LOAD MANAGEMENT TOPIC RESURFACES: The NBA world was set ablaze yesterday after word came out that Kawhi Leonard would be sitting out the Clippers’ Wednesday night contest due to load management. Fans of the sport were particularly miffed about this instance of load management because L.A.’s game was set to be a prime-time ESPN showdown against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, which would have pitted two of the league’s very best players against one another on national television.
Doris Burke gave an impassioned speech against load management during morning ESPN programming, while others were hoping the league would look into the matter to see if some sort of rule was being broken. Well, the league did comment on the hot topic, stating that the Clippers are doing nothing wrong since Leonard isn’t considered healthy enough for back-to-backs due to lingering knee issues.
Look, players sitting out games when they are healthy enough to play the very next night isn’t the best look. And it’s especially terrible for fans who bought tickets to attend the game beforehand. But at the same time, the Raptors load managed Kawhi Leonard all the way to an NBA title last season. Lest we forget how dominant Leonard looked late into the playoffs, when other players were starting to look gassed. So if Kawhi and Clippers doctors believe this is the best path to take going forward, then Leonard’s load management isn’t going anywhere.
Nor should it.
YOUNG STAR REACHING NEXT LEVEL: Devin Booker has always been productive, but this season, his productivity is making an impact on game outcomes more than ever before. We broke down how the young 2-guard is reaching the next level of stardom.
NBA VET HEADED TO CHINA: Eight-year NBA veteran Kenneth Faried is headed to China to play for the Zhenjiang Lions on a deal worth up to $4.4 million, according to multiple reports. If he performs well, he’ll be eligible to return to the NBA in the spring once the CBA season ends.
GREAK FREAK SETS RECORD: On Wednesday, Giannis Antetokounmpo became the first player in league history to total at least 200 points, 100 rebounds and 50 assists over the first eight games of a season. He’s pretty good.
IGGY L.A.-BOUND? Veteran NBA reporter David Aldridge dropped a mailbag for The Athletic on Wednesday, one with a variety of interesting tidbits, the most interesting being that just about every league exec Aldridge spoke to believes Andre Iguodala ends up with the Lakers at some point this season. Scary thought, considering how loaded the Lakers look as is.
HEAD COACH SAFE: Prior to New York’s game against the Pistons last night, head coach David Fizdale told collected media that he feels he has the full support of two very important people in the Knicks’ brass: general manager Scott Perry and team president Steve Mills. That would lead one to believe his job status is also safe, though after New York lost by 20 again on Wednesday, maybe that job security gets a bit flimsier.
RETURN DATE SET? According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Paul George’s return date is believed to be either Nov. 13 at Houston or Nov. 14 at New Orleans. It’ll be great to see one of the league’s top stars finally on the hardwood again.
WCS OPENS UP: Warriors big man Willie Cauley-Stein spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle about his time with the Kings, and how he felt like the scapegoat for the team’s struggles, especially after the departure of DeMarcus Cousins.
🤔 Another interesting note from the article: Cauley-Stein turned down a $9 million deal from the Hornets last summer to join the Warriors instead, where he’s making $2.2 million this season. Interesting decision.
WALL INJURY UPDATE: Wizards head coach Scott Brooks went on D.C. radio yesterday and gave an update on injured All-Star John Wall, who is apparently shooting the lights out of the ball in workouts.
ALL-STAR GOES DOWN: Ben Simmons left Wednesday night’s game against the Jazz and did not return due to a shoulder sprain. He’ll be re-evaluated today when the 76ers arrive in Denver.
STAR RETURN: Tonight, Kemba Walker plays his first game in Charlotte since leaving the Hornets for the Celtics last summer. Despite the departure, his teammates still speak glowingly of him.
FINDING WAYS TO TAMPER: A privacy app used by Edward Snowden, which can encrypt messages or make them vanish entirely, has hit the NBA, along with various other major sports entities. Apparently, the app is now bustling with NBA agents, general managers and front-office executives. The league will allow use of the app, called Signal, as long as teams don’t auto-delete messages. That should go swimmingly.
DRAFT WATCH: Consensus No. 3 overall draft prospect Cole Anthony made his North Carolina debut last night and had a historic outing, dropping 34 points, the highest-scoring freshman debut in UNC history.
BLOOPER OF THE YEAR? Late in Wednesday’s game between L.A. and Milwaukee, a referee handed Eric Bledsoe the ball to inbound it. Bledsoe, rather than pass the ball in to a teammate, took the rock from the ref and started dribbling it down the floor himself. Shaqtin-A-Fool anyone?
FAMILY TROUBLE: Manute Bol’s two sons, Bol Bol and Madut Bol, have a strained relationship, dating back to when Manute abandoned his family in the mid-90s to return to Africa, where he had Bol and started a new family. The troubling family dynamic makes for a fascinating but tragic read.
SALARY QUIZ: WHO’S THIS NBA PLAYER? 🤔
Click here for the answer.
📧 You can get this in your email inbox every morning. Just need to subscribe here.