Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin is expected to return to the team on Sunday or Tuesday, multiple sources told ESPN.com. Griffin went through a full workout in Los Angeles without any limitations Friday during the Clippers’ 129-99 loss to the Mavericks in Dallas. The plan is for him to return Sunday against the Houston Rockets, but there is a chance the Clippers will want to see him go through a practice and a shootaround with the team first, pushing his return to Tuesday against the Hornets.
October 13, 2015 | 8:46 am EDT Update
Speaking of time, Zeller hopes he has a lot of it in Boston. The 25-year-old is in the final year of his rookie contract, and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said there have been discussions about an extension. Ainge has until the end of the month on the extension, and he likes to wait as long as possible on these things. “I’ve heard that,” said Zeller with a smile. “Look, it’s one of those things that, would it be great to get one? Yeah. But at the same time, you know, I’ve got one more year on my contract. I love playing, and I’m just going to try to do whatever I can to play as well as I can. Whether I’ve got one year left or six years left, I’m just going to keep playing hard. . . . “Obviously I’d like to be around here a long time. I think it’s a great organization. But I’m a very religious person, so I just kind of have to see what God’s plan for me is, and whatever it is, it’ll play out and I’ll end up exactly where I’m supposed to be.”
Presti has been studying Durant, and those questions, for more than a decade. “I don’t know if anyone could’ve done more due diligence on Kevin Durant than Sam Presti did,” says Rick Barnes, Durant’s coach for his one season at Texas. “I’ll never forget him saying to me, ‘I’ve got to get this right. I’ve got to be right.’ ”
“Every guy is loyal to a certain extent,” says Wade, who had workouts with Durant this summer. “Look at [Kevin Garnett]. He was loyal to a fault in Minnesota, but he left to win. “As a player, when you have the muscle, you better use it,” adds Wade, who was with James on a charter flight from Las Vegas to Miami on the night he decided to return to the Cavs. “It’s a business.”
So meet Cousins, the floor spacer. He has never liked being labeled as just a post player, so this season he will have the opportunity to show he’s more than that. “I don’t really consider myself a center,” Cousins said. “I’m just a basketball player. There’s so much I can do on the floor. People get stuck on the word ‘center,’ ‘big man’ and (are) kind of ignorant to the situation. I can’t really worry about that. I just go out there and do my job.”
Nene won’t be the first longtime starter to shift to the bench; it happens to plenty of players as they climb out of their prime. Wittman recently invoked the most famous recent example: Andre Iguodala, a former all-star, moving from the Golden State’s starting lineup to sixth man for the Warriors’ championship run. “I’m sure sometimes it is, but it happens all the time,” Wittman said when asked whether the conversion could be difficult for Nene. “The bottom line is the betterment of the team.”
Joffrey Lauvergne: “With Mike Malone, it’s very good, so serious. We have been practicing well. We were not practicing a lot last year. With coach Malone, there’s more freedom in offense but the game is well-structured, there are not as many one-on-ones. It’s a fresh start for us.”
New Orleans Pelicans backup point guard Norris Cole joined centers Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca on the injury list with a high ankle sprain, team officials said before Monday’s preseason game against the Chicago Bulls.
In the offseason, dysfunction led the Sacramento headlines as Karl and center DeMarcus Cousins publicly feuded and owner Vivek Ranadive and general manager Vlade Divac didn’t seem to know how to address the glitches. “Everything after I got fired in December only validated the job my staff was doing,” Malone said in a phone interview Monday. “Everything kind of went haywire after that, and in the end, it was a perfect scenario. … “By the end of it, I looked like John Wooden.”
Malone also will seek out Warriors general manager Bob Myers, who has widely supported the coach. Malone also said owner Joe Lacob and former GM Larry Riley deserve a lot of credit for creating a championship roster. Actually, Malone tried to credit just about everyone but himself. “The credit goes to the players,” Malone said. “I give Mark Jackson a ton of credit, and then obviously, I give a ton of credit to Coach (Steve) Kerr. I have so much respect for him, because so many coaches would have come into that situation and tried to change everything and taken the credit for everything. He showed so much character in giving Mark Jackson and the previous coaching staff so much credit.
Kerr had surgery to repair a ruptured disk in his back July 28, but during the procedure, the dura surrounding the spinal cord was nicked and caused spinal-fluid leakage. On Sept. 4, Kerr had a second operation to patch the leak, but five weeks later, he’s still having adverse symptoms while taking a leave of absence from the team. “The body forms spinal fluid constantly,” said Dr. Neel Anand, the director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles. “As long as it doesn’t continue to leak, he’ll make a full recovery and be back to normal.”
“When Flip called me and offered me a job, I didn’t even have an agent,” said Mitchell, who was an assistant coach in New Jersey for a couple of seasons after he left Toronto. ” I was doing my media stuff and wanted to be dancing for the man on a whole other level. “[But] when Flip called me, he made some compelling arguments. He thought I did a good job in the media — I thought I did an excellent job — but he said to me ‘you’re always going to be a basketball coach.’”
Cavs coach David Blatt didn’t even know Smith had purchased the cotton candy as the Cavs shooting guard spent the night at the end of the bench, one of five Cleveland players out for the night because of an injury. “I wasn’t aware of that,” Blatt said when asked about Smith’s cotton candy fix after the game. “You know, I’m going to use one of those lines that you always use when there’s something that happens. The team’s immediate response is: We are gathering further information and we will respond accordingly. I’m going to lay my hat on that one, if I may.”
In a discussion with a British sports business publication last week, Brett Yormark hinted that the Nets could be headed to Russia or even India next year, presumably in preseason, adding that he’s already spoken to the NBA about it. “One of my meetings (in London) was to stop to see Ben Morel at the NBA office and we’re discussing where the Nets might be next year,” Yormark told James Emmett of SportsPro’s Brand Conference. “And we’re talking about a possible exhibition game in Russia because obviously with the Russian owner, we got a great connection with that market. And there’s even talk that we might go into India.”
But Spiro also believes if there’s a principled reason for going to trial, he understands his client’s wishes. Spiro wanted Sefolosha to know two things: By turning down a gift from the district attorney’s office, the prosecution would come after him hard in a trial, and Sefolosha needed to realize a conviction was possible. “It was important to me as a man, a father to two young girls and as a role model, to stand up for what I believe in and have my name cleared of any wrongdoing,” Sefolosha said in a lengthy statement.
Sefolosha had support from his team, the Atlanta Hawks, the National Basketball Players Association, the NBA and family and friends. “It’s troubling to me that with so much evidence in my support that this case would even be brought to trial and that I had to defend myself so hard to get justice,” Sefolosha said. “It pains me to think about all of the innocent people who aren’t fortunate enough to have the resources, visibility and access to quality legal counsel that I have had.”
October 12, 2015 | 9:57 pm EDT Update
Derrick Rose may be cleared to begin activity within a week, and be able to practice shortly thereafter, Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said Monday. The Bulls haven’t ruled Rose out for the opening game of the regular season against Cleveland Oct. 27. He had surgery Sept. 30 on a fractured left orbital bone suffered in practice a day earlier. “Derrick, hopefully in another week, will be able to start getting active again, and then hopefully start practicing shortly thereafter,” Hoiberg said. Rose was at the United Center for the Bulls’ preseason game against the New Orleans Pelicans Monday night, but likely wouldn’t be on the bench, Hoiberg said. “He’s still getting a little bit of blurred vision, so I feel it’s best for him to watch the game in the back,” Hoiberg said. “But I know he’s excited to be here and be with the guys in the locker room.”