Antoine Walker to be working out in Charlotte, hoping for camp invite

5 Comments

Thumbnail image for bobcats_logo.jpgMoney is a motivator.

Antoine Walker needs money, he owes Vegas casinos $1 million after a settlement and has debts piled high as he tries to climb out of the hole from a terrible gambling addiction, one that left him nearly broke.

So Walker is looking to get paid to play. He has been working out this summer hard and may be in the best shape he’s been in since he walked on an NBA court. The 12-year veteran, former three-time All Star, is trying to make a comeback at age 34 after being out of the game for two years.

This week will be staying with Nazr Mohammed and working out at the Charlotte Bobcats facility, hoping to land a camp invite from the team, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.

The Bobcats are a team that does not have a fully settled roster. They have an owner in Michael Jordan who knows Walker, who might let him get his foot in the door. You can see the logic, sort of.

But as Stein notes, the Bobcats are also deep in the athletic, wing forward role that Walker plays (Gerald Wallace, Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw, Tyrus Thomas). Coach Larry Brown is not one to just screw around and invite people in. Walker may not expect to make the team, but a chance to come to camp may open up other NBA doors or a chance in Europe.

But first Walker has a lot of skepticism to overcome, he’s got to prove himself. He got a chance and then was let go from the Puerto Rican league last season when he shot poorly and was out of shape. That in a nice league but one a few notches down from the NBA.

But Walker is making his pitch. It would be interesting to see how he does.

It’s not about the shoes: Kevin Durant loses his, blocks two shots anyway

Leave a comment

Shoes? Kevin Durant don’t need no stinkin’ shoes.

Early in the second quarter of the Warriors win in New Orleans Friday, Durant came out of his shoes on a layup in the lane. He then picked up his shoe, carried it to the other end, flipped it to the bench, and played defense without it, and while he got moved out of the way allowing an offensive rebound for the Pelicans he then proceeded to block Tony Allen twice at the rim.

Durant — after deciding to play the rest of the game in shoes — had seven blocks on the night, to go with 22 points.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

7 Comments

Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Celtics on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. That will work especially well against teams going small (for example, the Cavaliers with Kevin Love at the five), although Friday night Boston had big man Aron Baynes starting at center (in part because of Embiid, in part because Marcus Smart was out injured). Still, Embiid can score on Baynes.

Take a look at Embiid’s shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.

Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance

Getty Images
10 Comments

NEW YORK (AP)—  The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.

Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.

NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

Getty Images
Leave a comment

DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.