Derrick Rose on his return: ‘I think I’m going to play the same way’

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It’s been almost 18 months since we’ve gotten a look at the speed, athleticism, and overall explosiveness that Derrick Rose is uniquely able to showcase on the basketball court.

His comeback is upon us, however, with training camp now open and Chicago’s first preseason game set for Oct. 5 in Indiana against the Pacers. And based on how’s he’s felt in workouts, Rose isn’t expecting to alter his style of play once he officially returns to action.

From Sean Highkin of USA Today:

“I think I’m going to play the same way,” [Rose] said. “I think the only thing that’s changed in my game is my confidence level. I think I’m way more confident in my craft, in my game. I worked out a whole year training on my body.”

Rose went into further detail about his training at the launch event for his latest signature shoe from adidas, explaining how important it’s become to him, while pointing out it’s not something that’s valued by all players.

“First is diet,” Rose said to a small group of reporters last weekend at the United Center. “Don’t get me wrong, I probably do the 80-20 rule, with maybe 20 percent bad food. I wouldn’t say like, I totally went vegan or anything. But I try to eat healthy. Training-wise, I try to push myself every day. Every day I go into training, it’s a day I can get better. And I take it seriously. NBA players, I’ve seen it. A lot of NBA players don’t take training seriously because you’re already talented, you’re already making millions of dollars, you have your own ego — you’re there.

“For me, it really starts from the beginning to really take training seriously and still have that talent. It’s my first time really working hard like this off the court with training and lifting. I know I’m going to be a better player, but I don’t know how I’m going to be really because I’ve never been this strong. I’ve never been this mentally prepared in my life.”

We obviously won’t know what version of Rose we’ll see until he gets back on the court playing full speed against other NBA-level talent. But it’s good to know that the training he’s done has him as fully prepared as possible.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.

DeMarcus Cousins on Confederate statues: ‘Take all them motherf—ers down’

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DeMarcus Cousins grew up in Alabama, played collegiately at Kentucky and now plays in New Orleans.

So, yeah, the Pelicans star has an opinion on Confederate statues.

Cousins, via TMZ:

“Take all them motherf*ckers down,” Cousins said … “Take ’em all down.”

These statues glorify people because they fought a war against the United States in the name of preserving the racist institution of slavery.

Not whom I want to honor, either.

Kevin Durant: Kyrie Irving-LeBron James situation ‘just a regular NBA problem’

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Kevin Durant knows something about star teammates not always getting along.

So, the Warriors forward is not freaking out about the disconnect between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James and Irving’s subsequent trade request.

Durant, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:

“It’s just a regular NBA problem, right? A lot of teams have gone through this before,” Durant told ESPN. “They’ll figure it out. That’s a great organization, a championship organization. They’ll figure it out.”

“It’s not the end of the world,” Durant said. “Both of those guys won a championship together. They love each other. If Kyrie wants to do something else, that’s on him. I’m sure whatever happens, it’ll work out for the best for both of them. But it’s just a normal NBA problem. It’s just two big stars that it’s happening to.”

Durant is definitely right in the larger sense. Teammates spat and requests trades more often than we realize. Remember, both Irving and the Cavaliers probably prefer this never became public.

But I’m not sure Cleveland will figure this out with the ease Durant suggests. David Griffin, who had proven so adept at putting out these fires, is gone. LeBron’s free agency looms. This could be extremely destructive to the Cavs.

The fact that this “regular NBA problem” became public only intensifies it – and raises it something greater.