Archive for February 5th, 2008

The Arizona Republic (Paul Coro) responds to report that Heat may trade Shaq, possibly to Suns: The Miami Herald reported tonight that the Suns are in “serious,” “ongoing” discussions to send center Shaquille O’Neal to Phoenix in exchange for forward Shawn Marion and guard Marcus Banks. Two league sources close to the situation were unaware of the report and remained skeptical of the news but another league source said the Suns have been in trade talks with Miami for the past two days. The Herald reported that O’Neal’s representatives were told to be prepared for the possibility of a trade and that Phoenix was a possibility. Dallas was also mentioned.

Report: Shaq thinks he’ll be traded

The Ap reports: Shaquille O’Neal is prepared for the Miami Heat to trade him, a confidant of the 14-time All-Star center told The Associated Press on Tuesday night. O’Neal’s associate, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to reveal anything publicly, indicated a move could be imminent. “Shaq thinks something will happen,” the associate said.

Sam Cassell talks Knicks

NY Newsday (Ken Berger) reports Sam Cassell discussing the Knicks: “New York fans are far from fair-weather fans, but if you don’t play hard for them …” Cassell said at his locker after the Clippers wasted the listless Knicks, 103-94. Cassell didn’t finish the sentence. Didn’t have to.
“They want effort,” he said. “They want guys diving on the floor for loose balls like the early ‘90s. They want guys getting at it, making it a tough basketball game. That’s what New York is all about – battling, like the Giants in the playoffs. But when they don’t see that, they tend to get discouraged. Tickets are very expensive in New York. If you’re paying $1,000 a seat, you want to see effort every night.” “They’ve got Isiah over there, their best three guys played, it pays well,” Cassell said. “Damn, what more you want? You’re playing in New York City. Damn, I wish was like eight years younger and had the opportunity to come to New York to play. Shoot, every night to play in the Garden? Damn, there’s no place like it.”

Rumor: Heat, Suns talking Shaq trade

The Miami Herald (Barry Jackson) reports: The Heat has told center Shaquille O’Neal’s representation that it is talking about trading him and he should be prepared for the possibility of a deal, according to two officials close to the situation. Phoenix has discussed sending forward Shawn Marion and point guard Marcus Banks to the Heat in return for O’Neal. Asked for confirmation, one of O’Neal’s representatives said O’Neal has been made aware that discussions with Phoenix are serious and ongoing, but that a deal was not definite. Dallas also has been mentioned as a potential destination, though the Heat had not immediately informed O’Neal of that possibility. O’Neal, 35, was shocked by the turn of events, an associate said.

The East Valley Tribune (Scott Burdow) writes: The Miami Herald is reporting that the Suns are trying to acquire center Shaquille O’Neal from the Miami Heat for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. I know this is the time for rumors, what with the NBA trading deadline on Feb. 21, but I can’t believe this is true. O’Neal is old and broken down. He would fit into Mike D’Antoni’s system about as well as  a tank on the Autobahn. Plus, he’s owed $40 million over the next two years, which would put owner Robert Sarver into luxury tax territory.

D-League All-Star team rosters

Thirteen players with NBA experience highlight the rosters for the second annual D-League All-Star Game. The game will be held Feb. 16, on Center Court at NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas and will tip off at 2 p.m. CST and will be shown live on NBA TV.

The two 10-man rosters were selected by a combination of fan balloting on D-LEAGUE.com and voting of the league’s 14 head coaches.  The Red Team will be the home team, while the Blue Team will be the visitors.

Call-Ups Eddie Gill and Billy Thomas highlight the Red Team roster.  Gill, selected first in the 2007 D-League draft by the Colorado 14ers, earned the season’s first call-up Nov. 15, when he signed with the New Jersey Nets.  He ranks among D-League leaders with 7.9 assists per game and 2.5 steals per game.  Thomas, Gill’s teammate in Colorado, earned a Dec. 24 call-up by the Nets and is among league leaders with 2.5 steals per game.

Reigning D-League Most Valuable Player Randy Livingston joins the Red Team, as does Dallas Mavericks assignee Nick Fazekas.  Fazekas is averaging 18.9 points for the Tulsa 66ers while Livingston sits atop the league’s leader board with 11.3 assists per game for the Idaho Stampede.

NBA-assigned players Morris Almond, Kyrylo Fesenko and Ian Mahinmi headline the Blue Team.  Almond and Fesenko, teammates on the Utah Jazz and their D-League affiliate Utah Flash, have both seen multiple assignments during the season.  Almond most recently joined the squad on Jan. 25, while Fesenko headed to Orem on Dec. 13.   Mahinmi is in his second stint with the Austin Toros from the Spurs.  Almond is second in the league with 26.4 points per game, while Fesenko is averaging 10.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.  Mahinmi ranks among the league’s best, shooting .639 (163-255).

Los Angeles D-Fenders center Jelani McCoy, Austin Toros guard Keith Langford and Fort Wayne Mad Ants guard Jeremy Richardson, all Call-Ups this season, round out the Blue Team’s roster.  McCoy, who earned a call-up from the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 29, is averaging 2.2 blocks, ranking him among the league’s best defenders, while Langford, who earned a call-up from the Spurs on Dec. 28, is averaging 24.1 points, ranking him among the league’s top five scorers.  Richardson has twice been called up this season, first by the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 20, and then by the San Antonio Spurs on Jan. 10.  Richardson is averaging a league-high 28.2 points to go with 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.4 steals and 40.8 minutes in nine games for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

C.J. Watson, the 100th Call-Up in league history, and member of the Golden State Warriors, was selected to the Blue Team by the fans and coaches. Since he is with the Warriors, he will be replaced on the D-League All-Star roster by NBA veteran and Bakersfield Jam guard Andre Barrett.  Watson, who played 16 games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers before earning a call-up from the Warriors on Jan. 8, had his NBA contract renewed through the end of the 2007-08 season.

Nine additional D-League standouts will compete in the All-Star Game, including three D-League Player of the Month and D-League.com Performer of the Week honorees.  The Red Team will include Lance Allred (Idaho), Elton Brown (Colorado), Kaniel Dickens (Colorado), Dwayne Mitchell (Iowa), Kasib Powell (Sioux Falls), and Cory Violette (Idaho). The Blue Team will include Sean Banks (Los Angeles), Rod Benson (Dakota) and Carlos Powell (Dakota).

The Red Team will be coached by Idaho Stampede (22-5, .814) head coach Bryan Gates and his assistant Ray Lopes, while the Blue Team will be helmed by Los Angeles D-Fenders (18-8, .692) head coach Dan Panaggio and his assistant Chucky Brown.  Both coaches were selected based on their teams having the highest winning percentage by Jan. 31.  Prior to the game, Gates and Panaggio will choose starting lineups for their respective teams.

RED TEAM ALL-STAR ROSTER

Pos. Player (Team) Ht. Wt. Birthdate College

G Eddie Gill (Colorado) 6-1 180 08/16/1978 Weber State
G Randy Livingston (Idaho) 6-4 210 04/02/1975 Louisiana State
G Dwayne Mitchell (Iowa) 6-5 210 08/24/1982 Louisiana-Lafayette
G Billy Thomas (Colorado) 6-5 220 12/23/1975 Kansas
F Kaniel Dickens (Colorado) 6-8 235 07/21/1978 Idaho
F Elton Brown (Colorado) 6-9 250 09/09/1983 Virginia
F Nick Fazekas (Tulsa) 6-11 211 06/17/1985 Nevada
F Kasib Powell (Sioux Falls) 6-7 215 03/18/1981 Texas Tech
F Cory Violette (Idaho) 6-9 255 03/13/1982 Gonzaga
C Lance Allred (Idaho) 6-11 250 02/02/1981 Weber State

Head Coach: Bryan Gates (Idaho)
Assistant Coach: Ray Lopes (Idaho)
Athletic Trainer: Kevin Taylor (Idaho)
Honorary Captain: Rick Barry

BLUE TEAM ALL-STAR ROSTER

Pos. Player (Team) Ht. Wt. Birthdate College
G Morris Almond (Utah) 6-6 225 02/02/1985 Rice
G Andre Barrett (Bakersfield) 5-10 173 02/21/1982 Seton Hall
G Keith Langford (Austin) 6-4 215 09/15/1983 Kansas
G CJ Watson (Rio Grande Valley) * 6-2 180 04/17/1984 Tennessee
F  Sean Banks (Los Angeles) 6-8 210 01/20/1985 Memphis
F Rod Benson (Dakota) 6-10 225 10/10/1984 California
F Carlos Powell (Dakota) 6-7 220 08/29/1983 South Carolina
F Jeremy Richardson (Ft. Wayne) 6-7 190 02/11/1983 Delta State
C Kyrylo Fesenko (Utah) 7-1 288 12/24/1986 Ukraine
C Ian Mahinmi (Austin) 6-11 230 11/05/1986 France
C Jelani McCoy (Los Angeles) 6-10 245 12/06/1977 UCLA

Head Coach: Dan Panaggio (Los Angeles)
Assistant Coach: Chucky Brown (Los Angeles
Athletic Trainer: Marco Nunez (Los Angeles)
Honorary Captain: Lenny Wilkens

* Watson will be replaced by Andre Barrett due to his active status with the Golden State Warriors.

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