Luke Walton Walton underwent surgery in July to remove bone spurs and scar tissue from his right ankle. He is hoping to get medical clearance today to begin workouts and hopes to be 100% by mid October. Of course, I expect Kobe to make an announcement that he will make an announcement that he still plans to play in pain and not get surgery. He can't let someone else get the headlines.
Speaking of the Lakers, they signed guard Brandon Heath, who played last season in France, averaging 12 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 25 games. He played with the Clippers summer league team in Las Vegas and averaged 5.6 points in five games. He probably won't make the team, but will get a chance to show the team why he should in training camp.
Last October, the Bobcats' Sean May had micro-fracture surgery to correct a chronic bone bruise that caused him to miss much of his first 3 seasons. May looks to be in great shape and is ready to get on with the rest of his career, hopefully injury free. He has gotten his weight down between between 265 and 270 pounds. He's playing pickup ball every day at the Charlotte Bobcats training facility, and says he's pain-free from the right knee injury that cost him most of his first three pro seasons.
Another Bobcat who has missed a lot of time due to injuries is Adam Morrison. Morrison missed last season with a torn ACL in his left knee. He is now playing without a brace or pain. As Celtics fans know from their experience with Tony Allen's recovery from an ACL tear, one of the biggest challenges is restoring confidence in the knee on a day to day basis in making the moves he will need to be effective on the court. The Celtics have 4 players on their team now who have overcome serious knee injuries and come back: Leon Powe (3 surgeries), Bill Walker (3 surgeries), Tony Allen (2 surgeries), and Darius Miles (career ending injury).
The Bobcats have always had a young and athletic team and they appear ready to have a strong season this year if May and Morrison are both healthy. The Bobcats' athleticism has always given the Celtics problems and for some reason they have had the Celtics' number. Like the Wolves and Nets, the Bobcats are getting an early start on the season. With three weeks to go until training camp, all but four players under contract were working out and playing in the team's practice facility. They have a new coach and have some great young players and may surprise a lot of teams, not just the Celtics, this season.
There was speculation that Patrick Ewing, Jr would wear his dad's #33 for the Knicks. But now we learn that Ewing Jr. will wear No. 6 when he plays for the Knicks rather than his famous father's 33. Patrick Sr's #33 was retired but had given permission for his son to wear 33 as he did at Georgetown. But, wisely, Jr is going to forge his own path with his own number in the pros and #33 will always belong to his dad.
Deron Washington. the third of the Pistons' three second-round picks, impressed the Pistons' management in Las Vegas with his athleticism and tenacity. He opened more eyes in August when he was working out with the other young Pistons at the practice facility. But, Washington won't be playing with the Pistons this season. He signed a contract to play with Hapoel Holon of the Israeli Premier League and continue to develop his game in Europe. Another of the Pistons' second round picks, Trent Plaisted, signed in July with Angelico Biella of the Italian league. The Celtics had considered letting their second round pick, Bill Walker, play in Europe this season but were so impressed by his workouts in Boston this summer that they decided to keep him with the team.
With the furor over Monta Ellis' accident fading now that he has told his team the truth about how he was injured, the Warriors are back to the business of getting ready for training camp. They signed three undrafted free agents, guard DeMarcus Nelson of Duke, swingman Dion Dowell of Houston, and forward Rob Kurz of Notre Dame. This gives the Warriors 18 players under contract, 3 over the league maximum to start the season.
Shaquille O'Neal has slowed down considerably from his peak as a player, and now he has announced his plans for retirement. He intends to play out the remaining 2 years of his contract with the Suns and then call it quits. His plans after basketball include include going into law enforcement. He has already served as a deputy both in Miami and Phoenix in his off time and he would like to enter some form of law enforcement full time after his career is over.
Sam Cassell has also announced his plans and they took many Celtics fans by surprise. He stated in the Baltimore Sun that he plans to play one more year and will sign a contract next week and then become an assistant coach for the Celtics after the 2008-09 season. The Celtics declined comment on the subject but the team already has 15 players under contract, all of which seem to have a future with the club. Unless Danny has a 2 for 1 trade in the works or maybe Darius Miles isn't really in the plans, or possibly Scal and his remaining 2 years will be cut, but I just don't see Sam fitting on this team right now.
Brandon Roy is looking good after having surgery a month ago. Reports are that you can't even tell that he had surgery. He is shooting jumpers and making some very light cuts, seemingly pain-free. His shot looks to be improved this season. I like the way the Celtics ended up last season and Ratliff's contract was crucial in bringing KG to Boston, but there will always be the thought of what if the Celtics had taken Brandon Roy with that pick instead of making the trade. What if they had continued to build with youth. We'll never know for sure, but I think it could have worked just not as quickly.