The NBA's regular season is still over two months away, but the new-look Brooklyn Nets already have their eye on the playoffs. First-year head coach Jason Kidd said the team is leaning towards sitting veteran big man Kevin Garnett in the second game of back-to-backs this season, according to ESPN New York.
The plan likely won't be an easy sell to Garnett, known as one of the league's most fiery competitors, but it's not hard to see why the Nets would be considering it. Garnett can still be a defensive czar in the frontcourt and a capable secondary inside scoring option, but he's also 37 years old. The Nets wisely appear more concerned with preserving the KG for the playoffs rather than going for a gaudy regular season win total.
Garnett played (and started) 68 games for the Celtics last season, but battled a left ankle injury throughout the end of the year. He opted for rest over surgery, and the Nets are hoping a reduced load in the regular season will keep him fresh for the playoffs.
Brooklyn plays 20 back-to-backs this season. The addition of Andrei Kirilenko and re-signing of Andray Blatche gives the Nets solid depth in the frontcourt even if Garnett is limited in the regular season.
The Milwaukee Bucks are nearing a four-year contract extension with Larry Sanders that could pay the center up to $48 million with bonuses, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The deal would make Sanders the second member of the draft class of 2010 to receive an extension, following the five-year max contract John Wall signed with the Wizards last month.
The base pay of the contract, $44 million, is the same as the one Nuggets center JaVale McGee signed this time last year. In comparison, it certainly looks like a good deal for the Bucks. Sanders was a revelation last season, finishing second in the NBA in blocks, seventh in Defensive Player of the Year voting and seemingly elevating Milwaukee's defense to league-average levels single-handedly.
Brew Hoop, SB Nation's Bucks blog, had this to say about the contract:
This may seem like a lot of money to give a player who has really only put together one standout season (at less than 30 minutes a game, too), but guys with Sanders skill set and further potential don't come around too often. When they do, they don't come cheaply. Such is the market for these guys.
Another reason why doing this extension now is beneficial is that it won't interfere with
Halloweenthe looming extension deadline during the season. The deadline to extend players from the 2010 draft class was October 31st. If a deal is not reached by said deadline, then the player becomes a restricted free agent that upcoming summer. We all know how much fun that dance is, right?
Sanders averaged 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game last year in his third season with the Bucks.
The Philadelphia 76ers flipped the switch to full-on rebuilding mode at the 2013 NBA Draft by dealing 23-year old All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans for the rights to injured Kentucky center Nerlens Noel and a first-round pick next season. While the extra pick and Noel, considered by many as the top prospect in the months leading up to the draft, were certainly a nice haul, the real prize for Philadelphia is its own pick in the 2014 draft.
The 76ers are considered to be one of the leagues worst teams, and as such should have a good shot at landing prized incoming freshman Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle or Jabari Parker at the top of the draft. But while the 76ers are clearly valuing their future over their present, new head coach Brett Brown still likes the makeup of the roster.
"I've always been a fan of Thaddeus (Young)," Brown said. "I see in Evan (Turner) just that potential. You see the versatility in Spencer (Hawes). You pay attention to Michael Carter-Williams and what he did in college. . . . I think about with a healthy fit, Lavoy (Allen), what he can bring to the table.
"The pieces are there where we can build around them."
The development of rookies Carter-Williams and Noel will go a long way towards determining the real worth of Philadelphia's roster. Some lottery luck after the upcoming season wouldn't hurt, either.
Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose says he's back to 100 percent after sitting out all of last season while recovering from a torn ACL. Rose's return became a hot button topic in Chicago after it was reported Bulls doctors cleared Rose to play at the start of March, but the former MVP chose to make a full recovery rather than playing before he felt completely comfortable. While Rose's decision to sit out garnered plenty of coverage, the Bulls will certainly be glad to have their star guard back to normal next season.
Now the question becomes: how long will it take for Rose to regain his MVP form after missing 18 months of action?
It's a fair question after such a long layoff, even for a player of Rose's caliber. By comparison, Michael Jordan missed 21 months during his first retirement before returning in the middle of the 1995 season, when the Bulls were dispatched by the Orlando Magic in the playoffs.
The Bulls are hoping a healthy Rose will be able to quickly remember what once made him the youngest MVP in league history, though it wouldn't be surprising if it took him a few weeks of getting his feet wet.
Blog-a-Bull wrote about the impending reaction to Rose regardless of whether he finds his own form immediately or not.
That decision is done and decided (as are our feelings about it), and what happens next has no real connection to it. If Rose is indeed great again right away it doesn't mean the extra rest helped, nor does it mean he could've come back earlier. And if Rose struggles, it's not necessarily due to the extra-long layoff: it could be that whether it's 8 or 18 months from surgery, a patient's first games back are always a hurdle.
The Bulls open the season in Miami against the defending champion Heat on Oct. 29.
A then 22-year-old George was thrust into a lead role for the Pacers last season while Danny Granger was limited to only five games due to injury. By posting career-highs in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals, George rose to the challenge.
Granger will be back for Indiana next season, but George knows he's the best player on the team now. As such, he's training like it:
"Last year, we still had Danny and did not know the results (of Granger's injury) coming into the year," George said. "I had a role that I had kind of prepared for and trained for. This year, it was more about training to be the No. 1 guy and lead this team."
George's breakout third season could have him in line to sign a maximum extension with the Pacers before the deadline for early extensions.