The season preview magazines are going to be coming out. Athlon is already out and they are picking the Hornets to win the championship this season over the Celtics. Could be the James Posey effect. Well, the Celtics weren't picked by most of them to win last year, either. Even into the finals, they weren't given much chance and it looks like they will be fighting for respect again this season even though they are the defending champs.
More details are coming out about Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur and their troubles at the Rookie transition program. Apparently, a fire alarm went off in their hotel and they refused to leave the room. Security opened the room with their master key and they found at least 2 women in the room which smelled strongly of marijuana (could that be what set off the fire alarm?) and someone was in the bathroom repeatedly flushing the toilet. Sources say that David Stern was furious and had them kicked out of the program which they will have to repeat next season. By that time they should either be incorrigible or have learned their lesson.
The Suns are heading into the season with a new coach and a new mindset. Terry Porter wants to improve the defense and will make it the emphasis of their upcoming training camp. I expect many of the top teams to put more of an effort on the defensive end after seeing the Celtics' success by emphasizing defense. The Suns will still probably run and gun, but they will also try to get stops at the other end and that could make them a dangerous team.
There have been reports of teams working out ahead of training camp including the Wolves and Nets. Now, the SacBee is reporting that Brad Miller and Kevin Martin have been among the players training hard in Sacramento recently. Shareef Abdur-Rahim is in Africa with Basketball Without Boarders and it appears that his training is continuing his attempt at a comeback will continue into the Kings' training camp. The Kings have until Oct. 31 to offer Francisco Garcia an extension but it looks as though they will pass on the extension and let him become a restricted free agent next summer.
The Warriors have been linked to the Indiana Pacers in a deal involving Jamaal Tinsley, Al Harrington, among others. They are also interested in Marquis Daniels who Don Nelson knows and likes from his years in Dallas. The Pacers want to get rid of Tinsley and the Warriors want to get rid of Al Harrington and so it could happen. The Warriors are still investigating the injury to Monta Ellis and it seems pretty certain at this point that it happened other than playing basketball. The big question is, what will they do if they find out that it was a motorcycle accident or some such thing?
Along with dealing with their rookie Darrell Arthur's extracurricular activities, the Grizzlies have been rumored to be considering a couple of possible deals. One rumor involves sending Mike Conley to Portland in a deal that would send forward Travis Outlaw to Memphis. This trade was discussed prior to the draft and would unite Conley with his best friend, Greg Oden. The other deal that has been more widely circulated would bring forward Zach Randolph to Memphis in a deal that would send Darko Milicic and Marko Jaric to the Knicks. The deal is up to New York now as to whether they will take the Grizzlies up on it or not. Jaric's contract runs into the 2010 season which could hold them back on the deal since they, like several other teams, is trying to clear as much cap space as possible for the big name free agents expected to be on the market then.
The Cavs made it official and signed center Lorenzen Wright on Friday. The 12 year NBA veteran signed for the league minumum and will give the size, experience and front court depth. The Cavs are expected to announce a deal with their second-round draft pick Darnell Jackson from Kansas today. They are still not close to working out a deal with Delonte West. I think Delonte should take their qualifying offer and go for free agency next summer.