NEWS OF THE MORNING
George has surgery after suffering gruesome injury | Parker signs extension | Rose high on Bulls squad | Wade drops weight
No. 1: George suffers gruesome leg fracture — Indiana Pacers All-Star small forward Paul George suffered an open tibia-fibula fracture during Team USA’s scrimmage and is expected to remain hospitalized for about three days, USA Basketball confirmed in a statement released after surgery was completed. The gruesome injury sent George away on a stretcher with his parents by his side and ended the men’s national team scrimmage early in the fourth quarter. NBA.com’s John Schuhmann was on the scene:
In the first minute of the fourth quarter of the USA Basketball Showcase on Friday, George attempted to block a James Harden layup on a fast break. On his landing, his right leg buckled as it hit the basket support.
Players around George were shaken by what they saw. As George received medical attention on the baseline of the Thomas & Mack Center, his mother and father came down from the crowd and were by his side. Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was also in attendance.
“[George] appeared, like, stoic,” USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski said afterward. “They allowed his father to touch him and to comfort him. I thought our trainers did a great job, right away, of making sure, emotionally, he was as good as possible. But Paul reacted well.”
Both teams gathered together in prayer before George was taken away in a stretcher. And there was a universal decision to end the game with 9:33 to go.
“With the serious injury that we had,” Krzyzewski announced to the assembled crowd, “and the fact that we stopped playing for a long time and, really, in respect for Paul and his family, the scrimmage is done. We want to thank you for your support.”
Afterward, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said that there would be no decisions on the USA roster “for a while.”
“We need to just take a step back before we do anything at all,” Colangelo said. “Our first concern, our primary concern is Paul George.”
Colangelo and Krzyzewski said that they would be heading to the hospital immediately after speaking to the media. They had been set to cut the roster down from 20 to 15, likely early Saturday. But the team is not scheduled to reconvene until Aug. 14 in Chicago and there’s no urgency to make any decisions now.
Before George’s injury, Friday night was about the performance of Derrick Rose, who looked as quick and explosive as ever in his first game in almost nine months. But just as the USA and the NBA got one star back, it lost another. George was set to be the starting small forward for the U.S. Team at the World Cup, which begins Aug. 30 in Spain. And though there are no details on his injury as of yet, it is likely to keep him out several months.
“We are aware of the injury sustained by Paul George in Friday night’s Team USA game in Las Vegas and we are obviously greatly concerned,” Pacers president Larry Bird said in a statement. “At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with Paul.”
No. 2: Parker wants to be ‘Spur for life’ — The champion San Antonio Spurs, as usual, kept their off-court business quiet and on Friday signed All-Star point guard Tony Parker to a three-year extension that begins with the 2015-16 season. The extension means the Spurs will again keep Parker off the market when his current deal expires after next season. Parker could have become an unrestricted free agent and sought more money and a five-year contract. He chose to forego the fanfare of free agency and made the simple choice to stay with the Spurs at a fair price, about $43 million over the three seasons. Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News has the details:
Parker’s contract was originally slated to expire at the end of the upcoming season. With no out-clauses or other options in new extension, the 32-year-old Parker is set to remain with the Spurs through the end of the 2017-18 campaign unless he is traded.
“I’m very happy and I want to play for the Spurs my whole career and be a Spur for life,” Parker, who will be 36 upon the expiration of his extended deal, told the Express-News. “I love San Antonio and want to live here when my career is over. I love the city, I love the people and our great fans. I couldn’t be happier.”
Friday’s news increases the likelihood that each of the Spurs’ Big Three — a designation that includes team captain Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili — will finish his career with the team that drafted them.
“It’s unbelievable and I don’t take it for granted,” Parker said. “It’s unbelievable what we’ve accomplished and hopefully we can do more together.”
A six-time All-Star who has made three consecutive All-NBA teams, Parker averaged 16.7 points and 5.7 assists last season, becoming the Spurs’ leading scorer for the fourth straight season.
His numbers were down across the board from the previous two seasons, as coach Gregg Popovich sought to limit both the number of games Parker played (68) and his minutes (29.4 per game, matching his lowest since his rookie season of 2001-02).
By taking the summer off from international play this summer, Parker is hopeful he will be fresher — and by consequence, even more productive — for what will be his 14th NBA season.
“I felt like this was a summer I can give back to the Spurs,” Parker said last week.
In his career, Parker has appeared in 940 regular season games averaging 17.1 points, 6.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 32.6 minutes. He has played in 196 playoff games averaging 18.9 points and 5.3 assists.
Only two active NBA players, Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant, have appeared in more postseason games than Parker, who was the MVP of the Spurs’ 2007 NBA Finals victory over LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers. He is one of only three active players with at least 1,000 career postseason assists and 3,500 points, joining James and Bryant.
No. 3: Rose calls Bulls most talented of his career — Derrick Rose‘s performance this week for Team USA in Las Vegas has to be hugely encouraging for Chicago Bulls fans. The point guard has looked spry and comfortable coming off two major knee injuries in each of the last two seasons. Now Rose is fueling expectations even more for a big season, calling this edition of the Bulls the most talented during his career. Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com has more:
“I think this is the most talented team I’ve played on in my NBA career to tell you the truth,” Rose said after Team USA’s practice Wednesday. “With all the players that I have, with the experience that everybody’s bringing to the table. And the way that everybody’s working out individually during the offseason and what I’ve been hearing.”
The Bulls struck out in their attempt to lure free agent Carmelo Anthony to Chicago but quickly pivoted to a backup plan earlier this month. They signed four-time All-Star center Pau Gasol to a three-year, $22 million contract as well as European star Nikola Mirotic, a Bulls draft pick in 2011 who has been playing the past three seasons for Real Madrid. They also re-signed Kirk Hinrich, added rookie sharpshooter Doug McDermott in a draft-day trade and signed veteran guard Aaron Brooks to provide depth behind Rose.
Rose is pleased with the efforts made by general manager Gar Forman and executive VP John Paxson in upgrading the roster.
“I have that sense that they went for it,” Rose said. “That they gave their all. We got who we could get and who wanted to come. And that’s who we have to ride with. We have a lot of confidence in the players that we just signed and we know that the guys that’s already there is working out very hard. So it’s just a matter of getting in the gym, working out together, jelling very quickly, since we’re not going overseas early.”
Rose, who is in Las Vegas this week as part of Team USA’s training camp in advance of the FIBA Basketball World Cup that starts next month in Spain, acknowledges that he is motivated by seeing the work his teammates have been putting in over the past few months.
“Just seeing [second-year forward] Tony Snell bust his [butt] in the gym the whole summer, seeing Doug [McDermott] come in and do the same thing and they end up playing well, it kind of gave me a boost and let me know that hard work pays off,” Rose said. “So I’m watching them playing summer league a couple of times seeing them play with a lot of confidence, it just gave me confidence coming into this trial actually. But I think that we have a deep team, and we’ve got players that have one goal and we’ll do anything to get there.”
No. 4: Wade prepares for challenge ahead — Dwyane Wade has a lot to deal with this summer. Yes, he lost his running buddy in LeBron James, but of most pressing concern are his ailing knees and how to get the most from his body next season. Wade managed to play in only 54 games last year and seemed gassed as the NBA Finals wore on. At his youth camp, Wade spoke to Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick via ProBasketballTalk.com:
When Dwyane Wade played last season, he played well — 20.8 points a game on a career best .588 true shooting percentage, with a PER still of 22. The issue was more how much he played, just 54 games. His knees are just not the same and need a lot of time off and rest, and even the three games a week pace of the NBA Finals seemed to wear his body down.
Next season Miami is going to have to ask more of him, so Wade is trying to make sure there is less of him — he’s dieting.
Wade, out as his youth camp, spoke to Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report about the upcoming season.
Dropping weight will help his knees, but only so much. He’s 32 and there’s not a lot of cartilage left. He can only do so much.
That said Wade is happy in Miami, that’s his town, and like Chris Bosh they think this team can still do a lot of damage even without LeBron James.
But that’s not what anyone wants to hear, so these are the tweets on Wade talking about LeBron James and his decision to return to Cleveland.
Wade’s ability to carry more load for Miami next season is one of the keys for that team. They need him to.
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