NBA news roundup: Nerlens Noel won't rush return, Jeannie Buss 'stunned' Lakers picked Mike D'Antoni over Phil Jackson


Noel likely won't be back on the court before December, which is just fine with the 76ers.

Philadelphia 76ers rookie Nerlens Noel is ahead of schedule in his weight room workouts as he rehabs from a torn ACL, but his physical therapist doesn't expect him to be back on the floor before December, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Kevin Wilk, Noel's physical therapist, says that Noel still hasn't done much on-court work during his rehab:

"Right now, the stuff we are doing is not necessarily on the court," Wilk said. "He's got to get used to the court, cutting on the court. Used to playing defense one-on-one. Things of that nature. So it's probably going to get pushed a little further back, even though he looks like he's ready."

Considering the Sixers' current position, the team certainly has no problems with Noel taking as much time as he wants with his rehab. Getting some game action this upcoming season will be useful, but there's no reason for Noel to rush back too quickly to a team that will be one of the worst in the NBA. Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix tweeted out Sunday night that new Sixers coach Brett Brown said there was no timetable for Noel's return.

Noel has worked extremely hard during his rehab, and he has bulked up to 221 pounds after weighing in at 206 at the NBA's pre-draft combine in May.

Buss 'stunned' Lakers hired D'Antoni instead of Phil 

Jeannie Buss has revealed some of the details surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers' firing of Mike Brown and subsequent hiring of Mike D'Antoni over Phil Jackson in her updated memoir, "Laker Girl."

The Los Angeles Times released an excerpt from the memoir, and Buss recalls how the hiring of D'Antoni really caught her and Jackson off guard:

After we went to bed, the house phone rang at 11:30. I heard Phil pick it up and say, "Okay, alright. Okay."

When he hung up, I asked him what that was about, and he said, "Mitch called to tell me they've hired D'Antoni. He said that they feel given the personnel they have that D'Antoni is a better fit. He said they know they are going to take a bit of a PR hit, but he thinks it will blow over in a month."

"He said it will blow over in a month?" I repeated in disbelief.

I was still trying to wake up.

I was stunned. I said to Phil, "They came to you. You were not looking for the job. I cannot believe this."

Buss also talked about a conversation she had with her brother, Jim, who initially came to her asking if Jackson was a good fit to return to the Lakers. Buss says she never openly campaigned for Jackson to get the job, but she certainly thought it could work. And after a positive meeting with Jim and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, both Jeannie and Phil felt it was going to happen.

Rose ready for a 'smooth' year

After the controversy surrounding his non-return to the court last season, Derrick Rose is rearing to go for the 2013-14 year. Rose held an event at the United Center promoting his new shoe, and he said while he's not sure how long it will take him to find his rhythm, he expects everything to work out:

"Who knows when I'm going to get my rhythm?" he said. "It might take one game. It might take five games, 10 games. Who knows? I think me having that relationship with my teammates and them knowing that and not just depending on me right away, just knowing that I'm just trying to fit in with them, do my job where my job is to come in, run the game and get them open shots and play aggressive. I think the guys on the team know that. And me knowing that, too, I think it's going to be a smooth year, a smooth process."

With Rose back, the Bulls are expected to be one of the top challengers to the Miami Heat this upcoming year. Having the former MVP return to form is obviously key for the Bulls to have a chance at dethroning the Heat, and by all accounts, Rose should be as good as ever when he comes back. He has added 10 pounds of muscle and he even claims that he's quicker and more explosive than before.

At Sunday's event, Rose also talked about his decision to sit out last year, and he said the Bulls were behind him the entire time. The 24-year-old also said he was very close to coming back, but he felt sitting was the best choice for his career.

Pierce open to working for Celtics in future

When his playing days are over, Paul Pierce would like to return to Boston. Pierce said he would like to start a business in the city, and he also said he would be open to working in the Boston Celtics' organization, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe:

"Who knows? I may be working for Wyc Grousbeck or Danny Ainge," he said. "A lot of players don't understand it. I've always understood it. And [other players] let their pride and ego get in the way. I've made a lot of money here, I've built relationships, won a championship here, I thank y'all for everything y'all gave me. How can I be mad for everything they've given me. I'm thankful."

The Celtics are currently in the midst of a rebuild, and it could be a few years before they're back in the ranks of the NBA's elite. However, Pierce says the Celtics should have no problems attracting quality free agents, so the rebuild may not take all that long.

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