Archive for June, 2008

Denham Brown a no-show for Team Canada

The Toronto Sun (Ryan Wolstat) reports: Don’t expect to see Denham Brown playing basketball for Canada anytime soon. The former West Hill and Bathurst Heights standout was a shocking no-show as Canada began its preparations for Olympic qualifying in Greece next month with a workout at the Air Canada Centre. Head coach Leo Rautins was surprised Brown did not tell the team beforehand that he wouldn’t be there. “I don’t know where he is,” Rautins said. “We live in an era where I don’t think it’s that hard to communicate.”

The Boston Herald (John Tomase) reports: The Phoenix Suns dealt away the draft rights to Rajon Rondo two years ago, and here’s what they have to show for it: cash. That’s it. Hopefully it was a lot of money, because Rondo may just go down as the steal of the 2006 draft. It’s amazing to think that the 22-year-old starting point guard for the world champion Celtics [team stats] could have been had for so little. On draft day 2006, the C’s sent Cleveland’s 2007 first-round pick, which they acquired for Jiri Welsch, to Phoenix for the rights to Rondo, the 21st overall pick out of Kentucky. A year later, the Suns then shipped that pick (No. 24, Rudy Fernandez) and James Jones to the Trail Blazers for cash considerations.

Mavs assistants to be finalized soon

Mavs Courtside View (Art Garcia) reports: Rick Carlisle is about to fulfill one goal … his coaching staff. Former head coaches Dwane Casey and Terry Stotts are in Dallas finalizing contract details and preparing for next week’s NBA Draft. Mario Elie, one of Avery Johnson’s former assistants, and player development coach Popeye Jones are also expected to remain on staff.

Jeff of InsideHoops.com says: That’s an absolutely fantastic set of assistants. One of the best staffs in the league that I can think of.

International talent is overrated

The Sporting News (Mike DeCourcy) writes: “You know how many international players appeared for the Boston Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals? Zero. They’re supposed to shoot it better in Europe, but only three of the NBA’s top 20 long-distance marksmen were international products. In the past five years, NBA teams have drafted 29 internationally trained players in the first round. Those players combined to produce nine seasons of double-figure scoring for their teams — out of a possible 93 opportunities. Teams might build a better track record drafting from the Rutgers intramural league. “I know the failure rate is high because the failure rate is high for anyone you take in the first round,” Fraschilla says. “You can’t draft on demographics. They’ve got to be judged individually.”

Allen Iverson stays with Nuggets

The Rocky Mountain News (Chris Tomasson) reports: With Friday the deadline for Iverson to opt out of the final year of his contract, the star guard decided not to do so and will return to the Nuggets next season for $20.84 million. The move first was reported by the Rocky Mountain News after Iverson’s agent, Leon Rose, confirmed his client’s intentions in a phone interview. “Things have gone well for him (in Denver),” Rose said of Iverson, traded from Philadelphia in December 2006. “He’s looking forward to taking the team (further).” Iverson’s decision wasn’t a surprise. But his personal manager, Gary Moore, had told the Rocky on May 30 that Iverson’s camp had discussions with the Nuggets about Iverson possibly opting out and signing a multiyear deal.

Trevor Ariza exercises player option

Lakers forward Trevor Ariza exercised a player contract option for the 2008-09 season, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Ariza, acquired by the Lakers this past season on November 20 in a trade with the Orlando Magic, posted averages of 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.08 steals and 18.0 minutes in 24 games with the Lakers before suffering a fracture of the fourth metatarsal in his right foot January 20 and missing the rest of the regular season and 11 playoff games.

Returning for Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, the four-year veteran played in eight total postseason games, recording playoff career-highs in points (6), rebounds (5), steals (1) and blocks (1) in nine minutes during Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Drafted by the New York Knicks with the 43rd overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, Ariza is originally from Los Angeles (Westchester High School) and played one season at UCLA prior to entering the NBA.  He averaged 11.6 points and 5.5 rebounds in his one season at UCLA.

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have extended qualifying offers to restricted free-agent guards Jose Calderon and Carlos Delfino. 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 it 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 in favour of the team for which the player last played.

Calderon contributed career highs of 11.2 points and a team-best 8.3 assists in all 82 regular season games in 2007-08. He led the NBA with a 5.38 (678/126) assist-to-turnover ratio. Calderon has averaged 8.7 points, 6.1 assists and 25 minutes in 223 regular season NBA games with the Raptors.

Delfino appeared in all 82 games, averaging 9.0 points and 4.4 rebounds. He set career highs in points, rebounds, three-point field goals made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, and minutes (1,928). Delfino has averaged 5.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 17.1 minutes in 262 career NBA regular season games with Toronto and Detroit.

Suns announce coaching staff

The Phoenix Suns today announced that Alvin Gentry, Bill Cartwright, Dan Majerle and Igor Kokoskov will join head coach Terry Porter’s staff as assistant coaches.

“We’re thrilled to have been able to put together an extremely bright and versatile staff,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr.  “Alvin and Bill provide great knowledge and experience for Terry with both having been head coaches in the NBA.  Igor has worked with Terry on the Pistons’ staff the last two years and brings a wealth of experience both on the NBA and international levels.  Dan’s passion and work ethic will make a huge impact with our players.  We’re excited to add to our staff one of the most tenacious players in franchise history.”

“In putting together this staff, I wanted to surround myself with coaches with bench experience, guys who are knowledgeable about both ends of the basketball court and are strong teachers of the game,” Porter said.  “The coaches we selected are guys who have worked or played together and who I have competed with or against, so I’m confident we will have a great rapport from the very beginning.  Steve and I wanted to put together a staff that is accustomed to winning.  This is a championship-caliber organization and this staff has experience at competing for and winning championships.”

Including Porter, the Suns’ new coaching staff has a combined 24 Conference Finals appearances as players and coaches, 10 NBA Finals berths and six NBA titles.

Knicks coaching staff announced

New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that Phil Weber and Dan D’Antoni have been hired as assistant coaches. In addition, Herb Williams has been retained to complete the coaching staff on the bench.

“We have three top quality assistant coaches that will be great assets as we work towards our goal of bringing winning basketball back to New York,” Walsh said. “Phil and Dan enjoyed tremendous success with Coach D’Antoni in Phoenix, while Herb has been a great part of our franchise for many years.”

Friday Kings draft workouts

On Friday (today) the Sacramento Kings will work out Kevin Bell (Fresno State), Malik Hairston (Oregon), Kosta Koufos (Ohio State), JaVale McGee (Nevada), Sean Singletary (Virginia), Deron Washington (Virginia Tech).

Eric Gordon (Ht. 6-4, Wt. 215) was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year this season and earned Second Team All-America honors from the NABC and Third Team All-America honors from the Associated Press. He led the Big Ten in scoring with 20.9 points per game while also ranking fifth in free-throw percentage (.834) and 10th in steals (1.3). He topped 20 points in 19 games and scored a career-best 33 in his Indiana debut, the most ever by a Hoosier in his first collegiate game.

Anderson Varejao trade talks

The Akron Beacon Journal (Brian Windhorst) reports via blog: “The Cavs have had trade talks with at least five teams about Varejao. But these talks have three sides, the Cavs, the potential trading partner and Varejao’s agent, Dan Fegan. Because Andy has to give permission to be traded before Dec. 5 (a stipulation when a player has an offer sheet matched by his team), he must be in the loop before a deal can be done. This permission will be given (he cannot be traded to the Bobcats under any circumstances until Dec.) only if Fegan likes the chances of Varejao getting big minutes and having an important role at his new destination. The reason is this is Varejao’s contract year essentially and a big season would mean a chance at the big deal Andy has wanted for a year. I also know that at least one trading partner has already been told “no” by Fegan. I do not know which team, but keep in mind as the Cavs are linked to the Milwaukee Bucks in trade rumors that Fegan also represents Yi Jianlian and probably would not like Varejao and Yi fighting for minutes with one another.”

The Miami Herald reports (via their Heat blog): Memphis point guard Derrick Rose finished his workout Thursday with the Bulls and all signs point toward the hometown kid being taken by Chicago No. 1. It’s no secret that Rose had been projected to be taken first but now there seems to be a stronger indication that it could happen in a week. Rose said he did not expect to work out for the Heat, which holds the No. 2 pick.

The Arizona Republic (Paul Coro) reports: Suns star Amaré Stoudemire declined the opportunity to be an Olympian this summer for USA Basketball. Jerry Colangelo, managing director for the USA Basketball senior men’s national team, said today that Stoudemire is not on the 12-man Olympic roster that will be announced Monday in Chicago. “Amaré has pulled himself out of consideration for the roster and that’s predicated on, despite the fact that he’s had an injury-free year coming back (from knee surgeries in 2005 and 2006), he’s a little hesitant on pushing the envelope too hard,” Colangelo said.

Juan Carlos Navarro going back to Spain

The Memphis Commercial-Appeal (Ronald Tillery) reports: The Grizzlies have experienced a different kind of La Bomba than they have become accustomed to. Spanish guard Juan Carlos Navarro’s chances of returning for a second season in Memphis were blown to pieces Wednesday afternoon when he decided to re-sign with FC Barcelona. Navarro, who earned $538,000 with the Grizzlies last season, was swayed by a deal that will pay him between $20million and $24 million over the next four years.

InsideHoops.com says: Well, he came over and hoped to compete on a good NBA team with his buddy Pau Gasol. But Gasol got traded, the Grizzlies have just a few decent players and are light-years away from competing, and FC Barcelona saw an opening to get Navarro and took it. As for the NBA, Navarro turned out as expected, a very limited defensive player who can fire and make quick outside shots.

Raptors pay Jorge Garbajosa to go away

The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday they have released forward Jorge Garbajosa. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed.

“After a long, difficult and sometimes emotional process stemming from a traumatic injury to a key player, it was concluded that parting ways was the best thing for both Jorge and the Raptors organization,” said Bryan Colangelo, president and general manager of the Raptors. “We wish Jorge nothing but the best with his basketball future.”

Garbajosa was limited to seven games last season after suffering a dislocated left ankle joint with ligament tear and fractured fibula March 26, 2007 at Boston. He had surgery to repair the ankle and fibula March 27, 2007 and surgery on his left ankle December 11, 2007.

The native of Madrid, Spain was signed as a free agent July 21, 2006 following seven seasons in the Spanish pro league and four in Italy.  He finished the 2006-07 season fifth among rookies in rebounds (4.9 rpg) and posted a 1.22 steals-per-turnover ratio. He started 60 of his 67 games, contributing 8.5 points (eighth among rookies) in 28.5 minutes (third) en route to earning T-Mobile All-Rookie First Team honours.

The team also announced that a settlement had been reached with the Spanish Basketball Federation regarding the claim filed by the Raptors in connection with the non-payment of insurance proceeds related to Garbajosa’s injury. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed.

“We are pleased that an acceptable resolution was reached and we can finally put this behind us,” said Colangelo.

The East Valley Tribune (Matt Paulson) reports: The Suns began the interview process in their search for assistant coaches on Tuesday, bringing in former Chicago Bulls head coach Bill Cartwright. Buck Williams, an ex-teammate of new coach Terry Porter, will interview today. One of the Suns’ top priorities in filling out Porter’s staff is hiring a former All-Star big man known for being strong defensively and a good rebounder — a coach who can help bring along Amaré Stoudemire’s development… Also on the Suns’ list are Alvin Gentry and Jay Humphries, holdovers from former coach Mike D’Antoni’s staff. Suns TV color analysts Dan Majerle, who played with Porter in Miami, and Eddie Johnson are expected to interview, along with former player Jeff Hornacek.

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant knew all along the Celtics were going to force someone besides him to beat them, and there was nobody else in purple and gold up for the job. Bryant finished with 22 points, but shot only 7-of-22 from the field and was quiet after a sizzling start for the second straight game. The Lakers needed an MVP performance from Bryant. Bryant needed help… And there was no one else to pick up the slack. Lamar Odom didn’t have a field goal until the fourth quarter, when the Lakers were already down by 29 points. Pau Gasol took only seven shots and finished with 11 points—and he was their second-leading scorer until deep in the fourth quarter, when Odom went to work against the reserves who played the last few minutes while Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were busy celebrating on the sideline.

The AP reports: The Celtics’ 39-point margin in Tuesday night’s championship clinching win is the largest in a decisive NBA finals game. In fact, Boston now has four of the six biggest margins in games that clinched titles…  Ray Allen set a record for most 3-pointers made in a finals series with 22. The previous mark of 17 was set by Dan Majerle with Phoenix in 1993 and matched by Derek Harper with New York in 1994. Allen’s seven 3-pointers Tuesday night tied the finals record shared by Houston’s Kenny Smith and Chicago’s Scottie Pippen. And Boston’s 52 baskets from 3-point range erased the finals mark of 51 set by San Antonio in 2005… The Celtics also put on a record-setting defensive performance Tuesday with 18 steals, eclipsing the single-game finals mark set by Golden State against Washington in 1975.

The AP reports: Light up one more for Red. Some fans wore green Celtics jerseys with the name “AUERBACH” in white capital letters on the back. Others puffed victory cigars—an understandable disregard of anti-smoking laws on a special night—just as the team’s late patriarch often did. After all, Boston did more than just win its first NBA championship in 22 years with a 131-92 rout of Los Angeles on Tuesday night. The Game 6 victory kept Lakers coach Phil Jackson from breaking a tie with Auerbach for most titles by an NBA coach. Each has nine. “This win is for Red Auerbach,” owner Wyc Grousbeck said. “Red believed in our ownership group and got it done.” Grousbeck’s group took over the franchise on Dec. 31, 2002. Auerbach, who was president at the time, died on Oct. 28, 2006, at the age of 89.

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