Archive for June, 2008

Heat make 3 qualifying offers

The Miami Heat announced today they have made qualifying offers to Dorell Wright, Chris Quinn and Kasib Powell, making them restricted free agents.

Wright, a 6’9”, 210-pound forward, who was originally drafted by the HEAT in the first round with the 19th overall selection of the 2004 NBA Draft, becoming the first high school player to ever be drafted by Miami, appeared in 44 games (34 starts) for the HEAT last season averaging 7.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 25.1 minutes of action. He recorded single-season career highs in starts, field goal percentage (.488) and offensive rebounds (48). He finished third on the team in blocks (41), fourth in defensive rebounds (172) and fifth in total rebounds (220). He also became the first player in HEAT history to be perfect from both the field and foul line in a game with a minimum of five attempts from each category when he was 5-of-5 from the field and 7-of-7 from the foul line on Feb. 4 against Toronto.

Quinn, a 6’2”, 175-pound guard, appeared in 60 games (25 starts) for the HEAT last season averaging 7.8 points, 3.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 22.3 minutes of action. He finished the season tied for 27th in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage (.403) while finishing second on the team in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.24). Quinn also increased his numbers in many statistical categories from the previous season including points (3.4 in 2006-07), assists (1.5 in 2006-07), rebounds (0.7 in 2006-07), minutes (9.7 in 2006-07) and starts (one in 2006-07) while shooting 42.4 percent (36.6 in 2006-07) from the field, 40.3 percent (35.1 in 2006-07) from three-point range and 86.7 percent (67.6 in 2006-07) from the foul line.

Powell, a 6’7”, 215-pound forward, appeared in 11 games (four starts) for the HEAT last season averaging 7.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 27.6 minutes of action. He scored a career-high 18 points vs. Chicago on Apr. 8 and grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds at Toronto on Apr. 14. Additionally, in his three starts with the HEAT, Powell, the 2007-08 NBA Development League MVP, averaged 8.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.00 steals in 35.8 minutes of action.

Electronic Arts announced today that San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker will be the cover athlete and spokesman for NBA LIVE 09. In his seven NBA seasons, the 26 year old is a two-time NBA All-Star, has three NBA championships and was named the 2007 NBA Finals MVP. Parker will be the first European born global cover athlete of NBA LIVE. Off the court, Parker is an avid gamer and won an NBA LIVE 08 tournament against fellow NBA stars at the EA SPORTS All-Star Challenge last February in New Orleans.

“I have a long history with EA SPORTS. I’ve been on the cover in France for five years straight and I’ve been playing NBA LIVE for as long as I’ve played basketball,” said Parker. “It’s a real honor for me as a European player to now be represented on the worldwide cover.”

Parker is joined by some of the NBA’s biggest international stars on packaging around the world, including the Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol (Spain), Toronto Raptors’ Andrea Bargnani (Italy) and Chicago Bulls’ Luol Deng (UK).

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that the team has extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams.  Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed.

In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, in order for a team to retain its right of first refusal with respect to a restricted free agent, the team must tender the player a qualifying offer prior to June 30. A restricted free agent may sign an offer sheet with any team, but is subject to a right of first refusal with the team for which the player last played.

Iguodala started all 82 games last season, averaging 19.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.09 steals in 39.5 minutes per game.  He joined Washington’s Caron Butler as the only players among qualifiers to average at least 19.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.00 steals in 2007-08.  Iguodala has played in 322 of a possible 328 games in his four-year career and has the third-most steals of any player dating back to the start of the 2004-05 season.

Williams appeared in 80 games last season and emerged as one of the NBA’s top sixth men, averaging 11.5 points, 3.2 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.01 steals in 23.3 minutes per game.  He had the fifth highest point/rebound/assist total for any player coming off the bench last season.  The 21-year-old also hit 55 three-pointers in 2007-08 after recording just 14 total his first two seasons in the league.

Baron Davis opt out is not likely

The San Francisco Chronicle (Janny Hu) reports: The Warriors can count on having Baron Davis under contract when free agency begins next week. Todd Ramasar, Davis’ agent, said Tuesday that he doesn’t expect his client to opt out of his contract before Monday’s deadline. “It doesn’t seem likely,” Ramasar said. “The market could change anytime, but it’s unlikely.” The decision makes financial sense for Davis, who is due $17.8 million next season, an amount he would not be able to recoup as a free agent. But combined with stalled talks for a contract extension, it also casts his long-term future with the Warriors in doubt.

The AP reports: Turns out, Seattle leaders have some issues with e-mail, too. After months of enduring bombshell releases of incriminating messages that seemed to doom their case, the SuperSonics have produced damning e-mail from Seattle power brokers in the trial that will determine whether the team will move to Oklahoma City or be forced to play the final two years of its lease at Seattle’s KeyArena. Federal judge Marsha Pechman will hear closing arguments Thursday to end this six-day trial. The Sonics lawyers introduced evidence last week showing the former U.S. senator whom the city hired to lead its effort to keep the team was involved in a “poisoned well” plan to force Sonics owner Clay Bennett - the supposed villain in this civic drama - into losing so much money he would sell the team to local buyers. But how much will that matter?

The East Valley Tribune reports: Shaquille O’Neal will lose his special deputy’s badge in Maricopa County because of language he used in a rap video that mocks former teammate Kobe Bryant. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the Phoenix Suns center’s use of a racially derogatory word and other foul language left him no choice. Arpaio made Shaq a special deputy in January and promoted him to colonel of his largely ceremonial posse earlier this month. “I want his two badges back,” Arpaio told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “Because if any one of my deputies did something like this, they’re fired. I don’t condone this type of racial conduct.”

InsideHoops.com says: Looks like Shaq, without any help from Kobe, can bring dishonor to police department badges.

Discuss this with other fans here

Rasual Butler arrested

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports: Former Heat forward Rasual Butler was charged Monday with waving a loaded gun at passers-by at about 5 a.m. on Washington Avenue, according to a Miami Beach police report. Butler, 29, who has been with the New Orleans Hornets since being dealt by the Heat in 2005, faces charges of carrying a concealed firearm and improperly displaying a firearm. He was released on $6,000 bond.

InsideHoops.com says: Hey Rasual, that’s a brilliant move! Stand on the street waving a gun around like a crazy idiot! Weeeeeeeeeee!

Hawks add coaches and management staff

The Hawks, who it’s fun to mention made the playoffs last year and took the eventual-champion Celtics to seven games, have added coaches and front office staff.

The team has signed assistant coaches Larry Drew and Bob Bender to new contracts to continue on Mike Woodson’s staff, and named league veterans David Pendergraft and Steve Rosenberry to the Hawks’ Basketball Operations staff.

Pendergraft becomes Atlanta’s new Assistant General Manager/Director of Player Personnel, while Rosenberry will serve as Director of Pro Personnel/College Scouting.

Drew and Bender, each of whom concluded their fourth seasons on the Hawks staff, will return as assistants to Woodson as the franchise seeks to improve upon a first-round playoff berth which culminated with a seventh game defeat at the hands of the eventual NBA champion Boston Celtics.

To learn more about all these guys, read this.

As for the Hawks in general, maybe they should look into taking the route the Celtics did and see about trading a bunch of young guys for a top star that isn’t going anywhere with their current team and can use a change. The bad news is, off the top of my head I can’t really think of anyone they could do this with. Can you? If so, post about it on our board.

Nuggets suspend Carmelo Anthony 2 games

The Denver Nuggets have suspended forward Carmelo Anthony for the first two games of the 2008-09 regular season, Nuggets Vice President of Basketball Operations Mark Warkentien announced today. Anthony was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol on April 14 and is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow.

“We take drinking and driving very seriously,” said Warkentien. “Carmelo admits he made a serious lapse in judgment and has expressed his sincere remorse numerous times since to the Nuggets organization, his fans and the Denver community. We will continue to support Carmelo as he strives to live up to the high expectations set by Carmelo himself and the Nuggets organization on and off the court. We will respect the legal process moving forward and continue to handle the matter internally without further comment.”

Post your opinion here

The New Jersey Nets have named Doug Overton as an assistant coach, Nets President Rod Thorn announced today. Overton joins Brian Hill and Tom Barrise as a member of Head Coach Lawrence Frank’s staff.

“We are very pleased to add Doug to Coach Frank’s staff,” said Thorn. “He was a player who conducted himself with a great deal of professionalism for 11 seasons in the NBA, and his addition will be an asset to both our players and coaches.”

Overton had served as an assistant coach on Phil Martelli’s staff at Saint Joseph’s during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 campaigns. Prior to his stint at Saint Joseph’s, the Philadelphia native spent the 2005-06 season as the Director of Player Development for the Philadelphia 76ers, where he assisted the coaching and scouting staffs and worked with the team’s community outreach programs.

An 11-year NBA veteran, Overton spent three different stints with the Nets (1998-99, 2000-01 and 2003-04) averaging 6.0 points and 2.8 assists in 26 games. In 499 career games with seven teams (Washington, Denver, Orlando, New Jersey, Boston, Charlotte Hornets and Philadelphia), Overton averaged 4.5 points and 2.1 assists.

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New Pistons head coach Michael Curry now has his assistants.

Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that the team has signed Darrell Walker, Pat Sullivan and Harold Ellis as assistant coaches.

See more info here.

The big question for Detroit is what their roster will look like last year. I was surprised that Flip Saunders got fired. The team had a terrific regular season, and they were better than everyone in the East except the team that wound up winning the league championship. It’s not like they lost to the Hawks or Wizards or something. But still, management seems to feel change has to happen, and Rasheed Wallace and Chauncey Billups, two guys getting up there in age a little, are still the favorites to go, if any of the core does get sent away.

Heat waive Alexander Johnson

The Miami Heat announced today that they have requested waivers on forward Alexander Johnson.

Johnson signed with the HEAT as a free agent on August 24, 2007, and appeared in 43 games (six starts) for Miami during the 2007-08 season. He averaged 4.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game.

Jeff of InsideHoops.com says: On paper, Johnson is one of those guys that could easily fall out of the league, but I’ve seen him enough to think that he honestly belongs on an NBA roster and can help a squad off the bench. He’s worth signing.

Draft Green Room players

The Draft prospects invited by the NBA for the annual day-before-draft special media session (the players who are also invited to the Draft’s ‘Green Room”) are: Joe Alexander (West Virginia), Darrell Arthur (Kansas), DJ Augustin (Texas), Jerryd Bayless (Arizona), Michael Beasley (Kansas State), Danilo Gallinari (Italy), Eric Gordon (Indiana), DeAndre Jordan (Texas A&M), Brook Lopez (Stanford), Robin Lopez (Stanford), Kevin Love (UCLA), OJ Mayo (USC), Anthony Randolph (LSU), Derrick Rose (Memphis), Brandon Rush (Kansas) and Russell Westbrook (UCLA).

Bucks have a few contract issues

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Michael Hunt) reports: A tad more than $16 million, or almost 30% of the Bucks’ payroll, is committed this season to Bobby Simmons and Dan Gadzuric. To unload those contracts, the Bucks would have to take back roughly $16 million in salaries of players who have most likely been likewise financial drains on their franchises in hopes that the changes might do somebody good. Michael Redd and Mo Williams do not represent dead-money contracts, but they are scheduled to make almost $24 million between them this season. That’s about 40% of the payroll wrapped up in a backcourt that does not work well together. So you can see how creative Hammond is going to have to be to dig the Bucks out of this financial hole, and that’s not even to mention a resolution of the Yi Jianlian-Charlie Villanueva overlap, mostly because Villanueva’s rookie contract against his production would make him easy to move, should the Bucks opt to go that way.

Pat Riley almost drafted Kaman over Wade

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Ira Winderman) reports: Pat Riley, you see, was leaning toward selecting Central Michigan center Chris Kaman with the No. 5 pick that night. “I looked at him as a little bigger Dave Cowens. And I thought he would develop into a real good interior scorer, rebounder, which he has,” Riley said in a reflective moment recently. “That particular draft, we definitely were in need of a post-up presence, of an inside presence.” While Riley was looking out for a power rotation rocked by the kidney illness of center Alonzo Mourning, his staff was looking out for its leader. The Riley cabinet, which included General Manager Randy Pfund, wanted Wade. Revisionist history offers the tale of Riley, on a treadmill in Milwaukee months earlier, being smitten by the performance of Marquette’s Wade during the NCAA Tournament. But at the 11th hour, there still was need for convincing.

The Salt Lake Tribune (Ross Siler) reports: The official announcement won’t come until Monday, but USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo all but confirmed Friday that the Jazz’s Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams will be making the trip to Beijing as members of the Olympic team.    “They are two highly thought-of candidates to be on the team,” Colangelo said in a phone interview with The Tribune. “We’ve said that all along, but we’re not pre-announcing anything.”    Colangelo confirmed that he would be keeping three point guards on the U.S. roster - expected to be Jason Kidd, Chris Paul and Williams - and said he was still in the process of notifying players who were going to be on the 12-man team.

The Tacoma News Tribune (Eric D. Williams) reports: “Although he remains unpopular with fans, former Seattle SuperSonics player and executive Wally Walker’s commitment to keeping professional basketball in his adopted hometown is undeniable. Walker was part of an effort to keep the Sonics, with whom he has been involved for more than 30 years, in Seattle for the long term, even after the ownership group he was part of – led by Howard Schultz – sold the team to Clay Bennett’s group. Attorneys for the Sonics have the documents to prove it. Walker’s role as a consultant for the City of Seattle, and his relationship with a private investment group led by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, served as the focus Friday during the trial between the city and the Sonics over terms of the KeyArena lease.”

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Tom Enlund) writes: “Ersan Ilyasova has been working out at the Bucks practice facility but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he fits into the team’s plans for next season… The 6-foot-9 forward was a Bucks’ second-round draft in 2005 and played in 66 games in 2005-’06, averaging 6.1 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Last season, he played for the AXA FC Barcelona team in the Spanish League and averaged 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 18 minutes in 22 games. Ilyasova still owns a home in Mequon so he is back in town and, since the Bucks still own his rights, he has been working out at the team’s training facility. But since he has the opportunity to make more money in Spain, he will probably be headed back there next season.”

Pondering Bynum and Gasol

Fox Sports (Randy Hill) writes: “Assuming Andrew Bynum’s knee is sound and a happy contract-extension accord can be achieved, Andrew would provide a lot of what the Lakers require. Bynum, who was on the cusp of becoming a dynamic low-post presence when the injury occurred, may turn into an inside beast. Please mind that dunking-with-authority lesson, Pau Gasol. Ah yes, Pau Gasol. The skilled big man, purloined from the Memphis Grizzlies after Bynum was lost, demonstrated little of the ol’ nastiness needed to deal with the Cs. If he spends a hefty portion of the summer working on functional strength with shoulders a priority, Gasol could make next season a campaign of atonement. There’s nothing like adding a bit more muscle to inspire confidence, swagger and a relatively roughhouse maneuver or two. However, Coach Phil Jackson and his basic triangle set may not be the optimum alignment to maximize the potential created by having two 7-footers on the floor simultaneously. While Gasol is a typical European big man who’s defined by — ahem — finesse, he’s not much of a marksman away from the hoop.”

The East Valley Tribune (Jerry Brown) reports: “Thunder Dan” Majerle said officially joining Terry Porter’s staff as an assistant coach Friday will finally put him back in the game, chasing his goal of a championship while putting him back in the world where he feels most comfortable. “I can’t wait to start,” said Majerle, who joins Bill Cartwright, Alvin Gentry and Igor Kokoskov as Porter’s coaching staff. “I’ve never coached, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and this is the right time and the right team. The chance to stay with this organization, work for a guy I like and respect in Terry and with a team that I think is close to getting over the hump … it’s a perfect situation.” … Porter’s staff includes two former NBA head coaches in Gentry and Cartwright, who will head up the offensive and defensive ends, respectively. But no one on the staff embodies the change in philosophy more than Majerle, whose hustle, desire and preparation mirrored Porter’s career — two guys from small colleges with big dreams and the will to succeed.

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