NBA AM: Aging Luis Scola Talks Future
Pacers forward Luis Scola Talks Retirement, Future Plans
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.
“Well I’ve had conversations with some people who have recently retired and I don’t feel close to retirement,” Scola told HOOPSWORLD about the subject of retirement. “But I don’t know how quick the process is. I know it’s normal that you’ll start to feel like ‘this is it I just can’t do it anymore.’ I don’t feel like I’m close to that moment. But I just don’t know how quick this process takes hold. Hopefully the process is long so I have more years.”
The Pacers acquired Scola from Phoenix in July in exchange for Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee and a future first round pick. Scola is set to earn $4.5 million this season. He is also on the Pacers’ books for $4.9 million next season, but the deal isn’t fully guaranteed.
Scola says there is no doubt in his mind that he at least plans to honor the remaining two years of his deal.
“I’m going to play next year for sure and I’d love to play more than that,” Scola said. “I feel very strong physically and mentally. I feel well. This is a good stage physically for me in my career.”
Scola was the marquee acquisition of the Pacers this past summer and the club also added guard C.J. Watson and forward Chris Copeland in an effort to strengthen the bench unit which faltered in the playoffs this past season.
Scola feels the team is at the cusp of something special.
“I see a very talented team,” Scola says referencing his new team. “I think we have a great chance. This is a team that has already been playing at a high level and has already gotten far in the postseason. So there’s a lot of ground [already] covered. The team is still looking for that last step from being a very good team to a great team to a championship team – a team to be remembered. I think that’s one of the reasons me and some of the new guys are here.
“I will do everything in my power to be that [missing piece]. I don’t know if that will be the case, but I will definitely try very hard to be that piece.”
The Pacers opened the season on Tuesday night at home versus the Orlando Magic. Indiana recorded a 97-87 victory and Scola scored eight points in 21 minutes during his official Pacers debut.
The Miami HEAT received their championship rings last night and then proceeded to handle the Chicago Bulls. Click here to see a recap of the night in photos!
Westbrook Returning to Oklahoma City Lineup In Two Weeks?
During the first five regular seasons of All-Star guard Russell Westbrook’s career he never missed a contest. The ironman streak came to an abrupt in end during Oklahoma City’s opening round playoff matchup versus Houston last season. Westbrook suffered a torn meniscus and was forced to sit out the remainder of the postseason.
Initial estimates slated Westbrook to be fully ready by the start of training camp but a loose stitch in his rehabilitated knee required a second surgery. The Thunder initially expected Westbrook to miss the first 6-8 weeks of the regular season after the second surgical procedure on the knee, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports he may be in Oklahoma City’s lineup within two weeks.
The report cites league sources who referenced Westbrook’s explosive play during recent Oklahoma City practices. If the new estimates on Westbrook’s return hold true, he may miss less than 10 games.
In two weeks, the Thunder will embark on a three game road trip beginning on November 13 versus Los Angeles (Clippers), Golden State and Milwaukee.
The club hasn’t announced whether Westbrook would return to action during that road trip or whether they would opt to wait to until the team returns home to host Denver on November 18.
Stephen Curry Strapping Warriors To His Back
The Golden State Warriors are one of the toughest teams to gauge heading into the 2013-14 campaign. On one hand you can make an argument the team is ready to add its name to the short list of legitimate title contenders, on the other you could make the argument the squad is missing one more ingredient in its championship stew.
Yes, the club added former All-Star Andre Iguodala during the offseason. Yes, Andrew Bogut is finally healthy. Yes, the team should experience organic growth from younger players such as Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes.
But the true lynchpin for the Warriors and their future success is riding heavily on the continued development of its star player, point guard Stephen Curry.
Warriors head coach Mark Jackson believes Curry can get even better.
“He’s taking it to a different level,” Jackson told Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury News. “Now it’s about building on what he was able to do last year. He’s up for the challenge, and we believe in him.”
Curry was arguably snubbed from a spot on Western Conference’s All-Star team last season, but responded with post All-Star break averages of 26 points, 7.4 assists and 4 rebounds on 46 percent shooting from three-point range – officially putting the league on notice.
Curry expects to improve even more this season since he was able to work freely on his game over the summer without a lingering injury limiting him.
“This was my first summer in three summers that I have been healthy,” Curry said. “So I was able to take advantage of the entire summer and get my body ready for the season. … About four to five hours in the gym, five days a week, mixing up lifting, agility, conditioning and court work. We go pretty hard in the summer.”
The Warriors open the season at home October 30 versus the Los Angeles Lakers.