Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard ran away with Rookie of the Year award last season, leading the entire league in minutes in the process as he played in all 82 games last season for Portland while getting 38.6 minutes per game. That's a stark transition from averaging 34.5 minutes per game in 32 games as a senior at Weber State the year before.
Of all the positives of his first year in the league, Lillard doesn't want to reprise his role as the guy most often seen on the court, Sean Highkin of USA Today reported.
"Sometimes when you're out there (playing) so many minutes, your body can wear down," Lillard told USA TODAY Sports. "So you're not always productive at the highest levels because you might be worn down."
Lillard said he should be freed up a bit because of the Blazers' offseason additions. The team drafted guard C.J. McCollum and signed free agent point guard Mo Williams to serve as a steady backup for Lillard.
"It was definitely what we needed," he said. "We needed size and we got that. We needed more depth, and we definitely got that.
"I think we've made a lot of moves to help our team," he added. "Now we've just gotta figure out a way to develop that chemistry and perform on the floor together."
Lillard said he plans to spend a chunk of his offseason working on improving his defense with former Defensive Player of the Year Gary Payton.
Tony Wroten deal mostly for money on both sides
Tony Wroten was sent from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday for a protected second-round pick in 2014. The deal didn't seem to serve much of a short-term competitive purpose -- the Grizzlies got no return for the upcoming season and the 76ers are expected to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference (though they do need bodies, as will be noted below).
But the deal wasn't just for fun. The Sixers added Wroten's $1.1 million salary to help move closer to the league's minimum team payroll for 2013-14 and the Grizzlies needed to shed the salary and open a roster spot, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Sixers' payroll for the upcoming season, including Wroten, now sits at $41.2 million. That amount is still well short of the minimum payroll of $52.811 million.
Wroten played in 35 games last season and averaged 2.6 points and 7.7 minutes per game. He also spent 11 games playing in the D-League. He was the 25th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft after playing one season for Washington.
Jason Richardson may not play in 2013-14
Sixers forward Jason Richardson had major knee surgery late last season, and a timeline for his recovery has since been unclear. Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News is reporting the veteran is "most likely out" for the entire upcoming season.
The 32-year-old played in a career-low 33 games last season, averaging 10.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in his first season in Philadelphia after being shipped there in the massive four-team Dwight Howard trade. He's still under contract for $6.2 million in 2013-14 and holds a $6.6 million player option for the final year of his contract in 2014-15.
Kelly Olynyk's plantar fasciitis improving
Boston Celtics rookie Kelly Olynyk has been suffering plantar fasciitis, but it's improving and he's working with team doctors to make sure the issue doesn't linger, according to Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com.
Olynyk was recently forced to sit during a week of training camp with the Canadian national team because of the injury, but he still was with the team to "build chemistry" for the future.
Olynyk was a force during Summer League play in Orlando, averaging 18 points (fourth) and 7.8 rebounds (fifth) per game. SB Nation's Mike Prada ranked Olynyk No. 2 among the 61 rookies to play in the Summer League, trailing only Charlotte Bobcats draftee Cody Zeller.
Andrea Bargnani sad to miss European Championships with respiratory infection
New York Knicks big man Andrea Bargnani reported to Italy's national team training camp in July eager to represent his country in the European Championships, but a respiratory infection derailed his tournament before it began.
The No. 1 pick in the 2006 NBA draft, who was traded to the Knicks this offseason, was hospitalized for four days due to the infection, and Team Italy doctors said he likely could not get in shape for the tournament's Sept. 4 opener. He's now back home in Rome and talking to Marc Berman of the New York Post:
"I think he's very, very disappointed,'' Team Italy's associate coach Mario Fioretti told The Post yesterday after Team Italy's exhibition victory over Montenegro. "He spent one month before training camp getting in shape. He was ready, with the right mental approach. Everything was set for him.''
Fioretti believes Bargnani should have no trouble being ready for Knicks training camp in October, he told Berman.