Kurt Helin

Getty Images

Tony Parker predicts return to court in 4-5 months

1 Comment

Tony Parker suffered a ruptured left quadriceps tendon during the playoffs, and for a guy about to turn 35 it was a fair question to ask if that was going to be the end of his career. Parker didn’t want to leave that way, had surgery, and from the start said he would be back in January.

Sounds like he is still on that timeline.

Parker spoke to Argentinian TV LPG TV (via NBC’s News 4 in San Antonio) about his planned return.

“It’s OK. It’s OK. It’s getting better and better. I’m starting to run like a little bit. I’m walking pretty well. I think it’s still going to be a long process. It’s still going to take like another four or five months but I am very happy in with the progress. I am in advance in my rehab.”

Four to five months would mean on the early end around Christmas, and more likely a January return.

The Spurs re-signed Patty Mills this summer and he will start — which isn’t a bad thing. The other four primary starters for the Spurs last year (LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Kawhi Leonard, and Danny Green) were more than 16 points per 100 possessions better when teamed with Mills instead of Parker (there’s some small sample size issues there, and in the playoffs they were much better with Parker). Substitute Mills in for Parker with the Spurs other starting five (where Dewayne Dedmon started and Gasol came off the bench) and those starters were nine points per 100 better with Mills (again, small sample size in the regular season).

Which is to say, don’t be shocked if Parker comes off the bench for the Spurs next season if things are going well upon his return.

NBA opening day to feature Rockets vs. Warriors; Christmas Day lineup has Finals rematch

curry lebron
Getty Images
3 Comments

The NBA is starting the season about 10-days earlier this season — and they are starting it out with a bang.

The league announced the national television schedule for the league’s opening week, as well as Christmas Day — and if the NBA is good at one thing, it’s stacking their best games and stars into the biggest spotlights.

Opening night will feature a TNT doubleheader of (arguably) the top two teams in each conference, in what could be a crazy early Conference Finals preview:

Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers (8 p.m. ET)
Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors (10:30 p.m. ET)

That means Chris Paul and James Harden can be on hand to watch the Warriors raise a banner then get their rings. That will come after our first look at Gordon Hayward in Celtics’ green as they get an early test against LeBron James and… maybe Kyrie Irving? Either way, these are the two top teams in the East.

As for the rest of the nationally televised games on opening week, the young stars in Philadelphia and Minnesota are getting their time in the spotlight:

Oct. 18: Philadelphia 76ers at Washington Wizards (ESPN)
Oct. 18: Minnesota Timberwolves at San Antonio Spurs (ESPN)
Oct. 19: New York Knicks at Oklahoma City Thunder (TNT)
Oct. 19: Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers (TNT)
Oct. 20: Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucks (ESPN)
Oct. 20: Golden State Warriors at New Orleans Pelicans (ESPN)

As has been the tradition for a few years now, the NBA will have five games on Christmas Day, highlighted by a Finals rematch (this year, because it is a Monday, the NBA will go up against two NFL games).

This is the third year in a row the Cavaliers and Warriors will face off on Christmas. Here is the Christmas Day lineup, with the times (Eastern):

Noon: Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks (ESPN)
3 p.m.: Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors (ABC)
5:30 p.m.: Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics (ABC)
8 p.m.: Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder (ABC)
10:30 p.m.: Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers (TNT)

The NBA is good at stacking its big showcase days.

The full NBA schedule is expected to be released next week.

Report: Knicks, Rockets “re-engaged” on Carmelo Anthony trade talks, still major hurdles

Getty Images
22 Comments

The Knicks and Rockets are back at it.

That doesn’t mean they are any closer to a deal.

The Knicks want to trade Carmelo Anthony so they can build around Kristaps Porzingis. ‘Melo is good with that so long as he is traded only to Houston (he has the no-trade clause to get his way, and with the Kyrie Irving situation Cleveland is now off the table). The Rockets would love to add Anthony, but they need a third team to take on Ryan Anderson‘s contract (three years, $60 million, the Knicks don’t want it) and no team has been willing to do that without serious sweeteners — such as two high first round picks. Not many teams have the space to do it period. Talks stalled out before because no third team could be found.

But the Knicks and Rockets are trying again, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The New York Knicks and Houston Rockets have re-engaged on trade talks involving 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony, with the Rockets again canvassing third-team trade partners to construct a deal, league sources told ESPN.

Anthony remains steadfast that he only plans to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets and refuses to expand his list to include more possible destinations, league sources said….

The Knicks remain willing to start training camp with Anthony, 33, on the roster, and a real scenario exists where the Rockets and Anthony remain patient that a deal could have to wait until the regular season is underway, league sources said.

The Knicks are saying no trade is better than a bad trade. They are right. They technically don’t have to trade Anthony.

However, bringing Anthony into training camp would create a media circus. Plus, the Knicks want to start focusing their rebuild around Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. (and maybe Frank Ntilikina), and having Anthony on the floor is going to mean he gets a lot of shots, which could slow the development of the Knicks young stars.

The rumors aren’t going anywhere, the two sides can talk all they want, but until some team is found that is willing to take on Anderson nothing has changed.

 

Kevin Durant on pay cut: “It’s my money… I can do what the hell I want with it”

Getty Images
22 Comments

Kevin Durant told the Golden State Warriors he was going to save a little money this summer — then he saved them nearly $10 million, taking a pay cut from what he made last season ($1.5 million less) when he could have gotten a raise. It was all in the name of keeping a title team together while letting Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, and others get paid.

Durant took some criticism for this, mostly because there are people still bitter he joined the Warriors the year before. (If you say rings are the most important factor in a player’s legacy, then criticize him for going to the team where he’s most likely to win a ring, then sacrificing to keep that team together, you are a hypocrite.)

Durant addressed his pay cut in an interview with Anthony Slater for The Athletic Bay Area (which has put together a heck of a staff and is worth subscribing to).

DURANT: Well, I’m a smart guy and I want to keep this thing going and looking at Andre and Shaun (Livingston) and Steph (Curry) — they all should make the most money that they can make and get what they deserve. Because they were all underpaid and I knew at some point they’d want to get what they deserve. So I just took a step back and let the chips fall where they may. Then I took it in my hands. I wanted to keep the team together and I thought it was going to help the ownership bring all the guys back. And on top of that, it’s my money. It’s my decision. I can do what the hell I want with it.

Q: Were you surprised by some of the blowback?

DURANT: They only (criticized) it because it’s the Warriors and it’s me and they love to hate anything we do right now. A lot of players have (taken pay-cuts). It wasn’t that I wanted the praise. I’ve learned from Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki and how it has helped them over the years and I thought, if they did it, why can’t I? Why shouldn’t I sacrifice? People wanted the money to break us up and I didn’t want that to happen.

Isn’t taking less and prioritizing winning what we want athletes to do? Yes, he makes a lot off his shoe deal (and winning rings will help raise his and his shoe’s profile), but there’s a mindset among many elite players to squeeze every dollar they can get out of ownership. Durant didn’t.

Durant could have opted out and gotten a contract starting at $34.7 million a year, but had said from the start he wouldn’t do that, he would save the team some money. It was expected he would take the max 20 percent raise the Warriors could give him off his old contract, which would have been at $31.6 million next season.

Instead, he signed a two-year, $53 million deal and will take a pay cut this year down to $25 million. That cap space allowed the Warriors to keep its core together — Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Zaza Pachulia will be back, and the team added players such as Nick Young and Omri Casspi. The Warriors should be improved next season, better than the 67-win, NBA champion they just were. Durant’s sacrifice was part of that.

And if you don’t like it, he doesn’t care.

DeMarcus Cousins, Ndamukong Suh mock their reputations in new ad

4 Comments

DeMarcus Cousins has a reputation — particularly among his critics — as selfish and a bit of a hot head. A guy who can play a little dirty. Same with Ndamukong Suh of the Miami Dolphins.

Good on them for having a little fun with those reps in this latest Foot Locker ad.