Archive for July, 2008

The Boston Globe (Marc Spears) reports: The Celtics agreed to terms with guards Eddie House and Tony Allen to return, general manager Danny Ainge announced today. Both will get two-year contracts (though House’s second year is a player option, according to an NBA source). House’s deal was made using a portion of the team’s $5.5 million mid-level exception. According to the source, House will make $2.7 million next season and $2.9 million the year after if he excercises his option.

InsideHoops.com reaction: Good move by the Celtics. Both players are worth signing. Still, the team does need to replace James Posey, who was like a combination of Robert Horry (clutch shots in the playoffs) and Bruce Bowen (good defense on key swingmen) when it mattered most.

Though, hats off to Paul Pierce for guarding Kobe in the Finals about as well as Posey did.

Darius Miles comeback attempt

SI (Ian Thompson) reports: Darius Miles is trying to become the first player to return from an injury that was deemed to be “career-ending” by the NBA. If he were to sign a new contract and play in 10 or more games this season, his $9 million salary would go back on Portland’s books — though his return would not affect the Trail Blazers as badly as has been advertised. Miles underwent microfracture surgery to repair his right knee in November 2006. He hasn’t played since, and he was released by the Blazers in April after the “career-ending” judgment was made by an independent medical examiner appointed by the NBA and the players’ union. In recent weeks, Miles has had workouts — ranging from two hours to less than 30 minutes — with the Nets, Celtics, Suns and Mavericks, all of whom controlled the terms while asking Miles to compete against other players.

Referee Jess Kersey to retire

The Sacramento Bee (Scott Howard-Cooper) reports: More bad news on the referee front. Jess Kersey, one of the best, will retire, barring an unexpected change of plans, because of a serious hip injury that cost him all last season. An announcement is expected sometime in the summer, an unusual move for the league that reflects Kersey’s status after 31 years, 189 playoff games and 18 Finals games.

Yao Ming returns to action for China

The AP reports: Houston Rockets centre Yao Ming played in his first game in almost six months Thursday, joining China’s national team in an Olympics warmup against Serbia. Entering to huge applause from the crowd in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Yao appeared rusty in scoring six points over seven minutes in the first half. Four of those came from free throws, helping China race to a 51-39 lead after the second quarter. Yao’s appearance at the Stankovic Cup is his first game action since he suffered a stress fracture to his left foot in February, ending his NBA season and threatening his star turn as part of China’s team.

Wolves to keep Craig Smith

The Minneapolis Star Tribune (Jerry Zgoda) reports: Craig Smith is the first of the Wolves’ own free agents to reach an agreement with the team, coming to terms on a two-year deal he will sign when he is expected to join the summer-league team in Las Vegas today. Now how, or if, Smith will play in the remaining three games is uncertain, but since the summer team’s practice days all have passed, it wouldn’t make much sense for him to travel from his home in Los Angeles to Vegas if he wasn’t going to play at least a game.

Hornets to get James Posey

The Boston Herald reports: According to an NBA source, free agent forward James Posey has agreed to a four-year contract with the New Orleans Hornets. The Celtics had been offering three years at the full mid-level exception.

InsideHoops.com says: This hurts Boston. Posey was their best role player, by far. He exceeded all expectations, especially when it counted most. The Hornets still need more pieces to push them to the top but Posey is a very good addition. Hopefully he stays hungry despite getting his contract.

The Atlanta Hawks have named Jim Todd and Tyrone Hill to the coaching staff of Mike Woodson, it was announced this afternoon. The two new assistants join fellow coaches Larry Drew and Bob Bender on Woodson’s staff.

Todd, involved in coaching basketball at the high school, college or professional level since 1976, comes to the Hawks from Milwaukee, where he spent last season as an assistant under Larry Krystkowiak.  Prior to joining the Bucks, he worked three seasons in Toronto in a similar capacity for Raptors’ coach Sam Mitchell (2004-07).  During his final season in Toronto, the Raptors posted a franchise-record 47 wins, as well as capturing their first Atlantic Division title.

He began his NBA career in Milwaukee as an assistant coach under Chris Ford from 1996-98, and followed Ford to the Los Angeles Clippers in 1998, where he was named interim head coach on February 3, 2000. Following that stint, Todd headed to the collegiate ranks for one season (2001-02) as an assistant at DePaul University, before returning to the Bucks as a coaching consultant in 2002-03, and an assistant one year later.

After spending two seasons as a volunteer coach with the Hawks, the 14-year veteran Hill makes his entry into the coaching ranks.  The 6-9 forward was a former first round pick (11th overall) in the 1990 draft of the Golden State Warriors who averaged 9.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 0.5 blocks (.502 FG%).

Hill played for five NBA teams during his career - Golden State, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Miami - with his longest stint coming on two occasions with the Cavaliers (1993-94 to -97 and 2001-03).

In 1996-97, he set the team’s single-season franchise record after shooting a career-best .600 from the field (and ranked second in the NBA).

Sam Dalembert may be off Team Canada

The Globe and Mail reports: Could Samuel Dalembert’s brief career with the Canadian national team be over almost as soon as it started? The Philadelphia 76ers centre is no longer with the senior men’s side at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Athens. “He’s not on the team, I’ll leave it at that,” said head coach Leo Rautins after Canada’s heart-stopping comeback against Korea assured them of a quarter-final game against Croatia on Friday. Dalembert missed three of Canada’s five tune-up games due to problems with his hip this summer and struggled badly in the opening game against Slovenia on Tuesday, shooting just 1-of-8 from the floor and grabbing only four rebounds.

USA Basketball Select Team announced

Ten top young NBA players were named today by USA Basketball to the 2008 USA Basketball Men’s Select Team that has been chosen to help prepare the 2008 USA Senior National Team for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, scheduled to take place Aug. 10-24 in Beijing, China.

The ten players named to the USA Basketball Select Team include: LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City NBA); Jeff Green (Oklahoma City NBA); Luther Head (Houston Rockets); Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks); Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers); Kevin Martin (Sacramento Kings); O.J. Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies); Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls) and Rodney Stuckey (Detroit Pistons).

Additionally, USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team managing Director Jerry Colangelo announced that two rising stars from the 2008 NBA Summer League will be selected to join the 2008 USA Select Team. The 2008 NBA Summer League is taking place July 11-20 in Las Vegas.

As was the case in last summer, Oklahoma City head coach P.J. Carlesimo, who served as an assistant with the 1992 U.S. Olympic “Dream Team” and who has been a head or assistant coach of six other USA Basketball teams, will serve as head coach of the USA Select Team and assisting Carlesimo for a second straight summer is Toronto Raptors assistant coach Jay Triano.

“We also brought into the senior team’s training camp last summer a select team of young NBA superstars and it proved to be valuable preparation for our Senior Team. Again in 2008 the Select Team features some of the league’s most promising young and upcoming players - including Kevin Durant who is a member of our Senior National Team and was the 2008 NBA Rookie of the Year. We’re looking for this select group to really compete and help prepare our senior team for Beijing,” said Colangelo.

“I’ll also repeat something I said last year. Some of these players have represented USA Basketball in the past and there are others who will.  This is an opportunity for them to get into the USA Basketball pipeline. We expect many of these players to be part of the next generation that make up the USA Basketball Senior National program.”       

“P.J. Carlesimo will again coach the USA Select Team and Jay Triano will assist. They are a great fit as P.J. has a lot of USA Basketball experience and Jay is a former coach of the Canadian national team and currently an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptor,” added Colangelo.

The select squad will begin training July 20 in Las Vegas and is expected to train and scrimmage against the USA Senior National Team from July 21-24.

The Americans will cap the Las Vegas portion of its training on July 25 (5 p.m. Las Vegas local time) with the 2008 State Farm USA Basketball Challenge where the USA will meet the Canadian National Team at Thomas & Mack Center.

After playing four games between July 31- Aug. 5 that are part of the USA Basketball International Challenge in Macao and Shanghai, China, the United States will arrive in Beijing, Aug. 6.

Preliminary round play of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games takes place Aug. 10-18.

Cavs keep Dan Gibson

The Cavaliers have re-signed point guard Daniel Gibson to a multi-year contract. More info is here.

As of now, he’s their best option at point guard. Delonte West is still an unsigned free agent.

The Cavs pretty much have their core from last year. They still need more depth at point guard and the backup swingman/small forward spots.

As of now, the team should be around as good as they were last season.

The Los Angeles Clippers today acquired forward Marcus Camby from the Denver Nuggets. In return, Denver will have the option to exchange second round picks with the Clippers in 2010. As a result of the trade, the Nuggets receive a $10,000,000 trade exception, which can be used until one year from the completion of the trade.

More info and a link to our initial reaction is here.

The Los Angeles Clippers today acquired forward Marcus Camby from the Denver Nuggets. In return, Denver will have the option to exchange second round picks with the Clippers in 2010. As a result of the trade, the Nuggets receive a $10,000,000 trade exception, which can be used until one year from the completion of the trade. See the full report.

Super-quick, unedited, initial InsideHoops.com reaction: This is an interesting move for the Clippers. They already have Chris Kaman at center. Camby is up there in age, too and will be a free agent in a couple of seasons. Between Camby and Kaman, Camby is quicker if one has to guard power forwards, but he’d be out of position. They’ll sure be big up front, at least. Also, by taking Camby on this basically means the Clippers gave up on getting any of the league’s good restricted free agents, like Josh Smith, Andre Iguodala, Luol Deng and others. Which is surpising. You’d think they’d sign one of those guys to an offer sheet, even if the original team winds up matching the offer. Maybe the Clippers did their homework and found out that basically every good player was going to be matched by their original team.

On the plus side, this gives the Clippers a pretty damn good twin towers frontcourt. And Camby will be a free agent in a couple of seasons, so the team can maintain cap room if they want, or trade Camby when he’s an expiring contract.

So the core of the Clippers is now Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Al Thornton, Kaman and Camby. Extremely exciting backcourt, huge guys up front, and Thornton.

As for the Nuggets, creating more cap space is always a good thing, but Camby was their main defender, rebounder and shot-blocker. They traded him away for cap relief. Again, he’s old, but still, it would have been nice to get something useful back for him. Apparently that wasn’t going to happen. The team must have felt that what they’ve have gotten back wasn’t any better than some additional salary flexiblity and that big exception.

InsideHoops readers are discussing the news here. Go there and post your opinion.

Sasha Vujacic changes agents again

The Orange County Register (Janis Carr) reports: Sasha Vujacic used to be with Rob Pelinka (Kobe Bryant’s agent) before switching to Bill Duffy. Now, he is back with Pelinka, maybe with the hope that he will be able to attract a few offers some time before training camp opens. Vujacic, a restricted free agent, was offered a one-year qualifying deal for $2.6 million by the Lakers, but seems to waiting on other teams to call.

OJ May hits 69 footer in summer league

The AP reports: O.J. Mayo, the third overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies in last month’s draft, made the most spectacular shot of his career Monday night at the NBA Summer League. Mayo converted a desperation three-quarters court shot from 69 feet to beat the first-quarter buzzer against San Antonio. Mayo, who shot it with both hands from straight away, rattled it through the rim. “I thought it wasn’t going to make it to the rim,” Mayo said. “I was surprised. After practices recently, we have been practicing half-court shots. I made a few there, and now I made one in a game.”

Yao Ming on court soon

Reuters reports: China’s Yao Ming is likely to play his first competitive game since having surgery on his foot in March at this week’s Stankovic Cup pre-Beijing Olympic basketball tournament, local media reported on Tuesday. The 7ft-6in (2.28m) Houston Rockets centre, whose NBA season was ended by a stress fracture, returned to China to join the national squad for training last month but played no part in two warm-up games against Australia in Jiangsu.

Luke Walton to have right ankle surgery

Los Angeles Lakers forward Luke Walton will undergo surgery Friday to remove bone spurs from his right ankle, it was announced today.

The surgery will be performed in Los Angeles by Dr. David Thordarson.

An update, with an estimate for Walton’s recovery time, will be issued following the surgery.

Magic get Anthony Johnson

The Magic, who probably won’t be able to re-sign Keyon Dooling, have signed Anthony Johnson.

Although some say he looks like a turtle, Johnson is a smart veteran backup. He probably has a few tricks to teach Jameer Nelson, who he will play backup to.

The Salt Lake Tribune (Ross Siler) reports: The agent for Jazz guard Deron Williams said Monday he has continued having conversations with general manager Kevin O’Connor and is still hopeful to reach agreement on a contract extension by the end of the week. “I think that’s still everyone’s objective,” agent Bob McClaren said, “and I’m certainly not discouraged by the process at all.” Williams has said he would like to finalize an extension before he leaves either Saturday or Sunday for USA Basketball training camp in Las Vegas. Williams will travel from there to Beijing for the Olympics. McClaren said he has talked “several times every day” with O’Connor since the two met Wednesday and that no additional meeting had been scheduled.

Two more execs leave Spurs

The San Antonio Express-News (Travis E. Poling) reports:  Two more executives have left Spurs Sports & Entertainment, a month after the sudden departure of Executive Vice President Russ Bookbinder. The moves are part of an ongoing shake-up of the Spurs’ front office that could have more repercussions later this summer. Bruce Guthrie, Spurs vice president, and Paula Winslow, vice president of human resources, left the organization that includes the NBA franchise, the WNBA Silver Stars, hockey’s Rampage and the management of the AT&T Center.

Rockets release Loren Woods

The Houston Chronicle (Jonathan Feigen) reports: The Rockets agreed to release center Loren Woods from his contract on Monday, then signed this season’s first-round pick Donte’ Greene before their first game in the Las Vegas NBA Summer League on Monday. Woods, who had been signed late last season to a partially-guaranteed contract for next season, had been receiving interest from several European teams and asked for his release. The Rockets had been considering him as a potential backup for Yao Ming, particularly if they are unable to sign free agent Dikembe Mutombo.

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