The big news today is actually no news. After his big announcement that he was going to make an anouncement about when he was going to have surgery on his pinkie, Kobe Bryant finally said that he isn't going to have surgery on the pinkie finger. He is going to bear the pain and put off the surgery so he won't miss any of training camp. While on the one hand this is admirable that he doesn't want to win time, this guy is such a prima donna. Why didn't he just say I am not going to have surgery instead of making an announcement that he was going to make an announcement. Talk about a media hog.
Coaches are getting rewarded for their successful seasons. It doesn't get any more successful than winning a championship and Doc Rivers was given a 2 year extension through the 2010-2011 season. Maurice Cheeks was also rewarded for the Sixers' success last season with his second contract extension in seven months. Details were not released, but it is believed that the extension will keep Cheeks on the Sixers’ sideline through 2010. The Sixers will have an even better roster this season and have been picked by some to unseat the Celtics as Atlantic Division champions.
In good news for the players, the NBA has canceled development of their new composite ball and will be sticking with leather for at least the foreseeable future. The NBA introduced a composite ball at the start of the 2006-07 season but the players complained that the ball was slippery when it got wet from perspiration and some players, particularly point guards were complaining of tiny cuts left on their fingertips from the balls which forced the league to return to the old leather balls in January of the 2007. The plan now is to develop a two-paneled ball, rather than the current eight-panel model. They will introduce the two paneled ball in the D-League next season.
Mario Chalmers won't be suspended for the incident that got him kicked out of rookie orientation last week. Chalmers' penalty will be a $20,000 fine, as well as the requirement that he repeat the program next year. Chalmers and Darrell Walker were caught with women along with evidence of marijuana use in their room at the rookie transition program, both of which were against the rules and got them kicked out of the program. Both Chalmers and Walker have denied using marijuana, but they now have that reputation to live down. Chalmers is back in South Florida and working out with the Miami coaching staff.
The Orlando Magic are close to signing a point guard. They are looking for a third point guard to back up Jameer Nelson and and Anthony Johnson. Free agents Eddie Gill and Mike Wilks are said to be in the mix to fill the spot. The team is also likely to bring in another wing player and another big man for training camp.
Amare Stoudamire is fired up for this season. He is in the best shape of his career and has been working hard in the offseason to make a difference for the Suns this coming season. He is talking about and working on his defense and has declared his passion for the game to be at an all-time high. He plans to be a ferocious defender this season, one that guys fear when they see him guarding them. The Suns could really use this type of defensive presence. They have had one of the top offenses in the league with their run and gun style, but could never get the stops when needed. With new coach Terry Porter, they may just be able to put it all together with a defense to match their offense.
Look out for the Toronto Raptors this season. They already have one of my favorite non-Celtic players in Chris Bosh, and they traded for Jermaine O'Neal this summer. Their GM is talking about moving Andrea Bargnani to small forward and putting out one of the tallest front lines in the league. Bosh, Bargnani and O'Neal would form a triple towers that would force some matchup nightmares for other teams.
The Knicks are still pondering the deal with the Grizzlies that would allow them to finally dump Zach Randolph and move one more step away from the Isiah Thomas era in New York. The hold up is that the Grizzlies want a first round draft pick along to take Randolph off their hands and send Darko Milicic and Marko Jaric to New York. The Clippers would have taken Randolph off their hands earlier but wanted a first round pick to do so and the Knicks nixed the deal moving the Clippers to bring in Marcus Camby instead. Still, it seems as though the deal is going to get done as Darko was quoted on a Serbian website saying it was 99% certain that he was going to be a Knick. Mike D'Antoni has a way of filling his rosters with European players one way or the other.
The summer injuries and surgeries continue as the Trailblazers have announced that forward Channing Frye will be out of action until at least November after surgery on Monday to remove bone spurs from his left ankle. Frye was expected to enter training camp as the backup power forward to LaMarcus Aldridge but that plan will have to wait awhile now. The Blazers have quietly gone about building a very talented young team, partly with help from Danny Ainge's desire to dump his lottery picks. They are going to be a dangerous team. Danny seems to be getting them back though with the signing of Darius Miles who could not only possibly help the Celtics if he is healthy, but eat up a good portion of the Blazers' cap space if he plays in 10 games this season.
Heat guard Jason Richardsis going to miss the season with a torn ACL. Richards was signed as an undrafted rookie who was expected to Marcus Banks and rookie Mario Chalmers at the point. Seems like the Heat may be in for some point guard trouble. Marcus Banks has been a bust at every stop so far and Mario Chalmers is off to a rocky start by getting thrown out of the rookie transition program. Dwyane Wade is high on Chalmers and would like to see him start. Seeing that Banks is their only other option at this point, that might not be a bad idea. The Heat have made 2 offers to restricted free agent point guard Chris Quinn and he is expected to be signed by the team and could challenge for the back up spot.
With 16 days left until training camp starts, there are 17 Nets players at their training facility working on conditioning, chemistry, and skill development since no supervised scrimmages are allowed as yet. Eduardo Najera who is running his basketball camp in Mexico and Stromile Swift who is aiding hurricane relief efforts in Louisiana are the only players not already working out for the team. This team may be young and there are a lot of questions surrounding them, but they have the hunger that the Celtics had last season and that could make them dangerous. One of the questions facing the Nets will be how Yi will fare after a grueling summer playing on the Chinese National team. He seemed tired last season and seemed to run out of steam and it remains to be seen how he will fare in a season after playing in the Olympics.