Jovan Buha: Doc Rivers said Kawhi Leonard continues to …

More on Paul George Injury

Andrew Greif: Paul George: “I’ve dealt with injuries, dealt with rehab...there’s no rush.” Said he’s staying engaged with everything team is doing in practices even if his own participation has been limited to “skeleton” drills.
LA Clippers forward Paul George says he will not play in the pre-season and is targeting a November return from surgeries he had on both shoulders this offseason. In an interview with SportsCenter on Sunday, before the team's annual media day, George said he still has "a little ways to go" in his rehabilitation, but "I'm where I want to be right now at this point in the season almost starting. I like where the progression is going."
Jovan Buha: Paul George told @NBATV he's 85-90 percent, if he had to put a percentage on it. "But I'm close," George said. "I'm happy with where I'm at."
George has been in the training facility practicing and weightlifting for nearly three weeks, as we’ve seen on Instagram. His on-court work has primarily consisted of shooting and finishing-at-the-rim exercises, one-on-one drills to keep his isolation skills sharp and free throws. He has yet to return to full-contact action. But that hasn’t prevented from being in the gym every day, including making late-night trips with Leonard and Lou Williams. “He’s made great progress,” Frank said. “He works his tail off. He’s been terrific. We have a great performance, health and wellness staff. … We put it in their hands. He works extremely hard. He’s extremely excited and motivated. I’m sure you guys have seen some of the stuff that’s been posted. He gets after it.”
When asked if George was ahead of schedule in his recovery, Frank declined to go into specifics. “We don’t talk about timetables,” Frank said. “We leave it up to our medical people to determine that.”
Jovan Buha: Clippers pres. of basketball ops. Lawrence Frank to the media today on Paul George’s status ahead of training camp: “He’s made great progress. He works his tail off. He’s been terrific. ... We have a great performance, health and wellness staff. We put it in their hands. He works extremely hard. He’s extremely excited and motivated. I’m sure you guys have seen some of the stuff that’s been posted. He gets after it.”
My speculative answer: I think George will return around the start of the season on Oct. 22, give or take a couple weeks. The early side is probably early-to-mid October; the late side mid-to-late November. Most people I’ve spoken to around the league are leaning towards the latter, with George likely missing the start of the season. The recovery process from surgery is rarely linear — there can be unforeseen setbacks or progress in the process. There’s enough time — almost two months until he’ll be re-evaluated — for things to change for George. We’ll have a better idea around the start of training camp in late September.
Mirjam Swanson: PG on his return from his shoulder injury: “No set date. I’m progressing really, really well.”
Paul George has undergone two shoulder surgeries since the end of the season. Thunder general manager Sam Presti said Friday morning the Thunder will have a better feel for George’s status closer to training camp in late September. George is expected to miss most of preseason as he recovers from surgery to his right rotator cuff and left labrum. “He’s doing well,” Presti said. “He’s going to make a full recovery.”
Paul George had successful elective surgery on his right shoulder to repair a partial thickness supraspinatus tendon tear. George will also address a small labrum tear in his left shoulder with a procedure in the coming weeks. An update on the six-time All-Star’s return-to-play status will be provided prior to the start of the 2019-20 NBA season.
Before the injury in late February, George had been considered an MVP front-runner and a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He is expected to make a full recovery, although it won't be until the preseason when the Thunder next address a time frame for his return.
Brett Dawson: Paul George says four days ago he couldn’t lift his shoulder. Says today was the first day he shot the ball. Says he’ll get up shots tomorrow and hope for the same looks in Game 2.
Erik Horne: Billy Donovan on Paul George’s shoulder: “I think he’ll be fine, but when you don’t play for a while, it’s going to be a matter of him trying to find his rhythm.”
Royce Young: Billy Donovan says Paul George is “day to day” with his shoulder. He says OKC didn’t do much contact today in practice. Wouldn’t speculate either way if George will be available for Game 1.
Royce Young: Paul George said the pain in his right shoulder was too much to try and play through against Milwaukee, but says “as much as I can get it 100 as possible or close to it, you can expect me out there Sunday.”
Malika Andrews: Billy Donovan said a decision on whether or not Paul George (shoulder) will play tonight against the Bucks will be made after warm ups. He said there is no expectation this injury would keep George out in the playoffs.
Royce Young: Paul George is a game-time decision still, Billy Donovan says (sore left shoulder). George will go through a pregame workout and make a decision from there.
Brett Dawson: Paul George took a hit to his shoulder getting over a screen in the Indiana game. Billy Donovan didn’t know the specific play and isn’t sure if it was the hard hit PG took on a Domantas Sabonis screen.
Brett Dawson: No Paul George update from Thunder shootaround. Billy Donovan will give an update pregame.
Erik Horne: Billy Donovan said he’s known about Paul George’s nerve issue in his foot for a while. “I think there’s times where he wishes he could push off a little better, move a little better.”
Erik Horne: I’ve been told by the Thunder the nerve issue is not connected to any previous issue PG has had. George has played through it since preseason, which indicates it’s not serious enough to where he/OKC feels he needs to sit.
He had it drained this offseason and found the source of his discomfort.  “I had a huge sac, 18 to 20 ounces of blood just sitting in the sac of my elbow, so I had that aspirated,” George said. “I was dealing with that for pretty much the whole season. That was causing a lot of frustration with shooting, and playing. To be able to shoot again, to be able to feel confident in my shot, to not have that on my mind, playing on the court … I’m great going forward.”
On May 9 he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.  “The knee is doing good,” he said in the Post story. “It still has a long way to go. … It looks like I’m doing well, but I’m still working through some stuff, and still working on trusting and putting full confidence in my leg. I’m a little ways away, but there’s no pain, there’s no swelling, there’s nothing I’m concerned about. I’m just not at the level I need to be. There’s no limitations. All it is is taking steps, all it is is progression. I’m just trying to get ready and prepare for training camp down the line.”

http://twitter.com/BDawsonWrites/status/994360193097060354

http://twitter.com/UpTheThunder/status/994300952554426368
Fred Katz: Paul George (right hip contusion) did not go through contact parts of Thunder practice today, per Billy Donovan. Corey Brewer (right knee sprain) went through some contact drills. Donovan said they’ll know more tomorrow.
Fred Katz: Steven Adams (left hip contusion) is available to play. Paul George (pelvic strain) a game-time decision.
Brett Dawson: Paul George will play tonight. Andre Roberson is out.
Nike designer Tony Hardman said there was a point where nobody at the brand knew if they’d be moving forward with a Paul George signature shoe or not. “You don't know if a guy is gonna come back from an injury like that,” Hardman told Sole Collector. “That's a crazy injury to try and come back from. So, even for me as a designer, it was almost like the resource was kinda put on hold for a little bit. We don't know what's gonna happen with Paul.”
“It wasn’t really on my mind whether I lost the shoe or if that dream was out the window or not,” George told Sole Collector. “During that time period I was more concerned that my job was at stake.” In retrospect, Hardman calls the injury a blessing in disguise in that it gave the design team more time to get to know George. It also pushed back the debut date of the Nike PG1 shoe, which was originally scheduled to release in 2016.
Nate Taylor: The Pacers have announced that Paul George (left ankle) & Kevin Seraphin (left knee) are out the next 3 games. Paul George & Kevin Seraphin will miss tonight's game, Sunday’s game against the Clippers & Wednesday’s game against the Trail Blazers.
Storyline: Paul George Injury
More HoopsHype Rumors
May 26, 2020 | 7:32 pm EDT Update
As for what he’s focused on, Beal said it is being a consistent scorer “with efficiency.” He wants to increase his volume as a scorer without leaving his shooting percentages to suffer. He has been able to achieve that for the most part, this season averaging 30.5 points while holding a 52.0 effective field goal percentage. That is not easy to do, especially as a guard. But don’t let the efficiency talk lead you to thinking Beal is poring over the numbers, especially the advanced metrics. He also dropped a line on the show that may raise some eyebrows. “Honestly, I’m not an analytical guy. I say F the analytics, just go hoop,” he said.

May 26, 2020 | 5:47 pm EDT Update
In Cuban’s proposal, the top 10 teams from both conferences would qualify for the postseason and be re-seeded based on record. There would be two play-in matchups — either single games or a best-of-three series — pitting seeds 17 vs. 20 and 18 vs. 19. The winners would advance to play the 15th and 16th seeds for the final spots in the playoff bracket. The playoffs would then proceed with best-of-seven series.
A point Cuban emphasizes is that all but two teams — the exceptions being the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors — would have a mathematical possibility of qualifying for the postseason under his proposal. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks, the teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, are four games behind the 10th-place Charlotte Hornets. “It’s fair. It’s entertaining,” Cuban told ESPN.
May 26, 2020 | 3:25 pm EDT Update
That all changed in 2006. A couple of days before Bryant would score 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, Colangelo invited him to his office in Phoenix. The Lakers were in town to face the Suns, but Colangelo had something else on his mind: He wanted Bryant to represent the United States at the 2008 Olympics. “I knew in advance that he really wanted to be a part of U.S.A. Basketball,” said Colangelo, who had taken over as managing director of the men’s national team after its disastrous third-place finish at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens — a far cry from the standard of excellence set by Michael Jordan and the so-called Dream Team that won gold in 1992. “It was on his list of things that he wanted to accomplish, because he had never played for U.S.A. Basketball. No junior teams or anything like that. So it was important to him, and his commitment was huge.”
“I think Kobe challenged everybody,” said Jim Boeheim, one of the team’s assistants and the head coach of men’s basketball at Syracuse. “He was like, ‘I’m going to defend the toughest guy on every team, I’m going to push everyone, so just come along with me.’ And he did that from Day 1.” For Colangelo, it was a window into greatness. The foundation for all of Bryant’s feats — the 81-point game, the scoring titles, the series-clinching jump shots, the three championships he had already won with the Lakers — was his work ethic and desire. The spectacular was rooted in the mundane, in the monotony of hard labor.
At the Olympics, Bryant helped lead the way in the gold-medal final against Spain — and did it with flair. With just over three minutes remaining in a tight game, Bryant effectively sealed the win with a 4-point play. He raised an index finger to his lips to silence the Spanish fans in the crowd. A few minutes later, as the Americans celebrated on the court, Colangelo embraced the player he had once dreamed of drafting. The wait, in some ways, was worth it. “How often does someone have an objective, a goal, and have it perfectly executed?” Colangelo asked. “It was just so special.”
Storyline: USA Basketball
We spoke with Ken Goldin who tells us the previous record for the most expensive MJ game-used threads was $173k for Michael’s 1984 Team USA jersey. The uniform is pretty sick … a size 46 jersey made by Champion, with a black base and red pinstripes. It’s pretty sweet. And, get this … Goldin Auctions also tells TMZ Sports a game-used Lebron James jersey also sold recently … for $371,200!!!
During our conversation, I asked Wilt, “Since we’re in Cleveland, would you mind if I asked you a few questions about the time you almost became a Cavalier?” The 7-foot-1 Chamberlain paused, then let out a huge laugh and said, “You remember that, huh?” Wilt didn’t want to talk specifics, but confirmed the team did indeed want him to come out of retirement and play for it in November 1979. “The Cavs did want me (to return to the NBA), but they weren’t the only ones,” he said. “They weren’t the first team, nor the last, to talk to me (about playing again).” “Bulls, Cavaliers, Nets, Knicks twice, Sixers twice, Mavericks, Suns, Clippers — those are all the teams who tried to get me in the last decade,” Chamberlain said before accepting the Living Legend Award from the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association at its annual dinner in 1991.
While his contractual obligations with the Lakers prevented Chamberlain from playing for the Conquistadors in the ABA in 1974, they were no longer a roadblock to him returning to the NBA with the Cavaliers in 1979. Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss said his team would not ask Cleveland for compensation for signing Chamberlain, should it take place. “I think it would be great for the NBA if Wilt were to play and I do not want to put anything in the way of this happening,” Buss told the Associated Press on Nov. 20, 1979. “I would enjoy seeing him play again, so I am sure would thousands of basketball fans.”
“Cavs GM Ron Hrovat, a basketball neophyte, was entrusted with the responsibility of hand-delivering the contract to Chamberlain’s palatial home in Bel Air,” the Hall of Famer wrote. “Nobody was there when Hrovat arrived, so he stuck the contract in the gate. By the time Chamberlain showed up, the papers were strewn around his yard.” Which did not sit well with Wilt. “Chamberlain immediately got Albeck on the phone,” Vecsey wrote. “‘Forget it, Little Man,’ he said, using his endearing nickname for Albeck. “I can’t play for a team that handles its business like that.” Albeck lamented how the Cavaliers’ pursuit of Chamberlain concluded. “He was this close to coming back,” he told Vecsey, holding his thumb and index finger an inch apart.
May 26, 2020 | 3:13 pm EDT Update
Based on the final standings within each group, eight teams would advance out of pool play into a bracket meant to mimic the league’s normal postseason structure, sources told ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Several current postseason teams were not initially enthusiastic about that proposal, sources told Lowe. A slump in group play could result in what is currently a solid playoff team — even one slated for home-court advantage in the first round of a normal postseason — failing to advance into the eight-team tournament, while a present-day lottery team might get hot and make the final eight.
Storyline: Season Resuming?
Nets center Jarrett Allen returned to the team’s recently reopened practice facility in Brooklyn on Tuesday wearing a face mask. The team opened its facility for voluntary workouts followingGov. Andrew Cuomo’s Sunday announcement that said New York sports teams can hold in-state training camps. “I believe sports that can come back without people in the stadium, without having people in the arena, do it. Do it,” Cuomo said. “Work out the economics if you can. We want you up. We want people to be able to watch sports to the extent people are still staying home. It gives people something to do.”
ESPN’s recently aired documentary series “The Last Dance,” chronicling Michael Jordan’s final championship season with the Chicago Bulls, rekindled interest in Jordan’s long-running feud with Isiah Thomas, including how the Pistons’ star was left off the 1992 Dream Team that won Olympic gold in Barcelona. Author Jack McCallum addressed the controversy in the most recent episode of his “The Dream Team Tapes” podcast series. McCallum said Jordan brought up the issue of Thomas himself in a 2011 interview. “When they called me and asked me to play — Rod Thorn called me. I said ‘Rod, I won’t play if Isiah Thomas is on the team.’ He assured me. He said, ‘Chuck doesn’t want Isiah. So, Isiah is not going to be part of the team,’” Jordan said on the recording that McCallum played during the podcast.
May 26, 2020 | 12:13 pm EDT Update
During the years of basketball supplier talks, during which Spalding for a time was for sale, the NBA even considered buying a stake in the company. “Anything and everything was on the table. We talked about all of those things. Joint ventures, different models. Throughout the span of the last few years, we just couldn’t agree on what they looked like,” LaRocca said. There’s no bad blood, he added. “We had been exploring all of those and exploring different ways our partnership could be structured, to help grow sports,” LaRocca said. “It was never any animosity. We just had a difference of opinion.”
Wilson also will supply balls for the WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League and Basketball Africa League. The NBA and Wilson haven’t disclosed the terms of the deal other than to say it’s multiyear, but it’s believed to be 10 years. The NBA’s relationship with Wilson isn’t a new one. The company provided NBA game balls from 1946, when the NBA launched as the Basketball Association of America, until Spalding took over the contract in 1983. “We didn’t spend a lot of time having to get to know them or know what they’ve done throughout the course of this history and brand,” LaRocca said.
ShotTracker and other companies are trying to land an eventual deal to have the NBA and NCAA and other leagues use their motion-tracking technology in balls and to put such sensors on players. The goal is to create customized next-gen metrics for coaching, players, medical staff, media, fans and gamblers. “Over the last several years we have worked with both Wilson and Spalding chipped balls. Wilson makes an incredible and imperceptible chipped basketball. At this time, I don’t know how this switch impacts the process for the NBA,” Ross said via email.
Storyline: Official Ball
May 26, 2020 | 11:59 am EDT Update
Groups could then be randomly drawn, with one team from each tier going into each group. The NBA is working on approaches to fairly balance the groupings, such as limiting each group to only three Western Conference teams, according to multiple front office sources. Drawings for the group stage could be televised, league sources say. The NBA draft lottery has yielded between 2.4 million and 4.4 million viewers the past 10 years on ESPN; a live drawing of the groups, even with Silver and a representative from every team broadcasting from their own homes, would do major numbers. Here’s one draw of the groups based on a random number generator:
One concern raised by team executives is the possibility of a “group of death”—a term used by soccer fans to describe groups that are far stronger than others, making it unfair for the top contenders. For example, if groups are randomly drawn, there is an unlikely-but-possible scenario that the Bucks could end up in a group with the Celtics, Rockets, Mavericks, and Pelicans—arguably the four best teams in Tiers 2 through 5. As an alternative to having groups randomly selected, multiple league sources say the league has considered allowing Tier 1 teams—the Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers—to draft their own groups. Now that would make for some drama during a selection show.
But Eastern Conference teams have already pushed back at the league for the group stage suggestion, according to league sources. The East is weaker than the West, and teams wouldn’t want to give up leverage in future discussions to reseed the postseason or remove conferences entirely. It’s a fair point, but conferences aren’t going away any time soon due to challenges and concerns with coast-to-coast travel, even under normal circumstances. In my opinion, the groups are balanced almost every single way you distribute teams from each tier. All teams in Tier 2 and 3 are relatively even, and with the exception of the Mavericks, the same can be said for Tiers 4 and 5. Any minor kinks could be ironed out if the league and the NBPA agree to fully explore this scenario.
Storyline: Season Resuming?
It’s unclear how these games would count toward existing contracts with regional sports networks (RSN) and national television stations (ESPN, TNT, and ABC). NBA teams have deals with RSNs for regular-season games; once teams hit roughly 70 games aired on their RSN, the league retains 100 percent of the revenue from those contracts. The NBA also has national deals to air a decided number of games on each network. So it’s unknown how group stage games would financially fulfill either of those contracts. But conversations with sources on both the league side and television side believe an agreement can easily be reached because of the potentially massive ratings that could follow. Group-stage games could realistically air “side by side” on both a team’s regional sports network and on national television, just like most first-round games already do.
May 26, 2020 | 11:46 am EDT Update

Damian Lillard to sit if Blazers don't have shot at playoffs

If the NBA resumes the 2019-20 season by electing to play a handful of games with all teams just to reach 70 games to fulfill regional television deals, Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard knows his next move. “If we come back and they’re just like, ‘We’re adding a few games to finish the regular season,’ and they’re throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don’t have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I’m going to be with my team because I’m a part of the team. But I’m not going to be participating. I’m telling you that right now. And you can put that [expletive] in there,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday morning via phone.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 254 more rumors
“If we come back and I don’t have an opportunity to make the playoffs, I will show up to work, I’ll be at practice and I’ll be with my team. I’m going to do all that [expletive] and then I’m going to be sitting right on that bench during the games,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports. “If they come back and say it’s something like a tournament, play-in style, between the No. 7 and No. 12 seeds, if we’re playing for playoff spots, then I think that’s perfect.”
A potential Los Angeles Lakers-Trail Blazers matchup likely would be the most anticipated series of the first round. “I just feel like that would be the matchup people want to see,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports. “And not to say nobody wants to see Memphis, because they’re in the eighth and they’ve been in the eighth spot for a while. They’ve earned that. You can’t take anything away from Memphis. They play hard, they’re exciting and they’ve got a lot of young talent. The Lakers would have their hands full playing against them. Memphis beat the Lakers this year. Memphis would have nothing to lose. I feel like both series could be a little bit hectic for the Lakers, but I think more so us, because of the experience and where we are in our careers. Not too long ago, we played them in L.A. and obviously I had a great game and we won a close one, and in the playoffs, I’m sure they would come up with some type of game plan to not allow that to happen. But I want to compete. That’s what we want.”
May 26, 2020 | 10:53 am EDT Update
Mixed into the congratulatory comments — “nice kill brother” and “glad to see some hunting content back on your page” — are people calling him “cruel,” “disgusting” and telling him to “shoot baskets not animals.” “I don’t really pay that no attention,” Hill says. “Most people that always have something against hunting are the same ones that go out to a restaurant to eat a steak or order a burger. So I always say, if you really see all those animals [get] to your plate, you’d probably think differently about hunters. “If you’re hunting just to kill s—, you have a problem.”
Hill, 34 and envisioning life after basketball, is pouring his time away from the court into learning more about animal care, overseeing projects — expanding a lake and building a “barndominium” are currently underway — and watching over his vast, 850-acre ranch and its exotic residents. In August 2017, he purchased the massive plot of land here in Texas Hill Country, a 35-minute drive north of his family’s offseason home in San Antonio. Over time, the property has been bulldozed, sculpted and preened into a sprawling ranch.
Home