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Khris Middleton says he will miss start of season following wrist surgery NBA Media Day roundup: Zion looking fit, Ayton sounding reserved, more Report: Heat, Celtics, Mavericks, Grizzlies may show interest in Crowder trade Durant, Irving talk about Nets moving on from ‘very awkward’ summer, but drama continues PBT Podcast: Golden State Warriors season preview

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When Chris Middleton He went under the knife for the first time this summer to fix a problem with his left wrist and expected to be back in time for the start of the season.

At the Bucks’ media day on Sunday, Middleton said he was not going to score the first goal but should return early in the season, according to ESPN’s Jamal Collier.

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The Bucks will open the season with a road game on October 18 against the Celtics (who have their own problems this year).

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Middleton’s importance to the Bucks became apparent in the playoffs, when his absence as a minor shotmaker was a key aspect of their seven-game loss to the Celtics.

Middleton averaged 20.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season. Healthy Bucks team – c Giannis AntetokounmpoMiddleton and Jrue Holiday as the core – enter the season with serious title contenders. But they need Middleton, so they won’t rush him.

Most of the NBA had a media day on Monday – some moments turned our heads.

Here’s what you need to know from the league’s press day – just the highlights. It doesn’t include anything about the Nets – there’s a separate story about them – or about the Lakers (there will be an article from the Lakers media day on Tuesday morning).

• Reports Zion Williamson being in the best shape of your career seems to be true. HoodieBev has the recipes.

We’ll see if this goes to trial – he’s under a lot of pressure – but Zion looks like he’s invested in the job.

• Talking about the players who looked their best, James Harden looked thinner. He joked that he had lost 100 pounds but also opened up about his diet and exercise regimen.

Deandre Ayton He got a four-year, $132.9 million contract extension this summer, but not because he was being handed out by the Suns. Ayton had to talk the Pacers into making an offer (which is why he doesn’t have a five-year contract), and then the Suns agreed. Ayton is a guy with a usually optimistic personality, but when asked about his new contract, he answered briefly and reservedly.

Trainer Monty Williams and All-Star Devin Booker both talked about how they expect Ayton to use the contract as motivation and have a monstrous season. We will watch.

• The Suns players and coach had to answer the question, “What do you think of the Robert Sarver investigation report?” question, and the answers were unanimous – they were disgusted, saddened and sympathetic to those (especially women) who had to deal with his behavior. They also told one person they had no idea (which, at least prior to ESPN’s initial report, may have been true; the way he handled the players and the business side seems to be different).

• The Celtics have all been asked about their former coach Ima Udoki’s suspension for the entire season. Marcus Smart well summarized the feelings – “it was hell.” They were caught off guard, like most of the NBA. However, for the man, they backed interim coach Joe Mazzulla.

• FROM PJ Tucker in Miami there was a lot of talk about Jimmy Butler playing with four, especially in closed games. Butler himself took it down, saying he was not a B.

The Heat continue to look for a trade for a four, but by the start of the season there may not be one.

• In his end-of-season press session last May, Pat Riley said: Kyle Lowry need to show themselves in the best shape this season. Looks like Lowry did it, but did it motivate him? “It doesn’t matter… everyone has their own opinion.”

• It’s not a media day if Kawhi Leonard laughs.

As for Leonard and load management this season, coach Tyrone Liu has said he will play by ear. But also, expect some.

The Phoenix Suns had a media day on Monday, but the veteran Jay Crowder there wasn’t, which was part of a mutual agreement with the team to sit it out until a trade could be found. He left players and GM James Jones solve the problem.

Which teams are interested in Crowder? Shams Charania of The Athletic advises keeping an eye on the Heat, Celtics, Mavericks and Grizzlies, among others.

Miami was at the forefront in terms of interest (and Crowder suggested online that he would be happy to return to Miami). The Heat has minutes to fill in at four after PJ Tucker went to Philadelphia, and Crowder—who was on the Heat that went to the final bubble tournament against the Lakers—would be a great option. Making a deal is a little more difficult. The heat would probably like Duncan Robinson at the heart of the deal, but to keep salaries in line with the Suns, they will have to add another player – Dario Saric, Landry Chamet, Cameron PayneTori Craig – which means that the Heat must choose a pick (protected first) or a player with a minimum contract (Gabe Vincent?) to make the deal work. Not impossible, but unlikely.

The Celtics need depth in the top four, but they can offer minutes on the bench by filling Danilo Gallinarirole (he’s out for a season with a torn ACL), but the deal is financially nearly impossible considering who Boston is…


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