Storyline: Nicolas Batum Injury

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Nicolas Batum likely back Wednesday

For the first time since tearing a ligament in his left elbow Oct. 4, Batum went full-court 5-on-5 scrimmage in practice. All went well, and if there is no setback, shooting guard Batum should play in Wednesday’s nationally televised home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. “There were a lot of smiles out there, to see him back in a uniform,” forward Marvin Williams said. “I bet he got an assist to everybody he played with today. There were a couple of times when he hit me wide-open and I wasn’t expecting the ball.

“I can’t say enough about how much this team needs Nic Batum,” power forward Marvin Williams said Thursday after practice. “Not only offensively what he brings to the table for himself and the rest of us, but defensively as well. He’s such a smart player, such a great player, on both ends of the floor. When you (lose) a guy like that, who does so many things, the team does struggle a little bit in his absence. If he’s back out there, it will make a huge difference.”

A source close to the team has told Spencer Percy, Managing Editor of Queen City Hoops, that Nic Batum has “no structural damage” and “everything was clean” in his right knee. Batum is expected to be out 1-2 weeks. Batum injured his right knee during the third-quarter in Detroit last night when he and Roy Hibbert got their legs caught up going for a loose ball. It was hard to tell exactly what happened live, and there wasn’t a great camera angle to show whether or not Batum hyper-extended the knee. Nonetheless, the team called it a hyper-extended right knee injury and Batum did not return to the game.

Batum came off the bench and logged only 14:44, going 2 of 5 from the floor and finishing with six points just hours after his wife gave birth to their son Aiden. “I tried, I tried,” Batum said. “The foot is huge. I tried everything. I tried hard, but I can’t push side to side. I was hurting the team much more than I was helping the team. So I told coach if you need me in the second half, call me. But it’s tough. Since Game 2, I’ve tried to come back, I’ve tried to do everything to come back and help the team, but I am not. So it’s a very tough situation for me right now.”
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July 17, 2018 | 10:32 am EDT Update
According to sources, Okafor, the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, worked out for four teams last Wednesday in Las Vegas, and remains hopeful of signing with a team ahead of training camp next fall. Okafor averaged 17.5 points per game as a rookie in Philadelphia in 2015-16. He has spent the last few months working out in Miami with trainers David Alexander and Idan Ravin, fueling speculation that he could land with the Heat, especially if Miami finds a trading partner for Hassan Whiteside.
Storyline: Jahlil Okafor Free Agency
These are the real boys of summer, the grinders using the 12-day audition in the desert to impress NBA executives enough to earn the honor of an invitation to training camp. Take Cooley, 27, the unofficial dean of NBA Summer League stars. This is Cooley’s sixth stint in Vegas. He’s a member of the Phoenix Suns now, a teammate of Ayton’s. Before that he was a Sacramento King, setting screens for De’Aaron Fox, and before that a Cleveland Cavalier, throwing outlet passes to Andrew Wiggins. For Cooley, this was never a dream. In 2009, he chose Notre Dame, not for a springboard to the NBA, but because it had a top business school. “I used basketball to get the best education,” Cooley said.
Storyline: Jack Cooley Free Agency
There’s Justin Harper, with the New York Knicks. Casper Ware, with the Portland Trail Blazers. Brady Heslip with the Memphis Grizzlies. There are no paychecks for playing in Summer League. There’s per diem, around $100 per day. There’s a hotel room, two-hour practices, daily bus rides and no guarantee of playing time. “It’s a grind, man,” Machado said. “Every time you come out to Summer League, everyone is trying to prove themselves. Me, trying to facilitate, sometimes you overthink it. Every time you come back, you think, ‘Man I did this already.’ It’s a constant grind and constant pressure you put on yourself.”
As Summer League winds down, most of the boys of summer will disperse. Some will sign on with G League teams, to maximize exposure. Others will ink European contracts, where the money is better. They will ride buses to small towns in the U.S. or live in isolation in far-flung cities around the world. They will do it, and they will hope for an invitation back to Las Vegas next summer, for the opportunity to impress once again. “There’s only about 1% of me that thinks about not playing,” Cooley said. “This life is pretty intense. But I love it, I’m glad it’s not easy. Not playing would be a terrible itch that I wouldn’t be able to scratch. I know once the time comes, I will definitely be a part of the game, because I’ll go crazy if I go cold-turkey out of basketball. But right now, I’m a player. The body of work I have put together has caused a pretty good stir here. I believe I’m an NBA player. I believe I can play in the league for a long time.”
Storyline: Jack Cooley Free Agency