Tuesday And-1 links: Felton starts but does Kidd close for Knicks?

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like old people love In The Heat of the Night.

• Raymond Felton will start games at point for the New York Knicks, but don’t be shocked if Jason Kidd closes them.

• Every time some player says “I don’t care about my next contract” I think they are lying, but Manu Ginobili may be the exception to that rule.

• Watch Kevin Love go yard while taking batting practice before a Twins game.

• Rockets camp is getting off to a tough start, and the next three posts show why. First, Jon Brockman has an eye injury severe enough to keep him out of practice all week.

• Royce White has not been at the first two days of Rockets training camp as he deals with ongoing anxiety disorder issues, something that was a concern of some teams during the draft.

• Chase Budinger sat out some drills at Rockets practice due to a tweaked left hamstring.

• Zach Randolph says his knee is just fine, thanks for asking.

• Zaza Pachulia was held out of some drills at Hawks camp due to knee concerns Tuesday.

• There is plenty of buzz around the league that Monta Ellis will opt out of his deal in Milwaukee after this season and test the free agent market.

• The Nets are going to use Andray Blatche as a backup five, not so much at the four.

Another story about how James Harden is confident he will work out a contract extension with the Thunder. Everyone says that but at this point I’ll believe it when I see it.

• Magic Johnson says the Miami Heat are the team to beat for the NBA title. Like a broken clock that is still right twice a day, Magic is correct here.

• The Mavericks waived center D.J. Mbenga Tuesday, and that made me a little sad.

• Little shake up in the agent ranks — following LeBron James leaving CAA, four other players have filed to do the same according to ESPN: Denver’s Ty Lawson, Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Eric Bledsoe and the San Antonio’s Cory Joseph.

• A nice recap of Denver Nuggets media day. They are my early favorite for “most fun team to watch” this season.

• New Yorkers, you can hang out in one of the Jay-Z designed Vault Suites at the New Barclay Center — oh, and get to watch a Brooklyn Nets and meet Deron Williams — by submitting a short video “demonstrating their commitment as the ultimate fan of sports, music or entertainment” to this site at American Express.

• Mark Cuban dancing Gangnam style at a bar in Indiana. Just because we can.

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.

 

 

Video of Kawhi Leonard struggling to board team plane concerning

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The San Antonio Spurs have been very tight lipped about how serious Kawhi Leonard‘s ongoing quadriceps issue is. He hasn’t played in the preseason or now the start of the regular season, with no timetable for his return. Part of that is the nature of the Spurs organization, but it leads to the feeling there is something more there.

Now surfaces this video of Leonard gingerly, slowly making his way up some stairs to the team plane, and it’s concerning.

To be fair, there is a real lack of context here, but according to the San Antonio Express-News, he had just come out of a rehab session. That means he might have been especially sore (and could have been iced up for the flight).

Still, this video makes one think it could be a while longer before we see Leonard back on the floor for San Antonio. (By the way over the past three seasons, including this one, the Spurs are 15-4 when Leonard sits. They will be fine short term.)

Nike “very concerned” after LeBron James’ jersey rips on opening night

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In the team’s first preseason game, the jersey of the Lakers’ Tyler Ennis was torn in the back with a tug from an opponent. Everyone made tearaway jersey jokes and moved on, thinking it was a one-off situation.

Then LeBron James‘ jersey ripped down the back on opening night, on national television.

Now Nike is looking into the issue, reports Darren Rovell of ESPN.

Nearly three days after one of its jerseys tore in the first regular-season game of its new deal with the NBA, Nike released a statement Friday expressing worry about the issue, without offering insight as to what happened or what will be done.

“The quality and performance of all our products are of utmost importance,” the company said in a statement. “We are obviously very concerned to see any game day jersey tear and are working with the NBA and teams to avoid this happening in the future.”

This is the first year Nike has the NBA apparel contract, having just taken it over from Adidas. They made the jerseys similar to what had been done for the 2016 Rio Olympics, where there were no issues, but these jerseys are lighter than the former Adidas ones. It’s unclear what, if any, changes could be coming.

Like many of the jerseys from opening night, LeBron’s ripped one is being auctioned by the NBA to raise money for hurricane relief.