Archive for August, 2008

Links to possible OKC team logo leaks

Hi. I have no idea if any of these are really the new logos for the NBA’s Oklahoma City team, but below are a few links that people have emailed me.

It’s assumed that the team will be named the Thunder. We’ll find out this week, as the name and logo are finally revealed, officially.

Anyway, check these out. The following links may be the new OKC logos. Or they may be made-up stuff that fans put out there. I have no idea. But click below.

- A little basketball with an OKC Thunder logo.

- Logo concepts by some guy.

- Uniform concepts by some guy.

Fiba.com reports: Lithuania star Ramunas Siskauskas has decided to retire from the national team. Siskauskas, the Euroleague MVP last season after leading CSKA Moscow to the title, played in his third Olympics this summer in Beijing where the Baltic country suffered a narrow defeat to Spain in the semi-finals before losing in the bronze medal game to Argentina. “I’d made up my mind last year and results in Beijing did not affect my decision,” said Siskauskas, who turns 30 on September 10.

Mario Kasun signs in Turkey

Euroleague.net reports: Just two days after the player left his previous team, FC Barcelona, Efes Pilsen announced on Friday the addition of big man Mario Kasun (214, 28). Last season, Kasun played 21 Euroleague games with Barca, averaging 9.6 points and 3.9 rebounds in over 17 minutes per game. Kasun made his debut with KK Gorica of the Croatian second division during the 1997-98 season and then signed for KK Zrinjeva until in 2001, he moved to Germany to play with the Cologne 99ers.

Ginobili could miss several months

The San Antonio Express-News (Mike Monroe) reports: Spurs star Manu Ginobili will have surgery next week on his left ankle and heel to repair ligament damage that has hampered his game for many months. Though Ginobili on Thursday told an Argentine newspaper he expected to return to action six to eight weeks after the operation, sources familiar with the procedure say it is much more likely he will be out for two to three months. That makes it unlikely he can be ready for action when the Spurs open the regular season Oct. 29 in a game at the AT&T Center against the Phoenix Suns.

NBA players union suspends agent

The AP reports: The National Basketball Players Association suspended player agent Calvin Andrews for one year Friday for alleged recruiting improprieties regarding former Southern California star O.J. Mayo. The union said its Disciplinary Committee has reserved the right to take further action against Andrews.

InsideHoops.com says: I wonder if this means they found some new information, or if this is entirely a result of the reports back when the OJ Mayo recruiting issue stories first broke.

Howard Schultz drops Sonics suit

The Seattle Times (Percy Allen) reports: Four months into a contentious and costly legal fight against Clay Bennett to return the Sonics to Seattle and restore his battered reputation, Howard Schultz surrendered. The Starbucks CEO filed a motion in U.S. District Court on Friday to drop his lawsuit against Bennett and the Professional Basketball Club, allowing the team to start a new beginning in Oklahoma City in October. Before filing his motion to dismiss, Schultz e-mailed his former ownership group, stating: “Unfortunately, showing that the Bennett Group lied is not enough to turn back the clock and return the Sonics. As a result, I am withdrawing the lawsuit.”

From what little I’ve seen of Hamed Haddadi, the giant Iranian dude who yesterday signed with the Grizzlies, he’s just size. He’ll take up space. The dude is big. He’s a large guy. Also, he adds bulk. And height. He’s got size. Large big-man. In other words, he’s like Allen Iverson.

I don’t expect much from Haddadi. But it’s always fun when a player from a new country enters the league. So, congrats to him and I hope it’s a good experience for him. We’ll see if he gets to stick around. Odds are against it.

Sean Marks, now with the Hornets, can come off the bench and stretch the floor a bit with his face-up jumper for a few minutes per half.

We’ve heard 29 times now that the Oklahoma City team name is probably going to be Thunder. But what if it’s a fake-out? Maybe someone said “Let’s call them ‘Thunder’ for now” when telling Ticketmaster what to list, and when telling some NBA.com person what page to link to (before removing it).

Yeah, unlikely. They’re probably the Thunder. And I’m actually cool with the name, though it still reminds me more of Arena football than basketball. But that’s because it’s new. In a year or two, it’ll make you think of basketball. Names grow on you that way.

If I was DJ Mbenga, I’d learn how to DJ. Just because chicks who meet him and find out that his abbreviated first name is “DJ” probably ask him if he knows how to rock the turntables. And it would be cool to be able to say yes, I’d think.

What if Warriors coach Don Nelson goes wild and decides Stephen Jackson is the team’s point guard until Monta Ellis, a scoring guard who isn’t really a point guard, comes back. Jackson would probably average 5+ turnovers per game and get angry a lot but I bet the game flow would be fun.

The above is InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner’s totally unedited, off the top of the head responses to some recent NBA rumors stories.

Rockets trade Patrick Ewing Jr to Knicks

InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner says: Pat Ewing Jr. is a decent defender, but I haven’t seen that the rest of his game is on a pro level, yet. Unless he has other skills I don’t know about, he’ll have to fight hard to prove himself to the whole league, including the Knicks. And, here’s the news:

The New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that forward Patrick Ewing, Jr. has been acquired from Houston for the draft rights to center Frederic Weis.

“Patrick Ewing will have an opportunity here to compete for a spot on our roster,” Walsh said. “He is a solid defensive player and a very good athlete.”

Ewing, Jr., 6-8, 240-pounds, was originally drafted by Sacramento in the 2008 NBA Draft as the 43rd overall selection. Traded to the Rockets on Aug. 14 as part of a multi-player deal, the 24-year-old Boston native played his first two collegiate seasons at Indiana University before transferring to Georgetown. As a senior with the Hoyas during the 2007-08 season, Ewing averaged 6.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 34 games, winning the Big East Sixth Man of the Year award.

“Coming to the Knicks, and hopefully being able to contribute, means a lot to me. It has always been my dream to play for this team,” Ewing, Jr. said. “My goal is to show the coaches that I can play and do all that I can to help the team win some games.”

Ewing is the eldest child of Knicks legend, Patrick Ewing, who will be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame a week from today. Ewing played for New York from 1985 through 2000 and is the franchise’s all-time leader in virtually every category, including points (23,665), rebounds (10,759), blocked shots (2,758) and games played (1,039). On Feb. 28, 2003, his jersey No. 33 was lifted to the rafters of Madison Square Garden.

Weis was New York’s first-round draft choice (15th overall) in 1999.

Grizzlies sign Hamed Haddadi

The Memphis Grizzlies signed free-agent center Hamed Haddadi pronounced (ha-MED ha-DAHD-dee), who led all 2008 Olympians in rebounding and blocks, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Ahvaz, Iran native recently participated in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, where he was the only player to average a double-double (16.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks) in Olympic competition while playing five games for the Iranian National Team.

The 7-2, 254-pound center had his best performance came against eventual bronze medal winner Argentina when he had a team-high 21 points and game-high 16 rebounds on Aug. 16.

“We are pleased to sign Hamed,” said Wallace. “He is a young center who was very productive as a rebounder, shotblocker and scorer at the Rocky Mountain Revue Summer League in Salt Lake City, Utah, the 2008 Olympics and the FIBA Diamond Ball Tournament in Nanjing, China prior to the Olympics. Our coaching staff is eager to begin working with Hamed.”

Haddadi, who is slated to become the first Iranian to play in the NBA, poured in 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against Lebanon in the 2007 FIBA Asian Championship in Japan, helping Iran clinch its first Olympic basketball berth since 1948.

The 23-year-old, who was not selected in the 2004 NBA Draft, recently averaged 14.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 25.5 minutes in two games for the Iranian team against NBA competition at the 2008 Rocky Mountain Revue.

Haddadi, who spent the 2007-08 season playing for Saba Battery BC in the Iranian Super League, will join former Grizzlies Jake Tsakalidis and Cezary Trybanski as the tallest players in franchise history. He is also the second Grizzlies player to appear in the 2008 Olympics, joining center Marc Gasol, who captured a silver medal with the Spanish National Team.

Hornets sign Sean Marks

Jeff says: Sean Marks basically hangs out, waves a towel, says hi to his teammates, maybe plays a few minutes, tosses an outside shot or two up, tells some jokes, etc. And now the Hornets have acquired his services. Here’s the news release:

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have signed free agent forward/center Sean Marks. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.

“We are excited for Sean to join our team,” said Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower. “He is a veteran leader, who has been on winning teams and will be a great addition to our frontcourt.”

Marks (6-10, 250) is a nine-year NBA veteran with career averages of 3.1 points and 1.9 rebounds in 9.1 minutes per game. He has played with four different teams—Toronto, Miami, San Antonio and Phoenix. When he made his debut as a rookie on March 16, 1999 with the Raptors, he became the first native of New Zealand to play in the NBA.

Most recently with the Suns, Marks played in 19 games during the 2007-08 season, shooting 53.5% (23-of-43) from the field and averaging 3.1 points per contest. He scored in 13 of 19 appearances, including a season-high 16 points and career-high 13 rebounds in the Suns’ season finale Apr. 16 against Portland.

A native of Auckland, New Zealand, Marks played at California, appearing in 86 career games. As a senior, he averaged 9.8 points and 7.6 rebounds in 26 contests.

Taurean Green to sign in Spain

The Indepedent Florida Alligator (Mike DiFerdinando) reports: Taurean Green doesn’t speak much Spanish, and that may be a problem. The former UF point guard confirmed Wednesday that he has agreed to play for the Spanish club CAI Zaragoza. Green is in the process of negotiating what is believed to be a one-year deal with the team. He would not confirm the specifics of the contract.

Casey Jacobsen signs in Germany

Euroleague.net reports: Alba Berlin completed its roster for its Euroleague comeback this season on Thursday with the addition of American forward Casey Jacobsen (198, 27) for the next campaign. Jacobsen arrives from the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA where last season he averaged 2.0 points and 1.2 rebounds in 53 appearances. Jacobsen played college ball in Stanford with which he played the NCAA Final Eight in 2001.

OKC signs Kyle Weaver

The Oklahoma City NBA franchise signed free agent guard Kyle Weaver to a multi-year contract it was announced today by the team’s General Manager Sam Presti. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Weaver, drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats with the 38th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, was acquired by Oklahoma City via trade on August 11, 2008.

“We’re pleased to officially add Kyle to our roster,” Presti said. “His defensive mentality and selfless approach to the game are consistent with what we are working to establish in Oklahoma City.”

Weaver was named Second Team All-Pac 10 as a senior at Washington State University. He was also named to the conference All-Defensive team and earned All-Pac 10 honors as a junior. The 6-6, 201-pound guard averaged 12.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists as a senior.

The Portland Trail Blazers signed forward Luke Jackson, rookie center Steven Hill and rookie guard Jamaal Tatum, General Manager Kevin Pritchard announced today. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Jackson (6-7, 215), a four-year NBA veteran, has appeared in 73 career games, averaging 3.5 points, 1.2 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 9.9 minutes.

The 26-year-old enjoyed his best season in 2007-08 with Miami, garnering career-highs of 5.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in 16.3 minutes. Originally drafted with the 10th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by Cleveland, Jackson played his first two seasons with the Cavaliers before splitting time during the 2006-07 season with the L.A. Clippers and Toronto Raptors. In December of 2007, Jackson signed with Miami.

Jackson, a former University of Oregon All-American, finished his four-year career with the Ducks as one of only two players in Pac-10 history to amass more than 1,900 points, 700 rebounds and 400 assists. Jackson remains the only player in Oregon history to rank in the Top-10 in nine categories.

A member of the Trail Blazers’ 2008 NBA Summer League team, Hill (7-0, 245) averaged 3.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.60 blocks in five games. The center shot 66.7% from the field on 6-of-9 shooting and averaged 25.6 minutes per game in Portland’s last three games.

Hill, 22, spent four seasons at the University of Arkansas, averaging 4.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.11 blocks in 2007-08. In 2006-07, Hill was named Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

Tatum (6-2, 175) was the fourth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Development League draft, before missing the season due to injury. Tatum began his professional career in 2007, signing with the Atlanta Hawks and participating in their training camp. Tatum, 23, played four seasons at Southern Illinois, averaging 12.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.21 steals in 131 games. As a senior, Tatum earned the 2007 Larry Bird Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year award.

Lakers sign Joe Crawford

InsideHoops.com editor says: I like this dude. I think he’s got the competitive ability to help a team’s deep bench. I’ve seen him play just enough to feel he’s worth a shot. Here’s the news release:

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Joe Crawford, it was announced today. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.

Selected by the Lakers with the 58th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Crawford, a 22 year-old native of Detroit, Michigan, played four seasons at the University of Kentucky, averaging 11.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 127 games (76 starts).

As a senior, Crawford ranked fourth in the SEC in scoring with a team-high 17.9 points per game, scoring 20-plus points 13 times while topping 30 points on three occasions.

Earning Second Team All-SEC honors from league coaches as a senior, Crawford finished his collegiate career as Kentucky’s 19th all-time leading scorer with 1,438 points while ranking seventh all-time in three-point field goals made (186).

Additionally, the 6’5” Crawford started all six games for the Lakers Summer League entry in Las Vegas this past July, averaging 11.3 points including .455 (5-of-11) shooting from behind the arc, 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 32.7 minutes.

Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis, who suffered a Grade 3 high ankle sprain, a torn deltoid ligament and a syndesmosis disruption of his left ankle last Thursday, underwent successful surgery today to repair the ligament and will be sidelined a minimum of three-plus months, it was announced today. Ellis informed the team that he suffered the injury while working out in his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Angus McBryde of the Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center in Birmingham, Alabama.

Ellis, 22, is expected to have the ankle immobilized for approximately six (6) weeks and spend approximately the following six (6) weeks undergoing off-court rehabilitation. Based on his progress, the 6’3” guard will be cleared to begin on-court rehabilitation after the successful conclusion of the first two steps in the process. A potential return date (to play) cannot be estimated until the initial 12-week period is completed.

A three-year NBA veteran, Ellis averaged a career-high 20.2 points (25th in NBA) and shot .531 from the floor (14th in NBA) last season.

The Times of London (Ian Whittell) reports: Great Britain Basketball [GBB] officials fear that the insurance problems that are preventing Luol Deng, the Chicago Bulls forward, from playing for his country will rule him out of the 2012 Olympic Games in London and even put Britain’s involvement in the tournament in doubt. The sport’s governing body has seven days to find $500,000 (about £272,000) for an additional insurance premium if Deng, who is an ambassador for London 2012, is to take his place in the qualifying campaign for next year’s European Championship A division finals, starting against Israel in Tel Aviv a week today.

The AP reports: Aito Garcia Reneses has quit as Spain’s basketball coach after leading the national team to a silver medal at the Beijing Olympic Games. Garcia Reneses made use of a clause in his contract which allows him to vacate the position after the games, the Spanish basketball federation announced Tuesday. “I don’t want to coach only for two months a year. At present, I prefer to be active throughout the season,” said Garcia Reneses, who is expected to take over at Spanish club Unicaja.

Wayman Tisdale has part of leg amputated

The AP reports: Former NBA player Wayman Tisdale had part of his right leg amputated Monday because of bone cancer. Tisdale, 44, revealed on his Web site that the surgery was scheduled for Monday. His wife, Regina, told The Associated Press on Tuesday night the surgery had taken place as planned. “Everything went well,” she said. Tisdale, a 6-foot-9 Tulsa native who played for Oklahoma before spending 12 seasons in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns, first learned he had cancerous cyst below his right knee after he broke his leg in a fall at his home in Los Angeles on Feb. 8, 2007.

Kevin Duckworth dies at 44

Kevin Duckworth, 44, a two-time NBA All-Star who starred on Western Conference Championship teams in Portland in 1990 and 1992, passed away Monday evening in Gleneden Beach, Oregon.

Two recent pictures of him are here. Also join in fan reaction here.

A member of the Trail Blazers from 1986-93, the 7-footer - affectionately known to Trail Blazers fans simply as “Duck” - also played for San Antonio, Washington, Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Clippers during his 11-year NBA career.

“Today is an extremely sad day for the Trail Blazers family,” Trail Blazers President Larry Miller said. “Kevin will be remembered by fans as one of the most popular and recognizable players to ever wear the Blazers uniform, but to people who knew him, he’ll be remembered as one of the warmest and biggest-hearted.”

Duckworth remained in the Portland area after his playing career ended, where he was an avid fisherman & outdoorsman, and a skilled carpenter. He was on the Oregon Coast representing the Trail Blazers as a Heritage Ambassador on the team’s 19-city Statewide Summer Tour. The cause of his death is unknown, and will be determined by a Lincoln County Medical Examiner.

A second-round draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs out of Eastern Illinois University in 1986, Duckworth was only 14 games into his NBA career when he was acquired by the Trail Blazers from San Antonio in exchange for Walter Berry.

One season later, the 7-foot center was thrust into the spotlight because of injuries to Steve Johnson and Sam Bowie. Duckworth responded by averaging 15.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, establishing himself as a pivot presence instrumental in Portland’s emergence as one of the NBA’s dominant teams.

Duckworth remains the 10th leading scorer (7,188) and rebounder (3,327) in Trail Blazers history, compiling averages of 13.6 points and 6.3 rebounds in 527 games with Portland. During his tenure, Trail Blazers teams compiled a record of 356-193 (.648). In 684 career NBA games, Duckworth scored 8,085 points (11.8 ppg), grabbed 3,945 rebounds (5.8 rpg) and shot 46.8 percent from the field.

“This is a devastating loss,” said Traci Rose, Trail Blazers Vice President of Community Relations. “To this day, Duck is adored throughout this state and remains a brother to his teammates and to Trail Blazers staff. We will forever miss our beloved 00.”

Information on memorial services will be announced as it becomes available. Duckworth is survived by his mother and sister.

Basketball blog