Kurt Helin

Justin Holiday says brother Jrue’s focus on new baby, wife Lauren, not basketball. As it should be.

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Nobody knows when Jrue Holiday will return to the New Orleans Pelicans. Nobody is pressuring him to get back.

Holiday took leave from the Pelicans — with the team’s blessing — to be with his family: His pregnant wife Lauren was found to have a benign brain tumor. The baby has been born and is healthy, now Lauren — a World Cup and Olympic champion as part of the U.S. women’s national soccer team — will undergo surgery next month.

Jrue’s older brother Justin Holiday is a member of the Knicks on a one-year contract, and he spoke with the New York Post to give an update on Jrue and the family.

“He gets the night shift a lot so I’ve been FaceTiming, seeing the baby’s face changing,’’ Justin told The Post. “These days you have to have FaceTime. It’s like looking at my brother as a baby. The resemblance is amazing….

“His main focus is to be there to support his wife, take care of his child,’’ Justin said. “I don’t think basketball is coming across his mind right now. It’s not his main focus and shouldn’t be. I also think his team and everybody else supports his decision to do this, which has been a good thing. People were nagging him about it, but everybody’s been supportive. He’s handling his business as a father and husband.’’

Those should always be his priorities.

At some point this season Holiday likely returns to New Orleans to take over the point guard duties, but it should not be until he’s comfortable, and his family is in a situation where the travel and time away of an NBA season will not wear on them too much. Holiday needs to take his time, do this at his own pace.

Lauren and the Holiday family remain in our thoughts.

Nick Collison says he got a text from Kevin Durant about move before it was announced

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There hasn’t been much communication between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in the wake of Durant’s decision to head West — Westbrook reportedly deleted the goodbye text from Durant.

Things seem a little better between Durant and Nick Collison, who have been teammates longer than KD and Russ. Collison told Hoopshype that he got a text before the announcement went public. He wasn’t thrilled, but he understands — and took the news better than Westbrook.

“He texted me… Well, first I heard that he was leaning that way and then he texted me that morning before he announced his decision….

“I was disappointed, for sure. We played together for a long time, we came a long way from where we started. So yeah, it’s disappointing. It’s always tough when teammates leave, that’s the way the business works. It was a different thing with Kevin because of how much time we spent together, and obviously because of the great player he is.”

I think Collison speaks for a lot of players in Oklahoma City. They get this is a business, they understand Durant had the right to go where he wanted, but it still stings. (Fans don’t want to see sports as a business, so they take these things more personally.)

The question now is how good will the Durant-less Thunder be? And will Westbrook put up MVP numbers?

Searching for point guard depth, Cavaliers sign Toney Douglas for camp

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With Mo Williams making his retirement official, the Cleveland Cavaliers need point guard depth. They have Kyrie Irving, but after him it’s Kay Felder and then…

Maybe Toney Douglas. Monday Cleveland announced the signing of Douglas to a non-guaranteed contract, giving the veteran guard a chance to make the roster. Eric Moreland was waived to create the roster spot.

Douglas was with the Pelicans the last couple of seasons, he played in 61 games for them last season (starting 18) and averaged 8.7 points and 2.6 assists per game, he shot 39.9 percent from three (taking nearly half his shots from beyond the arc), and he played solidly for them. That was not enough for a team that needs point guard depth to keep him.

Douglas isn’t a traditional playmaker, he’s looking more for his own shot, but he plays decent defense and is enough of a veteran to know how to fit into a system on the court and in the locker room off it. While there are a lot of players vying for the last couple of roster spots in Cleveland — Jordan McRae and DeAndre Liggins are striving to make it as a reserve point guard as well — it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Douglas make the cut.

 

Timberwolves add former NBA player Ed Pinckney to coaching staff

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Timberwolves have added Ed Pinckney as an assistant coach on Tom Thibodeau’s staff.

The Wolves announced the move Sunday. Pinckney coached with Thibodeau for five years in Chicago. He returns to Minnesota, where he was an assistant from 2007-09 under Randy Wittman.

Pinckney is highly regarded throughout the league for his work as an assistant and did receive several interviews for head coaching jobs while he was with the Bulls. He comes to the Timberwolves from Denver, where he spent one season under coach Mike Malone.

The Timberwolves have been holding training camp for a week, but it took some time to work through some contractual issues Pinckney had with the Nuggets in order to complete the deal.

Pinckney played in the NBA for 12 seasons.

Sixers work to see Ben Simmons injury as short-term setback

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This was the season where Philadelphia was going to start to turn the corner on “the process.” GM Bryan Colangelo brought in some veterans, plus the young core was ready to go — Joel Embiid is finally healthy, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor were a year older and more experienced, and now there was Ben Simmons to play point-forward and whip the ball around the court.

Except now Simmons is out with a broken foot, one that will require surgery. He reportedly will miss three months, bringing him back around the first of the year, but it could be more than that. You know the Sixers are going to go slow with pushing his return.

GM Bryan Colangelo and coach Brett Brown characterized the injury as a speed bump — it will slow down the process for a little while, but it will not change the direction. Via Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com:

They are right, the plan is not changing, just the timing in Philly. They should not rush Simmons’ return. Sixers fans hate the word “patience” at this point, but what else is there.

Brown did talk about spending the time Simmons is sidelined reworking the rookie’s jumper. Maybe that can be a positive.