HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
Paul George Not Sweating Derrick Rose
By Bill Ingram
Earlier this week, much was made of the fact that Chicago Bulls All-Star point guard Derrick Rose said he didn’t feel the defending Central Division champion Indiana Pacers are one of his team’s rivals.
“People say that it’s a rivalry, but I don’t really see it,” Rose told ESPN before scoring 32 points in a 103-98 preseason win over the Pacers. “I say the team that is more like a rivalry is when Darren Collison was on the team. That one was more like a rivalry, but this team is a great team. They’ve already proven themselves last year by making it to the Eastern Conference Finals … If anything, by probably in a year or two, it could become a rival, but right now, people say it’s a rival … I just don’t see it right now.”
Rose went on to say that the only team he really sees as a rival is the defending NBA champion Miami HEAT, and while Danny Granger and George Hill subsequently went on the record saying they feel like the Bulls are a big rival, Pacers All-Star forward Paul George told HOOPSWORLD recently that he doesn’t see the Rose’s Bulls as a rival, either.
Is Eric Gordon Finally Healthy?
By Steve Kyler
For the first time in as many years has he can remember New Orleans guard Eric Gordon is walking into the first regular season game without a major injury or rehab in his immediate future. The oft-injured guard was the center piece of the 2011 Chris Paul trade that landed Gordon, forward Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman and a 2012 first round pick (Austin Rivers) in New Orleans. Kaman has since left the team via free agency but Gordon, Aminu and Rivers remain.
Gordon has battled a series of debilitating knee injuries that have many doubting his durability and longevity, but Gordon, who missed a few preseason games due to knee soreness, says he’s actually as healthy has he’s been in a long time and that giving him optimism about the season.
Why NBA Teams Sign Players They Don’t Want
By Mark Deeks
The vast majority of players signed for training camp are signed to contracts without any guaranteed compensation on them.
This, certainly, is no surprise, as it has long been known that most players signed for training camp are not expected to make the team. A few players have fairly nominal guaranteed portions – for example, Dee Bost received $50,000 from Portland, Dewayne Dedmon $25,000 from Golden State, and Trent Lockett $35,000 from Sacramento. Most, however, do not. Teams are not involved in bidding wars for the Trey McKinney-Jones and Carlos Morais types, and thus there is no incentive to give any guaranteed money away.
Not all non-guaranteed contracts are the same, however. Some utilize a contract provision called Exhibit 9. Unless you’re an agent, it is a little known device of potentially huge importance.
Tyreke Evans Enjoying Fresh Start
By Alex Kennedy
As Tyreke Evans went through the free agency process and had to decide which team he’d sign an offer sheet with, the 24-year-old was reminded of a similar recruitment that he had experienced years earlier.
In high school, Evans was a five-star recruit and one of the best players in the country, so he received interest from a number of top programs. Memphis, Connecticut, Louisville, North Carolina, Texas, Villanova and many other colleges wanted Evans to commit. After considering his options, Evans decided to join John Calipari at Memphis for one season before leaving for the NBA.
As a restricted free agent in July, Evans met with a number of teams including the New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks among others. After weighing his offers, Evans signed an offer sheet with the Pelicans worth $44 million over four years. The Sacramento Kings’ brass, who had the chance to match the offer, decided to let him go to New Orleans.
Evans couldn’t help but draw parallels between the two processes.
West, Pacers Have Sense Of Urgency
By Yannis Koutroupis
The 2013-14 NBA season kicks off tonight with a three-game slate that starts with the Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are one of the few Eastern Conference teams going into the season with the confidence that they can beat the two-time defending champion Miami HEAT – or anyone else in the league for that matter.
However, after coming so close to accomplishing that feat last season, they understand that in order to surpass that they have to take every game, including tonight’s against Orlando, very seriously as homecourt advantage could end up being quite vital in the playoffs. It certainly was last year when the Pacers were forced to play a decisive Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals on the road in Miami, where they ultimately came up short.
Aging Luis Scola Talks Future
By Lang Greene
It is the life of every aging NBA veteran. Pressurized ice packs, daily massages from the training staff and the vital pre-workout stretch regimens are essential to cope with the rigors of the 82 game NBA regular season grind. During this process it is absolutely normal for veteran guys to start contemplating retirement as the notable signs of father time start to set in.
Indiana Pacers forward Luis Scola, 33, is no exception to the rule. The veteran has logged six NBA seasons, missing only eight games during this span, and also boasts plenty of international accolades (and mileage) on his mantle.
Scola readily admits he had numerous conversations with recently retired professional players during the offseason in an effort to gauge when those players knew it was time to hang up the laces for good. Scola says while the thought of retirement has crossed his mind, he still has more left to give before walking away from the game.
Kobe Bryant Willing To Adjust Game
By Jabari Davis
Unfamiliar times are abound around Los Angeles, as Kobe Bryant has yet to don his customary #24 Lakers jersey. Having recently elected to scale back his Achilles rehab while offering no updated timetable, the uncertainty surrounding Bryant has predictably caused significant reactions from both his detractors and his most ardent supporters alike.
“It’s always a concern,” Bryant said in his opening-night sideline interview with TNT’s Craig Sager. “It’s always going to be in the back of your mind. You gotta be able to let that go, like Dominique (Wilkins) did, and go out there and just play, and let it all hang out.”
Bryant seemed at ease with the decision to delay his return in an effort to ensure a full recovery. Not that he should be expected to panic, having endured what seems to be an innumerable amount of injuries throughout his career.
Although Bryant has always been able to come up with a move and counter-move for just about every scenario the game of basketball can throw at a player, there are a considerable amount of analysts and experts that seem to anticipate Bryant having a significant drop in productivity whenever he is able to return to the court.
Sixers, Suns Still Armed With Cap Room
By Eric Pincus
The 2013-14 NBA season kicked off on Tuesday night. In recent days and weeks, teams have whittled their training camp rosters down to 13 to 15 players.
Now that the rosters are (temporarily) final, a few teams still have spending power — notably the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns. Both teams still have a lot of cap room to work with.
Philadelphia is at $47.8 million in total payroll, still about $5 million under the league minimum of $52.8 million. If the Sixers don’t add salary before end of the season, that $5 million shortfall will be distributed to the players on the roster.
That leaves between $10.9 and $13.6 million in spending power for Philadelphia.
After the Suns traded Marcin Gortat and others to the Washington Wizards, Phoenix can still boast $5.7-$6.2 million in cap room with their payroll at $53.0 million.
NBA Rookie Watch: 10/31/13
By Joel Brigham
Now that every team in the NBA has played at least one regular season game, HOOPSWORLD’s weekly rookie rankings can start to take form. The problem is that after only one game, the form they’re taking isn’t a particularly attractive one. With just a couple of exceptions, the rookies got off to a slow start on opening night, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t seen flashes of attractive qualities.
That said, most of these kids have a ton of work to do. Here is how the Rookie of the Year race is shaping up with 81 games to go:
The Return of the Real Tyson Chandler
By Tommy Beer
The end of last season – a bitterly disappointing defeat in Indiana, which eliminated New York from the playoffs – left a terrible taste in the mouths of all Knickerbockers, but it is likely no player took it more personally than Tyson Chandler.
Chandler was shockingly and thoroughly outplayed by Pacers center Roy Hibbert, as Indiana steamrolled past New York and into the Eastern Conference Finals. Despite dealing with a nagging neck injury and a bout with the flu that had sapped his energy and left him 10 pounds under his ideal playing weight, Chandler did not make excuses back in May.
Yet, the first time he had an opportunity to address reporters this season (back on Media Day prior to the start of training camp), Chandler let it be known that last season’s embarrassment would be fuel for this season’s fire.
Four Days In: Around The NBA, Part One
By Nate Duncan
Now that each team has played at least twice, enough time has passed to make some observations, big and small, on teams around the league. Without further ado, welcome to part one of HOOPSWORLD’s look around the league after four days of games.