Archive for July 28th, 2011

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports:

Tom Thibodeau

Being of single-minded focus, Tom Thibodeau is preparing for next season as if there isn’t a lockout. Whenever that ends, expect the reigning Coach of the Year to be healthier and prowling the sidelines with even more gusto.

That’s because Thibodeau underwent partial right knee replacement surgery on July 13 to fix a painful arthritic condition dating to an injury from his playing days at Salem (Mass.) State.

Thibodeau tore cartilage in college and had his meniscus completely removed during the ensuing surgery, leaving bone to basically rub on bone for the last 30 years. Colleagues said the condition began affecting what little sleep Thibodeau bagged last season. Befitting the tough-minded team he led to a league-high 62 victories and Eastern Conference finals berth last season, Thibodeau never discussed the situation, even making light of it on Thursday.

Steve Blake adding arc to his jumper

Mark Medina of the Los Angele Times (blog) reports:

steve blake

In between increased family time and rest at his Portland, Ore., home during the NBA lockout, Lakers guard Steve Blake took the first step in what he hopes will lead to a better performance in the 2011-12 season.

“I’m trying to get more arch on my shot,” Blake said Thursday in a phone interview. “That’s what I’ve been working on this summer. I’m trying to shoot the ball a little higher and see if that will improve my jump shot. I didn’t shoot the ball horribly this year, but I didn’t shoot it as well as I wanted to.”

Blake shot 35.9% from the field last season, the lowest shooting percentage for the eight-year veteran since the 2004-05 season. Even though Blake often worked on his shot after practices and before games, he averaged a career-low four points in 20 minutes per game. Blake’s overall shooting consistency reflected a significant problem for the Lakers: the lack of a reliable outside shooter.

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Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times (blog) reports:

kobe bryant

Had he remained in Italy, Kobe Bryant may very well have been honing his footwork on the pitch instead of the hardwood.

He’ll have a chance to do that Sunday when he appears in the Celebrity Soccer Challenge at Kastles Stadium in Washington D.C., an event sponsored by former U.S. women’s soccer player Mia Hamm and her husband, ex-Dodger Nomar Garciaparra. But incidentally enough, Bryant may not have been making a token  appearance on the soccer field had he seriously kept up with the sport.

Sure, it’s easy to imagine the uber competitive and athletic Bryant dazzling fans wearing an A.C. Milan uniform (his favorite childhood team) or an FC Barcelona jersey (his current favorite team). Bryant, however, sensed his skills kicking a soccer ball nowhere matched what he could do with a basketball, a sport he got serious about  once his family moved to Philadelphia in 1991.

“I wasn’t anything spectacular,” Bryant once told the Chicago Tribune’s Luis Arroyave. “I would have moments of doing something crazy that really wasn’t done on purpose. I’d pull off a nice move that was unintentional.

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The AP reports:

Jalen Rose

Shortly after being sentenced to nearly three weeks in jail for drunken driving, Jalen Rose was stopped for speeding in a Detroit suburb.

Clawson Police Chief Harry Anderson says Rose was clocked going 46 miles per hour in a 25 mile-per-hour zone Wednesday night. He was given a citation at 8:47 p.m. for going 10 miles per hour over the limit.

InsideHoops.com says: Driving properly really isn’t this damn difficult, folks. Stop it, Jalen!

Karl Malone joining USO tour

Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune (blog) reports:

Jazz legend Karl Malone, “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart and illusionist David Blaine will join Admiral Mike Mullen this summer during a USO (United Service Organizations) tour overseas, the NBA announced Thursday.

Mullen is about to end his four-year appointment as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has led nine USO tours to 13 different countries, lifting the spirits of more than 74,300 service men and women.

Malone, a two-time NBA most valuable player, will join Mullen on a two-country, seven-day trip.

Elderly people tend to want to stay at home a lot.

How’s that for an intro?

Of course, Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash is only “elderly” by NBA standards. But still, his main focus now is to stay healthy as his NBA career presumably winds down over the next few seasons.

China Daily reports:

Steve Nash

Although hailing the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league as a fine destination for NBA players, the Phoenix Suns’ MVP guard, Steve Nash, believes he will stay with his family during the current league lockout.

“Like I said before, if I did not have three daughters to take care of I would like to come and play in the CBA,” Nash said during a press conference on Monday in Shanghai.

The event was hosted by his sponsor, Luyou, and unveiled the all-star guard’s personal logo while he shared some of his favorite moves and shots with local fans.

“I know I have got a lot of diehard fans here, it’s incredible. The basketball league here is also awesome. It’s definitely a good league for all players worldwide. But I would like to stay with my family during the holidays,” said Nash, who arrived in China last Saturday for a four-day charity visit organized by the sports company.

Before the press conference, Nash paid a visit to Banqiao High School in Yunnan province, where he raised donations to build a new sports ground.

China is considered the leading destination for players to pursue overseas jobs once the select elite spots in Europe fill up. But no prominent players have agreed to play there during this lockout just yet.

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Caron Butler hopes to stay with Mavs

Generally, when a team wins an NBA championship, the players who were on the squad don’t mind returning. Such is the case with small forward Caron Butler, who unfortunately was hurt and unable to contribute on the court to his team’s playoff success.

Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News reports:

Caron Butler

Caron Butler’s right knee has been diagnosed as good to go, agent Raymond Brothers confirmed Wednesday. Where he will be playing when the NBA returns from its lockout remains to be seen.

Brothers said Butler, a free agent, was cleared to play by the Mavericks’ medical staff several days ago. Butler ruptured his patellar tendon in a New Year’s Day loss at Milwaukee. He missed the rest of the Mavericks’ championship season.

“He would have been able to play in Game 7 against the Miami Heat,” Brothers said. “But now we have the official clearance.”

Game 7 of the NBA Finals wasn’t necessary as the Mavericks wrapped up the league title in six games.

Brothers said the 6-7 forward prefers to return to the Mavericks. Butler was the team’s third-leading scorer when his season ended.

The Mavs proved they can win in a big way without Butler’s help, but they still could have used his services. We’ll see how this plays out.

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