Storyline: Lonzo Ball Injury

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On the court, Ball has been encouraged by what he’s seen over multiple weeks at New Orleans’ voluntary workouts, which have been regularly attended by 15-plus players. “I think we have a chance (to be good). We have a lot of talent. We have a new team, where people have got to get to know each other, so we’ve got to start a little earlier,” Ball said, referring to one reason Pelicans players were motivated to participate. Ball missed 35 games last season due to injury, but said Tuesday of his health, “I’m good. Doing everything, 5-on-5, full-contact. I’m good.”

However, that doesn’t mean Ball is just sitting around and waiting to be healthy again. According to JaVale McGee, Ball has been in the gym every day trying to work his way back to full strength (via FS1’s “The Herd”): When people get injured they tend to go down in spirit but he’s had a great spirit this whole time he’s been injured. He’s been there every day working in the weight room, and this is coming from behind-the-scenes that sees it all. He’s training. He hasn’t missed a training session. You get fined for things like that and people are really paying attention to that, but he hasn’t missed any of that since I’ve been there, so it’s not like he’s not trying to get healthy. He just had a bad injury and it’s been lingering. That’s all it is.

The Lakers found out about Ball’s situation when Lonzo Ball called General Manager Rob Pelinka, and the organization informed him that they would not allow it and could void his contract if he went through with the procedure, sources said. The Lakers then arranged transportation to bring Ball home, sources said. This could have been a disastrous moment for the Lakers, with a core player potentially undergoing a procedure that could have blindsided the organization. But Johnson and Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka communicated with those around Lonzo, working with his then-agent Harrison Gaines to squash the procedure and bring him back to Los Angeles, sources around the team with knowledge of the situation said. Gaines declined to comment when reached by phone.

He spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time since January and his recent shutdown for the remainder of the season. Ball is ready. “I’m very, very motivated,” Ball told The Athletic. “I want to be the best I can be. I’m looking forward to this summer. I don’t look at it as added pressure, because I haven’t had a full summer yet to dedicate to myself. I have to keep working on my craft. I’m just happy that I’m going to be healthy. “It’s been frustrating. This is the second year that this has happened. But I have to stay positive, stay motivated.”


1 year ago via ESPN

Ball didn’t suffer any setbacks following his first contact practice on Thursday. “We’re gonna be patient,” Walton said. “No need to rush it right now. We’ll put minutes restrictions on him as he starts coming back in the preseason. And everything will be, ‘How do you feel?’ the next day, ‘How do you feel?’ that night. As long we keep checking those off and he’s fine, the minutes restrictions will go up and up until we decide to get rid of it all together.”

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball was among the several players on hand at the practice facility Wednesday, and his work included shooting 3-pointers. Video of that portion of Ball’s workout was captured by Ball’s manager Darren Moore and shared on his Instagram story. Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball was among the several players on hand at the practice facility Wednesday, and his work included shooting 3-pointers. Video of that portion of Ball’s workout was captured by Ball’s manager Darren Moore and shared on his Instagram story. It’s an encouraging development for Ball, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in the middle of July. That came after he received a platelet-rich plasma injection in the knee that caused him trouble throughout the season.
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November 13, 2019 | 5:03 pm UTC Update
Memphis plans to wait on a buyout with Iguodala until February’s trade deadline. The Grizzlies are still holding out hope that a trade can be worked out and have been holding firm on their asking price of a first-round pick. If not, Iguodala will be cut loose from Memphis and free to sign with whomever he chooses—around the league, that’s expected to be the Lakers.
Storyline: Andre Iguodala Buyout?
But there are still teams in the mix. All, according to speculation from league executives, are in the Western Conference. “He’s got more value in the West,” one GM told Heavy.com. “I can’t see a team in the East moving for him. He has the experience guarding LeBron and that’s what you want out of him. That and you want to keep him off the Lakers, you want their bench to be a weak spot. He doesn’t have those same kinds of good matchups in the East. You don’t want to put him on Giannis (Antetokounmpo) in a seven-game series, for sure.”
But the Grizzlies have yet to show interest in that deal and whether the Mavs would revisit the offer is a question. Sources indicate that the Mavs’ intent as the season progresses is to hunt for a piece with the trade exception they hold from the Harrison Barnes deal, worth $11.7 million. The Mavs can take on a player with a contract less than that value without giving up anything in return.
The Milwaukee Bucks have assigned Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Dragan Bender to the Wisconsin Herd of the NBA G League. Antetokounmpo has appeared in one game for the Bucks this season while Bender has yet to play in a game for Milwaukee. Bender started the first two games of the season for the Herd and averaged 19.0 points, 6.5 points, 1.5 blocks, 1.0 assist and 1.0 steal in 29.9 minutes per game.
During an episode of ESPN’s “The Jump” on Tuesday, former Celtic Paul Pierce and longtime NBA reporter Jackie MacMullan touched on the difference in the team’s leadership. Specifically, the departure of Kyrie Irving and the arrival of Kemba Walker. “They got better leadership in there,” Pierce said. “Let’s just call it how it is.”
After ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols — the show’s host — offered a clarification that the leadership was simply “different,” Pierce jumped back in. “It’s better,” reiterated Pierce. “Kemba, he’s known throughout the league as being a great leader. I mean, he played on losing teams, he stayed positive. He went out and played hard every night, and that can be infectious. That can be the difference between losing and winning and chemistry. That’s what he’s brought to the Celtics.”
The entire article was brief, straightforward and, yet, extremely bold. Silver was the first acting commissioner of a major U.S. sports league to come out in support of legalized sports betting. In 437 words, he pivoted the NBA’s long-held public opposition to sports betting and ignited a discussion about a taboo subject for all professional leagues. “I think it was ground-breaking,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said of Silver’s op-ed in an email to ESPN. “Leagues for decades were hypocritical about gaming, pretending it doesn’t exist. Adam ended that hypocrisy.”
Behind the scenes, though, the leagues were studying the issue, preparing for the day when more states would offer sports betting. Former NBA commissioner David Stern believes Silver’s op-ed had an enormous impact on the other leagues’ approaches to the issue and was very influential overall in the movement toward expanded legal sports betting. “It indicated that the horse was about to leave the barn and it would be smart to jump on your own horse and follow along,” Stern said. “And they did.” “It was critical,” added Cuban. “Prior, those in favor of gaming expected pro sports to fight back. With the hypocrisy gone, the legal steps could move forward.”
Leonsis was on the forefront of the league’s shift on betting and was one of the owners Silver consulted with on the op-ed. “My notion was what are we afraid of, when we know all this money is being spent offshore [with bookmakers] in an unregulated, untaxed and unmindful way?” Leonsis said in a phone interview Tuesday. Today, the professional leagues’ opposition to sports betting has vanished. Their focus now is on how to monetize the growing regulated industry through data and fees based on the amount wagered on the games.
November 13, 2019 | 3:54 pm UTC Update
Through their first nine games, James had assisted Davis on 26 baskets, 10 more than any other teammate, per ESPN Stats & Information research. Compare that to his first nine games with Bosh, when it was 17 assists, and his first nine with Love, which produced only 11. Their pick-and-rolls have resulted in the highlight dunks that fans love and a schematic nightmare for opposing coaches. And even though they sometimes are caught a little out of position, there’s a natural flow that’s easy to see. “I think that’s part of [LeBron’s] genius that he’s able to morph into whatever he needs to be, to bring out the best out of the other players,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team faced the Lakers last week. “His connection with [Bosh] was pretty natural, and I think this is, this just fits like a glove. … When both guys want to do it, commit to the process of getting better with it, you’re just going to see that improve dramatically as the season goes on.”
Storyline: LeBron-Davis Dynamic
Amid the ongoing debate about resting players in the NBA, count Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban among those openly willing to support load management. “The problem isn’t load management, per se,” Cuban told reporters in Boston on Monday. “I think teams have to be smarter about when to load manage. I’m all for load management. Worse than missing a player in a [regular-season] game is missing him in the playoffs.”
1 hour ago via ESPN
“He had a tough couple of weeks before training camp,” Dunn said. “Most people, when I get at them and I see fear, they’re done. They’re outta there.” But White didn’t budge. He showed no fear, no quit. He refused to back down. He just kept coming. “Training camp came and he turned it on,” Dunn said. “That showed he’s still learning, but he’s going to bring it. He’s going to keep bringing it. He kept the same intensity. He kept the same energy. And I love it.”
Though some of the feelings were foreign to him, he could recognize them as a threat to his well-being. “That kills more dreams, careers, on and off the court, basketball-related and just (in) regular life,” Brown says. “As soon as you start not believing in yourself, it’s over. So I had to quiet that voice that was in the back of my head. Everybody has it. It’s not something that, like, just Jaylen has been through it. I think everybody on this planet probably has that voice in the back of their head telling them to stop or to quit or not to keep going. And that voice had been louder last year than it had ever been. So I had to make sure to quiet that fucking voice because it was pissing me off.”
He found the best response was sometimes to detach from a situation, even if others did not always understand the tactic. He wasn’t doing it out of a lack of care, he says, but because he needed to preserve his positive energy and keep moving in the right direction. While he says he didn’t lean much on others for advice, his grandfather recommended a number of helpful books. “A lot of it had to do with astrology and stuff like that,” Brown says. “Finding out what you’re made of. I had to remind myself of who I was. That was good for me.”
Brown has a bigger role again. Head coach Brad Stevens inserted him into the starting lineup from Day 1. Through nine games, the Celtics lead the NBA with an 8-1 record and a plus-9.5 net rating. Brown is averaging 19.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game on 53 percent shooting. Those marks would all establish career highs. He has lived near the rim so far — which he called a conscious decision — but he does not want to pigeonhole himself into a slashing style. If teams start backing up, he says, he may need to start lacing 3-pointers again. “The media or analytics, they always try to put you in a box and say this is the type of player he is or this is the type of player,” Brown says. “I don’t think anybody knows what type of player I am. I can try to continue to grow and get better. In two years I might be improved at anything just because I work on my game that way.”
November 13, 2019 | 8:14 am UTC Update

Knicks players back David Fizdale

Despite their frustrations following the loss at Chicago — one in which they turned the ball over 18 times and were outscored 52-46 in the paint — Knicks players were still adamant in their support of the second-year coach. “We’ve got 9-10 new guys? We’ve got 10 guys that have not played together at all and me who hasn’t even been in the league yet,” said rookie RJ Barrett. “You’re gonna have some challenges, but you’ve got to keep pushing, keep pushing through everything. That’s all I can really say. You’ve just got to stay together. “He’s up to the challenge. We believe in him,” he continued. “We’re staying together, and like we said, we’re all-in with him and are just gonna keep fighting together.”
9 hours ago via ESPN
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Knicks owner James Dolan spoke with team president Steve Mills and others in management on Monday, the day after Mills and GM Scott Perry held an impromptu press conference to express their frustration with the Knicks. Dolan speaks with Mills and other top decision-makers regularly, just as most NBA owners do, but this conversation seemed to carry a little more weight. Sources familiar with the conversation told SNY that management came away with the impression that their jobs would be secure as long as the Knicks ‘showed progress’ this season.
Stadium: NBA Insider @ShamsCharania reports Dion Waiters will return to the Heat when his 10-game team suspension ends after “gummy” incident. “There isn’t a buyout on the horizon … he has to get back into the good graces of the organization”

The Houston Rockets made the signing-and-trading for veteran Chris Paul in the summer of 2017 the landmark move of their offseason, but the All-Star floor general only experienced two seasons in Clutch City before being quickly shipped off again on his career. Speaking to comedian and actor Kevin Hart on his cold tub show that we all knew existed before this moment, the 34-year-old Paul called his 2019 offseason trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder a “stab” in the back (via Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). Hart: Do you feel like there’s been times where, “Damn, that’s a little eye-opening. I got stabbed in the back”? Paul: Absolutely. This last situation was one of them. The GM there in Houston, he don’t owe me nothing. You know what I mean? He may tell me one thing but do another thing. But you just understand that that’s what it is.
David Levy is resigning as chief executive officer of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, abruptly walking away from the fast-growing sports operation owned by Alibaba Group billionaire Joe Tsai. Levy, a 33-year veteran of Turner Broadcasting, was named to the CEO job less than two months ago. Oliver Weisberg, head of J Tsai Sports, will now take over as interim Nets chief.
Storyline: Nets Front Office
Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter, a vocal critic of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, teamed up with two Democratic U.S. senators on Tuesday as they introduced a bill to condemn the alleged violation of human rights in Turkey. As Erdogan arrived in the United States for a White House meeting on Wednesday with U.S. President Donald Trump, Senators Edward Markey and Ron Wyden held up Kanter as a victim of the Turkish government’s targeting of political rivals.
November 13, 2019 | 3:01 am UTC Update
November 13, 2019 | 2:40 am UTC Update
Atlanta’s training staff wanted him to take accountability and ask for help, but he was too stubborn. The NBA lifestyle had messed with his priorities. Instead of focusing on his diet and cracking the rotation, Spellman did favors for friends and hobnobbed with celebrities. Today, he calls that dark period a “time of self-sabotage.” And injuries only worsened his depression. A hip issue, likely the result of his rapid weight gain, sidelined Spellman for seven games last winter. In early March, a high ankle sprain ended his season.
Those closest to him have seen a changed man. After slogging through a year-long depression, Spellman is finally finding reasons to smile again. “I have a great opportunity with the Golden State Warriors,” said Spellman, who had his third-year option of $2 million picked up two weeks ago. “They’re helping me every day. I’m losing more and more weight, and I can really get to whatever point they want me at. I know what I need to do.”
November 13, 2019 | 2:22 am UTC Update