With the season only about a month away, many of you will be interested in gearing up for one of the most popular sports games around: fantasy basketball.
Our writer Kent Williams (@sheridanfantasy) has been all over the do’s and don’ts for your upcoming drafts, and as a long-time fantasy player myself, I can tell you that he is pretty much on the money with the analysis. If you missed it, be sure to check out the fantasy spin from today: Atlantic Division Fantasy Preview Part 1 and Part 2.
Also, be sure to let Chris Bernucca tell you all about the tough road ahead for three particular NBA coaches for the upcoming season.
And of course, find your daily dose of great NBA news by yours truly below:
- Despite the Magic’s transition as a rebuilding team, J.J. Redick hopes to stay in Orlando for the long-run, from John Denton of NBA.com: “But because the Magic are going through a transition phase after trading away Dwight Howard, Jason Richardson, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark, Redick had to sweat out his future in Orlando back in early July. Eventually the team picked up the option that would guarantee his future in Orlando for the upcoming season. Now, Redick’s mission is to play well enough to lock up a long-term commitment from the rebuilding Magic. He’s expressed enough to both Hennigan and Vaughn already. `I love playing here and I love playing for Orlando. I love representing our fans and our city,’’ Redick said. “But I understand it’s a transition year for our organization. I’ve had conversations with Rob and we’re both on the same page with my future going forward. I’ve given him my commitment that as long as I’m in Orlando and wearing a Magic uniform that I’m going to be a pro and give everything like I always have. He knows that and respects that and we’ll be fine.’’
- Many of the moves David Kahn made were influenced by Rick Adelman. The first player he wanted gone? Dark Milicic, from Britt Robson of Twin Cities Business: “Most of the moves David is making are heavily influenced by what Rick has asked of us. But when it comes to finances, David will tell Rick no,” Taylor reveals. “At the end of the year, Rick gives me a report of what he thinks of each player. He tells me it’s the same one he gave David and that David knows he is giving it to me. Then he goes through the list. He says, ‘This is the first one I want gone’—that was [underachieving veteran center] Darko [Milicic]. ‘This is the second one I want gone. This is what I think of this player.’ “We were going to build slowly with a young coach [Rambis] and young players. It was a good plan, but there was a misstep. Now we have a seasoned coach who has said ‘This is my last job.’ He is going to push faster because he wants to win sooner. But his [style of communication] is one I understand and can relate to.”
- Steve Blake injured himself in a very unusual way and will be out for a while, from Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:
- Kendrick Perkins believes James Harden will stay with the Thunder once he sees everyone again, from John Rohde of The Oklahoman: “Kendrick Le’Dale Perkins is a menacing guy. One scowl might be enough to scare Harden into signing, but evidently Perk doesn’t anticipate the need for a stare-down. ”The thing is, once James gets here, there’s nothing to be said,” Perkins said following a Thunder Fit clinic at Deer Creek Middle School on Sept. 12. “He’ll see his family (teammates) and that’s all he’ll need. He just needs to be here, so once he sees everybody’s faces, that’s enough said.” Peer pressure can be a powerful tool, intentional or not.”
- Tracy McGrady is no longer an option for the Knicks. The team is taking a look at Rasheed Wallace instead, according to Marc Berman of New York Post: “The Knicks are no longer considering Tracy McGrady but now are taking a look at retired Rasheed Wallace. The Post confirmed the 6-foot-11 Wallace worked out with Knicks players at their Greenburgh, N.Y., facility Saturday during voluntary workouts. Wallace, 38, retired after the 2009-10 season with the Celtics. The ref-baiting power forward won a title under Larry Brown in Detroit in 2004 and is a defensive specialist. The connection is clear. Wallace and assistant general manager Allan Houston share the same agent, Bill Strickland. Wallace seems redundant with the Knicks’ two-headed center tandem of Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby, plus Kurt Thomas. The Knicks, however, feel they have nothing to lose if they invite him to camp with a partial guarantee.”
- Dirk Nowitzki will come into the season fully healthy and ready to go, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: “I tried to keep in shape all summer long so that it would not be hard to pick up my usual training routine,” Nowitzki said in an email interview. “I feel great. My knees feel fine, and that’s important. I am ready to go.” Nowitzki has been working out extensively in Germany with his friend and mentor, Holger Geschwindner. Nowitzki, 34, had an eventful off-season. He got married in July and while the honeymoon is still going, it hasn’t stopped the 11-time all-star from making sure that a repeat of last season doesn’t happen. That’s when he started terribly because the lockout canceled the first eight weeks of the season. When it finally started on Christmas, Nowitzki was not in game shape and his knees let him know it.”
- John Calipari, to no one’s surprise, defended his former player John Wall about the amount of pressure he was given from the start, from CSN Philly: “What’s happened is, you took a 19-year old and put the weight of the world on him, saying to him, ‘We’re expecting you to drag this team to another level.’ Well, there are no young guys [who can do that]. [Even] Anthony Davis isn’t that guy,” Calipari said. “Now, if you have a good team, Anthony and John will make you better. If you remember, I had Derrick Rose. But the way the [ping pong] balls dropped, he ended up playing on a pretty good team. So, all of a sudden, he’s an All-Star in two years, and all of a sudden he becomes the MVP of the league. But he’s on a good team. So, what’ll happen is, as [the Wizards] build that team, John will come out more.”
- Gordon Hayward has set some high standards and goals for himself. Jody Genessy of Deseret News has the story: “I think I’ve shown that I belong in the league. It’s something that you work for and you work towards,” Hayward said. “Now I think I know that I belong and everything. Now you push yourself even further, try and become an All-Star. That’s definitely a goal of mine, but I think first and foremost I think if we were to win games that will help that out.” Hayward has high hopes for the Jazz. He believes his personal progression mirrors the Jazz’s improvement trajectory — in part because of how many solid players are loaded into each position. ”I expect us to do better than we did last year,” he said, reflecting back on a better-than-expected 36-30 record and first-round playoff appearance in the lockout-shortened campaign.”
- Udonis Haslem has been gearing up for the upcoming season the moment last season ended with a championship for the Heat, according to Ira Winderman of Sun Sentinel: “I swear, after the game, I was talking to Pat about next year already,” the veteran power forward and Heat co-captain said during a quiet moment this past week. “We were just brainstorming and thinking of ways of coming back better and doing what we need to do.”… ”I think it’s not necessarily about being a different group. It’s about the right mindset,” Haslem said. “I don’t think with the ’06 team we really understood what mindset we had to come in with as returning champions.” He paused and offered an almost sinister smile, as if sending advance warning. ”I think now we understand what our mindset has to be,” he said, “because the level of expectation has been raised a notch, and we understand that.”
- Josh Howard is drawing some interest from teams and will visit the Sixers for the next couple of days, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
- Stephen Curry and his agent are very optimistic about a contract extension, but Curry will have to prove the strength of his ankle first, according to Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area: “Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and his agent both expressed optimism over the weekend that Curry and Golden State would agree to a contract extension before the regular season begins. But the respective sides have agreed to table any extension talks until the team completes its preseason schedule and everyone sees how Curry’s right ankle looks after an injury plagued 2011-12. “I’m very optimistic about getting a deal done,” said Lance Young, Curry’s representative. “I think we can get something done by the 31st (Oct. 31, the deadline for Curry to sign a deal).”
- Nicolas Batum is very sorry about punching Juan Carlos Navarro in the groin, from Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com, via Ben Golliver of Blazersedge: “What I’m mad about is what I showed to people about myself, what I showed about the game, about France, everything,” said Batum. “I feel bad about it because that’s not me. I’m human. I lost it. I just lost it. ”You don’t want this type of action. I can’t do it. You can’t see that on the court. If the (International Basketball) Federation or the Olympics want to suspend me a couple games or fine me, I’m okay with that. I won’t say anything.”
- Paul Millsap had some thoughts on his role with the Jazz and how the team looks right now, from Brian T. Smith of Salt Lake Tribune: “How he’ll handle the situation if the Jazz end up starting Derrick Favors at power forward this season: I know what I can do. I know my capabilities. Everybody else do, too. Just get out there, don’t really think about it. Haven’t really thought about it thus far, and it’s helping me out. Just continue to get out there and just try to get better, that’s my main focus. Get better and get ready for training camp, and whatever happens after that just happens. Jazz offseason additions of Mo Williams, Randy Foye and Marvin Williams: We got lucky. We got a ton of a great talent, especially with the veteran guys we’ve got coming in. We’ve got a lot of veteran guys, but we’ve also got a young nucleus. It helps us out in both facets. With those guys coming, we added a lot of ballhandling; we added some shooting; and a lot of leadership. Those guys are going to bring a lot to the table. Deepest Jazz team he’s been on: On paper, yeah, it is. We haven’t gotten into the season yet, so we really don’t know how deep it is. On paper, it looks great. We’ve got, from 1-13, we’ve got guys who can get out there and really play with anybody.”
- Jalen Rose shared a story about a locker room fight between Vince Carter and Sam Mitchell back in the day. Watch the video to see who came out on top: