July 24, 2016 | 8:10 am EDT Update
The 11th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Leonard averaged 8.4 points and 5.1 rebounds last season, which was marked by injuries. He dislocated his left shoulder in November and before having surgery in March for a torn labrum that cut short his season. Leonard, who was surrounded at Friday’s news conference with family and friends, said he’s close to getting his full range of motion back. “My hope is to be ready right around the start of the season,” he said. “It’s a progression, first introducing rebounding, grabbing stuff overhead, then one-on-one, three-on-three, extending to the full court. We’ll see. You just never know.”
Here is a brief look at 10 PIT alums from this season and how they fared this summer: Bryn Forbes (6-3, 190), Michigan State (San Antonio Spurs) Unlike many of his PIT brethren, Forbes was given ample opportunity to show his team what he had. In eight games, he shot 40.6 percent from three-point range and 94.4 percent from the line, averaging 11.6 ppg in about 25 minutes per game of playing time. Forbes tallied 23 points vs Philadelphia, hitting 8-10 from the field and 4-5 from three-point range. Forbes has textbook catch-and-shoot mechanics but also understands when not to shoot, which could get him on the court with veteran players sooner. The Spurs signed Forbes to a partially guaranteed contract, and he has an excellent chance to secure a roster spot in the fall.
Andrew Andrews (6-2, 200), Washington (Los Angeles Clippers) Andrews knows how to put the ball in the basket, as evidenced by his 20.9 ppg average as a senior at Washington. Playing for the Clippers in Orlando, Andrews put together several solid performances, averaging 11.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.2 steals in 28.6 minutes per game. Andrews got to the line more than five times per game in Orlando, shooting 77 percent from there, and NBA veterans broadcasting his games (Greg Anthony, Vince Carter) noted his ability to get into the lane and create plays both for himself and teammates. Andrews must be a combo guard to earn a look from the NBA, and he took a big first step in that direction in Orlando.
On the loss of free agent Chandler Parsons: Cuban: “I’m still good friends with Chandler. We talked about it after he signed with Memphis. We exchanged texts and stayed friends and committed to stay friends. I like him a lot but there were other things other than basketball that went into the decision. And Chandler was aware of them and he made his decision. We gave him some options and he went in a different direction. That was his choice and I respect it and again, I think he’s a great guy and I hope he has a great season other than the four games we play him.”
The former Michigan point guard and Naismith Award winner was traded by the Utah Jazz earlier this month. He says his new destination — the Washington Wizards — is a welcome chance to jumpstart a career that seemed to stall as the 2015-16 season wound down. “It was definitely time for a reset,” Burke said. “A lot of the things that happened, I didn’t understand. Just to have an opportunity again, being able to play with an All-Star-caliber point guard in John Wall, I look at it as an opportunity to go deep in the playoffs and win games.”
In an interview published in the French basketball federation website, Collet explained his decision: “About Evan Fournier, if we made a step back, I said that we should worry about the present. I believe that our seven backcourt players have well fulfilled their different roles. Regarding the balance in that sector, I found that it was great. On the contrary, we had difficulties in the paint which could have created more issues further in the Olympic tournament. When people see things from the outside they can ask questions. Even myself, before leaving for Manilla, I believed that I integrate Fournier after the tournament. I say that clearly, because I thought that at least one backcourt player will not be quite convincing on his role, but that was not the case. After that, because of the balance achieved, I did not want to change anything.