Report: NBA teams eyeing Carlos Boozer, Jimmer Fredette as they return from China

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Take this report with a grain of salt. That said as a caveat, each year a couple NBA players who had standout seasons in China get a chance with an NBA squad at the end of the season.

This year’s candidates are Jimmer Fredette and Carlos Boozer, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.

Jimmer Fredette, fresh off an MVP season with the Yao Ming-owned Shanghai Sharks, is back in the United States and eagerly awaiting the phone call that affords him another NBA shot.

‎Carlos Boozer, meanwhile, remains in China but has also played his way back onto the NBA’s radar, having helped the Guangdong Southern Tigers, along with veteran guard Donald Sloan, advance to within one game of the Chinese Basketball Association finals…

One source plugged firmly into the Chinese scene says that the Miami Heat and the aforementioned Clippers are among the teams tracking the 34-year-old’s (Boozer’s) progress with Guangdong.

Do either of these guys really help an NBA team headed to the playoffs? I don’t see it.

Boozer makes a little more sense, and the report has actual teams attached to him. While he’s 35, has been out of the NBA two years, and has lost enough of his athleticism that nobody in the NBA gave him a contract this season, he still is a proven veteran who can get some buckets. Remember, he averaged 11.8 points a game while shooting 49.9 percent, and pulled down 6.8 rebounds a night for the Lakers two seasons ago. He could be a pick-and-pop threat who can bang inside during the postseason.

Fredette put up monster numbers in China averaging 37.6 points per game, but there’s a reason for that — that league plays no defense. Here’s a list of the other players who averaged more than 30 points per game in China this season: Errick McCollum, MarShon Brooks, Jared Cunningham, Jabari Brown, Jamaal Franklin, Lester Hudson, Dominique Jones, and Darius Adams (all fringe NBA guys at best). China has to feel like college again for Fredette because he’s got the ball in his hands and nobody has the athleticism or will to stop him. That doesn’t solve his issues at the NBA level on the defensive end or with his decision making. I’d say I’d be surprised if an NBA team was serious about giving him a short contract for the end of the season, but you never know. That said, give a 10-day contract to a D-Leaguer, it has a better chance of panning out.

For a couple grand, Warriors fans can have Larry O’Brien Trophy visit their suite

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There’s so much money floating around the Bay Area right now thanks to another tech boom, this price almost seems low.

If you have a suite for the Golden State Warriors home games this season — and those are pretty much sold out, the Warriors draw big from the Silicon Valley crowd — you can have the NBA championship Larry O’Brien Trophy visit your suite. All for just a couple grand. From Gilbert Lee, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

The best part is it includes champagne… do you get to spray each other with it as you hold up the trophy? Now that would be perfect (goggles included, of course).

Have an issue with this? Why? To the victor goes the spoils. The Warriors may be able to sell this package for years.

Sixers new “Spirit of 76” court is fire

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First, the Sixers nailed the Nike “statement” jersey.

Now, they have announced a new “Spirit of 76” promotion, with seven tribute nights this season honoring the history of the franchise and of the Philadelphia area (and there is plenty of history to honor).

The best part — the “Spirit of 76” court with the bell logo.

Here is the promo vid

I just hope the Sixers team can live up to all the hype.

Wizards’ Markieff Morris to have sports hernia surgery, miss start of camp

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When the Washington Wizards open training camp next Tuesday, starting forward Markieff Morris will not be on the court.

That’s because he will have surgery to repair a sports hernia, a story broken by Candice Buckner of the Washington Post and since confirmed by Chase Hughes at CSNMidAtlantic.com.

While we don’t have details on the surgery, often recovery time for this is just a few weeks, and Morris could well be ready for the start of the season.

Morris averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds a game last season, and the Wizards offense was 5.7 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the court last season. With him out, coach Scott Brooks can lean on Jason Smith or Mike Scott for traditional lineups, but don’t be shocked if he tries a little small ball with Otto Porter and/or Kelly Oubre at the three or four.

Morris also is in the midst of a felony assault trial in Arizona (one where he does not need to attend).

Sixers enter camp with Joel Embiid not cleared for 5-on-5, Jahlil Okafor on trade block

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This is the season the 76ers make the leap from team with potential to playoff team fast on the rise.

Maybe.

That’s the plan in Philly, but there are a lot of questions for this team to answer. While a couple of these issues are answered already — Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz are cleared to play and practice with teammates — a couple big ones still hang around. At the top of the list is “how healthy is Joel Embiid?” Coach Brett Brown doesn’t even have that answer yet, reports Derek Bodner of The Athletic.

It’s this simple: The Sixers outscored opponents by 3.3 points per 100 possessions when Embiid was on the court last season, he was a dominant force defensively who scored 20.2 points a game. When he was off the court the Sixers were 11.5 points per 100 possessions worse. They need him to play and play consistently if the Sixers have playoff dreams. It’s unclear when Embiid will return, but know that the Sixers will be cautious with his minutes again when he does get cleared (he has played just 31 games in three seasons).

Does that mean more Jahlil Okafor? Maybe not, the Sixers are still willing to trade him.

The Sixers have shopped Okafor for most of a year and found no deal they like. Okafor battled knee issues last season and, after a summer working to get healthy, other teams will want to see him play a little before talking trade. If he comes to camp slimmed down and his knee looks right, it could revive trade talks. Using a back-to-the-basket game, he averaged 11.8 points a night shooting 51 percent last season, he’s efficient, and some teams could use what he does (off the bench).

It’s going to be an interesting season in Philly. Are they playoff bound?