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NBA Preseason Notes

No Love for Minnesota
The Timberwolves will start the season without Kevin Love, who broke two bones in his right (shooting) hand this week. Love will see a specialist on Thursday, but early estimates are that he'll miss 6-8 weeks, putting the target for his season debut in early December.

Ricky Rubio - still recovering from ACL surgery - is on a similar schedule.

Derrick Williams and Chase Budinger will get additional playing time in Love's absence, but don't forget Andrei Kirilenko, who is returning to the NBA after a season in Russia. Kirilenko put up his best fantasy numbers for the Jazz when playing extended minutes at the power forward, before the arrivals of Carlos Boozer, Paul Millsap and others pushed him to the three. With Love out, Kirilenko could end up playing extended minutes in his place.

Celtics sign Barbosa
The Celtics signed veteran guard Leandro Barbosa to a one-year deal. This move has "12th man" written all over it... Barbosa did practically nothing for the Pacers last season, and it's hard to imagine him getting much playing time behind Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and - when healthy - Avery Bradley. That said, the C's don't really have a backup point guard on their roster right now. Barbosa is more of a two, but it's possible he could land some minutes backing Rondo; maybe even enough to be worth a look at some point this season.

Position Battles in Sacramento
Keith Smart has said that Isaiah Thomas will be his starting point guard, but he's been using Aaron Brooks in that spot of late with Thomas coming off the bench. Jason Thompson has started all three of the Kings' preseason games and seems to be well ahead of rookie Thomas Robinson in the power forward competition. And Marcus Thornton seems to be settling in to the sixth man role very nicely, which could mean Tyreke Evans will get more run at his natural two-guard spot this year.

Around the League
  • George Karl continues to rave about Kosta Koufos' play. At this point, the ex-Ohio State Buckeye seems to be Denver's starting center over JaVale McGee and Timofey Mozgov. Yes. Really.
  • Ronnie Brewer (knee) practiced for the first time and could make his preseason debut shortly. Mike Woodson seems intent on bringing JR Smith off the bench, so Brewer could be the Knicks' opening-day starter at the two.
  • Ty Lawson missed last night's preseason game with an elbow injury, but it isn't thought to be serious. He should be back in a matter of days.
  • Milwaukee rookie John Henson suffered a left knee injury and will be limited to non-contact activity for the next two weeks. That's going to hurt his already-slim chances of winning minutes away from Larry Sanders and Ekpe Udoh.
  • With Kyle Lowry making his Toronto debut, Jose Calderon was limited to 23 minutes last night, but still racked up eight assists. Don't sleep on Calderon in that category; he may actually be more productive as a bench player.
  • A.J. Price was the latest contestant in the "who will replace John Wall" sweepstakes; the Wizards have already tried Shelvin Mack and Jannero Pargo in that spot. Whoever wins the job will have to hold down the fort until early December, when Wall is expected to return from a knee injury.

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