Kobe Bryant is expected to miss the entire preseason after tearing his Achilles on April 12, but the organization is still holding out on naming a specific return date. Lakers spokesman John Black told Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times that Bryant's recovery is going "well":
"He's progressing well and has met all the targets and milestones of his rehab, and we expect him to make a full recovery," Lakers spokesman John Black told The Times on Monday. "One of the key issues is to make sure he builds up strength and endurance not only in his Achilles but also in his legs, knees, back and core."
Bryant's initial timetable called for at least six to nine months of recovery after he was injured April 12 against Golden State. The more optimistic part would put him in play for two Lakers exhibition games in China next month, though Bryant is expected to miss the Lakers' entire eight-game preseason.
The first game of the Lakers preseason is Oct. 5 and ends on Oct. 25. Opening night for the Lakers is Oct. 29 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Lakers have been optimistic regarding Bryant's recovery and Executive Vice President of Player Personnel Jim Buss has previously stated that he "would bet a lot of money" on Bryant making an appearance as early as preseason. The statement came shortly after Chris Douglas-Roberts revealed that Bryant had told him he is "three months ahead" of schedule during Las Vegas Summer League play.
Black notes that the team will not announce a return date until Bryant is able to participate in basketball activities as well as full weight-bearing running, but he will travel with the team to China where they play two exhibition games.
Nets cleared on Andrei Kirilenko probe
Andrei Kirilenko opted out of a contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves this summer that would have paid him $10 million next season. Instead, Kirilenko opted to sign a two-year, $6 million offer from the Brooklyn Nets. The signing raised suspicion and conspiracy theories that Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov had worked out an under-the-table deal to land the versatile forward.
Kirilenko said he thought it was "a little funny" that there were theories that the two sides had worked out an illegal deal after hearing rumors that had been floated around the league, and agent commented on the situation with the NY Post:
"Basically, the offers and things we had from other teams were too difficult to make happen," Fleisher said, referring to the necessity of a possible sign-and-trade or complicated deal.
In the end, the chance to play with a valid contender, even for considerably less money, was the final tipping point.
"That was huge," Fleisher said, "especially once he realized some of the other [offers] weren't going to happen."
Ricky Davis attending Knicks minicamp
Davis last played for the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2009-10 season, appearing in 36 games with two starts. His final game was on Feb. 9, 2010. He was a first-round draft selection during the 1998 NBA Draft, selected by the Charlotte Hornets after spending one year at the University of Iowa.
The 33-year-old Ricky Davis, a 12-year veteran, will attempt to land on his seventh team. He has previously played for the Hornets, Clippers, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics. The wingman holds career averages of 13.5 points, 3.3 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game.
Rick Adelman officially returning to Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves have confirmed that head coach Rick Adelman will be back on the sideline for the 2013-2014 season. Adelman's future with the organization was in question as he regrouped with his family during the summer.
Adelman missed 11 games during the regular season as his wife underwent treatment for seizures. The Timberwolves went 31-51 through the 2012-13 season, making it the lowest winning percentage (.378) since Adelman became a head coach in 1989.
Adelman stated he would have to talk things over with his wife and family through the summer, and it appears his decision has been made. He brought his coaching staff to his home in Portland last week to begin planning for the upcoming season.
Sasha Vujacic attempting to make NBA comeback
Sasha "The Machine" Vujacic is attempting to resurrect his NBA career, training in Los Angeles and even working out for the Lakers and garnering attention, reports Marc Stein of ESPN. Vujacic last played in the NBA during the 2010-11 season as a member of the New Jersey Nets.
He has since taken his talents overseas, playing for the Turkish club Anadolu Efes along with former Lakers teammate Jordan Farmar. Farmar has since returned to the Lakers, signing a one-year deal with the team this summer.
Vujacic, 29, averaged 37 percent from deep through his career in the NBA, but just 39 percent overall from the field. He has not been linked to any specific teams for a training camp invite.