Archive for October 4th, 2013

Larry Johnson sees Iman Shumpert as future of Knicks

Iman Shumpert went to Summer League in Las Vegas for two reasons: The New York Knicks wanted to see him play a little point guard and to get used to playing a bigger role within the team, according to ex-Knicks star and current Knicks staff member Larry Johnson, who was in Las Vegas with the team.

“We wanted [Shumpert] to know, ‘You’re our future.’ We wanted him to play a bigger role, [be] a little more vocal and have a little more leadership,” Johnson said in an interview last week.

Shumpert’s entering his third season in the NBA, but this is the first year he will play a full training camp and preseason. He was a rookie during the lockout-shortened season of 2011-12, which featured an abbreviated camp. Last year, he sat out the first 2 1/2 months of the season while rehabbing his knee after surgery on an anterior cruciate ligament.

“I’m extremely excited,” Shumpert said Thursday. “I’m just happy I’m healthy and ain’t nothing wrong with my knees, man. [I’m ready to] get out here and play, put my jersey on for the first game and we’re going to get rolling.”

Reported by Ian Begley of ESPN New York

Brook and Robin Lopez shopping TV script

The recent offseasons haven’t been so easy for Brook Lopez. There was the bout with mono three years ago, and then the three foot surgeries that stalled his career.

But all this time away from the court has provided Lopez an opportunity to advance his eclectic interests, specifically a script for an animated adventure/comedy that he and his twin brother — Robin Lopez, a center for the Trail Blazers — have been shopping to television networks.

“We have a pilot all written out,” says Lopez.

Brooklyn’s All-Star center is quite serious about this endeavor, as well his future plans to create books, comics and video games. He and Robin have visited the studios at Disney and Fox, even sitting at a taping of “The Simpsons.” Like any Hollywood writer, he is keeping the details of the script a secret, providing only the theme.

“This one is Robin’s brainchild,” Lopez says.

Reported by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News

No retirement plans for Vince Carter yet

From the looks of the calendar, Vince Carter is in the twilight of his NBA career.

But don’t ask the Dallas Mavericks’ small forward if he’s thought about retiring and hanging up his high-flying sneakers. Although he is in the last year of his contract, Carter, who turns 37 on Jan. 26, doesn’t have a timetable for ending his career.

“I don’t want to do that to myself,” Carter said after Thursday morning’s practice. “I don’t want to limit myself. I think doing that you’ll start thinking about [retirement] as the season goes on. I’ll just let the body pretty much dictate how I’m feeling in the end.”

Carter acknowledged that his body is telling him that he’s got a few more years left to play. Especially after he averaged a solid 13.4 points — mostly off the bench — in just 26 minutes per game last season.

Reported by Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Nets coach Jason Kidd suspended by NBA

Nets coach Jason Kidd suspended by NBA

Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd isn’t starting his coaching career on a high note.

Kidd has been suspended for two games for pleading guilty to driving while ability impaired, in violation of the law of the State of New York, the NBA announced today.

Kidd will be suspended for the first two games of the 2013-14 NBA regular season.

Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King issued the following statement on this news: “The decision is consistent with what the league has done in the past and we look forward to Jason leading our team versus Orlando and the rest of the year.”

Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons conduct an open-to-public workout annually, but this year decided to bring it back into their own home arena because getting people back to The Palace of Auburn Hills is one of their chief priorities.

“I think that the number-one priority objective is to get them back in that seating bowl and see the product,” said Dennis Mannion, president of Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Pistons.

The 11 a.m. Saturday practice is free.

Doors open 10 a.m.

Reported by David Mayo of Michigan Live

Sixers coach Brett Brown faces a tough challenge

The coach left for Europe yesterday for two preseason games armed with a 15-man active roster that features six players who haven’t played a game in the NBA (Vander Blue, Michael Carter-Williams, Hollis Thompson, Royce White, Rodney Williams and Khalif Wyatt), four others (Solomon Alabi, Darius Morris, Tim Olbrecht and Tony Wroten) who have experience in the league but have combined to play just 131 games, and a starting shooting guard (James Anderson) who has averaged 3.7 points on 39.1 percent shooting in his 116 games. Veterans Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen round out the group. Mac Koshwal will not make the trip because of visa problems.

That lack of experience causes Brown to teach, teach and teach some more. While something is explained, demonstrated and explained again, it is not always reaching its intended target. So before the new coach can move forward with another part of the offense or a different set of rotations on the defensive end, he must stop for further and repeated instruction often. Kind of like telling a 5-year-old to pay attention in the outfield.

“We’ll compete,” said Brown with a “if nothing else” sort of tone.

Reported by Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News

Rubio reaches a recovery milestone: He dunks

While peers Chase Budinger and Russell Westbrook returned to operating rooms this week for repair on knees previously operated upon, Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio demonstrated in a small way Thursday that his own recovery progresses.

He dunked.

It was a simple one-hander before the start of Thursday’s training camp practice, but it was a dunk nonetheless. It also is a sign of progress that had been more than a year coming since he underwent March 2012 surgery to repair two torn knee ligaments.

“I’ve been working this summer, finally I can dunk,” he said. “I could never jump too high, but at least I could dunk before the injury. This summer is the first time I dunked. It wasn’t easy, but I could.

“I’m dunking. But only in warm-ups, not in games yet.”

Reported by Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

David Lee ready to raise his game for Warriors

To his credit, Lee came to camp prepared to take it up a notch. The biggest need for improvement is defense, though he said a more reliable midrange jumper was also a priority.

Being in the best condition of his life, Lee said, will help on that end of the court and make him even more potent on offense. He should be more explosive, exploit the transition game more and have the energy he needs on the defensive end.

“As a former player I will say this,” [Warriors head coach Mark] Jackson said, “You can become very smart at when to cut corners or when to take a breather when you’re running out of gas. Those moments won’t happen as often with him because he’s in better condition.”

Perhaps the biggest hope is that the slimmed down Lee and the Warriors’ added depth will allow him to be fresher toward the end of the season.

Reported by Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group

Kobe Bryant goes overseas for medical procedure

Kobe Bryant is heading overseas to have a medical procedure unrelated to the torn Achilles tendon he sustained in April.

The Los Angeles Lakers said Thursday that Bryant is expected to return early next week.

He went to Germany twice in 2011 for a procedure on his sore right knee and a sore left ankle that bothered him at the time.

The Los Angeles Times on Thursday cited people with knowledge of the situation as saying that Bryant was going to Germany this time. He was having a knee procedure that involves removing blood from the affected area and spinning it in a centrifuge. Molecules that cause inflammatory responses are then removed to create a serum that is injected back into the affected area.

Reported by the Associated Press

Recovery from Orthokine or Regenokine is typically quick compared to more severe knee procedures and does not add to Bryant’s recovery time from a torn Achilles’ tendon, which remains the larger issue. His availability for the Lakers’ Oct. 29 season opener against the Clippers is still unclear.

Bryant plans to have only his knee treated but will get other areas examined as well. His Achilles’ will not be part of the treatment, a Lakers spokesman said.

Orthokine targets proteins or molecules called interleukin that cause inflammatory responses. Blood is taken from a patient’s affected area and spun in a centrifuge to create a serum that is injected back into the targeted area.

Reported by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times

Marcus Thornton hopes to bounce back from off year

After a season of career highs, Kings guard Marcus Thornton had plenty of lows last season.

In 2011-12, Thornton averaged a team-high 18.7 points. Last season, as a reserve with inconsistent playing time, he had career lows in minutes (24.0 per game) and scoring average (12.7).

Now he’s looking forward to a fresh start under new coach Michael Malone, who was on New Orleans’ staff when Thornton played there before being traded to the Kings.

“I’m so ready to get out there and prove myself again,” Thornton said. “I’ve been doing that for five years now, and I’m ready to do it again.”

Reported by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee

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