Training camps are still about six weeks from opening, but some Nets and Knicks are already gearing up in preparation for another crosstown battle. Nets players are organizing voluntary workouts this week in Los Angeles, with Deron Williams and Paul Pierce the driving forces, Josh Newman of SNY.tv reports via Twitter. Meanwhile, Raymond Felton expects the entire Knicks roster to get together for workouts shortly after Labor Day, the point guard tells Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link). Here's more as the offseason starts to dwindle away:
- Pierce tells Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe that Rajon Rondo's presence wasn't the force that prompted Doc Rivers to leave the Celtics, and says his goal is to outlast his contemporaries in the NBA, naming Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and Nets teammate Kevin Garnett among those he hopes will precede him in retirement.
- A source familiar with the Celtics tells Washburn that the team is in dire need of an assistant coach who can form a strong relationship with Rondo. The C's are reportedly targeting an ex-player for the coaching staff, with James Posey a leading candidate, and fellow Globe scribe Baxter Holmes identifies Walter McCarty as another possibility. Boston is also seeking at least one more front office executive to assist GM Danny Ainge, Holmes adds (All Twitter links).
- Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams of the Sixers plus Kelly Olynyk of the Celtics are three Atlantic Division rookies among the five draftees from this June whom HoopsWorld's Bill Ingram believes could outperform their draft position.