With the NBA labor talks blowing up, more and more NBA players are trying to find their way overseas to earn a paycheck. Here is a roundup of the latest rumors — but remember they are rumors so take a few grains of salt with them.
• Bulls big man Joakim Noah confirmed that he is seriously considering playing for Paris-Levallois (the team he rooted for growing up). He’d be joining the crowd, pretty much every French star has already returned to play there, including Tony Parker and Nicholas Batum.
• Linas Kleiza has denied that close to joining Lietuvos Rytas in Lithuania. We tend to believe him — he had microfracture surgery back in February. He’s likely going to take longer to get back on the court, not rush back to play for less money in Lithuania.
• Suns guard Aaron Brooks has reached an agreement to play for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo. That is Yi Jianlian’s team and they reportedly had been after Rodney Stuckey as well, according to Sheridanhoops.com. One would think that with Brooks they wouldn’t want Stuckey, too, but maybe. More interesting in all of this is the Suns wanted to bring Brooks back t backup Steve Nash, now they can’t if the lockout gets solved in time for a season (Brooks is in China until March).
• Andres Nocioni has signed to play in Argentina — but without insurance for his NBA deal. That means if he suffered an injury and was not able to play whenever the lockout ends, the 76ers could cut him and he would be out the $14.2 million he is owed on his last deal.
• Tiago Splitter made the latest rumors official and signed with Valencia.
• DeAndre Jordan, who shot down an offer from the Zhejiang Lions in China last month, is being talked to again to see if he has changed his mind, reports Sheridanhoops.com.
• Luther Head has signed to play with Jiangsu in China, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Head is the kind of borderline NBA player now that should have made this move at the start of the season. If the NBA ever gets going he could return to the league in March when the Chinese league is done.
Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.
But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.
There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.
Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….
Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.
This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.
If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.
The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.
Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.
Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.
Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.