Kurt Helin

Karl-Anthony Towns says he’ll miss Garnett, will pick up torch

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The greatest seasons in Minnesota Timberwolves history were led by peak Kevin Garnett, a team that could have made the NBA Finals had it not been for the Shaq/Kobe Lakers.

After going to Boston and winning a ring (then a couple forgettable seasons in Brooklyn) Garnett returned to Minnesota to end his career. On his return, Garnett was more mentor than player for a young team on the rise, and KG formed a particular bond with Karl-Anthony Towns.

Friday Kevin Garnett announced his retirement. Later that day KAT said he would pick up the torch from KG.

Chris Bosh: “Little setbacks happen but that doesn’t change my intentions”

Associated Press

Earlier this week on The Uninterrupted, Chris Bosh released the first of his self-directed videos about his efforts to get back on the court following the blood clotting issue that kept him out the second half of last season (and ended the previous season early for him as well).

Bosh said in an Instagram post late Friday night he planned to release the second installment earlier in the day, after he was cleared to play in training camp with the Heat. However, that didn’t happen — due to results from the blood test of his physical that showed the potentially dangerous clotting issue has not gone away, the Heat have not cleared him to participate in training camp.

Bosh instead said he would continue to share his story, and that “little setbacks happen but that doesn’t change my intentions and what I want to accomplish.”

@chrisbosh offers an official response to today's news. #BoshRebuilt

A post shared by UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) on

The Heat believe Bosh may never step on an NBA court again. Bosh, as he has said before, believes he can overcome this and play again. The two sides are at an impasse. (And if you are about to comment “just trade him” answer me this: what team is going to give up quality assets to take on the $75 million contract of a guy who may never play again?)

This story is not going away for a while. And the Heat do not have many good options.

Around NBA, many teams already discussing need for social change

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MIAMI (AP) Whatever the Detroit Pistons decide to do when it comes to protests that call for societal change this season, they’ll have the support of coach Stan Van Gundy.

He’s urging them to make an impact.

As NBA teams began gathering Friday to start training camps – three teams hold their first practices Saturday, while 27 others get going in the coming days – an issue each is addressing is how players and coaches can help create substantive change in cities across the country. The NBA and the players’ union urged teams this week to develop ideas in a memo this week.

“No one can be happy with what’s going on right now,” Van Gundy said Friday. “I like what (Golden State coach) Steve Kerr said. Wherever you are on the political spectrum, I don’t think a thinking person can say, `This isn’t a problem.’ I mean, we’re shooting unarmed people – and you’ve got to think largely, they are seen as threats largely because of their race. I mean, it’s hard to fathom.”

Similar sentiments have been expressed around the league for months, as the list of U.S. cities dealing with protests -including Baltimore, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York, Ferguson, Missouri and now Tulsa, Oklahoma and Charlotte – over the death of black men at the hands of police.

Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul talked openly about it in July, standing side-by-side on television. At media days Friday in Oklahoma City, Houston and New Orleans, it was a major topic. Around the rest of the league, it’ll be the same Monday.

In a league where about 75 percent of the players are black and some have enormous social-media followings, plenty of eyes will be on the NBA to see what it does after NFL players and some athletes from other sports have taken to kneeling during national anthems or raising a fist in an effort to spark discussion about race relations and other matters.

“We’re not looking forward to protesting stuff,” New Orleans’ Quincy Pondexter said. “We’re looking forward to solutions.”

The NBA has a rule saying players and staff must stand for the playing of the national anthem, and 20 years ago Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was suspended for a game for refusing to stand for the anthem. Abdul-Rauf, who did not respond to interview requests this week, said then that he felt the flag was a symbol of oppression.

Despite that rule, which the NBA did not mention in its memo to teams, Houston’s James Harden said protests on NBA courts are possible.

The Rockets All-Star called the decision by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to kneel or sit during the anthem “a powerful statement.”

“He’s standing up for what he believes in,” Harden said. “Devastating that all these people are just dying, dying for no reason. Families are grieving, just a tough situation, especially from men and women who are supposed to be protecting us. But each individual has their own beliefs on how they go about handling it and you’ve got to respect it.”

Harden said Rockets players will decide what to do individually. New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry wants the Pelicans to have a unified approach, a stance echoed by New York Knicks President Phil Jackson.

“We want them to do something that they all feel genuine about,” Jackson said.

New Orleans center Anthony Davis said seeing frustration and violence in recent months has prompted him to become even more community-minded, with hopes that actions go deeper than any words could.

“We have the power to do stuff other people can’t,” Davis said. “So I think we have to use that.”

For Van Gundy, it goes much deeper than just reacting to shootings.

He spoke at length about urging the Pistons to vote and how the organization responded to a water crisis in Flint, Michigan. He also talked about how Pistons forward Marcus Morris had a 6-year-old cousin injured by gunfire this summer; the boy survived, even though the vehicle he was in was caught in a flurry of crossfire.

Issues like those are why Van Gundy said the question of whether NBA players will kneel for the anthem is far less important than many might suggest.

“There’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “And I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”

Finding that solution won’t be easy.

“I don’t have an answer. Nobody has an answer,” Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook said. “If that was the case, we would have fixed it.”

AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney in New York and AP Sports Writers Noah Trister in Auburn Hills, Michigan, Kristie Rieken in Houston, Cliff Brunt in Oklahoma City and Brett Martel in New Orleans contributed to this report.

Blazers’ Festus Ezeli says he has no timeline for return, will miss start of training camp

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One of Portland’s big off-season moves was to snap up Festus Ezeli, the athletic Warriors’ center that Golden State had to let go as it reshaped its roster to bring in Kevin Garnett.

But questions about the health of his knees went back to free agency this summer, then last month he got an injection of bone marrow aspirate in there to help it heal. That was going to sideline him at least six weeks, but it seems it’s going to go a little longer than that. He’s going to miss the start of training camp.

He has no timeline for a return, he told Ananth Pandian of CBSSports.com.

“I personally don’t have a timeline,” Ezeli said while visiting at a Boys and Girls Club in North Portland on Thursday. “I’m taking it day by day because when it comes to this situation, you never go with a timeline. It will frustrate me if I go by a timeline. I just try to take it by how I feel so hopefully sometime soon I can get back on the court and start playing again.”

Portland is counting on the combination of Ezeli and Mason Plumlee to fill the roll up front that Robin Lopez played well last season. Ezeli’s explosiveness is a key to his game, and with that the Blazers know he needs to get right before he comes back. There will be no pressure.

Knicks not concerned about possible Derrick Rose rape trial

Associated Press

GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) Derrick Rose apparently isn’t worried about a potential rape trial, and neither are the New York Knicks.

President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson said Friday that the Knicks don’t expect Rose’s season to be affected, but won’t say if he might miss any games because of the trial that would begin in California exactly three weeks before the official Oct. 25 opener.

“We’re just going to let the process work itself out,” Jackson said during a news conference at the team’s practice facility.

“We’re not concerned. We understand this is a serious subject we’re talking about, but this has to be done outside of our control. It’s something we can’t control,” Jackson said. “So Derrick has expressed that he’s not concerned about it. I mean he’s quite aware of it, but it’s not keeping him up at night, so we’ll leave it at that.”

A woman sued Rose last year, claiming the former MVP and two of his friends raped her in August 2013 while she was incapacitated after a night of drinking. Rose and the others deny her claims and contend they had consensual sex with her that night.

Rose would not be required to attend the civil trial that is scheduled to begin Oct. 4, early in the NBA preseason. However, it’s expected he would be there for at least portions of it.

“We anticipate that it will not affect his season, hopefully, training camp or games, but we’re going to let the due process of the justice system work its way through in the next week and a half or so,” Jackson said.

The Knicks acquired Rose from the Chicago Bulls on the eve of the NBA draft in June. The point guard was the NBA MVP in 2011 but has battled injuries since, not appearing in more than 66 games in any season.

But coach Jeff Hornacek said Rose is healthy and has looked quick in workouts.

“The one thing he’s excited about going into this season playing-wise is that he feels he’s been able to do a lot of things this summer to get himself ready for it,” Hornacek said, mentioning yoga. “He’s feeling that his body is good. Watching him play in some of the pickup games that they’ve been playing, you see those spurts of quickness that he has.”

Rose was the biggest – and likely riskiest – move Jackson made this summer in trying to improve a team that went 32-50 last season and hasn’t made the playoffs since Jackson was hired in March 2014. His injuries, mostly to his knees, have robbed him of some of the explosiveness that made him one of the league’s most dynamic players.

His new backup, Brandon Jennings, missed nearly a full year after an Achilles injury before returning last December. New center Joakim Noah, Rose’s former teammate with the Bulls, managed just 4.3 points per game in 29 appearances last season because of a shoulder injury.

But Jackson said the Knicks needed to take the risks, and general manager Steve Mills said no players will face any minute restrictions when training camp opens Tuesday.

“We see this as a team that has the potential of really being a good basketball club. The only thing that’s going to compete with them being successful or not successful is the injury factor,” Jackson said. “The rest of it is pretty much, they’re going to be there.”

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