The Celtics were busy on Friday, first with the news that they had signed Darius Miles and then Bill Walker. This gives the Celtics 15 players under contract, the maximum number allowed. So, the roster is complete. There will be some pretty good battles in training camp as several unproven players try to prove that they can do the job. The fact that Miles is able to play again after what was considered a career ending injury shows that he has a lot of motivation and is working hard to make it back to the NBA. Bill Walker, like Leon Powe, has overcome much to make it to the NBA and also has a strong work ethic to come back from injury. Good signings.
Rajon Rondo is back in Boston and working out twice a day to get ready for next season. He is working on his shooting and his conditioning. Bill Walker has been working out here all summer and with a new contract in hand, I expect he will work even harder. JR Giddens is supposed to be in town this week also. Now that he has signed a contract and has much to prove I expect Darius Miles to be in town to work out also. It is just over a month to training camp so hopefully they are all getting serious about working out.
The New Orleans Hornets signed former Cavalier Devin Brown on Friday. Brown played with New Orleans two seasons ago and was brought back to bolster the depth in the backcourt. The move was made following the departure of backup guard Jannero Pargo, who joined a team in Russia. Brown is a versatile player who can play both guard spots (not that they will need him there very much) and can also play both forward spots. Brown averaged 7.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 78 games with Cleveland last season.
Qyntel Woods, a former first round pick of the Blazers, has agreed to a deal with Italian League team Fortitudo Bologna, the same team that signed former Heat center Earl Barron. Woods also played for the Knicks and was a Celtic briefly but was cut before ever playing for them. Woods was also involved in a dog fighting investigation when he was with the Blazers and he pleaded guilty to a animal abuse and was given probation. He also is remembered for offering a police officer his rookie card as ID when he was pulled over for speeding. In spite of all his off court antics, Woods is a talented swingman with decent range.
The Denver Nuggets re-signed guard J.R. Smith to a a three-year deal worth a guaranteed $16.5 million on Friday. Smith was a restricted free agent but didn't have much interest around the league. One of the reasons for the Nuggets dumping Marcus Camby and his contract was to have enough money to keep Smith in the fold.
The San Antonio Spurs officially re-signed Michael Finley on Friday. Finley was one of only 2 players to appear in all 82 games last season for the Spurs. He averaged 10.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists and was an important part of the Spurs' rotation last season. Another Spur had a much rougher day as Manu Ginobili was injured in the game against the USA and is not expected to play in the Bronze medal game against Lithuania.
When Spain meets the USA on Sunday, Jose Calderon will be on the sidelines. A slightly torn adductor muscle kept the Raptor point guard out of Friday’s win over Lithuania and will sideline him for Sunday’s gold medal game against either the United States. Raptors officials are checking up with the Spanish team doctors to find out just how serious the injury is but as of now, it isn't expected to interfere with training camp.
Pistons' GM, Joe Dumars, is saying that the Pistons are done dealing. He doesn't expect any more changes before the season starts. The main core of that team has been together for quite a few years and their chemistry has been one of the things that has made them successful. However, they have come short of the Finals for the last couple years and there was talk of them making big changes by trading Hamilton or Billups. Now it seems that the players have convinced Dumars to keep them together one more year and give new head coach Michael Curry a chance to win with the team as it is.
Darius Miles isn't the only player who is looking to come back from a serious knee injury this season. Shaun Livingston has been working for 18 months since his injury and is expected to be ready to play by training camp. Few point guards have the potential of Livingston as few point guards are 6'7" tall. The team that takes a chance on this kid will reap a big reward if he is indeed healthy again. There are rumors that the Heat may be interested. They have been working out centers, but they definitely could use a point guard as well. There has also been talk of the Lakers taking a look at him.
Just after the Globe printed a nice story about how Shaq's marriage is better than ever and things are on the mend, there comes a story that just makes you shake your head. An Atlanta-area woman took out a restraining order on Shaq on Thursday alleging that he stalked her, threatened her with bodily harm and made harassing phone calls in which he breathed heavily into the phone before hanging up. She said that they ended an affair last month and since then, Shaq has stalked her and harassed her. And to think that Shaq wants to be a police officer. Kind of strange.