Archive for February, 2008

Sonics General Manager Sam Presti announced today that the team has signed Mike Wilks to a 10-day contract.
 
The 5-10 guard appeared in eight games with the Denver Nuggets and four games with the Washington Wizards earlier this season.
 
Last season, Wilks appeared in 47 games with Seattle and averaged 3.6 points and 1.7 assists per game. In 2005-06, he averaged 4.4 ppg and 1.4 apg in 10 games with the Sonics.

Kings waive Tyronn Lue

The Sacramento Kings today requested waivers on guard Tyronn Lue, according to Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie.
 
Since coming over in the February 16th trade with guard Anthony Johnson, centers Sheldon Williams and Lorenzen Wright, and a 2008 second-round draft choice from Atlanta, Lue has not played for the Kings, missing six games with a left calf strain. Lue averaged 6.8 ppg (.439 FG%, .435 3pt%, .857 FT%), 1.2 rpg, 1.8 apg, and 17.1 mpg in 33 games (started 3) for the Hawks this season.
 
The Kings’ updated roster now stands at 14 players.

Bobcats waive Jeff McInnis

Charlotte Bobcats General Manager Rod Higgins announced today that the team has waived guard Jeff McInnis.  Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
 
McInnis played in 92 games for the Bobcats over parts of the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, averaging 4.4 points and 3.1 assists.  The Charlotte native was acquired from New Jersey on January 3, 2007, in exchange for Bernard Robinson.
 
This season, McInnis averaged 4.5 points and 4.1 assists in 54 games, including 26 starts.
 
The Bobcats return to action tonight when they visit the Boston Celtics in a 7:30pm ET game that can be seen on WMYT-MyTV12 and heard on WOLS Oldies 106.1.

Raptors hire John Lucas

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have hired John Lucas as a basketball development consultant for the remainder of the 2007-08 season. He will assist the coaching staff with the development of the players’ on-court skills.

Lucas, 54, was the first overall pick in the 1976 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets. He played with six teams during his 14-year NBA career from 1976-90. He has also served as a head coach with San Antonio, Philadelphia and Cleveland, as well as an assistant coach with Denver.

Sonics waive Ira Newble

The Seattle SuperSonics have waived forward Ira Newble. Newble was acquired by the Sonics in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 21. He logged 17 minutes in two games for Seattle.

Sonics center Robert Swift met with Dr. Steve Lombardo in Los Angeles yesterday after suffering a torn lateral meniscus in the Feb. 21 game at Portland. Swift will undergo surgery on Tuesday, March 4. He is not expected to return to action this season following surgery.

Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger has been suspended  for  one game without pay for striking the Chicago Bulls’ Andres Nocioni  in  the face, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred with 7:10 remaining in the fourth period of Indiana’s 113-107  loss  to  the  Bulls  on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at Conseco Fieldhouse. Granger will serve the suspension tonight when the Pacers visit the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre.D

76ers waive Gordan Giricek

InsideHoops.com NewsWire: Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that the team has waived guard Gordan Giricek. Per team policy, terms of the agreement are not disclosed.

In 12 games with the Sixers, Giricek averaged 3.1 points, 1.2 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 9.2 minutes, while shooting 31.7% (13-47) from the floor.

Several Phoenix-area newspapers had reported in recent days that, should the Sixers buy Giricek out, the Suns would be interested in adding him.

I think if the Suns do add him, his playing time would probably be very limited.

The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has assigned rookie forward Demetris Nichols to the Iowa Energy of the D-League.

Nichols (6-8, 216) has appeared in four games with the Bulls since the team claimed him on waivers on Dec. 7, 2007. He has also spent time this season in New York and Cleveland, having appeared in three games with the Cavaliers before his stint with Chicago.

Nichols was originally selected by Portland in the second round (53rd overall) of NBA Draft 2007 after a four-year standout career at Syracuse.

The Atlanta Hawks have signed guard/forward Jeremy Richardson to a second 10-day contract, effective February 28, 2008, according to Hawks Executive Vice President/General Manager Billy Knight.

Richardson has appeared in 6 games with the Hawks, averaging 4.2 ppg in 8.0 mpg (.500 FG%, .556 3FG%).

Timberwolves waive Theo Ratliff

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has requested waivers on center Theo Ratliff after reaching a contractual buyout agreement. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Several newspapers in Detroit have reported that Ratliff may sign with the Pistons.

“Theo indicated to us that he wasn’t sure of his plans in the future - whether he was going to play or not - and there was an indication that he would not re-sign with us if he did choose to continue playing,” said Timberwolves Vice President of Basketball Operations Kevin McHale. “This provides us an opportunity to play our younger post players - Craig Smith and Chris Richard - and give us more time to continue to evaluate them. I cannot say enough about Theo’s professionalism throughout the entire season and we wish him the best of luck in the future.”

Ratliff, in his first season with the Wolves, appeared in 10 games (six starts) for the Timberwolves this season, and posted averages of 6.3 points (.511 FG%), 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 21.4 minutes per game. He missed 45 games this year due to soreness in his right knee, and underwent arthroscopic surgery on Dec. 18. The 13-year NBA veteran has career averages of 8.0 points (.497 FG%), 6.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game in 689 career NBA contests. The 6-10 center was acquired by Minnesota in a trade with Boston on July 31, 2007.

InsideHoops.com is breaking exclusive news about Houston Rockets point guard Rafer Alston.

It concerns a legal issue from the summer.

It’s no longer a concern.

The story is here.

By DJ Leon Smith

I’ve been a Seattle Supersonics fan pretty much since I’ve been a basketball fan. Back to the days of Michael Cage, watching them draft Shawn Kemp, the first-round heartbreak against the Denver Nuggets, the 1996 NBA Finals… everything. Now, their new owner Clay Bennett, wants to move them to his hometown of Oklahoma City, after essentially holding the team to ransom against the city of Seattle. He wants the city to build a half-a-BILLION dollar stadium, when they built built a new stadium in 1995 and the city has offered to pay for upgrades to the Key Arena. Oh by the way, and the stadium in Oklahoma City is far worse and holds less people than Seattle’s Key Arena.

The worst part about the whole deal? David Stern has sided with Bennett and is letting the whole thing happen - even though one of Bennett’s partners, Aubrey McClendon, admitted they bought the team purely to move them (very smart move, since Seattle is the 14th largest market in the US and OKC is the 45th, meaning less profits for the league and other team owners if the Sonics are moved) after Bennett had been saying for months that they want to keep the team in Seattle and are doing their best to keep them there. McClendon also admitted they don’t mind if the team loses more money in OKC than in Seattle, as long as the team is moved there. This should have been a deal-breaker in itself.

Essentially, because Stern and Bennett are old buddies, he’s prepared to lose millions of dollars and alienate the entire city of Seattle (and every rational NBA fan) by letting them move the team. I’m not even from Seattle, so I’d like to think I’m in an even better position to comment on this because I’m not blinded emotionally by city loyalties, but anyone with half a brain can see this whole situation reeks.

DJ Leon Smith is one of Australia’s top DJs and basketball journalists. He’s worked with artists including Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Jon and Usher and has also written for every Australian basketball publication and several US magazines, including SLAM and XXL. You can visit him on MySpace here or check out his blog here.

Glancing at the playoff teams

If the playoffs started today, the Celtics, Pistons, Magic and Raptors would have home-court advantage in the East. The bottom four current playoff teams in the conference are the Cavaliers, Wizards, Nets and 76ers.

Close to qualifying for the East playoff spots are the Hawks and Bulls. It’s also possible that the Bucks or Pacers sneak in. On paper I could see those first three teams making it happen. The Pacers don’t seem poised to suddenly improve.

At the bottom of the East are the Bobcats, Knicks and Heat.

Out West, the top four current playoff seeds are the Lakers, Spurs, Hornets and Jazz. They’d have home-court if the post-season began today. The other four teams are the Suns, Mavericks, Rockets and Warriors.

With Yao Ming out for the season it’s quite possible Houston falls out of the post-season.

Very close to qualifying for the playoffs are the Nuggets, just half a game out of the #8 spot held by the Warriors.

The entire West seeding is up for grabs. Although they should fall, the Rockets, at #7, are only 3.5 games behind the Lakers at #1. It’s amazing how close and awesome the competition is.

The Trail Blazers, who did so well earlier in the season, have an outside shot at making the playoffs if several squads mentioned above suddenly forget how to play. If Portland had it in them to dominate for stretches of the season already, maybe they can do it again.

Cassell, Clippers have buy-out

The Los Angeles Clippers today waived point guard Sam Cassell. The official report is here.

It’s too bad that Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston got injured. I’d have liked to see the Clippers this season with those guys alongside the improved Chris Kaman (yes, Brand being hurt did put more responsibility on Kaman’s shoulders, but he also did really get better). They looked like a decent team, but fell off for a bit, and now Cassell is gone. Of course, he’s not the future - Shaun Livingston, if he can recover from serious injury, and meet his potential, is.

If Cassell does wind up signing with the Boston Celtics, I think it’ll work out in a big way. What better backup point guard than a guy like him? He’s a smart player, and a scoring point guard, but he does it in a manner that helps a team. As opposed to scoring point guards that take bad shots and don’t fit into a total team offense.

I assume that on Boston, Rajon Rondo would continue to start and play the bulk of minutes, but Cassell would get plenty of time off the bench. And Cassell will help Rondo improve in practice.

CBA: Atlanta Krunk home games cancelled

The Continental Basketball Association today announced that due to unsafe playing conditions, the remaining home contests of the Atlanta Krunk have been cancelled.  The Morris Brown College Arena has been determined to fail to meet the arena standards set forth by the CBA.
 
“We gave the present ownership group one last shot at trying to bring the arena up to standards that are the bare minimum to stage a CBA game and they were unsuccessful,” stated CBA Deputy Commissioner Dennis Truax.  “The arena as it stands now is unacceptable and is unsafe for our players, coaches, referees, and fans.  It is in the best interest of the CBA to move ahead and try to find a suitable arena for next season now in Atlanta.”
 
The Krunk will play their remaining games on the road this season.  They will travel to Pikeville to take on East Kentucky on March 2.  They will then play the remaining road games of the defunct Great Falls franchise on March 5 in Yakima and March 7 and 8 in Minot.

Euroleague.net reports: Euroleague Basketball has spoken to both Partizan Igokea and Efes Pilsen in order to ensure the utmost security during Thursday night’s Top 16 game in Belgrade. Partizan and local police have guaranteed security for the visitors from Efes Pilsen, having presented a security plan approved by the Turkish Embassy in Belgrade. Euroleague Basketball has a representative present in Belgrade who will attend to any of Efes’s concerns or needs while in the city.

TNT NBA studio analyst Charles Barkley, who provides analysis on the Emmy-Award winning Inside the NBA studio show alongside Emmy-winning host Ernie Johnson and co-analyst Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith, has agreed to a multi-year contract extension. As part of the agreement Barkley will continue to work exclusively for the network on TNT NBA Thursdays, TNT’s 40 games. 40 night’s playoff schedule, NBA All-Star Weekend and the network’s exclusive Conference Finals coverage. With the new agreement, which begins with the 2008-09 NBA season, the 2006 Basketball Hall of Famer inductee will also make a number of appearances on the jointly managed NBA TV.

“Charles is one of the most engaging personalities in sports and entertainment today, and we are proud to that he will continue to call TNT his television home for a number of years to come,” said David Levy, president of Turner Broadcasting Sales, Inc. and Turner Sports.  “As we embark on exciting new challenges next season with NBA TV, we look forward to relaunching the network next season featuring numerous appearances by one of our signature announcers.”

Barkley is in his eighth season as an NBA analyst for TNT, having played 16 seasons in the NBA before retiring following the 1999-2000 season. He was an 11-time NBA All-Star, 1993 NBA League MVP, two-time Olympic gold medal winner (1992, 1996) and was voted one the 50 greatest players in NBA history.

The Los Angeles Clippers today signed free agent forward Nick Fazekas to a 10-day contract. Drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round (34th overall selection) of the 2007 NBA Draft, Fazekas appeared in four games with Dallas this season, averaging 1.0 point and 0.8 rebounds.

A three-time Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Player of the Year at the University of Nevada, Fazekas played 28 games with the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League this season and was selected to the D-League All-Star Game, but did not play in the game. Fazekas averaged 19.1 points per game. 10.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steal while shooting 53 percent from the floor.

Fazekas was a star in college for the Wolfpack, averaging 20.4 points and 11.1 rebounds as a senior while ranking fifth in the nation in rebounding. During his senior year the Arvada, Colorado product was a consensus Second Team All-American and member of the Wooden Award All-American Team. Fazekas finished his collegiate career as the all-time leading scorer and shot blocker in Nevada history and is one of only six players in NCAA history to score 2,000 points, grab 1,000 rebounds, and shoot 50 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line.

Daequan Cook, Joel Anthony to D-League

The Miami Heat announced today that Daequan Cook and Joel Anthony have been assigned to the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League. The Energy was assigned as the Heat’s D-League affiliate prior to the start of the 2007-08 season. They are also the affiliate of the Chicago Bulls.

Cook has appeared in 38 games (two starts) for the HEAT this season, averaging 7.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 19.5 minutes per game. He was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 21st pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, and acquired by the HEAT in a draft day trade. Prior to his time with the HEAT, Cook played one season at The Ohio State University before becoming an early entry candidate, averaging 9.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 39 games. He was also named Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year and earned Honorable Mention All Big Ten honors.

Anthony has appeared in four games for the HEAT this season, and is averaging 7.8 minutes per game. He was signed by the HEAT as a free agent on July 3, 2007 and played in four summer league games, averaging 1.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.25 blocks in 21.5 minutes per game. Prior to that, he played two seasons at UNLV and averaged 3.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.31 blocks in 68 games.

Anthony and Cook will practice with the Energy beginning on Thursday, February 28, and will be available to play when the Energy travel to Albuquerque to face the Thunderbirds on Sunday, March 2.

Hakim Warrick getting buckets and boards

Memphis Grizzlies forward Hakim Warrick has taken advantage of increased playing time since the team traded Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles lakers.

Checking out his recent games:

Feb. 12: Against the Kings, Warrick shot 10-of-16 for 24 points and 13 rebounds.

Feb. 13: Against the Sixers, Warrick shot 11-of-17 for 23 points and 8 rebounds.

Feb. 19: Against the Sonics, he shot 10-of-18 for 22 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks.

Feb. 20: Against the Clippers, Warrick shot 8-of-14 for 20 points and 7 rebounds.

Feb. 22: Against the Mavericks, he shot just 5-of-15 but got to the line enough for 15 points and 9 rebounds.

Feb. 24: Against the Cavs, Warrick shot 8-of-15 for 21 points and 9 rebounds.

Feb. 26: Against the Suns, he shot 8-of-12 for 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Now the bad news. Warrick is barely getting any assists, literally just 1 or 2 per game. And the only game the Grizzlies won was that Feb. 13 game against the Sixers. They’ve lost every single other game, not only above, but since a January 26 win over the Clippers. They’ve lost 12 of 13.

Still, for Warrick as an individual player, it’s progress.

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