Ron Artest trying to lose weight

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NBA_artest.jpgOn a breakaway dunk against the Celtics, Ron Artest got as much elevation as I have seen him have since he came to Los Angeles. Nobody is ever going to confuse him with Josh Smith or Vince Carter circa 2002, but with foot problems this season Artest’s vertical had gotten to the point one wondered if he could dunk anymore.

After the game, sitting with his feet in a bucket of ice, I asked Artest about his elevation and condition, and he credited weight loss.

“I feel alright. It’s been tough on me a little bit because I’ve been trying to lose weight and do it during the season,” Artest said. “When I first played I used to play at 260 – 268 and I was good at that weight. But I’m getting older now and I don’t think I want to play at 260 to 270 anymore.

“I can get down. Luckily for me I’m able to. If I play at 270 I’m going to have no fat. I’m going to play at 250, I can get down to 250. The good thing about me at 250 is heavy, but I feel light. The other guys, at 230, 235 they probably feel heavy and out of shape. My 250 is light. My 260 is light also.”

So like middle aged house wives everywhere, Artest is trying to drop a few pounds. However, he’s doing it to take some pressure off his feet, not to work off that extra Valentine’s Day candy. He said he’s getting his weight down by running for about 45 minutes after games. You know, exercise, the stuff left out of mass marketed diets aimed at middle aged women.

The important thing is, so far it seems to be working for Artest on the court.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.