SH Blog: How Important Are Kobe’s Offseason Workouts? Andrew Bynum Could Miss Training Camp; Gilbert Arenas Could Workout For Clippers

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kobeinjuryThe separation between talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel.

In life and in sports.

Either way, talent is natural. You either have it or you don’t.

Skill is different. Skill can only be developed by hours and hours of working on your craft.

Hours. And hours. And hours.

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Evening News: Extension talks stall between Bulls and Deng; Durant open to working with Olajuwon

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In today’s latest NBA news, Chicago and Luol Deng remain distant in negotiations for a contract extension, Kevin Durant tells the media that he would welcome an opportunity to train with Hakeem Olajuwon, and the Mavericks go bargain-hunting on another free agent big man.

Contract negotiations stall between Bulls and Deng

Sam Aggrey of Comcast SportsNet Chicago reports contract talks between the Chicago Bulls and their All Star swingman, Luol Deng, have hit an impasse. luol deng

Deng, who is entering the final year of his contract, figures to be one of the most coveted free agents on next summer’s open market.

While the Bulls would love to bring Deng back, the two-time All Star may price himself out of the Bulls’ comfort zone.

Deng’s representatives recently met with the Bulls’ front office in hopes of striking an extension before the start of the season. After discussions, however, Bulls’ GM Gar Forman informed Deng’s representatives that the team was not prepared to offer the star a longterm contract.

Deng is one of the league’s best two-way players and should command a contract surpassing that of Andre Iguodala’s four year, $48 million deal from Golden State this offseason.

At only 28, Deng is still in the prime of his career. He averaged 16.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and, most impressively, 38.7 minutes per game for Tom Thibodeau last season.

 

Kevin Durant open to working with Hakeem Olajuwon

Yesterday, we covered Hakeem Olajuwon’s desire to privately work with Kevin Durant. Today, NBA blogger Fernando Martin asked Durant what he thought of Olajuwon’s statement. Kevin Durant

As it turns out, the respect between the two superstars is mutual. While Durant is not exactly sure what he could learn from “The Dream,” he has not shut the door on a possible meet up in the future:

“I don’t know,” said Durant. “At this point there’s only one Hakeem Olajuwon. I don’t know how much he can really help me but of course I watched him as a kid and I watch films of him now. I just try to take some stuff out of his game and put it to mine’s, but it’s so hard to try to be like Hakeem Olajuwon. But I’m up for anything. I’m looking forward to learning from anybody, so… We’ll see.”

If the two were to meet up, it would have to be soon. Olajuwon will start working exclusively with the Houston Rockets as a coach at the start of the season.

 

Mavericks extend training camp invitation to Fab Melo

ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that the Dallas Mavericks are close to adding yet another big man to the team’s training camp roster:

Melo, who was the 22nd overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 2012 NBA Draft, was traded to Memphis in a salary dump last month. He was subsequently released by the Grizzlies just two weeks after they acquired him.

The Mavericks have been trying to add depth to their front line all summer. After failing to land Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, or Greg Oden earlier in the the summer, the team has gone bargain instead. Melo will join Samuel Dalembert and Dejuan Blair in a refurbished Mavericks’ front court.

SH Blog: Is Derrick Williams Safe In Minnesota? Could Durant Leave OKC? Hakeem Pays Tribute to Kobe

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Derrick WilliamsAs glamorous as it may seem, the NBA can be a tough place to make it for certain players.

Being in the league alone justifies your level of talent. But it takes more than talent to survive.

Just ask J.R. Smith and Lamar Odom, two of the more talented players in the league who cannot seem to get out of their own way.

While it may not be drugs that are bringing Minnesota’s Derrick Williams down, the former No. 2 overall draft pick faces an uncertain future in Minnesota. 

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Five Things To Watch: Chicago Bulls

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derrick rose 300x160After Derrick Rose shredded his ACL in the first game of the 2011-12 playoffs, Chicago Bulls management decided the injury shredded the team’s chances at competing for a title and proceeded accordingly.

From the instant the front office decided to jettison useful contributors from the famed “Bench Mob” in favor of lesser, slightly cheaper approximations, the 2012-13 campaign was a bit of a throwaway season. Rose seemingly got the message and took it as an opportunity to sit out the entire season and make sure that he was really, really fully recovered before making his return.

But what a throwaway season it was! 

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Tweet of the Day: LeBron praises Scottie Pippen

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James

One of the rarest, yet most exciting, occurrences in sports happens when a great player compliments another.

That happened today when LeBron James complimented the game of former Bulls great Scottie Pippen.

The Miami Heat star makes a good point, Pippen may actually deserve more credit than he’s received being Michael Jordan’s longtime sidekick.

In 17 NBA seasons, Pippen averaged 16.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 5.2 apg, and 2.0 spg. And besides consistent numbers, he also has a long list of career accomplishments many could only dream of having.

Pippen

Pippen is a six-time NBA champion, seven-time All-Star, seven-time All-NBA team appearances and still holds the record for most playoff steals with 395.

Definitely a nice tribute from James, but maybe there’s a purpose to his unexpected tweet.

Back in May, King James and Pippen were at the center of a media frenzy over a comment apparently made by the former Bull.

Alonzo Mourning, a former Charlotte Hornets’ and Miami Heat big man, told a crowd of listeners that Pippen said LeBron “would’ve kicked MJ’s ass” in a 1-on-1 game.

Although very controversial, Pippen hasn’t commented on Mourning’s claim and it was eventually swept under the rug.

Perhaps James was repaying the favor to Pippen.

Either way, there’s no denying the ability of Pippen and the power of him, Jordan and Dennis Rodman all on the court together.

 

Previous Tweet Posts:

Tweet of the Night: Mark Jackson on passing of Dean Meminger

Tweet of the Day: Steph Curry Wishes Brother Seth a Happy Birthday

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Brett Poirier is a contributor to Sheirdan Hoops.