Archive for June 25th, 2008

Trade will move Jermaine O`Neal, TJ Ford

Ticker reports: Although the T.J. Ford-for-Jermaine O’Neal trade appeared to be on life support less than 24 hours ago, the Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers have agreed to a deal Wednesday, according to a published report. ESPN reported that Toronto will send Ford, center Rasho Nesterovic and its 17th overall selection in Thursday’s draft to Indiana for O’Neal. The deal was consummated after the two sides negotiated for almost a week.

Nuggets trade No.20 pick to Bobcats

The Denver Nuggets have traded their first round draft pick (the 20th overall) in the 2008 NBA Draft to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for a future protected first round draft pick, Nuggets Vice President of Basketball Operations Mark Warkentien announced today.

The Nuggets now currently have no picks in tomorrow’s draft.

The Bobcats now own the ninth and 20th picks in the first round, along with the 38th overall pick in the second round. ESPN’s live coverage of the 2008 NBA Draft begins at 7:00 p.m. ET tomorrow.

Here’s Washington Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld speaking to reporters today:

On the depth of talent available in Thursday’s NBA Draft: “I think it’s going to be a pretty deep draft.  You never know who is going to be available to you, because it all depends on who goes in front of you, but it’s going to be interesting.  There is a lot of conversation going on right now around the league.  We’ve had a lot of conversations and this is always a very exciting time of year.”

More on the depth of talent in the draft: “It’s a deep draft, but it’s also an uncertain draft, because of the youth in it.  The talent level is pretty good.  You can maybe get someone in the 20’s or in the second round that can develop for you but you’re probably not going to get someone that is going to come in and contribute right away.”

On the players that worked out for the Wizards: “We had a good group in.  A lot of the players we brought in are not only for that first round pick (18th overall), but we also have a 2nd round pick (47th overall), so there were a lot of prospects for that position…and also free agent type players that we might want to take a look at down the road.  Bringing players in is just a small part of the whole evaluation process.  The thing that I get the most out of this process is being able to talk to the players and see what type of people they really are and how they handle themselves.  It’s important to get an opportunity to talk to some of these players and really find out about who they are as people.”

On trade talks around the NBA: “There have been a lot of conversations about moving up and moving back and maybe even getting out of the draft.  Some things are contingent on who’s out there for us and who’s available.  You never know what is going to happen, but there have been a lot of conversations (amongst NBA teams), probably more than in years past.”

On the Wizards’ needs: “We are pretty deep at all positions so I’ve always had a theory to take the best available player regardless of position.”

On Washington’s young players selected in recent drafts: “Andray (Blatche) has played now for three years, and played a lot of minutes last year.  Nick (Young) got some significant minutes last year even though he was a rookie.  He got a lot experience because of the injuries we had, and had the opportunity to play and see some valuable game action.  Dom (McGuire) got some good opportunities too, and this is going to be a big summer for Pech (Oleksiy Pecherov) because he did not play that much last year because of the injury.  He had a very good preseason for us, but about five days before the season started he broke his ankle and missed about two months.  Because of that he was pretty far behind.  We are young, but I think we have a good combination of veteran players, players in their prime and young up-and-coming players that still have a lot of room for growth.”

On the Wizards: “I think this group has shown that we can compete on a very high level.  We had some great wins last year and we didn’t even have the full group together.  The last time we had the full group together we had the best record in the Eastern Conference and I think we are an improved team since then.  Our bench has gotten better.  Our young guys have gotten some valuable experience.  I think we feel comfortable if we get everybody back and everybody together I think that this team can be a very competitive ball club.”

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?

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