Heat Media Day Basketball

Wednesday And-1 links: LeBron designed a $50K watch. Because he can.

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points more than Seth MacFarlane likes doing cutaways in Family Guy…

• LeBron James helped design a $50,000 luxury watch. Because he can. The watch has his signature  printed in blue on the sapphire in the back of the watch. I’m not making that up.

• By the way, you can get officially licensed LeBron James or Kobe Bryant tattoos. Why you would is beyond me, but you can.

• Here is a great story about Mark Jackson and some of the Warriors going to the famed San Quentin prison to play ball against the inmates.

• Pau Gasol says again he’d like to stay with the Lakers. It’s possible, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

• New coach Brad Stevens says his plan with the Celtics is to defend well and run. When you find a coach that doesn’t say his teams will defend and play up tempo, let me know.

• Jason Collins has not been picked up by an NBA team, Marc Stein at ESPN took a look at why (it’s mostly basketball reasons) and his chances of landing a spot when the season starts.

• Greg Oden went through his first NBA practice in four years this week. Here is the 529,486 story about how the Heat are going to take it slow with his recovery.

• Here is O.J. Mayo talking about how the 11th grade version of him decided to challenge Michael Jordan at Jordan’s camp.

• The trend of stashing away draft picks is growing.

• Kevin Durant is selling his Oklahoma City house and moving closer to downtown. His old home was not NBA state of the art as it lacked a shark tank (Kobe Bryant and Gilbert Arenas each had one).

• Add Rudy Gay to the long list of guys who said they added 20 pounds of muscle over the summer.

• The Hawks have no timetable for Lou Williams to recover from knee issues, and they are not going to rush him.

• Dallas rookie Shane Larkin is not participating in training camp and has no timetable to do so following ankle surgery this summer.

• At Hawks media day, new coach Mike Budenholzer dodged questions about the DUI he got over the summer.

• In a fantastic bit of news, The Basketball Jones team from SCORE has changed teams — they are now called The Starters and will have a regular show on NBA TV. Their podcast is must listen.

Ben Simmons rolls ankle in practice, likely out for preseason opener next Tuesday

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons poses for a photographer during media day at the NBA basketball team's practice facility, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Camden, N.J. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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If you’ve been impatiently waiting to see No. 1 pick Ben Simmons in a Philadelphia 76ers uniform, you likely will have to wait a little longer.

Simmons rolled his ankle at practice Friday, reports Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com. While not considered serious, the Sixers took Simmons in to have an MRI and get a better look at what happened. They also may rest him next week when the Sixers first take the court, reports Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Cautious is the right move by the Sixers here. Ankles, once sprained and the ligaments are stretched out, are easy to re-injure if not fully healed. The last thing the Sixers want is for this to be a running issue Simmons’ rookie season.

Sorry fans, but maybe you at least get to see Joel Embiid.

Watch the 50 best long-distance shots of last season (video)

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There’s something majestic about the ball floating through the air on a long shot headed toward the rim, especially when it splashes through the net.

Enjoy the top 50 of those baskets from last season.

Kevin Durant doesn’t like Durantula nickname either

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant (35) poses with an emoji cutout during NBA basketball media day Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
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Kevin Durant is long and thin, a combination that has inspired two great nicknames: “Durantula” and “Slim Reaper.”

Durant has already disavowed “Slim Reaper.”

Now, he’s professing his dislike for “Durantula.”

Henry Wofford of CSN Bay Area:

https://twitter.com/HenryWoffordCSN/status/780502572264075264

I see Durant is embracing his role as villain. This is a terrible opinion.

That leaves just loathsomely boring “KD” as a nickname, which is unjustifiable with such better options on the table. Durant might just have to buck up and accept “Durantula” and “Slim Reaper.” At least neither rolls off the tongue easily enough for people to address him that way in person.

Joakim Noah skips Knicks dinner with West Point cadets due to anti-war stance

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Professional Basketball Player Joakim Noah (C) attends the DKNY Women fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows September 2016 at High Line on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week)
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week
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The Knicks have held training camp at West Point the last few years, and last night, the team dined with Army cadets:

But Joakim Noah didn’t participate.

Noah, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:

“It’s hard for me a little bit – I have a lot of respect for the kids here fighting — but it’s hard for me to understand why we go to war and why kids have to kill kids all around the world,’’ Noah said. “I have mixed feeling about being here. I’m very proud of this country. I love America. I don’t understand kids killing kids around the world.’’

Noah received permission from Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek to skip the team function. He was the only member of the team not in attendance. Noah said his decision to skip the dinner and speech was not intended as a form of protest.

“It’s not my way of saying anything – I was not comfortable,’’ Noah said.

Noah has dual citizenship in the United States and France, the home of his father, Yannick Noah, the former tennis star. Noah admitted he’s “not very patriotic,’’ believing people should respect people more than “flags.’’

Noah’s view will be unpopular, but he has every right to hold it. There’s a growing current of people asking for more athlete activism, but people better realize: You might not always like the stance players take. For those who claim to value politically minded players, this is part of what you get.

Personally, I disagree with Noah. The Revolutionary War helped him secure the right to speak out on this. World War II kept his beloved France from being run by a tyrannical Nazi regime. Just because some wars are unjust doesn’t make all wars unjust. I also believe in honoring American soldiers who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms.

But I also respect Noah’s right to seek a comfortable situation for himself. Some people can be anti-war and easily separate the soldiers as individuals. For others, apparently including Noah, all war machinery is intertwined.

Keep in mind, Noah didn’t actively disparage any soldiers. He’s not seeking supporters for a cause. He just chose not participate in an event he never asked to be apart of.