The 2018 Media Day and Training Camp is almost upon us. We are just over a week away from the new NBA season's festivities tipping-off.
With LeBron James signing with the Lakers, an injured DeMarcus Cousins signing with the reigning champs on a discount and of course Paul Geroge staying in Oklahoma City, this past offseason has been no disappointment by itself. But there's no debate about the fact that it falls short in comparison to the impact the free agency moves and trade deals that went down in the summer of 2017.
Nonetheless, other than the month of August, the league is more often than not, never short of rumors, possible trades, and interesting announcements. In that respect, Monday (September 17th) was a busy day and here is all the buzz from the league:
Rookie Luka Doncic dominating Mavericks' practices
According to ESPN's Tim MacMahon, rookie Luka Doncic has been by far the best player on the court during practices in the Mavericks' facility.
"The word out of Dallas is that Doncic has often been the best player on the court in pickup games at the Mavs' facility despite not being in great shape by NBA standards."
Now, in a vacuum, that's not really saying a lot given the team's talent. The Dallas Mavericks, a franchise that finished with a record of 24-58 (13th in the West) last season, hasn't had an All-Star selection since 2015. But something that MacMahon adds further puts his previous statements in a better light.
"And before you make a crack about the Mavs' talent or lack thereof, these games have included local products like LaMarcus Aldridge."
To be frank, there should have never been a doubt about Doncic. With multiple Euroleague team and individual honors to his name, it goes without saying that Doncic is easily the NBA's greatest draft prospect ever. And like with any other rookie, this is just the beginning. Once Doncic can maximize his physical potential, the ceiling to his success is limitless.
KD to join LeBron in LA?
Brandon Robinson, an independent American sportswriter, sports analyst, journalist, columnist, editor and podcast host, reported on Monday that according to a source he spoke to - Kevin Durant is planning a move to Los Angeles to sign with the Lakers next offseason, just like LeBron did this summer.
As expected, this shook the NBA rumors universe quite a lot. So Robinson was quick to clarify in a tweet a few minutes later.
There were previous rumors of KD possibly realistically testing free agency in 2019 but nothing solid has come out so far. According to further insights provided by Robinson into this matter, Lakers' second-year player Kyle Kuzma is quite a significant part of this.
League sets salary cap for the next 2 seasons
A couple of offseasons back, the NBA witnessed a steep rise in their salary cap. It jumped from $70 million for the 2015-16 season to $94 million for the 2016-17 season. A lot of this had to do with the league's new television contract with ESPN and TNT, which is slated to run till the end of the 2024-25 season and is valued at $2.44 billion a year according to the New York Times.
On Monday, Shams Charania, a Senior NBA Insider/Writer/Analyst for the Athletic, reported that the league had released the salary cap numbers for the next two seasons.
The league's salary cap continues to rise. For this upcoming season, the cap is set at $101.9 million, just around $3 million more than the previous year.
Rockets' assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik to retire before the season
The defensive wizard of Mike D'Antoni's Houston Rockets coaching staff, Jeff Bzdelik has reportedly informed the team that he would retire before the start of the 2018-19 season.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the news.
Bzdelik has been in the business of coaching basketball since 1978, of which he has spent 18 years in the NBA - 2 as a head coach and the rest as an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies, Washington Bullets, Miami Heat and the Rockets.
“Great to work with. We’ll miss him,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He had an unbelievable career in the NBA. Wish him the best in his next phase.”
According to Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feign, the team is set to shift his responsibilities throughout the remaining staff - assistant Roy Rodgers (likely to lead the defense) and former Vipers coach Matt Brase.
LA Clippers add Lee Jenkins to their front office
LA Clippers have named Lee Jenkins the Executive Director of Research and Identity, the franchise's President of Basketball Operations Lawerence Frank announced on Monday.
“Lee has spent his career profiling elite athletes, including most of the top players in the NBA,” said Frank. “Given Lee’s talent, knowledge, and credibility, we hope to blend his approach with our existing evaluation systems and highlight the personalities of our players. He is the NBA’s preeminent storyteller and adding him to the team is a reflection of Steve’s commitment to innovation and building a best-in-class organization.”
Jenkins, one of the most decorated journalists in sports, has worked for the Sports Illustrated over the last 11 years as the publication's lead NBA feature writer.