The injury bug just will not leave the Minnesota Timberwolves alone.
A season after they lost Kevin Love for much of the year when he broke his hand twice, and after Ricky Rubio missed part of the season (and wasn’t himself for much of it) recovering from a major knee injury comes this news:
Chase Budinger has suffered serious cartilage damage to his knee. While we don’t have a lot of details he is going to see the famed Dr. James Andrews next week, which is a sign that things are bad and he could be out for a chunk or all of the season. Reportedly this was not a one-time blow but rather something that came as he increased his workouts before camp — his knee just started to swell up and an MRI revealed an issue.
Budinger had played only 23 games last season due to a knee injury but the Timberwolves thought he was healthy enough to sign him to a three-year. $16 million contract this past summer.
Budinger is a very athletic wing who would have played a sixth man role for Minnesota, coming off the bench (with Derrick Williams, J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved) to give Minnesota some scoring punch with an athletic and up-tempo second unit.
Minnesota is one of a handful of teams (along with the Lakers, Trail Blazers, Mavericks and Pelicans) trying to get one of the last couple playoff spots in the West. They don’t have much margin for error and this certainly hurts them.
The Pistons will start Reggie Jackson at point guard, and they signed Ish Smith to provide better backup at the position.
The competition for the third point guard spot is heating up.
With Lorenzo Brown and Ray McCallum already signed to unguaranteed deals, Detroit is adding undrafted Old Dominion guard Trey Freeman.
Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops:
The Pistons have just 14 players – one shy of the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed salaries. The final spot will very likely go to a point guard.
Brown and McCallum should be favored in the competition, because they’re more NBA-ready. A president/coach, Stan Van Gundy is more prone to covet the player who can step in immediately.
Freeman’s partial guarantee is likely designed to entice him to play in the D-League for a low base salary. The Pistons can waive him in the preseason and then assign his D-League rights to their affiliate, though he’d become an NBA free agent.
Freeman is working to become a better distributor after playing as a go-to scorer in college. A solid mid-range shooter, he must extend his range beyond the arc. It’d also help if he got to the rim more, and it seems he has the bounce to do that.
For an undrafted player, he has nice tools. They’ll probably just need to be refined in the D-League.
But even if that’s the intention, Freeman at least gives himself a chance first of upsetting Brown and McCallum in the race for third point guard.
With 32 wins and missing the playoffs, last season wasn’t exactly what the Knicks hoped for. However, last season also came with hope in the form of Kristaps Porzingis.
And there were highlights. Check out the team’s Top 10 plays, courtesy NBA.com.
It starts with some Derrick Williams moments, and ends with a Jose Calderon game winner, but there are moments from players the fans actually like in between.
At this point, there is zero chance Russell Westbrook‘s posts are a coincidence.
First. he posted a video of himself singing along to Lil Uzi Vert’s “Now I Do What I Want.”
Then came the shoe ad that was another little jab at now Warriors Kevin Durant.
Now comes Westbrook’s return to karaoke posts, this time singing Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together” and Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake.”
Apparently, Westbrook and Durant are having one rough teenage breakup.
One of the great stories of last season was the return of Paul George to All-Star level form (then to watch him be crucial to the USA winning gold this summer).
It was a great story because vintage Paul George was so great. Watch this throwback video of him blowing by LeBron James and dunking over Chris Andersen from a few years back — this is vicious.
By the way, if you’re not following NBA history on Twitter and Instagram, you’re doing it wrong.