Archive for February 4th, 2008

Ticker reports: Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash is best known for his basketball skills, but soccer isn’t far behind. According to a report on Monday in the St. Louis Business Journal, Nash has joined in as an investor for the Women’s Professional Soccer league. Nash, who grew up playing soccer in Canada, won’t run any of the seven projected franchises, but he will assist in the development of the league.

Charges against Sprewell dropped

The AP reports: Prosecutors are dropping their case against former basketball star Latrell Sprewell, who was accused of assaulting his girlfriend in front of their children. Lucian Chalfen, spokesman for Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore, said Monday the charges will be dismissed in a year if Sprewell stays out of trouble. An order of protection against Sprewell on behalf of Candace Cabbil remains in effect, Chalfen said.

The Memphis Grizzlies acquired center Jason Collins and cash considerations from the New Jersey Nets in exchange for forward/center Stromile Swift, club General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

“Let me first thank Jason Collins for his contribution to the Nets over the past seven years. He was a vital member of the core group of players that went to the playoffs six consecutive years, including two NBA Finals, and we wish him the best of luck for the remainder of his career,” said Nets president Rod Thorn. “With that said, we are pleased to add Stromile to our roster. He is a player who will add athleticism and experience to our frontcourt rotation.”

“We are pleased to add a veteran big man with Jason’s team defensive skills and outstanding intangibles to the Grizzlies,” Wallace said. “He has considerable playoff experience with the Nets and will add depth and a defensive presence at the center position. The entire organization wishes Stromile all the best with the Nets.”

Currently in his seventh season, Collins owns career averages of 4.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 510 games (404 starts). A strong post defender, Collins had spent his entire NBA career with the Nets after they acquired his draft rights (18th selection in the first round of the 2001 NBA Draft) along with Richard Jefferson and Brandon Armstrong from the Houston Rockets for the draft rights to Eddie Griffin on June 27, 2001.

Collins, who attended Stanford with twin brother and current Utah Jazz member Jarron, was the starting center for two NBA Finals teams (2002, 2003) and averaged 3.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 23.7 minutes in 75 career playoff games (58 starts) with the Nets.

In 43 games (23 starts) this season, the 29-year-old is averaging 1.4 points and 2.1 rebounds in 15.9 minutes. He will wear jersey No. 34 for the Grizzlies.

Swift, who was originally selected with the second pick overall in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Grizzlies when the team was still located in Vancouver, has played all but one of his seven-plus seasons with the Grizzlies (2005-06 with the Houston Rockets).

The 6-9, 220-pound forward/center has appeared in 507 games (97 starts) with the Grizzlies and Rockets, and has posted averages of 8.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 20.4 minutes per game. In 35 games (four starts) this season, Swift is averaging 6.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 15.7 minutes.

Swift, 28, ranks among the Grizzlies’ top five all-time franchise leaders in games played (441, 2nd), rebounds (2,128, 5th), free throws made (984, 3rd), free throws attempted (1,387, 3rd), steals (307, 5th) and blocks (607, 2nd).

The Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade will defend his PlayStation Skills Challenge title against three of the league’s biggest stars on Feb. 16, as part of NBA All-Star Saturday Night at New Orleans Arena in New Orleans. The competitors hoping to deny Wade’s quest for his third consecutive title are the New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul, the New Jersey Nets’ Jason Kidd and the Utah Jazz’s Deron Williams.

The Skills Challenge was introduced at NBA All-Star 2003 in Atlanta and consists of four players competing in a two-round timed “obstacle course” consisting of dribbling, passing and shooting stations. All players must observe basic NBA ball-handling rules while completing the course. The two players with the fastest times from the first round advance to the finals with the order of competition determined by inverse order of the first round times.

At the discretion of the referee, television instant replay may be consulted for clarification of rules compliance.

Wade, who defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James in the finals of the 2006 Skills Challenge in Houston, and bested the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant last year in Las Vegas, ranks fifth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 24.5 points. Paul, a competitor in the 2006 Skills Challenge in Houston, leads the league in steals (2.5) and is second in the league in assists (10.9). Kidd, champion of the inaugural Skills Challenge in 2003, ranks third in the NBA in assists with 10.4 per game. Williams, a first-time competitor in the Skills challenge, is fourth in the league in assists, averaging 9.6.

The Skills Challenge will be televised live nationally as part of the NBA All-Star Saturday Night, which will also feature the Three-Point Shootout, Slam Dunk and Shooting Stars. TNT and ESPN Radio’s national coverage will begin at 8 p.m. EST from New Orleans Arena. The NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 17, will air live on TNT, ESPN Radio and in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

YEAR-BY-YEAR WINNERS
2003 – Jason Kidd, New Jersey
2004 – Baron Davis, New Orleans
2005 – Steve Nash, Phoenix
2006 – Dwyane Wade, Miami
2007 – Dwyane Wade, Miami

The Orlando Magic’s Hedo Turkoglu and the Sacramento Kings’ Brad Miller today were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Jan 28 through Sunday, Feb. 3.

Turkoglu, who earned his second consecutive Player of the Week honor, guided Orlando to a 3-0 week, posting averages of 24.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists. Turkoglu recorded a season-high-tying eight assists on Feb. 2 in a 121-115 win at Indiana and led or tied in assists in all three of Orlando’s games last week. The Magic sit atop the Southeast Division with a 31-18 record.

Miller, who posted point-rebound double-doubles in each of Sacramento’s three games last week, helped the Kings to a 3-0 record. Miller set a career high with 21 rebounds on Jan. 30 against Charlotte, 18 of which came on the defensive end, setting a Sacramento single-game record. Miller recorded two 20-point, 20-rebound games, joining Chris Webber as the only players in Kings history to record multiple 20-point, 20-rebound efforts. Webber accomplished the feat five times.

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