FILE:  NBA Player Jason Collins Comes Out As Gay

Friday And-1 Links: What have we learned from Jason Collins?


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 like kids love pizza….

• Jason Collins is not on an NBA team as we approach the start of the season. Is that because he provides a limited skill set — defense in the post — as the NBA wants bigs who stretch the floor, is it because he’s older, or is it because he came out as openly gay last summer? In our “if you read one NBA thing today make it this” file is Friday’s post from Kevin Arnovitz (one of the best NBA writers around) at ESPN, the answer is not simple. It’s a little bit of everything.

League trends aside, nearly a dozen execs say privately that the media glare that would come with a Collins signing just isn’t worth the distraction to most teams. Locker rooms are fragile places already and not always receptive to change, and though NBA players as a whole are extremely professional with the media, it’s not their favorite half hour of the day. The easier it is, the better. If he were a rotation player or better, the thinking goes, the cost/benefit analysis might produce a different outcome.

In other words, the market for Collins would be bigger if he weren’t openly gay.

• Andrea Bargnani returns with the Knicks to Toronto on Friday. Raptors coach Dwane Casey’s advice? “Buy earplugs.”

• The latest “Licenced to Lillard” video is out, and Damian Lillard looks back on his rookie season and talks about getting ready for year two.

Duke has become the first university program to put in the Sports VU motion tracking cameras (which will be in all NBA arenas this year).

Larry Bird didn’t expect to be back with the Pacers quite so quickly, but he’s glad he took a year off.

• In case you missed it, Portland’s Thomas Robinson was ejected from Wednesday’s preseason game, although apparently it was pretty ticky-tack.

• JaVale McGee was buying Nuggets fans donuts.

• My favorite new tumblr: stories from New York/Times Square hotel concierges.

Red Auerbach’s daughter says her father would never have traded both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. I don’t know, by all accounts Red was pretty much an old-school hard ass.

• Finally, Yahoo’s Marc Spears swung by NBC Sports Network’s Sports Dash on Friday to talk the upcoming NBA season.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist taken to hospital after shoulder injury

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

We likely won’t know more about the extent of his injury until tomorrow, but if it was serious, that would be a major loss for the Hornets. Kidd-Gilchrist is their best perimeter defender and an important piece if they hope to compete for a playoff spot this year.

Derrick Rose expected to rejoin Bulls on Wednesday

Derrick Rose
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CHICAGO — Derrick Rose is nearing a return to practice with the Bulls. After undergoing surgery on Wednesday to repair a fractured left orbital suffered in practice on Tuesday, Rose’s recovery is going as expected and he’s expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday.

“The follow-up [exam] went very well,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after practice on Saturday. “They’ve advised him to continue to let that site heal, and they think the best way for him to do that is to stay at home at this time. We plan on him being back on Wednesday morning.”

Rose won’t be able to participate in practice for another week after that — Hoiberg said the previously announced two-week timetable for returning to basketball activities remains on schedule — but with a radically different offense, there’s a lot to learn, and just being around the team to watch practices and learn the new play sets is important.

“We’re going to actually get over there and watch some film with him today,” Hoiberg said. “Because again, like we talked about [Friday], we’ve added new sets, new things, so we’ll get him caught up by a couple of coaches going over and seeing him at his house.”

The two-week timetable puts Rose’s return to basketball activity around next Wednesday, October 14. From there, it will be a matter of getting him back into game shape before Hoiberg is comfortable playing him in games.

Hoiberg said earlier this week that he is optimistic Rose will be able to play when the Bulls kick off the regular season at home on October 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.