NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Report: Nuggets interested in dealing ‘Manimal’ — If you’ve been around the Shootaround since last season, you know how big of a fan we are of Denver’s energetic, dunking-machine-of-a-power forward Kenneth Faried. While there’s nothing concrete, and the Denver-area newspapers have nothing to say on it, Grantland’s Zach Lowe has an item in his NBA preview that says he expects Faried’s name to be shopped about this season:
Call this a semi-educated guess. Multiple sources around the league have reported in the last month that Denver has put out targeted feelers on Faried, gauging his value and demanding very good return. The Nuggets, for their part, deny they’ve put Faried’s name out there at all. Faried is entering the third season of his four-year rookie deal, and given his per-game numbers, he figures to get paid on his next contract. If the Nuggets believe Faried has hit his ceiling, and that his game lacks the all-around polish Brian Shaw has said he wants from his big men, it would make sense for Denver to see what it can get. Let’s be clear: Faried has a lot of value, and no trade is ever “likely”; there are just too many roadblocks to go that far.
No. 2: D-Will participates in some practice drills — The Nets got a bit of good news on Tuesday as All-Star point guard Deron Williams took part in some 5-on-5 drills for the first time since training camp began. He’s not expected to play in tonight’s game against the Celtics in Boston (7 ET, ESPN) or in the Nets’ preseason finale on Friday against the Heat (7:30 ET, NBA TV), writes Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com:
“It was good to get back out there,” said Williams, who is still recovering from a sprained right ankle injury he suffered during an offseason workout in Utah. “It was only for like 15-20 minutes, but to do contact, 5-on-5 half-court, you’re not part of the cheerleading squad. So it was definitely good to be out there.”
“I don’t see it (playing Friday) because of how slowly (trainer) Timmy (Walsh) is progressing me,” Williams said. “How do you go from playing 15-20 minutes of practice to going up and down (in a game)?”
Williams plans on participating in Wednesday’s morning shootaround. He thinks it will be a big test for his ankle to see how it responds after doing so much Tuesday.
“I’m just gonna ice (and do) everything I’ve been doing,” he said. “When I leave here it’s usually fine. It was sore the last couple days. I took yesterday off and today it felt better. Like I said, tomorrow’s going to be telling, because this is the most I’ve done. So if it feels great tomorrow, just keep progressing.”
Williams is just starting to get acclimated to playing with new starters Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
“I didn’t feel in sync at all because I haven’t played basketball (full-go),” Williams said. “But it felt good to get out there.”
Williams says it’s a bit troubling that his first game could be the regular-season opener Oct. 30 in Cleveland, but “it’s how it is.”
Nets coach Jason Kidd said Williams looked “rusty,” but Kidd was also encouraged at the same time.
“I think it’s great. I think we put a plan in place and he’s following it,” Kidd said. “But the biggest thing is his body is responding. So for him to be able to do 5-on-5 with the first group is always promising. We’ve been waiting, but we have to be patient.”
No. 3: Brown clarifies statement on rookie Noel — Yesterday, we told you in this space that Sixers coach Brett Brown told reporters he didn’t expect top pick Nerlens Noel to play at all in 2013-14. At practice on Tuesday, Brown attempted to clear up what he meant by his statement, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer:
At Tuesday’s practice, Brown said the decision whether the rookie will play “is going to made by a variety of a lot smarter people that me. Who knows what’s going to happen with Nerlens? We hope he can come back.”
The 6-foot-11 center is still recovering from a torn anterior ligament in his left knee. He was expected to be sidelined until December while he recovered from the injury, suffered in February during his lone season at Kentucky.
The Sixers acquired the sixth overall pick from New Orleans in a draft-day trade for all-star point guard Jrue Holiday.
No. 4: Redick hopes to play Friday vs. Kings — The Clippers haven’t gotten much time to see how J.J. Redick will play alongside Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the rest of L.A.’s crew because he’s been out of the lineup. Redick suffered a thigh bruise during the first day of practice and has been slowly working his way back. He told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Arash Markazi that he’s hoping to get in some game action on Friday against Sacramento:
After being sidelined with a left quad contusion for two weeks, Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick has returned to practice and is expected to play in the preseason game against the Sacramento Kings on Friday.
“My assumption is Friday would be a go,” Redick said Tuesday. “There might be some minutes restrictions but there was no residual soreness from yesterday so I should be a go.”
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said there’s a chance Redick could play in Wednesday’s preseason game against the Utah Jazz if he feels he can but Friday is more likely.
“It depends on how his body reacts,” Rivers said. “We’ll see.”
“It wasn’t serious but significant enough where two weeks of rest was the required time off,” Redick said. “It wasn’t just a thigh bruise. I probably would have been able to play through that.”
He was signed and traded to the Clippers in July in a three-team deal and is projected to start in the backcourt alongside Chris Paul.
Redick’s biggest issue with being sidelined is missing time to get comfortable with his new teammates and players.
“I think the frustrating part is not being part of the process and not getting to take every step with your teammates,” Redick said. “It’s one thing to sit out a couple games during the season, here and there, 30-40 games in. But training camp and the first two months of the season is when you get accustomed to a new situation, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Injuries are a part of it.”
No. 5: Heat enjoy a rare quiet preseason — Since joining forces three seasons ago, Miami’s LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have grown used to being the No. 1 story from the preseason to the postseason. However, things have been different for the Heat this preseason as other squads — such as the Knicks, Bulls and Pacers — have garnered more attention. That’s just fine with the Heat’s stars, writes Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
For now, the Miami Heat are enjoying the silence.
Even though it’s just preseason, the Heat are having one of the most distraction-free training camps of the Big Three Era. The outside “noise” coach Erik Spoelstra often talks about is non-existent.
At least for now.
“Most of the things you hear outside are probably anything that LeBron (James) does when it comes to ESPN and what’s coming up next,” guard Dwyane Wade said. “It has been quiet from that sense. There’s other story lines right now but the season is just starting so there’s still a lot of time.”
“Everybody is pumping up all the other teams,” center Chris Bosh said. “I was actually thinking about that this morning, just on the journey that we’ve been on. When you’re trying to defend your title, everybody tells you why you can’t do it and why every body else can. It’s just something else that you fight through.”
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Good look at what might be facing OKC shooting guard Jeremy Lamb this season … Yao Ming‘s long-ago efforts to help end Chinese citizens’ consumption of shark fin soup is paying off … The Bucks are still trying to figure out what Giannis “The Alphabet” Antetokounmpo’s role is …
ICYMI Of The Night: Jazz rookie Justin Holiday gets his welcome to the NBA moment in the preseason, courtesy of the Lakers’ Xavier Henry …