It looked bad. Any time you can’t walk off the court and they take you directly to the hospital it’s scary. Doing so in a foreign country — in this case China — adds to the tension.
But it turns out J.R. Smith’s knee injury is not that bad.
In fact, he played in the team’s second game of the season Tuesday evening in China, reports nba247365.com. Smith did not start but did come off the bench in the second quarter and seemed to be moving well.
Here is what Smith himself told Sina Sports (via nba247365.com, although this is not a perfect translation):
After knowing this result, JR Smith also indicated during the interview: “I felt that now was much better, doctor told me, my injury is not very serious, I felt that I…can restore very quickly… Then I will return to Zhejiang immediately with the team…, I hope that will continue to [play] this season for Zhejiang.”
Smith’s father spoke with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and said Smith was “walking around and just sore.”
That is a huge break for the NBA free agent to be. A lot of dollar signs had to flash in front of his eyes when he went down, Smith will be the best swingman on the market when he returns to the NBA (sometime after the Chinese season ends in March). He apparently has patched things up with his new team — Chinese teams don’t like guys going off to get their own medical opinion.
So it was all a scare over nothing. But you can bet it got some other NBA players thinking about the risks of going overseas.
In the NBA, elite players have the leverage. It is just simple supply and demand.
DeMarcus Cousins is an elite player — and a favorite of owner Vivek Ranadive. He is not going anywhere.
Which made this summer’s “George Karl wants trade Cousins” a battle the coach couldn’t ultimately win — the owner wasn’t going to sign off on it, and the fans are going to side with Boogie. Remember Karl said he never had a player that was untradable, and that spiraled into reports Karl probed trade options with other teams, much to the frustration of management and Cousins himself.
Karl owned up to some of his mistakes in an interview on Comcast Bay Area, as reported by James Ham at CSNBayArea.com.
“To be honest with you, I apologized to DeMarcus for making the trade comment that I’ve never coached a player that’s untradeable,” Karl told Christensen. “That was wrong for me to say, because you all (the media) took it and blew it up into crazy.”
“But it’s my responsibility to be smart enough to not say things like that,” Karl continued. “So I did apologize because I thought that was the only thing, maybe some other things, but really the only thing that got us separated was that comment that then everybody wrote the we’re going to trade [Cousins].”
The relationship between Cousins and Karl — not to mention Rajon Rondo and other veterans — is the biggest key to the Kings’ season. Karl and Cousins say their relationship is solid now, but what happens when that is put under stress at some point during the season?
In talking to people around the team, the Kings players seemed to have formed a tight bond — even if part of the glue of that bond is a distrust of Karl that can work for them. This is a team that has the talent to compete for the bottom couple playoff seeds in the Western Conference, but everybody needs to be pulling on the rope in the same direction. We will see pretty quickly if the Kings can do that.
I’m a fan of the Pistons’ alternate uniforms in general — their “Motor City” ones may be may favorite alternates around the league.
Now they have a new one — Detroit Chrome.
The Pistons will break these out for seven home games this season. From the official release:
The inspiration for the Detroit Chrome jerseys came about as a way to honor our coolest cars from the past and the cars of the future. Detroit is universally known as the auto capital of the world, where chrome leaves an indelible mark on the cars we create. The uniforms feature a matte chrome base color with clean simple lines inspired by the classic muscle cars that have roared up and down Woodward Avenue for decades. The navy trim and Detroit emblazoned across the chest represent the blue collar work ethic that the auto industry and region was built on.
Clean, simple, cool — I like it.
That would look good in the first round of the playoffs, too. (I’m predicting they get the eight seed.)