Kurt Helin

Australian Boomers v New Zealand Tall Blacks - Game 1

New Zealander Corey Webster gets Pelicans camp deal

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Corey Webster held his own this summer, playing for New Zealand going up against Australian NBA players Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova. It impressed the Pelicans’ GM enough to bring him in and take a look through a few workouts.

That impressed Demps enough to give Webster a non-guaranteed contract that gets him into training camp (it’s a three-year deal but with no guaranteed years). Webster talked about it with New Zealand’s Stuff.

“I am not there yet but this is another positive step towards my dream of playing in the NBA,” Webster said from New Orleans. “The past week has gone well and the coaches have been impressed enough by the workouts to want me to stay for the training camp.

“It is again up to me now to prove my value to the organisation, to put my head down and give it my best shot at training camp. I came here this week with a three-day window to impress, this has bought me more time and a chance to take the jump into the actual NBA roster.”

The reality is he likely misses the cut. The Pelicans have 13 guaranteed contracts on the roster already, and it’s possible they reach a deal to bring back Norris Cole. It’s not a lock the Pelicans fill the 15th roster spot.

If you’re looking for a way Webster makes the cut, remember that Jrue Holiday and Quincy Pondexter are still trying to recover from injuries (neither is 100 percent), and it is possible the Pelicans at least start the season with one more guard on the roster for depth. If Webster blows everyone away in training camp, maybe he sticks (although he has to beat out Sean Kilpatrick and Bryce Dejean-Jones). If the Pelicans want the depth, they would keep the player through least through the start of the season.

Still, it’s a big step forward for a guy who has been a start in New Zealand the past few years.

Bargnani suffers “muscle problem” in Italian win

Andrea Bargnani
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Andrea Bargnani did not play in the second half of Sunday’s surprisingly easy Italian win over Israel. That victory sets Italy up for a huge EuroBasket game Tuesday against Lithuania.

What kind of injury did Bargnani suffer? Will he be able to play Tuesday? These are excellent questions, but the Italian coach was channeling Bill Belichick and dodged any answers, according to David Pick.

As noted by Nets’ Daily, Bargnani has been battling calf injuries for a couple of years and those that watched the game seem to think it is related to that recurring issue. Whether this is something that could potentially carry over to Nets training camp (or beyond) remains to be seen. Although did anyone expect Bargnani to stay healthy all season?

Bargnani has looked comfortable in the European game at EuroBasket, averaging 12.3 points a game on 54 percent shooting (and he’s hitting 54 percent from three). He even made some defensive plays. Not that I would bet on any of this carrying over to the NBA season.

The Nets signed the former No. 1 pick this summer as a free agent, but before you roll your eyes they got him on a minimum contract so it’s not a bad roll of the dice for a team that could use a floor spacing big man. (Although, why they gave him a $1.5 million player option for next season is a little more confusing.)

Gasol’s minutes more than Spain’s doctors suggested

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This is not going to make the Bulls’ fans happy.

We mentioned this in passing while highlighting how Pau Gasol dropped an impressive 30 on Poland to give Spain a big EuroBasket win, but it deserves more detail:

Gasol is battling an injury and Spanish team doctors wanted to limit his minutes — but Gasol would have none of it. From Nikos Varlas at EuroHoops.net.

As Spanish coach Sergio Scariolo revealed in the press conference: “The doctors told me that Pau couldn’t play more than five minutes straight. But after the first five minutes, when I asked him to come to bench he told me now. “I will take the risk”, he answered me and he had an amazing game”.

Spain’s leader led his team to the quarter-finals with an extraordinary performance, having 30 points on 6/7 from the three-point range. And while Rudy Fernandez is day to day and may miss the next big game versus Greece in the quarterfinals, Gasol is ready to play: “I never jumped off the boat and I will not do that now. We play against Greece, I will play for sure”.

One of the points of contention between now-gone coach Tom Thibodeau and Bulls management was minutes and guys playing more than they should when injured. Bulls management wanted Thibs to follow more the modern, Gregg Popovich way of resting guys more during the season to keep them fresher for the playoffs, he stubbornly refused. So Fred Hoiberg is in as coach.

The Bulls aren’t that concerned, reports CSNChicago.com’s Vincent Goodwill.

It shows how passionate Gasol is about playing for his native country. Although it’s not just for Spain, through his years with the Lakers Gasol played through a lot of minor injuries. Kobe Bryant respected the way he battled for a reason.

But you can be sure the Bulls’ medical staff is talking to the Spanish team’s doctors a lot the next 24 hours.

Barkley talks Moses Malone, man he called “dad”

Moses Malone, Gerald Wilkins, Eddie Wilkins
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The entire NBA community — from Commissioner Adam Silver down through numerous players any true fan of the game — have been saddened by the sudden passing of Hall of Fame big man Moses Malone.

Few felt that as acutely as Charles Barkley.

When Barkley was drafted into the NBA he spent his first two seasons in Philadelphia a teammate of Malone, and the two formed a close bond. Malone was Barkley’s NBA mentor, to the point that when Barkley was inducted into the Hall of Fame Malone as one of his presenters.

Barkley, now an NBA analyst for TNT, released this statement.

“The man I called ‘Dad’ passed today. Words can’t explain my sadness. I will never know why a Hall of Famer took a fat, lazy kid from Auburn and treated him like a son and got him in shape and made him a player. Every time I saw him I called him ‘Dad.’ I hope he knew how much I appreciated and loved him.”

Hopefully so. And hopefully Malone realized how many others around the NBA felt the same way. Including another former teammate, current Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who released this statement.

“I am saddened by the news of the passing of Moses. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. For me, Moses was a teammate, a friend and a mentor. He taught me what it took to be a true pro. The NBA lost a giant today and I lost a friend. Moses Malone – there was truly no one like him.”

Ty Lawson says Denver has “bad owners and gms”

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Ty Lawson is not one to turn the other cheek — he has a history of firing back at critics on social media. It’s left team PR reps scrambling before, and this season it will be the turn of the crew in Houston.

It might start now. Lawson posted a picture of himself relaxing on a boat, but when the critics came at him in the Instagram comments he responded by firing shots at the Denver Nuggets’ ownership and GM.

A photo posted by tylawson3 (@tylawson3) on

If you don’t want to scroll through the comments, here’s the money comments.

shannondizmang @taylorhodes he was a disappointment here in Denver. Capable of so much more but the dude just didn’t want to play. About every 20 or so games he would show up. If he would just play ball the way he does he would be making even more millions. #waste

tylawson3 @shannondizmang lol I wasn’t a disappointment…. I did my job.. Tim Conelly and the kronke are bad owners and gm’s

tylawson3 I’m happy af I’m a rocket

(Hat tip to Denver Stiffs.)

Lawson’s numbers were down some in Houston, but the franchise’s bigger problem with him was in the locker room where management saw him as a guy who caused distractions due to personal issues that had him showing up to practices with alcohol on his breath (he was arrested for two DUIs within six months, he has since been to a rehab center). Denver took a hit just to get him off the roster, and feel betrayed because they believe GM Tim Connelly and Nuggets President/Governor Josh Kroenke gave him a chance and tried to help him through his personal issues.

Lawson doesn’t see it that way. That can be up for debate. However, he isn’t wrong about the odd choices of management — this team won 57 games then lost its GM and then fired its coach (George Karl) within a few weeks of each other. They took a running roster and entrusted it to Brian Shaw, who tried to run the triangle (where Lawson was a poor fit), lost the team and quickly everything went sideways. They lost the culture of the franchise and in the locker room, now hiring Mike Malone to restore all that. On top of that, owner Stan Kroenke is not known as a big spender.

All that said, Lawson chose not to take the high road here. It’s not his style.

The Nuggets are going to struggle this season as they try to get back on track (and they may have the new franchise cornerstone in Emmanuel Mudiay).

If Lawson can get and keep himself right, and continue putting up his numbers and playing his game, he can lift the Rockets into the upper echelon of the Western Conference — a crowded space but one where a healthy Rockets team belongs.