Ed Davis, Donatas Motiejunas

Memphis’ forward Ed Davis fined $15,000 after ejection

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I don’t recall a preseason where the league came down with this many fines and suspensions.

The latest is Ed Davis, the reserve forward of the Memphis Grizzlies, who has been fined $15,000 by the league for “making excessive and unnecessary contact with Houston Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas.” Basically, going for a shot block he smacked Motiejunas in the face (you can see it at the 1:45 mark of the highlights video above).

The incident took place with 8:42 left in the game of the eventual Rockets win from last Friday night. Davis got a flagrant 2 foul and was ejected, and that almost always leads to a fine. The league is cracking down on blows to the head, this will be pretty standard, intentional or not.

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Davis responded on twitter:

Davis is going to be scrapping this year — he’s a backup behind Zach Randolph who will be a restricted free agent next summer. He’s very athletic, he hits the boards hard, he’s solid on defense and he’s looked like a quality rotation big in the minutes he’s gotten. When he focuses his offense on attacking and using that athleticism, not settling for midrange jumpers, he shows a lot of promise.

Expect some feistiness out of him this season as he’s playing for his next paycheck. Which should be good for Memphis — the rich get richer along maybe the best front line in the NBA.

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.