New York Knicks forward Andrea Bargnani has been unable to suit up for the Italian national team over the past week due to a respiratory infection. The player himself later revealed on Twitter, in Italian, that he has actually developed pneumonia.
Then, in English, Bargnani said he's currently at home trying to get better so he can participate in EuroBasket 2013 when it gets going on Sept. 7. There's still quite a bit of time for him to recover for that so it seems likely that he'll be able to play in the tournament, although pneumonia can be a bit tricky.
Even if the illness does keep Bargnani out of EuroBasket, it should have no effect on his readiness for Knicks' training camp, unless there's a significant setback. Still, this is a rather ominous start to Bargnani's Knicks tenure as he tries to resurrect his NBA career.
Dwight works with The Dream
The Houston Rockets used Hakeem Olajuwon as part of their pitch to pry Dwight Howard away from the Los Angeles Lakers. They plan on having Olajuwon impart his wisdom on Howard going forward, too, in order to make the 27-year-old a more well-rounded player.
Olajuwon and Rockets coach Kevin McHale, a legendary big man in his own right, took the court with Howard on Monday in what should be the first of many training sessions featuring the three basketball giants. If Howard buys what the two Hall of Famers are selling, the sky may be the limit ... as long as he stays healthy.
While Howard says he's soaking in as much information as he can, he told Jason Friedman of Rockets.com that he doesn't want to simply emulate how Olajuwon and McHale played:
"Having these guys in my backyard and have them pushing me to the limit is just going to make me better," said Howard after his 90-minute workout wrapped up. "It's not about emulating Dream. That's the thing. We get caught up in comparing players, trying to do what this guys does just because you work with him. The thing is, when you workout with a guy like Hakeem or Kevin McHale, you take away certain things. You don't try to do everything they can do. I could workout with Michael Jordan, but I'm not going to be able to shoot the fadeaway like Michael Jordan.
"The biggest thing when we're working out is I'm always watching his feet. Today we were working on spin moves and I was doing a spin move with my left foot in the back and I saw him doing it with his right. So once I caught that, I adjusted. It's little things like that where you see something and you put your own mix to it - that's what makes it great."
Olajuwon will soon officially become a member of the Rockets' organization. He plans on working with Howard as much as possible in order to help the big man reach his full potential.
Stevens sends letters to former Celtics
Brad Stevens has a lot of work to do the next few years in order to get the Boston Celtics back among the NBA's elite, but he has gotten off to a pretty good start. The former Butler coach has put together a solid staff, made an effort to form a positive relationship with Rajon Rondo, and generally has just said all the right things.
Former Celtics point guard Kenny Anderson was a recipient of one of these letters, and he claimed Stevens sent them to ALL past Celtics. That seems a bit unbelievable, but if true, that's pretty impressive. There are certainly a lot of former Celtics out there.
Aldrich back to Sacramento?
The Sacramento Kings currently have one guaranteed spot left on their roster, and it may be used on somebody who was with the team last season. Free-agent big man Cole Aldrich worked out for the Kings on Monday, according to Jonathan Santiago and James Ham of Cowbell Kingdom.
Sacramento declined to exercise the 2013-14 option on Aldrich's rookie contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. With the big man market drying up, however, the 24-year-old may be one of the best options out there.
Aldrich averaged 3.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 15 games with the Kings after coming over in a trade from the Houston Rockets. He posted double-doubles in two of the last three games of the season.
English signs overseas
Unable to secure an NBA job for the upcoming season, former Detroit Piston Kim English has signed with Italian power Siena, according to Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype. English confirmed the news on Twitter. Sierra reports the deal has an NBA out until Aug. 22 so English has about a week to find a team for next year.