NBA Training Camp Updates

Shawne Williams said all summer that he hoped to return to New York. He will... but not directly. Williams has signed a two-year deal with the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets. One of the reasons he opted for Jersey over midtown is playing time - he could very well be the Nets' starting small forward this season.

The Nets could be attempting to put together a team based on some of the more successful Dwight Howard-centered Orlando Magic squads, with lots of floor-spacing three-point shooters like Williams and Anthony Morrow to work the perimeter. Of course, that might not be as effective if the Nets are unable to complete a trade for Howard. And that's got to be a scary proposition for general manager Billy King... because I don't think a starting frontcourt of Shawne Williams, Shelden Williams and Brook Lopez is going to be enough to convince Deron Williams to re-sign.

Speaking of potentially-awful frontcourts, Charlotte rookie Bismack Biyombo is reportedly stuck in Spain for at least one more season, unable to secure a release from his current team. With Biyombo out of the mix and DeSagana Diop still recovering from an Achilles injury, Boris Diaw is likely to start the season at center. And having a 6-8 defensive liability in the middle will make it even more difficult for Charlotte to use undersized guards DJ Augustin and Kemba Walker together in the backcourt.

Making matters worse, newly-signed Reggie Williams - a badly-needed wing scorer just signed by Charlotte - will be sidelined 6-8 weeks with a torn meniscus.

Speaking of injuries, Baron Davis could be sidelined for a similar span with a bulging disc in his lower back. But I'm suspicious. Reports of Davis' back injury popped up just before the Cavs made the final decision to waive him. Would anyone be that surprised if he makes a miraculous recovery after he clears waivers and is able to negotiate a free-agent deal with the team of his choosing? He's expected to clear Friday night - if the "out 6-8 weeks" reports stand after that point, I'll humbly admit to being a cynic.

Sleeper alert - Josh Howard has signed with Utah. It's easy to forget how good Howard was in Dallas, because he's been fairly awful since. But injuries have been a major factor in his poor play. If healthy, he could be a nice fit in Salt Lake. Keep an eye on Travis Outlaw as well. Outlaw fell into disfavor during his tenure with the Nets, but the size of his contract was the real problem. Someone will pick him up now that he's been cut loose.

Nikola Pekovic is expected to win the starting center job in Minnesota, but Rick Adelman will use a lot of small lineups featuring Kevin Love in the middle. Second overall pick Derrick Williams is working out primarily at power forward. Theoretically, that means Michael Beasley will keep his job at the three, and Love will start at the four but slide over to the five when Williams comes in. That doesn't leave much (any?) playing time for Darko Milicic; apparently Rick Adelman isn't a fan.

Jordan Hill could be the Rockets' starting center if the team is unable to sign another big man. Given the fact that they've whiffed on just about every attempt to bring in talent to this point, that seems like a fairly likely scenario.

The Kings have released some ominous-sounding news about Chuck Hayes, saying, "A recent stress echo test performed on Kings' center/forward Chuck Hayes revealed an abnormality which will require further testing this evening and tomorrow. An update will be provided as more information becomes available." Hayes was projected to be Sacramento's starting power forward; it's not clear what impact this will have on his availability to start the season.


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