Remember when the Sacramento Kings pretty much fired coach George Karl right before the All-Star break? Remember when they suddenly decided not to? That was a weird time to be a King, and — guess what? — it did not affect the team in a positive way. Sacramento forward Caron Butler appeared on ESPN’s First Take on Friday and spilled the beans, saying that the team never addressed Karl trying to get DeMarcus Cousins traded and the last part of the season was a slog.
“As players, from All-Star break and everything, I mean, as far as we knew, he was fired,” Butler said. “We’re in Philadelphia a game before All-Star break and all of a sudden it’s like, ‘You’re not moving [on], I’m coming back.’ It was deflating to the locker room, it was deflating to the guys, and we tried to move forward and tried to do the best that we possibly could. But that was deflating to the team, it was a big blow and it was tough to move forward.”
Source: James Herbert of CBS Sports
Tony Parker Ahead of Schedule, Expected to Participate in Training Camp
With the San Antonio Spurs set to report to the team facilities Monday for media day, point guard Tony Parker received some positive news Friday when doctors cleared him to participate in the club’s upcoming training camp, after he suffered a season-ending torn quadriceps tendon in May during the Western Conference semifinals.
“The thing is, I did an MRI on Friday, and the doctor said they were really happy with the MRI,” Parker told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “It looked very good. So they cleared me. But it’s still going to be like another, I think, two months to get back in shape and getting my leg stronger.”
Parker, 35, originally suffered the ruptured left quadriceps tendon during San Antonio’s 121-96 win over the Houston Rockets in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals. While the severity of Parker’s injury left pundits to ponder whether it was career threatening, the point guard said he never considered retirement.
In addition, the organization never issued a specific timeline for Parker’s return, and the point guard mentioned early on during his rehabilitation that he expected to return to the court in January.
Parker called the latest development in his rehabilitation “great news,” but he cautioned against expecting a quick return to action. In fact, Parker made it clear he won’t be suiting up for the team’s opener on Oct. 18 against the Minnesota Timberwolves as the Spurs, under coach Gregg Popovich, typically take an ultra-conservative approach in bringing players back from injury.
Source: Michael C. Wright of ESPN
Sources: Bulls, Nikola Mirotic Agree to Two-Year Deal
Restricted free agent Nikola Mirotic has agreed to a two-year, $27 million deal to re-sign with the Chicago Bulls, league sources told The Vertical.
Mirotic and the Bulls held extensive discussions this offseason and reached agreement on a shorter-term contract on Sunday. Mirotic was one of the top stretch fours on the market, but fell into a difficult pool of restricted free agency this summer.
Mirotic has the right to veto any trade in the first year of his new Bulls deal, league sources said.
He had faced an Oct. 1 deadline on a one-year, $7.2 million qualifying offer.
Mirotic, 26, has averaged 10.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in three seasons with the Bulls. At 6-foot-10, he possesses the size and shooting acumen to create mismatches and can be an effective scorer in spots.
Source: Shams Charania of The Vertical
Paul George on Thunder: ‘This feels like a championship team’
As Paul George sat back in his dining room chair on Saturday afternoon, a gray Nike shirt on his back and the Carmelo Anthony trade on his mind, he pondered what it all meant for an Oklahoma City Thunder team that has recovered so nicely from the loss of Kevin Durant last summer.
“This feels like a championship team,” George told USA TODAY Sports. “I’m in a good place. I know Russ (Westbrook) is in a good place. Melo is motivated more than ever…You put us three together, who all have something to prove still, (and) we’re going to be a special team. We have a young group, a lot of talent here, an unbelievable coach (in Billy Donovan), (and) as you see, a front office that’s willing to do whatever it takes to improve the team. It just has all the makeups to be a great organization and a chance to put championships together.”
Source: Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports