Monday marked media day for a good number of NBA teams, and it was the first time in a long time for the tough questions to be answered -- or not answered. In New York, a couple of Knicks discussed their offseason surgeries. Meanwhile, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony both avoided the questions about next summer, when each becomes a free agent.
Injured Knicks discuss offseasons
Shortly after it was revealed that Amare Stoudemire underwent a third knee procedure in a year's span, the Knicks forward said he will bring himself along slowly, according to Newsday, but still plans on playing a key role on New York's roster. Details were still thin on Monday, but Stoudemire said he was already doing conditioning work after "an extremely minor" procedure.
"My career isn't over yet," he said. "That being said, we're just taking precautionary measures to make sure I'm able to play at a high level."
Stoudemire had already been planning on a minutes restriction of 20-25 minutes per game. His teammate, Knicks guard J.R. Smith, is also starting the season behind the eight-ball. Smith signed a three-year, $18 million deal this summer but days later opted to have knee surgery that sidelined him for 12-16 weeks. According to Newsday, Smith made the decision to help out his family.
"I'm a father and I have two young children to look after, and it made more sense for my family to get a deal done before that," Smith said Monday. "Without a doubt, the best part about it was we had the support of the team. The team supported us. The doc supported us all on the decision. At the end of the day it was more of a family decision as opposed to anything else."
Smith underwent a procedure on July 15 and said he should be ready for the Knicks' opener on Oct. 30. When he's healthy, he will still have to sit out five more games for breaking the NBA's anti-drug policy.
Future free agent stars have their lips sealed
The story of Monday was really a non-story. Miami Heat forward LeBron James and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony are entering contract seasons but undoubtedly will remain as the two biggest free agent targets next summer. Neither bit on questions regarding their impending free agencies.
"For me, being a leader of this team, I owe it to this organization, to my teammates to not get involved in it, to not talk about it," James told USA Today on Monday. "I'm not going to address it."
James did say he improved in all aspects of the game this summer. His goal, according to USA Today?
"I want to be the greatest of all time and that's my motivation. It's that simple. It's not that simple."
Meanwhile in New York, Anthony told CBS Sports' Ken Berger that he'll deal with his future "when that time comes."
Cavs' Bynum still without a return date
Andrew Bynum in Cleveland sounds awfully similar to how he sounded in Philadelphia last year. In short, the center is dropping weight and getting ready to return from knee injuries, but he's not close despite sitting out all of the 2012-13 season as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. Bynum told the Plain Dealer he had only begun basketball-related activities two weeks ago and isn't certain to be ready for the season opener.
The good news is that Cleveland is bringing along Bynum slowly and purposefully so. And as Cavs blog Fear the Sword points out, if his knees don't hold up, the team has until Jan. 7 to dump him and save itself half of his salary.
Celtics' Sullinger 'not close' to 100 percent
Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger is dealing with a lot more than most players after their rookie campaigns. The forward out of Ohio State is still recovering from offseason back surgery, and he's also in a the middle of a legal situation after being arrested Sept. 3 on a domestic violence charge involving his girlfriend.
Sullinger said he's "not close" to being at 100 percent, according to Boston.com.
"Being out for six months of not playing basketball is really tough," Sullinger said. "It's been a long year for me, from playing to back surgery, just trying to get healthy from there. Everything looks perfect as of now, but still got a lot of work to do."
Though he seemed pessimistic, Sullinger said he is already able to play with full contact without restrictions.
The improved Pelicans
In the franchise's first season as the New Orleans Pelicans, the team will also have a new feel. The team signed Tyreke Evans to a four-year, $44 million contract and coach Monty Williams made it clear the former Sacramento Kings guard will come off the bench, according to The Times-Picayune's John Reid. Evans has all along been open to that possibility with point guard Jrue Holiday and shooting guard Eric Gordon starting in front of him.
Clippers get sleeves
The new jerseys also will come in a new color -- baby blue. The look lends a historical nod to the franchise's old colors as the Buffalo Braves.