Morning shootaround — July 19




VIDEO: Gasol excited about joining the Bulls

NEWS OF THE MORNING
Bynum might sit out | Exum experiences bumps | Bulls take on international flair | Jordan challenges Lance | Wiggins not worried
No. 1: Bynum might sit out year to strengthen knees — Of course, the big question is if Andrew Bynum decided to sit out the entire 2014-15 season to have treatment on his bad knees, who would notice? After all, the big man has played just 26 games over the past two years while wearing different uniforms in Philly, Cleveland and Indiana. Now, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Bynum is considering undergoing the German-based therapy program that promotes cartilage growth that will require an extra long recovery time, with an eye on joining Phil Jackson and the Knicks in 2015-15:

Regenokine is a non-surgical program that promotes new cartilage growth through a series of injections. The FDA still hasn’t approved it in the United States. Bynum is considering doing the program with well-known doctor German doctor Peter Wehling, who worked with Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez. It is similar but not identical to the PRP procedure.
Bynum has arthritic knees that have stalled a career that once flourished under Jackson in Los Angeles.
“If he’s healthy, Phil will be interested,” Lee told The Post. “Phil knew how to tap into Andrew. They got along famously.”

Bynum, the Jersey product who was a young stud center for two of Jackson’s Lakers title teams, would undergo the procedure as a means to extend his career.
“He would be looking at in a longer-term situation,” Lee said. “He’s still a baby. If he went to college, he’d be coming off his rookie contract at age 26.”

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No. 2: Strong Exum finds there’s a lot to learning in Las Vegas — Everybody with a grade school knowledge of world geography knows it’s a long way from Australia to the United States. Utah’s No. 5 pick in the draft Dante Exum got a first-hand taste of the miles he still has to travel to make the adjustment to the NBA with a rough experience in the NBA. Our own Scott Howard-Cooper watched all of Exum’s bumps in the road at the Las Vegas summer league and talks about what the experience meant:

Unlike the majority of every draft class that steels itself with years of AAU circuits and college play or leagues in Europe with older professionals, Exum not only has to make the transition at age 19 but with very little in his basketball background to prepare for the NBA. He has never been seriously challenged for weeks at a time, let the months waiting for him with the Jazz schedule as a rookie.
“The last games I played was high school games and I’m one of the bigger guys out there that can push guys around,” he said. “Here, I get into the paint and I’m getting knocked over.”
Literally and figuratively. Exum faced NBA competition for the first time and shot 30.8 percent in five games, ending with Friday’s victory over the Trail Blazers at Thomas & Mack Center, while averaging 7.2 points and piling up more turnovers (15) than assists (14). He had good moments, but nothing close to a good game, with making four of 10 shots and three assists against one turnover in the opener against Philadelphia probably holding up as the best.
“It’s been a big couple weeks for him,” said Brad Jones, the Jazz assistant coach who ran the team in the Summer-League games. “He’s got a lot going on. He’s had some ups and downs through this, but it’s also why we play Summer League, for him to go through the ups and downs. The little challenge, we talked to him at halftime about, we wanted to see him finish on a strong note. I thought he tried to play through and luckily made a great play and hit that little floater to kind of seal that game for us.
“Now he can go back and regroup a little bit. I know he’s going to his national team, but hopefully now he has a level of understanding of what he has to do every day to be successful. There were some times he showed some brilliant, brilliant things this last week. Then again, there’s been some times where he’s been kicked in the rear end a little bit. Hopefully he’ll take this, process it and come back in the fall ready to go and to help because we think he’s got a bright future.”

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No. 3: Gasol, Mirotic give the Bulls a taste of Spain — So much has changed since the time Spaniard Pau Gasol was a No. 1 pick in the draft back in 2001 to now when Nikola Mirotic signed on to join him for the upcoming season with the Bulls. Our Steve Aschburner talks about how the basketball world in general and the NBA in particular has embraced the contributions of international players:

“The infrastructure is a lot better now in Europe and the rest of the world,” Tony Ronzone said by phone Friday during a break in Las Vegas Summer League action. “And the world’s becoming smaller with the Internet and the video. You can see now how many games are televised all around the world.”
Ronzone, a longtime NBA executive, is one of the league’s most experienced evaluators of international talent. He is director of player personnel for the Dallas Mavericks, worked for Minnesota and Detroit in similar capacities and served as head coach of teams in United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. He also is director of international player personnel for the USA Basketball men’s team.
He has seen the growth and comfort level in both directions — international players and coaches becoming more NBA savvy, the league embracing more players and concepts from overseas — throughout his career.
Consider: In Gasol’s rookie season, 2001-02, there were 52 international players from 31 different countries on NBA rosters. By Opening Night 2013-14, the number had grown to a record 92 players from 39 countries.
“What’s happening now is, our game has grown and with the NBA as the best league in the world, these players internationally are able to watch athletes on the floor and mimic their moves,” Ronzone said.
“There’s a lot more player-development going on to create more foot speed. Because the biggest adjustment the Europeans have coming over to America is, defensively they’d be behind and their foot speed, they’d be behind. What they’re learning to do is, with less foot speed, they’re understanding angles and they’re doing a better job of watching these athletes and getting scouting reports on how to play them.”

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No. 4: Jordan throws down gauntlet to Stephenson — Before he officially signed off on the three-year, $27.4-million free agent contract, Hornets owner Michael Jordan laid down the law and told Lance Stephenson that he expects fewer shenanigans and more production this season. Stephenson told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer that he definitely got the message:

“I bring more to the table than blowing in someone’s ear,” Stephenson said Friday of the incident with LeBron James that brought him so much notoriety.
Stephenson, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, brings scoring, defense, playmaking and an edge. The Hornets like his edginess, and believe it can help them win games. But only to a point.
Hornets owner Michael Jordan attended the meeting in Las Vegas on Tuesday night that resulted in Stephenson signing a 3-year, $27.4 million contract. Jordan spoke very directly with Stephenson before signing off on this contract.
“He told me what he likes about me, he told me what I need to calm down on,” Stephenson told the Observer after the news conference. “He told me how I can contribute to the team. And he told me he believed in my talent. He likes my competitive edge.”
There is plenty to like. The Hornets desperately need scoring and shooting from the wing positions. Last season Stephenson averaged 13.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists and shot 49 percent from the field. The Hornets needed a player of his wide skill set and playoff experience.
What they don’t need is some of the disruptive things that have come with Stephenson’s history. He committed 14 technical fouls last season, fourth-most in the NBA. He had two legal issues in the past, first when he was accused of groping a teenage girl and later an accusation he pushed a girlfriend down a flight of stairs.
The $9 million-a-season salary (the third season at $9.4 million is a team option) is a bargain for a player of Stephenson’s talent. The Hornets got that deal because of the ways Stephenson undermined his reputation entering free-agency.

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No. 5: Wiggins just playing, ignoring the rumors — Rookie Andrew Wiggins can’t turn on the TV or click on a website without confronting another rumor that he could be part of a blockbuster trade that brings Kevin Love to Cleveland. It’s an unusual position for the No. 1 pick in any draft to be in. But after finishing up his stint at the Las Vegas summer league on Friday night, Wiggins told our Jeff Caplan that the only thing on his mind is playing basketball and getting better:

“Nothing to me,” Wiggins said as he flashed a playful personality with a wide smile after taking the Cavs’ Friday night Summer League finale off following four promising performances in his debut as a professional. “I just know what you know. I just see what you see on TV. That’s about it.”
The 6-foot-8 swingman said he’s letting his “agent and support system” handle the off-court twists and turns while he focuses on preparing for his rookie season, wherever it may be.
“I just play basketball, man, wherever I go,” Wiggins said.
James’ intent seem clear. On Thursday, Yahoo! Sports reported that James has reached out to Love about forming a superstar pairing few ever in thought about before a week ago. The Timberwolves have stood pat that there’s no deal unless Wiggins is the centerpiece. Whether or not the Cavs are now prepared to make their top pick available seems to change with the wind.
There’s just no clear indication yet of the Cavs’ position. It was only a week ago that James announced his return to the Cavaliers. Later that night Wiggins made his first appearance in Cavs colors at Summer League. Since then, Wiggins has been the at the main attraction in Vegas and at the center of constant trade rumors.
As he sat on the bench early in Friday’s game, a section of the crowd at the Thomas & Mack Center stood and chanted: “We want Wig-gins!”
“It’s been crazy, but it’s all positive stuff,” Wiggins said. “With LeBron coming back, there’s nothing negative about that; the best player in the world coming to your team. The organization is on the rise right now.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Dwight Howard says the Rockets won’t miss Chandler Parsons …Channing Frye never considered giving the Suns a hometown discount … Udonis Haslem signs two-year deal to stay with the Heat …LeBron James is asking for help on deciding which jersey number he’ll wear in his return to Cleveland.

ICYMI(s) of The Night: A sequence like this illustrates why Paul George is among the best two-way players in the game today …:

VIDEO: Paul George gets the steal and then caps the break with a fancy jam

27 Comments

  1. Romeo says:

    Can’t believe they still bring up Bynum, he’s a bum. Dude doesn’t want to play, all he wants to do is take money and sit on the bench. Anyone taking a risk on this bum is an idiot. This dude doesn’t belong in this league, period.

  2. Bynum should just simply retire.

  3. KaBoom says:

    Bynum out of service???? who cares

  4. Unkaned says:

    Everything happening to Bynum flows from his medical problems. Everything else is speculation, and he’s lucky he’s young — and already won two rings. Stop talking about him [journalists], and leave him alone. He’s not news now. But maybe he’ll pop back into it in a year or to if he works intelligently on his body. He has the best doctors in the World, and can afford them.. So let this nonsense slide. Plenty else to talk about.

  5. tony p says:

    if andrew bynum sits out another year he just going to get more out of shape, dude doesn’t have focus, or know how to get better on his own.

  6. philme says:

    I think he be the right thing for Lakers now

  7. Nick says:

    Howard has shown once again how shallow he is, and how much he thinks of himself. If he was half as good a center as he thinks he is he would be destroying the records of the truly great centers of the game. Unfortunately, it’s hard to learn, when you already think you know it all.

  8. Anderson Jones says:

    No way the Cavs should do that deal. Not worth it. Love is great, but Wiggins’ upside is too high. Plus, the Cavs have a team right now that can compete for a title and is def the best in the East: http://straighthoops.com/beast_of_the_east.html

  9. harrythehawk says:

    He has wasted everyone’s time. Andrew Bynum is a bum and I wish he would take the rest of his life off, from the NBA.

  10. RipCity2014 says:

    At this point Bynum is like Lindsey Lohan: irrelevant even though the media keeps covering him.

  11. perro says:

    Bynum??who cares?,,,,his career is long gone,,,if he had as much heart for the game that he enjoys the dollarsigns he´s be a hall of famer,,,now he´s just another big roleplayer

  12. Carlo says:

    “Dwight Howard says the Rockets won’t miss Chandler Parsons”.

    He also said Parsons’s absence won’t affect Rockets hopes for title.

    Well, it probably won’t affect their HOPES (anybody has right to their “hopes”).
    It will surely affect their CHANCES.

    Ok, I bet for a long time still all the strategy schools will keep studying Sun Tzu’s “Art of war”, instead of “Dwight’s random thoughts about how to win”.

  13. Eddie M says:

    Bynum sitting out? He didn’t do nothing last season. I guess he doesn’t want to try to become the star he was in the past.

  14. Wad the says:

    Paul gasol was not a No. 1 pick… Come on get your facts right..

  15. Bob says:

    I think Andrew Bynum is a very very smart guy… We just couldnt accept it… So people join me, Lets accept that he is the smartest man to ever play basketball in NBA history moneywise. Let the healing begin. His life should be movielized, its like a prequel to The Oceans 11 series. When all has been said and done Andrew will have the last laugh…. He is like a DRONGO bird (google it) very smart and gets what he wants. He should sport that weird halfdone hairdo again and we call it the drongo cut. So the next decades when a player gets a big contract but doesnt play we’ll call the team as to being “Bynumized “(copyright pending) merriam webster approval looming.

    • Carlo says:

      You’re right.
      And, considering how expensive are courtside seats in the arenas, I would’ve made Bynum pay for his place on the bench.

      Anyway, the magic German treatment will likely put his knees back to early-LA, NBA level form.
      Now, if they only could find a similar treatment to put his brain to NBA form…

  16. Oscar says:

    “Jackson and Bynum got along famously”? LMAO. Was this when Phil would call Bynum by saying, “here kitty, kitty, kitty”? Or was it during one of the hundreds of times Phil questioned his heart or “slow healing”?

  17. Bynam's broken knees says:

    Dear Andy,

    How about we sit out every other NBA season thereafter as well. Nobody likes you anyway.
    Love always,

    Your knees.

    P.s. Let’s go bowling instead!

  18. TheKush says:

    I had a feeling Lance went to the Hornets so he could learn from MJ I honestly think Lance will be one of the best players in NBA in a few seasons. He’s not shy can average a triple double, plays good defense for the most part he appears to take care of his body. I didn’t think he was a good fit in Indiana and I think the reason the Pacers lost their edge was because they traded Granger and I think when Granger left Lance Stephenson became the alpha dog in the pacers locker room which messed up the team chemistry because at that time I don’t think Lance was the best leader.

    In Charlotte Lance has the chance to be the definitive leader because both he and Kemba are from New York – Bronx, and Brooklyn respectfully plus MJ was born in New York so all three of them in my opinion will have a level of understanding of their competitive natures and hold themselves accountable. The Hornets might be the surprise team in the east because lets not forget about Jefferson he’s SOLID! If that team stays healthy skies the limit I think Jordan just found the core he’s been looking for in North Carolina

    • Mr.MikeLove says:

      You speak wise words my friend!

      • ok says:

        Great points about Lance skills….

        David West was the locker room leader not Grainger, Its equally for his high post game and grown man decorum why the Pacers players pleaded for West to management when his contract was up a few years back…. and you must be from NY like half my fam. I hear you trying to claim Jordan but he is a southerner raised in NC (just born in NYC) like Melo spent his latter years in Baltimore area but claims NYC as home. Great points about Lance’s game regardless of he NYC hype

      • Carlo says:

        Hey, I once spent two days in NY. Does this entitle me to be able to play alongside K.Walker and Lance?

        Anyway, if somebody there is available to give me 120M$ in 5 years, I’ll be ready to swear about my NYC citizenship right now.

    • JG says:

      Nobody in the NBA can average a triple double.