Atlanta’s Josh Smith has sprained patella ligament in knee, source tells Y! “He walked out of arena w/ no help, just gingerly,” source says.
This would be a blow for the Hawks — he had 16 points and 12 boards in Game 2, and the Hawks were down 2 with the ball when he left the game but fell apart after and lost by 7. Smith is the key to the Hawks getting points and rebounds in the paint, providing some balance on offense. If he cannot go Atlanta loses a major weapon.
The Hawks are already without the best big man in Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia is hoping to return later in this series. Without Smith the Hawks will give Boston a steady diet of Jason Collins and Ivan Johnson. That will not be enough against Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass.
The 76ers expect injured rookie Zhaire Smith to be available to play in a game around Christmas, league sources say.
A rookie on a team with legitimate aspirations of deep-playoff advancement, Smith was already unlikely to crack Philadelphia’s rotation this season. All this lost developmental time makes it even less likely.
But the sooner Smith returns, the better for him and Philadelphia. The No. 16 pick impresses with his athleticism and motor, but he needs time to develop his perimeter skills.
Kevin Love launches “Love Fund” to bring more focus to mental health issues
The NBA is not shying away from the issue of the mental health of its players.
In the wake of All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love coming forward about their mental health challenges, the league and the players’ union combined to tell players to speak out on the issue and take advantage of the services offered.
For @TheAthleticNBA and @WatchStadium: NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michelle Roberts co-authored a preseason letter obtained, encouraging players to utilize increased resources for personal development and newly-enhanced mental wellness programs.
Commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michelle Roberts tell all players in letter today: "It’s the power to make a difference that’s long been part of the NBA and the Players Association and that matters now more than ever." https://t.co/8TV9VOnghD
Kevin Love is doing more than just that, he has formed the Kevin Love Fund to help change the stigma around mental health issues. The fund has partners such as Headspace, with the focus being on prioritizing mental health awareness. He went on the Today Show on NBC to talk about it.
“We’re beating down the stigma as much as we can.”-@kevinlove dropped by to tell us about his new initiative to help people improve their physical and emotional well-being, the Kevin Love Fund pic.twitter.com/NRSH2CIccZ
Filling the 76ers vacant general manager position dragged out all summer for one main reason:
They liked what they already had in-house. The Sixers were an especially collegial and collaborative group with their decision making, and if they brought in a big name from the outside — former Cavaliers’ GM David Griffin, or the two guys who went deep into the interview process Utah assistant GM Justin Zanik on Rockets VP Gersson Rosas — it would change that dynamic.
There were other title changes within the organization as well.
Beyond promoting Brand to GM, Sixers are elevating Alex Rucker to Executive VP of Basketball Operations, Ned Cohen stays assistant GM and Marc Eversley SVP of Player Personnel, sources said. https://t.co/XL9Ij5U4zV
What this means on the ground is don’t expect any significant changes with the Sixers’ plans — nor should there be. They are banking on Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz — now with a functional jump shot, they hope — to be at the core of a contending team, then next summer they will go big game hunting again for an elite free agent. (There is more pressure to get a deal done this summer before the big extensions for those young stars start to really kick in.) That said, this is a team poised on the brink of a great run.
And if things are going well, why make a dramatic change? Brand can help them on the course already set.
Pat Riley: Dion Waiters not recovered for start of training camp, “unlikely” for start of season
When Dion Waiters had ankle surgery 30 games into last season, the hope was that he would be healthy for the start of this season and return to the post All-Star form of 2017, when his hot play (15.6 points per game, 41 percent from three and carrying a heavy offensive load) led the Heat to offer him a four-year contract.
Turns out, that’s not going to happen.
Heat announce that Dion Waiters, still recovering from ankle surgery, will not be ready for start of training camp and is "unlikely" to be ready to start the season. pic.twitter.com/Mx5zts1dsR
Waiters being out also is bad news for the player but could save the franchise money on another front: Waiters receives a $1.1 million bonus if he plays in 70 games this season. If he misses the start of the season, he becomes far less likely to make that threshold.