The NBA is getting back to business.
On Wednesday agents of NBA players can contact teams (something that has been going on through back channels anyway but now can happen directly). No deals can be official until Dec. 9.
On Thursday, NBA players can return to team facilities for voluntary workouts, so tweets Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo was first with this news). Aggrey Sam at CSNChicago.com also confirmed this.
For the players on teams already it means a chance to workout and play pick-up games with their teammates. It is not chance for coaches to work with players — team officials cannot coach or have anything but incidental contact with players. Although, you can bet this is skirted a bit, especially key for teams where there is a new coach or considerable player turnover. It’s a chance to install some system items before training camps officially open.
But the real action will begin with the agents. While technically teams are not supposed to enter into verbal agreements with players, you can be sure lot of handshake deals will be in place and just formalized on Dec. 9. That allows free agents to be with teams at the start of training camp. There will start to be a flurry of activity, and you will also see agents of lesser-known players working to get their guys camp invites.
Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.
Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.
Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.