Josh Robbins: The Magic have formally announced the trade of Moe Harkless to the Blazers. The Magic will receive a conditional 2nd-round pick.
August 30, 2015 | 5:41 am EDT Update
No, Goran Dragic isn’t upset about the Heat trading brother Zoran. In fact, Zoran’s representation said the Heat and Zoran mutually agreed a trade would be beneficial so that he could play more. Zoran was dealt to Boston and ended up signing in Russia.
By the way, Haslem continues to work on his three-point game, having gotten the message from Spoelstra last October that he needs to hit from beyond the arc to get minutes at power forward. Haslem enters the season potentially sixth in the power rotation hierarchy, unless Chris Andersen is dealt.
Center Al Jefferson was very open in saying he needed to lose weight. Have you checked in on him lately, and where does he stand? Steve Clifford: I was in Santa Monica (Calif.) with him about 21/2 weeks ago. He had a plan month-by-month with (strength and conditioning coach) Matt Friia. He’s on target. He feels good and looks good. Now he has to finish up in August and September.
Chris Bosh, working his way back from blood clots on his lungs, looked great –– consistently nailing his jump shots — and appeared physically strong in workouts near his Southern California home this past week with Dwyane Wade, Hassan Whiteside, Mario Chalmers and other Heat teammates, according to someone in attendance. Erik Spoelstra flew in to watch those California workouts.
They aren’t quite the Ugly Americans, the bullies of basketball who have always stood head and shoulders above the rest of the world talent-wise, but they are the favourites, perhaps the heavy favourites, heading into the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament. And they seem to be enjoying the switch from being perennial hunters to the hunted. “I believe we have a little bit of a target on our backs,” head coach Jay Triano told a couple of media outlets after Canada’s first practice here on Saturday.”
August 29, 2015 | 9:14 pm EDT Update
At the time, O’Neal felt he was not getting the contractual respect the Lakers had afforded Bryant. “It was just two alpha males, the business aspect kicked in, and you know, I was getting older,” O’Neal says on the podcast. “So, you know, management was like ‘Hey, we know you’re getting older and we know you want this, but we want to give you that.’ And in my mind, I was like, ‘I’m not getting older. I don’t want that. I don’t want that,’ and they just wanted to move in a different direction.” For his part, Bryant says on the podcast the parting was practically inevitable. The result was the deal that sent Lamar Odom, Brian Grant and Caron Butler and a first-round pick to the Lakers, with O’Neal two summers later reveling in the Heat’s title. To this day, O’Neal insists he did not force the trade, even though his 2004 bluster indicated otherwise. “I definitely did not want to leave L.A.,” he says on the podcast.
The NBA preseason doesn’t kick off until the beginning of October, so how about some killer handles to hold you over? Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving had plenty of highlights in this 15-minute video featuring the 60 best crossovers from the 2014-15 season.
August 29, 2015 | 6:00 pm EDT Update
SLAM: There was a video out a few weeks ago with you working on your three-point shot. Can we expect you to step out and take more going forward? Anthony Davis: I’m going to mix it up. I love playing down low, but at the same time, if the opportunity is there; I’m definitely going to take them. That’s one thing for sure that coach Gentry has told me—“Shoot the ball,” “Let it go.” I’ve been working on it and I’m very confident in my game. I’ve shot three’s all my life. I didn’t really need to shoot them over the past few years as much, but I’m never going to turn down shooting threes, especially if the coach tells me he wants me to shoot them. It’s something that I’ve definitely been working on. I definitely plan on utilizing it this year.
SLAM: Just sitting here next to you, the obvious difference is the muscle you’ve put on your frame. You’re obviously preparing to handle more of a load down low going into the season. AD: It’s probably like 10-12 pounds. I’ve just been really working, man, and staying in the gym; weights. That’s the first thing that everybody says when they see me: “Oh, you’re getting bigger!” When you’re going against Dwight Howard and Big Cuz, you gotta put on some weight.
Q. With this contract, you just provided financial security for yourself and a whole lot of people in your immediate family. What sort of importance do you attach to that? Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. It’s a great feeling. But I never did any of this for the money, fame, fortune, Instagram followers or Twitter followers. That can all come and go. But ball and family – that’s not going anywhere.
August 29, 2015 | 2:31 pm EDT Update
Andrea Bargnani’s ankle injury is not serious, according to sources. The Italian big man left the game against Georgia early in first half and did not return. Bargnani will regularly play at Eurobasket with Italian National Team.
Among Miami Heat players conspicuously absent from the team’s informal offseason workouts has been Luol Deng. For good reason. He instead has been tirelessly this summer trying to make his native part the world a better place. Friday, that activism had Deng at the White House with President Obama. This weekend it has him in Washington at “South Sudan Unite,” a rally at George Washington University to end the civil strife and government corruption in his native land.
The White House released an Instagram photo in the wake of Deng’s meeting with Obama. The caption read: “Luol Deng of the @MiamiHeat fled South Sudan as a child with his family and has been working tirelessly to end the conflict there ever since. Luol has directly engaged opposition and government leaders to lobby for a sustainable peace in the country. He’s leading South Sudanese youth and the diaspora in advocating for unity with his South Sudan Unite initiative. That’s why today, he met with President Obama in the Oval Office to discuss the situation in South Sudan. After the meeting, Luol said the President thanked him for his efforts and asked for his advice on how the United States can best support the peace agreement signed this week.”
At every city Kevin Hart has performed in on his What Now? tour, the comedian has organized a 5K run. Open to everyone who wakes up in time, the 5Ks are not a competitive race as Hart enjoys running and just wants his fans to join him on his morning run. Even NBA rookies like Jahlil Okafor are welcome to join Hart.
August 29, 2015 | 12:29 pm EDT Update
Thunder general manager Sam Presti and his staff have added a familiar player to the team’s training camp roster according to a report from Real GM’s Shams Charania. 6-9 power forward Talib Zanna, who played for the D-League’s Oklahoma City Blue last season has been signed to his second straight Thunder training camp deal. Zanna went undrafted out of Pittsburgh in 2014 and was a teammate of Thunder center Steven Adams the year before with the Panthers.
Doug Smith: Little surprise as Canada releases Olivier Hanlan; heads to FIBA Americas with 12-man roster of Joseph, Stauskas, Wiggins, Olynyk, Bennett, Scrubb, Heslip, Ejim, Powell, Doornekamp, Nicholson, Sacre. First game in Mexico vs. Argentina Tuesday
Andrea Bargnani’s ankle injury is not serious, according to sources.
August 29, 2015 | 6:58 am EDT Update
Buss, who shares the majority ownership of the Lakers with his five siblings, said the Lakers’ franchise is not on the market. “There is no point to sell, because it’s a family business,” he said. “We have Jesse [Buss] who runs the scouting and does an incredible job. Joey [Buss], who is the business side and runs the D-Fenders and does a great job. They’re the future of the Lakers. “We’re not going to sell, that’s all there is to it.”
In February, Lakers Coach Byron Scott downplayed his use of analytics but has since gone on record, via radio on The Beast 980, that he’ll “use analytics a lot more” this season. On Thursday, Lakers part-owner and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss told The Times, “We’ve been using them for quite a long time. That’s basically [on] what I make all my decisions, is my own analytics.”
Buss said the team has relied on an analytics staff for “six [or] seven years, but before that we were breaking down shot charts, everything we could get our hands on.” To the notion the Lakers are behind the times, Buss simply disagrees. “It’s an unfair assessment,” he said. “We don’t announce what we do … if we are ahead of the game why would we tell people what we’re doing, so that they can catch up?”