Bulls

NBA camps postponed, part of preseason canceled

NBA camps postponed, part of preseason canceled

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011
Posted: Sept. 23, 10:26 a.m. Updated: 9:32 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com Bulls Insider Follow @CSNBullsInsider
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In the grand scheme of things, it might not seem like much. But the NBA's announcement that the start of training camps and opening slate of exhibition games are the latest casualties of the ongoing lockout should cement the reality of the increasingly dire situation.

We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games, NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

Unspoken was that after a nearly six-hour Thursday bargaining session in New York during which, by all accounts, no progress was made, pessimism reigns supreme in the lockout talks.

NBA players continue to trickle overseas, player-organized exhibition games continue to be held and plans for "lockout leagues" now move into October. If and when the work stoppage ends this fall, the legal process will take a few weeks to officially get the ball rolling again, leading to a likely abbreviated free-agency period (and the signing of draft picks) before training camps and the exhibition schedule commence.

For the Bulls, it means that an Oct. 10 home game against the Bobcats (yet another opportunity for former draft pick Tyrus Thomas to show Chicago what it's missing) and an Oct. 13 road matchup against the Central Division rival Pacers are scuttled.

Bulls training camp at the Berto Center, which was scheduled to open Oct. 4--team media day would have taken place the day prior--a key ingredient to the season, have been replaced by more individualized or informal group training, if not players seeking competition elsewhere.

But that's just on paper. If anybody can recall the last NBA lockout--in the 1998-99 season, when the NBA slate was cut to just 50 games--the ramifications of even minimal time lost will be reflected in sloppy play, as teams and players struggle to find their groove.

Coming off a banner year that saw the league's popularity rise with ascendance of young players like reigning MVP Derrick Rose and scoring champion Kevin Durant, it's possible that casual fans will be reluctant to embrace the NBA quickly if there's an extended absence.

How do you feel about the NBA delaying the start of training camps and preseason games? If the lockout causes regular-season games to be missed, will it affect how you feel about the league or are you willing to wait it out?

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Michael Jordan delivers heart-wrenching eulogy for Kobe Bryant

Michael Jordan delivers heart-wrenching eulogy for Kobe Bryant

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were more than competitors, more than peers... More than even friends. Jordan made as much clear in eulogizing Bryant at a public memorial for him and his daughter Gigi at Staples Center on Monday.

Amid a beautifully numbing overall ceremony, Jordan’s comments struck the perfect balance between reflective, hilarious, heart-warming and gut-wrenching. My words couldn’t possibly do it justice. Here are Jordan’s, in full:

 

“Maybe it would surprise people that Kobe and I are very close friends,” Jordan said. “Kobe was my dear friend, he was like a little brother. Everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I. I just wanted to talk about Kobe.”

And so he did. Highlights included a perfectly-timed ‘Crying Jordan’ meme quip and Jordan recalling countless late-night (and early-morning) conversations with Bryant about everything from basketball to business to family. On a day meant to be a celebration of life, Jordan delivered a deeply intimate look into his and Bryant’s relationship, and all the ways Bryant inspired him. It was incredibly powerful.

 

“He wanted to be the best basketball player he could be. As I got to know him, I wanted the best big brother that I could be,” Jordan said.

That manifested in those aforementioned conversations, which Jordan said turned from an “aggravation” to a deep passion over the course of knowing Bryant.

“He knows how to get you in a way that affects you personally, even if he’s being a pain in the ass,” Jordan said. “But you always have a sense of love for him, and the way he can bring out the best in you. And he did that for me.

“I remember maybe a couple months ago, he sends me a text. And he said ‘I’m trying to teach my daughter some moves, and I don’t know what I was thinking or what I was working on, but what were you working on as you were growing up trying to work on your moves?’ I said ‘What age?’ He said: ‘12.’ I said, ‘At 12 I was trying to play baseball’... And this was at 2 o’clock in the morning. But the thing about him is we could talk about anything related to basketball and anything related to life.” 

Jordan’s most emotional moments of speaking came when he detailed Bryant’s passion for basketball and family, and his unwavering desire to make those around him better. Those are the things that will endure.

“When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died,” Jordan said. “I promise you, from this day forward, I will live with the memories of knowing that I had a little brother that I tried to help in every way I could.” 

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NBA Power Rankings: Lakers dynamic duo will be tough to beat in the playoffs

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USA Today

NBA Power Rankings: Lakers dynamic duo will be tough to beat in the playoffs

The latest chapter in the storied rivalry between the Celtics and Lakers unfolded Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles with a national television audience watching all the drama.

Boston’s Jayson Tatum continued his ascension as one of the league’s clutch scorers by pouting in 41 points, helping his team grab a late lead at Staples Center. But when it comes to clutch performances, it’s hard to beat the Lakers’ superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

James hit a step-back jumper to give his team a one point lead and then Anthony Davis hit three of four free throws down the stretch to give L.A. a 114-112 victory, increasing their latest winning streak to five games.

The Lakers are now five games up on Denver for the top seed in the West and they’ve strengthened their bench with the addition of veteran forward Markieff Morris, who was bought out of his contract by the Pistons last week.

While many NBA analysts believe the crosstown Clippers should be favored over the Lakers in a potential conference finals, it’s hard to beat the chemistry that James and Davis have displayed in their first season together.

James has become the de facto point guard for the Lakers, with his primary focus to get the ball to Davis at his favorite spots on the court. James is more than willing to accept the co-star role at this point in his career as he looks to win a fourth championship. And that approach should serve the Lakers well as they get ready to start the playoffs in mid-April.

The Clippers might look good on paper, but with Paul George in and out of the line-up because of a variety of injuries, time is starting to work against Doc Rivers’ team in trying to develop the on-court chemistry that is critical to playoff success.

Barring an upset, the battle of L.A. should play out in an exciting seven game series in late May. Basketball fans can hardly wait.

Now on to this week’s power rankings.