James has not missed a season-opener in 14 NBA campaigns
Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James will not play in Cleveland’s last pre-season game and is questionable for Tuesday’s season opener against Boston, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said on Wednesday. James awoke with a sore left ankle after scoring 17 points in his first pre-season appearance, a 108-94 loss to Chicago, and Lue declared he would not practice yesterday or play today in the exhibition against Orlando.
The 32-year-old playmaker, who led the Cavs to their first NBA crown in 2016, missed most pre-season workouts and three pre-season contests with a left ankle sprain suffered on September 27. Lue said: “(James is) pretty mad, pretty pissed off. But I mean, it is what it is.”
James has not missed a season-opener in 14 NBA campaigns, but Lue hesitated when asked about his availability against Boston next week. “(James) got treatment all day today, so I’m not sure if we should be concerned or not,” Lue said. “But it’s pretty sore today so we’ll just see what happens.”
JR Smith will start for James today with Jose Calderon moving into the lineup, Lue said. James said after the pre-season loss to Chicago that the game was a test to see how his ankle was recovering from the injury. “I’m pushing through it right now,” James said.
“I just wanted to try and test my foot, test my ankle to see how I would come out. I definitely wanted to test it knowing that at least if I tested it tonight I have a week until the regular season started if I don’t play in the game on Friday.”
James averaged 26.4 points and career highs of 8.6 rebounds and 8.7 assists last season as the Cavaliers reached the NBA Finals, losing to Golden State. It was the seventh consecutive trip to the finals and eighth overall for James.
The Cavaliers had hoped to have James play alongside newcomers Derrick Wade, Dwyane Wade and Jae Crowder with Kevin Love shifted from forward to centre in what figures to be a formidable lineup should they be able to work cohesively.
“It’s a challenge when you’ve got a new team and you want to incorporate stuff,” Lue said. “Do we wish we had a little more time with him in the pre-season? Yes. But we have to make do with what we have.”
Wiggins inks contract
extension with Timberwolves
Andrew Wiggins has signed a five-year contract extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the NBA club said on Wednesday, tying down the 22-year-old forward through the 2022/23 campaign.
The deal, reportedly for the maximum $148mn (12.neuros) and starting next year, adds security for the club after a stellar campaign for the 2014 top pick in the NBA Draft on a team that finished 31-51.
“I’m very excited to continue my career with the Timberwolves,” Wiggins said. “We’ve had some good times over the last three seasons, but the best is yet to come. I look forward to doing right by them and bringing this team to the post-season.”
Wiggins scored a career-high 23.6 points, grabbed 4.0 rebounds, tossed out 2.3 assists in 82 games last season, sinking a career-best 103 3-pointers on a career-high 35.6 % shooting from beyond the arc. “Andrew is one of the best young players in the NBA and he has the talent and work ethic to get even better and be a foundation for our franchise for many years,” Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said. Wiggins, the 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year after being drafted by Cleveland and traded to Minnesota in a deal for Kevin Love, has averaged 20.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 245 career NBA games.
Only LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony scored more points before their 22nd birthday than Wiggins.
“He is just scratching the surface of the player he will become,” T-Wolves coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau said. “Andrew is among the elite young talents in our league and the sky is the limit for him.”
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