Archive for January, 2008

The San Antonio Express-News (Mike Monroe) reports: It can’t happen until early Wednesday evening, when Damon Stoudamire clears waivers, but it now appears likely the Spurs will sign the 5-foot-10 point guard who on Monday finalized terms of a buyout of his contract with the Memphis Grizzlies. Stoudamire had expressed interest in signing with both the Spurs and the Boston Celtics, but seems to have settled on San Antonio as his destination of choice.

Warriors sign Chris Webber

The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent forward/center Chris Webber to a contract, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Mullin announced today.  Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.
 Webber, 34, appeared in 61 games (60 starts) last season with Philadelphia (18 games) and Detroit (43 games), averaging 11.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 29.9 minutes per contest, while shooting 50.9% from the field.  The Detroit native registered 13 double-doubles (points/rebounds), highlighted by a 20-point/11-rebound effort versus Cleveland on March 7.  He scored a season-high 24 points at Seattle on March 13 and registered double-figures in scoring 34 times overall.  Additionally, Webber dished out four or more assists on 21 occasions, grabbed 10-plus rebounds 15 times and registered multiple blocked shots in 10 outings.  His .509 field goal percentage would have ranked 24th overall in the NBA had he met the statistical minimums to qualify.  Webber started all 16 playoff games as the Pistons advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, averaging 9.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 25.3 minutes, while shooting 52.4% from the field.  He scored a playoff-high 22 points (10-11 FG) during the Pistons’ Game 2 victory over Chicago on May 7 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
 “We’re glad that Chris has elected to sign with our club and feel fortunate to add a player with his ability,” said Mullin. “We think he will be a nice addition to our team and provide additional depth to our frontcourt and an added veteran presence on the floor.   Chris has enjoyed a lot of success in this league and certainly has many aspects to his game – in particular his mid-range shooting and passing ability - that will fit in well and provide us another dimension.”
 “It is with great pride and humility that I announce my return to the Golden State Warriors, the place where it all started,” said Webber. “This organization and city has always had a special place in my heart because it is where my dream of being an NBA player first came true. I am looking forward to playing with Baron, Stephen and the rest of the crew and I am extremely excited to be reunited with the fans of Oakland along with Coach Nelson and my former teammate, Mully. In playing for Nellie before, I know how much fun his style of ball can be. I believe great things are in store and I can’t wait to get on the court.”
 A 14-year NBA veteran, Webber is a five-time NBA All-Star selection (1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003) and a five-time All-NBA selection, having earned first team honors in 2001, second team honors in 1999, 2002, 2003 and third team honors in 2000.  In 822 career regular-season games (819 starts) with Golden State, Washington, Sacramento, Philadelphia and Detroit, the University of Michigan product owns averages of 20.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.45 blocks and 1.45 steals in 34.7 minutes per contest.  Additionally, Webber has participated in the NBA Playoffs 10 times during his career, appearing in 80 games with averages of 18.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 36.3 minutes per game.

Bob Ryan’s Son Dead at 37

Keith Ryan, 37, an attache for US Customs in Pakistan, has died from a gunshot wound.   The bullet appeared to be self-inflicted. 

[link below]

Ryan is the son of Bob Ryan, a columnist for the Boston Globe.  The elder Ryan, a 1994 inductee into the Basketball Writers’ Association, was the USBWA president in 2001-02.

The Detroit Pistons announced today that they have re-assigned rookie center Cheikh Samb to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

The assignment will be Samb’s second this season.  He was originally assigned to Fort Wayne on Monday, December 10.  In two games (both starts) during his first stint, Samb averaged 13.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in 31.5 minutes with the Mad Ants.

Samb was acquired by the Pistons on draft day from the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Maurice Evans on June 28, 2006. Drafted by the Lakers with the 51st pick in the second round of the 2006 NBA Draft, Samb spent the 2006-07 season playing overseas with WTC Cornella in the Spanish LEB2 League.

The 7-foot-1, 215-pound center made his NBA debut with the Pistons at the L.A. Lakers on November 16, scoring two points with four rebounds and two blocks in 15 minutes.  In two NBA games this season, Samb is averaging 1.5 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 10.5 minutes per game.

No timetable has been set for his return.

The Seattle SuperSonics announced today that the team has assigned guard Mickael Gelabale to the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League.

Under the affiliation system with the D-League, NBA teams can assign up to two players who are rookies or in their second season to their D-League affiliate. Players can stay with the D-League team for as long as the team wishes, and be recalled back to the NBA at any time. A player can only be sent to the D-League a maximum of three times during the season.

The Stampede, the D-League affiliate for the Sonics and the Portland Trail Blazers, are coached by Bryan Gates, who worked as an assistant for the Sonics during summer league play in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City this past July. Idaho will play host to Bakersfield on Dec. 26 and Anaheim on Dec. 28.

The Memphis Grizzlies waived point guard Damon Stoudamire, club Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Chris Wallace announced today.

It was a buyout, details of which will be posted later tonight.

Assuming Stoudamire clears waivers, it’s expected that the Celtics, Suns and Raptors may have interest in signing him, with Boston the clear favorite according to multiple media outlets quoted regularly over the last week on the NBA rumors page.

The 5-10, 174-pound playmaker was averaging 7.3 points, 3.9 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 21.5 minutes in 29 games (all starts) this season. Stoudamire had not played in the club’s last 14 games since logging 17 minutes at San Antonio on Dec. 30.

Stoudamire appeared in 118 games (107 starts) in two-plus seasons for the Grizzlies and averaged 8.4 points, 4.6 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 0.7 steals in 25.3 minutes. Memphis originally signed Stoudamire as a free agent on August 5, 2005.

“We appreciate the consummate professionalism and love for the game which Damon exhibited in Memphis,” said Wallace. “The entire organization wishes him the best and hopes that he realizes his wish to join a championship contending team.”

Currently in his 13th NBA season, Stoudamire has averaged 13.8 points, 6.3 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 33.9 minutes in 847 career games (789 starts) with the Toronto Raptors (1995-98), Portland Trail Blazers (1997-2005) and Memphis (2005-08). The Portland native has made 1,222 career three-point field goals, which ties him with John Starks for 22nd place on the NBA’s all-time list and eighth among active players.

The 34-year-old was originally selected in the first round (seventh overall) in the 1995 NBA Draft by the Raptors. The University of Arizona product made an immediate impact, averaging 19.0 points and a career-best 9.3 assists, and was named 1995-96 NBA Rookie of the Year.

The Grizzlies’ roster currently stands at 13 players.

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Anderson Varejao ankle update

This is official information as of 6:20 p.m. ET:

Cavaliers forward/center Anderson Varejao experienced a left ankle sprain during the third quarter of the Cavaliers game vs. the Lakers in LA, Sunday afternoon. X-rays taken at the arena were negative. He received an MRI today in LA, the results of which showed no additional injury beyond the sprain. He will continue to receive treatments in LA today and travel to Cleveland tomorrow morning. He will be evaluated at The Cleveland Clinic tomorrow night and his status will be updated after that. No timeline has been established for his return to the court at this point.

Jamison rockin a 20-10

Antawn Jamison enters play today as one of just two players in the Eastern Conference averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. The other — Orlando’s Dwight Howard — will start for the Eastern Conference in next month’s NBA All-Star game. In the last ten years, only two players have averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds for a team with a winning record at the midpoint of the season and not been in the All-Star game; Carlos Boozer (22.2 ppg, 12.0 rpg) for the 27-14 Utah Jazz in 2006-07, and Chris Webber (22.8 ppg, 10.3 rpg) for the 30-11 Sacramento Kings in 2002-03 — both of whom were selected as All-Stars by the coaches, but did not play in the All-Star game due to injury.

Brendan Haywood talks free throws

Washington Wizards center Brendan Haywood on his improved free throw shooting: “For me it has been about getting my elbow up. It’s about locking my elbow in, extending it and getting it so that my follow through has nowhere to go but straight and long. When I do that I am going to miss short and long, not all over the place like when my elbow kicks out. Even when I miss I know how to correct it, whereas in previous years when I was having a bad stretch I was just hoping and wishing.”

Haywood on assistant coach Dave Hopla: “I definitely think he’s helped me out a lot. He met with me in Charlotte and we have continued to work everyday. Even in games he’s always talking about different things as far as balance and getting my elbow up. He will even tell me if I had a bad make because he knows that you need to have consistency when you are working with bad habits like I had before.”

Wolves assign Chris Richard to D-League

The Minnesota Timberwolves have assigned first-year center Chris Richard to the Sioux Falls SkyForce of the NBA Development League. Richard has appeared in 24 games for the Wolves this season, averaging 1.3 points and 1.9 rebounds in 9.2 minutes per game. Richard is the 27th player assigned to the D-League this season.

“Sioux Falls and the D-League will provide Chris with a great opportunity to play and gain valuable experience,” said Timberwolves Vice President of Basketball Operations Kevin McHale. “Chris is a player that we really like and we think has a bright future. With the current schedule in Sioux Falls, he’ll be able to have a few days of practice with the team before playing in several upcoming games.”

Per NBA rules, a player can be assigned to the team’s D-League affiliate a maximum of three times during the season. Sioux Falls, the D-League affiliate for Minnesota and Charlotte, is led by head coach Nate Tibbetts. Charlotte’s Jermareo Davidson is currently on assignment with Sioux Falls. The SkyForce have back-to-back home games against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants this Friday and Saturday before departing on a three-game road trip next week.

Raptors three-pointer notes

The Raptors Raptors are doing big things from three-point range this season. Here are some highlights:

Toronto became the first team in NBA history to make a three-point field goal in 700 consecutive games November 6, 2007 at Milwaukee.

Jason Kapono drained a three-pointer at the 10:29 mark of the first quarter to extend the streak.

Toronto set the NBA record for most consecutive games with at least one three-point field goal March 12, 2006 against the Indiana Pacers. Morris Peterson connected on his first three-point attempt with 1:41 remaining in the first quarter. Peterson’s make gave them 595 consecutive games with at least one three-pointer.

The last time the Raptors did not record a triple was Feb. 24, 1999 at Indiana (0-6).

The Miami Heat had their NBA record of 594 games with a three-pointer end Nov. 10, 2001 vs. Sacramento.

There have been 24 games during the streak in which the Raptors netted just one triple, including Nov. 30 vs. Memphis when Morris Peterson hit the lone three-pointer.

Toronto attempted a franchise-high 35 three-point field goals Apr. 7, 2006 at New Orleans/Oklahoma City (34, Mar. 13 vs. Philadelphia).

Guard Darrick Martin kept the streak alive vs. Dallas on Nov. 29, 2006 by hitting a three-pointer with 0.5 seconds remaining in the game.

Andrea Bargnani hit a third-quarter shot for the game’s only successful three-point field goal vs. Boston on Dec. 1, 2006.

Calderon’s great assist/turnover ratio

Guard Jose Calderon is on pace to become 11th player since 1989 to record an assist-per-turnover ratio over 5.00. Calderon currently leads the league with a 5.58 assist-per-turnover ratio (359 assists/66 turnovers). Muggsy Bogues holds the team record by finishing the 1999-00 with a 5.07 assist-per-turnover ratio.

Devin Harris out 2-3 weeks

Mavericks guard Devin Harris underwent an MRI today on his left ankle. The results revealed a left ankle bone bruise. There is no additional structural damage. He is anticipated to return to activity in 2-3 weeks.

Harris suffered the injury at the 7:53 mark of the fourth quarter in last night’s game vs. Denver. In 39 games this season, Harris has averaged career-highs 14.4 points, 5.3 assists and 1.44 steals. He is also shooting 48.3% from the field, a career-high 35.7% from 3-point range and 82.1% from the free throw line.

He did not travel with the team to Memphis for tonight’s game.

Spurs recall Ian Mahinmi from D-League

The San Antonio Spurs announced today that they have recalled Ian Mahinmi from the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League (D-League).

In 24 games with the Toros, Mahinmi averaged 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.20 blocks in 30.4 minutes. He is leading the D-League in field goal percentage, shooting .644 (154-239) from the field.  He set career-highs with 32 points and 17 rebounds in a 90-79 win at Utah on 12/21.  Mahinmi tied his points-high with 32 points at Tulsa on 1/27.

The 6-11, 230-pound Mahinmi appeared in six games for the Spurs this season, averaging 3.5 points in 3.8 minutes per contest.  He finished with a season-high 12 points and two blocks in 12 minutes of action vs. Milwaukee on Nov. 11. He was assigned to Austin on 11/21.

Originally selected by the Spurs in the first round (28th overall selection) of the 2005 NBA Draft, Mahinmi signed with the Silver and Black on Aug. 23, 2007.  He has spent the past four seasons playing in the French A League.  Last season he played for Pau-Orthez, appearing in 33 French League games, averaging 4.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 12.7 minutes per game.  He also saw action in 18 EuroLeague games, averaging 3.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 11.3 minutes per contest.

Mahinmi is the first player the Spurs have assigned to the Toros since Spurs Sports & Entertainment purchased the Austin franchise on June 28, 2007.  The Spurs join the L.A. Lakers as the second NBA team to own a D-League team (the Lakers own the L.A. Defenders).  Austin is led by first-year head coach Quin Snyder.

Several clutch performances yesterday reports: Jan. 27 may now be considered an official NBA holiday. We can call it, Cool/Clutch Performance Day. On Sunday, Hedo Turkoglu buried a game-winning buzzer-beating 3-pointer to lift the Magic; Kevin Martin nailed a corner jumper at the final buzzer to give the Kings a W; Brandon Roy sank a go-ahead free throw with 2.3 seconds remaining to propel the Blazers; Mo Williams hit back-to-back treys in overtime and Royal Ivey drained one of his own to ice Milwaukee’s win; and Al Jefferson fired in four straight free throws in the final seconds to cap Minnesota’s miraculous comeback triumph.

Jefferson, Biedrins making noise reports: Al Jefferson and Andris Biedrins are two of the NBA’s rising inside sensations. It was well featured on Sunday as these two stuffed the stat sheet with authority. Jefferson, first off, recorded a career-best 40 points and added 19 rebounds and three assists in Minnesota’s miraculous comeback win over New Jersey. Biedrins, meanwhile, grabbed an NBA season-high 26 boards to go along with 11 points in Golden State’s triumph over New York.

InsideHoops.coms says: Of course, Jefferson is a rising star, while Biedrins is more of a star role player. Just to be clear.

LeBron or Kobe for one game

If I had to choose between LeBron James or Kobe Bryant for one game, it would probably come down to who their teammates are. LeBron looks to create for others a bit more, Kobe looks to take over the game himself. But both players are perfectly good at everything on offense. If a dude is open, Kobe can nail him. And LeBron can completely dominate all on his own, teammates or no teammates. Still, if I had to pick one or the other for one game, I’d probably still go with Kobe.

Anderson Varejao sprains left ankle

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao left today’s game versus the Los Angeles Lakers with 3:12 remaining in the third quarter with a Left Ankle Sprain. X-rays taken at the Staples Center were negative. He will be re-evaluated tomorrow in LA and his status will be updated after that.

With Sasha Pavlovic’s recent injury, the last thing Cleveland needs is Varejao being hurt as well.

New statement from Nene

Denver Nuggets forward/center Nene released a new statement today:

“I would like to apologize for the incorrect information that was disclosed. There was no bad-faith or intention to fool anyone upon the announcement of a wrong result for the biopsy - it was a miscommunication within our staff and we were all very upset with what happened. But the worst part is over, I am very happy with the result of the exams, happy for feeling better. It was wonderful to meet my basketball family, my Denver teammates, and I was surprised with the support and the way they welcomed me back. It is because of emotions like this that I see how difficult it will be to stay away from the courts.

“My mind is there, with the team, but my body needs to rest and to recover. And to know that I am recovering is a big comfort. I had the opportunity to talk with my coach Karl, who also faced very difficult moments and won such battles. I must thank God, my family, which has always been by my side, my team, my friends, my staff and my fans, from all parts of the world, who sent messages of support and affection, became solidary with me in such difficult moment, comforted me and gave me even more strength to believe that I would be well. I am well, feeling strong and grateful for all this affection that came from so much people, from so many places, and which was a very strong support point to me in the course of the last month.”

Knicks handle Sixers in New York

It wasn’t a pretty game, but Friday night in Madison Square Garden the New York Knicks, thanks to a balanced scoring effort and a good game from Zach Randolph, beat the Philadelphia 76ers 89-81.

For the Knicks, who have played well lately, Jamal Crawford (just 6-of-19) had 18 points and 5 assists. Zach Randolph (8-of-12) had 16 points and 15 rebounds. David Lee (6-of-8) had 14 points, Nate Robinson 13, and Eddy Curry 11.

For the struggling Sixers, Andre Iguodala (10-of-20) had 24 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals, Willie Green (just 5-of-13) scored 13 points, Samuel Dalembert 12 with just 5 rebounds, and Andre Miller had 10 points with 6 assists.

Both teams struggled from the free throw line and three-point range. The Knicks controlled the glass. And they had 22 assists, while the Sixers only totaled 14.

“I just think, right now, we are playing again with a lot more trust,” said Knicks president and head coach Isiah Thomas. “We have good shot distribution. Everyone feels a part of the game.”

Randolph was especially impressive. “He had a nice offensive game,” said Sixers head coach Maurice Cheeks.

Iguodala recognized Crawford’s scoring ability: “Crawford is good. He can shoot.”

Crawford continues to nail tons of tough, off-balance, outside jumpers, often with time running out on the clock. It’s an impressive skill.

Fred Jones didn’t play for the Knicks. He has flu-like symptons. Also, Stephon Marbury is out for a long time after surgery.

The Knicks are now 10-14 at home. And the Sixers have now lost 7 of their last 8 road games.

New York now heads out West for a five game road trip. They face tough competition and could rack up several losses.

Only the Miami Heat are lower than the Knicks and 76ers in the Eastern conference standings.

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