NBA Notes: Nets to retire Jason Kidd's number

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NBA Notes: Nets to retire Jason Kidd's number

NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets will retire the No. 5 jersey of Jason Kidd, who led the franchise to its greatest NBA success as a player and is now its coach.

The Nets said Monday the ceremony will take place Oct. 17 before their preseason game against the Miami Heat.

Kidd led the New Jersey Nets to the 2002 and 2003 NBA Finals and is their career leader in numerous statistical categories. He ended his 19-year playing career after spending last season with the New York Knicks, and the Nets hired him as their coach in June.

He will be the sixth Nets player to have his number retired, following Julius Erving, Drazen Petrovic, John Williamson, Bill Melchionni and Buck Williams.

Timberwolves: David Adelman promoted, Jackson hired
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves have promoted David Adelman to an assistant coach and hired Bobby Jackson as a player development coach.

The Timberwolves made the moves official on Monday. Adelman, the son of Wolves head coach Rick Adelman, had served as a player development coach the past two seasons. Player development coaches generally are considered a stepping stone position to a full assistant position. When Bill Bayno left for Toronto, it opened up a spot on the staff for another full assistant.

Jackson comes on board to take David Adelman's spot. He starred for the University of Minnesota and led the Gophers to the Final Four in 1997. That run was later vacated by an academic fraud scandal.

Jackson played for Rick Adelman in Sacramento and Houston (see full story).

NBA: Rodman says he'll bring players to N. Korea
NEW YORK -- Dennis Rodman is going back to North Korea, and he says he will bring a team of former NBA players with him.

Days after returning from his second trip to visit Kim Jong Un -- in which he held the leader's newborn baby -- Rodman announced plans to stage two exhibition games there in January.

Touting his friendship with Kim Jong Un and criticizing President Barack Obama for not talking to him, Rodman says Monday he will go back to North Korea in December to help select local players for the game. He hopes to have stars such as former Chicago teammate Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone play.

Rodman, holding a cigar and wearing the shirt of a vodka company and a hat of a betting one that is funding the event, says Kim Jong Un has asked him to train his players to compete in the 2016 Olympics and offered to allow the Hall of Famer to write a book about him (see full story).

Nerlens Noel thinks he and Ben Simmons can be a lockdown defensive duo

Nerlens Noel thinks he and Ben Simmons can be a lockdown defensive duo

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Sixers' abundance of big men lends itself to numerous combinations in the frontcourt.

On Thursday, Nerlens Noel had his first experience playing with Ben Simmons. The center gelled with the rookie forward.

"It's a great duo, I think," Noel said following the morning practice session of training camp at Stockton University.

Noel has been paired with many big men during his career with the Sixers. Last season, he faced the challenge of playing out of position at times with Jahlil Okafor. The logjam prompted him to speak out about the current makeup of the roster (see story).

After playing with Simmons, Noel saw how the two can share the court.

"I think we complement each other very well, especially on the defensive end," Noel said. "He's definitely a lockdown type defender that digs in."

Even though Simmons has yet to play an NBA game, Noel already envisions how he can help the Sixers.

"He just plays basketball the right way," Noel said. "When your big man does that, it makes it a lot easier because he is very versatile being a point-forward type. That opens up a lot of things for him to be able to open up for his teammates."

Sixers intend to use Ben Simmons, Dario Saric in same lineup

Sixers intend to use Ben Simmons, Dario Saric in same lineup

GALLOWAY, N.J. — Training camp is an opportunity for Brett Brown to assess all the pieces he has available to construct the best roster possible. There are no clear-cut formulas to create the most successful lineups, not when the team has so many players that can be utilized at multiple positions. 

“There are a lot of moving parts,” Brown said Wednesday after Day 2 of training camp. “You’re going to see a bunch of different looks, blue and white. That’s part of my job. That’s part of what I’ve got to get done when we play on opening night.” 

Among these combinations is pairing Dario Saric and Ben Simmons. Given their versatility, the rookies can play multiple positions to share the court. Brown has eyed their size and skills at the two- and three-spots.

“The pluses are you have 6-10, do-alls that really can jump into a very versatile defensive world with perhaps a lot of switching,” Brown said. “I think they’re elite defensive rebounders that can rebound and lead a break and take off. ...

“The disadvantages are, you’re playing two guys out of position that’ve never played a second of NBA basketball and have never played together. It comes down to familiarity, it comes down to some type of comfort level that they’re going to have to navigate and figure out each other a little bit more.”

Saric and Simmons, like the rest of the Sixers, are learning one another’s games in training camp. Saric described Simmons’ skill set as “amazing” considering his stature and speed, noting, “I never played with somebody who’s that [many] kilograms.” 

“I think we will find a way to play together,” Saric said. “I think we can do it. Coach said most of the time we will play together. Maybe I can push the ball, he can push the ball too. ... He’s an unbelievably good passer and I think we’ll find a way how to play and I’m very happy because of that.”

Simmons entered the league touted as a point-forward. Exceeding the combo position, Simmons has played pure point at times, both on the offensive and defensive ends. He has been tapping into the Sixers' guards and veteran leader Elton Brand to help enhance his communication running the floor.

“[The] challenge is probably guarding the point guard position. They’re a lot quicker,” Simmons said. “But I also have a lot more length and strength. I think just being able to get to the rim. Also, if I have a smaller guy I can post it up.”

Saric also has ball handling skills in his arsenal. He grew up playing point guard from ages 8 to 14 before hitting a growth spurt. Saric looked up to Magic Johnson at the position. 

“To make other players happy and to make other players better, I think that’s the role of point guard,” Saric said. 

Brown will use the next four weeks as a trial period to maneuver different combinations and looks, including a towering duo of rookies.  

“Now is the time to do that," Brown said, "with the end game being whenever that type of thing happens, you have something quite special if they’re paired — when they’re paired, because I’m going to play them together — when they start really feeling each other’s game out in the environment that I've put them in a lot better."