in Boston with the Celtics." The Celtics are likely to seek a true backup to Rondo as training camp begins next week.
- Rachel Whittaker of The Times-Picayune: While New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon showed his charitable side Thursday at Langston Hughes Academy Charter School, he made it clear he's looking forward to the 2012 basketball season. As to how he'll be received among the Hornets' fan base this season, Gordon appeared confident that there won't be bumps in the road. The Hornets matched the Phoenix Suns' four-year, $58 million offer to him this summer that kept Gordon in the Crescent City. "I'm not nervous at all," Gordon said. "I'm here to help these fans, help this organization win games ... I'm happy here, and I'm just looking forward to the season." He said the No. 1 point he's emphasizing is being a leader on the team. He's back after playing only nine games last season because of a bruised right knee that required surgery.
- Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News: Camp starts in two weeks. Andrew Bogut has just begun jumping/lay-up drills–he did his second session today and seemed none the worse for it. As he has said in the past, Bogut is pointing towards the Warriors’ season-opener on Oct. 31, and added today that he’d like to get 1 or 2 preseason games under his belt before that. But he also said that he’s not going to push it if his ankle is just 95%–he doesn’t want to mimic the misery Curry went through last year when he came back several times and re-aggravated his ankle each time. We talked about a lot of things, and Bogut surprised me a little at the end when he said his 2010 elbow injury had the born right-hander at one point seriously contemplating shooting left-handed permanently. Big-picture summary: Bogut is probably the key piece to any potential Warriors’ success. Plus, he’s engaging and a very smart guy. If he’s healthy and the Warriors are any good, he’s going to be a huge Bay Area personality.
- Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times: Eric Bledsoe's strong playoff performance might have ensured he'll be wearing a Clippers uniform for at least two more seasons. The Clippers exercised a team option on the third-year guard for the 2013-14 season after he averaged 7.9 points and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 58.7% in 11 playoff games. Bledsoe, who is entering his third NBA season, was particularly good against San Antonio in the Western Conference semifinals, averaging 11.5 points while shooting 70%. He will earn $1.7 million this season and $2.6 million next season.
- Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News: The Pistons' roster is full, but they'll be bringing swingman Terrence Williams to training camp. Williams was the 11th pick in the 2009 draft out of Louisville. He was drafted by the Nets, coached at the time by current Pistons coach Lawrence Frank. Williams was traded to Houston in his second season, then to Sacramento before the Kings cut him last season. ... His maturity has come into question at his various stops, but the Pistons aren't risking much bringing him to camp. He has been in Detroit the past few weeks, working out at the facility with the other players. It's important to keep in mind the Pistons have 15 guaranteed contracts for the coming season, so one of those players would have to go for Williams to make the team.
- Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel: The Bucks have an open roster spot and may have a player to fill it. Veteran guard Marquis Daniels, who has worked out with Bucks players at the team's training facility this week, is being seriously considered for the 15th spot on the roster. Daniels and his agent are in discussions with Bucks management but no contract has been signed at this point, according to a league source. The 31-year-old Daniels played the last three seasons with the Boston Celtics and also has played for the Dallas Mavericks and Indiana Pacers. ... His strong play at the end of last season resulted in his promotion to a reserve role during the playoffs. "Actually I feel so much better now," Daniels said of the surgery he underwent last year. "I wish I would have known earlier in my career.
- John Mitchell of The Philadelphia Inquirer: Remember that high ankle sprain that Sixers rookie Arnett Moultrie suffered while working out for NBA teams prior to the draft? The one that had the 6-11 Moultrie hobbling around when he was introduced to the city a few months back? Turns out that the healing process has actually been a little bit slower than expected this summer. Moultrie came out of his walking boot in July, nearly two months ago, but he hasn’t been able to play five-on-five all summer long. ... I spoke with president Rod Thorn about this briefly on Thursday and he said that he expects Moultrie to get up to speed during training camp, which begins Oct. 2. ... Thorn said Moultrie, who played mostly at 235 pounds last season at Mississippi State University, is “a little heavier” than the Sixers would like. He also said that Moultrie is playing two-on-two and doing some conditioning, so it’s not as though Moultrie isn’t doing something.
- David Mayo of Mlive.com: Thursday’s event was one of the last non-basketball respites Stuckey will have this summer. He said he plans to return to Seattle this weekend to attend his daughter’s soccer game, then come back to the Detroit area next week, where he will remain. Training camp opens Oct. 2, with the Pistons employing their youngest roster in years as part of a rebuilding plan. “I think this is the first time I’ve ever had this since I’ve been here,” Stuckey said. “My first year was obviously a phenomenal year, going to the Eastern Conference Finals. But this is the first time we actually have a true young team since I’ve been here. I’ve been with a lot of vets my whole career but we’re one of the youngest teams in the league. I think we’re all just excited about that.”
- Tim Bontemps of the New York Post: The Nets will be featured on NBA TV’s “The Association” this season. The move makes plenty of sense from both sides. For the NBA, it’s another opportunity to market the Nets as they move to Brooklyn, a move that the NBA hopes turns the franchise into one of the NBA’s highest revenue-generating teams after spending decades in New Jersey near the bottom of that list. But the interesting thing about the decision to focus on the Nets is that the move itself will have to play such a major role in the show because the Nets players are a fairly quiet group. For all of the tabloid hype Kris Humphries has generated, he’s a low-key guy. Same goes for guys like Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and C.J. Watson. Player-wise, I’ll expect the show to focus on a few guys, in particular, including Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks and Reggie Evans. But I expect that the show will also spend plenty of time featuring Avery Johnson, who will sure to be entertaining.
- Michael Lee of The Washington Post: The new-look Wizards will hold two-a-day practices at Patriot Center from Oct. 2 to Oct. 6, travel to Charlotte for their preseason opener against the Bobcats on Oct. 7, and then return to George Mason for two more two-a-day practices on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9. In the past, the Wizards would have morning and evening practice sessions in the days leading up to the first exhibition game and return to a regular morning practice schedule. But Randy Wittman will have to incorporate several new pieces – No. 3 pick Bradley Beal and offseason additions Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, A.J. Price and Martell Webster – in his first training camp as head coach of the Wizards. This will also be the first Wizards training camp for Nene, who was acquired at the trade deadline last March. Wall, Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin and Cartier Martin have all participated in training camp at George Mason, while Jordan Crawford, Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack will experience their first camp away from Chinatown. The Wizards rounded out their 18-man training camp roster with the signings of Brian Cook, Earl Barron, Shavlik Randolph and Steven Gray