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NBA summer league tips off; Lakers bring back another piece

By 07.07.09
Russell Westbrook (photo. Seattle Times)

Russell Westbrook (photo. Seattle Times)


Basketball is back. Kinda. If you don’t live in a playground hotbed like NYC or Chicago, and you’re not so desperate that you’re watching classic games on NBA TV and trying to pretend you haven’t seen them before, the Orlando Pro Summer League debuted yesterday to fill the NBA void … Since nobody really cares who wins the games, we’ll just look at the stats: The Celtics rolled out what could be both the worst and the slowest NBA frontline tandem ever, starting Robert Swift (20 mins, 4 pts) and Mike Sweetney (15 mins, 3 pts, 5 rebs) against Utah. The most encouraging stat was Sweetney only picking up one foul in 15 minutes; at the low point of his career he would regularly come off the bench and get two fouls before the guy he’d replaced had a chance to sit down. Bill Walker scored 14 points to lead the C’s, while Eric Maynor had nine points and four dimes for the Jazz … James Harden scored 17 for the Thunder against the host Magic, while Russell Westbrook put up 22 points (16-18 FT), five boards and nine assists. Starting at small forward for OKC, Shaun Livingston had seven points and six dimes, and most importantly, didn’t move like a guy with a faulty knee. Levance Fields had a DNP for Orlando, as he sustained an injury doing the Stanky Leg over the weekend … The Nets/Sixers hybrid squad went up against Indiana, and both of their prized rookies struggled offensively while contributing elsewhere. Terrence Williams scored just two points (1-8 FG), but added nine boards, two steals and three blocks; Jrue Holiday had nine points on 3-11 shooting with five turnovers, but picked up four steals. Marreese Speights put up 28 points and 11 boards for Philly/Jersey, while Tyler Hansbrough had 17 points, five boards and three steals for the Pacers … There was a lot of rumored movement toward deals on the free agent market Monday, but only two actual deals materialized, as Jason Kidd agreed to come back to the Mavs for $25 million over three years (too much for a 36-year-old?), and Shannon Brown re-upped with the Lakers for $4.2M over two … On the rumor front, the Mavs and Raptors are allegedly working on a sign-and-trade that would send Shawn Marion to Dallas and would include Jerry Stackhouse going to Toronto. Unless Josh Howard is moving to SG, we don’t see where Marion fits in as a starter, and he’s definitely the type to complain about coming off the bench … Portland is scrambling for Plan B’s after the Hedo Turkoglu deal fell through, having reportedly pitched the Bobcats on a trade involving Gerald Wallace and also looking at Lamar Odom as a free agent … And Grant Hill is close to reaching an agreement with the Celtics. Hill already gets booed whenever he plays in Orlando now — what kind of reaction would he get coming back as a member of the Celts in an Orlando/Boston playoff series? … Yao Ming will decide this week whether he’ll get surgery on his left foot or try to let it heal on its own. Either way, the Rockets are screwed. If Yao gets surgery, he’s most likely out for the 2009-10 season. If he tries to let it heal, his foot will be immobilized for about three months, which means he won’t be in shape going into training camp and would probably be even more susceptible to another injury, not to mention there’s a chance the foot won’t heal … With the last big-name Class of ’09 recruit off the board, it’s time to focus on the next crop of high school superstars. Over on HighSchoolHoop.com today, we’re unveiling our brand-new Top 50 national player ranking around lunchtime. We’ll let you know when the new list is live … Over the weekend we told you about the U.S. squad slicing through the field in New Zealand at the FIBA Under-19 World Championships — which continued with a blowout win over Greece on Monday where Georgia’s Howard Thompkins scored 22 points. At the FIBA World University Games in Serbia, Team USA is also on a roll, getting 17 points from North Carolina forward Deon Thompson in a 30-piecing of Greece yesterday … We’re out like Swift …


TAGSBill WalkerEric MaynorGerald WallaceGRANT HILLHEDO TURKOGLUJAMES HARDENJASON KIDDJOSH HOWARDJrue HolidayLAMAR ODOMLevance FieldsMarreese SpeightsMike SweetneyROBERT SWIFTRUSSELL WESTBROOKSHANNON BROWNShaun LivingstonSHAWN MARIONSmackTerrence WilliamsTYLER HANSBROUGHYAO MING

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