Looking to cure those NBA offseason blues? The Association's media day had you covered.
Seven teams held court on Day 1 in preparation for the 2013-14 regular season and the forthcoming preseason trip overseas.
The Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder and Washington Wizards all fielded questions and offered insight into the campaign to come. A few certain somebodies even crashed the party with announcements of their own.
Players smiled, coaches and general managers talked and cameras flashed. The not-so-subtle message of the day was clear: Basketball is in the air again.
Derrick Rose is Ready to Go...For Real...We Think
Chicago's point guard is ready to do something he hasn't done since April 2012, according to ESPN's Mark Schwartz—play.
Derrick Rose says he's stronger and more confident than he was before his ACL injury. No word yet if that's because he's now the proud owner of a bionic left knee.
Gar Forman sure seems to be buying into Rose's progress at least. He indicated that there is "no hard limit" on the number of minutes he could play.
Tom Thibodeau took a different approach, though, according to the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson. He was less of a reckless optimist and more of a party pooper.
Maybe once the regular season gets here, the Bulls will stop contradicting themselves.
Luol Deng Is Still Important
Since contract talks have broken down between Luol Deng and the Bulls, some have been questioning whether Chicago views him as expendable. Coach Thibs won't hear it; he believes the Bulls need Deng to win a title.
Surprise, surprise. Thibs values what may be Chicago's best defender. Not exactly breaking news.
Deng being healthy—now that's news.
Hopefully, the Bulls can keep it that way. Looking at you, coach "My Starters Don't Need Water Breaks or Even Time to Breathe" Thibs.
Joakim Noah is Healthy, Too
Write this down. Actually, never mind. USA Today's Sean Highkin has done that for you.
If we're to believe everything we hear, Rose, Deng and Joakim Noah are all healthy. At the same time. Seriously.
I feel like I'm entering the Windy City's version of The Twilight Zone.
Golden State Warriors
Short-Sleeve Uniform Saturdays
Weekends are reserved for golfing, catching up on sleep and watching reruns of Friends. This year in Oakland, they're also an escape from sleeveless jerseys.
Per John Dickinson of the Bay Area's 95.7 The Game, the Warriors will be wearing short-sleeve alternate uniforms for every Saturday home game in 2013-14.
For those that have forgotten what they look like, here you go:
Super-tight, spandex-looking uniforms for the "W."
Splash Brothers Three
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson better make room, because Seth Curry has arrived. And thanks to B/R's Benjamin Cruz, we know he's looking fly in his new digs.
With Curry's addition, I find myself wondering if the Warriors will shoot more threes than twos this season.
The Warriors Have a Twitter Mirror
Yes, this is important.
Golden State has a Twitter Mirror; you can't beat that.
Judging by Kent Bazemore's amusement here, I'm pretty sure it told him he was the fairest role player of them all.
Harrison Barnes is Uber Generous
Media day doubles as Christmas in the NBA—in Oakland at least.
In anticipation of the new season, Harrison Barnes gave everyone on the Warriors a copy of NBA 2K14.
Well played, Harrison. Although, if you're looking to buy your way into the starting lineup, I hear Mark Jackson isn't much of a gamer.
Mark Jackson Is a Funny Man
Jackson was subsequently asked who his starting five would be, much to his (artificial) confusion.
No one dodges questions like Jackson. Absolutely no one.
Stephen Curry May or May Not Dunk on Someone
ESPN's Ethan Sherwood Strauss succeeded in making us all sad, and not because he was hating on your favorite team.
Keep an open mind, Steph. You never know when the need to posterize someone will strike.
And just in case you should change your mind...
Dwight Howard Already Making Friends
Superman never managed to play nice in Los Angeles, but Hoopsworld's Yannis Koutroupis says he's having no such problems in Houston.
I hope he bought them ice cream afterwards. Nothing will make Kobe Bryant more jealous than knowing Dwight's sharing frozen treats with his new teammates. Plus, I really like ice cream.
Rockets Ready to Win Now
General manager Daryl Morey shocked the world when he said Houston's plan is to win now, per NBA.com's Fran Blinebury.
Here I was thinking the addition of Howard was for grins, giggles and roller-coaster rides.
Though, to be fair, I do see the need for clarification. Some could mistake this whole "let's play D12 at the 4" experiment for Houston being keen on expensive tank jobs.
Mum's the Word for Omer Asik
Remember when Omer Asik demanded a trade after the Rockets signed Howard? Good. Because, per ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Asik himself doesn't.
Have to love Asik's selective memory. It comes in handy after trade demands gone awry, and chainsaw-juggling competitions gone wrong.
Dwight Howard to Shoot Threes?
Please God, no. No. Just no.
I think he was kidding, because he eventually made some sense.
James Harden Focusing On Defense
James Harden already wears many hats, and per the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen, he wants an "elite defender" cap to be one of them.
Good for him. And until he actually improves, good for the player he'll be guarding.
Roy Hibbert Wants to Be NBA's Best Center
Roy Hibbert was especially open during Indiana's media day. Per Pacers.com's Scott Agness, he's intent on becoming the best center in the NBA.
Joakim Noah wouldn't have been my go-to best center in the NBA. I would have gone with Marc Gasol. Or Howard. Or Kwame Brown. But whatever.
Frank Vogel Is Either Tight-Lipped or Confused
Teams are only allowed to play five players at a time still, right? OK, good. I just wanted to check since, according to FOX 59 Sports' Brittany Diehl, Vogel said both Danny Granger and Lance Stephenson will play starter's minutes next season.
In other words, he has no idea who will start. That, or the NBA is allowing the Pacers to run six-on-five.
For what it's worth, the Indianapolis Star's Michael Pointer says Granger is ready to practice.
Let the battle begin. No, seriously, Hibbert is waiting.
George Hill Is The Team's Best Rapper
Stop what you're doing because this is important: George Hill thinks he's Indy's best rapper.
(Insert Larry Bird and Hill beatbox joke here.)
Los Angeles Clippers
Lou Amundson Joins the Party
The Clippers continue to make headlines even when it's not their turn for a media day. This time, they broke into the conversation by signing Lou Amundson, as the Los Angeles Times' Eric Pincus first reported.
I'm starting to wonder if there's someone out there the Clippers haven't signed or traded for this offseason.
Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant Knows He's Not a Doctor, Still Doesn't Care
Like the Clippers, Kobe decided to crash media day, too. He says he still plans to be healthy enough to start the season. Shocker.
"Now it’s about cutting the recovery time, I should be OK [for the start of the season],” Bryant said in an interview with The National, a website in Dubai, according to the Los Angeles Daily News' Mark Medina.
The optimism is great, but Kobe isn't one to say he won't play, either. Until some medical professionals confirm his self-imposed timetable, take all Kobe-relayed updates with a grain of salt. And a shot of tequila if you're into that sort of thing.
Roger Mason Jr. in the House
Pat Riley's Heatles pulled a Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson of their own as well, interrupting our regularly scheduled media day-ing to announce they had signed Roger Mason Jr.
How U, Roger?
Injury Bug Starts Biting Early
The dreaded injury bug decided to get a head start on ruining the Timberwolves' playoff hopes this year. Minnesota announced that Chase Budinger sustained a cartilage injury in his left knee.
Budinger's status is uncertain going forward, but Flip Saunders mentioned the swingman could be out for eight weeks, according to the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda.
This is hardly ideal. Sadly, it's also typical. Injuries have decimated Minny's roster the past couple of years.
Related: Listen closely and you'll hear the sound of Rick Adelman cloaking Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio in bubble wrap.
Minnesota Ready to Run
"We're lean and ready to run," Saunders said of the T-Wolves.
Everyone except Budinger, that is.
Saunders specifically listed Shabazz Muhammad, Derrick Williams and Love as those who were looking good.
Clearly, the Timberwolves have high expectations for this season. Let's hope they're not dashed by more injuries to a certain Spanish guy or beard-sporting power forward.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Thabo Sefolosha Changes Jersey Number to 25
Thabo Sefolosha isn't feeling the No. 2 jersey anymore, per Daily Thunder's Royce Young.
To the handful of people that now own a useless artifact, Sefolosha is sorry.
Russell Westbrook's Opening-Night Status Up in the Air
Head coach Scott Brooks said Oklahoma City's floor general would participate in the "early parts" of practice, according to NBA.com's Jeff Caplan.
The Memphis Grizzlies made quick work of the Thunder without Russell Westbrook in the playoffs and OKC lost Kevin Martin over the offseason, so this has huge implications—if it's true.
Westbrook is apparently experiencing some soreness, though he says that's not uncommon at this point.
Asked if he would be back to start the regular season, Westbrook couldn't provide a definitive answer, according to The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry.
Everyone is now free to do their best "Russell Westbrook is back" dance in an effort to speed up the recovery process.
Kevin Durant Loves Dwyane Wade
So much for this feud.
Steven Adams Was a Steal
Kendrick Perkins can't score. Or dribble. His defense has gotten steadily worse, too. But he's still a master at flattery.
Perk called Steven Adams the "steal" of this past summer's draft, and the Thunder, who selected him 12th overall, better hope he is. He's technically prime real estate from their Harden trade.
Good luck beating out Dennis Schroeder for the rights to biggest draft-day steal, Stevie.
(Still) Riggin' for Wiggins
Forward Arnett Moultrie suffered an ankle injury that required surgery, and USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt says he won't return until after New Year's.
Just so everybody knows, I'll be reading all Sixers injury updates this season as if they contain "#TankMode" and a series of winking emoticons at the end of them.
Status of Nerlens Noel's Knee is Murky; Hi-Top Fade Seems Fine
Calkins Media's Tom Moore brought us the most recent Nerlens Noel update, which wasn't much of an update at all.
Whatever that means.
Fear not, though, Sixers fans. Noel is prepared to play hard when he gets healthy.
Evan Turner Was Prepared for a Trade
As part of Philly's roster overhaul, Evan Turner said he himself was preparing to be traded.
LeBron James hates cold weather, too. He and Turner should totally purchase adjoining mansions on the sun after they retire.
Jason Richardson Still Not Cleared to Play
Jason Richardson is taking his time recovering from a knee injury, and still isn't cleared to run. He's aiming to return in late January or early February.
Call me crazy, but I believe this one. I don't think the Sixers would purposely prolong Richardson's rehab, since playing him might help them tank.
But yeah, wink, wink.
John Wall Is at It Again
Tattoos are cropping up on John Wall like ants at a picnic. Or a 23-year-old kid with money to burn (oh, wait...).
The Washington Post's Michael Lee captured the latest addition to his left leg:
Now if you'll please excuse me, I must go pen a 10,000-word rant on why Wall getting this tattoo means the sky is falling. Or something.
After receiving complaints from broadcasters, scorekeepers and everyone who isn't a fan of the Wizards, Washington will be sporting slightly different jerseys this year.
Let's hope players don't feel naked without that stripe.
John Wall Likes the Pressure
To be clear, I'm talking about the pressure of living up to his max contract; not the sudden expectation that a tattoo a day keeps his checking account at bay.
On a more serious note, it's good that Wall embraces pressure. There's going to be tons of it in Washington this season.
Anything less than a playoff berth for the Wizards and Wall will be deemed overrated and overpaid before he can say "I'm still better than Brandon Jennings."
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