Kurt Helin

Lamar Odom

Report: Lamar Odom improving, starting some physical therapy

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Over the past several days, Lamar Odom has shown steady and impressive improvement. He is breathing on his own, speaking, and moving around some, which are big steps since days ago there were serious doubts he would survive after he was found unconscious in a brothel outside Las Vegas following a several day binge. Everything seemed a little less dire.

Now doctors are ready to take the next steps in assessing the level of damage Odom has suffered, writes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.

Odom has not experienced any setbacks after breathing without the help of a ventilator in the past three days. He showing marked improvement with his breathing, vision and the ability to have simple conversations, sources said.

Odom is slated to begin physical therapy that will show whether the 35-year-old former basketball player can walk, said sources familiar with Odom’s progression. But it remains unclear how well he can navigate that challenge.

Odom has experienced frequent fatigue and has received constant treatment on his lungs and kidneys, sources said. Odom could also have serious brain damage considering a 911 call released last Wednesday reported Odom took cocaine and 10 doses of a sexual performance enhancer over three days.

It is expected Odom will have some degree of brain damage after this incident, the question is how much, and doctors are just now going to start to find that out. This is where Odom likely discovers the price of his addiction.

Also Sunday, the Lakers’ Metta World Peace — who grew up near Odom, they have known each other since they were 11 and were on the same AAU team — expressed concern that so many people were showing up to see Odom it was crowding out time for his two kids to spend time with him. World Peace said it was one thing if Odom’s estranged wife Khloe Kardashian was there with him — she has not left his side in days — but another for the rest of the Kardashian family to be there.

Mavericks’ rookie Maurice Ndour out with stress reaction in leg

Maurice Ndour
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Maurice Ndour, the rookie out of Ohio, turned some heads at the Summer League with his play for the Knicks. Some of those heads belonged to decision makers with the Mavericks, who signed him to a guaranteed contract for this season.

Ndour looked good through the four preseason games, but he could be out a while according to this report from Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

Stress reactions mean the player is feeling pain due to the stress and load on the leg — look at it as him being is on his way to a stress fracture (if not there already). There is pain, and he needs time off the leg, and then he may be on a minutes limit when he returns (at least for a while). This could mean a few weeks, a month, or a few months off, just depends on the severity of the injury, the location, and how it heals.

This could cost Ndour a roster spot.

Dallas is going to have some interesting decisions as they cut players over the next week. Ndour is one of 15 players with a guaranteed deal on the Dallas roster, but that does not include JaVale McGee (likely to get a roster spot), Jamil Wilson, and Dwight Powell. If Dallas wants to keep any of them, they have to waive and pay a guy with a guaranteed deal, a guy like Ndour (or Salah Mejri or Samuel Dalembert). Dallas has liked what Ndour brings, but it’s a numbers game and they have some tough decisions to make coming up.

Lakers may shut Kobe Bryant down for final two preseason games

Kobe Bryant
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Kobe Bryant played in the first four Lakers preseason games and showed some strong moments and some others where he was clearly trying to shake off the rust of having missed far more games than he played the past two seasons.

Then, in game five, he suffered a bruised calf, he’ll have missed two games by the end of Monday night and that may be the end of his preseason as the Lakers take the cautious approach. But he’ll be ready to roll when the games matter. That’s what Laker coach Byron Scott said, via Baxter Holmes of ESPN.

“To be honest with you, [Bryant] probably won’t play [Monday],” Scott said after practice Sunday. “I’d rather get him close to 100 percent as possible. These games don’t mean anything right now. It’s really giving me a chance to look at these young guys anyway.”

Scott said Bryant might not play again this preseason. The Lakers have two games left: Monday and Thursday against the Warriors. “There’s a chance,” Scott said. “I’m not going to put a percentage on it, but there’s a chance….”

But Scott said he is confident that Bryant will “absolutely” play in the Lakers’ regular-season opener Oct. 28 against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center.

Shutting him down is the smart thing to do, a lot of teams are are sitting stars for the rest of the preseason to keep them fresh for the start of the season. LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers is the best-known example.

What matters is that Kobe will be playing once the games have some meaning in 10 days. We hope. If there is one thing I want for Kobe Bryant this season it is just to stay healthy, starting with getting his calf right.

Expect trade talk to pick up this week as roster cuts loom

Stan Van Gundy
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The easy example of why trade talk will ramp up some this week — and there are likely a couple small deals — can be found in Detroit. The Pistons have 17 fully guaranteed contracts on their roster right now, and by next weekend Stan Van Gundy has to cut that number down to the 15 they can carry into the regular season — he is going to have to pay two players their full year’s salary to go away.

Unless SVG can find a trade partner to take on one or two of those salaries.

Some teams will be looking to make moves, something former Nets executive Bobby Marks laid out on twitter (this guy is a must follow).

There likely will be trades, and while exceptions are possible, these tend not to be guys who will see heavy minutes during the season.

It’s just something to keep an eye on this week.

Deron Williams will miss all of preseason, opening night in question

Deron Williams
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Deron Williams‘ fresh start in Dallas may not begin when the season does.

Williams suffered a calf strain back before the start of training camp and at media day coach Rick Carlisle called it “minor.” His definition of minor and mine may be a little different, especially after this latest update from the coach via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Williams has battled injuries the past couple seasons in Brooklyn and one of the concerns in bringing him to Dallas was that injury bug could follow him.

The Mavericks have Devin Harris and J.J. Barea who can play the backup point guard spot, plus Raymond Felton is healthy again and played in the last couple preseason games. Dallas has the bodies to fill the position, but none of those players is as good as D-Will, they need the starter back.

In a ridiculously deep Western Conference where Dallas will be battling a few teams for the final playoff spots, they cannot afford a slow start to the season due to injuries.