Kevin Love talks getting healthy for the new season. “I feel great. I actually spent three weeks in Park City, Utah at the Olympic training facility there, rehabbed my shoulder, got in great shape and now I feel great. I’m probably about a month, month and a half away, I don’t want to set an immediate deadline now but I really feel great.”
October 6, 2015 | 8:47 am EDT Update
Ezeli’s rookie contract runs up next summer, when he could become a restricted free agent. If he remains healthy, Ezeli could land a big payday — either replacing Bogut as the Warriors’ starting center or signing elsewhere. For now, he’s focused on rebooting the Warriors’ title hopes and still keeping a close eye on Vanderbilt’s upcoming season. “I love coming back to Vanderbilt, especially in this light (as a champion),” Ezeli said. “Part of what drives me is that (Commodores) fan base. Those fans saw me grow up at Vanderbilt as a little freshman kid to an NBA player. So it’s still home to me.”
The last spot may come down to Butler or Jimmer Fredette, another training camp signee, with forwards Reggie Williams and DeShaun Thomas also lurking. Asked if he’s looking at the situation that way, Butler said: “Only thing I can control is how hard I can work, how smart that I do things and go out there and give good effort everyday.”
Ian Clark knows he’s facing long odds, but that’s nothing new to him. One of five training-camp invites among a six-player competition for the final roster spot with the Warriors, Clark has made a career out of beating the odds. “For me, it’s just about playing with confidence, knowing what I can do and what I can’t do, and improving the things I need to do better,” Clark said before Monday’s exhibition opener in San Jose. He went scoreless in eight minutes, missing both of his shot attempts, one from beyond the arc.
Goran would have preferred having his brother around, but was realistic about the team’s perspective and Zoran’s viability in the NBA. Zoran logged 75 minutes in his first year in the league. “I was sad, of course,” Goran said of the trade. “I know how much he wants to be part of a team in the NBA, but I understand this is a business. That’s a better situation for him right now. He’s gonna get playing time. He signed a good deal in Russia. He’s happy. That’s a good thing.
Backup center Alexis Ajinca is expected to miss four to six weeks with a sprained right hamstring, the team announced Monday, and coach Alvin Gentry said after practice that Ajinca’s absence could lead to more small-ball lineups. “We’ll just try different combinations of players,” he said. “One of the things that we’ll do is we’ll experiment a little bit with (Anthony Davis at center) and then play even a small lineup where Dante Cunningham may even (play power forward), and three guards — Tyreke (Evans) and Jrue (Holiday) and Eric (Gordon) or Norris (Cole) — in there.”
As he put it, cutting back on long twos is his top goal this preseason. “The biggest thing, man, like I’ve been preaching all summer, is just not shooting those long twos,” Beal said Monday, later adding another objective is to be named first-team all-defense.
Danilo Gallinari sat down for an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport about the upcoming season for the Denver Nuggets, as well as his Eurobasket experience. (…) Q: Malone said he’s gonna use you as a SF and as a “stretch four”, like Americans say. Do you have a preference? Danilo Gallinari: Well, we have already talked about it a lot, we have already planned situations in which I’m gonna start as a SF, then I can be used as a 4 as the game goes on. It depends on the team we’re facing, the trend of the game, but often I’m gonna play as a stretch four, as he says, spreading the floor. We’ve already tried most of these schemes, so basically I already have these situations set in my mind.
Q: What’s your real goal? You were telling me that starting the season as underdogs can be an advantage. Gallinari: Yeah it can be an advantage. For me, it’s gonna be an advantage. Being underdogs, especially in the West, can really be an advantage. According to me, we can fight for the playoffs without a doubt, we have the chance to do it.
Cleveland opens the preseason Wednesday night against Atlanta in Cincinnati. Cleveland plays at Philadelphia on Thursday. It’s unlikely James will play in both games. “It has not been discussed yet, but I probably won’t play in one of the two games,” James said. “I’m not sure if it’s the front side or the back side. It would probably make more sense (to play) in Cincinnati since they don’t get to see us a lot and then we go to Philly, and I’ll probably be there in the regular season.”
James will be wearing his familiar No. 23 for the Cavs this season, the same number he has worn every season he’s been in Cleveland, but he explained how he feels comfortable practicing while donning No. 6. “It’s just a number of mine,” James said after the scrimmage. “One of my two numbers — 6, 23. There’s nothing to it. It’s my practice jersey.”
“Great to be out there in front of the best fans in the NBA,” Varejao said following Monday night’s annual Wine and Gold Scrimmage. “It was great. Since December I don’t play any sports, I don’t play any basketball. It was good to be back. I know I have to take baby steps. We are looking forward to a big season and we’re going to work hard everyday and we’re going to do our best to get the championship.”
The Cavs’ doctors were concerned enough with the severe cramping that they called for a stretcher and sent him to the Cleveland Clinic for overnight IVs to get him rehydrated. He wasn’t released until the following afternoon. “I probably pushed it a little. I thought I’d pushed it before but there was just so much on the line,” Dellavedova said. “I wasn’t scared. What was scary was how am I going to prepare for the next game? I only had one day’s rest between the games. I told them I didn’t need to go to the hospital, but then I thought to myself ‘What would happen if these cramps happened again in the middle of the night?’ I would’ve been screwed.”
KR: The question everyone wants to know. How’s the ankle doing? Ricky Rubio: Pretty good. I’ve been working all summer to get healthy. I’ve been cleared to play 5-on-5 a month ago. I haven’t done much, but I feel good. I’ve been doing conditioning and all of that stuff to keep me in shape and do a lot of stuff.
KR: It was probably tough for you to sit out for Spain this summer. I’m assuming you’ll be suiting up next summer for the Olympics? Ricky Rubio: Yeah, I mean if I’m healthy I will. I was watching the European championships through TV and it was so tough to watch it on TV but it was fun to see them win.
Before the game, Walton had also spoken with his father, Hall of Famer Bill Walton. “He told me to call about six different coaches,” Luke Walton said, smiling about his father encouraging him to reach out to Hall of Famers Phil Jackson and Lute Olson. “Then he told me to read about seven different books, John Wooden books.”
Walton said he has been too busy coaching to call his former coaches for advice. “As a staff, we feel confident that we can make this thing keep going,” Walton said. “It’s been a little crazy, but it’s been a good experience. It’s been fun. “We’re leaving Steve alone. We don’t need to bother him with all the little things that are going on day-to-day. We’re hoping and waiting for him to get healthy.”
The preseason is focused on recognizing defenses so coaches don’t have to call plays and making the fast offense even quicker and more potent. Last week, player-development consultant Steve Nash spent time working with the team on spacing and how to react to defenses. “We called it Professor Nash’s classroom session,” Walton said.
The NBA and Swiss watchmaker Tissot announced a comprehensive multiyear partnership on Monday that both hope will lead to the most complex timekeeping in sports history. Terms were not announced, but Tissot president Francois Thiebaud told ESPN that it was the most expensive deal the company has made in its 162-year history.
The hippest guy in Salt Lake City ever, by the way, explained to media that his decision to go on Cowherd’s show would be considered a “countergank,” a strong pushback, in the videogame world. Being Mr. Hip wasn’t always the case for the guy who got teased relentlessly earlier in his career for eating ate an Olive Garden in New York City instead of visiting one of the thousands of non-chain restaurants. Even Hayward, who joked that he might’ve “hit puberty sometime (in his NBA career),” can admit that he’s different. “I got married,” Hayward joked. “My wife has changed my appearance a bit.”
Al-Farouq Aminu was not with the team as his wife went into labor with the couple’s first child Sunday night. Terry Stotts said he had not heard if Aminu’s daughterhad been born during his postgame press conference. Allen Crabbe got the start at small forward with Aminu out of the lineup and finished with 12 points on 5 of 8 shooting.
Brazilian Marcelo Huertas, who has been nursing a right hamstring strain, was scheduled to leave the Lakers late Monday to go to Vancouver, B.C., to finalize some immigration documents. He is expected to rejoin the team by Friday.
Sydney Kings import Josh Childress is also a former teammate of Warrick, with the two Americans playing together with the Phoenix Suns from 2010 to 2012. “Josh helped me a lot, like I said, he was actually trying to get me out last year and he told me what to expect.” said Warrick. “He really helped me transition for a guy coming in from the same situation as him: an NBA guy coming over for the first time. So it’s good to have a guy who’s gone through what you’re about to go through.
A Beatles tribute band will provide the entertainment at next year’s San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame ceremony. But given the class of 2016’s makeup, a band from Cole High School might be a better fit. Shaquille O’Neal, one of the most dominant big men in NBA history, headlines the inductees, and he’ll be joined by the Cole Cougars team he powered to the 1989 Class 3A state basketball championship.
Portland hosted Sacramento in a preseason NBA game Monday night, but they wanted to do something to honor the victims at the horrific Umpqua Community College shooting last week in Oregon. One step was to wear pregame warmup shirts of the school. From the Blazers’ own reporter Casey Holdahl.
Opening statements are set to begin in the trial of a professional basketball player charged with resisting arrest and other crimes following a confrontation with police officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub in April. The Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha, who suffered a season-ending leg fracture in the struggle, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which also include misdemeanor obstructing government administration and disorderly conduct. He has rejected a plea offer from prosecutors and his attorney, Alex Spiro, has said his client is going to trial to clear his name.
During jury selection, Spiro said that while his client, a Swiss national, may have been “mouthy” and “fresh” in his dealings with officers after the stabbing, no crime had been committed. He also suggested race played a role in his client’s arrest. “Are you all willing to understand that we’re all swayed at some level by implicit racial biases,” he asked potential jurors.