Jermaine O’Neal has been penciled in as the Celtics starting center with Kendrick Perkins still recovering. But he will not be the starter this week in the team’s first two exhibition games.
O’Neal has a tight left hamstring and because this preseason nobody smart plays through injuries in the preseason. That means he will miss the first two games for the Celtics this week, according to Doc Rivers as reported by ESPNBoston.
O’Neal tried to say he was day-to-day and could go, but did we mention this is preseason? Sit down and rest it. Hamstrings are lingering annoyances. Rest it. Get it right now so it’s not bugging you in mid-November.
So Shaq will get some starts and some game burn getting used to the Celtics defensive systems (we’ll see how much he freelances, as is his tendency).
The other minor injury at Celtics camp was DeLonte West, but he really is day-to-day. He will play this week.
Kevin Durant told fans, dismayed by the lack of competitive games and series this postseason, “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.”
Daring customers to choose another form of entertainment might not be good business for the NBA, but it’s not as if many fans needed an invitation. I doubt anyone was on the fence about watching then made up their minds after hearing Durant’s comments.
Yet, the Warriors star offered an apology.
Durant, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:
“I mean, life can be simple, man, Durant told ESPN. “If you don’t like the way the game is going, just turn it off. If you’re enjoying it, just keep it on. Life is simple. I didn’t mean it to disrespect anybody, but if you felt disrespected, I’m sorry. But if you don’t enjoy the game, turn it off [and] turn something else on. If you do, enjoy the rest of it, man.”
This is just a softer touch on the same sentiment – and just as reasonable.
People who love the NBA will watch. People who hate the NBA won’t. And people in the middle will fluctuate depending on the quality of the product.
Anyone mad at Durant the first time was just looking for a reason to get upset. That group will probably find a source of irritation in the follow-up quote, too.
The rest of us didn’t need this (half-hearted) apology, anyway.
The Clippers are unraveling.
Of course, whether they can re-sign Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are the big questions. But they also must deal with smaller matters in free agency – like Marreese Speights.
Speights will opt out, his agent tweeted:
The Clippers will hold Speights’ Non-Bird Rights (technically a form of Bird Rights), allowing them to give him a starting salary up to $2,540,346 without using cap space or the mid-level exception.
The 29-year-old Speights, a stretch five who takes charges, fits the modern NBA. He could probably get more if he seeks it.
The Clippers won’t have cap space unless they lose Paul and Griffin, and at that point, re-signing a veteran like Speights is of little use. So, it would likely require the taxpayer mid-level exception or Speights taking a discount to keep him.
Luc Mbah a Moute can and likely will also opt out, and he’ll fall in the same Non-Bird situation. The Clippers would likely prioritize their mid-level exception for him – if it’s enough for either player.
Keeping Paul and Griffin is of the utmost importance, but that’s not the Clippers’ only challenge. Even if they keep those two stars, assembling even a decent supporting cast will difficult. Possibly losing J.J. Redick is the main issue there, but handling Speights’ and Mbah a Moute’s roster spots will also be pivotal.
Zaza Pachulia became the villain of the Western Conference finals when he injured Kawhi Leonard and torpedoed the Spurs chances of upsetting the Warriors.
But his teammates stood by him – then shared this fun moment with him after Golden State won the West.
Manu Ginobili received an emotional sendoff in the Spurs’ season-ending – and maybe Ginobili’s career-ending – loss to the Warriors last night.
The postgame press conference featured a lighthearted moment when, after the Argentinian guard answered a couple questions in Spanish, an American reporter – not wanting to miss big news – asked whether Ginobili had just announced his retirement.
No, Ginobili assured the reporter. He says he plans to take a few weeks to consider his options.