Kurt Helin

Ramunas Siskauskas (L) of CSKA vies with

Suns’ Sonny Weems tears down rim on dunk (VIDEO)

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Around the country NBA players are showing up early to their team facilities and — when they can get in — working out with teammates in advance of NBA training camps opening next week.

Sonny Weemsback in the NBA after four seasons in Europe after he split during the lockout — is one of those guys, working out in Phoenix. And he is tearing the place up. Literally. Watch him destroy a rim in practice.

Yes, that’s some pretty grainy cell phone footage, but it was released by the Suns and it’s the best we’ve got.

What we know is Weems can throw it down, he didn’t lose that skill overseas.

Consider it his tribute to the just passed Darryl Dawkins.

Transition Buckets: Los Angeles is the NBA’s summer home

Downtown LA

Even in the dog days of the NBA off-season, there are a lot of interesting tidbits of news and stories worth reading we don’t get to here at NBC’s PBT. And we’re bloggers, so we have an instinctive love of the bullet point. So we’ve combined them into one post that can get you caught up some news and notes around the NBA quickly — and we’ve renamed it “Transition buckets.” Because they are quick hitters. And we couldn’t think of anything better.

• If you read one long-form thing, it should be the fantastic piece from Jared Zwerling at Bleacher Report about how Los Angeles has become the off-season home of the NBA. That includes covering how the Los Angeles Clippers’ practice facility is now THE summer run for NBA players.

“The facility is real nice—breakfast, cold pool, hot tub, you can get taped, Gatorade machine, everything,” said former NBA player Bobby Brown. “Why not play pickup in an NBA practice gym against NBA players?”

• Who are the top free agents for next summer, in 2016? Sure, we can all name Kevin Durant, but there are some intriguing possibilities behind him.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is having a little fun with the fact security guards stopped Jeremy Lin from getting into the Hornets’ arena.

Zach Lowe is right at GrantlandDanilo Gallinari is going to be a lot of fun to watch this season. That said, Lowe may be a little higher on Denver’s short-term outlook than I (and I love the Mike Malone hire).

• Former Spurs’ assistant coach — and most recently Orlando Magic head coach — Jacque Vaughn has returned to the Spurs as a scout.

Jerry West is not a huge fan of analytics. Which seems strange for a guy working for the Warriors. But the reality is if you can have different voices in the room and synthesize them it can be a big boost — as the Warriors have shown.

Lou Williams says he wants to be on a team that wins, not just for him to win awards (such as Sixth Man of the Year last season). He does know he signed with the Lakers, right?

C.J. McCollum is going to get more run this season and plans to take full advantage.

• Every wonder what Zydrunas Ilgauskas is up to? Helping coach a high school basketball team.

Adam Silver talked about the WNBA recently. He said it is still financially challenged, which makes increasing salaries and some of the things players want difficult. He also admitted the league thought the WNBA would have grown more by now and that the league needs to do a better job marketing it. That said, don’t expect the league to make any significant changes to the WNBA soon.

• Finally, these aren’t real, but the fake summer reading assignments Phil Jackson gave the Knicks is pretty funny stuff from the New Yorker.

Carmelo Anthony, “Beowulf”

If there’s one thing I need Melo to understand, it’s that he is literally Beowulf, the Anglo-Saxon warrior of lore. There’s no reason he shouldn’t be killing Grendel and Grendel’s mother and the dragon and whatever else shows up. The astute among you will realize that, yes, I am talking about the Spurs and the Warriors and the Rockets and their calamitous restructuring of the right way to play. Beowulf was the original isolation virtuoso, the type of guy who makes the Triangle such a potent weapon. Beowulf can’t let himself be bothered if his buddies—like, oh, let’s say, LeBron and Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and Free Darko—all won championship rings. Who is Carmelo Anthony? A man medieval in his faith in absolutes. And he’s definitely bigger than Kobe.Definitely bigger.

Cuban: Rivers’ “professional life” over if Jordan left

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DeAndre Jordan‘s flip-flop from Dallas back to the Los Angeles Clippers was the most dramatic NBA story of the summer. Easily.

And ever since Jordan put pen to paper the Mavericks and Clippers have been exchanging little barbs. Chandler Parsons says Jordan wasn’t ready to be a franchise player. Cuban wanted nothing to do with Jordan’s twitter apology. There have been plenty more. Nothing outrageous, but little digs back and forth.

That continued on Collin Cowherd’s new radio show on Fox Sports. Doc Rivers had been on recently and said he thought Cuban handled the situation poorly, and when Cuban was on he fired back (hat tip Dan Woike at the Orange County Register).

“It shows what someone will do when their entire future is vanishing in front of them, and that’s what Doc did. I give him credit for it. His professional life was over if he didn’t get DJ. So his back was against the wall, and he did what he needed to do. More power to him. But sometimes the deals you don’t do are the best ones. But we’ll see.”

Rivers is one of the most respected coaches in the NBA; his career would have been just fine with or without Jordan. Cuban is overselling that.

Would the Clippers have been as good if Jordan had stuck with the plan to join the Mavs? No. That’s not on Rivers, that’s just the simple fact that talent wins in the NBA. If you don’t have enough of it you lose games, something Cuban knows but will be reminded of plenty this season.

As for L’Affair de Jordan, it’s time for all of us to move on.

Pistons’ rookie Hilliard has surgery on broken nose

Detroit Piston Introduce 2015 Draft Picks
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Detroit Pistons rookie guard Darrun Hilliard had surgery after breaking his nose playing pickup basketball last week.

The team says Hilliard will be fitted with a mask for the next three weeks and will continue all basketball-related activities. The 6-foot-6 Hilliard was drafted in the second round out of Villanova this year.

Hilliard played four seasons for the Wildcats, averaging 14.3 points in each of the last two years and shooting 39 percent from 3-point range last season. He is projected as a potential “3&D” guy in the NBA and his contract is guaranteed for this season.

LeBron, Curry lead top 10 highest rated in NBA 2K16


NBA 2K16 hits the streets this Friday night, and what’s the first thing NBA players check when they get the game? (Via the Associated Press.)

“My rating,” James Harden said.

“My rating,” echoed Anthony Davis, “and my jump shot. See how far I can shoot. That’s the first thing I do, every time.”

Harden and Davis should be pretty happy with their ratings. Here are the top 10 player ratings in NBA 2K16:

My first thought: Is that too low for Kevin Durant? If he’s healthy — and that’s the big if — they yes, it is.

My second thought: Is that too high for Carmelo Anthony? Maybe not in the sense that — again, if healthy — he can fill it up. But there may be limits to what he can do outside of just score.