Note: Doing this weekly means some of the information is not completely fresh.
Kevin Love is headed to the Eastern Conference
Sources: Cavs have agreement for Kevin Love, including long-term contract commitment. Wiggins, Bennett, pick to Minn. http://t.co/r2KmO5owwY— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 7, 2014
The effects on the Eastern Conference are enormous. Fear the Sword had a rapid reaction up the day it was announced. Here is Canis Hoopus reaction. Of course rumor has it that Minnesota will ultimately send Anthony Bennett to Philadelphia for Thaddeus Young. Paul Flannery wrote about patience paying off for Flip Saunders in Minnesota.
Here in the Western Conference the effects will be less publicized (bottom of the rung playoff races are not front page news) but felt much closer to home. It is unlikely Minnesota will compete for the playoffs this season, which removes one potential adversary for the Pelicans. At this time it appears Houston, Portland, Golden State, Dallas, Memphis, Phoenix, Denver, and New Orleans are all "in" the Western Conference race. Problem being that only five playoff spots (San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and the Clippers are relatively safe locks) exist for those eight teams.
At least three teams on that list will be disappointed. More if another team in the Western Conference can make a surprise run.
Kevin Durant out for FIBA World Cup
Kevin Durant statement - pic.twitter.com/5gslzSYEHt— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) August 7, 2014
Kevin Durant was expected to carry the scoring load for Team USA in Spain. This might change how Coach K plays things, forcing him to insert a bigger lineup (Davis and Cousins perhaps) to get the maximum amount of talent on the court. Davis being around the best in the world is a good thing. That Durant will not be there for AD to watch and learn from is a negative for the Pelicans in my mind.
To fill the void, Team USA added Sacramento Kings Forward Rudy Gay to bring the roster back up to 16 players. Practice begins in Chicago on August 14th culminating in an exhibition against Brazil on the 16th.
Cuts for Team USA
John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Paul Millsap were the first cuts announced with Team USA. Wall is intending on using the slight as motivation for the upcoming season. I personally would prefer John Wall to Kyrie Irving or Damian Lillard since defense exists and all. However, I can understand it (somewhat) when considering just how much overlap in skill set exists between Wall and Derrick Rose.
Pelican Stuff to Read
Matt Cianfrone over at Pelican Debrief has some ideas on which players would best pair with Anthony Davis for Team USA. Ryan Schwan with Bourbon Street Shots advises Pelican fans to keep their (statistical) expectations low for big men in Coach K's international system.
Note that Anthony Davis's wingspan listed in the above picture is 7'7.75". It was 7'5.5" at the 2012 NBA Combine. Is he done growing yet?
The NBA schedule still has yet to be released. Last year it was released in full on August 7th. Many NBA teams have released a full preseason schedule but the Pelicans have not. We do know that New Orleans will open preseason in Louisville against the Miami Heat. Russ Smith, formerly of the Louisville Cardinals, should have a warm reception waiting.