Gorgui Dieng

Timberwolves rookie Gorgui Dieng tweaks ankle in scrimmage


Now is the time of year when basketball players — trying to get in shape before camp — start getting nagging injuries. Some of these are far more serious than others.

The Minnesota Timberwolves may feel like they are owed some good injury Karma after last season, but on Friday this happened to rookie center Gorgui Dieng.

Doesn’t sound too bad. Which is good news for the Timberwolves and Dieng (the No. 21 pick and a key backstop in Louisville’s national title run).

Dieng is going to be battling with Ronny Turiaf and Chris Johnson for the minutes behind Nikola Pekovic at the five. Dieng is the one of that group who really needs training camp, he told PBT at Summer League the speed and athleticism of the game was making him feel a little overwhelmed at first. And that was Summer League, not actual NBA basketball.

Expect to hear a lot of little things like this, even as camps open in just over a week. The key is to separate the serious from the minor, and this sounds kind of minor.

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.

Kevin Durant with huge dunk on visiting Fenerbahce Ulker

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Welcome to America, Fenerbahce Ulker.

The Turkish powerhouse was in America playing some exhibition games this preseason, and they got a first-hand reminder that Kevin Durant is back. KD had 13 points in the Thunder’s easy 111-81 win.

Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook got in on the act.