Markelle Fultz will miss start of training camp, at least, with broken toe

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The basketball gods continue to turn their backs on Markelle Fultz.

A torn ACL had limited him to 26 games over the past two seasons, but he was healthy and ramping up to a larger role this season with a young and interesting Magic team. Then came the news he fractured his left big toe during a training session. As a result, he will be out for at least the start of training camp, the team announced. From the official announcement:

“He has been placed in a walking boot and his return to play will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation and treatment. Fultz suffered the injury during a preseason workout prior to returning to Orlando and imaging confirmed the fracture.

He will not need surgery, according to the team.

Fultz was set to split point guard duties with Cole Anthony, this injury means RJ Hampton could see more run at the point for now. Fultz should be able to return either during the end of the preseason or early in the season.

Fultz was the No.1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft but never found his footing with the 76ers (in part due to injury). However, since getting out of that spotlight and allowed to develop in Orlando he’s been a solid rotation point guard when healthy. Last season in 18 games he averaged 10.8 points and 5.5 assists a game, and while he’s still not an efficient shooter he can run a team.

How Anthony and, eventually, Fultz will work off the ball as rookie Paolo Banchero gets the opportunity to create more offense will be just one of the interesting things to watch with this Magic team this year. We’ll have to wait a little while to see Fultz.

 

Orlando Magic guard Gary Harris suffers torn mensicus

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Gary Harris was finally, mostly healthy last season in Orlando. After two seasons where he played a total of 39 games due to injuries, last season he played in 61 and averaged 11.1 points per game with a respectable 57.1 true shooting percentage. It’s why the Magic signed the 3&D guard to a two-year contract this past offseason (the second season is not guaranteed).

All of which makes this new report even worse: Harris has torn the meniscus in his left knee, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (and confirmed by Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel).

This will likely involve surgery for Harris, but how long he is out depends on where the tear is and how severe it is. Harris could be out just a couple of months, or it could be much longer.

Harris is one of a few veterans on the Magic roster who the team is willing to trade for more draft picks or young players to help with their rebuild (Terrence Ross is also on that list, along with possibly Mo Bamba). Teams will now back of dealing for Harris until they hear more about his return timeline.

Watch highlights from star-studded Crawsover pro am in Seattle, which was cut short

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LeBron James. Jayson Tatum. Aaron Gordon. Dejounte Murray. Paolo Banchero. Chet Holmgren. Isaiah Thomas. MarJon Beauchamp. Tari Eason.

The “Crawsover” pro am in Seattle — put on by former NBA star Jamal Crawford in his hometown — was star-studded like never before on Sunday. LeBron was mobbed just walking in the door.

There were about 3,000 fans in the building — the game was streamed live on NBA.com and the NBA app — and the fans got a show for a little while.

However, the game was cut short for the safety of the players because of condensation on the floor, making it wet and slippery. It was a humid day for Seattle, and combined with the crowded gym, wet spots started appearing on the court. While the crew tried to mop them up new ones would appear just as fast. Players were concerned, and when Beauchamp slipped and fell in the second quarter, the players decided the risk of injury was too great and called the game off.

Dejounte Murray made a push this summer for more NBA players to play in pro-ams, saying the people who attend these low-cost games — the Crawsover is free to fans — in smaller gyms are fans who often can’t afford a high-priced NBA ticket. It’s a way for the players to give back and be with some of the game’s biggest fans. Those comments seemed to resonate with players — this was LeBron’s second pro am of the summer.

Murray and Banchero, who seemed to have a beef starting during an earlier pro-am this summer, squashed that and were all good on Saturday in Seattle (this video also shows the slipping issue).

It was a historic day cut short in a Seattle gym, but a historic day nonetheless.

List of 34 NBA players expected to take part in EuroBasket next month

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Already in the tune-up games, Luka Doncic seems to have developed a running hook shot, while Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brothers are dominating for Greece.

There will be a lot of NBA talent playing in EuroBasket — 34 NBA players are currently set to play for their teams in the European championships next month. Thanks to Johnny Askounis at EuroHoops, we have a list of them now.

Here are the NBA players currently scheduled to play in EuroBasket:

Bosnia and Herzegovina:
Jusuf Nurkic (Portland Trail Blazers)
Croatia:
Bojan Bogdanovic (Utah Jazz)
Dario Saric (Phoenix Suns)
Ivica Zubac (Los Angeles Clippers)
Czech Republic:
Vit Krejci (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Finland:
Lauri Markkanen (Cleveland Cavaliers)
France:
Evan Fournier (New York Knicks)
Rudy Gobert (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Theo Maledon (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Georgia:
Goga Bitadze (Indiana Pacers)
Sandro Mamukelashvili (Milwaukee Bucks)
Germany:
Daniel Theis (Indiana Pacers)
Franz Wagner (Orlando Magic)
Greece:
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
Tyler Dorsey (Dallas Mavericks)
Israel:
Deni Avdija (Washington Wizards)
Italy:
Simone Fontecchio (Utah Jazz)
Danilo Gallinari (Boston Celtics)
Lithuania:
Domantas Sabonis (Sacramento Kings)
Jonas Valanciunas (New Orleans Pelicans)
Montenegro:
Marko Simonovic (Chicago Bulls)
Serbia:
Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
Slovenia:
Vlatko Cancar (Denver Nuggets)
Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
Goran Dragic (Chicago Bulls)
Spain:
Usman Garuba (Houston Rockets)
Juancho Hernangomez (Toronto Raptors)
Willy Hernangomez (New Orleans Pelicans)
Turkey:
Furkan Korkmaz (Philadelphia Sixers)
Cedi Osman (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Alperen Sengun (Houston Rockets)
Ukraine:
Alex Len (Sacramento Kings)
Svi Mykhailiuk (Toronto Raptors)

The Milwaukee Bucks have the most players in the tournament with three, led by the Antetokounmpo brothers.

 

2022 NBA Schedule release: 13 must-watch games this season

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All NBA games are not created equal.

There will be 1,230 NBA games played this season, but only a select few will have the star power, the drama, the intensity, and the jeopardy for teams that draws us in to watch games. What follows is a list of 13 must-watch NBA games this season, ones where your parents should set their DVRs (and you should remember to catch the stream).

Oct. 18: 76ers at Celtics

Opening night is supposed to be about the champions — and the Warriors will get their rings while LeBron James looks on — but the more interesting game is the first game of the NBA season. Philadelphia upgraded this offseason (P.J. Tucker, Danuel House, DeAnthony Melton). Boston upgraded this offseason (Malcolm Brogdon, Danilo Gallinari). An opening night showdown will not tell us which of these contenders is coming out of the East, but it will be entertaining.

Oct. 20: Clippers at Lakers

Finally healthy, the Clippers are legitimate title contenders. Maybe the favorites to come out of the West (or second behind the Warriors). Lakers fans hate that their “little brother” franchise is outspending them, gaining a reputation as a serious franchise around the league, and has been better than them on the court for nine of the last 10 seasons. This game gives us a first look at what a fully healthy Clippers could be. It’s also a chance to see how new Lakers coach Darvin Ham’s focus on defense — and running the offense through Anthony Davis — is going. All the Lakers/Clippers games this season will be spicy.

Nov. 1: Magic at Thunder

It’s No.1 pick Paolo Banchero against No.2 pick Chet Holmgren in their first head-to-head meeting (they did not face off at Summer League). Both players landed in a good spot for them. Banchero will have the ball in his hands, asked to do a lot of shot creation in Orlando. The much more raw Holmgren can be brought along slowly and out of the spotlight in Oklahoma City. Beyond the star rookies, it should be an entertaining matchup of young teams with talent trying to figure things out.

Nov. 8: Election Day

This is a trick question — there are no games this day as the NBA promotes getting out and voting for fans and those involved with teams. It’s mostly a symbolic move, but in a nation where too many states are looking for ways to make voting more difficult, this message of openness and inclusion is important.

Dec. 9: Timberwolves at Jazz

Rudy Gobert returns to Utah as a member of what should be a very good Minnesota team. Gobert was traded (for a head-shaking haul of picks) and never pushed his way out of Salt Lake City, he should be welcomed back with cheers. But things are never quite that smooth with Gobert, it seems.

Dec. 10: Celtics at Warriors

In the first NBA Finals rematch (the other is Jan. 19), an improved Celtics team takes on the seasoned Warriors team that out-thought Boston in the Finals. Outside of just the talent involved, these games are interesting because the teams know each other so well and still remember the scouting reports from last June — we get to see more high-level strategy than a traditional regular season game.

Dec. 25: Bucks at Celtics

This is the best of the Christmas Day games — an intense seven-game series carried over from last year’s playoffs. Boston is better and deeper. Milwaukee is healthy and has Khris Middleton back (*knock on wood*). This could be an Eastern Conference Finals preview (Miami and Philly would like to have a word in that conversation) between two evenly matched teams. This has real potential to be the most entertaining, best-played game on Christmas Day.

Dec. 25: Grizzlies at Warriors

There will be trash talked — no team chirped more last season than the Grizzlies, but they backed it up. However, the Warriors got the last word. We get a Christmas Day rematch of this Western Conference playoff series where the young Grizzlies were taught some lessons. How big a step forward is Memphis ready to take? Because the Warriors are not giving up the crown, if Memphis wants it, they will have to rip it out of their hands.

Dec. 27: Knicks at Mavericks

Jalen Brunson returns to Dallas. How will the fans greet him? Brunson was a Mavericks fan favorite and earned his way to a larger payday, then New York came in over the top with an offer that maybe Mark Cuban and Dallas could have matched, but Brunson was going to choose New York anyway. Luka Doncic is poised for a huge season and the Knicks have no answer for him. This should be a fun showdown.

Jan. 16: Heat at Hawks

Atlanta always (and always should) hosts a game on Martin Luther King Jr. day, and this is a fun playoff rematch from last season between the Heat and Hawks. The Heat feel snubbed by the schedule — only 11 national television games, the only team of the final eight not playing on Christmas — and this is the kind of high-profile game where they can make a statement. Atlanta got better this offseason with the addition of Dejounte Murray, but how much better?

Jan. 28: Nuggets at 76ers

Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic takes on two-time MVP runner-up Joel Embed in a battle of the two best centers in the game today. This is an excellent matchup beyond just the bigs: Nuggets are finally healthy with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.; the 76ers upgraded this offseason with Tucker, House and Melton (thanks to James Harden taking a pay cut).

Feb. 27: Heat at 76ers

Welcome to the “tampering bowl.” Allegedly. (I mean, it’s not like we know all 30 teams in the NBA tamper, right?) James Harden opted out of his $47 million contract with the 76ers and the team used that money to upgrade their roster with Tucker — poached from the Heat with a three-year, $33 million deal signed suspiciously early in free agency — among other moves. Then Harden signed a two-year deal worth $68.6 million ($33 million this season), including a player option in that second year. Harden took about a $14 million haircut this coming season. The NBA is investigating.

March 7: Grizzlies at Lakers

Yes, it’s a chance to watch Ja Morant and the young Grizzlies vs. the old (but not as old as last year’s Lakers). However, more importantly, this is the night the Lakers retire Pau Gasol’s No. 16. From Kobe Bryant (via Arash Markazi): “The reality is I don’t win those championships without Pau. The city of L.A. doesn’t have those two championships without Pau Gasol. We know that. Everyone knows that.”