If you’re a free agent, do you play pickup during lockout?

Leave a comment

Shane Battier is a free agent and he’s going to have options.

The Memphis Grizzlies want him back as they try to relive their magical run. There are teams like the Clippers that could really use a three with his skillset. If you can defend — and Battier can — you have a place in this league.

But a lot of those options — and the money that comes with them — dries up if he gets injured before the lockout ends. He needs to stay in shape, to stay sharp, but playing pickup games may be too big a risk for free agents like himself, he told Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated.

“It’s even stranger for me because I’m a free agent, and that means I really can’t risk playing pickup basketball,” he said. “I remember a few years back in college, Christian Laettner came back and was playing with the Duke guys and tore his Achilles. I can just imagine playing a pickup game at the University of Michigan, going up for a rebound and coming down on someone’s foot. Plus I don’t have [NBA] health insurance right now, which would not be a good thing.

“I don’t know if I’ll be as sharp as I can be without being able to play pickup games. So I’m rooting for an early settlement.”

We all are. But it raises an interesting point — what will happen to the player that does get injured in some fluke way this summer, how will it impact their career. Normally an injury working out in September to get ready for the season would be handled by the team, now it could cost someone like Battier millions.

So he’ll watch the games at the Y this summer, thanks.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

Elsa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

AP Photo/Tony Dejak
Leave a comment

BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

2 Comments

Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

Elsa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.