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Morning shootaround — Sept. 12


Report: Optimism growing about Bosh’s status | Report: Howard falls ill on flight | Hill ready to lead Jazz back to playoffs

No. 1: Report: Optimism growing that Bosh will play in 2016-17 — The Miami Heat and star forward Chris Bosh seem to have the same goal in mind — him playing in the 2016-17 season. However, enacting a plan both sides agree on to reach that goal hasn’t always gone well. Bosh missed the last half of the 2015-16 season with a heart condition and still needs clearance from the team to play again. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Bosh and the Heat may be getting close to that approval status:

There is growing optimism about Chris Bosh being cleared by the Heat to resume his career while remaining on blood thinners, according to a union source.

Bosh pitched the Heat on playing late last season, while taking a new form of blood thinner that would be out of his system in eight hours or so. The Heat resisted that approach at that time but is now more open than it had been to Bosh playing while on blood thinners, according to the source.

Bosh wouldn’t be the first athlete to do that: Former Florida Panthers player Tomas Fleischmann takes anticoagulant injections after games that are out of his system by game time.

Whether Bosh would be able to play in every game, such as the second set of back-to-backs, remains to be seen.

But barring a setback in the next few weeks, it would be surprising if Bosh isn’t cleared to play.

That would mean a Heat starting lineup of Bosh, Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, Goran Dragic and likely Dion Waiters.


No. 2: Report: Hawks’ Howard falls ill on flight — Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard, like most star NBA players right now, is gearing up for his season and wrapping up whatever offseason commitments he has. Howard had been in China recently as part of a promotional tour with the shoe company Peak and was returning to Atlanta when he became ill on the flight and had to be hospitalized. Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more on Howard’s situation:

Dwight Howard was taken to a hospital late Sunday night after feeling ill on a plane flight to Atlanta, according to several people familiar with the situation. It is believed that the Hawks center suffered from dehydration. He is being treated and is expected to be released from the hospital early Monday morning.

Howard, 30, has recently been in China on a 10-day promotional tour with shoe manufacturer Peak. Last week, the Chinese company and Howard unveiled his DH2 shoe which features the colors of the Hawks. It also has ‘Be Gr8’ embroidered on the tongue. Howard changed his number to eight after signing with the Hawks this summer and has worn the slogan on apparel.

There is currently no release date for the shoe in the United States.

Howard has been working out with a personal shooting coach while in China and has posted several videos of his workouts on social media. The most recent post of Howard working out in China was four days ago.

Howard, an Atlanta native from Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, signed a three-year, $70.5 million contract with the Hawks this summer. The eight-time NBA All-Star was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year three straight seasons from 2008-09 to 2010-11. Howard has played 12 seasons with the Magic, Lakers and Rockets before joining the Hawks.


No. 3: Hill ready to spark revival for Jazz — From 1984 to 2013, the Utah Jazz missed the playoffs just four times in those 29 seasons. However, since 2013, the Jazz have not made the playoffs (although they were close to doing so last season). The Jazz added veteran guard George Hill as part of a mini-makeover to a roster stocked with young talent like Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. Hill hasn’t been in the Western Conference since he was on the San Antonio Spurs in the late 2000s, but wants to help the Jazz get back in the postseason in 2017, writes Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune:

His blond hair, which he kept for most of last season, is back to its original color. His smile, not always prevalent in his final days with the Indiana Pacers, is back. Hill spoke on a number of subjects on Saturday: his role on the Jazz, his work in the community, race relations around the country. But in an interview with The Tribune, he made one thing clear above all: He simply wants to win.

“When I was in the Western Conference [with the San Antonio Spurs], Utah was a powerhouse,” Hill said. “They always made the playoffs, but in the past few years they’ve been in a rebuilding phase. All of my focus is on doing my best to help the Jazz get back into the playoffs, that’s all that matters to me now. I’ve never been big on personal stats. I just want to do whatever it takes to win the game.”

Hill is one of the main reasons for optimism among Utah fans. He’s never going to wow anyone from the point guard position like Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, or Chris Paul. But Hill is solid on both ends of the floor. His quickness, long arms and athleticism are tailor-made for Quin Snyder‘s defensive schemes, and he projects as a thoughtful and mature addition to the lockerroom. He adds stability and leadership to a position that’s lacked much of both since 2011, when Deron Williams was one of the elite point guards in the NBA.

The Jazz craved Hill’s ability to spot up and hit shots. They welcome his ability to stay in front of the many quicksilver point guards in the league. The Jazz front office would love for him to serve as a mentor to Dante Exum, the young point guard who is a year removed from a torn ACL.

Hill’s summer has been a whirlwind between the trade, moving with his family to Salt Lake and community work, of which he does a lot in his hometown of Indianapolis. But his personal life and schedule are both stabilizing as training camp looms.

“Utah’s an amazing state and Salt Lake is an amazing city,” Hill said. “I’ve been welcomed with open arms, I love it here. I can’t wait until the season starts.”

With one year remaining on his contract, and without an extension (for which he is eligible in October), Hill will become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Hill said that’s not on his mind, however. He knows he will play a big role for the Jazz this season, and his potential value on the market next summer could be significant.

Still, the focus is on playing this season and trying to win as much as possible. He knows if he does that, the dominoes will fall into place.

“I haven’t really talked about that much with anyone,” Hill said. “My whole focus is to come in here and be the best player that I can possibly be. I feel that the contract situation will work itself out, once you do that.”


SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell says his rookie year “wasn’t the best rookie yet.” … Dallas Mavericks guard Deron Williams says he will be ready to go when training camp opens … New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis is expected to start 2016-17 without any medical restrictions … Philadelphia 76ers rookies Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons took in the Philadelphia Eagles game yesterday … Good video that shows Russell Westbrook may not be as good of a finisher at the rim as you think he is … Former Utah Jazz center Tibor Pleiss has reportedly signed a deal with a team in Turkey

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