Archive for August 19th, 2013

Kobe Bryant begins running on treadmill

Kobe Bryant begins running on treadmill

Questions remain on when Kobe Bryant will actually step foot onto a basketball court. But he provided yet another example Monday on how he’s made tangible progress surrounding his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon.

Bryant posted a video on his Instagram account that showed him at the Lakers’ practice facility running on a weight-bearing treadmill. Bryant then added the hashtags, “#mambamental” and “#vinoclock.”

In a sit-down interview with comedian Jimmy Kimmel last week at the Nokia Theatre, Bryant said he’s unsure whether he would suit up in the Lakers’ season opener Oct. 29 against the Clippers at Staples Center.

Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News Blog

lebron james

En-route to Friday’s Justin Timberlake and Jay Z concert, Miami Heat superstar LeBron James was given a police escort to navigate the bumper-to-bumper traffic into Sun Life Stadium.

A grateful James posted the clip of the good deed on his Instagram account with the caption: “They treat us so well! Needed it cause traffic was nuts!!” James has a little under 3.5 million Instagram followers.

“Light police escort on the wrong side of the street,” James said. “Headed to the big homie concert, JT. Holla.”

On Monday, Miami-Dade police said the officer who gave James and his fiancée the wrong-way escort into the stadium “violated departmental policies.”

Reported by the Miami Herald staff

The Bakersfield (Calif.) Jam, the Hawks’ NBA Development League affiliate, will hold open tryouts at the Suwanee Sports Academy Oct. 5-6.

The tryout is one of five being held by the Jam nationwide. There will also be camps in Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Salt Lake City in September and October.

There is a $150 pre-registration fee (arriving at Bakersfield Jam offices by Oct. 2; $200 for after the pre-registration deadline and day-of registration).

Reported by Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (Blog)

Trail Blazers sign guard Dee Bost

Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers signed guard Dee Bost to a contract, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey. We assume this is a nonguaranteed contact that will bring Bost to training camp, where the team will evaluate him further.

Bost (6-2, 176) played four seasons at Mississippi State, where he averaged 15.8 points and 5.6 assists as a senior. Bost finished his career with 633 assists, tops in Mississippi State history and eighth all-time in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Last season he played for Buducnost Podgorica in Montenegro where he averaged 8.3 points and 1.8 assists in 21.5 minutes per game.

Bost, 23, becomes the 17th player on the Trail Blazers’ current roster.

In Australia, Heat second-round acquisition James Ennis, the swingman out of Long Beach State, was introduced as the newest member of the Perth Wildcats…

Both Ennis and Perth coach Trevor Gleeson downplayed the opt-out in Ennis’ Wildcats contract that would allow him to return to the Heat at any point if summoned this season.

“When I got drafted at 50 in second round, they didn’t have a lot of roster spots, so they gave me a decision to go D-League or overseas and I picked overseas,” Ennis said. “I would like to stay for 12 months and help the Wildcats get a championship. That’s my main goal.”

It also is his coach’s preference.

“Here he’s going to play a substantial role on our team, and develop him on the court, off the court, professionally, at life skills, living away from America for the first time,” Gleeson said. “I think he’s going to be well-rounded and then go back a seasoned veteran.

Reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Udonis Haslem is going to get married

Udonis Haslem is going to get married

It looks like wedding bells will be ringing for Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem.

The former college standout for the Florida Gators applied for a marriage license Monday, according to Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts records.

He’s marrying his college sweetheart, Faith Rein, a track and field star at UF.

Reported by Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald

If Jarvis Varnado is going to leave the Miami Heat to play overseas it will be a case of later rather than sooner.

Despite a report in La Gazzetta dello Sport that the shot-blocking center was close to a deal in Italy, Boca Raton-based agent Mitch Frankel said Sunday his client remains under contract to the Heat and is planning to be at training camp, which opens Oct. 1.

Varnado has a non-guaranteed contract that becomes partially guaranteed on opening night of the regular season, Oct. 29 against the Chicago Bulls at AmericanAirlines Arena. He began his career in Italy in 2010 after being selected in the second round of the NBA Draft that year by the Heat. He joined the Heat last January, spitting the remainder of the season between the Heat and the team’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Skyforce, securing a championship ring despite his inactive status in the playoffs.

Reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Knicks

[Raymond] Felton said the Knicks plan to meet for workouts in early September, about 3-4 weeks before training camp starts.

“We should be back at full force by then,” the point guard said.

It’s fairly common for NBA teams to organize players-only workouts before training camp.

Both the Knicks and Nets did so last season.

The Nets will convene this week in Los Angeles for players-only workouts, a source confirmed to ESPNNewYork’s Mike Mazzeo.

Reported by Ian Begley of ESPN New York

Raymond Felton

Raymond Felton says he “loves” the changes the Knicks made in the offseason. Felton also made a pretty significant change himself.

With the help of Washington D.C.-based trainer Keith Veney, Felton says he has lost approximately 15 pounds since the end of the 2012-13 season. He played at around 212 pounds last year and is encouraged with his new physique and the added speed it can lead to.

“I was quick before, but if you take off 15 pounds, you can be that much quicker,” Felton said Sunday at a Big Brothers-Big Sisters New York City event at St. John’s.

Felton’s weight was an issue in his lone season in Portland in 2011-12. He entered the season out of shape because he was caught off guard by the lockout. When the lockout ended and the season began in late December, Felton admits that he was not physically prepared.

Reported by Ian Begley of ESPN New York

DeJuan Blair says Spurs should have given him more Finals minutes

Former Spur DeJuan Blair has already poured some gasoline on the Mavs’ rivalry with his old team.

When asked about getting back to the NBA Finals, Blair told NBA.com, “Of course I want to get back. I don’t think we’ve [Spurs] would have came up short if I would’ve played but, hey, keep that out there.”

Blair only played four minutes in Game 4 and six minutes in Game 5 of the Finals—both blowouts.

This is not the first time Blair has complained about playing time, though, something Coach Rick Carlisle surely won’t tolerate.

Reported by SportsDayDFW

Raymond Felton

“Paul Pierce said the Nets are gonna take over the city,” the Knicks point guard said with a smirk Sunday. “It’s hard for you to take over the city when we’ve got ‘New York’ on our chest and you’ve got ‘Brooklyn’ on yours. It’s been this way since long before he started playing.”

Felton fanned a flame initially sparked by Pierce last week when the new Net told Complex magazine that he hates the Knicks “with a passion” and wanted to “start the beef.”

Pierce, a longtime Knicks nemesis with the Boston Celtics, was traded to the Nets in July along with Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry. The blockbuster deal has made Brooklyn the preseason favorite to win the Atlantic Division title and, in Pierce’s estimation, the allegiance of New York fans.

“It’s already a rivalry with them, and when you add Pierce and Garnett, that makes it bigger,” said Felton, who helped conduct a basketball clinic for 50 kids Sunday at St. John’s in conjunction with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Reported by Stephen Haynes of New York Newsday

Thunder still among best in NBA West

okc thunder

Lost in this summer’s extolling of other teams’ activity is this simple but significant truth: most every Western Conference playoff contender that added a major player lost a major player.

Dallas, for instance, added Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis and DeJuan Blair but lost Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo and Elton Brand. Golden State welcomed Andre Iguodala and Jermaine O’Neal but said goodbye to Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry. The Los Angeles Clippers brought in the aforementioned Collison, J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley but watched Eric Bledsoe, Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler take a hike.

Houston, with the addition of Dwight Howard, is the only Western Conference playoff contender that escaped this negligible, at best, net gain.

But because Oklahoma City didn’t reel in Mike Miller or Dorell Wright or whoever else to replace Martin, the Thunder, on paper, appears to be worse. Of course, this logic fails to consider OKC’s in-house replacements, rising star Reggie Jackson and sharpshooter Jeremy Lamb. Both have been recognized as possible Sixth Man Award candidates next season, and, together, the two should be more than capable of supplying what Martin provided last season — if not more.

Reported by Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman

deron williams

Even with the addition of two future Hall of Famers, the Nets are still Deron Williams’ team.

The captain is doing his best to lead in the summer, as well.

Williams organized players-only workouts this week in Southern California, with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in attendance. Williams told the Daily News that 10 of Brooklyn’s 15 players will participate in the workouts that started Sunday and runs until Friday.

The entire starting lineup, including Brook Lopez, is expected in SoCal. Lopez only recently shed his walking boot after offseason surgery to replace a screw in his right foot. He also spent a large portion of the summer on a goodwill tour of the world, while Pierce has been winning over the Nets’ fan base by persistently bashing the Knicks.

Reported by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News

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