At the beginning of the off season, Sam Cassell was planning to return to the Celtics this season as a player/ assistant coach in training and then join Doc's staff next season. With the resigning of House and Allen and Danny's expectations that Pruitt will contribute more this season, it seems that Sam will need to find employment elsewhere. After signing Giddens, the team has 2 spots left. Hopefully one goes to Bill Walker and the other would go to either a veteran back up small forward or center and not to a back up point guard. Rumor is that Sam will sign with Denver and fullfil his plans to play one more year as a player at the veteran's minimum and get some coaching training under his former Milwaukee coach George Karl.
In spite of being mentioned in rumors tied to several teams, Shaun Livingston still hasn't been picked up by a team. He is still working hard on rehab, but in spite of 18 months of hard work, he is still unable to play five-on-five despite extensive rehabilitation. Teams are going to wait until they know for sure that he will be able to play. Livingston has a ton of potential as a 6'7" point guard, but injuries have derailed his career and teams are going to wait to see if he can play again before offering a contract.
Delonte West has proved that he can play in the league but he has also been plagued with assorted injuries in his career. I mean, how many players get sidelined with a toe infection? Much of what fuels his injuries is his way of playing all out all the time as he throws his body into bigger players. He is a tough player and deserves better than what teams have done with him. He was key to getting Ray Allen in Boston, but the Sonics didn't give Delonte a chance. Then he finally got a chance to play in Cleveland and did so admirably, but they have pretty much thrown him by the wayside, giving their back up point guard a bigger contract than they offered him. Delonte should take the qualifying offer and see what he can get next season on the open market. I would love to see the Celtics bring him back.
Another former Celtic (although very briefly), Luke Jackson has been working out for the Blazers and reports are that he will sign with them and become the 15th player on their roster going into training camp. Jackson can score and is good from beyond the arc, but he is a defensive liability. Still he would be good for a team that needs instant offense off the bench.
With Alonzo Mourning still rehabbing and his situation uncertain and Mark Blount as their main option at center (better them than us), the Heat are looking for some help at the center position. Jamaal Magloire is scheduled for a Wednesday visit in Miami. Magloire has averaged 8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds in his career but played in just 31 games last season, joining Dallas after New Jersey cut him in February. But if you're Miami, anyone has to look better than Skippy (I'll get the rebound if I don't have to work for it) Blount.
The Knicks' first round draft pick, Danilo Gallinari, is still hurting. Gallinari played in just one summer-league game, injuring his back in his only outing. He has now withdrawn from the Italian National Team, which begins its Eurobasket Qualifier tournament vs. Serbia today. The Knicks are hopeful that Gallinari will be healthy and ready to play by their training camp, but questions still remain as to whether he will be sturdy enough to withstand the rigors of playing in the NBA.
Yesterday, the Nets had 14 players in their practice facility working out and preparing for the upcoming season. They are getting an early start at building chemistry with so many new faces on the roster. As reported previously, the Wolves have 9 players working out on a regular basis. Last season it was the Celtics all in Boston early and working out together. But this season, Paul Pierce is still celebrating. KG hasn't been heard from but is probably workout out somewhere and Ray Allen is getting married. Only a few of the young players have been in Boston working on their game. Other teams are working hard to try to jump past Boston and if the Celtics think in the least that they can rest on their laurels, they are going to be very much surprised by these other teams who have the hunger that we saw in the Celtics last season.
Team USA was back in action this morning in a rather chippy game against Australia that got pretty rough at times. Although the Australians stayed with the Americans early, Team USA pulled ahead for an easy 116-85 win to pull within 2 wins of their goal of winning the gold. Kobe lead 6 players in double figures with 25 points. They will face the winner of the game between Argentina and Greece in the semi-finals. Beating either team would give the American team some degree of satisfaction and revenge.
Croatian guard Gordan Giricek, who has averaged nearly 10 points per game since joining the NBA in 2002, has become the latest player to leave the league for a bigger payday. Giricek finished last season as a member of the Phoenix Suns. On Tuesday, the 6-foot-6 shooting guard signed a two-year contract -- with an option to return to the NBA next summer -- with Turkey's premier club, Fenerbahce. He passed on an offer from the Spurs that was much less than he will earn with the Turkish club.
Goran Dragic is another step closer to signing a contract with the Suns as he passed his physical Tuesday, but has to go back home without signing a contract because he still needs to work out the formal details of his buyout and obtains a work visa to return to the USA. The Suns offered Dragic a contract that is usually reserved for lottery picks instead of second-rounders but most of the money he’ll make this year (about $1.4 million) is going toward securing his release from his Spanish club. His goal this season is not to become rich, but to prove that he can play in the NBA. The Suns certainly are keeping their fingers crossed that he can. Their last attempt at finding Steve Nash's back up and eventual successor didn't work out so well as Marcus Banks ended up a bust. But then again, the Celtics could have told them that and saved them the trouble. And they must still be kicking themselves for passing Rondo on to the Celtics. Dragic will get plenty of opportunity to prove he belongs as he will be Nash's main backup and will get plenty of minutes as they try to keep Nash fresh for the playoffs. With the sudden departure of Dragic, Tau Ceramica is looking at former Knicks guard Fred Jones as a replacement.