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Manu Ginobili needs surgery, Amare is making excuses, and hanging with MJ in Vegas

By 08.30.08
AmareAmare Stoudemire, Dime #14

Manu Ginobili had his ankle looked at, and while the injury that might have cost the Spurs a trip to the NBA Finals hasn’t gotten worse, it hasn’t improved either. Manu will have surgery at some point in the next week or so, but there’s no word on when he can get back on the court. We did hear a source who said it could be about 6-8 weeks, though. If Manu’s absence stretches into the regular season, it’s on Mike Finley, Roger Mason and rookie George Hill to step up and help Tony Parker in the backcourt. Hill couldn’t hit the side of Sam Cassell‘s head with his jumper when we saw him in the summer leagues, but he plays a pretty good floor game. Mason can get buckets, but he and Hill are brand-new to San Antonio’s system, and Finley is old enough that he might have played high school ball with John McCain. And Pop won’t wanna play Fin too much, since he needs him available to be Robert Horry‘s replacement when the playoffs come around. In other words, Manu needs to get healthy … Are you buying Amare Stoudemire‘s claim that Mike D’Antoni didn’t have the Suns practice defense once in the last three years? STAT didn’t go so far to say that D’Antoni’s de-commitment to defense is behind his own individual defensive issues, but may have been implying it. Do you think, on the NBA level, it’s up to each player to improve his game (defense in particular), or do coaches have a responsibility to make their players better skill-wise? Amare obviously came into the League with more rough edges than most players; should Phoenix have given him a specialized assistant to teach him to play D since it’s obvious D’Antoni isn’t going to spend a big chunk of time on it? … We recently got up with Andre Iguodala, where he talked about the new-look Sixers, his offseason workouts, and how he got robbed in the ’06 Dunk Contest. Check out the interview HERE … We always get a kick out of the blatant nepotism you see in the NBA, whether it’s LeBron‘s high school teammates Dru Joyce and Romeo Travis getting on the Cavs’s summer league team, or Chauncey Billups‘ brother Rodney Billups making Detroit’ summer squad, or Coby Karl. But the Knicks trading a guy who they probably haven’t thought about in eight years to get Patrick Ewing Jr. is on another level. New York traded the draft rights to Fred Weis — yes, that Fred Weis, Vince Carter‘s personal property Fred Weis, the Fred Weis they drafted back in ’99 and never came to the NBA — to Houston for “The Legacy.” This doesn’t mean Weis is any closer to coming to the League (he might just wait until Vince retires or YouTube ceases to exist), and while Ewing could give the Knicks a lot of what Renaldo Balkman gave them, there’s a chance he doesn’t even make the opening day roster. But Pat Jr. was the #1 overall draft choice of the Harlem Globetrotters, so he could go there if this NBA thing doesn’t work out … One of our guys has been in Vegas this week, and the other day he reported seeing Michael Jordan, Antoine Walker, Chauncey Billups, Tony Allen, Damon Jones and Marvin Williams at the Bellagio, playing blackjack and craps and toting cigars. And one of the Hall of Fame talents in that group may or may not have left with a nice little piece on his arm. Now, we didn’t get clarification whether or not that whole group was together, because at least one of them doesn’t seem to fit. MJ and ‘Toine have been casino buddies for a minute. Marvin has the UNC connection with Mike. Tony Allen has the Chicago connection with ‘Toine. And Chauncey’s a popular vet who’s cool with a lot of dudes in the League. So where does that leave Damon Jones? … Our guy also spotted Mo Taylor in Vegas, who he said he’s supposed to be signing with the Lakers very soon … Chuck Hayes broke his nose in a recent workout, which was bound to happen to him sooner or later seeing as he regularly has to bang with Dikembe Mutombo and Dikembe Mutombo’s elbows in practice. Hayes just seems like one of those guys destined for a long-term Rip Hamilton mask … What would Team USA do to Great Britain’s national squad? The Brits secured Luol Deng for their roster in the upcoming European Championship qualifying tourney by agreeing to pay his $500,000 insurance. Ben Gordon‘s not playing, leaving Deng to go to battle with guys like Robert Archibald (U of Illinois) and Eric Boateng (Duke/Arizona State). We could see Chris Paul and them waxing GB by a nice fiddy … We’re out like Chuck …


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