I’m going to try to keep up with this as the season goes along. We’ll use this space to summarize anything notable that happened around the league last week, whether it be injuries, drama, noteworthy performances, or whatever else I want to share.
The real games haven’t started yet, so there’s nothing to talk about on that front, but some other stuff has happened. Let’s take a look.
Players are getting paid
Today (October 23) is the last day many players can sign contract extensions. With that deadline looming, a few players signed extensions with their current teams. Deni Avdija (4 years, $55 million) and Zeke Nnaji (4 years, $32 million) signed rookie extensions. The Spurs extended veteran Zach Collins with a $35 million contract over two years after giving Devin Vassell a 5 year, $135 million extension a few weeks ago. Those deals, especially the one for Zach Collins, make PJ Washington’s deal (3 years, $46.5 million) look more than fair. I’ll take PJ with a lower annual salary than Zach Collins every day of the week.
Also good luck to Avdija as he embarks as a passenger on the Jordan Poole superstar experience.
Steven Adams is out for the year
Adams hurt his knee in January and apparently opted to go a non-surgical route. That hasn’t gone to plan, so now he’ll undergo surgery that’ll keep him out for the year.
Adams is undergoing the surgery on his right cruciate ligament after "non-operative rehabilitation did not resolve ongoing knee instability," team says. https://t.co/bsKigiNSY5— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 22, 2023
The Grizzlies are now without both Adams and Brandon Clarke to start the season. It’s a rough bit of news for a team that already will be without star point guard Ja Morant for 25 games since he can’t stop himself from flashing guns on social media.
A funny social media aspect of this–Shams Charania was desperate to be first to break the news, so he Tweeted the bare minimum with no context so he could beat Woj to the punch by about 20 seconds, since Woj decided to Tweet the actual specifics of the injury. The world of news-breaking is weird.
James Harden is still away from the 76ers and now the Internet is doing its thing
We’re going into the 2023-24 season with one of the healthier NBA player lists in some time, by my memory. There aren’t any notable star players out with long term injuries when the season tips off. The most notable absence is that of James Harden, who’s choosing to sit out from his third team in four seasons because of who knows. Poor guy just seems to always have a front office that’s out to get him. Certainly he isn’t the problem.
And now there’s a viral-ish video getting circulated on the darker parts of social media accompanied by uh…interesting rumors around Harden and rapper Lil Baby. You can search X (Twitter) if you’re curious, but an NSFW warning for anyone who dares go looking.
Quiet preseasons for rookies
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that rookies playing sporadic minutes in their first experience against NBA competition would result in tame statistical outputs. That hasn’t stopped a little bit of handwringing over the nondescript preseason for Hornets rookie Brandon Miller. While he wasn’t great, there weren’t really any rookies that lit it up out of the gate. Number one overall pick Victor Wembanyama unsurprisingly led the class and scoring and Nuggets rookie Julian Strawther came out hot, but there wasn’t anyone else that lit it up. Scoot Henderson averaged 13.5 points on about the same efficiency as last G League season, while the Thompson twins each averaged between 11 and 12 points per game. Let’s see what happens when the games matter.
Just one more day until basketball
The NBA season tips off on Tuesday with the Nuggets hosting the Lakers at 7:30 Eastern on TNT. That’s followed by the new look Suns visiting the Golden State Warriors. Talk about some west coast bias. The Hornets and the rest of the league will start play on Wednesday. Get excited.