Kurt Helin

Tom Thibodeau doesn’t expect Nikola Pekovic to play in training camp

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The bigger question becomes, will Nikola Pekovic ever play serious minutes in the NBA again? Any minutes?

Pekovic played in just 12 games last season (and 31 the season before that) as foot injuries have sidelined him. With Karl-Anthony Towns front and center, the Timberwolves have moved on. Their front court rotation also has Gorgui Dieng, Cole Aldrich, Jordan Hill, and maybe Kevin Garnett if he decides to play and not retire.

Coach Tom Thibodeau doesn’t sound like he’s expecting anything from the 30-year-old Pekovic.

Considering the rotation already in place up front for Minnesota, it’s hard to imagine Pekovic getting any run unless he came back fully healthy, moving very well, and he became a defensive force inside. Which sounds very unlikely.

Pekovic is still owed $23.7 million fully guaranteed this season and next.

Chris Bosh says he felt “written off,” told his career was over by Heat doctors

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Chris Bosh‘s campaign to get the Miami Heat to clear him to return to action on the court with them continues — and this time with words challenging the team doctors. Not so coincidentally right before the start of training camp.

Bosh has missed the end of the past two seasons due to a blood clotting issue that can be life threatening if left unchecked. Bosh said came out of that with ordeal with a health maintenance plan and a rekindled passion for basketball — now he wants to get back on the court. However, Heat doctors have yet to officially clear him to play at the start of training camp.

In a documentary for The Uninterrupted — one directed by Bosh — he says that he felt written off by the Heat doctors who told him his career is over.

“Seeing the team doctors, they told me that my season is over, my career is probably over and this just happens, this is just how it is. I felt right away that I was written off. It was (claps his hands like a blackjack dealer leaving the table) put it to the side matter-of-factly. If a doctor tells me, ‘Hey that’s it and this is how that is,’ and I don’t buy that. I have the right to disagree with you.

“I know inside me I have a lot talent and a lot of ability. I have it. I know I have it. It wasn’t a matter of if I play again, it was when. So we took the bull by the horns.”

Bosh has been undergoing physicals with the team, reports Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

Bosh wants to play again. He has consulted with doctors who put together a blood thinning drug regimen where the drugs would be out of his system by game times. The Heat clearly are not comfortable with this and, while they are willing to welcome him to camp, they have not cleared him to play. If he were cleared, it is not known whether there are restrictions on his minutes or travel, or whether he would push back against those restrictions.

With Bosh on the court the Heat are a likely playoff team in the East. He is huge for their offense, having averaged 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, shooting 36.7 percent from three, and he had a PER of 20.2 last season. He was selected by the coaches as an All-Star last season (but he couldn’t play in the game due to the blood clots returning, and he did not return to the court last season). If the Heat can get an independent doctor to say Bosh is permanently disabled and unable to play professional sports, the team could get his $75 million remaining off the team books (although Bosh would still get paid, that money just wouldn’t count against the team’s cap).

This is all going to come to a head in the next couple of weeks. One way or another.

Kings’ Willie Cauley-Stein talks about his path to NBA in new video

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Willie Cauley-Stein was born with the tools to become an NBA player — he is an athletic, bouncy seven-footer. He won the genetic lottery.

But that alone does not get one to the NBA, in his case as a key part of the future of the Sacramento Kings. It’s a road with a lot of detours and pitfalls that could have taken the boy from a small town in Kansas other directions. He talks about all of it in a fantastic new video autobiography for Vice.

Kevin Love talks about UCLA roommate Russell Westbrook, thermostat wars

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Freshman year college roommate dorm stories are rarely dull. Why the computer at your college decided to match you up with a slob who left half-full food containers around the room and on his bed for days, plus drank too much but never quite found the bathroom when getting sick, is beyond any of us. However, it seems to be a college tradition.

Kevin Love‘s freshman roommate on the road for UCLA wasn’t quite that bad. It was some guy named Russell Westbrook. A guy who already had way more style than Love.

But the best story is how the two fought like an old married couple over the thermostat, Love wrote at The Players’ Tribune.

You know the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Vivica’s character is sick in bed and Larry keeps adjusting the thermostat? That was me and Russ.

Our thermostat battles would go something like this….

“Minimum 74,” he’d say.

I needed the room cold. Around 68 was perfect.

At night, Russ would jump up from bed and turn the dial way up — and then five minutes later I would sneak over and turn it back down.

One time I offered a compromise — “How ‘bout 71 degrees?”

“Seventy-three,” Russ replied. “Final offer.”

Westbrook and Love are close to this day, though fortunately they do not have to share a room. (How that UCLA team, which also had Darren Collison and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, didn’t win the NCAA title is still a mystery; I guess blame Derrick Rose and John Calipari.)

In the piece Love also talks about meeting John Wooden and why he just made a massive donation to UCLA. It’s worth the read.

Stephen Curry says he’s still not over Game 7 loss

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Stephen Curry will probably always wince when the memories of Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals come up. After a regular season where he helped lift his team to 73 wins, on the biggest stage of the game it was LeBron James and Kyrie Irving who were making plays late, while Curry couldn’t shake loose from Kevin Love. The Warriors lost Game 7 on their home court, and Curry was hunting threes late despite going 4-of-14 from deep that game.

That’s going to eat away at any competitor. Curry told Sam Amick of the USA Today he’s not over that loss, but he’s using it as motivation.

“I still haven’t gotten over Game 7,” Curry told USA TODAY Sports during a break in the shoot (of a commercial). “That’s something that will stay with me pretty much forever, for good and bad reasons. Obviously you hated the feeling, but it’s also a motivator to come back even stronger and try not to have that feeling again.

“I’m at that point now where I can try to fuel any kind of terrible nightmares or thoughts about Game 7 into motivation for how I’m going to prepare myself for this year.”

Finals losses have fueled many a player and team (think San Antonio in 2014). Curry is certainly no different. It took him a little while to start turning the loss into fuel — he admits in the article he was down for a while — but he has come around and now wants his shot at redemption.

Hunger and desire are not going to be the questions for Golden State this season. Figuring out how to blend Kevin Durant into this star-laden team, and how to win consistently despite the loss of depth the franchise gave up to get Durant, are much bigger issues.

But likely ones Curry and the Warriors solve by the time it matters.