While Kawhi, Klay wait, Zion wants to be back on opening night



Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson know it will be some time before they can get back on the pitch.

Zion Williamson wants to do it on opening night.

The New Orleans forward underwent surgery in the offseason to fix a broken bone in his right foot, but said he works with the coach every day in hopes of not missing a moment.

“I expect to be back for the first game,” said Williamson.

Pelicans manager David Griffin said the timeline is possible, although there isn’t one yet for some other NBA superstars.

Leonard underwent surgery to repair a partial ACL tear in his right knee on July 13. Until his return, he plans to “try to make me as relevant as possible” while being confined to the sidelines.

Thompson has missed the past two seasons, first with an ACL tear and then a tear in the right Achilles tendon. The latter happened last November and Golden State guard said it would take at least a year before he could return.

He knows he’s finally getting closer.

“The worst is far, far behind me,” said Thompson.


Bradley Beal was coy about the possibility of signing a new contract with the Washington Wizards. For now, he is focusing on a good start to the season.

“We worry about the contract and the money and all that later,” he said. “I have the whole year to sign him too, so I’m in no rush.”

Another high-scoring goalie, Zach LaVine, has similar thoughts in Chicago.

He would be eligible for a supermax deal if he is All-NBA in 2021-2022. Either way, he’s in a good position to start the final season of his four-year, $ 80 million contract.

Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has said the Bulls want to keep LaVine, but the Olympic gold medalist isn’t looking that far.

“My plan is to get ready for training camp tomorrow,” said LaVine. “Get ready for the season and try to help these guys win, just like everyone else. I’m not worried about my contract at the moment. It will be a moment in the future. “


Derrick Rose is a former NBA MVP who started with the New York Knicks at the end of last season.

Now there is a backup again.

Rose said on Monday that newcomer Kemba Walker will lead the field when the Knicks start.

“Oh, he’s starting. Rose said.

Rose has come off the bench in all but three of his 35 games after joining the Knicks last season, finishing third by voting for the NBA’s Sixth Man Award.

He entered the starting lineup for the last three games of the Knicks’ playoff loss to Atlanta, then re-signed to stay with the Knicks and Tom Thibodeau, his former Chicago coach.

Walker, a New York native who joined the Knicks in the offseason, looked baffled when told about Rose’s comments about being the starter.

“I wouldn’t know about it. I don’t know yet, ”Walker said. “But that’s pretty cool. For me, I’ve always been a huge fan of D-Rose. It doesn’t matter how much to start, it doesn’t matter how much.


As the Houston Rockets try to find a business destination for John Wall, he strives to help the team in any way he can.

“My job here is to be a mentor,” Wall said.

The veteran shouldn’t be playing for the Rockets while they look for a job for the goalie. Managing Director Rafael Stone said he was not looking to buy out Wall’s contract but wanted to find a suitable profession.

“We’re looking for what we can find that works for everyone… in the long term,” Stone said.

Wall said it would be “very difficult” not to play while the Rockets find him a new team, but he knows this plan is what is best for him.


Gordon Hayward has said he feels 100% and ready to return to the field for the Charlotte Hornets after missing the final five weeks of the 2020-21 season with a sprained right foot.

Hornets coach James Borrego has said the team will manage Hayward’s workload to help him through an 82-game regular season.

“He looks great, feels great, his body is in great shape, physically he is ready to go,” Borrego said. “… Will he play 82 games?” I do not know. We will have to figure this out as we go. There’s a plan in place for it, we’re working on it right now and discussing it, and that will be on a weekly basis on how we manage it. “

The Hornets were in fourth place in the Eastern Conference last season on April 3 before Hayward fell. They finished in 10th place in the conference and were knocked down by the Indiana Pacers in the play-in game.


James Harden surrendered late for his final preseason in Houston and that may have contributed to an injury-shortened first playoff series in Brooklyn.

“I blame myself a bit last year because I’m generally prepared physically and mentally,” said Harden. “Last year was just exhausting in the sense of everything that was going on, so I didn’t have the right frame of mind and the right preparation for an entire season.”

The Rockets granted Harden’s wish for a trade in Brooklyn on January 14. He played near the level that earned him an MVP award in Houston, but was then limited to just three games after March due to hamstring injuries.

He was again injured in Game 1 of the second round against Milwaukee. Harden missed the next three games and struggled on his return as the Nets lost in seven games.

“Usually I’m very, very tough and I’m able to handle anything that comes my way for the most part,” said Harden. “So last year was a little tricky, it was a little weird.”

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