Kurt Helin

Adam Silver

Silver sees healthy NBA, expects shorter preseason

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NEW YORK (AP) — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is optimistic about the league’s health and relationship with its players, offering hope that the league can avoid another lockout in 2017.

Silver also says he expects the league will reduce the number of preseason games, though doesn’t know how many would be played. The schedule currently allows for a maximum of eight per team.

Owners wrapped up two days of their annual preseason meetings before Silver held a press conference Friday. They are expecting an enormous influx of revenues next year with the beginning of the new national TV deals, valued at about $2.6 billion.

Either side could opt out of the collective bargaining agreement in 2017, six years after it was approved following a work stoppage. But Silver says he is optimistic “just because I think things are going so well for the teams and the players.”

Knicks waive Thanasis Antetokounmpo, 4 other players

Thanasis Antetokounmpo
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NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Knicks have waived forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo and four other players.

Guard Travis Trice and forwards Darion Atkins, DaJuan Summers and Wesley Saunders also were waived Friday, the day after the Knicks completed their preseason schedule.

They now have 14 players. NBA teams needed to be down to 15 by Monday night.

Antetokounmpo was drafted by the Knicks in the second round of the 2014 draft. The brother of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo played last season for the Westchester Knicks of the NBA Development League. He appeared in three preseason games, recording four rebounds and two assists over 13 minutes.

Will LeBron James be cleared to play opening night? Bet on it.

LeBron James
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I will be shocked if he’s not.

Just wanted to get that out there first. It’s one thing for LeBron James to miss preseason games and a few practices, it’s another to miss a regular season game (one where Kyrie Irving will not play and facing another of the top four teams in the East).

With just a handful of days before the Cavaliers tip-off the season — Oct. 27 against the Chicago Bulls — LeBron has not been medically cleared to play following an anti-inflammatory injection he got last week. He has not practiced since receiving the shot. Here is what all the key parties said at Cavaliers practice Friday, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“Is it by choice?” James asked of being held out (of practice). “No, it’s not. But it’s the schedule I’m on, and I’m trying to listen to the training staff and not be hard-headed, and I’m going with them. When they tell me I’m cleared to practice, I’ll practice….

“I don’t think that there’s any reason that he won’t play on Tuesday,” (Cavs GM David) Griffin said. “We have no reason to believe that, but we also are of the mindset that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he didn’t play on Tuesday. We just want him to get better every day, and he has been, and he’s been progressing and feeling like we’d like him to feel.”

James, for his part, said he would face the Bulls “if everything goes right” with his rehabilitation.

Again, I’d be shocked if the guy that fills the arena isn’t lacing them up on opening night.

Sure, the Cavaliers should be cautious here — the goal isn’t to win Game 1 at the expense of future games — but do you think recovery time from the injection was not worked out in advance so he would be ready next Tuesday?

Still, nothing is yet official.

 

 

Who wins 40-yard dash, Dirk Nowitzki or Peyton Manning?

Dirk Nowitzki
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For a man who makes a living running up and down a hardwood floor, Dirk Nowitzki is not exactly fast.

But is the slow poke slower than Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning? Nowitzki admitted this has become a discussion in the Mavericks’ locker room.

Who ya got?

As slow as Dirk Nowitzki is — his average speed on the court last season was 3.7 miles per hour, the slowest of any Mavs player (although the offense doesn’t call for him to be the guy on the move a lot) — having seen Manning have to scramble a few times this year, I’ll take Dirk. He’d start behind, but do a slow man’s Usain Bolt where his long legs and strides would run down Manning in the last 20 yards.

Although, the more apt comparison for this race would be Charles Barkley vs. Dick Bavetta.

Heat’s Gerald Green fined $25,000 for gun gestures

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Gerald Green had it going for the Heat Wednesday night, dropping 28 on the Washington Wizards on 8-of-14 shooting, plus he pulled down nine boards.

He celebrated his hot hand with a new celebration where his hands became a rifle he fired.

That’s going to cost him $25,000, a fine that the league announced Friday. The league has regularly cracked down on gun-like hand gestures in recent years, Green is a vet and should have known this was coming.

The league also hit Green hard in the preseason as a warning shot (pun intended) before things got real.