Andrea Bargnani might be back this weekend. Maybe not. But could be. Theoretically.

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Funny cycle.

Team is stingy and non-committal with information regarding updates on player’s return from injury. Fans get anxious, rail on writer for not providing updates on player they are interested in regarding return from injury. Writer responds by asking team about player’s return from injury. Team is stingy and non-committal with information regarding updates on player’s return from injury. Fans and team both rail on writers for trying to rush back player or not understanding complexity of the situation. Boo-hoo. But it’s still kind of funny.

Dwane Casey isn’t railing on anyone but he is being stingy and non-committal when it comes to information regarding Andrea Bargnani’s potential return from his calf injury this weekend. From the Toronto Star:

The Raptors beat Houston on Wednesday and might get Bargnani back for Saturday’s tilt against Detroit.Or maybe not. Head coach Dwane Casey was noncommittal whether the big man would return on Saturday, Sunday at home against Milwaukee, or “it might even be Tuesday of next week in Cleveland,” Casey said.“I’m not going to put a day on it. He did everything in practice for the second day in a row on Friday, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

via Raptors coy about Bargnanis return | Basketball | Sports | Toronto Sun.

You can’t blame Casey here, at all. There’s just no reason to rush him back and see him go down immediately like last time. The Raptors aren’t playing for anything, are going to wind up with a great draft pick to add to a surprisingly good team that’s going to have cap space and adding Jonas Valanciunas, and need Bargnani long-term. That may be the most stunning realization this season of all for the Raptors. His long-term contract is a blessing, not a hindrance. Casey has transformed him at least partially into the players the Raptors and their fans want him to be. Casey’s team is ready to compete every night, has some young talent, and has come a long way. The wins and losses are irrelevant, and as such so is Bargnani’s return date. They’ll get him back, ease him back in, and be set to make a jump next year.

Just don’t get irritated when there’s no news or news about no news. That’s the story. The story is a maybe. It writes itself.

 

Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah to be suspended 20 games for violating league drug policy

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Joakim Noah hasn’t set foot on an NBA court since Feb. 4, and his season was all but ended when he had knee surgery at the end of February. It was a $72 million gamble that has not worked, and left New York with an anchor o a

Tomorrow it will be official he is done for the season, but not because of the Knicks or his injury.

During his recovery, Noah violated the NBA’s drug policy and will pay for a 20-game suspension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Noah tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement that is prohibited under the outgoing Collective Bargaining Agreement, league sources said.

Noah, 32, is expected to serve 10 games of the suspension to finish out the 2016-17 regular season and 10 games to start the 2017-18 season, league sources said.

The National Basketball Players Association’s investigation concluded that Noah hadn’t “knowingly or willingly” violated the policy and cooperated fully with the league’s probe, league sources said.

Over-the-counter supplements could be something put in his regular workout recovery drinks that he was unaware of, although we are unsure of the details.

Traditionally, the player has to be healthy enough to play before the league starts the suspension. Noah has been out for more than a month, but if a league doctor says he is healthy enough to play the then the clock on the suspension can start. But that is interesting.

 

 

Devin Booker drops 70 points for Suns in loss to Celtics (VIDEO)

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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.

His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.

Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)