Archive for the ‘ International ’ Category

Ron Artest

Metta World Peace wants to play for the New York Knicks, according to a person close to the veteran small forward.

World Peace cleared waivers late Sunday afternoon, making him an unrestricted free agent. A source told ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst that the Knicks, who can offer him part of their taxpayer mid-level exception [roughly $1.7 million], already have reached out to the former Los Angeles Laker.

While the Knicks are World Peace’s first choice, he is also holding onto the Los Angeles Clippers and China’s Shanghai Sharks as possible teams to join next season.

World Peace spoke Sunday with Yao Ming about playing in Shanghai, a source said.

Reported by Chris Broussard of ESPN the Magazine

Dallas Mavericks sign guard Gal Mekel

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free agent guard Gal Mekel (pronounced GAL MEK-el).

Mekel (6-3, 191) spent two seasons at Wichita State University (2006-07, 2007-08) before leaving school early and beginning his professional career in Europe. In his first season overseas, he was named the 2009 All-Israeli League Newcomer of the Year.

Last season, the point guard led Maccabi Haifa to an Israeli League Championship en route to claiming his second Most Valuable Player award. Mekel averaged 13.3 points, 5.4 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 32.3 minutes in 30 games while shooting .525 from the field and .779 from the free throw line.

The Petah Tikva, Israel native is just the second Israeli-born player to sign with an NBA team. He follows in the footsteps of veteran forward Omri Casspi.

The newest member of the Detroit Pistons made the announcement on Facebook.

Italian small forward Luigi Datome wrote: “I made my decision to be a player of the Detroit Pistons. I think that Detroit is the right place to make another step in my career and to realize a dream. I am very excited to play with the Pistons.”

A person familiar with the situation confirmed the signing and told the Free Press the deal is expected to be two years. The source requested anonymity because the deal isn’t final until Wednesday, when the league’s annual free agency moratorium ends. Yahoo! Sports is reporting the agreement is worth $3.75 million.

With the agreement, the Pistons addressed one of their biggest needs — outside shooting.

Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

Datome, 25, averaged 16.6 points and 5.8 rebounds for Virtus Roma last season, shooting 47 percent from the field (41 percent on 3-point attempts) and 92 percent from the free throw line.

The Pistons can’t announce contract agreements with free agents until Wednesday, when the league moritorium on signings is lifted.

Reported by the Associated Press

The Nets came to an agreement last night with 2011 second-round pick Bojan Bogdanovic, according to a league source.

Bogdanovic will sign a three-year deal with the Nets starting at about $2.5 million when the NBA’s moratorium on transactions ends Wednesday. The deal also contains a player option in the third year, the source said. The Nets used most of their taxpayer’s mid-level exception to sign Bogdanovic, the only way they could sign a player for more than the veteran’s minimum, due to the fact they are far over the luxury tax threshold.

By not using all of the mini mid-level exception — which starts at $3.18 million this year — the Nets saved themselves roughly $3 million on what will be a massive luxury tax bill thanks to their massive payroll following the blockbuster deal with the Celtics.

Reported by Tim Bontemps of the New York Post

Chris Bosh

Having recently helped the Heat win a second-consecutive NBA title, Chris Bosh will turn his attention to helping the league conquer a new frontier.

The eight-time All-Star will visit Mumbai, India, July 16-18, to participate in a series of activities to help grow interest in the game. Having gained a stronghold in China, the NBA has targeted India and its population of more than 1 billion as the next lucrative international market.

Reported by Craig Davis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The Dallas Mavericks are set to add Israeli point guard Gal Mekel in free agency.

Mekel’s agent, Sam Porter, says the 6-foot-3 Mekel has agreed to join the Mavericks on a three-year deal with $2.3 million guaranteed. Free agents can’t sign until July 10.

The Mavericks added Mekel after getting Miami point guard Shane Larkin in the NBA draft last week. Mekel and the son of Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin are expected to battle for the backup job.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Manu Ginobili

Writing a first-person commentary for the Argentine newspaper “La Nación,” veteran guard Manu Ginobili made his strongest comments yet about his desire to return for another season with the Spurs.

Ginobili admitted it took him three days after the conclusion of the NBA Finals, a Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat, before he could focus on his future.

Now, he can’t see himself not continuing his Spurs career.

“After much thinking, going over and over the bad plays, I feel better and content in spite of the bad outcome, and I find it difficult to believe that I won’t play anymore,” he wrote in La Nación.

“I don’t feel exhausted or frustrated playing basketball, I mean not enough to say I’m done. I don’t know about everything; I haven’t made a decision, but I see it is unlikely that I will not play anymore.

“I try not to let the tree in front of me block the forest. This is practically an unbeatable situation in sports. A moment of anger and frustration should not cloud the day-to-day and how well I am doing over here.”

Reported by Mike Monroe and Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News

The Brooklyn Nets will play against the Atlanta Hawks in London at The O2 on Thursday, January 16, 2014 as part of NBA Global Games London 2014.

This will be the Nets’ third trip to London, which has included a preseason game in 2008 and two regular season games vs. the Toronto Raptors in 2011, the league’s first regular-season games in the UK.  The Nets-Hawks game will be the eighth NBA game played at The O2 since 2007.

“We are very excited to once again represent the NBA in London,” said Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King. “The fans have always been very supportive, and we look forward to once again entertaining them with Brooklyn Nets basketball.”

“It is always an honor to represent the league overseas,” said Nets guard Deron Williams. “Playing in London has a playoff-like intensity, and the energy in the building is great for the players on both teams. It should be very exciting.”

Since Mikhail Prokhorov’s majority purchase of the team in May 2010, the Brooklyn Nets have continued their commitment to extending their global brand. In addition to their games in London, the Nets played two preseason games in Beijing and Guangzhou in the NBA China Games in 2010.

Globalization extends to the Nets dance team, the Brooklynettes, which has performed in seven different countries in the past year, as well as to the Brooklyn Nets Web site, which has been made available in Russian at www.netsrussia.com.

Reinforcing the global appeal of the team, the Nets home borough of Brooklyn has become a melting pot with more than 150 nationalities. Furthermore, Barclays, the naming rights partner for Barclays Center, the team’s home arena, is based in London.

Tickets for the game in London will go on sale in October.

One of the NBA’s sleeper free agents is becoming more and more of a common name.

Point guard Gal Mekel, fresh off leading little Maccabi Haifa to an upset of Euroleague Final Four regular Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv for the Israeli championship earlier this month, appears to be inching closer to an NBA roster for next season.

Mekel had an eye-opening workout last week with the Milwaukee Bucks, according to sources close to the situation, and will audition Monday for the Dallas Mavericks. Sources told ESPN.com that the Toronto Raptors, meanwhile, are the latest team to express interest in Mekel, who has made major progress since his days at Wichita State from 2006-2008 and increasingly appeals to NBA teams thanks to his size, ability to read the game and, most of all, his pick-and-roll proficiency.

Reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com

Offended by criticism that Dennis Rodman’s basketball diplomacy was a marketing gimmick for their season finale on North Korea, the creators of “Vice,” a new HBO newsmagazine with a penchant for daredevilish themes, said Wednesday that Mr. Rodman had improved the program but was not even their first choice.

At a preview screening of the finale, the creators said they would have preferred to have recruited another former N.B.A. star, Michael Jordan, whose autograph adorns a basketball presented to Kim Jong-il, the father of North Korea’s current leader, Kim Jong-un, by Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright during her visit to North Korea in 2000 — when relations were comparatively warmer than they are now.

“Jordan wasn’t interested,” said Shane Smith, the founder and chief executive of the Vice Media Group, the HBO partner that conceived the North Korea trip and helped persuade the authorities there to permit it.

However, Mr. Smith said, Mr. Rodman’s ready acceptance of the idea turned out to be a blessing. “It fit right into our wheelhouse, because it’s absurd,” Mr. Smith said.

Reported by Rick Gladstone of the New York Times

Mike Krzyzewski had decided to remain coach of the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team.

Krzyzewski will try to lead the Americans to a third straight gold medal, a person with knowledge of the decision said Wednesday. Originally expected to step down, Krzyzewski will hold a press conference to confirm his return Thursday at Duke, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made.

The Hall of Fame coach has led the Americans since 2005, winning gold at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and the 2010 world basketball championship. His return was first reported by Sports Illustrated.

Reported by the Associated Press

Serbian police say Predrag Danilovic, who played for the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks, is seriously injured after being stabbed in a fight.

Police say Danilovic was hurt during a brawl early Saturday in a cafe in a residential part of the capital, Belgrade. Doctors say Danilovic underwent an operation to treat injuries to his abdomen, head and arms.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Nathan Jawai, playing for FC Barcelona, to miss rest of season

FC Barcelona Regal big man Nate Jawai will miss the rest of the season due to his foot injury, the club announced in a press release Sunday morning. Accordingly, Jawai will not dress for the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four third place game nor will he be available for the Spanish League playoffs. Jawai was first injured in a Spanish League game against Joventut Badalona just before the Final Four. He tried to play injured in the semifinal against Real Madrid on Saturday, but could only last one minute on the floor.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

Lakers

For years, the Lakers claimed a steady fan base in the sprawling Korean American community, but this season the intensity has been amplified — with games now broadcast in Korean, a first in the NBA.

Time Warner Cable, which invested nearly $3 billion for regional TV rights to Lakers games for the next two decades, hired four Korean Americans as play-by-play announcers and color commentators, adding a fifth person just days ago.

For Park and others, it has brought a new intimacy to the action.

“I’m learning who the players really are, not their names only,” says Park, a grocery store clerk who grew up in Seoul.

Daniel Lee, an attorney who practices in Koreatown, said that while it’s a “big deal” for his parents’ generation to now be able to follow the local basketball team, the broadcasts add a new dimension for him as well.

– Reported by Anh Do of the Los Angeles Times

Nathan Jawai wins Euroleague MVP of the Week

Nate Jawai was unstoppable for Barcelona Regal on Friday night, dominating inside, leading his team to victory with a career night and in the process earning Top 16 Week 13 bwin MVP honors. Jawai was the leading man in Barca’s 69-77 victory over Montepaschi in Siena, Italy. Making just his third start of the season in place of injured February MVP Ante Tomic, Jawai went for 22 points and 12 rebounds in compiling a performance index rating of 34, which led all players in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague this week. The Aussie center shot 9 for 10 from the field, made 4 of 5 free throws and also blocked 2 shots in brilliant effort. The second best index for the week came from the hands of Rudy Fernandez, who drained 6 of 8 three-pointers en route to 24 points and a 30 index in an 81-72 loss at CSKA Moscow. Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv swingman Devin Smith needed just 18 minutes on the floor to amass a 27 index in a 101-58 rout of Besiktas JK Istanbul. Smith tallied 16 points on 3-of-3 three-point shooting, 9 rebounds and 2 steals. Rounding out the list of the week’s best are Marcus Williams of Unicaja Malaga and Jonas Maciulis of Panathinaikos Athens, each with 26.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

The injury-depleted Minnesota Timberwolves beat the injury-depleted San Antonio Spurs 107-83 on Tuesday. With Tony Parker out, Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio went off, shooting 9-of-17 for 21 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists.

Here are video highlight of Rubio’s first NBA career triple-double:

Dennis Rodman, the former NBA star known more for his body piercings and tattoos than international diplomacy skills, said on Sunday he returned from North Korea with a message from its leader Kim Jong-un for President Barack Obama - “call me.”

Rodman appeared on ABC’s “This Week” program a few days after an unlikely meeting with Kim in the North Korea capital Pyongyang, where Rodman was working on a documentary about basketball.

With the international community concerned about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and continued belligerence, Kim and Rodman attended a game, where they were seen laughing and talking, and had dinner together.

“He wants Obama to do one thing - call him,” Rodman said. “He said, ‘If you can, Dennis - I don’t want (to) do war. I don’t want to do war.’ He said that to me.”

– Reported by Bill Trott Reuters

Ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman hung out Thursday with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un on the third day of his improbable journey with VICE to Pyongyang, watching the Harlem Globetrotters with the leader and later dining on sushi and drinking with him at his palace.

“You have a friend for life,” Rodman told Kim before a crowd of thousands at a gymnasium where they sat side by side, chatting as they watched players from North Korea and the U.S. play, Alex Detrick, a spokesman for the New York-based VICE media company, told The Associated Press.

Rodman arrived in Pyongyang on Monday with three members of the professional Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, VICE correspondent Ryan Duffy and a production crew to shoot an episode on North Korea for a new weekly HBO series.

The unlikely encounter makes Rodman the most high-profile American to meet Kim since the young North Korean leader took power in December 2011, and takes place against a backdrop of tension between Washington and Pyongyang. North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test just two weeks ago, making clear the provocative act was a warning to the United States to drop what it considers a “hostile” policy toward the North.

Kim, a diehard basketball fan, told the former Chicago Bulls star he hoped the visit would break the ice between the United States and North Korea, VICE founder Shane Smith said.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Talk about an odd choice.

Dennis Rodman is in North Korea as an ambassador for sports diplomacy.

The flamboyant, basketball hall-of-famer arrived on Tuesday in Pyongyang with VICE television and three members of the Harlem Globetrotters for a news program on North Korea that will be aired by HBO later this year.

The free-spirited, hard-partying, heavily tatooed, five-time NBA champion sticks out like a sore thumb in the staid, buttoned-down dictatorship.

But Rodman and VICE said he will run a basketball camp for children and play in a game with North Korea’s top basketball players.

“Is sending the Harlem Globetrotters and Dennis Rodman to the DPRK strange? In a word, yes,” VICE founder Shane Smith told the Associated Press.

“But finding common ground on the basketball court is a beautiful thing.”

Reported by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will not return to coach USA Basketball after the Blue Devils’ season, he said Tuesday.

Talking in a phone interview with ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning”, Krzyzewski said USA Basketball will likely name his successor this summer in preparation for the 2014 world championships in Madrid.

“I’ve loved, loved, loved, and it’s been an honor being with the USA Basketball team,” Krzyzewski said. “And to coach the team and work with [chairman and president Jerry Colangelo] for seven years has been marvelous.

“And we’re in a good spot,” Krzyzewski added. “We need to keep building.”

– Reported by ESPN.com

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