Archive for June 2nd, 2008

Brian Shaw won’t be next Suns coach

The Orange County Register (Kevin Ding) reports: One less thing for the Lakers to worry about next season, when they’ll only be expected to go 82-0 with Andrew Bynum on this team: Brian Shaw isn’t going to coach Shaquille O’Neal with the Phoenix Suns. Shaw told me after practice today that he got word from Suns general manager Steve Kerr that Phoenix is going in another direction. “He wanted to have a coach that had experience in terms of being a head coach,” Shaw said.

The Indianapolis Star (Bob Kravitz) reports: As much as Donnie Walsh is revered around here, his draft record since the early years has been spotty at best. Yes, he took Reggie Miller at No. 11 in 1987, took Rik Smits, a no-brainer at No. 2 in 1988, and hit pay dirt with Antonio Davis in the second round in 1990 and Dale Davis at No. 13 in 1991. Beyond that, though, we’re looking at . . . George McCloud at No. 7 in 1989 . . . Malik Sealy at No. 14 in 1992 . . . Scott Haskin at No. 14 in 1993 . . . Eric Piatkowski at No. 15 in 1994 . . . Erick Dampier at No. 10 in 1996 . . . Austin Croshere at No. 12 in 1997 . . . Jonathan Bender at No. 5 in 1999 after sending Antonio Davis to Toronto . . . Primoz Brezec at No. 27 in 2000 . . . Jamaal Tinsley, acquired from Atlanta and chosen at No. 27 in 2001, one pick ahead of Tony Parker . . . Fred Jones at No. 14 in 2.

Suns want Barbosa to take summer off

The East Valley Tribune (Jerry Brown) reports via a blog: The Suns have asked Leandro Barbosa to take the summer off to rest and skip the 2010 Olympic qualifying tournament for his native Brazil. Barbosa has complained of some right knee soreness since the end of the season and will be returning to Phoenix in June to have the knee looked at again. But the Suns are confident that the problem is minor and will require only some rest over the summer. says: It’s always tough to ask international players to skip big events, and the assumption is they don’t want to unless they really have to.

Kareem used to be Celtics fan

The AP reports: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar rooted for the Celtics during his high school days in New York. Honest. He would later be involved in one of the most intense rivalries in sports, going against Boston three times in the NBA finals as a Lakers star in the 1980s. Now, that’s simply a part of his past. “I saw my first Celtics-Lakers rivalry game in 1969,” Abdul-Jabbar recalled Sunday, referring to a matchup in the NBA finals a few months after he completed his college career at UCLA. “I never had a hatred for them. When I was in high school, I was a Celtics fan. I got to meet (then-Boston stars) Bill Russell, (John) Havlicek, (Bob) Cousy, those guys, when I was in ninth grade.”  … “After he retired (in 1987), Bill Walton and I didn’t speak for a couple years,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “We laugh about that now. Nowadays, when I get to Boston, I get stopped by people talking about how the game was played at such a high level (in the 1980s). They miss that.”

Magic extend contract of GM Otis Smith

The Orlando Sentinel (Brian Schmitz) reports in a blog: General Manager Otis Smith has signed a contract extension with the Magic, a deal that should run for at least another three seasons. The deal was expected. Smith, a former forward on the Magic’s 1989-90 expansion team, had one more year remaining on his contract after this season. says: Smith has done well for the Magic, though it was sort of lucky (or was it brilliant insight?) that Hedo Turkoglu emerged and had a career season like he did last season. And, they still did overpay for Rashard Lewis. Now there’s more work to be done. Do they want to keep Lewis, a small forward who isn’t particularly muscular or big, playing out of position at power forward? Also, the backcourt needs to be upgraded if the team wants to really compete to reach the Finals someday. With all that said, the Magic are clearly headed in the right direction.

First Kings GM passes away

The Sacramento Bee (Martin McNeal) reports: Joe Axelson, the first general manager of the Sacramento Kings, bore the brunt of much criticism during his tenure, but little from those who worked with him. Axelson died Saturday at age 80 at his Coronado home, his son, David, also a former Kings employee, said Sunday. Joe Axelson was the team’s GM in 1985 when the franchise moved from Kansas City, Mo., and therefore ran the show when the Kings made the playoffs in their first season here at the old Arco Arena. Kings player personnel director and television commentator Jerry Reynolds said it became “a sad day” Sunday when he learned of Axelson’s death from Mike Duncan, the vice president of arena programming.

The AP reports: Over his career with the Royals-Kings franchise, he was responsible for some controversial trades, including swapping Oscar Robertson to Milwaukee in 1970 after Robertson squabbled with coach Bob Cousy and asked to leave Cincinnati. The Royals had to settle for Charlie Paulk and Flynn Robinson in the trade. Axelson at other times traded away Jerry Lucas, Nate Archibald and Norm Van Lier.

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