Archive for February, 2008

Caron Butler interview on being hurt

Here’s what Caron Butler said to local media today:

Caron Butler on his state of mind after missing his sixth straight game with a left hip flexor strain: “I’ve just been thinking about yesterday’s game, and thinking about the games coming up on Friday and Saturday, and I’m just trying to remain optimistic about getting out there. I just have to see how I feel. It’s a day-to-day thing, and hopefully I’ll feel physically up to it.”

Caron Butler on what it will take for him to return from this injury: “I need to feel good in practice. Pain free. I’m not going to go through a situation in which I step back on the court and the same thing occurs like it did in Philadelphia (on February 5th). Then I will be of no use to the team. I want to come back at 100% so that we can make a push.”

Caron Butler on watching his teammates in his absence: “I just want to get back out there on the court. Yesterday was a game that I felt we could have got, but we fell a little short. The guys really worked their tails off, but something was missing. I felt that if I was out there, we probably would have gotten over the hump. But that’s all speculation, and I still tip my hat off to the guys for working so hard. I’m just frustrated. I want to be out there more than anybody.”

Caron Butler on what he can offer from the sideline: “I’m trying to stay in everyone’s ear as much as possible, but it is different coming from the sideline. That’s why the coaches always emphasize the point that they need a voice on the court. They can be the voice off the court on the sidelines, but you need a voice on the court. Right now, I can’t do that. I can give encouraging words, but it hurts not to be out there.”

Devin Harris out 1-2 more weeks

The AP reports: The New Jersey Nets will probably have to wait at least two weeks before they can begin to gauge how well they made out in Tuesday’s eight-player deal with Dallas. Point guard Devin Harris, who will take Jason Kidd’s place in the Nets’ lineup, said Wednesday the ankle injury that has kept him out for the last three weeks will sideline him for up to two weeks more.

Shaq to play tonight

The Arizona Republic (Paul Coro) reports: Suns center Shaquille O’Neal proclaimed tonight’s home game against the Los Angeles Lakers a new chapter in his career. “The fourth and final chapter,” O’Neal said after this morning’s shootaround. The plan still is to start O’Neal and have him play short spans of time, totaling 20 to 25 minutes. O’Neal has been limited to four games over the past eight weeks by a hip injury that is no longer painful.

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that the team has agreed in principle to a contract extension with Head Coach Maurice Cheeks.  Per team policy, terms of the agreement are not disclosed.

“Since my arrival, I have been evaluating every aspect of the organization and I believe that Coach Cheeks deserves a great deal of credit for developing our players, putting them in a position to succeed and showing improvement every day,” Stefanski said. “Coach Cheeks has done a very good job of installing an up-tempo brand of basketball that puts this team in a position to succeed on a nightly basis and we are excited about the future under his direction.”

Cheeks was named the 21st head coach in franchise history on May 23, 2005 and has posted a 96-122 (.440) mark during that span and has a career record of 258-261 (.497).  Prior to joining Philadelphia, he posted a mark of 162-139 (.538) in three-plus seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, helping them reaching the playoffs in each of his first two seasons there.  Cheeks spent seven seasons as an assistant coach for the Sixers, working under head coaches John Lucas (1994-96), Johnny Davis (1996-97) and Larry Brown (1997-2001), with whom he helped guide the Sixers to a 56-26 (.683) record and an Eastern Conference title.

Bobcats shoot 28.2 percent vs Spurs

The Charlotte Observer (Rick Bonnell) reports: One bad foot and 11 bad shooters. That sums up the Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday. Their marksmanship was off by record proportions. They shot an all-time low 28.2 percent, leading to an 85-65 loss to the reigning-champion San Antonio Spurs. Forward Gerald Wallace was worst of the worst, missing all nine of his shots, but at least there were circumstances; Wallace was just back from missing five of the previous six games with a strained right foot. He said the injury didn’t affect him physically, but it clearly infested his head.

Ilgauskas to play in Olympics

The Akron Beacon Journal (Brian Windhorst) reports: For years, Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ head and his feet said no. Now he’s able to give the answer he always has had in his heart: Yes. After a few months of thinking about it, Ilgauskas has told the Lithuanian National Team that he will play for it this summer at the Beijing Olympics, a move that has created a lot of excitement among his countrymen. ”I’ve always wanted to do it before I get too old,” said Ilgauskas, who will turn 33 in June. ”I feel like I have a lot of basketball left in me and I can help, and this is probably my last chance.”

Lakers recall Coby Karl from D-League

The Los Angeles Lakers have recalled guard Coby Karl from the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA Development League, it was announced today.

Karl, who became the 11th NBA player assigned to a D-League affiliate earlier this season on November 28, was re-assigned to the D-Fenders February 14.

During his first assignment, Karl played in 10 games with the D-Fenders from November 29 - December 22, averaging 18.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 38.4 minutes while shooting .435 from three-point range and .492 from the field.

In three games during his second stint with the D-Fenders from February 14 - February 19, Karl averaged 14.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 37.2 minutes.

In 13 total games with the D-Fenders this season, Karl is averaging 17.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 38.1 minutes.

Should Karl play in tonight’s game versus Atlanta, he would join Lakers second-year guard Jordan Famar as the only other player in league history to see action in same-day D-League and NBA games.  Farmar, who first did so on April 1, 2007 by playing in the D-Fender’s 2:30 pm contest versus Anaheim and then logging time in the Lakers 7:30 pm game versus Sacramento, also played in D-League/NBA double-headers April 3 and April 12, 2007.

Signed by the Lakers as an undrafted rookie free agent on July 30, 2007, Karl has appeared in 11 games this season, averaging 1.3 points and 0.9 rebounds in 3.7 minutes.

Last season, the 6’5” guard averaged 14.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a senior at Boise State and was named First Team All-WAC.  Karl, who left Boise State as the all-time leader in games played (127) and three-point field goals made (266), ranks third on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,698 career points.

Nuggets 2008-09 ticket prices

The Denver Nuggets today announced ticket prices for the 2008-09 season.    The Nuggets will continue to be near the middle of the NBA in average ticket price ($61.50), despite playing in a privately-funded arena with a capacity in the bottom half of the league.  This is just the 10th time the Nuggets have adjusted ticket prices since 1988 and over 500 seats remain unchanged.

“This price adjustment is needed to continue to provide a competitive product at a fair price in the ultra-tough Western Conference,” said Paul Andrews, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Kroenke Sports Enterprises.  “We will remain near the middle of the pack in the NBA and this will help us as we strive towards our goal of winning an NBA championship.”

The Nuggets are one of only six teams in the NBA to qualify for the playoffs in each of the last four seasons and have a roster featuring two NBA All-Star starters (Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson) and the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year (Marcus Camby).

One third of seats in the Pepsi Center will be priced at $22 or less, including the $10 seats which remained flat.  The Nuggets will also continue to offer popular ticket promotions such as Denver Post Family Nights (4 tickets, 4 Pepsis, 4 Digiorno’s Pizzas and a $10 ESPN Zone card for $59), Coors Light Guys Night Out (2 tickets, 2 Coors Light beers, 2 guys night out t-shirts) and Pepsi Youth Nights (kids 14-and-under free with a paid adult on select games) and Rocky’s Den (day of game seats for only $5 in this area).

Season ticket holders who renew will receive a price lock on their seats for the 2008 NBA Playoffs, from the First Round to the Conference Finals.  New season ticket buyers who purchase before April 1, 2008 will receive a great seat location and the price lock for the playoffs as well.

Suns, Nuggets to play NBA game outdoors

The NBA’s first outdoor game of the modern era will take place when the Phoenix Suns host the Denver Nuggets in a preseason game on Saturday, October 11 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, CA.  The 16,000-seat stadium is an NBA-style arena with no roof located in a spectacular desert setting.  The venue annually plays host to one of the world’s major tennis tournaments, the Pacific Life Open.

Full story is here.

Mavericks waive Nick Fazekas

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have waived forward Nick Fazekas.

Fazekas (6-11, 235) was selected by Dallas with the 34th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. He saw action in four games with the Mavericks this season averaging 1.0 point in 2.3 minutes.  He spent 28 games (24 starts) with the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA D-League and averaged 19.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 30.5 minutes per game. He was selected as a D-League All-Star but did not play in the game.

The New Jersey Nets have acquired guards Devin Harris, Trenton Hassell, Maurice Ager, center DeSagana Diop and forward Keith Van Horn along with Dallas’ first round draft picks in 2008 and 2010, and cash considerations from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for guard Jason Kidd and forwards Antoine Wright and Malik Allen, Nets President Rod Thorn announced today.

“This trade provides us with immediate help, most notably with the acquisition of Devin Harris, who we consider one of the rising young point guards in the NBA,” said Thorn. “Harris’s numbers have improved each of his four years in the league, and we feel that he has a significant upside. This trade also will give us two future first round draft picks and will give us flexibility to improve our roster.”

More info here

T.J. Ford suffers setback

Little T.J. Ford, barely bigger than many of the young children in the stands at NBA games, has suffered another health setback. Hopefully a minor one that means nothing.

The Toronto Sun (Frank Zicarelli) reports: T.J. Ford’s year of frustration continued yesterday. Just as the lightning-quick point guard was adjusting to his new role as backup, Ford was forced to leave the team’s practice after suffering an abdominal strain. He’ll be re-evaluated today, but it’s unknown if Ford will dress for tomorrow’s tilt against the visiting Orlando Magic. Ford returned from a two-month absence (stinger) on Feb. 6 in Miami, providing a much-needed infusion with the second unit.

Wade doesn’t want slow rebuild

The Palm Beach Post (Chris Perkins) reports: Superstar guard Dwyane Wade, perhaps the most influential voice in the Heat organization, has no patience for a slow, steady rebuilding plan. “You can rebuild through the draft, but that takes two years, three years,” said Wade, who can depart after the 2009-10 season via a player option in his contract. “We’re looking to come into next summer and really do some things,” Wade said. “Whatever we do in the draft is what we do, but we’re looking to get veteran guys.”

The Atlanta Hawks today signed guard Jeremy Richardson to a 10-day contract, according to Hawks’ Executive Vice President/General Manager Billy Knight.

The 6-foot-7 Richardson has seen a combined eight games of action (one starting assignment) this season with the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs, tallying 10 points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal (3-13 FGs, 2-7 3FGs, 2-2 FTs).

Richardson has also played 12 games with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League, averaging 25.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.6 apg and 1.2 spg (.445 FG%, .385 3FG%, .853 FT%).  On February 16, he was named Most Valuable Player of the 2008 D-League All-Star Game in New Orleans, after scoring a game-high 22 points.  By signing with Atlanta he becomes the 102nd all-time GATORADE Call-Up in the D-League history.

Richardson played in five games for the Hawks last year after signing two 10-day contracts, averaging 1.6 ppg and 0.4 rpg (3-6 FGs, 2-3 3FGs).  He also played in one game for the Portland Trail Blazers in 2006-07.  In 14 career NBA games, he has recorded 18 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals (6-19 FGs, 4-10 3FGs, 2-2 FTs).

A First Team All-Gulf South Conference honoree following both his junior and senior seasons at Delta State University, Richardson left school ranking 14th on the all-time scoring list.  He started all 31 games as a senior (in 2005-06), and averaged 17.8 ppg and 5.0 rpg (.492 FG%, .404 3FG%, .810 FT%), after posting 15.0 ppg and 4.2 rpg in his junior campaign.

Jeremy Terrell Richardson was born February 11, 1983 in Allentown, PA, and attended Zachary High School in Zachary, LA.  He will wear uniform number 32.  The Hawks roster now stands at 13 players.

Here’s what LeBron James said to the media after the 2008 All-Star game, of which he was named MVP:

Q: Take us through that dunk you had? What did you see? Why did you attack?

LeBron James: The game was tied. I didn’t want to settle for a jumpshot. I had to settle for a couple jumpshots in the fourth quarter. I wanted to be aggressive and try to get the hole to get the lay up. And when I seen those bigs coming, I didn’t want to lay the ball up. They would have definitely made a play and tried to block it, so I was able to go strong and able to dunk it through.

Q: You wanted to win. Did you realize how close you were to the triple double and was that something you were shooting for?

LeBron James: No, I just wanted to win the basketball game. They beat up on us pretty bad last year in Las Vegas, and as the East, we didn’t want to allow that to happen. We wanted to try to win. We did a good job of executing in the fourth quarter. Ray hit some big shots. Some of the biggest shots of the game, and he kept it flowing. You know, we put the finishing touch on it, and it was a dunk.

Q: With the Cavs flying under the radar in the first half of the season, how big is it for you and Daniel Gibson to come through this weekend as big as you did?

LeBron James: Oh well, we know we’re still not going to get the respect we should get. That’s never been a problem for us. We don’t care. We just go out and play. We’re always going to be the third or fourth or fifth best team in the Eastern Conference. You know, we still go out there and win ballgames and we know when the postseason happens, you know, you’ve got to come get it from us, because we’re very good.

Q: I know you don’t care about individual awards or anything, but emotionally how does it feel to get your second MVP in three years?

LeBron James: I mean, to add the MVP trophy with the win means a lot to me. I played well, and I helped our team win the ballgame. It really means a lot to go out there and perform the way I was able to do in front of the fans of New Orleans. In front of my family, and for the Eastern Conference because we really wanted this win. We came out victorious.

Q: How competitive was it on the fourth quarter compared to other All Stars you’ve participated in?

LeBron James: Well, this was one of the most competitive ones. The one in Houston was really competitive also. But you’ve probably seen a lot of guys faces going through the fourth quarter how competitive guys wanted to be, and, you know, who wanted the ballgame. We were able to make a couple more plays had than the Western team down the stretch. D Wade had an unbelievable block on Dirk, and Ray hit some big shots. We were down and the game was tied. And I was able to put the finishing touch on it with the dunk and kept the momentum going for us. So competitive wise, it was the best one. As fans and everybody that watched the game I think would think the same thing.

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Wolves host Sixers Tuesday

Minnesota returns to action tonight after a five-day layoff, battling the red-hot Philadelphia 76ers at Target Center.  Tip off is set for 7 PM.

Philadelphia comes into the Target Center on a five-game winning streak, defeating Washington, Miami, the LA Clippers, Dallas and Memphis in that stretch.   In the two teams’ first meeting back on Dec. 12, 2007 the 76ers got the best of the Wolves, hanging on for a 98-94 victory.  Philadelphia used a strong first-quarter (28-21) and a near triple-double from center Samuel Dalembert to withstand Minnesota’s late charge.  Al Jefferson led the way for the Wolves with 22 points and 11 rebounds.  Sebastian Telfair dished out 11 assists in defeat while Rashad McCants and Antoine Walker added 15 and 14 points respectively off the bench for Minnesota.

The Wolves swept Philadelphia a year ago, and have beaten the Sixers in six of their last 10.  Eleven of the teams’ last 16 meetings have been decided by five points or less.

Minnesota leads the all-time series by a 19-16 count and has won five of six at Target Center, the lone blemish an 86-84 setback on Jan. 22, 2006.

The Sixers come into tonight’s came with a record of 23-30, currently putting them in a tie with New Jersey for the Eastern Conference’s seventh seed.  The Wolves sit at 10-41.

Spurs to honor Bob Bass Tuesday

The San Antonio Spurs celebration of their 35th Anniversary of the franchise continues Tuesday, February 19, with the third of four special tribute games.

The Spurs played their first ABA regular season game against the San Diego Conquistadors at the HemisFair Arena on October 10, 1973. San Antonio made the transition to the NBA during the 1976-77 season and have gone on to win four NBA Championships (1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007).

At halftime the Spurs will honor Bob Bass who played an integral part in the Spurs success in the franchise’s first 20 years of existence. Bass served the Spurs in a variety of capacities, including five seasons as head coach (1974-76, 1979-80, 1983-84 and 1991-92), where he compiled a 144-108 (.571) record and led the team to the playoffs four times. Bass made his mark during his 18 years in the Spurs’ front office, where he was responsible for the acquisition of Spurs legends Sean Elliott, Avery Johnson, John Lucas, Johnny Moore, Alvin Robertson and David Robinson. He was named NBA Executive of the Year for the 1989-90 season after the Spurs posted a 56-26 record.

Joining Bass for this special presentation will be former players that wore the Silver and Black during Bass’ time with the Spurs including: Gene Banks, Sean Elliott, Mike Gale, George “Iceman” Gervin, Paul Griffin, Mike Mitchell, Johnny Moore and James Silas.

There are a total of four Spurs “35th Anniversary” tribute games scheduled throughout the season. Back on November 11, the Spurs honored Red McCombs for his contributions he made to the Spurs during his ownership. On January 14, the Spurs celebrated Angelo Drossos’ ownership of the Spurs. The final tribute game will take place on March 26 vs. Los Angeles Clippers.

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced today the team has recalled first-year center Chris Richard from the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League. Richard appeared in six games for the Skyforce, averaging 10.2 points and 11.5 rebounds in 28.3 minutes per game. He led the team in rebounds in three of six contests, while helping them to a 4-2 record in that span. Before heading to Sioux Falls, Richard appeared in 24 games for the Wolves, averaging 1.3 points and 1.9 rebounds in 9.2 minutes per game.

“We’re glad Chris had the opportunity to play some valuable minutes in the D-League,” said Timberwolves Vice President of Basketball Operations Kevin McHale. “Chris went to Sioux Falls, worked hard, played well and demonstrated what he is capable of. We’re confident that he will continue to develop and believe he has a bright future.”

Richard was originally assigned to the Skyforce on Jan. 28. He will be back practicing with the Wolves today. 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 and is 17-16 on the season.

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Following the decision taken at its last Central Board meeting, held on the 8th and 9th of December 2007 in Chicago (USA), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) opened the bidding process for the 2014 World Championship on 10th of January 2008.

With almost two and a half months still to go until the closing date for the sending of Letters of Intent confirming an interest in hosting the event, FIBA is pleased to confirm that the Danish Basketball Federation (DBBF) has become the third candidate to express an interest in bidding for the organization of the 17th edition of the FIBA World Championship, FIBA’s premier competition.

FIBA is pleased to see an emerging basketball country such as Denmark joining the two perennial European powerhouses of Spain and France.

Suns to make announcement Tuesday

Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET the Phoenix Suns will host a press conference in Indian Wells, California to make some sort of announcement. The press conference will involve Suns Partner Richard Heckmann, Suns President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts, Indian Wells Mayor Mary Roche and Raymond Moore, President, PM Sports Management.

It was about this:  The Arizona Republic reports: The Suns hold claim to staging the NBA’s first outdoor game but it will not be by virtue of today’s announcement that they are playing Denver in an outdoor preseason game Oct. 11 in Indian Wells, Calif. Phoenix made that history in 1972 when it played the league’s only other outdoor games ever in Puerto Rico. Considering one game was in a baseball stadium with fans behind chain-link fences and one was in a covered arena with no side walls to keep birds off the court, this is the first modern try at outdoor basketball.

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