Media days continue to go off with a bang around the NBA.
As teams gear up for the 2013-14 regular season, they're facing questions about what comes next, what their expectations are and, in some cases, why they love defense so much.
Players and franchise personnel don't always have the answers to said inquiries, but it doesn't matter. We're just happy to know they're in uniform and inhabiting those empty locker rooms again.
The offseason is over. Basketball is back.
No Tweeting for Coach Bud
Breaking: Mike Budenholzer will not be creating a Twitter.
Bud with no plans for a Twitter account #HotMediaDayNews— Robby Kalland (@RKalland) September 30, 2013
The opposite of breaking: Coach Bud wants us to know the Atlanta Hawks are the Atlanta Hawks.
"Our identity...we're a group. It's not one player. We're the Atlanta Hawks. The group is excited about putting a team identity out there."— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) September 30, 2013
Phew. Thanks for the reminder, Mike.
Al Horford Is Popular...Finally
With both Joe Johnson and Josh Smith now out of the picture, Al Horford is getting the attention he rightly deserves.
Nope, no one wants to talk to Al Horford. pic.twitter.com/c8kKqBHcsw— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) September 30, 2013
I'd also like to take this opportunity to remind you he's not better off playing power forward. Not even close.
Thank you for your time.
Rajon Rondo Will Return Sometime in the Winter
Rajon Rondo gave us some insight into when he would return—sometime in the winter.
Rondo on when he'll play: Sometime in the winter, maybe the fall. You never know.— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) September 30, 2013
Rest assured, Celtics fans, Rondo will return whilst it's still cold enough to have snowball fights. And when he does return, he knows the process will be about mind over matter.
Rondo says return will be more mental than physical, thinks Rose got too much heat for length to his return.— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBA) September 30, 2013
Good, because I was under the impression Rondo didn't know he could both bend spoons and regain explosion using just his mind.
Seriously, though, the mental part of this thing is tough. All Rondo needs to do is ask Derrick Rose. It's good that he's prepared to endure what follows.
And it's even better that he and new head coach Brad Stevens appear to be on the same page.
Rondo said Stevens has texted him, given him books to read, sent him YouTube clips. "I'm very support of him and he's very supportive of me"— Jay King (@ByJayKing) September 30, 2013
Bonds between texting buddies are everlasting. Remember that.
Boston blew up its roster over the summer and it would be understandable if the departure of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce took a toll on Rondo.
Apparently, it hasn't. Rondo was business as usual.
Rondo on Paul/KG trade: It's not the first teammates that I've been close to that's been traded away.— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) September 30, 2013
It seems he shows emotion about as well as Kris Humphries can play point guard.
Kris Humphries, The Leader
Speaking of Humphries, those within the Celtics organization have been impressed with his leadership abilities.
Multiple players and folks in #Celtics front office have raved about Kris Humphries showing leadership and coming into camp in great shape.— A. Sherrod Blakely (@SherrodbCSN) September 30, 2013
Just so I'm clear, that means we're saying Humphries is the ideal player to lead a blatant tank job, right?
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett Are Here to Win
Kevin Garnett told reporters he and Paul Pierce were only in Brooklyn to contend for a championship.
As if we didn't already know, Garnett's emphasis on the matter reiterates that he and The Truth would rather be in Boston if the situation permitted them to stay.
Pierce was a tad less threatening and a bit more optimistic when he was speaking. He believes the Nets have the pieces necessary to win a title.
The Truth also knows his trade to the Nets was all business.
Paul Pierce on the trade: "It's a business. I have a chip on my shoulder because I want to win a championship." #Nets— The Brooklyn Game (@TheBKGame) September 30, 2013
Geez, these guys sure know how to put a damper on the day.
To his credit, Pierce finished with a moving sentiment.
Paul Pierce: "I don't want to even see a banner if we win the Atlantic Division. I want a championship." #Nets— The Brooklyn Game (@TheBKGame) September 30, 2013
After what Mikhail Prokhorov spent on this roster, I have to agree.
In Al Jefferson We Trust
Al Jefferson would like to remind you that Al Jefferson will be benefiting from Patrick Ewing's tutelage of Al Jefferson.
Al Jefferson: "People forget Patrick Ewing made Dwight Howard" as an Orlando assistant. @MagicInsider— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) September 30, 2013
Why? Because the Bobcats are expecting a lot from Al Jefferson.
Coach Clifford on new Bobcat Center Al Jefferson: "we now have somewhere to go when the game is on the line." @WBTV_Sports— Nate Wimberly (@NateWimberly) September 30, 2013
In case you didn't pick up on this, when Steve Clifford said "when the game is on the line," he meant the first quarter. Charlotte games tend to be well out of reach after the first 12 minutes.
Gerald Henderson Is Funny
The funniest thing you'll hear before the regular season starts, brought to you by a slightly delusional Gerald Henderson:
Gerald Henderson: "We're not losers. We have a losing record, but that's not the character of guys we are."— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) September 30, 2013
Andrew Bynum Will Play More This Season Than He Did Last Year
Andrew Bynum still has no concrete timetable behind his return, to the surprise of absolutely no one. That said, he claims he'll play this season.
Bynum says it's somewhat "mentally taxing" with no target return date. But says he'll "definitely" play this season. #Cavs— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) September 30, 2013
But maybe this time will be different. Bynum says he lost weight and is regaining his explosion.
Bynum began jumping and explosive activities recently. Says he's lost 18 pounds, now 290. Wants to be 280-285. #Cavs— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) September 30, 2013
I guess all that Salsa-style dancing in Madrid worked out well for him.
Kyrie Irving Is (Overly) Ambitious...
Kyrie Irving has set some lofty goals for himself this season. He apparently wants to become the best player in the NBA.
Kyrie Irving says goal this year is to be "best player in the league." #Cavs— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) September 30, 2013
Someone should tell him he's supposed to kiss LeBron James' behind before free agency begins, not aspire to beat it.
Also, his pledge kind of makes my promise to winterize my lawn sprinklers before November seem lazy.
...And Will Do Anything for the Vine
This one's kind of self-explanatory:
I'm still awaiting word on whether Irving has joined Bynum's "Boogie Oogie Oogie" fan club.
Monta Still Plans on Shooting and Missing
Monta Ellis may have just given us the most backhanded quote of all NBA media days:
Monta: "There's a lot of guys that take a lot of bad shots in this league. A LOT OF GUYS. ... I'm going to play Monta basketball."— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) September 30, 2013
On a more serious note, Ellis might want to think twice before he plays "Monta basketball." Dirk Nowitzki seems to be expecting big things out of the volume-shooting guard.
Dirk: "I think I've never played with a guy as explosive as Monta."— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) September 30, 2013
By the end of the season, I bet he says he's never played with anyone as fearlessly inefficient as Monta, either.
Dirk Putting in Work
Head coach Rick Carlisle wouldn't make any guarantees about Nowitzki's health, but he did praise the work he put in this past summer.
Carlisle: "There's never any guarantee with health, but [Dirk] has done everything to put himself in a position to have a great year."— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) September 30, 2013
For the Mavericks to make the playoffs, Dirk must have an amazing year.
Monta Predicts Playoffs
Ellis seems to believe the Mavericks are going to surprise some people this year en route to a postseason berth.
Monta: "We're going to prove a lot of people wrong and we're going to get back to the Dallas Mavericks making some noise in the playoffs."— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) September 30, 2013
Looking at Dallas' roster, I implore you to take Ellis' prediction with a pinch of skepticism and handle of whiskey.
Lil' Nate Dreaming Big
Nate Robinson said he aspires to shoot 50/50/90 from the field in 2013-14.
Nate Robinson said his goal is to shoot 50-50-90 this year. Not a typo.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) September 30, 2013
But why stop there? Why not aspire to win the Nobel Prize and develop a cure for "the Mondays," too?
For what it's worth, only six players in NBA history have ever shot 50/50/90 from the field for an entire season. And just one of them appeared in more than 30 games during said season—Steve Kerr (1995-96).
Good luck, Nate.
JaVale McGee Won't Smile for the Cameras
Media day is all about smiles...unless you're JaVale McGee.
Logic would suggest he's going for the sexy, smoldering look, minus the sexy part.
Brian Shaw Not High on George Karl
Denver's new head coach, Brian Shaw, is already looking ahead to the playoffs.
Shaw says focal point for #Nuggets will be putting themselves in position for postseason success.— Denver Nuggets (@denvernuggets) September 30, 2013
He also, ever-so politely, made it clear that his predecessor, George Karl, wasn't the man for the job.
Shaw was respectful of George Karl, but there was a clear "That style cannot win in the playoffs" underline.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) September 30, 2013
Brandon Jennings Wanted to Play with Rasheed Wallace
Few players would have passed on the opportunity to play with Rasheed Wallace, and Brandon Jennings isn't one of them.
Think of all the meltdowns 'Sheed would've had when Jennings went all, well, Jennings and missed ill-advised shot attempts.
Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe Look Good Together
Opposing teams beware: Detroit's front line is looking pretty good.
Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe will have to step up this season if the Pistons want to make the playoffs. Otherwise, Detroit will be left hanging on Josh Smith's and Jennings' every missed shot.
Los Angeles Clippers
A Cheap Shot at Boston?
Doc Rivers called this Clippers team the most "versatile" he's ever coached, and they haven't even played a game yet.
Doc Rivers says this Clippers team is the most versatile team he's ever coached in terms of lineup options.— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) September 30, 2013
This comes on the heels of Rivers naming the Los Angeles Lakers, not the Celtics, the most storied franchise in sports. It seems like once Doc hopped off the plane at LAX, with his dream and his cardigan, he was prepared to move on from Boston ASAP.
The Clippers unveiled their alternate, Smurf-colored short-sleeved uniforms and they were, well, interesting.
That's a whole lot of baby blue. Maybe too much baby blue. I actually think Gonzo wants his skin tone back.
Chris Paul Is Kind of on a Minutes Cap, But Not Really
Doc's plan to limit Chris Paul's minutes this season is ingenious.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers says he won't limit @CP3 minutes and hopes to get him rest by blowing teams out.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) September 30, 2013
What's that? The Clippers don't play the Philadelphia 76ers 82 times this season? Might be time to go back to the drawing board, Doc.
DeAndre Jordan Is Going to Finish Games
DeAndre Jordan will elevate his status to an elite defender in 2014, or so says Rivers.
Doc Rivers says De Andre Jordan should be a defensive player of the year candidate.— Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) September 30, 2013
Since Rivers likes to run big at the end of games, he also plans to play Jordan in the fourth quarter.
"I tend to want to stay big at the end of games, so he'll be on the floor a lot." - Doc on DJ #Clippers— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) September 30, 2013
I suppose that means he also likes to miss free throws at the end of games, too.
Larry Sanders Is the Best
Milwaukee's big man is already worth every penny of that $44 million the Bucks previously gave him.
When asked about Brandon Jennings saying he's playing with better bigs in Detroit, Larry Sanders gave his former teammate the business.
Larry Sanders when asked for response to Brandon Jennings' comments on playing with better bigs in DET: "He has to pass it to them first"— Andrew Gruman (@AndrewGruman) September 30, 2013
Larry, John and Giannis Are Really Long
This one needs no introduction:
Forever digging the 2-3 zone in Milwaukee.
LeBron Wants to Be the G.O.A.T.
What keeps LeBron motivated after all these years? Becoming the greatest NBA player of all time.
LeBron: "I want to be the greatest of all time. And that's my motivation.... It's not simple, but for me it is. That's my mindframe."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
LeBron on being greatest ever: "I'm far, I'm far away from it. But I see the light."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
Chin up, LeBron. You're closer than you think, and than people care to admit.
Dwyane Wade Knows He's No. 2
Dwyane Wade knows his place on the Heat—behind LeBron.
Wade's role on this team: "Well, I'm the second option. Let's just point blank, say it. So I've got to do different things than I've done."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
You can't feel too bad about that if you're Wade. The entire league falls in line behind LeBron.
Michael Beasley on the Right Track
Stop me if you've heard this one before.
Michael Beasley is a changed man since joining the Heat because he knows he's expendable.
Beasley said he is wiser and not as carefree and comes here knowing heat doesn't need him— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) September 30, 2013
That effectively implies he was nonchalant about his entire career until this point. Good to know, Beas.
LeBron Endorses Nicknames
The NBA can go ahead and breathe easy, because LeBron is all for nicknames on the back of jerseys.
LeBron gives full endorsement to nicknames on the back of jerseys. "I think it's cool." Says he would have gone crazy for an MJ.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 30, 2013
I'd be all for it, too, if people called me "The Chosen One," "King" or "The Greatest, Most Bestest Player in the Universe."
Too bad that last one probably wouldn't fit.
Mum's the Word on Free Agency
LeBron wouldn't comment on his impending free agency.
LeBron, on his right to opt out at season's end, "I don't think it's appropriate to talk about it right now."— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) September 30, 2013
More LeBron, on same, "Being a leader of this team, I owe it to this organization, to my teammates to not talk about it."— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) September 30, 2013
Wade wouldn't comment on it for him, either.
Dwyane Wade on LeBron's decision hanging on his play: "Don't try to put that pressure on me. I'm going to stop that right now."— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) September 30, 2013
Surprise, surprise, Part II.
Please, Oh Please, Can We Stay Healthy
Injuries have marred—nay, ruined—Minnesota's last two seasons, and big man Nikola Pekovic hopes it doesn't happen again.
Remaining healthy will be crucial for these Timberwolves. Chase Budinger already went down with a cartilage injury, and they can ill-afford to lose others.
At full strength, they figure to be a playoff team. If only remaining at full strength wasn't such a difficult task for this fragile bunch.
Kevin Love Looking Skinny
Kevin Love looks like he may have lost some weight:
CBS Sports' Zach Harper attributes that to less facial hair. What say you?
Kevin Love is also thinner than he was last year. 8 lbs of that might be lost beard. http://t.co/qM768Jxvod— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) September 30, 2013
Ricky Rubio is Photogenic as Anyone
In what I can only assume was an attempt one up the Golden State Warriors housing a Twitter mirrorat their media day, the Timberwolves had their own photo booth. And Ricky Rubio put it to good use.
Say "cheese." Or perhaps "please, oh please, can we stay healthy?" will better appeal to the basketball Gods.
New Orleans Pelicans
Jrue Holiday Is Happy to Be There
Jrue Holiday knows how to make an entrance.
.@Jrue_Holiday11 just looked around and said "where else would I want to be?" About Nola/ the Pelicans— Joe Gerrity (@GerrityJoe) September 30, 2013
Holiday better quit it, or he's going to make New Orleans fans blush the color of an actual Pelican.
Tyreke Evans Will Come off the Bench
So much for running that super-small starting lineup consisting of Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon.
Pelicans coach Monty Williams said the initial plan for Tyreke Evans is bringing him off the bench— John Reid (@JohnReid64) September 30, 2013
Jason Smith Wins "Random Comment of Media Day" Award
Jason Smith extended the New Orleans Saints' Jimmy Graham an open roster invitation.
Jason Smith wants Jimmy Graham from the #saints to come on over to the Pelicans when football is over.— Joe Gerrity (@GerrityJoe) September 30, 2013
Don't worry, I'm stumped, too. Though I suppose he'd be a great addition if the Pelicans were looking to give opposing floppers the old what for.
New York Knicks
Iman Shumpert Is the Man
"I wanna score so bad, I'm willing to snatch the ball out of your hands," Iman Shumpert said during Knicks media day.
My question: Why isn't Carmelo Anthony a better defender then?
'Melo Pleads the Fifth
Like LeBron, 'Melo wasn't going to give us any insider information on his impending free agency.
Carmelo Anthony says he will not be addressing his impending free agency: "I'm not doing that. When that time comes, I'll deal with that."— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) September 30, 2013
Try as he might to evade the questions, Anthony better know this is only the beginning.
Secrets, Secrets Are No Fun
Especially this one.
The New York Daily News' Frank Isola previously reported Amar'e Stoudemire underwent secret knee surgery over the offseason. Coach Mike Woodson himself later confirmed the news.
Sep. 30, 2013–President and GM Steve Mills announced that the team has picked up the option on M. Woodson’s contract for the 2014-15 season.— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) September 30, 2013
Hopefully, this is the last time we'll hear of covert operations for STAT.
More Woodson...Sort of
General manager and president Steve Mills announced the Knicks picked up the 2014-15 option on Woodson's contract.
Sep. 30, 2013–President and GM Steve Mills announced that the team has picked up the option on M. Woodson’s contract for the 2014-15 season.— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) September 30, 2013
Normally this would be cause for celebration. But these are the Knicks. Just because Woodson is supposed to be employed for another two years doesn't mean he will be.
Young Guys Ready to Be Great
The Magic are a young team, but they're itching for the day they're a great team.
Couple of common concepts from Orlando... Young guys are eager to be great... No delusions of the process to get there.— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) September 30, 2013
Good thing the youngsters realize what it's going to take to get there. It's always better to be prepared for loads of losing than for it to come as a shock.
Victor Oladipo Is a Guard
Victor Oladipo is a guard, though the Magic refused to specify which family of guards he would belong to.
On Victor Oladipo... "He's a guard... He'll play guard for us." Magic refused to label him a point guard or shooting guard— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) September 30, 2013
At least they've narrowed it down.
Channing Frye Ready for Action
This is just great:
Best of luck to you, Channing.
Below stands the future of the Suns organization—Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Alex Len.
I have awkward feelings about this trio. Ranch-dressing-mixed-with-pickled-beets awkward.
Portland Trail Blazers
We're Going to the Playoffs...Right?
General manager Neil Olshey seems to believe a Blazers playoff berth is all but certain.
"I don't see why (Blazers) wouldn't be" a playoff team. -- GM Neil Olshey— Ben Golliver (@blazersedge) September 30, 2013
Weird, because I can come up with plenty of reasons. Unproven depth, a wildly talented Western Conference, the Mavericks, the Timberwolves, the Lakers—you get the point.
Nicolas Batum Must Be in Full Bloom
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
For the Blazers to make good on Olshey's playoff visions, the GM says the swingman must be a model of consistency.
Neil Olshey says Nicolas Batum is the X-Factor. In order for the #Blazers to take that next step, Batum will have to be consistent.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) September 30, 2013
Move On or Olshey Is Going to Thump You
Olshey's media day really was a gem. Touching on previous Aldridge trade rumors, he invoked his right to intimidate the media.
"Oh dear God, would you guys get over it? Asked and answered... Let's move on." - Blazers GM Neil Olshey on LaMarcus Aldridge trade rumors— Ben Golliver (@blazersedge) September 30, 2013
Let's see if his scare tactics work. Or if we find out he's lying. Whichever comes first.
DeMarcus Cousins Likes Money
Never before have I seen DeMarcus Cousins as happy as this:
Then again, I'd be smiling, too, if I just landed a fat, $60 million-plus extension. I'd also be swimming in a bathtub full of singles. Just in case you're looking for things to try, Boogies.
Shaq Already Having an Impact
Expensive swim sessions aside, Shaquille O'Neal already appears to be having an impact on Cousins.
Boogie spoke of a winning attitude and becoming a leader for his Kings.
A seemingly determined Cousins? Well this is certainly new.
Riggin' for Wiggins? Who, us?
Masai Ujiri made it clear the Raptors aren't tanking for Andrew Wiggins.
Masai when asked about tanking (for Wiggins): "I don't know how you teach winning by losing."— Holly MacKenzie (@stackmack) September 30, 2013
Rudy Gay Beefs Up
Rudy Gay says he gained 20 pounds of muscle this offseason, five more pounds than usual. I'm not sure if he followed the Enes Kanter diet to do so.
Rudy says he's gained 20 pounds of muscle this offseason. five more than the standard 15.— Holly MacKenzie (@stackmack) September 30, 2013
The better to fight off advocates of efficient shooting this season I guess, right?
Drake Is in the House
Toronto named hip-hop star Drake a "global ambassador," because why the hell not?
Just look at Drake now. He "Started From the Bottom," now he's here—back at the bottom.
Contract Extensions Imminent?
The question we're all asking ourselves: How in the hell is DeSagana Diop still around?
Our next question: What's going on with Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors?
Lindsey said negotiations ongoing with Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) September 30, 2013
Nice, now we can breathe easy. As long as Hayward and Favors don't explode too soon, that is. You wouldn't want to see the Jazz miss out on a chance to tank past the rest, would you?
Player Comfort > Media Convenience
Reporters were treated to a surprise in Utah when they saw a buffet set up in the pressroom. But it turns out the Jazz had actually converted it into a player lounge instead.
Got excited the Jazz were providing media with a buffet. Sadly, the ZBBC pressroom is now a players lounge. pic.twitter.com/DLWxo9nRCv— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) September 30, 2013
That'll teach the media to think the Jazz care about their grumbling tummies.
Get your head out of the gutter. We're talking about the Jazz's "Three D's of Success": Discipline. Development. Defense.
Keys this season for Utah Jazz per GM Dennis Lindsey: "Discipline. Development. Defense."— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) September 30, 2013
Sort of reminds me of the "Five D's of Dodgeball," sans all the dodging, dipping, ducking, diving and dodging.
Unless, of course, the Jazz are trying to avoid winning. Then all five may apply.