Zach Randolph out up to 8 weeks with torn knee ligaments

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It looked bad when it happened, but the Grizzlies said it was just a bruise.

No, it’s bad, bad news and they are singing the blues in Memphis.

Zach Randolph will be out up to two months with a tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee, reports the Commercial Appeal.

The injury will not require surgery and doctors will re-evaluate Randolph in two weeks.

This is the same knee where Randolph previously had microfracture surgery, although the two are unrelated. It is unclear how long he will be out (depends on the severity of the tear) but at least a month and more like six-to-eight weeks seems about right. Things you do not want to do is rush big men back from knee injuries, that just leads to future problems.

This injury is why the Grizzlies pulled the trigger on a three team deal to get Marresse Speights from the 76ers, a deal that had been on the back burner for a month but suddenly came to fruition Wednesday morning.

The injury occurred during the Grizzlies blowout loss to Chicago Monday when teammate O.J. Mayo landed awkwardly going to the rim and fell into Randolph’s knee. It looked bad but the team said it was just a bruise and that Randolph might have returned if the game were not such a thrashing. Turns out, maybe he would not have.

Randolph had been averaging 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds a game, numbers and efficiency that was down some from last season, but he was still the anchor of the Grizzlies offense down low. He was at the heart of their playoff run last season and their chances this season.

Memphis has already been snake bit with injuries. They lost a up-and-coming athletic big Darrell Arthur for the season and point guard Mike Conley has missed the last few games with a sprained ankle.

Like the Spurs, this injury leaves the Grizzlies in a tough spot as they will have to fight to just make the playoffs in a deep Western Conference. Memphis started the season 2-3 and in the next month alone they have four back-to-backs, play the Thunder twice, the Lakers, Clippers, Bulls and have some tough road trips. Memphis needs to find a way to hang around .500 through this to make sure they even make the playoffs in the West.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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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

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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

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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

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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.