Isiah Thomas is back at Madison Square Garden. Thomas has been hired to be president of the New York Liberty of the WNBA. Thomas also will have an ownership stake in the team. Garden CEO James Dolan, who owns the Knicks and Liberty and is an unflinchingly loyal Thomas supporter, said he began discussing the role with Thomas in the fall and he has been pleased with the results. “Now, we’ve agreed that it is time for him to take a lead role with the team as president, and through his ownership interest. He’s an excellent judge of talent, and I’m confident that he will put all of his energy and experience into making the Liberty a perennially competitive and successful team,” Dolan said in a statement.
October 3, 2015 | 8:25 pm EDT Update
Last season, Antic thrived on offense by setting screens for ballhandlers and slipping out for a jump shot. Splitter’s role will be to set a pick and then make himself a target for a pass while stepping toward the rim. Head coach Mike Budenholzer thinks the change will help put pressure on the rim on offense. “I think we’re going to have just a little more pressure on the rim with both Tiago and Edy, and their ability to roll and collapse the defense and put pressure on the rim and play around the rim,” Budenholzer said.
Schröder will still get to the rim this season, but in doing so, he will be making far more pick-and-roll plays with Splitter. To get ready for the adjustent, he prepped by studying video of Tiago’s former running mate. “Tiago is a good player,” Schröder said. “He did it with the Spurs, and I watched a lot of film of Tony Parker and how they play pick-and-roll. I look forward to playing with him in the pick-and-roll. Either he’ll get the pass or I can go to the basket if I’m open.”
The soreness in Nik Vucevic’s injured right shoulder has mostly dissipated, but the Orlando Magic took a cautious approach and didn’t play him in their preseason opener Saturday night against the Charlotte Hornets at Amway Center. “If we had a Game 5 tonight and the series was tied 2-2, he’d probably be good to go,” Magic coach Scott Skiles said. “But there’s no reason right now to risk him taking one more hit on it and being out a couple of weeks.”
The Detroit Pistons will sport a new alternate jersey during the upcoming 2015-16 season. The inspiration for the Detroit Chrome jerseys came about as a way to honor our coolest cars from the past and the cars of the future. Detroit is universally known as the auto capitol of the world, where chrome leaves an indelible mark on the cars we create. The uniforms feature a matte chrome base color with clean simple lines inspired by the classic muscle cars that have roared up and down Woodward Avenue for decades. The navy trim and Detroit emblazoned across the chest represent the blue collar work ethic that the auto industry and region was built on.
The Bucks say they’ll be the first NBA team to use an alternate court design and jerseys, building on their “Fear the Deer” motto. The alternate court will be used for four games this season, when players also will wear a new alternate uniform. The different looks were unveiled Saturday on the team website.
October 3, 2015 | 7:21 pm EDT Update
Carmelo Anthony is 31 years old, entering his 13th season in the NBA and coming off major knee surgery. But he says he still has plenty of good basketball left. In fact, the Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.” “Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.
Anthony also believes that he can play effectively past age 35 because he doesn’t rely on a freakish vertical leap or foot speed to perform. “If I was a guy who kind of played above the rim and played at a fast pace and just running and jumping — that was my game, very athletic — then I’d probably be sitting here singing a different tune,” Anthony said. “But the way that I play, the way that I know how to pace myself, the way I know how to pick my spots out on the basketball court, I’m not a guy who’s playing above the rim every play so it works in my favor.”
Fisher said Vujacic had been impressive in camp. When the team scrimmaged toward the end of Thursday’s practice, Vujacic settled into a rhythm. He sank two 3-pointers and a pull-up jumper before dropping a crafty bounce pass to Lou Amundson for a layup. “He’s much more of a leader than he was when we played together,” Fisher said. “I think he’s helped a lot of our guys to feel more comfortable with what we’re trying to do offensively, because Sasha recognizes where the shots are, what kind of plays can be made. You should shoot the ball and you shouldn’t be second-guessing yourself. Just go out and play with some confidence.”
Vujacic, 31, who signed a one-year deal in August for the veteran’s minimum of $1.4 million, was a low-cost, low-risk addition to the Knicks. Grateful to be back in the N.B.A., he said he would do whatever Fisher, the team’s coach, asked of him. Vujacic has another clear advocate in Jackson, who, as team president, has emphasized the need for improved chemistry this season. “He has a real understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish,” Jackson said. “He has the energy and the grit that we like about his game.”
Players must carry even more responsibility to uphold the standard to “keep the ship sailing,” as Green put it. It’s just another lesson he learned from Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. “That’s myself, that’s Steph (Curry), that’s (Andrew) Bogut, that’s Andre (Iguodala), that’s us as leaders,” he said. “If something isn’t going right, we have to step up. At the end of the day, Luke can do it and he will do it, but anytime you can get something from another player, it’s better. Coach Izzo always had a saying, `A player-coached team is always better than a coach-coached team.’ ”
October 3, 2015 | 5:36 pm EDT Update
Derrick Rose is expected to rejoin the Bulls on Wednesday as he continues to recover from a fractured left orbital, according to Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg. “Follow up [exam] went very well,” Hoiberg said after Saturday’s practice. “They’ve advised him to continue to let that sight heal and they think the best way to do that is for him to stay at home at this time. We plan on him being back Wednesday morning.”
“Everything’s the same on that [timeline],” Hoiberg said of the initial plan of having Rose sit out two weeks. “After those two weeks he should be able to resume full activity. It’s just these two weeks he’ll be very inactive. They don’t really want him doing much of anything except walking back and forth, just getting a lot of rest. And not doing anything where he can dilate his blood vessels is kind of what we heard.”
An MRI confirmed Portland Trail Blazers forward Cliff Alexander has a bone bruise on his left knee, said head coach Terry Stotts after Saturday’s practice. “We’re going to shut him down for a couple of weeks and then work him back in,” Stotts said. “He’s going to be out for a little bit.”
October 3, 2015 | 4:25 pm EDT Update
If you are not going to be present for training camp, you are not going to be weighing on our minds. “Right now, my thoughts are just about the guys that are here and how hard and how well they are working and no specific expectation otherwise,” said Cavs coach David Blatt when asked for his reaction to Thompson letting the Cavs’ one-year, $6.8 million qualifying offer for this season expire at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday without accepting it. “Just happy to see our guys working as well as they are.”
Blatt punctuated his indifference towards the free agent big man by revealing he didn’t even bother to stay up late Thursday night to find out Thompson’s decision. “I was liking the dream I was having,” Blatt said with a wry smile. “Usually I don’t go to sleep that early, but last night I was tired. We’re just back at it. We’ve got to focus on the now and here and that’s what we’re doing.”
As the Knicks concluded their week-long training camp at West Point, the club’s best and highest paid player didn’t hesitate when asked if he can still perform at a high level into his mid to late 30’s. “Of course, without a doubt,” Anthony said. “You hit it on the nose. The surgery was scary for me. I wasn’t a guy who ran straight to surgery for anything. Taking care of this really put me in a position to compete at a high level for a couple of years.”
“Every young player wants to be an NBA player when he comes to college ball. I know what it takes to be an NBA player: I know what one looks like, I’ve been one and I’ve coached them,” Price said. “Somebody might be a great college coach, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he has the tools to get a kid to the next level. Hopefully that’s a big selling point.”
October 3, 2015 | 3:10 pm EDT Update
David ‘Dubi’ Pick: Shanxi, Jeff Ayres terminating $1 million non-guaranteed China contract, source said.
Following what felt like a brief, but action-packed offseason, the NBA officially returned last night, with the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers tipping off the preseason. One of the guys who made the offseason exciting was DeAndre Jordan, who was briefly a Dallas Maverick before re-committing to the Clippers. And good thing he did, because we probably wouldn’t have gotten this hilarious sneaker moment.
Ersan Ilyasova, Marcus Morris and Adonis Thomas all left Saturday’s scrimmage with various injuries, forcing head coach Stan Van Gundy to cut the Pistons’ open-to-the-public practice at The Palace of Auburn Hills short. “It was either end the scrimmage with 36 seconds or I had to play,” Van Gundy said. “We decided to go with ending the scrimmage. “But I’ll tell you, my stance is really good. I just don’t know if I can move out of it.”