Goran Dragic denies interest in playing overseas, right now anyway

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UPDATE 9/23 12:41 am: Oh, it was all a simple misunderstanding blown out of proportion, like a Three’s Company episode (cue the laugh track). Seth Pollack from SBNation emailed Dragic, who sent back this response.

This news is not correct, because I made a statement that I want to end
my basketball carrer in Europe. So this is a big misunderstanding of the
Greek journalist. In this moment I’m very happy in the NBA and I’m not
going to Europe! I am a member of the Phoenix Suns, and my desire is to
stay in Phoenix for many years!

As Steve Nash is a stud but playing with a back that requires the fantastic Suns training staff, a team of Shaman and daily Holy Water from Lourdes to keep working. Dragic is the understudy, and the thought of him going, however slim, should frighten Suns fans. For now, at least, they have nothing to worry about.

8/22 9:55 am: Goran Dragic was considered a reach when the Suns drafted him in 2008. But he showed flashes before becoming a full-fledged star in the playoffs last season. You may remember him from such films as “Dropping 23 of 26 points on the Spurs in the fourth quarter.”  But that film may become out of print in the NBA.

SBNation Arizona reports that Dragic spoke with Greek media and hinted he may consider leaving to return to Europe when his current contract with the Suns is up. Tas Melas of the Score’s Basketball Jones was kind enough to provide a translation:

I am completely satisfied with my presence in the NBA. These two
years helped me evolve as a player. I improved in all areas. I have a
contract for this year, and then for the following year, it’s my choice
whether or not to continue (in Phoenix). Maybe I return to Europe.

Eventually this will happen for sure. I do not know if it will the
season after next. But the prospect of a big European team, perhaps
even Greek, would interest me very much. Winning titles is always
something which is very important

The “eventually this will happen for sure” part is pretty concerning, if it’s an accurate quote. But the more likely scenario is simply Dragic using his European status to put pressure on the Suns to come with the big contract extension. It’s hard to believe he’d have worked as hard as he has to make the NBA, become a star on the rise, only to up and head back for easier pastures. Then again, kids these days. You never can tell.

Suns sources who spoke with Pollack of SBNation weren’t overly concerned.

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.