Brook Lopez, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah

Brook Lopez expects to be healthy for Nets’ training camp

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Brook Lopez had an excellent season for the Brooklyn Nets last year, averaging 19.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and over two blocks per game while being named to his first All-Star team. The center received bad news right after the season ended, though, and was forced to undergo a third surgery on his right foot in less than two years.

The 7-footer was just recently able to get rid of his walking boot, but he’s not yet healthy enough to jump and run on the injured limb. He plans to be ready by training camp, however, according to the quotes he gave Tim Bontemps of the New York Post.

“I’m not fully working out. I’m not jumping or running or anything like that, but we have a good month-and-a-half just until training camp starts, so we’ll definitely be all right by then.”

The Nets’ trade for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry this offseason was made to put Brooklyn in contention for a championship sooner rather than later, making it imperative that their center is ready to perform like an All-Star for the next few seasons before their window closes. That means Lopez will have to get over his nagging foot injury, something that seems like a possibility if there aren’t any more flukey things like bent screws happening in his size 20 sneakers.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.

PBT Extra bold prediction preview: Markieff Morris will be a happy Sun

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After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.

So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?

Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.

The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.

Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.