Posts Tagged ‘USA Today Sports’

Report: Livingston, Warriors agree on deal

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Veteran point guard Shaun Livingston has reached an agreement to join the Golden State Warriors, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Livingston’s deal, for three years and a reported $16 million (with the third year partially guaranteed, per USA Today Sports), gives the Warriors a new dimension and some security in the backcourt

Livingston’s addition will allow All-Star point guard Steph Curry to play off the ball and alleviate some of the ball-handling and facilitating duties he shouldered last season. The Warriors will be adjusting to new coach Steve Kerr‘s system anyway, but the addition of a season veteran like Livingston gives them all sorts of possibilities in the backcourt.

Bulls’ Silver Lining? Rose’s Knee Injury Could Have Been Much Worse




VIDEO: Derrick Rose faces another potentially long road back from a severe knee injury

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – There is a silver lining in an otherwise doomsday scenario for Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls and their die-hard fans: It could have been worse!

It seems preposterous to frame Rose’s latest injury setback in that context. But on the eve and morning of his surgery, which has to be performed before there can any long-term prognosis for his recovery time, Rose’s teammates, the organization and especially the fans need something to positive to cling to.

Sure, it’s flimsy. But with the surgery happening sometime today in Chicago and no one sure what the aftermath of the procedure will bring, positive thoughts are needed.

And it’s true, it could have been worse. He could have suffered another torn ACL as opposed to the torn medial meniscus ligament in his right knee that was torn in Friday’s loss to Portland. All indications are that the recovery from this current injury requires less time than the entire 2012-13 season Rose had to miss while recovering from a torn left ACL.

The other, and perhaps more important, silver lining for the Bulls is that coach Tom Thibodeau, center Joakim Noah, and forwards Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng and the rest of the crew know what it’s like to work with Rose in street clothes. It doesn’t translate into a championship, as we saw last season. But they won’t be folding up their uniforms and giving up on their season just because Rose could be done.

The options for Rose, (thoroughly presented by our very own Steve Aschburner over the weekend) in terms of the surgical choices, have already been laid out.

Noted sports trainer Tim Grover, who has worked with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and others, provided a glimpse of the different approaches on Twitter shortly after the results of Rose’s MRI exam were released by the Bulls Saturday afternoon:

Repair the meniscus and you rehab it and the recovery time is anywhere from four to six months, which all but ends yet another season for Rose. If the meniscus cannot be repaired and has to be removed, the rehab and recovery process is sped up considerably. But the long-term outlook doesn’t look good, as arthritis and other issues could arise later because of the removal of the cartilage that serves as the cushion in the knee.

For a player Rose’s age, even after two severe knee injuries, the longevity of his career has to be of the utmost importance of all involved. Doesn’t it?

It makes little sense at this point to compare Rose’s situation to those of guys like Metta World Peace, who came back 12 days after surgery to repair a torn meniscus last season, or even Russell Westbrook, who was not coming back from a torn ACL in his other knee when he returned this season from surgery to repair his torn meniscus.

Rose is dealing with something that physically and psychologically only he can struggle to comprehend. He already dealt with a season full of second-guessing when he decided to use the entire 2012-13 season to recover from his ACL injury, a decision I supported wholeheartedly then and in hindsight. He’s saddled with the added pressure of being the hometown hero, the rising star who was supposed to lift the Bulls back to championship heights for the first time since the Jordan years.

All of that is in jeopardy now, of course, since we don’t know what type of player Rose will be in the wake of this second knee surgery.

But at least there is a chance he comes back and plays at a level commensurate with his talent and potential. Had this latest injury been more severe … well, thank goodness for silver linings.

*** Stay tuned to NBA.com and NBA TV for updates on Rose today ***

Opening Night: Time For Clippers’ Griffin And Jordan To Show Up And Show Out!


VIDEO: DeAndre Jordan abuses Utah’s Enes Kanter and finishes with authority

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Point fingers all you want at Chris Paul, coach Doc Rivers, owner Donald Sterling or anyone in Los Angeles this season. It doesn’t matter. Because it’s not on them … not If the Clippers are serious about making that move from pretender to contender.

It’s on two guys and two big guys in particular.

Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the highlight stars in Hollywood, have to take that next step and put the Clippers in a position to cash in on the immense potential we all see on that roster. They were the missing piece last season in the playoffs, when the Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol exposed the Clippers’ soft underbelly in a first-round playoff ouster of the reigning Pacific Division champs.

The Clippers weren’t tough enough then and Griffin and Jordan clearly didn’t have the seasoning needed to win the series. But Rivers has infused the Clippers’ locker room with a new energy, a new confidence even, that will serve as fuel for Griffin and Jordan.

And it’s time for those two to show up, show out and take some of the pressure off of Paul, the team’s smallest player (in stature). We get our first glimpse tonight, when the Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers open the season at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT). Griffin and Jordan couldn’t ask for a better opening test than the Lakers’ veteran frontcourt of Pau Gasol and ex-Clipper Chris Kaman.

If they want to justify the hype and make Rivers look like a genius for praising and challenging them simultaneously during the past few months, we’ll see it tonight in their play.

When he spoke about Jordan as a potential All-Star, to USA Today SportsSam Amick, his comments had to strike a (positive) nerve with Jordan — a player with big talent who still lacks the polish needed to dominate both ends of the court.

“He’s an All-Star, and whether he makes it or not I could care less about that part but I’m just saying that he’s at that level,” Rivers said. “DJ has the ability to affect an entire end of the floor. So how good was Deion Sanders? That’s how good DJ is. That’s the way I look at it.”

Griffin is already an All-Star. There’s no stroking of his ego needed. Rivers had to challenge his basketball IQ, his personal fabric and find out if he was willing to go to uncomfortable places within himself to improve and make himself more of a factor this season.

Combined, Griffin and Jordan have the ability to push the Clippers into the true-contender atmosphere. They’re talented enough to be the difference-makers in ways that few players in the league can, due mostly to the fact that they are physically superior to most opposing low-post duos.

But are they mentally tough enough? Are they skilled enough? Are they determined enough to become the collective force of nature that elevates the Clippers?

We’ll get a good sense tonight when the curtain comes up on their 2013-14 season!

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 125): Featuring Sam Amick Of USA Today Sports

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — If you read the tea leaves properly, the way most people did, Dwight Howard choosing the Houston Rockets wasn’t much of a surprise.

That doesn’t make it any easier for fans of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors or Atlanta Hawks to get through the first 48 of the free-agent signing period. Not when they all dreamed about Howard picking them.

But as Sam Amick of USA Today Sports (the man who broke the Howard story last Friday night) explains on Episode 125 of the Hang Time Podcast, it was Houston all the way for Howard … no waffle!

The impact of his choice on the rest of those teams and other free agents was swift, save for Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, who had already made his mind up by the time Howard selected the Rockets. Once Howard’s business was done, though, it set off a weekend of activity that saw almost all of the big names agree to deals before the sun went down Sunday night.

Join us as we dissect those moves, the fearlessness of Celtics boss Danny Ainge, the pickle that Mavs owner Mark Cuban is in with Dirk Nowitzki after two straight summers of missed free-agent opportunities, celebrate Independence Day in the Bahamas, chart our winners and losers, debate the best (and worst) moves of the summer and plenty more on Episode 125 of the Hang Time Podcast: Featuring Sam Amick of USA Today Sports

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com,  Lang Whitaker of NBA.com’s All-Ball Blog and renaissance man Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand and the best engineer in the business,  Jarell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

Howard Picks Houston!



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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Dwight Howard will chase his championships in Houston, not Los Angeles, Dallas or anywhere else the prized free-agent center was rumored to be headed in recent weeks.

The word came down Friday evening, first reported by Sam Amick of USA Today Sports. Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports Sports that his client was in still finalizing his decision and “He hopes to finalize his decision tonight or tomorrow morning.”

But two sources familiar with the situation confirmed to NBA.com that Houston is indeed Howard’s choice. This ends a nearly two-year drama for Howard, who would sign a four-year, $89 million deal with the Rockets on July 10. Howard could have signed a five-year, $118 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, the only team that could offer him that fifth year and extra $30 million.

Late Friday night, after a face-to-face meeting with Howard, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak confirmed it for anyone thinking there was a chance Howard would change his mind:

The Rockets made the first presentation to Howard, just minutes after free agency began at 12:01 a.m. ET on July 1. The Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and the incumbent Lakers followed up that presentation over the course of the next two days.

Howard’s lone season with the Lakers got off to a tumultuous start, head coach Mike Brown was fired five games into the season and replaced by Mike D’Antoni, who never seemed to find common ground with Howard. A summer that began with so much promise, the acquisitions of both Howard and two-time MVP Steve Nash to go along with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, bottomed out into a seventh-seed in the Western Conference playoff chase and first-round elimination at the hands of the eventual Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs.

Howard was coming off of back surgery and didn’t appear to get back into regular form until late in the season, but long after the Lakers’ championship dreams had faded. Bryant’s season-ending Achilles injury just before the playoffs began was the final dagger.

The Rockets won the recruiting battle for Howard and now they have to finish their summer work, the next piece of business being their pursuit and acquisition of Howard’s long-time friend and fellow Atlanta native Josh Smith, who is mulling over his free-agent options right now as well.

Smith, who conducted his own round of in-face meetings with teams in Los Angeles earlier this week as well, is believed to be favoring the Detroit Pistons, whose plans for the combo forward were laid out before he and his representatives met with the Rockets. But the Hawks have interest in Houston center Omer Asik, who one source told NBA.com would be the linchpin to any potential sign-and-trade deal between the two teams.

With Howard, a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and the league’s reigning rebounding champ, and potentially Smith alongside All-Star shooting James Harden, versatile swingman Chandler Parsons and point guard Jeremy Lin, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey will have assembled a core group capable of challenging the Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers and Warriors for supremacy in the Western Conference in 2013-14 and beyond.

“That’s a team that competes for championships, if not right away, certainly in the next two or three years,” said an Eastern Conference executive after hearing of Howard’s choice. “It didn’t work out with the Lakers and that group they had. But he’ll have a coach that will do wonders for him in Kevin McHale and group around him that will make things extremely difficult on anyone that focuses on Dwight in the paint. They’re going to give people fits.”