Brandon Roy

Brandon Roy expects to be his old self with Timberwolves


Brandon Roy has no doubt he will be the old Brandon Roy in Minnesota — the All-Star, one of the game’s best players, a guy who was able to control and impact the outcome of games night after night.

The rest of us are hesitant, we saw the Roy of his final couple years in Portland battling knee problems. By problems, we mean all the cartilage being gone. Problems that forced him to step away from the game.

Roy is never hesitant. He doesn’t know any other way than to compete all out, and in speaking with the Minnesota media he sounded like his old self. The quotes are from the Pioneer Press (hat tip to SLAM).

“I’ve had no setbacks,” the three-time NBA all-star told reporters Thursday, Sept. 13, after an informal practice with teammates and several former college players. “There’s nothing stopping me from getting back to my old game. It just takes work and getting my rhythm back….

“I want to come in and make an impact right away,” Roy said. “I want to be ready to deliver. A lot of people think I’m going to be limited. I tell them, ‘Go ahead and think that way.’ I’m not cautious about anything. I’m confident everything will go well.”

Roy admitted the Minnesota coaches are trying to hold him back, to slow him down and let his body rest and catch up with where his mind wants it to be.

The real test starts with training camp, followed by the season — when the grind of physical exertion day after day will experimental procedures Roy had done on his knees. The NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint, and we have no idea yet how Roy’s body will hold up.

But if nobody else believes in Roy, Roy does. And he doesn’t believe anything can hold him back.

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.