Author: Matt Moore

Kentucky Wildcats forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist looks up after being fouled during the first half against the Kansas Jayhawks in the men's NCAA Final Four championship college basketball game in New Orleans

Looks like MKG is ‘just fine’


Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was brilliant in Summer League.

For a whole game.

Then he was out with a knee. It was a really disappointing start to the forward’s time with Charlotte, as MKG is largely thought of as the start of their rebuilding plan. Then he disappeared. Not a word was said about Kidd-Gilchrist over the summer, and that’s going to lead to “whispers” or whatever about whether he’s healthy. Turns out he’s cool. From the Charlotte Observer:

After initially indicating he would not play in Kentucky’s charity game (it’s still unclear why he said that to Kentucky media), Kidd-Gilchrist was pretty impressive Saturday: 32 points on 15-of-32 shooting from the field. A game-high five rebounds.

His only hiccup Saturday was outside shooting range, a known flaw before the Bobcats drafted him second overall in June. Kidd-Gilchrist missed all four of his shots from 3-point range (though he made some 2-point jump shots).

Thanks to longtime friend Jerry Tipton, who covers Kentucky for the Lexington paper, for passing along how MKG did.

via Inside the NBA: An update (of sorts) on Charlotte Bobcats rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

The shot is likely going to be a thing that comes and goes, and there’s a good chance if MKG reaches star level, he’s treated like Rondo. Rondo actually shot decently overall from mid-range last year, and yet the perception still continues that he needs to “learn how to shoot.”

But more importantly, he’s healthy enough to play in a charity exhibition, so he’s in all likelihood good for the start of the season, which should be a relief for the five Bobcats fans who are left after last season. If the Bobcats want to get out of the basement and build towards something, they need MKG to get off on the right foot… er… knee.

Louisville is totally serious about getting an NBA team


Louisville’s basketball crazy, and they want more of it. The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that a group of business owners met with the mayor and other government officials recently to talk about the possibility of the city bringing in an NBA team. And they sound pretty psyched about the idea. From the Courier-Journal:

A group of community leaders convened by restaurant franchisee and former professional basketball player Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman met with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on Friday to discuss the possibility of a National Basketball Association team coming to Louisville, Fischer’s office said.

In a statement, Fischer said the meeting gauged the “level of interest” and the “conditions necessary to attract a team.”

“There was a lot of excitement in the room about what an NBA team could mean for Louisville’s global recognition and as a job attractor and economic engine. There are many elements involved in a journey such as this,” the mayor said. “This must be a win for the University of Louisville, as well as other stakeholders. I’m excited to be part of the dialogue and I continue to believe we should be ready if an opportunity presents itself.”

via Mayor, community leaders discuss NBA possibilities for Louisville | The Courier-Journal |

Here’s the deal. I think it’s awesome that Louisville wants a team. I’m not being patronizing there. I genuinely think it’s great to see a community actively excited about bringing the prospect in, especially when so many current locations have such a lackluster response to their own teams. Louisville knows basketball, it would have a great, excited fanbase, no doubt, and it would allow the NBA to make strides in an area that  has been absolute death for them over the years, the Southeast (outside of Florida… /awkward glance towards empty Hawks games).

But this won’t happen.

I love the idea of expansion teams. New talent, more teams, more exciting basketball, more rosters to consider. And I’m of the opinion that if the NBA did a better job with its development, they could support more teams. But they don’t, and the overriding sentiment towards people on the East Coast (or as I like to call them “apparently the only people who matter”) is that the league is watered down and we need fewer teams, not more. So expansion’s out.

And if expansion’s out, Lousiville goes on a list that includes Seattle first and foremost, Kansas City, San Jose, Anaheim, Vancouver, another Chicago franchise, and a few other places. They probably land somewhere between the California markets and right around, if not above, Kansas City. The big problem? Their arena. The city wants to use the KFC Yum! Center (which I will never, ever call it if they do get a team) which is owned by the University. They want the pro franchise to use the college kids’ court. This is not going to fly with a modern NBA owner who will want their own arena, subsidized by the taxpayers (because that makes sense), with all the modern styling and accouterments.

So this is not likely to happen. If it does, good on Louisville. But they’ve got a ways to go for this to actually become a reality.

Tony Allen ‘guarantees’ he’ll be back for season opener, but what about next year?

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Memphis defensive pitbull guard-forward Tony Allen had minor surgery over the summer to repair cartilage in his knee. His recovery is going to run right up against the start of training camp, but Allen made it clear that he’ll be good to go for the season opener on Halloween vs. the Clippers.

“I’m definitely getting myself back to being that thirsty dog,” Allen said. “I don’t want to rush it. But I’ll be back for the first game, Oct. 31, against the (Los Angeles) Clippers. I guarantee that.”

via Grizzlies’ Tony Allen back in action following knee surgery » The Commercial Appeal.

Allen should be an even bigger part of the team this season with O.J. Mayo having moved on to the Mavericks and Josh Selby and Tony Wroten still needing seasoning. The Grizzlies have their identity: defensive havoc-makers who can get out in transition and pound you inside. Allen’s a big part of that with his ability to force turnovers defensively.

The Commercial Appeal also touched on Allen’s contract situation. Allen cannot sign an extension with the Grizzlies because of the way the CBA is structured, and will be an unrestricted free agent next season.

“I can’t think about that. I have to let that play out,” Allen said. “When I came here, I did everything they asked me to do. I’ll keep it simple and let the organization make that decision. I don’t want to go anywhere.”

via Grizzlies’ Tony Allen back in action following knee surgery » The Commercial Appeal.

It’s going to be a tough decision for Memphis. Allen will be 31 next season. They’re already locked into big contracts for Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay, Mike Conley, and Marc Gasol. It will be a huge first test of Memphis’ new owner Robert Pera, should the NBA approve his bid (something that is not at all guaranteed at the moment), and his willingness to spend. The Grizzlies can bring back Allen even though they’ll be over the cap. But is Allen going to be worthy a hefty luxury tax bill for a team that is unlikely to contend for a title, despite being a top-five team in the Western Conference? It’s a big decision, and could tell us a lot about how Pera intends to run the team.

In the meantime, Allen’s going to be healthy and ready to cause mayhem on Halloween. That’s something everyone should be happy about.

Mike Miller is (surprisingly) ready for training camp

Miami Heat's Miller shoots over Oklahoma City Thunder's Westbrook during the first quarter in Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals in Miami

I’ll admit it, I was convinced that Mike Miller’s three-point barrage against the Thunder in last year’s Finals was his way of blazing into glory, as in, off into the sunset. For two years, we’d watched Miller drag a body around that wasn’t just suffering in one part of his body, it was all of them. The back, the knee, the shoulder, the arm, the ankles. It hurt to watch him walkSo after winning the title and being an integral part of it, I thought for sure that would be it. Retire a champion, and get out of having to deal with the pain day after day.

Nope, Mike Miller’s one tough son of a Miller. Miller says he’s ready to start training camp, amazingly, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that has to do with the decision for him notto have surgery on his back.

  After considering retirement during the NBA Finals and then contemplating back surgery at the completion of the Heat’s championship run, Miller is up and running and looking forward to the Sept. 29 start of training camp at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” he said Saturday.

“I basically looked at my options and back surgery, with Dr. Green pretty confident that we could get it to where I need to be without it. So we’re slowly but surely getting there,” he said at a Saturday promotional appearance at Maye Pediatric Dentistry and Shelling Orthodontics along with teammates James Jones and Udonis Haslem, who was there to collect contributions for the Udonis Haslem Children’s Foundation. “My body feels good. Like I said, we’ve just got to be smart about it.”

via Mike Miller looks to Miami Heatreturn in wake of NBA championship. – South Florida

Miller re-joins a Heat team that upgraded at various positions he played at. Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis join Shane Battier on the wing. So on the plus side, Miller won’t have to be depended on for big minutes. On the downside, if he has trouble again with staying on the floor this season, he could wind up getting those minutes back if he gets healthy. It’ll be a smaller role for him. But maybe that’s a good thing.

One thing that often gets lost with the talk of Miller’s shooting and his injury concerns is what came in the middle of all that. Miller is a tough-as-nails rebounder. Often hobbling on one leg or holding an injured shoulder, Miller would still chase down rebounds, make hustle plays, pressure the ball handler, do all the things that in reality he shouldn’t be able to do. Those things matter to the Heat. So no matter how much pain may be involved, and hopefully it’s less this time through, Miller’s going to give it another go. One more weapon for Miami.

Note: Tim Reynolds of the AP reported that Miller wanted to be back for training camp and was already planning on skipping surgery on July 17th. The fact that he’s definitely in for training camp is still notable, but this stuff isn’t breaking at all.

Two weeks to training camp… when Tony Allen’s hungry you better let the big dog eat

Tony Allen

The wait is almost over. We’re two weeks and three days from training camp, and the start of the 2012-2013 NBA season. Basketball is almost back. As we get closer we’ll be bringing you reminders of why this game is awesome, what you’ve missed, and what to look forward to.

The best thing about Tony Allen’s defense is it is the polar opposite of what we have been told is the model of NBA defense. He gambles constantly. He over-pursues to a degree that makes a golden retriever seem coy. He’s not constantly holding his position, moving in the right direction, anticipating his opponent’s every move. He’s just… on you.  He’s swarming you with motion and bumps and aggression, always aggression. He creates absolute havoc defensively, and it’s that attitude and approach that really transformed the Grizzlies into an upper-tier Western Conference team. The man’s a little nuts, let’s be honest, and that’s what makes him so much fun to watch.