If you want a roundup of the latest lockout news, check out NBA.com Steve Aschburner’s summary of recent negotiations with the goal of starting the season on Christmas Day. (Update: According to Howard Beck of The New York Times, the players’ union and owners are using the the last offer as a starting point with the goal of playing a 66-game season.)
Rather than weigh in on that convoluted mess, I offer you some Hawks holiday tidbits . . .
Caught up with J.J., Teague and Damien at Louis Williams’ charity game at Atlanta Metropolitan College. Smoove was a no-show. Dwight was there to support his hometown guys but he didn’t play: “I don’t like to play five-on-five in the offseason.”
J.J. looked noticeably sleeker and quicker while checking the likes of Teague, Jarret Jack and Anthony Morrow. Remember that time J.J. harassed D-Rose and forced a turnover to beat the Bulls? He pretty much looked like that all game, which really stood out since no one else was really playing D.
OK, it wasn’t a real game, but the point is J.J. looked to be in great shape and he said he’s feeling “great” after extended time off following his injury-riddled season. He said he’s about six pounds less than his normal playing weight.
“That was my plan in camp, but since that was prolonged I am trying to keep my weight down and stay in shape,” he said. “[No formal practice] is not a big deal. I can go to the gym and get shots up. I try to get on the treadmill everyday, lift weights and try to keep my body stronger.”
Joe said he had a deal “locked up” to play for a club in China but that was nixed once the Chinese Basketball Association banned lockout opt-out clauses in contracts. So now he says he’s not looking to play in another league.
“I don’t want to, man, but if a good opportunity comes along I would have to look at it,” he said. “But I’m not looking forward to going anywhere else.”
Teague looked as quick as ever (though A.I. did blow by him with crossovers a couple times). He’s been working on his jumper but I can’t tell you what it looks like since getting to the rim was no problem for him in that kind of game.
Teague said he’s been working out and playing ball every day while shuttling back and forth between Atlanta and Indy (with occasional stops to check in on his little bro, who plays for that other team). If part of my blog people’s disappointment with the lockout is missing out on watching more of Teague’s development, then he feels you.
“I am ready to get back to playing,” he said. “Coming off a run like that, you want to come back with a lot of energy and hype and expectations for yourself. Hopefully we can get back on the court as soon as possible.”
In the mean time, Teague said he plans to return to Wake Forest next semester. The plan is to take four classes. “But I told my agent, I might have to go online,” he said. “I don’t know about staying in Winston that long.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat