Archive for February 20th, 2008

Kyle Lowry likely staying

The Rocky Mountain News (Chris Tomasson) reports: Denver also had looked into acquiring Memphis point guard Kyle Lowry, but his agent, Andy Miller, said Wednesday his client is “staying put.” Point guards who could be had include Seattle’s Delonte West and the Clippers’ Sam Cassell. A source said Memphis also isn’t planning to deal forward Mike Miller, who has been linked to Denver.

Nuggets likely keeping Linas Kleiza

The Rocky Mountain News (Chris Tomasson) reports: With the NBA trade deadline at 1 p.m. MST Thursday, Nuggets coach George Karl called it a “1 percent chance” Kleiza will be moved. Karl said he’s “betting” against the Nuggets making any trade.
Kleiza, who returned after being hurt in the first half Tuesday against Boston and is expected to play Friday at Chicago, has been a possibility to be dealt with forward Eduardo Najera to Sacramento for forward Ron Artest.

Rumor: Hornets, Rockets trade talk

ESPN.com (Chris Sheridan) reports: Sources have told ESPN.com that the Hornets and Houston Rockets were in serious discussions Wednesday night on a multi-player deal that would send Mike James and Bonzi Wells to New Orleans for Bobby Jackson and one or two other players.

Rumor: Suns want Quinton Ross

The East Valley Tribune (Jerry Brown) reports: With only second-round picks (or perhaps cash, or both) the Suns are trying to pry 6-foot-6 guard Quinton Ross away from the Los Angeles Clippers. Ross makes only $824,000 this year and will be a free agent at the end of the season. He is a strong defender and rebounder who started against Phoenix in the Western Conference Quarterfinals two years ago. His offensive capability is limited, but the Suns won’t be asking him to score.

Suns want wing

The Arizona Republic (Paul Coro) reports: Phoenix could know by the end of the night whether they can work out a deal for a player like the Los Angeles Clippers’ Quinton Ross, Denver’s Yakhouba Diawara or Seattle’s Mickael Gelabale. Golden State’s Mickael Pietrus is also an outside possibility but he would come at a costlier price tag with a salary this season of about $3.5 million, which would be prorated for the season’s remainder but would also add to the Suns’ luxury tax hit. Phoenix is seeking a wing player who is a versatile, strong defender and Ross fits that bill at a great price.

Suns may want Brent Barry from Sonics

The East Valley Tribune (Scott Bordow) reports: The Suns may not be done wheeling and dealing. A team source said that Phoenix would like to find a way to acquire veteran sharpshooter Brent Barry, who was traded Wednesday from the San Antonio Spurs to the Seattle SuperSonics. For Barry to become a Sun, the Sonics would have to buy out his contract, the source said.

Ron Artest may stay

New York Newsday (Ken Berger) reports: So much for the Spurs’ interest in Ron Artest, which created some buzz this afternoon but fizzled with the Thomas deal. Artest had been rumored to be going to San Antonio for Elson and Barry. No dice. Other than that, a person close to Artest says things are quiet. Clearly, though, he has to get out of Sacramento and the Kings have to get him out of there.

Sonics trade Kurt Thomas to Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs announced today that they have obtained Kurt Thomas from the Seattle SuperSonics in exchange for Francisco Elson, Brent Barry and the team’s 2009 first round draft pick.

“Kurt Thomas is a tough, physical player who can defend, score and rebound,” said Spurs General Manager RC Buford. “We feel he will be a great addition to our roster and will add depth to our frontcourt.”

“We feel very good about the trade that brings us the Spurs 2009 first round draft pick, Francisco Elson and Brent Barry,” said Sonics General Manager Sam Presti. “In particular, looking at the first round pick, in combination with our other future picks, we have great flexibility to add to our core or acquire another impact player in the future. At the same time, Kurt is a tremendous person and player, and I appreciate his contributions this season and wish him success.”

The 6-9, 235-pound Thomas has appeared in 789 regular season games in his 13-year NBA career. He has career averages of 9.9 points and 7.5 rebounds in 27.6 minutes per contest. He has also seen action in 60 playoff games, averaging 6.6 points and 5.6 rebounds in 21.2 minutes in postseason action.

Thomas, who is 35-years-old, was acquired by the Sonics from the Suns on 7/20/07. During the 2007-08 season he is averaging 7.5 points and 8.8 rebounds in 25.2 minutes while shooting .513 (139-271) from the field. He earned 39 starts in 42 games with Seattle.

A Dallas native, Thomas was selected by the Miami Heat in the first round of the 1995 NBA Draft, with the 10th overall pick. During his NBA career he has played for Miami, Dallas, New York, Phoenix and Seattle. For five straight seasons with the Knicks – from ’00-01 to ’04-05 – Thomas averaged over 10 points per game. He averaged a career-best 14.0 points – along with 7.9 rebounds – in 81 games in 2002-03. During the 2004-05 season he averaged a double-double, with 11.5 points and 10.4 rebounds, in 80 games.

During the 1994-95 season, as a senior at Texas Christian University, Thomas led the nation in both scoring (28.9 ppg) and rebounding (14.6 rpg).

Heat may stand pat

The Palm Beach Post (Chris Perkins) reports: Heat coach Pat Riley said his team “probably” won’t have any roster changes when the NBA trading deadline passes at 3 p.m. Thursday.

No pressure for Hornets to deal

The New Orleans Times Picayune reports: “We would make a move if we feel it could benefit our team,” Hornets Coach Byron Scott said Tuesday. “We’re not going to do it because of what Dallas has done, and Phoenix and Los Angeles. We’re not going to mess up our chemistry just because of other teams and what they’ve done to make their teams, in their minds, better. We think we’ve got a pretty good basketball team. Would we have liked to make a move? Yeah. But if it doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world.”

Suns signing, trade possibilities

The Arizona Republic (Paul Coro) reports: Nothing has changed in the past two weeks as far as the free agents Phoenix is targeting for its 13th man vacancy. Linton Johnson and Bobby Jones still top the list. The Suns are holding off because they have the time to do so, given that the 13th spot does not have to be filled until Friday, and because they are still exploring trades through Thursday’s deadline. Denver’s Yakhouba Diawara and Seattle’s Mickael Gelabele are among the names being mentioned.

Spurs may want Kurt Thomas

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Gary Washburn) reports: Former 76ers general manager Billy King of NBATV is reporting the Sonics and Spurs are working out a deal for Kurt Thomas. The Sonics likely would take back former favorite Brent Barry and perhaps Francisco Elson, another impending free agent.

Antoine Walker, Gerald Green want trade

The St. Paul Pioneer Press (Rick Alonzo) reports: The NBA trade deadline passes at 3 p.m. ET Thursday. It remains to be seen whether Antoine Walker and Gerald Green will still be on the Wolves’ roster. Both have expressed frustration with their lack of playing time, to the extent that they want to be traded. “He would love to be traded,” Walker’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said today. “He likes everything about the Wolves, the guys, the coaches. But they’re rebuilding, and he’s in the prime of his career here and wants to play. We understand there’s a divergence in the directions of where he’s going and where the Wolves are going.”

Mike Miller, Kyle Lowry available

The Memphis Flyer (Chris Herrington) reports: We’re about 24 hours from tomorrow’s trade deadline and the odds look pretty good that the Grizzlies could make at least one more deal, with Mike Miller and Kyle Lowry the most likely players to be dealt. People I’ve talked to who are connected with the team tend to think a deal is a 50-50 proposition at this point, but also say that there’s very little tangible information floating around the team offices.

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.”

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