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.

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.

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.