Kurt Helin

Kyrie Irving

David Blatt: Kyrie Irving still has “ways to go” in return


The Cleveland Cavaliers are doing just fine, thank you very much. They are 7-1 and atop the Eastern Conference standings.

And they are not close to full strength, Kyrie Irving is still out recovering from the fractured kneecap he suffered during the NBA Finals last June. When might we see Irving back on the court? Patience, grasshopper, we’re going to have to wait a while. Here is what Cavaliers’ coach David Blatt said on the issue Thursday, as reported by Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“[We’re] not rushing things and not letting up from the day-to-day work, but still a ways to go,” he said. “And how much, I can’t honestly tell you, but he’s working at it every day.”


Irving has not returned to any practice yet, let along a full contact affair, so we are still weeks away at the very least. Reports have suggested it could be after the first of the year before Irving is back on the court (except as Uncle Drew), although somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas seems a more likely timeframe.

If the team were struggling, there might be pressure to speed up the timeline, but as they are not the Cavaliers should remain patient.

Bulls’ Jimmy Butler gets massive boombox-themed aquarium

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If you’re home on Friday night, you can watch Jimmy Butler by flipping on league pass and catching the Bulls and Hornets.

Or, you can watch him on Animal Planet get a 600-gallon aquarium shaped like a boom box.

Butler will appear on “Tanked,” a show where Wayde King and Brett Raymer set up massive, high-end home aquariums for celebrities. Butler’s love of music — including country music — led to the boom box idea. And yes, a wireless music setup is part of it, so the boombox does play tunes. (I am not going to make a joke about Phish. Wait, I kind of just did. Sorry.)

While I don’t think that would fit in my place, I have to say it’s impressive. I like it.

(Hat tip to the Chicago Tribune.)


Report: Pat Riley gave unintentional assist to Spurs landing Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge
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Pat Riley’s pitch was a long shot and he knew it — he asked LaMarcus Aldridge to take the mid-level exception for one year with the Miami Heat then re-sign for a max salary in one season (that according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel). The pitch was joining Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and Goran Dragic — guys who would all be willing to sacrifice to win.

But that pitch had an unintended impact — it pushed Aldridge closer to the Spurs, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports in a must-read opus on how Aldridge ended up a Spur.

“He told me, ‘You’re a good player, but you can be great,’ ” Aldridge told Yahoo. “I’ve had good seasons on my own, but to win, you’ve got to have other big-time guys with you. When you have other guys who are willing to take that sacrifice with you – maybe you all go from averaging 23-24 points to 18-19 points – and you can all do it together.

“He was saying, ‘Hey, you might have to take a lesser role, but at the end of the day, you want to be known as a champion. Champions have to do different things.’ He brought up Chris Bosh, how he was averaging 21 in Toronto, and came to Miami, and people tried to say he wasn’t important. He told me, ‘We don’t win any of those championships rings without him,’ [and] that [Bosh] wouldn’t trade those rings for anything.

“Eventually, it becomes a road in your career, whether you have to decide whether you want to keep having these crazy stats, or do you want to win a championship?”

That is essentially what Popovich and the Spurs had preached — this was where he could win, where he could be part of a family, but it meant not always being “the man.” Aldridge had long felt he had been second in the hearts of Portland — behind Brandon Roy then Damian Lillard — and he wanted to be out of the shadows of others. However, Riley and Popovich told him if he wanted to win he had to forget about shadows entirely.

Aldridge realized Riley was right. It sank in and Aldridge understood what he wanted was that family experience and a chance to win. But not in Miami, in his home state of Texas. In San Antonio.

The fit is still being worked out with Aldridge as a Spur, but they look like the second-best team in the West right now and a real threat to come out of the conference. If that happens, the Spurs should thank Riley.


Dwyane Wade out Thursday for Heat; with son at hospital

Dwyane Wade
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Dwyane Wade will not be in the building Thursday night when the Miami Heat host the Utah Jazz, and for the best of reasons — family.

The Heat made this announcement Thursday less than two hours before tipoff.

First off, good news that Wade’s son is not in any serious danger.

Wade has played fantastic ball for the Heat this season through eight games, averaging 18 points and shooting 37.5 percent from three.

Gerald Green is also out for Miami Thursday, due to a team suspension.

Portland’s Meyers Leonard could miss month with dislocated shoulder

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It looks like a fairly innocent play. Portland sharpshooting big man Meyers Leonard is pushing for rebound position on a free throw attempt and tries to get between San Antonio’s David West and Kawhi Leonard, and their arms get tangled. Suddenly Leonard is grabbing his shoulder in pain.

Leonard suffered a complete dislocation and is going to miss some time — maybe more than a month, an expert told Jason Quick at CSNNW.com.

Dr. Brian Schulz, an orthopedic surgeon at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, said it would be “shocking” if Leonard came back quickly from a full dislocation. Dr. Schulz said typical recovery time for a dislocated shoulder is 4-to-6 weeks, but that usually entails a high risk for re-injury.

“Typically, when the shoulder fully comes out, there is damage to the labrum and capsule, which means it can happen again, and require less force for it to occur,’’ Schulz said.

Portland has given no official timetable for Leonard’s return.

Leonard has averaged 8.4 points a game and played more than 26 minutes a night for the Blazers (both career highs), helping space the floor with his outside shooting. The Trail Blazers’ offense jumps 4.9 points per 100 possessions when he is on the floor (although the defense suffers nearly an equal amount).

Without him expect to see more Ed DavisMoe Harkless, and Al-Farouq Aminu with Leonard out.

Portland has lost three in a row and his heading out of a four-game road trip that includes Memphis, San Antonio, and Houston.