Nick Van Exel always played with a chip on his shoulder.
Atlanta wants the same thing out of Jeff Teague, the backup point guard they hope will supplant Mike Bibby. From Summer League through camp, everyone has been in Teague’s ear about being more aggressive.
Now it’s Van Exel’s turn, as he told the Journal-Constitution.
“We call it ‘the dog’ in the NBA,” Van Exel said. “We are trying to bring that dog out of him.”
“He’s kind of a quiet kid,” Van Exel said. “He likes to joke around and have fun. But there are times when somebody makes him mad, and he is just blowing by guys. And we are like, ‘Man, you’ve got to do that all the time.’ He can do it. He has those skills. We are thinking about maybe going up to him and making him mad before every game, making up stuff just to get him going.”
Van Exel was hired this summer as the Hawks Player Development Director. But what Van Exel is telling Teague isn’t something Joe Johnson already hasn’t. Everyone has been telling Teague that.
Teague is an X factor for the Hawks this season — the team brought back almost an identical roster from last season. If they are going to get better players already on the roster need to step forward. Al Horford could do that. But Teague is the guy who could make the biggest leap, and at a position the Hawks need it most.
Warriors center Anderson Varejao will miss the Rio Olympics due to a back injury.
Where will Team Brazil turn now?
Likely to Bulls center Cristiano Felicio.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Felicio came on strong late last season. He puts his 6-foot-10, 275-pound frame to good use protecting the paint and rebounding. He showed potential as passer and mid-range shooter, too.
At age 24, he’s a candidate to break out in the Olympics.
If he’s not ready, Brazil can turn to a steady veteran at center, Nene.
Blake Griffin broke his hand punching Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi in January.
Make that former Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi.
The L.A. Clippers equipment staffer who was punched in the face by Blake Griffin during a fight in Toronto earlier this year is off the team — and will NOT be back for the ’16/’17 season … TMZ Sports has learned.
We spoke with a rep for the Clippers who confirmed Matias Testi “no longer works for the team.”
The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?
Royce Young of ESPN:
I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Center Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics for host Brazil because of a herniated disc in his lower back.
The Golden State Warriors announced the injury Wednesday and say that Varejao should be ready for the start of training camp but will not be healthy enough to play in the Olympics. Varejao recently experienced back pain while training with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins earlier this week.
Varejao averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 22 games after signing with the Warriors on Feb. 22. He re-signed with the team earlier this month.