Ricky Rubio

Pacific Notes: Rubio, A. Davis, Waiters, Fox

The Suns plan to have starting point guard Ricky Rubio active for their second scrimmage Sunday night, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Rubio sat out Thursday’s opener after a positive COVID-19 test delayed his arrival to the Walt Disney World campus.

“He should play,” coach Monty Williams said of Rubio. “He had a good practice (today). It was probably smart to hold him out. We don’t want guys playing when they’re not comfortable, we’re not comfortable. We’ve been going unbelievably hard in our practice. I’m looking forward to seeing him on the floor.”

Phoenix has been short-handed since teams began reporting to Orlando earlier this month. Center Aron Baynes also tested positive for the coronavirus, while Elie Okobo and Jalen Lecque are listed out for “personal reasons.” The Suns expect all those players to eventually join the team.

“You always want your full team out here,” said rookie Ty Jerome, who made his first start at point guard in Thursday’s scrimmage. “All the uncertainty that’s going on right now, the fact that we’re one of the healthier and more full teams out here, it gives us a chance. Gives us a fighting chance.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Anthony Davis is considered day-to-day after being poked in the right eye during today’s scrimmage, Lakers coach Frank Vogel tells Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link). L.A. has one more scrimmage Monday before starting its seeding games Thursday against the Clippers.
  • Lakers guard Dion Waiters discussed the difference between playing alongside LeBron James now compared to when they were teammates in Cleveland six years ago, McMenamin tweets. “When you’re young, you’re still trying to find yourself coming into the league,” Waiters said. “I think Bron was trying to help me with that, but I was so stubborn back then. But I understand now. I’m 28. I’ve been through a lot. I’m at peace with myself, though.”
  • Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox declared himself to be completely recovered from an ankle sprain he suffered last week (video link).
  • Clippers center Ivica Zubac reported to Orlando Friday night and is being quarantined for two days, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Pacific Notes: Rubio, Suns, Holmes, Bagley

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday for the first time since entering the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus, Suns guard Ricky Rubio acknowledged that his delayed arrival was a result of testing positive for the coronavirus, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN. As Lopez writes, Rubio said he’ll have to be careful about ramping back up to game speed after not just enduring a four-month hiatus but dealing with the virus as well.

“I’m good. I don’t have symptoms,” Rubio said. “Now that I’m back playing, after being out for three or four months, your legs feel it, your lungs feel it. That’s something I have to work on and figure out how to give my best to the team and focus on my health too.”

As Lopez relays, Rubio didn’t say when he first tested positive for COVID-19, but admitted that it was hard on him to have his family back in Spain while he dealt with the virus in Phoenix.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Suns officials said this week that the team’s new $45MM practice facility is on track to be completed by late August or early September, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. The team had to use its old arena, the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, for individual workouts in the weeks leading up to the trip to Orlando as construction progressed on the new facility.
  • Kings center Richaun Holmes, who was subjected to a 10-day quarantine period at Walt Disney World after inadvertently crossing the campus line, explained his mistake to reporters on Wednesday. “Ordered some wings and went to grab the wings, but I really wasn’t too aware of the borders,” Holmes said, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “I kind of knew what was going on, but the specific area I was in, I wasn’t aware. So, yeah, I stepped out and grabbed the food and came back, and they just let me know they wanted to be as safe as possible. They had to enforce the rules and I completely understand that, so I won’t make that mistake again.”
  • Despite an injury-plagued sophomore season for Marvin Bagley III, the Kings‘ support for the former No. 2 overall pick hasn’t wavered, Anderson writes in a separate Sacramento Bee story. “We know what kind of player he’s going to be,” head coach Luke Walton said of Bagley, who is out for the season with a foot injury. “He’s going to have a great career. And we’ve got to keep him healthy and he’s got to continue to work, which he’s proven to do since I’ve been here as far as every time that he’s gotten injured. So it’s going to be a big offseason, but I’m confident that he’ll attack that with everything he has.”
  • In case you missed it, we rounded up a series of updates on all five Pacific teams on Wednesday, and earlier today passed along word that Lakers forward Markieff Morris has cleared quarantine at the NBA’s Orlando campus.

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Rubio, Caruso, Bjelica, Warriors

The Clippers‘ proposed Inglewood arena took an important step forward on Tuesday, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN, who writes that the Inglewood City Council unanimously approved the environmental impact report for the building.

As Youngmisuk details, the Clippers intend to build a “sprawling campus” that will include an outdoor plaza, as well as the club’s corporate offices and practice facility. Barring any setbacks, the plan is for construction to begin in the summer of 2021 and for the team to begin playing in the new arena at the start of the 2024/25 season, after the Clippers’ Staples Center lease expires.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

Pacific Notes: Morris Twins, Barnes, Suns, Noah, More

There are a few players who showed up on the list of official rosters released on Monday by the NBA who still haven’t reported to the Walt Disney World campus. However, more players continue to arrive by the day.

According to Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register (Twitter link), Clippers forward Marcus Morris is at the team’s Tuesday morning practice today, having reported to the campus and cleared his quarantine period. His twin brother Markieff Morris will be joining the Lakers soon, Marcus tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets that Markieff is expected to arrive at the campus today and will begin his initial quarantine.

Meanwhile, Kings forward Harrison Barnes, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, could depart for Orlando as soon as today if he returns one more negative coronavirus test, Spears reports (via Twitter).

Finally, Ricky Rubio, Aron Baynes, Elie Okobo, and Jalen Lecque didn’t make the initial trip to Orlando two weeks ago with the Suns and still hadn’t practiced with the club as of Sunday, sources tell Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. A pair of Suns players tested positive for the coronavirus nearly a month ago, but it’s not clear if any or all of the delayed arrivals are related to COVID-19.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Kings forward Jabari Parker and center Alex Len spoke to reporters on Monday about their experiences with COVID-19, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee details. Len, who said he temporarily lost his sense of smell and taste while dealing with the virus, tested positive for 24 consecutive days before eventually returning multiple negative tests and being cleared.
  • Clippers big man Joakim Noah has benefited from the NBA’s hiatus, which gave him more time to get fully healthy after suffering an Achilles injury, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Noah’s new teammates are impressed by what they’ve seen so far from the veteran center. “He’s just bringing that energy every day,” guard Rodney McGruder said. “That’s something that I’m learning from him, and it’s just the intensity and just the persistence that he plays with on the defensive end, how you always hear his voice. He’s always yelling, he’s always talking.”
  • Ethan Strauss of The Athletic identifies the wings in this year’s draft class that he thinks would fit best with the Warriors, including Isaac Okoro, Aaron Nesmith, and Saddiq Bey.

Pacific Notes: Howard, Baynes, Rubio, Len, Barnes

Lakers center Dwight Howard has been disciplined for not wearing a mask at Orlando’s campus, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin writes. Howard said on social media that the violation was reported to the NBA Campus Hotline, designed to ensure everyone is following protocols. “(My) reaction is that we all should be wearing masks in and around the hotel lobby,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of Howard’s violation. “And the areas that we’re being asked to wear a mask, we should wear a mask. And he’s doing so now.”

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • It remains a mystery whether Ricky Rubio and Aron Baynes are practicing with their Suns teammates in Orlando, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Coach Monty Williams has been vague when asked about the duo’s status. “There’s so much medical stuff that I don’t want to violate,” Williams said.
  • Kings center Alex Len has posted negative tests for the coronavirus and will rejoin the team on Friday evening, head coach Luke Walton told James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area and other media members. Len, among a couple of other prominent team members, tested positive for the virus in late June. Len will go into quarantine upon arrival in Orlando and Walton is unsure about the big man’s conditioning.
  • Walton is in no rush to replace Harrison Barnes on the roster, The Athletic’s Jason Jones tweets. Barnes revealed that he tested positive for COVID-19 just before the team headed to Orlando. The Kings don’t want to replace Barnes on the roster just yet, even if he has to miss a game, Jones adds.

Pacific Notes: Kaminsky, Green, Clippers, Holmes

While it’s common for NBA players who changed teams in the offseason to talk in the fall about how much they’re enjoying their new homes, Suns power forward Frank Kaminsky is particularly enthusiastic about his assessment of Phoenix so far, as Bob Young of The Athletic relays. The former No. 9 overall pick signed a two-year contract with the Suns in July after falling out of the rotation in Charlotte for much of the 2018/19 season.

“I can’t tell you how much different I feel just being here,” Kaminsky said. “I’m just so happy. It’s been a great transition, something I was kind of prepared for, something I really wanted to do, just to get a new opportunity, get a fresh start.”

While other newly-added veterans like Ricky Rubio and Aron Baynes figure to play important roles for the Suns in 2019/20, Kaminsky could be the team’s X-factor, according to Young, who points to the big man’s lottery pedigree as a reason for optimism. For his part, Kaminsky isn’t expecting a starring role, but believes he’s improving on defense and can be a reliable contributor.

“I just want to come in and have a role with this team. I’m not demanding anything,” Kaminsky said. “I know things go up and things go down, and it’s not always going to be perfect. But I will try to make the right plays.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • In a Q&A with Wosny Lambre of The Athletic, Danny Green discussed the Lakers‘ chemistry, his potential role this season, and why he decided to sign with the club as a free agent. “It’s the best city to thrive in career-wise. Continue to still win, have fun, and live your best type of lifestyle,” Green said. “And also was able to maximize on the contract. Signing with the Los Angeles Lakers covered all the bases for me.”
  • ESPN’s Kevin Pelton and Bobby Marks (Insider link) unveiled their annual “future power rankings” for NBA teams today, and the Clippers earned the No. 1 spot on that list after placing 21st a year ago. It’s the largest single-year jump in the decade-long history of the rankings, Pelton writes.
  • Richaun Holmes is the sort of role player the Kings needed to add to complement their up-and-coming young stars, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Jones suggests that Holmes could be one of the team’s most important acquisitions of the summer since the big man knows his job is to be a “rim-runner, rim protector and energy man,” and won’t try to do more than that.

Suns Notes: Rubio, Oubre, Booker, Williams

Ricky Rubio swiftly asserted himself as the Suns’ team leader on the opening day of camp, Cody Cunningham of the team’s website reports. The Suns signed Rubio to a three-year, $51MM contract in July to solve their point guard woes.

“I usually lead by example, but I think I need to be a little bit more vocal here,” Rubio said. “There’s a lot of young guys and experience gives you something that you know when to talk, when not to talk. I’m trying to do that and be more vocal out on the court, but at the same time lead by example, too.”

We have more info on the Suns:

  • Forward Kelly Oubre Jr. missed the first day of practice due to hand discomfort, Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic relays. It’s uncertain whether the injury was to Oubre’s left shooting hand, which was injured last season and required season-ending surgery.
  • Devin Booker took some heat for not playing for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup this summer but injury concerns had a lot to do with it, Rankin writes in a separate story. “I think it’s obvious I’ve dealt with injuries, especially last year, dealing with three hamstring injuries and not wanting to go through that. Just focusing on this Suns team and getting where I want to go with this team is my main priority,” Booker said.
  • A positive interview with owner Robert Sarver sealed the deal for new coach Monty Williams, Gina Mizell of The Athletic reports. Multiple teams were interested in Williams, including the Lakers. Williams, a top assistant with Philadelphia last season, signed a five-year deal with rebuilding Phoenix and views it as his last opportunity to be an NBA head coach. “The conversation I had with Mr. Sarver kind of sealed it,” Williams said. “He was forthright, and I really respected that. He just didn’t lie. He didn’t, not one time, waver. And I was like, ‘You know what? I can work with that.’”

World Cup Notes: Spain, Rubio, Popovich, Fox

Suns guard Ricky Rubio was named World Cup MVP as Spain captured the gold medal this morning by rolling past Argentina, 95-75. France claimed the bronze by defeating Australia.

The all-World Cup team had a strong NBA flavor as Rubio was joined by Spanish teammate Marc Gasol, Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic, France’s Evan Fournier and Argentina’s Luis Scola. Gasol capped a memorable three-month stretch that included an NBA title with the Raptors and the World Cup crown.

“We were not the most talented team,” Rubio said. “We were not the biggest team. But we played with heart. We will be family for life.” (Twitter link from Emiliano Carchia of Sportando)

There’s more World Cup news to pass along:

  • Coach Gregg Popovich blasted critics who are taking shots at Team USA after a seventh-place finish, relays Brian Windhorst of ESPN. The Americans won the past two World Cups, but fell far short this time, losing back-to-back games to France and Serbia. “Some people want to play the blame game. There’s no blame to be placed anywhere,” Popovich said. “They want to play the shame game, like we should be ashamed because we didn’t win a gold medal? That’s a ridiculous attitude. It’s immature, it’s arrogant, and it shows that whoever thinks that doesn’t respect all the other teams in the world and doesn’t respect that these guys did the best they could.” Windhorst notes that only four of the 35 players who were on the projected U.S. roster last summer wound up playing in China.
  • There are no hard feelings from USA Basketball toward Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, who left the team shortly before it departed for exhibition games in Australia, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. It was suggested on ESPN’s “The Jump” this week that Fox wouldn’t be considered for future international teams, but USA Basketball communications director Craig Miller said the organization “understands De’Aaron’s decision.”
  • Both of this year’s finalists were successful with players who are considered past their prime, strengthening the argument that continuity provides a huge advantage in international play, writes Tom Ziller of SB Nation. Argentina was led by the 39-year-old Scola, while Spain’s foundation of Rubio, Gasol, Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernandez and Victor Claver has been together for many years.

World Cup Notes: Brown, Canada, Rubio

Jaylen Brown has stepped up for Team USA since Jayson Tatum went down with an ankle injury. The Celtics wing has played in the frontcourt for USA Basketball, excelling in an unfamiliar spot.

“I feel like I’m not a position player, I’m a basketball player. 4-3-2, whatever coach needs me to do, I will make the adjustment,” Brown said (via Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com). “Obviously with Jayson out, there’s a little more opportunity and maybe it was a little more visible. But every time I take the floor, I want to be aggressive.”

Here’s more from the FIBA World Cup:

  • Coach Nick Nurse doesn’t see many changes for the Canadian National Team next summer in the Olympics, as Michael Grange of Sportsnet relays. The team has a core of veteran players but could see prospects like RJ Barrett and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander break through next summer.
  • Thunder guard Dennis Schroder has impressed during international play, as Erik Horne of the Oklahoman writes. Germany was eliminated in the first round after losing its first two games by a total of six points, but the point guard helped the country win three consecutive games to close the tournament (the team’s final first-round game and two consolation contests).
  • Cody Cunningham of NBA.com breaks down Ricky Rubio‘s 2019 FIBA World Cup. The point guard has helped Spain reach the semi-finals.

Pacific Notes: Moore, Suns, Cousins, Warriors

Ben Moore‘s NBA track record is about as limited as possible for a player who has technically appeared in the league. The young forward played a total of nine minutes in two games for the Pacers during the 2017/18 season, recording one assist, one rebound, and four personal fouls. However, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando (Twitter link), the Suns are intrigued enough by Moore to bring him in for workouts this week.

As Carchia explains, Moore “opened eyes” with his performance for the USA Basketball Select Team that suited up against Team USA’s World Cup squad in Los Angeles last week. The Select Team upset the varsity club more than once during their scrimmages.

Moore, who spent last season in the G League, averaged 12.8 PPG and 8.7 RPG on .556/.368/.783 shooting in 47 games for the Austin Spurs and Fort Wayne Mad Ants. It remains to be seen whether he’ll get a chance to attend camp with an NBA team this season.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • During a recent appearance on Glenn Clark Radio, Suns assistant coach Steve Blake said that Ricky Rubio will help his new teammates “have fun” on the court this season and added that the Suns “definitely expect a lot” from newly-acquired forward Dario Saric. Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic has the details and the rest of Blake’s quotes.
  • With the NBA investigating allegations that Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins threatened his ex-girlfriend, legal expert Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated takes a deep dive into the situation, exploring what factors the league will consider and how the investigation will proceed.
  • It’s officially the end of an era for the Warriors. According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link), the team began to fully shift its business operations from its Oakland facility to San Francisco’s Chase Center this week.