Lonzo Ball He had surgery on his meniscus on January 28 and the Bulls announced the usual 6-8 week deadline and thought he would be back in the playoffs. With the exception of Ball never returning to the court, his recovery was constantly hampered by pain, which raised significant concerns in Chicago that his knee might go off in the offseason.
Now he’s going to have another knee surgery, this time an endoscopic one, to clear his left knee. The Bulls made the announcement on Wednesday.
Lonzo Ball will have an arthroscopic debridement of his left knee on Wednesday, September 28 in Los Angeles.
It will be re-evaluated in 4-6 weeks.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) September 21, 2022
Ball will miss the start of the season due to this operation. The Bulls will be wary of his return, making him a likely target somewhere around Halloween – assuming his recovery stays on schedule this time around. Because his knee had been out of order for almost nine months after the first operation, a second operation seemed almost inevitable as reports of his slow recovery continued to leak out.
This is disturbing news for the Bulls, who have no other player to replicate what Ball brings to the court. They are deep: Alex Caruso can bring protection Coby White can push the ball in transition, Goran Dragic can give them low error minutes, but Ball combines all of those things in one package. He is critical to their defense and pace and now they will have to start the season without him.
In the very deep East, the Bulls need to find a way to avoid a slow start with no ball on the court or they’ll spend the whole season trying to get out of this hole.
Despite having one of the top five players in the world and one of the early MVP favorites on the Dallas Mavericks roster, the Dallas Mavericks aren’t getting the love of an opponent heading into training camp. Reason is loss Jalen Brunson — who became the team’s second choice — and was not replaced by a clear secondary shot creator.
Luka Doncic doesn’t think so.
“We have great players on the team, a lot of [of] very underrated guys that I think should be talked about more. I don’t think so, we have a great team. Number one, Dorian Finney-Smith. He has worked very hard, he is one of the best defenders, if he is open he will strike. Spencer [Dinwiddie] will play a big role this year. Speaking of Christian Woodhe is a new player in Dallas, but I think he will be very important to us.”
Two things could be true: Dallas could have quality role players (as Doncic said), and they still need to get an All-Star level shot maker to reach the league’s highest levels. Doncic may be good enough on most nights of the 82-game regular season, but in the playoffs, as good as he is at this stage, there should be more options. Defense can make life difficult even for Doncic and he needs help.
Doncic also said he wants to be MVP.
“Yes, I hope. [Winning] MVP is incredible. If I could be named MVP it would be a huge achievement, I would be so happy, but who knows.”
We know Doncic will be special – and worth watching – again this season. What we don’t know is how far this could take him and the Mavericks.
The Boston Celtics have suspended coach Ime Udoku for the 2022–2023 season due to reports of inappropriate intimate relationships with a consensual Celtics employee.
This bold decision was made quickly and was followed by a wave of information and questions. Here are just a few topics related to Udoka suspension.
• While the relationship between Udoka and the employee was consensual, it was not always smooth sailing and this could quickly become a problem for the Celtics as reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Some members of the Celtics organization first became aware of the relationship in July, sources said. At the time, the team’s management was convinced by both parties that the relationship was based on mutual consent. But sources said the woman recently accused Udoka of making unwanted comments about her, prompting the team to launch a series of internal interviews.
• Celtics legend Paul Pierce opined that the franchise had hit Udoka too hard and was then scolded on Twitter for it.
It should be just a fine, not a disqualification 🤷🏾♂️
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) September 22, 2022
• Udoki’s future with the Celtics remains unclear whether they are asking him to return or whether he wants to. However, Udoka will have options – when other coaching positions open up over the next year, expect those teams to reach out to Udoka to gauge his interest, something Adrian Voinarovsky emphasized ESPN.
• Despite not being a household name, new interim/head coach Joe Mazzulla is popular with Celtics players. That’s what Jason Tatum should have said about him last spring, via Chris Forsberg at NBC Sports Boston.
“I love Joe,” Tatum said. “I think just being around him… you can tell how passionate he is about the guys and his craft. He became much more knowledgeable, more detailed, just vocal. More comfortable as a coach. You have seen growth since its first year.
“He helped me a lot as a player and as a person. I can’t say enough good things about Joe. Everyone appreciates him for what he brings to this team. I’m glad we have him.”
There is also this from Fox Sports.
The players loved him,” said Scott Morrison, then a Celtics assistant and Mazzulla’s head coach during his time with the Red Claws. “He tells them what it is without being harsh and in my experience the players love it. They like to be coached.”
• He may be loved, but 34-year-old Mazzulla is in trouble – his only head coaching experience was at Fairmont State in West Virginia, a Division II school. This could lead the Celtics to want to bring in an experienced NBA veteran coach as Mazzulla’s assistant. One name to keep an eye on: Frank Vogel, according to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix.
• Celtics Media Day is Monday, with training camp starting the next day. The Celtics will open the season on October 18 against the Philadelphia 76ers.