Chauncey Billups talked to Newsday this week and among the topics of conversation was a discussion of those team workouts being put together in Florida for the Knicks players during the lockout. While it’s hard to factor Billups as anything short of one of the hardest workers in the league and a veteran with great maturity, he’s not so hot on the whole “leaving his summer vacation with the kids to go sweat with Shawne Williams” thing. From Newsday:
Though he is ready if camp opened on Oct. 3, he didn’t sound too excited about leaving home to spend two weeks with fellow Knicks at the minicamp Amar’e has arranged in late October at the IMG Basketball Academy in Bradenton, Fla. if the lockout is still going on. This will be a bit of a controversial issue, especially since this team is still relatively new with each other and needs all the extra time together as possible to develop chemistry and be ready to hit the ground running if/when the lockout ends.
“It depends on what I got going on with my family at the time,” said Billups, who took the trade to New York hard because it meant leaving his wife and daughters back in Denver and living alone in a Manhattan hotel for the final two months of the season. “I’m using this time when I’m around, I don’t want to miss no soccer games, no dance recitals. I have the luxury of being home and being around that, I’m going to take advantage of it.”
It’s understandable. You’re away from your family all year on the road, and even more so when you get traded to New York against your wishes. It’s not a matter of not wanting to work, it’s a matter of putting in unmandated time. If you’ve put your time in during your career and you suddenly have an opportunity to go to all the things your kids have wanted you at, how do you tell them “Sorry, kids, gotta go run sprints with Ronny Turiaf?”
But the article does have a lot of good news for Knicks fans, like how excited Billups is for Mike Woodson to join the team. Maybe they could combine the practice and the dance recitals. Wait, Stoudemire doesn’t need happy feet. Nevermind.
The NBA has unveiled its top 100 plays of the 2015-16 season, and there’s no mystery as to what were the top two.
No. 2: Stephen Curry‘s halfcourt buzzer-beater in overtime against the Thunder in Oklahoma City during the season.
No. 1: “The Block” by LeBron James on Andre Iguodala in the final stretch of Game 7 of the Finals.
There’s plenty more, too, and if you have 25 minutes to kill, you can and should watch all of them above.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.
Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.
This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.
Argentina isn’t considered a medal contender heading into the Rio Olympics. Their golden generation — led by Manu Ginobili — has picked up a lot of speed on the downhill side of their careers at this point.
They didn’t provide much of a challenge for Team USA in an exhibition game Friday night in Las Vegas, one won by the USA 111-74. Kevin Durant impressed playing with his new teammates in dropping 23 points, Paul George had 18, and the Americans had their way in the game.
Which is what we’re going to see a lot of in Rio — the USA’s talent level is just steps above any other team in the tournament.