After an offseason of brilliance and blundering we've trudged through another summer desert and arrived at a training camp oasis. The media days for teams playing international games started yesterday (Friday, September 27th), which means that Derrick Rose has already gone through a bombardment of questions as he makes his return. Here are dates and locations for the overseas schedule as well as a full schedule of all games and tv times and networks carrying the games (as well as some stateside preseason contests).
The Suns version of the media day tradition occurs Monday, September 30th. The Brightside will be bringing all the best and "bright"est from that event and will be following the team up the hill to Flagstaff for coverage of practices and the team's intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday, October 5th. But... before all the pandemonium ensues I figured I could help refresh your memory as to some of the summer activity around the league.
There was plenty of it. 13 coaches went by way of the carousel. Six of them led teams to the playoffs last season. Lionel Hollins was given a pink slip after coaching the Grizzlies to their best season in franchise history. Dwight Howard left the Lakers (ha!) for redder pastures. Cleveland
unfathomably selected Anthony Bennett first in the NBA draft, possibly beginning a run on Canadians as #1 overall picks. Still a surprising pick to me, although I guess getting the #1 pick last year was kind of like winning a shopping spree in a dollar store... The Celtics ended an era. The Pelicans began one. The Spurs did very little (but will almost surely manage to improve nonetheless). And, of course, the Miami Heat signed Michael Beasley.
Think about that Suns fans... Michael Beasley may very well get a championship ring. After you stop feeling dizzy please read on. After all, it's training camp time. You've had all summer to rest (particularly the last few weeks in September).
Just remember everyone...
Winter Basketball is coming. And it's going to be a long season.
I'll go ahead and get the Suns out of the way first, because
that's what the ransom note says to do they might be a sucky team, but they're OUR sucky team.
Out - Michael Beasley PF, Jared Dudley SF, Diante Garrett PG, Hamed Haddadi C, Wesley Johnson SF, Jermaine O'Neal C, Luis Scola PF
In - Eric Bledsoe SG, Dionte Christmas SG, Channing Frye PF, Gerald Green SF, Viacheslav Kravstov C, Malcolm Lee SG, Miles Plumlee PF, Ish Smith PG, Alex Len C (#5 Maryland), Archie Goodwin SG (#29 Kentucky)
**UPDATE: In - James Nunnally - 6'7", 205 pound shooter who made 41% on threes in D-League last year and 63% on threes in SL. Also, he scored 21 second half points to help Miami come close beating the juggernaut Summer Suns. Remember that?
Out - Lindsey Hunter
In - Jeff Hornacek
The Suns were one of the most active teams in the league this summer. I didn't (have enough time to) go through the front office situations specific to each franchise, but the Suns also turned the GM reigns over to Ryan McDonough after the ouster of the oft derided, and deservedly so, Lance Blanks. Phoenix was finally able/willing to scrap the final remnants of a bad team full of veteran players and construct a bad team full of young players. The potentates running this show also made the (very sagacious) decision to scrap a socially awkward (sorry, that was the nicest thing I could think to write) coach, Lindsey Hunter, and bring back a fan favorite to help incite the rebuild.
Why this team will be fun to watch - Well, they are the Suns... but besides the attention from fans of the purple paladins there isn't going to be
any much interest. For those of us who are devout followers, though, there has been so much tumult that this is really going to be like getting to know a brand new team. Players may have to wear name tags. Alex Len and Channing Frye have both been medically cleared. There is going to be a lot of running. There will be a ferocious competition for the final roster spots (between players who are very unlikely to contribute in any capacity). To be perfectly candid, though, this is actually going to be the start of something very refreshing for many who have stuck with the team over the last few seasons.
Los Angeles Clippers
Out - Eric Bledsoe SG, Caron Butler SF, Lamar Odom PF
In - Darren Collison PG, Jared Dudley SF, Antawn Jamison PF, Byron Mullens C, J.J. Redick SG, Reggie Bullock SF (#25 North Carolina)
Out - Vinny Del Negro
In - Doc Rivers
Even without the tragically comedic soap opera that is Lamar Odom the Clips should have no problem keeping
both of their fans engrossed. They actually have added a complete five man lineup this offseason that could probably hang with, or beat, the Suns best five man lineup. The Clippers might be the deepest team in the league this season as they should have between 9-11 quality contributors depending on how things play out.
Things should play out well with new head coach Doc Rivers as the architect and Chris Paul as the engineer. (Punching bag) Vinny Del Negro may have taken more grief than deserved, but there's no rational argument that this isn't an upgrade. Seeing these guys mesh together and take on their roles should be interesting. Are the Clippers, and Chris Paul for that matter, poised to go past the Conference Semifinals for the first time ever?
Out - C.J. Watson PG, Gerald Wallace SF, Kris Humphries PF, Keith Bogans SG
In - Kevin Garnett PF, Andre Kirilenko PF, Shaun Livingston SG, Paul Pierce SF, Jason Terry SG, Alan Anderson SF, Mason Plumlee C (#22 Duke)
Out - P.J. Carlesimo
In - Jason Kidd
The Nets are officially in win now mode with eight players (over half their roster) over 30 years of age. The plan is to add the old guard, and I do mean old, from the Celtics last successful era to a nucleus of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez in an attempt to topple the Heat. That's the hope as Garnett and Pierce have a history of playing them tough. They will face stiff competition from the Bulls and Pacers as well...
The dynamic in their practices should be unique in that new head coach Jason Kidd is basically the same age as the new veterans. Will Kidd actually possess plenipotentiary power over the team, or will the presence of other legends detract from that? Will there be a harmony in that interaction? Will there be enough left in the tank for the Brooklyn Celtics to make a run this year?
Out - Shaun Livingston
In - Jarrett Jack SG, Earl Clark PF, Andrew Bynum C, Anthony Bennett PF (#1 UNLV), Sergey Karasev SF (#19 Triumph Lyubertsy, Russia)
Out - Byron Scott
In - Mike Brown
Cleveland has one of the most electric young stars in the league in Kyrie Irving and will trot out the #1 overall pick from the 2013 draft in Anthony Bennett. This should be a fun growing team to watch and it will start with the improvement over the summer from the precocious returning players. The Cavs added Jack to combine with Anderson Varejao as the veteran presence on a team whose core four players are all 22 and under. In fact, Jack and Varejao are the only players on the roster over the age of 26.
Bring in Mike Brown. Err... I mean, bring back Mike Brown. That's why you never burn your bridges folks. Brown has actually had the daunting task/privilege of coaching LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and (now) Kyrie Irving over a four year period. So far he's working on his zeroth consecutive championship. Will he be able to return and bring Cleveland the trophy that eluded him in his previous stint? He gets nearly a blank slate, as only Varejao remains from the last season he coached.
Golden St. Warriors
Out - Jarrett Jack SG, Carl Landry PF
In - Toney Douglas PG, Andre Iguodala SG, Nemanja Nedovic PG (#30 Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius, Lithuania)
I might have been a little slow to catch on, because I didn't get enveloped by bay fever until their captivating first round series against the Denver Nuggets during last year's playoffs. This team was just flat out fun to watch and has the chance to be even more entertaining this season with the addition of Iggy, which promises to help the Warriors enter whirling dervish mode. Whenever I think of this team I correlate them with the scrappy underdog. They're like Little Mac from Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! except everyone reading this has actually heard of them.
Then consider that Golden St.'s core of sharpshooters Stephen Curry, Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson are all young and improving. This team can catch fire like NBA Jam characters and will have stretches where they are absolutely unstoppable. The chance to see Jackson's tutelage firsthand away from the cameras and maybe catch a couple of behind the scenes games of horse would also be great theater.
I've also constructed some cliff's notes for the other 25 teams. Note that I haven't included all transactions and movement. I mostly limited the shifting of veterans to players who logged at least 1,000 minutes last season with a few exceptions. I also included all 30 first round draft picks.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Out - Kevin Martin SG
In -Steven Adams C (#12 Pittsburgh), Andre Roberson PF (#26 Colorado)
Out - Corey Brewer SF, Andre Iguodala SG, Kosta Koufos C
In - Darrell Arthur PF, Randy Foye SG, J.J. Hickson PF, Nate Robinson PG
Out - George Karl
In - Brian Shaw
Out - DeMarre Carroll SF, Randy Foye SG, Al Jefferson C, Paul Millsap PF, Jamaal Tinsley PG, Mo Williams PG
In - Richard Jefferson SF, Brandon Rush SF, Trey Burke PG (#9 Michigan), Rudy Gobert C (#27 Cholet Basket, France)
Portland Trail Blazers
Out -J.J. Hickson PF, Eric Maynor PG
In - Robin Lopez C, Thomas Robinson PF, Mo Williams PG, Dorell Wright SF, C.J. McCollum SG (#9 Lehigh)
Out - Andrei Kirilenko PF, Luke Ridnour SG, Greg Steimsma C
In - Corey Brewer SF, Kevin Martin SG, Shabazz Muhammad SF (#14 UCLA), Gorgui Dieng C (#21 Louisville)
Los Angeles Lakers
Out - Earl Clark PF, Dwight Howard C, Antawn Jamison PF, Metta World Peace SF
In - Chris Kaman C, Nick Young SG, Wesley Johnson SF
Out - Tyreke Evans SG, Thomas Robinson PF
In - Carl Landry PF, Luc Mbah a Moute SF, Greivis Vasquez PG, Ben McLemore SG (#7 Kansas)
Out - Keith Smart
In - Michael Malone
San Antonio Spurs
Out - Stephen Jackson SF, Gary Neal SG
In - Marco Belinelli SG, Livio Jean-Charles SF (#28 ASVEL Basket, France)
Out - Darrell Arthur PF
In - Kosta Koufos
Out - Lionel Hollins
In - David Joerger
Out - Carlos Delfino SF, Toney Douglas PG
In - Dwight Howard C
Out - O.J. Mayo SG, Darren Collison PG, Chris Kaman C, Elton Brand PF
In - Monta Eliis SG, Jose Calderon PG, Devin Harris PG, Shane Larkin PG (#18 Miami)
New Orleans Pelicans
Out - Greivis Vasquez PG, Robin Lopez C
In - Tyreke Evans SG, Jrue Holiday PG, Greg Stiemsma C
New York Knicks
Out - Steve Novak SF, Chris Copeland SF, Jason Kidd PG
In - Andrea Bargnani PF, Beno Udrih PG, Metta World Peace SF, Tim Hardaway Jr. (#24 Michigan)
Out - Paul Pierce SF, Kevin Garnett PF, Jason Terry SG
In - Gerald Wallace SF, Kris Humphries PF, Keith Bogans SG, Kelly Olynyk C (#13 Gonzaga)
Out - Doc Rivers
In - Brad Stevens
Out - Jrue Holiday PG, Dorell Wright SF, Nick Young SG
In - Nerlens Noel C (#6 Kentucky), Michael Carter-Williams (#11 Syracuse)
Out - Doug Collins
In - Brett Brown
Out - Alan Anderson SF, Andrea Bargnani PF, Ed Davis PF
In - D.J. Augustin PG, Tyler Hansbrough PF, Steve Novak SF
Out - Tyler Hansbrough PF, Gerald Green SF, D.J. Augustin PG
In - Chris Copeland SF, Luis Scola PF, C.J. Watson PG, Solomon Hill SF (#23 Arizona)
Out - Nate Robinson PG, Marco Belinelli SG
In - Mike Dunleavy SF, Tony Snell SF (#20 New Mexico)
Out - Brandon Jennings PG, Monta Ellis SG, Mike Dunleavy SF, Luc Mbah a Moute SF, Marquis Daniels SF
In - Caron Butler SF, Carlos Delfino SF, Brandon Knight PG, O.J. Mayo SG, Gary Neal SG, Zaza Pachulia C, Giannia Antetokounmpo SF (#15 Filathlitikos, Greece)
Out - Jim Boylan
In - Larry Drew
Out - Brandon Knight PG, Tayshaun Prince SF, Jason Maxiell Pf
In - Brandon Jennings PG, Josh Smith PF, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope SG (#8 Georgia)
Out - Lawrence Frank
In - Maurice Cheeks
Out - None
In - Michael Beasley PF, Greg Oden C
Out - Josh Smith PF, Devin Harris PG, Ivan Johnson PF, Zaza Pachulia C, DeShawn Stevenson SG
In - Elton Brand PF, DeMarre Carroll SF, Paul Millsap PF, Dennis Schroder PG (#17 Phantoms Braunschweig, Germany)
Out - Larry Drew
In - Mike Budenholzer
Out - Jordan Crawford SG, A.J. Price PG
In - Eric Maynor PG, Otto Porter SF (#3 Indiana)
Out - Byron Mullens C
In - Al Jefferson C, Cody Zeller C (#4 Indiana)
Out - Mike Dunlap
In - Steve Clifford
Out - J.J. Redick SG
In - Jason Maxiell PF, Victor Oladipo SG (#2 Indiana)