As NBA training camps continue, the big stories around the league today involved the Association's new anti-flopping policy and the Knicks finally making Rasheed Wallace's signing official. In spite of the buzz surrounding Wallace's return to the NBA, Knicks coach Mike Woodson tells Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link) that he views 'Sheed as an insurance policy, rather than someone who will play big minutes. Here are a few more odds and ends from around the league:
- There's still a chance Josh Howard ends up on the Knicks, but the team would have to cut someone to make room for him, tweets Zwerling. For now, New York is in "wait-and-see mode" while the team evaluates its current players, a source tells Zwerling (Twitter link).
- If the Cavaliers have made Luke Walton a buyout offer, he isn't aware of it, says Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio (Sulia link). According to Amico, Walton leaves such matters to his agent, and is expecting to play out the final year of his contract with the Cavs.
- The timetable for Dwight Howard's potential return keeps moving up, if you ask Howard, who tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports that he could play in the preseason.
- While Jazz players like Chris Quinn, Brian Butch, Darnell Jackson, and Trey Gilder are long shots to make the club's roster, coach Tyrone Corbin says everyone has a chance, according to Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News.
- Israeli team Maccabi Rishon LeZion has announced the signing of 2007 lottery pick Julian Wright, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
- In an Insider piece, ESPN.com's David Thorpe explores the impact it would have if the D-League evolved into a full minor league system for the NBA.
On this busy Monday night, here's a look at some random bits of news from around the league.
- Paul George is aiming to make the All-Star game this season, writes NBA.com's Mark Montieth.
- The Bobcats have promised no positions in the starting lineup according to new head coach Mike Dunlap, writes the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell.
- Heat guard Dwyane Wade has left the Jordan brand and will join the Chinese shoe company Li-Ning, according to ESPN.com's Jared Zwerling.
- According to a tweet from HoopsHype.com, Julian Wright is considering an offer from Israel's Maccabi Rishon LeZion. He'll make an offer in the middle of this week.
- The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Ira Winderman gives a detailed list of all the available free agents still left on the market.
- Coming off a championship rookie season, Heat guard Norris Cole has worked hard this summer to improve all different aspects of his game, writes the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Shandel Richardson.
- Derrick Rose begins cutting drills in two weeks, and is vowing he'll be an even better player upon his return, writes the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson.
- Heading into a contract year, the Sixers are hoping Jrue Holiday can emerge into a leadership role, writes CSNPhilly.com's John Finger.
Here are a few Friday odds and ends from around the Association, with opening night just over a month away:
- After we rounded up a few highlights from the Celtics' media day earlier this afternoon, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com adds a few more, courtesy of Kevin Garnett's podium appearance. KG discussed Ray Allen, the Heat, and his decision to re-sign with the Celtics, among other topics.
- Justin Dentmon has signed with Fujian Quanzhou in China, agent Bill Neff tells Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype. Last year's D-League MVP had brief stints with the Spurs and Raptors in 2011/12.
- Asked once again about his contract situation in a Q&A with Jason McIntyre of Big Lead Sports, Stephen Curry reiterated that he hopes to remain with the Warriors long-term, adding: "I’m an NBA junkie and I know all of the latest news and contract
situations. But I won’t base my decision on 'Oh, this guy makes a
certain amount, I need to make more' or that kind of thing. It’s about
timing in the NBA and the right situation, and winning more than money.
But yeah, I know everybody’s contract, that’s common knowledge, but it
doesn’t impact my situation."
- The Trail Blazers must decide by October 31st whether to pick up Elliot Williams' $2.37MM option for 2013/14, and with Williams' season over due to a ruptured achilles tendon, he's not sure what the team will do. Either way, as he tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com, Williams intends to be ready and healthy for the '13/14 season.
- Gino Pilato of Ridiculous Upside wonders which former D-Leaguers on camp invites have the best odds to earn regular-season NBA roster spots.
- We heard earlier this week that Julian Wright was closing in on a deal with Israel's Maccabi Rishon, but David Pick of Sportando says (via Twitter) Wright may be having second thoughts after agreeing to terms with the club.
- In a piece for the Detroit Free Press, Dan Feldman of PistonPowered says Joe Dumars' willingness to look overseas to acquire a player like Slava Kravtsov is a good sign for the Pistons.
A few of the training camp invitees who've been signing deals with teams this month will probably be impressive enough to earn regular season roster spots, but the majority are likely headed elsewhere. Here's the latest from the D-League and overseas:
- Julian Wright, whom the Hornets took 13th in the 2007 draft, is close to a deal with the Israeli club Maccabi Rishon LeZion, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Wright last appeared in the NBA with the Raptors in 2010/11. He spent 16 games with the D-League's Austin Toros last season, averaging 15.1 points and 8.0 rebounds in 28.1 minutes per game.
- Tim Bontemps of the New York Post takes a look at Gene Cross, whom the Knicks hired yesterday as coach of their D-League affiliate. Cross, who'll be in charge of the Erie Bayhawks, spent last season as an assistant coach with the D-League's Iowa Energy.
- Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside spoke with agent B.J. Bass of RBA Sports, who's using the tighter bond between D-League teams and their NBA parent clubs to help his clients land deals.
Danny Ferry is considered the frontrunner to eventually replace Rod Thorn in the 76ers' front office, but he's not the only one interested in the position. According to 94WIP's Anthony Gargano (link via CBS Philly), Charles Barkley has interest in becoming the next Sixers GM. Like last month's story that briefly linked Shaquille O'Neal to the Magic's GM opening, I don't expect this one to have legs, but the fact that Barkley expressed interest in a front office job is worth tucking away, at the very least.
Here are a few more Wednesday afternoon odds and ends....
- The Celtics announced today via press release that two free-agents-to-be, Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus, underwent successful arthroscopic surgery this morning. Allen had a procedure on his right ankle, while Pietrus' surgery was on his right knee.
- Speaking of Allen, Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com writes that if the veteran sharpshooter leaves the Celtics, he may have interest in joining the Heat, Clippers, or Knicks. The Knicks figure to have only the veteran's minimum or bi-annual exception to offer, so the Heat and Clippers, with the mid-level, would be more likely destinations for Allen.
- Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer argues that Brian Shaw is the best head coaching candidate for the Bobcats.
- Julian Wright will play for the Nets in July's Summer League, and is optimistic about making an NBA comeback after sitting out the 2011/12 season, writes Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal-World.
The Celtics took a 3-2 lead in their series with the Sixers tonight with a 101-85 victory in Game 5. There's plenty happening off the court for Atlantic Division teams as well, so let's dive in:
- The Knicks and interim coach Mike Woodson are nearing agreement on a long-term deal, writes Newsday's Al Iannazzone. The deal could become official in the next couple days.
- Sixers president Rod Thorn has no intention of retiring, as Tom Moore of phillyBurbs.com writes, denying a report to the contrary Sunday by the Philadelphia Inquirer that said coach Doug Collins would take over for Thorn, with assistant coach Michael Curry replacing Collins.
- The Nets held a minicamp for free agents who didn't play in the NBA this past season, headlined by 2006 No. 3 overall pick Adam Morrison, as Colin Stephenson of The Star-Ledger and Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv note. Morrison and others at the camp, like Al Thornton, Hilton Armstrong and Julian Wright could wind up on Brooklyn's summer league team and audition for an invitation to join the Nets in training camp.
- Deron Williams, who was at Nets facilities this weekend as the team worked out draft prospects, was present again during today's free agent minicamp, fueling speculation he'll re-sign with the team, as Zagoria chronicles.
The D-League All-Star game will be a part of festivities tomorrow in Orlando, and we'll track any news coming out of the lead-up tonight here:
- Julian Wright, the 13th pick in the 2007 draft, has signed a D-League contract and will be assigned to a team by Monday, according to Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside. Wright hasn't played in the NBA this year after spending his first three years with the Hornets and last year with the Raptors. The 6'8", 225-pound small forward was a part of the playoff rotation in New Orleans when the Hornets pushed the Spurs to seven games in the conference semifinals in 2008, but never developed beyond that point. He's averaged 3.9 PPG, 2.3 RPG and 14.7 MPG in his NBA career.
- Schroeder says in the same piece that Hamady N'Diaye has signed with the D-League as well. N'Diaye was a second-round pick of the Timberwolves in 2010 who has spent time with the Wizards the last two seasons. He's played a total of 19 NBA games, averaging 0.7 PPG and 0.4 RPG in limited minutes. The Wizards waived the 7'0", 235-pound center earlier this month.