Amar'e Stoudemire

Amar’e Stoudemire cleared for contact, Woodson hopes he’ll be ready for Knicks season opener


source: AP

This must be what coaches mean when listing a player’s status as “day-to-day.”

On Friday, Amar’e Stoudemire had not yet been cleared for contact. On Saturday, he was cleared, and practiced with the Knicks in half-court situations.

From Ian Begley of ESPN New York:

Stoudemire was cleared for contact and participated in half-court drills Saturday. It was the first contact for Stoudemire since he underwent surgery on his knee over the summer. …

The Knicks and Stoudemire are hopeful he can play in the season opener on Oct. 30, but there are no guarantees at this point.

“If there’s no setbacks we hope he’ll be there for opening night,” [Knicks head coach Mike Woodson] said. “We’ll have some practice time prior to us opening and we’ll scrimmage a lot more and try to hopefully tailor some minutes in the scrimmage that will carry over into the regular season. It’s a day at a time.”

Stoudemire said he felt “explosive” during the practice session, but didn’t seem as though getting back by opening night was exactly a priority.

“The health is more important, to make sure I’m healthy,” Stoudemire said. “The real season obviously starts in the playoffs.”

Stoudemire will be tough to count on for the Knicks this season. He’ll likely be under a minutes restriction, and it’s far from guaranteed that his knees will hold up without incident after he’s had to undergo medical procedures on them three times in the past 12 months.

If the common line of thinking is true, that anything Stoudemire can give the Knicks this season is a bonus, then perhaps the team should lean more towards ensuring his readiness for the playoffs rather than trying to force him back into the rotation as soon as possible.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.