HoopsHype Training Camp rumors

October 12, 2014 Updates

Stephens, who was not selected in the 2013 NBA Draft but played in Greece last season, is a longshot to make the roster. But Coach Monty Williams said Stephens might be the best athlete in the NBA. "I have not seen anybody jump that high," Williams said. ''He's a once in a generation athlete. He can almost touch the top of the backboard. That's how high he can jump.'' New Orleans Times-Picayune

The Blazers also have camp invitees Darius Morris and Diante Garrett, both of whom are point guards and give the team more options in scrimmages. Both players have had stints on NBA rosters, and Morris played the game's final 4:46 Thursday, when the outcome was decided. "That's why they were brought in," Stotts said. "As has been noted, we don't have a prototypical third point guard right now, and so they were brought in to play that position." Portland has 15 players with guaranteed contracts, so for either Morris or Garrett to make the opening-day roster, the Blazers would either have to waive a player or execute a trade that would free up a roster spot. "They're here to try to make the team," Stotts said. Oregonian

October 9, 2014 Updates
October 8, 2014 Updates

The Dallas Mavericks signed Villanueva to a non-guaranteed contract this summer. And even though the Mavericks already have the NBA maximum of 15 players with full or partially guaranteed contracts, they’re not against dumping one of those players to create a roster spot for Villanueva. “We’re just going to pick the best players,” owner Mark Cuban said. “I don’t care what their contract is. I’m happy to [eat a contract]. I don’t care.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“It’s good to have guys like that [Cuban and Carlisle] on your back, on your side, but I can’t get satisfied at all,” said the 6-foot-11, 232-pound Villanueva. “I’ve got to keep grinding. I’ve got to keep working. I’ve got to keep getting better every day.” Villanueva said he considered signing with the Los Angeles Clippers, but just got a better vibe from the Mavericks’ front office. He also said he’s not using training camp as an audition to showcase himself to other teams. “My mentality is here,” Villanueva said. Fort Worth Star-Telegram

October 7, 2014 Updates

Jeremy Lin played 27 minutes in the Los Angeles Lakers 98-95 win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night, the Lakers first preseason game of 2014. Lin had a rough shooting night (0-6), but excelled facilitating the offense and getting the ball down in the post, racking up 10 assists and committing just one turnover. After the game, Lin says he needs to do a better job of finishing and discusses what he hopes to capitalize on in training camp. “I just want to figure out how I can bring my strengths and apply it best to this system. It’s kind of like a chess match in learning and figuring it out. I think I’m more prepared for it just having gone through my time in Houston, and playing off the ball and learning different ways to try to be effective.” Lakers Nation

The Dallas Mavericks have invited point guard Yuki Togashi to their preseason training camp, according to Cloud9, his management company. The announcement was made on Tuesday, and Togashi is scheduled to travel to Dallas on Saturday. Japanese supporters expressed their excitement via Twitter. Exhibit A: “Yuki Togashi was invited (to) the last camp by the Dallas Mavericks!!” tweeted Akira Tokusatsu. “Great! I know it’s really tough but I believe he takes the chance!!” Japan Times

October 5, 2014 Updates

According to sources the Miami Heat, among other teams, expressed interest in Tyus and were open to audition the 6-foot-9 big man in training camp. One official for the Heat was in Israel last season when Tyus bullied Serbian club Partizan Belgrade with 16 points on 8-for-8 shooting, and nine rebounds in 19 minutes. However, under contract with Maccabi, talks were terminated in a flash. Eurobasket.com

"I've always liked Shannon because he's athletic, strong, defensive," Riley said at Saturday's exhibition in Louisville against the New Orleans Pelicans, before coach Erik Spoelstra gave his team Sunday off. "We're trying to create a certain mentality here. We went back and looked at his two years at Phoenix, when we averaged up the figures. And that's a little bit how Coach wants to play, run. And he's had I think a great training camp." Then there's Williams, a journeyman who had to reinvent himself to create equity with Riley and Spoelstra. "Shawne, to be very honest with you, is a guy that we felt, if he could change the way that he was physically, which he has, that we liked," Riley said. "The transformation of his body, physically, in the last eight weeks has been incredible. He was like 227 [pounds] and 15 percent body fat. And then we went to 241 and under 10 percent body fat. So he committed himself to really being a player." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Tom Thibodeau’s word of the day Saturday: Physicality. Specifically, Derrick Rose finding it again, and the Bulls’ young players still trying to understand it. Thibodeau said Day 4 of training camp was one of Rose’s best as he continued to take on normal NBA contact, accept it and improve. ‘‘He’ll be able to handle it,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘He just has to get used to it again. That’s why the USA Basketball stuff was so important, to get used to having contact. The more he does it, the better it is for him and the more you see the rust come off. ‘‘Now you see him start to make some of the plays he’s capable of making. Now he’s starting to get a little bit of a rhythm and starting to shoot better, which we anticipated. That’s why him practicing and practicing hard is so important.’’ Chicago Sun-Times

Fesenko says he wants to reclaim an NBA job so he can bring his mother, wife and other relatives to the United States from his hometown in Ukraine, the divided, strife-torn Eastern European country in which Fesenko was born on Christmas Eve 1986 and raised. His hometown of Dnipropetrovsk is far from the disputed portions of Ukraine, a four-hour drive that has brought refugees but no fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists to the industrial central region of the country where his mother and wife live. Fesenko and his wife were married in June. Minneapolis Star-Tribune

He estimated he spends three or four hours a day communicating on Skype with family and friends to keep up to date on what’s happening with them and with his country. “It’s a huge concern for me,” he said. “If the conflict will resolve itself, I’ll be the happiest person in the world.” He was asked if it was unsettling to watch his country being split by the crisis. “It is. I think war is the outdated solution to any conflict,” said Fesenko, a 2007 second-round pick by Philadelphia who was traded to Utah and played four seasons for the Jazz. He hasn’t played regularly in the NBA since 2011. “It’s just ridiculous and stupid and I’m very worried about my mom, my wife, all my friends. Two of my friends already enlisted in the army and I really don’t want that to happen. I’m all up for fighting the good cause, but I just don’t want to lose any of my childhood friends.” Minneapolis Star-Tribune

October 4, 2014 Updates

Friday at Richard Stockton College, the site of the team's training camp, managing owner Josh Harris told the media the Sixers plan to do what's best for them, though they also want to be “good citizens.” “It's a change that flattens the lottery system,” Harris said. “It would be a little bit worse for Philadelphia in the short run but long run, since we expect to be a consistent playoff or deep-caliber-playoff team, it's actually better for us. “We're certainly in that dialogue. There's 30 people and a league that have a lot of thoughts, so we're trying to build a consensus. My sense is whatever change gets made, it will be an incremental change — it won't change our strategy one way or the other. I generally feel like, when I watch the league in action in these situations, they do a very good job.” The Intelligencer

Hinkie offered few thoughts on lottery reform during Tuesday's media day at the Wells Fargo Center. “We are cognizant of being a good member of the league, but at the same time balancing that with what's the right thing for Philly and the Philadelphia 76ers,” he said. “We're trying to draw that line the best we can. We're going to try very hard to win every game and I hope we win a lot more than we did last year, but we're focused on long-run goals.” The Intelligencer

Jewish NY Knicks star Amar'e Stoudemire says he'll be fasting for Yom Kippur when the sun goes down tonight ... and won't eat all day tomorrow ... despite the fact he's in the middle of NBA training camp. Stoudemire just went to Instagram and posted ... "Day of Atonement !! Sundown tonight - Sundown tomorrow." He added, "This is going to be the hardest one yet. No eating or drinking during camp." TMZ.com

October 3, 2014 Updates
October 2, 2014 Updates

It was still feeling surreal for Calderon when Phil Jackson, who had recently been installed as the Knicks’ president, called him that night. As Jackson welcomed him to the team, Calderon began to process his new reality. It did not take long for him to request old film of the triangle offense from the team’s video coordinators. He wanted to study his new role. “You’re not going to see too many dribbles,” Calderon said this week at the start of training camp. New York Times

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