NBA rumors: Zion return date set

More on Zion Williamson Injury

Mitch Lawrence: The Pelicans will know a lot more after practice this week, but it sure sounds like we’ll get the long-awaited NBA debut of Zion Williamson on Thursday vs. the Jazz. That’s the plan, anyway, per sources.
Williamson had a major breakthrough in his return from October surgery for a torn meniscus, practicing fully for the first time on Thursday. Sides have been mum on an exact return date, but both he and the Pelicans remain hopeful of a January season debut, league sources tell The Athletic.
Gentry also added that the team does not have a date in mind for when Williamson will play in a game, but they are monitoring his progress in practice to see when the best time for that will be. "I know that's typical but we really do have to take it a day at a time to see what kind of progress he makes," Gentry said. "See what happens after he goes through practices and things like that. Like we said and will continue to say, he'll play when the time is right for him to do that. When that is, I'm not real sure of. But I know he's making progress, that's the thing that matters most."
Everywhere you turn in New Orleans, someone is asking when rookie Zion Williamson will make his NBA debut. Things are becoming a bit clearer because the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft went through his first full practice since he had surgery on the meniscus in his right knee on Oct. 21. New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry was in Wal-Mart when a lady on a motorized scooter stopped him to ask about Williamson's return. Williamson himself said little kids are coming up asking him about getting back on the floor because they see him on the court in their video games.
Stadium: “I’m told both sides are hopeful of a January season debut for (Zion) Williamson.” As the calendar shifts to 2020, NBA Insider @ShamsCharania shares the latest on the Pelicans No. 1 pick.

https://twitter.com/Stadium/status/1212138863671595019
During the Pelicans’ last road trip, Williamson was only doing shooting drills before games. He did more off-the-dribble work with assistant coaches before Saturday’s game and with that added freedom he decided to put on a show for the people who were in the building a few hours early. For the first time since his injury, Zion was seen throwing down a few of his signature rim-rattling dunks, showing that he’s inching even closer to his long-awaited NBA debut with New Orleans.
As for Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick is expected to begin contact drills and practices within the next week or two, according to sources. The Pelicans have not set a timetable for his return. This is a gradual progression due to the uniqueness of Williamson’s body and game, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound specimen the likes of which we have not seen in the NBA before.
If it were up to Zion Williamson, he already would have made his debut for the New Orleans Pelicans. That's what the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft told ESPN's Jorge Sedano before the Pelicans' 112-100 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. Williamson told Sedano that he "trusts the organization" in its decision-making and said that his rehab process has been about more than just the recovery from surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee.
The 19-year-old also said the Pelicans are trying to teach him how to walk and run differently -- working on the kinetic chain of his body. In the past week, Williamson has slowly started working his way back. He has done individual shooting drills and group drills but hasn't gone 5-on-5 or even 3-on-3 just yet, only 5-on-0 drills.
Andrew Lopez: Zion Williamson is not yet a full participant in shootaround. He was out there today and was passing the ball around. Kenrich Williams said the guys responded well to seeing No. 1 back on the sidelines.
Greg Logan: Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry says #ZionWilliamson is on court but not cleared for contact. Just stand-alone shooting. Definitely won’t rush return.
Marc Stein: For the Pelicans, there was resignation in some corners around them over the weekend that prized rookie Zion Williamson may have to wait until the calendar flips to 2020 to make his official NBA debut
Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin went on the Pelicans in-game broadcast recently to talk about the return of Williamson and the team. There he said Williamson is progressing and added the obvious — that there will be some load management of Williamson upon his return. As there should be. “Yes, he very likely will not be asked to take the pounding of back-to-backs initially,” Griffin said on the team’s television broadcast. “There will be a sort of ramp-up for him to getting back to where you would call him full strength, but he’s certainly going to be playing, and we’re trying to win basketball games. And quite frankly, we’ve done a horrible job of that.”
Will Guillory: David Griffin on Zion: "He continues to progress, he's progressing really well. ... We have been much more cautious with how we've ramped him up from stage to stage bc he's 19."
Scott Kushner: Alvin Gentry said he was not made aware of any health setback for Zion Williamson. Said his focus has been on trying to get this team back to winning.
Sources confirmed that he has begun some light, on-court work with the team in recent days, but he still has a decent amount of work ahead of him before getting close to his pro debut. So, the gloomy drumbeat just kept on playing and those who were hoping Zion would be swooping in to save the day in the coming weeks, well, it’s time to temper those expectations.
Will Guillory: Alvin Gentry says Zion Williamson still hasn't been on-court activities but he hopes to get the rookie phenom going soon. Says the team will continue to be cautious with him until he's right.
There's still no exact date set for Zion Williamson's return to the court, but New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said the No. 1 overall pick is "getting better literally every day."
The original timeline for Williamson's surgery, which happened on Oct. 20, was six to eight weeks. Griffin said that while Williamson is on schedule, it's more likely he comes back at the latter end of that timeline. "Right now, I think we're on target for eight weeks," Griffin said. "Probably not to the day, but in and around that."
Will Guillory: Zion kills any thoughts of him sitting out much longer than the projected 6-8 weeks: "I'm not even gonna miss half of the season."
Glen "Big Baby" Davis says Zion Williamson needs to lose weight ASAP ... 'cause he tells TMZ Sports being the same size as the Pelicans star cost him his NBA career! "That’s one of the reasons why I stopped playing was because of my weight," Glen says. New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram was not listed on the injury report Sunday evening and will be cleared to play Monday night against the Brooklyn Nets. Ingram left Saturday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a head injury and did not play in the second half.
Davis says he was just too damn heavy during his playing days at around 289 pounds ... and blames the weight for 2015 ankle and foot issues that ultimately ended his NBA career.
Enter Salley ... who says Zion can turn the ship around if he turns his diet around. "My message to Zion? Go vegan, bro. Drink a bunch of water and find out the best way to heal your body, meaning ... not just ultrasounds, not just a hot tub, don't take pills." The 4-time NBA champ says Zion was destined to become teammates with Jahlil Okafor, who recently made the switch to "mostly" veganism and lost 20 pounds ... and Salley wants Williamson to listen to the vet. "Jahlil Okafor will put you on the whole path on losing that weight, getting your knee back in position and playing."
Are you confident he'll return before the end of 2019? David Griffin: Yeah, I would say so. I think he's going to be pushing us to let him come back a lot sooner than we want to, but I think if everything lines up the way we want it to we're very comfortable he'll do that.
Unfortunately for Griffin and the Pelicans, No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson was not in attendance following surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee on Monday. Williamson is expected to miss six to eight weeks. “I would have loved for Zion to be there,” Griffin told The Undefeated. “But the way the surgery took place, you just weren’t able to move him. You don’t want to travel right afterwards. And you certainly didn’t want to wait to get the process done. There is no sense having him come up here and answer a whole bunch of questions when we knew what was going to happen. “We just wanted to take care of him as soon as possible. But absolutely, we would have liked him to see this.”
The Pelicans do not believe Williamson’s frame contributed to his torn meniscus, nor do they believe it will be an issue moving forward, sources have told The Athletic. He was drafted with everyone involved knowing how special he is at his size and frame.
Finding Greg Oden's name trending on Twitter on October 21 isn't what the NBA had in mind just one day before Zion Williamson's expected regular-season debut against the defending champions. But that's where the NBA finds itself after the New Orleans Pelicans revealed the No. 1 overall pick underwent surgery to remove debris from a torn meniscus. "The term 'debridement' suggests Williamson was able to undergo a meniscectomy in which the damaged tissue was removed," Jeff Stotts of InStreetClothes.com told me.
Will Guillory: David Griffin emphasizes he doesn't see Zion Williamson's weight as an issue with his rehab process: "The kid is a freak of nature." The team wants to take cautious approach, but Griff said Zion will be pushing to come back earlier than 6-8 week timeline.
The Pelicans do not believe Williamson’s frame contributed to his torn meniscus, nor do they believe it will be an issue moving forward, sources have told The Athletic. He was drafted with everyone involved knowing how special he is at his size and frame. Now, Williamson’s rehabilitation could mean less weight-lifting and more strategic planning, but the Pelicans plan to figure out the best method while letting Zion be Zion, and that does not include managing his weight.
Now, Williamson’s rehabilitation could mean less weight-lifting and more strategic planning, but the Pelicans plan to figure out the best method while letting Zion be Zion, and that does not include managing his weight.
Zion Williamson climbed onto the training table inside the New Orleans Pelicans’ practice facility last Wednesday and finally admitted something. That’s when the prized rookie informed the staff that he felt some tightness in his right knee, sources have told The Athletic. This admission came three days after a dominant 22-point, 10-rebound game against the San Antonio Spurs — which had been followed by a day off on Monday and a full participatory day of practice on Tuesday.
Once Williamson informed the Pelicans of how his knee felt, the team took the proactive measure of having him sit out the live practice on Wednesday and undergo an MRI. It was expected to be a precautionary MRI, but results showed a torn meniscus, and on Monday, Williamson underwent arthroscopic surgery and was ruled out six to eight weeks. Sources with knowledge of the situation have told The Athletic that Williamson and the Pelicans cannot pinpoint one specific moment when the injury occurred.
Adrian Wojnarowski: A severe injury has been ruled out for Zion Williamson’s right knee, but he is expected to miss period of weeks to start regular season, league sources tell ESPN. Pels are clearly treating injury with an abundance of caution but there’s no shortage of confidence on full recovery.
Steve Popper: Here’s the full info on Zion. pic.twitter.com/s8sipkKdEn
Zion Williamson's NBA Summer League experience ended after one half of basketball. And his former coach thinks he never should've played Summer League to begin with. "No, I thought really he never should've played just because he's been on this circuit of awards, the ESPYs, everything," Coach K told me at the Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., where he's recruiting this week. "I don't think he's in the playing shape or the mental shape to play."
"Yeah, he's OK," said Coach K, who remains in touch with both Williamson and Barrett, whom he says will end up being just fine with the Knicks despite his early Summer League struggles. "Zion will move forward from this issue without incident," said Pelicans executive VP David Griffin. "However, in an abundance of caution, we have made the determination that he will not appear in game action for the remainder of the NBA Summer League. He will continue to take part in training and conditioning with our performance team."
Many suggested Williamson, projected to be selected first in the 2019 NBA Draft, should have ended his collegiate career and focused on preparing for life as a professional. But as he prepares to make his return against Syracuse in the quarter-finals of the ACC Tournament on Thursday, Williamson says that was not an option for him. "For the people that think I should stop playing in college and just focus on the NBA: thanks, but no thanks," he told NCAA.com.
But he’s emphatic when asked about Duke freshman sensation Zion Williamson, whose knee injury renewed the heated debate over the NBA’s eligibility rules. “Why would you keep playing?” Drummond said Friday morning. “All the money that they making off this kid, why wouldn’t he just sit out? “He’s selling out arenas. People pay $10,000 to see him and he gets hurt and gets none of that money spent to see him play. You have to think about yourself because you could have a career-ending injury and that’s the rest of the story for him. I’d rather him take care of himself and get himself prepared. We all know he’s going to the draft so start working out and get yourself ready for a tough, grueling league.”
"Whatever he decides to do, he should be supported," Griffin said following the Pistons' 125-122 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. "If he didn't want to play anymore, I get it. But if you do want to play, he plays basketball, he's a basketball player. I also get that, too. You can't live or play the game of basketball playing scared of injury or scared of things you can't control. "It's an individual decision. I made the decision (to return to OU for his sophomore season) to improve my game. I wanted to get stronger and be more ready for the league when a lot of people were telling me not to, get that guaranteed money. "He's already made so money for that university, the NCAA, he doesn't owe anybody anything."
For two days, former and current NBA players weighed in on what Williamson’s next step should be; call it a career and prepare for the draft or rejoin his Duke teammates when healthy? “It’s a tough call,” said former Syracuse All-America Billy Owens, the third overall pick of the 1991 draft. “There’s a lot of money out there. I don’t think he should risk it.” “I know I would play,” said Coleman, who sat beside Owens. “As long as he’s healthy, why shouldn’t he play? He’s got a chance to win a national championship.”
"We would never play a kid who's not ready," Krzyzewski said. "We would never play a youngster who didn't want to play. It's not about that. He wants to play. He loves being at Duke. He doesn't like being injured. It's an injury you can get over in a shorter period of time. There's just a protocol that we have to go through to make sure he's completely ready. We're not rushing anything, so that's why we said day-to-day because it's literally day-to-day."
Nike’s sneaker rivals, who are already pouncing on its sneaker snafu on Twitter, could seek to use the viral moment to convince Williamson — a top NBA draft pick — to wear their apparel instead of Nike’s once he turns pro, experts said. “Money is the most important consideration, along with your belief in the product — and that’s maybe not in Nike’s corner at the moment,” said sports lawyer Daniel Wallach.
“If he’s able to come back in the next game, or soon enough, then all of this goes away,” Wallach said. But if the injury was to prove more serious, then “this is a quintessential liability lawsuit,” Wallach said.

http://twitter.com/royceyoung/status/1098666025384665088
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May 19, 2022 | 12:59 am EDT Update

Suns GM believes Deandre Ayton will be back

Jones told Burns & Gambo on Wednesday that he believes Deandre Ayton will be back with the Suns next season. “Deandre had an amazing season and he’s progressed every year and improved every year,” the GM said. “He’s been here and so he’s a big part of what we do. His future with us is something we will address at the proper time which is in the future. He’s a free agent and I’ve said all along, he’s about the same things we’re about which is winning. We’ll address it at the proper time.”
This rumor is part of a storyline: 29 more rumors
On possible supermax deal for Devin Booker and rookie extension for Cam Johnson. If Booker makes All-NBA this year, he’ll be eligible for a four-year deal worth $211 million while Johnson is up for a rookie extension heading into his fourth NBA season: James Jones: “That’s a part of the business. As your team improves, typically your payroll increases. We’re focused on improving the team and those guys, they deserve the credit. They deserve the accolades and the financial rewards that come with being good players and productive players. It doesn’t preclude us from doing anything. We’re not talking about a luxury tax issues or avoiding those things. That’s not something that’s going to prevent us from continuing to build this team and keep this team together.”
“Had a great year, just one of those nights,” said O’Neal as Ayton finished in Sunday’s Game 7 against Dallas with a career playoff-low five points on 2-of-5 shooting. “Phoenix had a great year, just one of those nights. This is a classy organization. This is a classy team. Can’t say bad things about them. They played hard. Again, even great players have one of those nights.”   O’Neal, and fellow TNT NBA analysts Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley discussed Ayton’s future with the Suns after the top overall seed was eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks in Sunday’s Game 7 in Phoenix. “You’ve got to re-sign Ayton,” Barkley said.
Storyline: Deandre Ayton Free Agency
“(McGee) played well, he was a great addition to the team, but it all hinges on Deandre Ayton,” Barkley said. “It’s him and Booker. They are the guys going forward. Chris is going to be 38 (years old). He’s going to get the ball to the right person, but it’s time for Booker and Ayton. You can’t have a bad game like they did. Chris, he had a tough night, but Ayton and Booker, they’ve got to play well.”

Warriors crush Mavericks to take 1-0 lead in Western Finals

Once Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson slowed down, caught their breath and stopped rushing shots, the Splash Brothers got on a roll that proved too much for Dallas to stop. Especially because Andrew Wiggins worked end to end to make sure Luka Doncic couldn’t get going. Curry had 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, Golden State held Doncic in check and the Warriors beat the Mavericks 112-87 on Wednesday night for a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. “Just make him work, that was the main thing,” Wiggins said.
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Doncic scored 20 points but shot just 6 for 18 and 3 of 10 from deep. He made back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first half to get his team within 54-45 at the break, but Curry and Thompson heated up and helped the Warriors pull away in the second half. “A great job. That’s it,” Doncic said. “They did a great job.” Jalen Brunson scored 14 points but missed all five of his 3s for the surprising Mavs, who stunned the top-seeded Suns in a 123-90 thumping in Game 7 on Sunday in Phoenix.
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“They did a really good job. Wiggins picking him up full court,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. “They went box-and-one, they went zone. We understood coming into the series that we were going to see that. We’ll go back and look at the video and see what we can do better.” Stopping Doncic, who was averaging 31.5 points in the playoffs, is the tall task this time after the Warriors already handled two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic of Denver in the first round, then Ja Morant early last series before his knee injury. “I thought Wiggs was fantastic,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Doncic is as difficult a cover as there is in this league. … It’s important to make him work. He’s so good. Any great player in the league you’re trying to limit the damage that they do.”
5 hours ago via ESPN