A round-up of the latest NBA news recently – an update on Klay Thompson’s return from injury, suggestions Houston are eyeing free agents to bolster their options ahead of the league resuming play on July 30 with more reports and talk besides.
Klay Thompson now cleared to train without knee restriction
In some encouraging news for Golden State Warriors fans, their All-Star guard Klay Thompson has been medically cleared to be training without a restriction on his knee.
Klay tore his ACL on a dunk attempt in Game 6 of the 2019 Finals against the Toronto Raptors, a year and week on from today – June 13. Doctors waited for the swelling to go down before operating, which eventually occurred on July 2.
He’s taken advantage of these unprecented times to sharpen his skills with various drills. As reported by the Athletic, many who have seen him train describe him as looking “terrific”, which is a reassuring observation for a star eager to make up for lost time.
Just like fellow All-Star guard Stephen Curry had to wait patiently while rehabbing his broken wrist, the 30-year-old still has to bide his time before 5-on-5 scrimmages begin.
Head coach Steve Kerr revealed last week that Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green would all feature in the Warriors’ summer activities – their awful record means they’re one of eight teams who won’t play in Orlando once the league resumes next month.
October was the target month for him to return, initially viewed as the start of NBA’s 2020-21 campaign – which has since shifted and could instead begin in early December.
Only time will tell, though Thompson’s definitely benefited from these uncertain times and is undoubtedly itching to help GSW return better than before next season.
Rockets scanning ‘several’ free agent options, including Tyler Johnson
According to the Houston Chronicle, the Rockets are looking at “several options” to bolster their roster, including signing free agent guard Tyler Johnson.
Johnson was waived by the Phoenix Suns after February’s trade deadline, though Houston have showed interest in his services previously. Brooklyn signed him to a four-year, $50m contract which their Eastern Conference rivals Miami Heat matched.
He was traded to Phoenix last year in exchange for former Rockets forward Ryan Anderson and is said to have interested both LA teams – the Lakers and Clippers.
However, both opted for other free agents in the Morris brothers: Marcus (New York Knicks) went to the Clippers, while Markieff (Detroit Pistons) joined Frank Vogel’s Lakers.
Johnson made just three starts in 2019-20 with the Suns, averaging 5.7 points and 1.6 assists in 16.6 MPG (31 games played) – the lowest of his six-year career to date.
His averages are more respectable over that same span: 10.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 25.7 MPG, playing 301 games since going undrafted in the summer of 2014.
To accomodate his arrival this summer, the Rockets would have to release a player to make any roster additions. Players that were either on NBA or G-League contracts over the past two seasons are eligible to play when the NBA resumes next month in Orlando.
Jonathan didn’t specify whether he’d feature immediately or if Houston are preparing to offer him a deal once the current campaign is complete.
Given their small-ball tactics, Johnson would clog up an already stocked guard spot in D’Antoni’s second unit – where Austin Rivers recently stressed his eagerness to impress.
Naturally, some fans are far from convinced:
Various head coach and front office movement
The Detroit Pistons have made Thunder’s VP of Basketball Operations Troy Weaver their new GM, on a four-year deal.
His key role in Oklahoma City’s strong history of player personnel decisions – including Russell Westbrook in 2008 – made him one of the favourites once the search began.
In addition, he becomes the fourth executive under Sam Presti to leave Oklahoma for a GM job, which is an interesting statistic in itself.
As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this week, the Eastern Conference strugglers had narrowed their search down to three serious candidates – with Clippers assistant GM Mark Hughes and Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson also in the running.
What about the head coach vacancy in New York?
Meanwhile, the New York Knicks continue to interview candidates for their coaching job.
Orlando Magic assistant Pat Delany, who has been under Steve Clifford’s wing for five years, was named as one of their potential new staff.
Dallas Mavericks assistant Jamahl Mosley was granted permission to interview for the job too, having earned six years’ experience alongside Rick Carlisle. He interviewed for the Cleveland Cavaliers job last year.
San Antonio granted Will Hardy – another assistant – permission to also interview for the vacancy. The 32-year-old is highly-rated within the Spurs organisation and news of such dilligence on Leon Rose’s part has been met with welcome surprise from NY supporters.