Livingston workouts attracting interest
Free-agent guard Shaun Livingston, fighting back from a devastating knee injury, had private workouts with the Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves in the past 48 hours and league sources expect him to sign with one of three teams next week.
Livingston worked out in Portland on Friday, and two league sources believed the Blazers are the favorites to sign the ex-Los Angeles Clippers guard. Still, it is unclear whether Portland general manager Kevin Pritchard has been convinced enough to add yet another guaranteed contract to his roster.
Minnesota executives Jim Stack, Fred Hoiberg and coach Randy Wittman traveled to Chicago on Thursday to watch Livingston at Tim Grover’s Attack Athletics facility. The Wolves, sources said, were sold on the workout and want to sign him.
The Miami Heat are also still in strong contention for Livingston, a 6-foot-7 point guard. Livingston is planning to work out for Heat president Pat Riley early this week in Miami.
Livingston suffered a devastating knee injury in February 2007, tearing three of the four major muscles in the knee. He missed the rest of the 2006-07 season and all of last season before the Clippers renounced his rights in July after signing Baron Davis and drafting Indiana’s Eric Gordon.
Livingston just turned 23 and several franchises were still intrigued with the tremendous possibility he had shown with the Clippers. He was the fourth overall pick in the 2004 draft out of high school and had just started to honor his talent in 2007 when he blew out his knee.
League executives who’ve watched him estimate his return to full strength at anywhere from 70 to 85 percent. He has shown some of his old explosion in workouts but has tired easily and clearly needs more time to build back the strength in that knee. Signing him would be an investment for the future, with few short-term returns.
“I don’t think you’ll get anything out of him this year,” one NBA executive said. “He’s going to need a year to adjust.”
Earlier in the week, Livingston had told friends that he believed the Heat were the most interested in him, but that was before the workouts with Minnesota and Portland.
In fact, Miami has been exploring a lot of possibilities, including, three sources told Yahoo! Sports, recent discussions with the Chicago Bulls on several trade scenarios that included Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks for unsigned restricted free agent Ben Gordon, Larry Hughes and possibly Joakim Noah. Yet, those talks died within the past seven to 10 days and sources said there was no indication they would be restarted.