Kurt Helin

MEMPHIS, TN - NOVEMBER 06: Tyreke Evans #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans dribbles the ball during the NBA game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum on November 6, 2013 in Memphis, Tennessee.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Pelicans’ coach Gentry says Tyreke Evans will not be ready to start season

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Tyreke Evans‘ right knee issues — he’s had three “procedures” in nine months — limited him to 25 games last season, and in those games there were plenty of struggles as he tried to adjust to coach Alvin Gentry’s uptempo style of play. Meaning he was just like almost every other Pelican.

He’s loathed by the fanbase but also is one of the most talented players on the roster — when healthy. Which won’t be at the start of next season, Gentry told Zach Lowe on the Lowe Post podcast.

“He won’t be ready for the start of the season. He’s in a rehab situation. I think for us we just gotta move forward with our season. And then, if he comes back and he’s able to help us that’s just icing on the cake.”

The challenge when he does come back will be fit. Evans worked best as a point guard with the ball in his hands, and when he played he averaged 15.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game last season. However, he’s not as efficient when paired with Anthony Davis as Jrue Holiday, who will start at the point. Could the Pelicans play Evans, Holiday and rookie Buddy Hield together and make it work? The Pelicans put up good offensive numbers with Evans at the three last season.

Evans is in a contract season, he will want to prove his knee issues are behind him and he can contribute. It’s going to be up to Gentry to try and fit all the pieces together.

Hall of Famer, Warriors legend Nate Thurmond passes away

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Nate Thurmond — a Hall of Famer, one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players ever list, and a member of the Warriors organization for more than four decades on and off the court — has passed away.

The Warriors made the announcement Saturday. Thurmond had been battling leukemia according to the team.

“Nate was one of the greatest centers to ever play the game and I was privileged to call him a teammate and dear friend,”Rick Barry, former Warriors player and Hall of Famer said in a statement. “He battled his illness until the very end, like a true Warrior. His legacy is one of passion, fierce competitiveness, a love of basketball and selfless devotion to others. My heartfelt prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.”

“This is an extremely difficult day for me,” said Jerry West, Hall of Famer and Warriors Executive Board Member, via statement. “We have lost an incredible person and someone whom I admired as much as any player I ever went to battle against on any level. Nate Thurmond was, without a doubt, one of the fiercest competitors that I played against during my entire career. He played with unbelievable intensity and was simply a man among boys on most nights, especially on the defensive end. On the other hand, off the court, Nate was about as caring and loving as they come, extremely kind and gentle. He was the total package as an athlete and as a man and someone we should all aspire to emulate. I’ll miss him dearly.”

Thurmond had epic battles with Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabar and other greats from a golden age of big men in the NBA. Thurmond averaged 15 points and 15 rebounds a game over the course of his career — he peaked at 20.5 points and 22 rebounds a game during the 1967-68 campaign — that included seven All-Star games, five-times All-Defensive Teams, and even becoming one of five players ever to post a quadruple-double in a game.

“We’ve lost one of the most iconic figures in the history of not only our organization, but the NBA in general, with the passing of Nate Thurmond,”Joe Lacob, Warriors owner, said in a statement released by the team. “Nate represented this franchise with class, dignity and humility as both a player and community relations ambassador for over 40 years. Without a doubt, he is one of the most beloved figures to ever wear a Warriors uniform and both a Hall of Fame player and Hall of Fame person, hence his #42 jersey hanging from the rafters at Oracle Arena. On behalf of the entire Warriors organization, our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family, including his wife, Marci. We’ll miss his presence in his customary seats at our games next season, but his legacy will live forever.”

 

Report: Kevin Garnett wants to play one more season, not sure if he can

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 17:  Kevin Garnett #21 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on November 17, 2015 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice:  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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The second Kevin Garnett steps on an NBA court next season, he will pass Kevin Willis and Robert Parish for the longest career in NBA history, having played 22 seasons.

The question is, will he?

The mind is willing but the flesh is weak, according to a new report from Steve Aschburner of NBA.com on KG’s plans — which largely remain a mystery.

As he has done for most of his career, Garnett, who turned 40 in May, has gone off the official grid and even has the Timberwolves’ honchos guessing. Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota’s new coach and president of basketball operations, has spoken to the 7-foot power forward since being hired after the season but has not gotten a definitive answer. The same goes for owner Glen Taylor, who said Wednesday in Las Vegas he had dinner with Garnett about a month ago.

“I just asked him, ‘Kevin, what are you going to do?’ His answer was, ‘I’d really like to play next year ‘cuz I’d like to go out knowing we got into the playoffs,’ ” Taylor said. “Then he said, ‘I don’t know if I can.’

“I asked him, ‘What does that mean?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know.'”

Garnett is battling knee issues, something to be expected after a long career running up and down a hardwood floor. Garnett played in just 38 games and averaged less than 15 minutes a night in those games. However, his real value is off the court with the Timberwolves young core such as Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. KG has a legendary work ethic and can be a role model and mentor.

At this point, the Timberwolves will let Garnett decide at his own pace.

Garnett is set to make $8 million next season.

Watch Ben Simmons 15 point, 10 rebound, 6 assist night in final Summer League game

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Ben Simmons ended Summer League on a high note.

Throughout his time in Utah and Las Vegas he showed tremendous promise and passing skills, but also the need for a lot of development. In his last game Sunday night, he had his best game in Vegas with 15 points (on 5-of-15 shooting), 10 rebounds, and six assists. The Sixers beat the Heat in this final game.

It’s going to be interesting to watch Simmons adjust to better defenders and the NBA game. He’s got to learn to become a more efficient scorer to keep those passing lanes open. He’s also just 19 and is going to have a long, impressive career.

Sixers coach Brett Brown says figuring out how to play Simmons, Saric together a “good challenge”

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At Summer League, Ben Simmons has shown his potential as a fantastic playmaker as a 6’10” point forward — one with a lot of development left to do, but with a world of potential.

The Sixers just signed Dario Saric, a 6’10” point forward with playmaking skills good enough to be named MVP of the Olympic qualifying tournament where his Croatian team qualified for the Rio games.

How do you fit those two pieces together? Throw in Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, and Joel Embiid and it gets more complicated. The Sixers have got some nice young pieces (thanks mostly to the pushed aside Sam Hinkie), and Sixers coach Brett Brown told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com that’s a good problem to have.

“I don’t know,” Brown said Friday of where he will play Saric. “You’ve got an abundance of bigs. Ben Simmons and Dario are very similar. We have a few veterans coming in. We’ve got Sergio [Rodriguez] and T.J. [McConnell] as who you’d stamp off on and say that’s a true point guard.

“I say that very much with a tone of excitement than trepidation. How we use him is going to be a challenge but fun, a great challenge. Dario and Ben can play together. They’re two really good players. How this plays out, how it takes shape, I think is a good challenge and one that we’re excited to learn more about.”

This is not the final roster Brown will be tinkering with, Noel and Okafor are still on the trade block, other moves are possible.

It’s going to be interesting to see how all the pieces fit together. Having multiple quality playmakers and passers is a good thing — see Golden State and San Antonio in recent years — so long as there is good shooting surrounding those guys (and from those guys). There is a growing amount of raw talent on the Sixers roster, but it needs a lot of shaping and it’s going to take years.