Joakim Noah

Noah practices, may play on Tuesday


Here’s an update on Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, courtesy of ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell:

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah returned to practice Monday after being shelved for a week with an injured ankle.

“It feels a lot better,” Noah said. “Just going to get treatment. I was able to practice today and I’m excited for [Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns].

“I want to be out there all the time. Injuries are something that really suck. But it’s a part of it. Knowing how to deal with it, knowing when I’m able to say, ‘I can’t go,’ … it’s tough, but at the same time, this is a really exciting time period and I want to be out there.”

Noah has missed the last three games for the Bulls. While the Bulls went 3-0 in those games, the games were against the Timberwolves, Pistons, and Raptors. Overall, the Bulls are 26-8 in games that Noah has missed this season. Interestingly, Noah has one of the worst +/- ratings on the Bulls this season, although that statistic has more to do with Chicago’s superlative bench play and the inherent limitations of +/- than anything Noah has been doing wrong.

The Bulls are set to play the Suns on Tuesday — given Phoenix’s recent struggles, one imagines that the Bulls will err on the side of caution with regard to playing Noah.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.

Kevin Durant with huge dunk on visiting Fenerbahce Ulker

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Welcome to America, Fenerbahce Ulker.

The Turkish powerhouse was in America playing some exhibition games this preseason, and they got a first-hand reminder that Kevin Durant is back. KD had 13 points in the Thunder’s easy 111-81 win.

Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook got in on the act.