Kurt Helin

Los Angeles Clippers v Chicago Bulls

Bulls’ Dunleavy out 8-10 weeks after back surgery


It is the big question for the Chicago Bulls this season: With a more reasonable minutes distribution under Fred Hoiberg, can the team stay healthier?

This is not a good start.

Starting small forward Mike Dunleavy is out 8-10 weeks following back surgery, the Bulls announced late Friday. Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com confirmed the report. Here is what the Bulls said in their press release.

Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy successfully underwent a low back microdiscectomy procedure earlier today at Rush University Medical Center. Dunleavy had experienced some occasional back discomfort over the summer which had recently worsened. Conservative measures failed to satisfactorily resolve his symptoms, therefore, the decision was made to perform the surgery. The timing is unfortunate, but it was imperative that all conservative measures were exhausted prior to making this decision.

Based on the Bulls’ announced timeline, this means a return around Thanksgiving.

Dunleavy — who signed a three-year extension with the Bulls this summer — and his ability to hit the three is key to the floor spacing for the Bulls. Expect this to thrust second-year man Doug McDermott into the spotlight in Chicago.

This is not how the Bulls wanted the Hoiberg era to begin, but if they can keep the other key players healthy and get Dunleavy back it’s far from a devastating blow. It’s just going to make it a rougher start to the season.

NBA’s global reach to be displayed again in preseason

Beyond Sport United 2015
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MIAMI (AP) — In less than six months, Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens will be on the sideline in six different countries.

He’s perhaps the best current example of the NBA’s international reach.

Stevens’ itinerary: He was an assistant for the NBA’s game in South Africa in August, will take his Celtics to Italy and Spain for preseason matchups in October, and his club will head to Mexico in December for a regular-season contest against Sacramento. So those, combined with the normal locales in the U.S. and Canada, means Stevens will get a real feel for the game’s global following.

“We’re very focused on the health of 30 franchises,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said this summer, “and continuing to build our fan base outside of the United States.”

The league has long placed importance on growing the game in markets outside North America are to them, and this year’s lineup for the Global Games – with NBA teams heading to six different countries, plus welcoming clubs from Turkey, Israel and Brazil to the U.S. for preseason games – probably will only enhance those efforts.

And for the teams going abroad – the Celtics, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Charlotte Hornets and the Orlando Magic will in the preseason – it’s a good chance for some bonding.

“I believe that you can have good moments together,” Stevens said Friday at the Celtics’ media day. “I think the more dinners you eat together, the more flights you take together, the more time you spend together, the more places you travel to are all positives.”

Miami has long valued its international flavor. The city is a Latin American business gateway, the Heat have a star in Dwyane Wade wearing shoes made by Chinese company Li Ning, have a starting point guard from Slovenia in Goran Dragic, and have a Filipino-American coach in Erik Spoelstra.

The Heat aren’t going overseas this preseason. If Spoelstra had his way, they would be.

“I love it,” Spoelstra said. “I’m all for it. If we could do it every year, I’d do it every year. … Stay tuned, we’re going to try to go somewhere next year.”

The league tries to accommodate the teams that will be traveling more in the preseason by allowing them to start camp early; the four heading abroad in this year’s preseason all had media day – the prelude to camp – on Friday, while the rest of the league will get started on Monday.

How much the NBA teams will actually benefit basketball-wise from this year’s trips, if at all, remains to be seen.

“I’m not sure,” said Orlando coach Scott Skiles, whose team faces Brazilian team Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 17. “I guess one thing, if I could wish something it was that we were playing an NBA team. Nothing against Flamengo or anybody. I’m not sure of the area where we’re staying or how much we’ll be able to leave the area. So I don’t know.”

Clippers coach Doc Rivers, whose team plays Charlotte in the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Shanghai on Oct. 11 and 14, said he would rather have taken his team to Brazil – for the simple reason that he’s already seen China. But both teams figure to be a big draw; Clippers guard Chris Paul has drawn huge crowds in China in the past, and Hornets owner Michael Jordan still has enormous popularity there.

“More people play basketball in China,” Clippers forward Blake Griffin said, “than play basketball here.”

Stevens said the experience of traveling abroad as a team – he’s been part of overseas trips as a player and coach before – can be “a little overrated.” Still, the Celtics will probably see sellout crowds in all the faraway lands that they’ll visit – a testament to both the lure of a 17-time-champion franchise and the NBA brand.

“At the end of the day, we usually pointed to it as a real positive if we had a really good team,” Stevens said. “So I don’t know how much difference it really made. I think that’s probably the case if you go through the annals of the people that have taken their teams over. If you’ve got a really good team, you’ve got a really good team. But I think it does help you get to know each other better.”

NBA Global Games Schedule


Oct. 6, Boston vs. Olimpia Milano at Milan, Italy

Oct. 8, Boston vs. Real Madrid at Madrid, Spain

Oct. 11, L.A. Clippers vs. Charlotte at Shenzhen, China

Oct. 14, Charlotte vs. L.A. Clippers at Shanghai, China

Oct. 17, Orlando vs. Flamengo at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Regular Season

Dec. 3, Boston vs. Sacramento at Mexico City

Jan. 14, Toronto vs. Orlando at London

Friday is 15th anniversary of greatest dunk ever


For my money, that is the greatest dunk ever.

Vintage Vince Carter, at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, leaping and dunking over 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.

Friday is the 15th anniversary of that dunk and ESPN did a great story commemorating it, including Carter talking about trying to recreate the moment.

So one day, in Toronto, where he had gathered then-rookie Mo Peterson and a few other teammates after practice, Carter got a ball, lined up his tall teammates and tried to jump over them as he did so easily over 7-foot-2 France center Frédéric Weis in Sydney. He’d try it again and again — each time with a different result than the original.

“We’d mess around in practice, and I’d try to jump over them,” Carter said. “I’d trip over guys or fall.

“I just could never do it the same.”

Carter’s legendary dunk happened in the final game of group play. The USA would face France again in the Gold Medal game, and while there were no dunks this spectacular the USA did beat France and capture the gold.

Vince Carter
Vince Carter

Kerr spends championship summer recovering from two back surgeries

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Steve Kerr had hoped to be able to spend the offseason savoring the NBA championship he won in his first year as coach of the Golden State Warriors.

Instead, Kerr spent most of the abbreviated summer on his back recovering from a pair of back surgeries.

“To be honest the last couple of months stunk for me,” Kerr said Friday. “I’m not kidding. I’ve had a rough go physically this summer. It has not been fun. It wasn’t the summer I was envisioning after winning the title, thinking this is the greatest thing ever. It’s been a rough go.”

Kerr said he originally tweaked his back during Game 5 of the NBA Finals in June. He had surgery after the season and then there were complications. Kerr said he feels much better now but will take a “back seat” to his assistants once training camp starts next week in order to stay off his feet and make sure he can make it through the season without more problems.

Kerr won’t be the only one taking things a little easier this training camp compared to last year as the Warriors deal with the shorter offseason after playing until June 16 when they won the NBA title by beating Cleveland in Game 6.

Kerr said there will be no two-a-day practices when camp starts Tuesday and he will be mindful of both the mental and physical fatigue from the shorter offseason.

He has already noticed a difference in his players from last year at this time when many arrived at the beginning of September trying to shake off a first-round loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

That has not been the case this year, which is perfectly fine with Kerr.

“I don’t want them burning themselves out,” he said. “The mentality changes a bit. Part of it is a deeper level of confidence. But what you have to be wary of is feeling too happy, feeling like there’s nothing left to accomplish which obviously isn’t the case.”

In other news, the team announced that two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash has been hired as a player development consultant. Nash will spend about three days with the team next week in training camp and will join the Warriors periodically throughout the season.

Nash and Kerr have a history together with the Phoenix Suns when Kerr was general manager and Nash the star point guard. Kerr called Nash the “most innovative” athlete he had ever seen and said he had an “amazing feel for the game, an amazing mind.”

“Steve was the most efficient player I’ve ever been around,” Kerr said. “My hope is he can help make our guys more efficient and I think he will.”

Golden State also announced that guard Ben Gordon will join the team training camp on a tryout basis. Gordon became a free agent this summer after Orlando declined his option. The 32-year-old Gordon has averaged 14.9 points per game for his career and is a 40 percent shooter from 3-point range.

The Warriors have one open roster spot.

“He’s a proven scorer, a proven shooter,” Kerr said. “He’s at an age where he should be able to play. Physically he looks good. We’ll give him a chance. No guarantees of anything.”

NOTES: GM Bob Myers said the team is in extension talks with Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli. But Myers said if deals happen, they wouldn’t come until closer to the deadline at the end of October. … The Warriors also signed Gs Ian Clark and Juwan Staten and Fs Tony Mitchell and Jarell Eddie and invited them to camp. Golden State will have 20 players in camp when Gordon arrives next week.

DeAndre Jordan: playing in Dallas “like any other road game”

DeAndre Jordan

Nov. 11 is going to be must-watch NBA television. First, LaMarcus Aldridge returns to Portland as a member of the Spurs, and I bet he gets a warm reception.

Then later that night, DeAndre Jordan leads the Clippers into Dallas — and that reception is going to be a little different. It’s going to rain boos like a hurricane. Of course, you remember this summer Jordan said he was going to play for the Mavericks, then had second thoughts and ultimately re-signed with the Clippers. That has led to Chandler Parsons saying Jordan wasn’t ready to be a franchise player. Mavs owner Mark Cuban wanted nothing to do with Jordan’s twitter apology.

So is Jordan worried about going to Dallas in November? Not so much, he told Ben Blotch of the Los Angeles Times.

Sure it will. Like In-‘n-Out is just another hamburger.

Some things stand out, and you can be sure this game is going to stand out. Jordan ultimately made the best decision for himself (and happened to make more money in the process), but that doesn’t mean Mavs fans have to be happy about it. And they are going to let Jordan know how they feel in no uncertain terms.