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Morning shootaround — Sept. 10


VIDEO: Day 9 of the FIBA Americas tournament

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: World Peace, Lakers inch toward deal | Favors enjoying life in Utah | Sefolosha rejects deal in nightclub case | Jay Williams’ laments of youth

No. 1: Report: World Peace closing in on Lakers return — Metta World Peace made the basket that helped lock up the Los Angeles Lakers’ last championship. But, he hasn’t played for the Los Angeles Lakers since 2012-13 and hasn’t been in the NBA since a 29-game stint with the New York Knicks in 2013-14. However, it is looking more and more like a Los Angeles reunion is in the works for World Peace, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Free agent Metta World Peace has begun to work out daily at the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice facility, inching closer to a return to the franchise on a one-year contract, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

World Peace, 35, started participating in informal workouts with Lakers players this week at the team’s facility in El Segundo, Calif., and is expected to continue through the start of Lakers training camp later this month, league sources said. No deal has been agreed upon, but there’s an increasing expectation that will happen this month, league sources said.

World Peace had been in the Lakers’ practice facility earlier this summer, too, working against 2014 first-round pick Julius Randle, sources said.

World Peace has been out of the NBA since the New York Knicks waived him during the 2013-14 season. He played last season in China and Italy. Lakers officials are growing in the belief that World Peace, formerly Ron Artest, has evolved into a mature veteran who can impact a young roster with his toughness and resolve, league sources said.

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No. 2: Favors enjoying pace of life in Utah  As a 19-year-old rookie for the New Jersey Nets in 2010-11, Derrick Favors was trying to get his NBA legs under himself when he was dealt to the Utah Jazz as part of the Deron Williams deal. Favors was caught off guard by the move and learned first hand just how much of a business the NBA can be. After spending three seasons behind veterans Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap on the depth chart, Favors found his spot as a featured player in 2013-14 and, even more so last season. In a great piece by the Sporting NewsAdi Joseph, Favors digs into how he adjusted to the trade, a changed role and getting used to a quieter life in Salt Lake City:

“I didn’t expect to stay (long term), no,” Favors says, more than four years after the trade and two years after he signed a four-year contract extension with the Jazz. “Utah was so different, I was so new to it. I didn’t expect to stay.

“But as the years have gone on, I’ve grown to love it. I got used to it. I just started feeling comfortable,” he says. “I like how calm and chill it is in Utah. It’s a good thing and it’s a bad thing. The bad part is, maybe after a big game you want to go out and hang out or whatever, and there’s really not too many spots like that in Utah. Down here, you could go anywhere. Out in Utah, it’s chill, laid-back. There’s not a lot of rah-rah stuff going on. You can focus on your job, your career, whatever else you have going on.”

He’s letting out a sigh, hands on his hips, during a loss in the only playoff series he’s reached in five NBA seasons. The Jazz were swept, but that 2012 first-round series against San Antonio may have been a turning point for Favors. He started Game 4 and averaged 29 minutes, 11.8 points and 9.5 rebounds a game. He tasted success at the highest level.

Then Favors came back for his third season, and veteran big men Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson were standing in front of him and his minutes — again.

“At the time, I wanted to play a lot, I wanted to start,” he says. “But I didn’t run my mouth. I did my part. And I enjoyed playing behind those guys, but once I got the starting spot it raised my level as far as work ethic and intensity. I attribute me getting better to that.”

“The fact that Derrick didn’t have to come here initially and feel the burden of the whole franchise on his shoulders as a young man, the common bond with Paul being from Louisiana, Al being from Mississippi, those three being talented big guys who could relate to each other, even look each other in the eyes, frankly, is very important,” Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey says. “I don’t think you can underestimate that. But I also think, even prior to me coming, the program gets a lot of credit for how patient they were with Derrick. And in Derrick and (his agent, Wallace Prather III), we didn’t receive a call when he wasn’t starting or didn’t close a game or didn’t get as many shots as he wanted. There was just a nice, blind faith.

“So there was some progression, and then ultimately we had to make some choices.”

About a month ago, Favors organized a Boys & Girls Club event at the Jazz’s facility in Salt Lake City. He spent a day doing the kinds of things that NBA players do at these events, teaching basketball skills and emphasizing work ethic. He does charity work regularly in the offseason, in Atlanta and Salt Lake City.

The former is home. So is the latter.

“I’m settled now,” he says. “I’ve got a house, my family comes out about once a month to visit, I’m pretty much used to it. It feels like home to me.”

A purple alligator skull is mounted to the roof of this purple Buick Regal. Three TV screens inside are showing a Future music video as the trunk rattles. Favors looks down, inspects the interior, settles on an 18 out of 20 before moving on to an SUV sitting on enormous rims.

Utah vs. Atlanta? “Two different worlds,” Favors says. And maybe he needs both.


VIDEO: Derrick Favors’ best game from 2014-15

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No. 3: Sefolosha rejects deal in nightclub case — Atlanta Hawks swingman Thabo Sefolosha was a key part of last season’s success, but unfortunately missed the team’s playoff run due to a fibula injury he suffered stemming from a nightclub incident in New York. Whether or not he will be available for the Hawks’ season opener hinges on how his injury heals up and, more importantly, on an Oct. 5 court date in New York after he rejected an offer for a conditional dismissal of his charges yesterday. Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more:

Hawks player Thabo Sefolosha will go to trial Oct. 5, determined to prove his innocence in a case stemming from an incident outside a New York nightclub.

Prosecutors dropped all charges against former Hawk Pero Antic in a morning hearing in Manhattan. But they offered Sefolosha only a conditional dismissal, which he turned down in favor of going to trial to seek full exoneration.

Sefolosha suffered a broken right fibula and ligament damage during the incident and while he no longer needs a walking boot or crutches, he has yet to be cleared for basketball activities. He said Tuesday that he’s not sure he’ll be ready for the start of training camp later this month, but remains hopeful of being able to play when the Hawks open the season Oct. 27 against Detroit.

Sefolosha has said his injuries were caused by New York City police, who came to the scene after Indiana Pacers player Chris Copeland was stabbed in the abdomen during a dispute at the nightclub 1OAK in the early morning hours of April 8. Sefolosha was charged with one count of resisting arrest and one count of disorderly conduct, while Antic faced charges of disorderly conduct and second-degree harassment for interfering with Sefolosha’s arrest.

ESPN.com’s Ian Bagley was on hand in New York for Sefolosha’s court appearance and files this report as well:

On Wednesday, the district attorney’s office dismissed the charges against Antic, who signed a two-year contract with Fenerbahce Ulker of Turkey over the summer.

The district attorney’s office also offered Sefolosha an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, which essentially is an opportunity to dismiss his charges after six months, provided he performed a day of community service. But Sefolosha rejected the offer, opting to fight the charges before a jury.

“He’s innocent and he wants to be vindicated,” Sefolosha’s attorney, Alex Spiro, said outside of the Manhattan courthouse.

Sefolosha declined to discuss the case Wednesday but said his broken fibula was healing well. He was unsure whether he’d be ready for training camp, set to begin later this month.

He acknowledged that having to return to New York on Oct. 5 — in the middle of Atlanta’s training camp — isn’t ideal.

“We tried to push it as much as we could. We’re working with the system, so it’s not just as if we could decide the date and they would accommodate it,” Sefolosha said outside of court, flanked by National Basketball Players Association general counsel Gary Kohlman.

One potential key development for Sefolosha on Wednesday concerned the arresting officers’ interviews before the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board. Sprio will be granted the audio of those interviews, and the content will be admissible in court, Judge Kevin McGrath ruled.

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No. 4: Williams laments his choices as young NBA player — Former Chicago Bulls point guard Jay Williams had a decent rookie season in 2002-03 and was an All-Rookie Second Team selection. But in the offseason of 2003, he crashed his motorcycle into a pole and suffered what turned out to be a career-ending injury. In a candid interview with the Brilliant Idiots podcast, Williams shares why he made some of the choices he did back then and how it affected his life. Lang Greene of BasketballInsiders.com has a transcription of some key parts of the interview:

After a decent rookie season, where he recorded a triple-double, Williams crashed his motorcycle into a streetlight a couple of miles away from his home in June 2003. Although Williams maintains he wasn’t being reckless on the motorcycle before his accident, he does admit the fast-paced pro lifestyle did get to his head once he entered the league.

“After my rookie season is where I [expletive] it all up,” Williams recently told the Brilliant Idiots’ podcast. “Don’t we all have [expletive] in contracts that we’re not supposed to do? Isn’t that life though? Here’s the thing. I never had money before. So all of a sudden someone gives me a lot of money and are like, ‘Hey, go fly with it.’ We didn’t have that type of money before.

“My family was mid-tier. So now you’re allowed to do whatever you want. You can fly on a private plane. You can get your mom a $10,000 fur coat. You can form a family business. It’s hard for that not to go to a 21-year-old’s head. Now, all of a sudden, I’m that dude. Now when I drive down I-90, I have billboard with my face on it. What the [expletive] is that? It’s not reality. It’s warped. Right? So for me, it was like when I saw other dudes doing things on planes, gambling money or doing whatever it might be, you start living that life. You say, ‘I can do that.’ Why wouldn’t I do that? It was just the lifestyle that came along with the property.”

The totality of the injuries suffered in the accident would ultimately force Williams out of the league and pushed the former star guard to the verge of suicide in the years to follow. Williams has a book set to be released in 2016 tentatively titled “Life is No Accident.” Although Williams missed out on plenty of future NBA earnings, he says he’s grateful to the Bulls for honoring a portion of his deal even after the tragic accident.

“I got lucky,” Williams said. “The Bulls blessed me with the second year of my deal, which they didn’t need to do. They were giving [the money] to me with the hopes I would be able to come back and play.

“I shattered my pelvis. I dislocated my knee, tore ligaments in my knee. But it’s not even the physical part that [expletive] me up. It’s the mental part. Living with it. That’s what my book is about. Living with all that [expletive] day-to-day. Knowing that you [expletive] up and you trying to let it go and other people keep reminding you that you [expletive] up. So you can’t let it go. It almost puts you into a mental misery of a jail cell.

“For a long time I wish I had just died. I felt it immediately. 100 percent. I didn’t know [my career] was over but I felt something different. It was different. My body was different. When I hit that pole, I knew something was wrong and I wasn’t going to be able to bounce right back.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Big man Greg Stiemsma may be nearing a deal with the Orlando Magic … Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson has reportedly switched agents … ICYMI yesterday, the Cleveland Cavaliers finally signed 2008 second-round pick Sasha Kaun … The Philadelphia 76ers added Kendall Marshall to the roster, and he is reportedly on a partially guaranteed deal … Los Angeles Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell is getting used to the limelight in California

3 Comments

  1. michael says:

    jason williams is the (expletive) man

  2. harriethehawk says:

    Sefalosha will win his case. Then focus on getting back to the court. We need your defense really bad, let’s go Hawks!!

  3. LarryG says:

    About Jay Williams.

    i think that (expletive) was (expletive)(expletive). So it is (expletive) that all that (expletive)(expletive) was (expletive).


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