NBA Notes: Paul George hopes to play in '14-15

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NBA Notes: Paul George hopes to play in '14-15

INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George hopes to make it back on the court next season despite the "freak accident" that caused a compound fracture in his right leg.

On Friday, the two-time All-Star responded to questions for the first time since the gruesome image of him colliding with a basketball stanchion.

George says the leg broke in two spots and that a rod was inserted during surgery Aug. 2. Doctors placed pins in the knee and ankle to hold the rod in place. The leg is now protected by a hard cast.

Coach Frank Vogel and Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird said Tuesday that George has not been ruled out for the season though they didn't expect to have him.

George has been told he will make a full recovery (see full story).

Warriors: Livingston out six to eight weeks
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston is expected to be out six to eight weeks after having arthroscopic surgery on the big toe of his right foot.

The Warriors said Friday that Livingston's toe will be in a splint for the first three weeks of his recovery. The team says the procedure was performed Wednesday by Dr. Richard Ferkel at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute in Van Nuys.

Golden State signed Livingston to a three-year contract worth about $16 million in July. The team says he was diagnosed with a sprained right big toe at the time and his foot was placed in a cast. The Warriors say Livingston was re-evaluated last week and it was determined that surgery was needed.

Kings: Bhullar, first Indian player, inks deal
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sim Bhullar has signed a contract to join the Sacramento Kings in training camp, becoming the first player of Indian descent to ink a deal with an NBA team.

The Kings announced Bhullar's deal Friday. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

The 7-foot-5, 360-pound center was born in Toronto and played two seasons for New Mexico State, where he averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks to lead the Aggies to back-to-back NCAA tournaments. Undrafted this spring, Bhullar was part of the Kings team that won the NBA's summer league tournament in Las Vegas last month.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, the league's first Indian-born majority owner, says in a statement he's "long believed India is the next great frontier for the NBA" (see full story).

U.S.: National team cancels Senegal trip
The U.S. national team has canceled a trip to Senegal after the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo says Friday the Americans were disappointed to call off what would have been the national team's first trip to the African continent, but "didn't have any other choice" because of the risk.

The Americans were scheduled to travel to Dakar on Aug. 27 and conduct a joint clinic with the Senegal national team. They planned to tour Senegal's Goree Island and attend a reception hosted by the Senegalese government.

More than 1,000 people have died in West Africa in the last six months after the outbreak quickly spread to major cities in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone (see full story).

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

After being in the middle of trade rumors over the last few months, Nerlens Noel appears to frustrated with his situation with the Sixers, according to the Inquirer's Keith Pompey.

The Sixers have three starting-caliber centers — Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, who's now healthy — heading into this season.

"I think it's just silly," Noel told Pompey. "With the departure of [former general manager and president] Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to set something done this summer.

"Don't get me wrong. We all get along great on the court and off the court. But at the end of the day, it's like having three starting quarterbacks. It doesn't make any sense.

"And it's just not going to work to anybody's advantage having that on the same team. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm not opposed to anything, but things need to be situated."

The Sixers flirted with having two big men on the court at the same time last season, with Noel and Okafor but with no real success. 

He has a point, and the team knows it.

During the summer, reports swirled saying the Sixers were looking to trade either Noel or Okafor for backcourt help.

Noel, who's in the final year of his rookie contract, doesn't appear to believe the current situation will work.

"I think something needs to happen," he said.

Bryan Colangelo: 'Never a period of discomfort' with Sixers' bigs

Bryan Colangelo: 'Never a period of discomfort' with Sixers' bigs

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers on Friday unveiled their brand new, state-of-the-art practice facility in Camden, New Jersey (see story).

Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, while speaking to media members at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, touched on a variety of topics. That included the team's surplus of big men, an issue that has been years in the making.  

One of the major questions surrounding the Sixers this offseason is how the team plans to utilize all three of its talented young big men in Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid. With Embiid finally healthy and on track to play this season, the Sixers have some tough decisions when it comes to balancing playing time as well as maximizing each player's potential.  

There have been rumors throughout the summer that Colangelo has been actively trying to shop either Noel or Okafor because of his discomfort with having three big men on the roster. His comments on Friday cleared up the situation. 

"We're excited for the season. We’re excited to have three, talented young players that can play that position," Colangelo said. "I said something this summer that was somewhat tongue and cheek that was taken so seriously and everybody hung on that one word that I would be uncomfortable going into the season or absolutely uncomfortable, it was literally overstated so many different times. It was never a period of discomfort, in fact, it's actually comfortable knowing we have that much talent there.

"The discomfort comes in trying to manage and maintain the happiness of three talented young players and that’s something that I think will work itself out."

This offseason has been one of transition for the Sixers. The days of "The Process" are long gone, and the Sixers seem poised to finally become a competitive franchise again after years of tanking.

During their summer overhaul, the Sixers brought in nine new players in hopes of forming a roster that features actual NBA-caliber players that could compete on a nightly basis. 

The team now not only features a surplus of bigs, but for the first time in a long time, a healthy balance of talent at each position. 

"The availability of those players is going to be an experiment all season long, not just with the bigs but with this entire team," Colangelo said. "We’ve got a good mix of talent and there's going to be a lot of competition at every position."

Colagelo expressed that under the former regime ran by Sam Hinkie, the Sixers lacked any sort of competitive drive and identity, something that he emphasized greatly when first put in charge. 

"We really have brought some things to this team that I think was sorely lacking," Colangelo said. "One was veteran leadership, whether it's Gerald Henderson, Jerryd Bayless or bringing Elton Brand back. Playmaking ability between Jerryd Bayless, Sergio Rodriquez, Dario Saric coming into the mix, Ben Simmons — these are playmakers as much as they are good basketball players and scorers.

"So we’ve got a good mix of talent, but what we actually have will play itself out on the court in the coming months."