Most pundits (myself included) expect a big drop off in Denver this year. Gone is the glue of Andre Iguodala to hold the defense together, gone is the veteran coach George Karl (replaced by the capable but untested Brian Shaw), and they are without Danilo Gallinari, who is key to their offense. It was obvious how much Gallinari mattered to the Nuggets offense during the playoffs.
If Denver is getting back to the postseason, they need Gallinari. He has spent his summer rehabbing his knee in Italy (because if you can choose any place on the planet to rehab, why not Italy?) trying to get right and return to Denver.
So when do they get him back? Probably around Thanksgiving, Gallinari told Sportando.
“I’m very happy with how things are going even if the path is still long. It ‘been a summer of hard work. Eight hours a day. You see the ball just in picture and the time never passes. But I can see the results of the hard work and according to the doctors I should be ready for the end of November.”
The Nuggets are likely to end up in a struggle with the Timberwolves, Trail Blazers, Lakers, Mavericks and even Pelicans (don’t sell them short) for one of the final couple playoff spots in the West. They can’t start slow and dig themselves out of a hole this season.
So if they get him back around Thanksgiving, meaning he is there for most of the NBA season, Denver’s chances improve.
Gallinari also said if healthy he plans to play for Italy in the World Championships next summer. That is, if FIBA grants a wild card berth to Italy, which finished eighth and without an automatic bid at EuroBasket. Good chance they get one of FIBA’s four wild cards (expect China and Brazil to get them, too), but nothing is a lock.
When it’s news your expected opening-night starting point just makes the team, you’re in a bad place.
But we already knew that about the Kings.
With Darren Collison suspended the season’s first eight games and Garrett Temple the only other point guard with a guarantee salary, Sacramento – despite his preseason problems – will turn to Ty Lawson.
The Sacramento Kings today waived guards Jordan Farmar and Isaiah Cousins, according to Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Vlade Divac.
That allows Sacramento to keep Lawson. Lawson was a good starting point guard until last season, when he struggled with the Rockets and Pacers. Can he re-find the groove he had with the Nuggets? If so, the Kings might be alright. If not, they’re in for a rough start. That Lawson had to settle for a make-good contract says plenty about expectations.
Farmar was Sacramento’s other swing at an experienced point guard. Losing this job to Lawson bodes poorly for his NBA future.
With Cousins, the No. 59 pick, the Kings become the third team to relinquish rights on a 2016 draft pick already. The Celtics waived No. 51 pick Ben Bentil, and the Jazz dropped No. 55 pick Marcus Paige.
Archie Goodwin had been stuck behind better guards with the Suns, most notably Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight.
But when Goodwin lost playing time to someone better and younger – Devin Booker – it became time to exit Phoenix.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough complied.
Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic:
McDonough said they did not see a way Goodwin would play meaningful time in a fourth Suns season.
“We told Archie Goodwin and his agent at the end of last season that if there wasn’t going to be an opportunity for him to play going into the last year of his deal, that we would try to help him get to a good spot,” McDonough said. “We explored some trade scenarios throughout the summer and into the fall. We tried to help him get elsewhere in a trade.“
Unable to fulfill a trade request from the Goodwin camp, the Suns waived the 22-year-old
This allows Phoenix to keep two players without guaranteed salaries, John Jenkins and Derrick Jones Jr.
Jenkins, the No. 23 pick in the 2012 draft, previous played for the Hawks and Mavericks. He looks like a good spot-up shooter and shot well from beyond the arc in Phoenix after being claimed on waivers last season. But he was dreadful from beyond the arc in Dallas and has had other lulls prior. Despite quality defensive rebounding for a shooting guard, he’s a defensive minus.
Undrafted out of UNLV, Jones is a phenomenal athlete. But he needs to develop his skills and, at 6-foot-7 and 190 pounds, his body. He’s an intriguing project.
So was Goodwin, but the guard didn’t progress enough in three NBA seasons. He remains a lousy 3-point shooter and unreliable defender. His ability to penetrate goes only so far without better finishing or floor vision.
Goodwin’s athleticism and raw tools could convince a team to take a flier on him. But he has a long way to go to being a helpful NBA player. The team that knows him best being willing to let him walk says something.
The Golden State Warriors vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Like virtually every other prognosticator, we at PBT are predicting that as the NBA Finals as well.
Is having the same teams in three straight Finals good for the league? Which teams could get in the way of that rematch? Kurt Helin and Dane Carbaugh of NBCSports.com discuss just that, including the Celtics, Spurs, and Clippers. They also talk surprise teams and the log jams in both conferences after you step back from the top few teams on each side. There’s a lot to cover.
As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (check there to see all the NBC Sports podcasts), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.
NEW YORK (AP) — The Golden State Warriors and TNT will begin the season with a tribute to sideline reporter Craig Sager, who is battling leukemia.
TNT will unveil a T-shirt during its Tuesday night studio show that was inspired by the suit Sager wore while receiving the Jimmy Valvano Award at this year’s ESPY Awards. Proceeds from the sale of the shirt will benefit the SagerStrong Foundation .
The Warriors will then give their fans at their season opener against San Antonio a Sager Strong T-shirt. The team also will play a message in the arena supporting his fight.
The popular reporter, best known for his colorful suits, won’t be able to work the game as he continues treatment for the disease.
He also designed a special edition Nike sneaker, and 100 pairs will be available via online auction beginning Tuesday through Nov. 4. A portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the SagerStrong Foundation.