Siler stays prepared during NBA lockout

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Amid the NBA lockout, Garret Siler is staying busy this summer.

Former Augusta State star Garret Siler works with kids during his camp at Episcopal Day School. The Phoenix Suns center is staying busy and working on alternate plans during the NBA lockout.   Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Former Augusta State star Garret Siler works with kids during his camp at Episcopal Day School. The Phoenix Suns center is staying busy and working on alternate plans during the NBA lockout.

The Phoenix Suns backup center held his second annual Blue Star Basketball Academy this week at Episcopal Day School. The rest of the time, he's worked out hard in an effort to physically be ready when the lockout ends.

Siler runs most mornings with former Augusta State teammate Daniel Dixon. The Suns also gave their 7-footer a specific workout plan -- a mix of weights, conditioning and basketball.

"Working out as much as I can," Siler said. "It's a little bit of everything."

Siler, who recently finished his first NBA season, said he's heard mixed opinions regarding the lockout. Some observers believe the lockout will extend through the entire season. Siler said he's hearing the lockout will last until November.

"We're going to miss a couple of games," he said. "But we're not going to miss the entire season."

If the season is canceled, Siler has a backup plan. Overseas teams, including his former squad in Shanghai, are offering him a chance to play. Siler, though, is still under contract with the Suns for the 2011-12 season, the final year of his contract.

"If the situation permits it, then I'll go," he said. "I don't want to leave. But the option is there."

Siler said the NBA season will be canceled if the owners and players don't agree upon a new labor deal by Jan. 15. He's hoping the season can be saved, because this is a make-or-break year for him with the Suns. Phoenix is expecting him to show improvement this year before re-signing him to a new contract.

"I definitely don't want to be locked out for the season," Siler said. "I want to show them I've improved."

Every few weeks, Siler heads to Atlanta to play competitive basketball with others. He said in the near future he plans to buy a home around Georgia's capital city. But he'll always come back to town for his camp and to visit with family and friends.

"Augusta's always home," he said.

Siler saw a big increase in numbers in his weeklong basketball camp this year. He credited word of mouth throughout the community for a boost from 19 campers last year to 60 youngsters this year.

"It's gone great," he said. "We've worked really hard. We've had great sponsors throughout the community. We've got a great staff that has a lot of energy."

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