The No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Otto Porter, suffered a right hip flexor injury, reports the Associated Press, and was limited in practice. Fortunately for Wizards fans, Nene Hilario and John Wall are healthy, but as Michael Lee of the Washington Post points out on Twitter, Trevor Booker was also limited in practice with a sore right knee.
Here's more on the Wizards and Hawks…
- As J. Michael of CSN Washington summarizes, the Wizards have been suffering from the injury bug as training camps open around the league. Emeka Okafor (herniated disk) and Chris Singleton (left foot/toe surgery) are already out and now Booker and Porter are limited.
- Wall added to Lee's piece that after watching footage from the 2012/13 season, he's confident of the team's success this coming year. "We know what we're capable of as a team," Wall told him. "We just got to play like we did last year, be a great defensive team, be a faster team, get out in the open court," said Wall.
- On the injury front, the Hawks scoring guard (Lou) Louis Williams has no timetable on a return from the ACL tear he suffered last season, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution [subscription only].
- Vivlamore adds that former Hawk Damien Wilkins is liable to make the team if Williams isn't able to go right away. After suffering the torn ACL in his right knee in January, the recovery period is 9-12 months and Williams has yet to participate in any scrimmaging with the team before training camp opens.
- Vivlamore goes on to include that a new coach, Mike Budenholzer, means there will be a new system in place for even the veteran Hawks to learn in this month's training camp.
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes that Kemba Walker, after two years of losing in Charlotte, led a "jump-start" on the Bobcats' training camp.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune discusses the health of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, Luol Deng's uncertain long-term future with the franchise, how Mike Dunleavy Jr. will look to mesh with the roster, and how Jimmy Butler will handle a move to starting shooting guard as five things to look at for the Bulls going into fall. Here's more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
- Aggrey Sam of CSN Chicago (via Twitter) says that Chicago's official training camp roster is expected to be released tomorrow but doesn't expect Malcolm Thomas or Chris Wright to be on the list.
- Michael Lee of CSN Washington wonders if John Wall is ready to lead the Wizards to the playoffs, who will step up in the absence of Emeka Okafor, if Bradley Beal is primed for a breakout season, what to expect from Otto Porter, and the health of Nene as the team's top storylines heading into training camp.
- Hawks GM Danny Ferry wouldn't set a timeline for the return of Louis Williams (who is still recovering from reconstructive knee surgery), though he did say that the eighth-year guard has been playing one-on-one games and has had no restrictions in doing so. Ferry also appeared encouraged about what Dennis Schröder can contribute to the team now as a promising prospect and said that Lucas Nogueira and Mike Muscala still need to continue their development overseas (USA Today via the Associated Press).
- As Tom Layman of the Boston Herald points out, Celtics coach Brad Stevens will look toward Avery Bradley to be the team's floor general while they wait for the return of Rajon Rondo. In another piece, a handful of college coaches had positive comments for Stevens regarding how they believe he'll be able to transition to the NBA game (NBA.com via the Associated Press).
- With Steve Mills in place as the Knicks' newest GM, Yannis Koutroupis of Hoopsworld thinks that it will be important for Mills to start forming a strong relationship with Carmelo Anthony now, especially with the possibility that he could become a free agent this upcoming summer.
- Since arriving in New York City, Anthony has been able to build his brand and explore plenty of business opportunities, writes Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report. From the sound of it, Zwerling doesn't think that Anthony will be leaving New York anytime soon, even with an opt-out clause at the end of the season.
- Ian Begley of ESPN New York examines the orange and blue's current situation at small forward.
- With the rest of the NBA's power elite growing tired of the Heat's dominance, Sam Amick of USA Today delves into why the 2013/14 season could be Miami's toughest campaign for a title yet. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times notes that the Bulls are especially eager to put a halt to the Heat's reign as the NBA's top dog.
Michael Lee of the Washington Post spoke with John Wall today about his expectations for this upcoming season, which will be Wall's fourth in the league. Wall was matter-of-fact about his focus for next season tell Lee (via Twitter):
"My whole goal is, this is my 4th year & I need to be in the playoffs. Nothing more & nothing else needs to be said about that.”
Wall will make $7.259MM this season with the Wiz and if he and the team don't reach a deal on an extension by October 31st this year, the Wizards have the option to extend him a QO of $9.698MM in the spring.
Here are some more notes from around the Southeast division…
Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com doesn't think the Hawks will have much trouble if they want to trade Lou Williams to free up more cap space in the pursuit of two max free agents this summer. He also believes the team wouldn't hesitate to pull off other moves necessary to clear room (Twitter links). If the Hawks renounce all their cap holds and keep their pair of first-round picks, they'd be about $1.9MM shy of the cap space necessary to sign Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, providing next season's salary cap checks in at the projected $58.5MM. The Hawks might not be at the top of likely destinations for the rumored D12-CP3 pairing, but it appears that won't stop them from trying. With half a month to go until teams and free agents can start lining up agreements, here's more from around the Association:
- Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who broke the news that Andre Iguodala will opt out and become a free agent, listed Detroit as a likely suitor, and Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press echoes that sentiment, writing that the Pistons like the veteran small forward.
- Nuggets president Josh Kroenke cited Danilo Gallinari's lengthy recovery from a torn ACL when he explained the team's decision to let go of George Karl, but now it appears Gallinari could be back in December, not February, as Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post reports.
- Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman makes a compelling case that the Thunder should trade the 12th pick in the draft to the Hawks for the 17th and 18th selections. Part of the financial side of the argument is based on Mayberry's expectation that OKC won't re-sign Kevin Martin and won't look to replace him via free agency.
- Mark Singelais of the Albany Times Union profiles Siena forward O.D. Anosike, a second-round hopeful who joined Tim Hardaway Jr., Glen Rice Jr., Jackie Carmichael and others in a group workout Thursday for the Celtics.
- MLive's David Mayo passes along a list of players who worked out for the Pistons this week: Andre Roberson, Robert Covington, James Southerland, Adonis Thomas, Mareks Mejeris, A'uston Calhoun, Nick Minnerath and Kwame Vaughn.
- Small-market owners may have been the prime movers behind the latest CBA, but they're still hamstrung by unbalanced local TV revenues. That could lead to another work stoppage and watered-down rosters across the league, ESPN's J.A. Adande argues.
After the Pacers took a 1-0 lead over the Knicks with a win in New York yesterday, the second Eastern Conference Semifinal will get underway tonight, as the Heat play their first game since April 28th. As we look forward to the first game in the Bulls/Heat series, let's round up a few items from out of the Eastern Conference….
- The Hawks are facing a potential roster overhaul this summer, but Louis Williams, one of just three players on a guaranteed contract, says he's looking forward to playing with the other two (Al Horford and John Jenkins) next season. Williams also told Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he'd be glad to help recruit free agents if he's asked.
- Two Hawks free agents, Zaza Pachulia and Kyle Korver, are interested in re-signing with the team, as Vivlamore and Jeff Schultz write in a separate Journal Constitution piece. According to Korver, the Hawks have expressed interest in bringing him back.
- Now that the Rockets are out of the playoffs, assistant Kelvin Sampson figures to receive plenty of phone calls from teams seeking a new head coach. Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Sampson has an interview lined up for Thursday with the Bucks, and that the 76ers and Bobcats have also requested permission to speak to him.
- With the Nets searching for a new head coach, Deron Williams indicated he wouldn't be opposed to playing for ex-Jazz coach Jerry Sloan again, and Sloan says he'd be open to the idea as well, writes Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. "I'm open, I would listen," Sloan said of the Nets. "I haven't did the research on their roster, but I would definitely listen if they called."
- Appearing on the Dan Patrick Show today, the Nets' former coach, P.J. Carlesimo, said he doesn't think a first-round Nets victory would have saved his job. "I think short of winning a championship, it wouldn't have made any difference," Carlesimo said, according to Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com. "I mean, [GM] Billy [King] was pretty candid….
I think anything short of winning a championship wasn't going to change his mind or [ownership's] mind."
Lou Williams is out for the season after tearing a ligament in his right knee, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The Hawks guard suffered the injury last night against the Nets, and an MRI today revealed the tear, which the team specifies is to his ACL. Williams is in the first season of a three-year, $15.675MM deal.
The timing of the news is especially rough for Atlanta, since the NBA's deadline to apply for a disabled player exception just passed this week. Williams had fit in well as a sixth man with the Hawks, averaging 14.1 points per game with a shooting line of .422/.367/.868. His numbers were similar to the ones he put up last year with the Sixers, when he averaged a career-high 14.1 PPG. Williams had avoided major injury to this point in his career, having played in at least 61 games in each of the last six seasons.
Hawks GM Danny Ferry issued his reaction to the news, saying, "We’ll examine every and all option that can be considered and make decisions from there," as Vivlamore tweets. Atlanta has lost seven of its last nine games and sits at 22-17, in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks are over the cap, but can use a pro-rated portion of their $1.957MM bi-annual exception if they wish to sign someone for more than the minimum.
A night after the first-place Thunder lost to tighten up the Western Conference race, the idle Heat slipped into the top spot in the East by percentage points on Friday when the Knicks fell at home to the Bulls. There's still plenty left to be resolved this season, and with the trade deadline now less than two months away, the level of intrigue is on the way up. Here's more from the Association.
- In a HoopsWorld video, Alex Kennedy says consensus around the league is that the Cavs will trade Anderson Varejao this season, and with some executives still high on Andrea Bargnani, Kennedy wouldn't be surprised to see a team take a risk to bring him on board.
- O.J. Mayo wasn't caught off guard when the Grizzlies let him walk in free agency, and the two sides didn't have talks about bringing him back this summer, notes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. "Once you see the writing on the wall, you can’t be dumb to the fact," Mayo said. “I didn’t even go to the exit meeting. I pretty much knew what it was.”
- Lou Williams had hoped he wouldn't have to come back to Philadelphia with an opposing team, as he did tonight, and wanted to work out a return to the Sixers in free agency last summer, Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com has the details. "I think Philly did a good job of making my decision easy for me," the Hawks guard said. "They made it clear they were going in a different direction and at that time I had to find somewhere else to go, and luckily for me I landed on my feet in my hometown. Both sides moved on. It is what it is, and I am sure they are happy with what they got out of the deal and I am happy to be at home."
- Andrei Kirilenko fit the profile of what the Wolves front office identified as the team's most pressing need this past offseason, but Minnesota still had questions about him, writes Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. Kirilenko is answering those doubts, and coach Rick Adelman has been surprised at just how much the 31-year-old defensive ace has helped the team.
- The Suns recalled Kendall Marshall from the D-League today, but the rookie doesn't appear to be any better from the experience, observes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.
Items out of the Atlantic Division..
- Some have wondered how Amare Stoudemire will fit in with the Knicks' future, but a team source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post that the club brought the Erie Bayhawks to New York specifically to work out with the forward. That gesture is a sign that the Knicks are committed to Stoudemire long term in the eyes of Berman. Earlier today, we learned that the Knicks were practically looking to give Stoudemire away for free over the summer.
- Coach Mike Woodson doesn't seem to think that today's report will have an effect on Stoudemire, tweets Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. "Amare is a big piece of the New York Knicks and that's why he's still here," said the coach.
- Jim Cavan of the New York Times writes that a lower turnover rate has been a key to the Knicks' success this season.
- The Celtics need a big man who will help give Kevin Garnett and Chris Wilcox help down low, writes Rich Levine of CSNNE.com. Levine suggests that the C's can package Courtney Lee and Fab Melo for Jason Thompson of the Kings or the Blazers' J.J. Hickson.
- If the Celtics don’t show improvement on the defensive end before the trade deadline, expect team president Danny Ainge to find better complementary pieces for Garnett, writes Dan Guttenplan of WEEI.com.
- Louis Williams reflects on his years with the 76ers as he prepares to face his former team as a member of the Hawks.
- Jason Kidd believes that Deron Williams is struggling with his shooting, which is to blame for his poor recent play, and not Nets coach Avery Johnson.
The sound bites we hear in the first week of NBA training camps often fall into the same few categories: Every player is in great shape, no one is worried about contract situations, and every team expects to be in the playoffs. It makes it all the more difficult to get an interesting quote, but Lang Greene of HoopsWorld managed to get a few out of some Hawks, which he rounded up in today's NBA AM piece. Here are the highlights:
- Lou Williams admits that he was caught off guard when the Sixers decided they didn't want to bring him back: "Just to be honest, I was completely surprised. But I think they were in a position where they were trying to transition to a different style of basketball and that showed with them going with bigger guards and getting Andrew Bynum."
- After playing his college ball at Georgia Tech, playing in Atlanta is something of a homecoming for Anthony Morrow, who says he'd like to remain with the Hawks past this season: "I would love to be here long term. It’s like home for me. I’m familiar with here. It would be great. I’m looking forward to it, when that day comes. So I just want to come out and focus on having a great season."
- According to Kyle Korver, the Bulls' front office was upfront with him toward the end of last season about the fact that major personnel changes were coming in Chicago. Korver, along with most of the rest of the Bulls' "bench mob," including Omer Asik, C.J. Watson, John Lucas III, and Ronnie Brewer, are playing for other teams now, and Korver understands why: "It wasn’t anything about our play. It was strictly a business decision. They were way over the salary cap. Derrick [Rose]’s contract is a big one and it kicked in and you already have a lot of other guys locked in."
The latest news and notes from around the NBA on Saturday night:
- George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel writes that the Magic need to move on from Dwight Howard as soon as possible.
- John Manasso of Fox Sports South has quotes from the Hawks' press conference introducing Lou Williams and Devin Harris, and an analysis of the guards' ability to fit together.
- ESPN's Marc Stein tweets that, after a strong performance against the United States, Lithuania's Darius Songaila says he intends to play in the NBA again.