The last couple of games the Charlotte Bobcat offense has been… how can I put this in a family-friendly way… ugly. Phyllis Diller without plastic surgery ugly. Keanu Reeves doing Shakespeare ugly. No Gerald Wallace anymore and without Stephen Jackson and Tyrus Thomas due to injuries, the Bobcats just had no good way to generate offense.
But that is about to change Wednesday.
Jackson and Thomas are expected to return to the lineup against the Bulls, according tweets from Mike Cranston of the Associated Press. Jackson missed a couple games due to a strained hamstring, Thomas had missed 23 games after knee surgery. Here was what coach Paul Silas said to Cranston:
“It’s a godsend that (Jack) and Tyrus are coming back at the same time because I think we’ll have a chance.”
That would be a chance at making the playoffs. The Bobcats are currently the nine seed in the East, 1.5 games back of the Pacers for the eight and final playoff spot. (They are not catching anyone ahead of that, the Sixers are hot, the Knicks are just better.)
They do have a chance. The Pacers are 3-7 in their last 10 and are fading (especially on offense) after the new coach smell has worn off the team. The Bobcats are 4-6 in their last 10 and having Jackson around to take on the offense the last couple games and that might be higher.
That the Bobcats have a legit shot at the playoffs speaks more to the depth in the East than anything. But that doesn’t matter, if you get an invite to the dance you get an invite (and you can bet Michael Jordan would love that extra revenue from a couple home playoff games.
This is a huge season — a contract kind of season of sorts — for Noah Vonleh in Portland. The team has an option on him next season (the third of his rookie deal), and to impress people he is going to have to earn minutes at the four in front of Al-Farouq Aminu, Moe Harkless, Meyers Leonard, and Ed Davis.
The Blazers have high hopes for Vonleh, he was a central part of the Nicolas Batum trade with Charlotte. However, watching Vonleh at Summer League — 12 points a game on 46.3 percent shooting, 8.8 rebounds a game in more than 30 minutes a night — he didn’t show the development anyone had hoped to see. He should have dominated at that level. He didn’t.
Now there another injury setback for him.
He should be good to go around the start of training camp at the end of September.
But he can’t afford a slow start in training camp (that set him back his rookie season). He needs to show what he can do from day one, or Portland is going to move on without him.
The Boston Celtics have 16 players with guaranteed contracts and NBA rules allow just 15 players on the roster. Which means if a trade doesn’t happen by the start of the season, someone is going to get cut but still paid for the season.
This doesn’t change that.
The Celtics signed guard John Holland last season (he played a total of one playoff minute for them), but the deal was not guaranteed for this season. From Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
This was expected. Holland, who has played on the Puerto Rican national team, will be looking for a new gig either in the D-League or overseas (it’s unlikely an NBA team offers more than a training camp invite) By the end of training camp, the Celtics also likely will cut second-round pick Ben Bentil of Providence, who had a partially guaranteed deal.
That will leave R.J. Hunter and James Young battling it out for the final roster spot in Boston.
Ty Lawson is headed to the Kings, as first reported on Monday. The team made the move official on Wednesday with a press release, and USA Today‘s Sam Amick offers up another important piece of information: Lawson’s deal is not guaranteed, making it essentially a make-good camp invite.
It’s staggering how Lawson went from a borderline All-Star level point guard in 2012-13 to signing a non-guaranteed one-year deal with a lottery team three years later. His off-the-court issues have contributed to that, and he didn’t produce last season in Houston and Indiana. Still, he should have a pretty good chance of making the Kings’ roster, with Seth Curry and Rajon Rondo gone and Darren Collison their only proven point guard. They need depth there.
When Ben Simmons declared for the NBA draft this spring, he signed with LeBron James‘ Klutch Sports group for representation. That association would appear to have its advantages for the No. 1 overall pick, including the opportunity to work out with James and Dwyane Wade during the offseason. Wade posted a group photo on Instagram on Wednesday afternoon:
Also, it’s pretty staggering to see Simmons standing next to James and realizing that he’s bigger and taller.