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Hornets’ Kaminsky healthy again after ‘miserable process’

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Frank Kaminsky never expected to be hospitalized for four days in June of 2016 with tubes running in and out of his chest following surgery to repair an air pocket in his lung.

He never expected to spend two months doing little else than sitting on his couch wheezing because it hurt to breathe. He never expected to lose 20 pounds and have his muscle mass deteriorate. And he never expected it would affect him mentally like it did.

“They said it was going to be this minor procedure and it ended up being this thing where I was in a lot of pain,” Kaminsky said.

Kaminsky is breathing a little easier this year – literally.

He ran through drills feeling healthy and conditioned as the Hornets opened training camp on Tuesday, a far cry from where he was this time a year ago.

“He looks really good now – bigger, stronger and he’s put a lot of work into his skill level,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said Tuesday.

Kaminsky is just happy to be healthy – physically and mentally.

Along with the physical pain, the Hornets’ former first-round draft pick said the surgery started to affect his mind knowing the regular season was approaching and he was falling behind his teammates and other players around the league in his conditioning. He’d regularly call his mother and plead with her to hang out with him just to pass the time.

“I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat,” Kaminsky said. “I didn’t take any of the pain medicine. It was a whole miserable process.”

All the while the season opener in October approached like a ticking clock.

“I was really losing my mind,” Kaminsky said. “I was calling doctors telling them, `I’m ready. I feel fine. I want to go workout.’ They were like, `No, you need to let yourself heal and recover.’ I remember having so many nights where I was worried about getting back into shape that I couldn’t physically fall asleep. All of that caught up to me and I had somewhat of a mental breakdown.”

Kaminsky said he kept telling himself that he would get back to where he was before surgery.

Once cleared to being working out in August, he started an intense regimen designed to get him ready for the season.

He worked hard. Too hard.

He nearly worked himself to the point of exhaustion.

“I tried to put a whole offseason’s worth of work into a month-and-a-half,” Kaminsky said. “It didn’t work out so well.”

The 7-foot, 242-pound Kaminsky did make it back in time for the season opener and had six straight double-digit scoring games, but was feeling worse as the games passed. He spent more time worrying about his chest and his conditioning than rehabbing other parts of his body after games and it affected his play.

It wasn’t until a couple of months into the season that he began to feel normal.

“I remember starting the season not feeling great and waking up in the morning so tired,” Kaminsky said. “I was working so hard to get back to where I was that I was burning myself out day after day.”

Kaminsky still wound up playing in 75 games with 16 starts in his second NBA season with the Hornets. He averaged a respectable 11.7 points and 4.5 rebounds while playing 26 minutes per game, but he shot less than 40 percent from the field. He shot 32.8 percent from 3-point range. But he said he can play much better.

Clifford agrees.

He said Kaminsky looks like an entirely different player this year.

“His body was actually different” last year, Clifford said.

Mentally, Kaminsky is back where he belongs, too – and he feels there are big things ahead of him.

“Having this offseason where I haven’t had a single setback,” Kaminsky said, “I’m excited about what I will be able to do this year.”

 

Cavaliers reportedly talking trade sending Kyle Korver to Sixers

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Philadelphia struck out going big game hunting this off-season — LeBron James, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard all ended up elsewhere. The Sixers decided to trade for Wilson Chandler (absorbing him into their cap space) and re-signed J.J. Redick, but they have continued to look for the right trade.

That could involve adding Kyle Korver.

From Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

According to a league source, the team has had discussions about trading Jerryd Bayless to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kyle Korver.

That move would enable the Sixers to bring back a fan favorite who’s one of the league’s top three-point shooters.  He would be an upgrade from former Sixer Marco Belinelli, who signed as a free agent  with the San Antonio Spurs earlier this month.

This trade is still in the talking phase.

That this was leaked means an agent of one of the teams involved wants to see the deal done and hopes leaking it puts enough pressure on one or both sides to get it done.

For the Sixers it makes sense on the court, they get out of a contract in Bayless they have tried to trade for a year, and they bring in a sharpshooter who can fit within their system and add bench scoring.

For the Cavaliers, they have to be getting a pick or picks of some kind back in this trade (probably a second round or multiple second-round picks, of which the Sixers have several besides their own in the next couple of drafts).

Something to watch as we head into the weekend, to see if this deal can get done.

Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t believe in the NBA 2K cover curse

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Milwaukee Bucks superstar at Giannis Antetokounmpo will bless this year’s cover of NBA 2K19. It’s a big deal for the Greek Freak, who has come a long way since be a heralded prospect after being drafted in 2013.

Antetokounmpo is also apparently aware of the noted curse from the 2K franchise. That is, that former players who have been on the cover in years past have notoriously ended up in different jerseys shortly after getting selected for the honor.

LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, Paul George, and Kevin Durant all left their respective teams shortly after being featured on the cover.

Antetokounmpo signed a contract extension in 2016 that runs through the 2020-2021 season. Unless something goes horribly wrong, there’s no reason to think that he will be gone anytime soon.

But is the cover curse real? People certainly seem to think the Madden one is.

Lakers fan paints another LeBron James mural in Los Angeles (PHOTO)

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There was already one LeBron James mural in Los Angeles. Several people decided to attack it with paint, ruining a nice gesture by a local artist in Venice and proving how annoying (presumed) Kobe Bryant fans can be.

Now, there is another mural in LA and this time it paid a little more attention to former Lakers legends. Hopefully this time around the subject matter will help stave off would-be vandals.

Via Twitter:

This LeBron piece was done by another Venice muralist, Gustavo Zermeño Jr., who posted photos of his work. In it, LeBron is seen looking up at Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

No doubt that should satisfy some Lakers purists around the area, at least enough to keep them from throwing white paint all over it and ruining and impressive piece of artwork that took the artist a long time to create.

Lakers fan should just be happy that LeBron is in their state.

Clippers sign free agent Luc Mbah a Moute for second stint

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LOS ANGELES — Luc Mbah a Moute is back with the Los Angeles Clippers, signing a free-agent deal.

The 31-year-old forward averaged 7.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.18 steals in 61 games for Houston last season.

Mbah a Moute played two seasons for the Clippers from 2015-17, averaging 4.6 points and 2.2 rebounds in 155 games, including 137 starts.

He was selected 37th overall by Milwaukee in 2008 after three seasons at UCLA. Besides the Clippers and Rockets, Mbah a Moute has played 10 seasons with Milwaukee, Sacramento, Minnesota and Philadelphia.

Terms of the deal announced Thursday were not announced.