Gilbert Arenas is getting back into shape with help from Tim Grover

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I would say that Gilbert Arenas is running out of extra lives in the NBA, but the reality is that not many teams are willing to put a player of Gil’s pedigree and salary in Marbury-like exile. It was never going to be a realistic possibility for the Wizards to banish Arenas. Not with over $80 million owed to him over the next four seasons.

So it should come as a relief to the D.C. faithful that Gil’s at least trying to get his head screwed on straight and his body in shape. Since his joke(s) gone wrong left the Wizards in ruin, it seems as though Arenas, regardless of whether he’s legitimately apologetic for what he did or what happened as a result, is trying to make things right for the future.

That starts with making himself useful on the court again. 2009-2010 was a disappointment for Gil even before “Pick one.” He wasn’t exactly playing well with others, and as a post-surgery (or really, post-surgeries) Arenas struggled to grasp his own basketball mortality, he shot a dismal percentage, turned the ball over way too often, and generally looked to be the dim, gassy remains of the star he once was.

I’m not entirely convinced that Arenas’ game warrants he be put out to pasture just yet, and he’s making an effort to get back into NBA shape by training with the legendary Tim Grover (who has famously worked with both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant) this summer. From Michael Lee of the Washington Post:

I bumped into famed trainer Tim Grover at Staples Center before Game
7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday and he told me that Arenas has been at
his Attack Athletics training facility for the past two weeks getting
back in shape.

Grover, who earned his reputation working with Michael Jordan, told
me that since Arenas is healthy, he is doing a slightly different
program than last summer, when he decided to rehabilitate his
surgically repaired left knee. Grover said that Arenas will likely use
some of the same exercises and training techniques he used before.
Arenas is there primarily for “maintenance” of what he did last summer,
which was centered around weightlifting and strengthening the areas
around his knee, Grover said. Arenas is expected to stay in Chicago
throughout the summer.

Does working up an off-season sweat mean that Gil is back? Not even remotely. But he’s making an effort to be a productive basketball player again, which could go a long way toward re-inventing the Arenas brand.

Craig Sager to get third bone marrow transplant thanks to anonymous donor

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16:  Legendary TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager talks with Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Sager is on a one game assignment for ESPN. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Craig Sager couldn’t be in Rio covering the Olympics for NBC, his cancer wouldn’t allow it. That didn’t stop Team USA from reaching out to him before they left. Or from Nike designing a sweet pair of shoes for him.

Now there is good news on his battle against leukemia — he will have a third bone marrow transplant, according to his son Craig Sager II.

This is fantastic news for a man and family who have been through a lot. Hopefully, this treatment is a step forward for Sager, a man beloved by everyone around the NBA.

Report: With Joffrey Lauvergne trade, Mitch McGary likely done with Thunder

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 16:  Mitch McGary #33 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Center on March 16, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Oklahoma City frontcourt is crowded. Enes Kanter and Steven Adams will start, and they will have Nick Collison, Ersan Ilyasova, Domantas Sabonis, and now Joffrey Lauvergne behind them.

Which likely means Mitch McGary‘s done as a member of the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.

McGary has battled injuries his two seasons in the league and got on the court for only 72 minutes total last season for the Thunder (he played in more games and put up solid numbers in the D-LEague). He was not part of the future there regardless. He’s an undersized five trying to play the four and what he brought as a rookie — energy — was not enough as a sophomore.

McGary will make $1.5 million this season. He may be tough to move because he’s suspended for the first five games he’s eligible to play next season for failing the league’s drug policy (five games is the standard suspension for testing positive for marijuana three times). Maybe a team looking to develop players will give him a shot, but there is little trade value for him.

Dwight Howard is shooting 19-footers to improve his free throw stroke

Dwight Howard
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If you can knock down a 19-foot shot, then a 15-footer should be easier. Right?

Apparently that — and just basic muscle memory — is the latest attempt to improve Dwight Howard‘s free throw shooting. And, he seems to be knocking down those shots.

It’s not hard to see the logic in this approach.

The challenge is form and reps are not the problems for Howard — or DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond or others — when it comes to hitting free throws. Anyone who says “why don’t they just practice the shot” doesn’t pay attention, these guys put in a lot of work on the shot. Pregame and in practice (I’m Los Angeles based), Jordan probably hits 65 percent from the line. At least.

The problem is mental. That can be a tougher hurdle to clear. Maybe taking 19 footers and knocking them down will have Howard feeling more confident at the stripe this season.

But we’re going to need to see it to believe it. Just like we’re going to have to see a rejuvenated Howard in Atlanta before we believe this season will be different from the last few.

Report: Veteran big man Jason Thompson agrees to deal in China

BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 15:  Jason Thompson # 34 of Sacramento Kings in action during the 2014 NBA Global Games match between the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings at MasterCard Center on October 15, 2014 in Beijing, China. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
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Until this season, Jason Thompson had never been to the playoffs. He spent seven seasons in Sacramento before getting traded to the Warriors last offseason, and then signing with the Raptors midseason when Golden State waived him to make room on the roster for Anderson Varejao. His NBA days appear over, at least for now. International basketball reporter David Pick reports that Thompson has agreed to a deal to play in China.

Since the CBA’s season ends in March, Thompson could theoretically join an NBA team for the stretch run next year. But he didn’t appear to have much interest on the free-agent market this summer.