Archive for August, 2008

Jason Smith medical update

Philadelphia 76ers center Jason Smith was examined yesterday afternoon by Dr. David Altchek, the Attending Orthopaedic Surgeon in the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Smith received new MRIs which confirmed the ACL injury, and he has improved his strength and range of motion.  Per Dr. Altheck, Smith will continue with therapy and medication before a follow-up visit in early September.

No timetable has been set for Smith’s return. Additional updates will be provided when they become available.

A product of Colorado State University, Smith appeared in 76 games during his rookie season and averaged 4.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 14.5 minutes per game. In the playoffs, Smith appeared in all six games and posted averages of 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in 13.7 minutes per game. In the recently completed Las Vegas Summer League, Smith appeared in five games and averaged 18.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 30.6 minutes per game.

OKC waives Donyell Marshall

The Oklahoma City NBA franchise announced today that the team has waived forward Donyell Marshall.

InsideHoops.com says: At this point in his career Marshall is basically useful as a big guy to come off the bench, fire an outside shot or two, grab a board, foul someone, and sit down.

Sixers sign Theo Ratliff

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that the team has signed free agent center Theo Ratliff.  Per team policy, terms of the agreement are not disclosed. InsideHoops.com unofficially hears it’s a one-year deal for the NBA league minimum.

“We are very fortunate to sign a player of Theo’s caliber,” Stefanski said. “He is a consummate professional, both on the court and off, who will provide us with additional depth in the front court while also serving as a mentor to some of our younger players.”

Ratliff (6-10, 238) has played for six teams during his 13 NBA seasons, including a 215-game stint with the Sixers from mid-December of 1997 till late February of 2001.  In 705 career games with 504 starts, Ratliff has averaged 7.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.63 blocks in 27.0 minutes per game while shooting 49.7% from the floor and 71.1% from the line.  He has also appeared in 33 career playoff games with 17 starts, averaging 6.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.91 blocks in 22.2 minutes per game.

One of seven players in NBA history to lead the league in blocks in at least three seasons (2000-01, 2002-03 and 2003-04), Ratliff ranks 18th all-time in total blocks (1,855) and is seventh among active players.  He also owns the ninth-highest blocks per game average in league history and is fourth among active players.  The Sixers now have three players who rank among the NBA’s top-11 active all-time leaders in blocks per game (Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembert and Ratliff).

A two-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection (1998-99, 2003-04), Ratliff enjoyed his greatest success as a Sixer, capped off in 2000-01 when he was voted as the starting center for the Eastern Conference All-Star Team.  Unfortunately, Ratliff suffered a fractured right wrist in early February of 2001 and missed All-Star Weekend.  Shortly after, he was traded to Atlanta along with Toni Kukoc, Nazr Mohammed and Pepe Sanchez in exchange for Dikembe Mutombo and Roshown McLeod.

After missing all but two games with a sore lower back for Boston in 2006-07, Ratliff was part of the Celtics trade with Minnesota last summer for Kevin Garnett.  The Timberwolves waived Ratliff on Feb. 29, 2008, allowing him to sign as a free-agent with Detroit shortly after.  In a combined 26 games with nine starts last season, Ratliff averaged 4.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.46 blocks in 16.8 minutes per game while shooting 48.2% from the floor and 67.4% from the line.  He also appeared in 12 of the Pistons 17 playoff games, averaging 1.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.92 blocks in 10.9 minutes per game.

The AP reports: Clay Bennett’s ownership group has reached a final settlement with the city of Seattle, allowing the former SuperSonics franchise to move to Oklahoma City. Attorneys filed a document Tuesday in Seattle federal court noting that the parties had agreed to pay their own court costs after reaching the settlement. Bennett announced last month that a settlement was being negotiated that would involve him making a payment of up to $75 million to Seattle to get out of the final two years of a lease at KeyArena. At that time, he had expected the settlement to be finalized by Aug. 1. Instead, an extension was sought from the court and terms weren’t reached until now.

InsideHoops.com editor says: I’d like to announce today that I have decided to sue the OKC team. I’m not sure why yet, but everyone else is, and being human I too sometimes feel an occasional need to fit in with the crowd.  But seriously, I’m still not sure about “Thunder” as a name, if that does turn out to be it. It’s cool enough. I can definitely live with it. And thunder is certainly an awe-inspiring thing. So, maybe it works. All names need time to grow on you. Fungus takes time to grow, too. So do beautiful trees, though. Wait, what was the question?

Ray Allen gets married

The Boston Globe reports: Ray Allen and longtime girlfriend Shannon Walker Williams finally made it official, tying the knot in an intimate ceremony on Martha’s Vineyard over the weekend. Guests at the wedding, which was held under sunny skies at a private home in Oak Bluffs, included the couple’s three children Tierra, Ray III, and Walker, fellow UConn alums Scott Burrell and 76er Kevin Ollie, Celts CEO Wyc Grousbeck and wife Corinne, and, of course, the NBA Championship trophy.

Here’s a photo. And another.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Greg Johns) reports: Sonics fans pursuing a class-action suit against Clay Bennett have laid out exactly what they’re seeking from the Oklahoma City ownership group: free tickets for the next two seasons of basketball at the Ford Center. In the latest legal volley from the lawyers representing three Sonics season ticket holders, Seattle attorney Frederick Schoepflin outlined a potential remedy for U.S. District Judge Richard Jones. Noting it would be extremely difficult to force the team back to Seattle in order to fulfill its promise to provide tickets for the same guaranteed price at KeyArena through the 2009-10 season, Schoepflin suggested an appropriate solution would be offering nearly 1,400 Sonics fans tickets at Oklahoma City’s arena at those same prices for the next two years.

Sixers re-sign Andre Iguodala

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that the team has re-signed restricted free-agent swingman Andre Iguodala.  Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Multiple reports say the deal is for six years and $80 million.

“Andre is one of the top players in the NBA and he was a key factor in our turnaround last season,” said Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider. “Keeping him a part of our roster was an important off-season move for us. I’m very excited that he has decided to remain a Philadelphia 76er.”

“Ed Stefanski worked very hard this off-season on adding key players to our line-up and keeping our core roster in tact,” said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko. “Keeping Andre as a 76er was important to us, as we want to expand on our successes from last season.”

“We have maintained since the beginning of this process that Andre was a main priority for us because he is one of the best all-around young players in the league and an integral part to the success of our team,” Stefanski said. “We are excited that we are able to keep a player with Andre’s talent, athleticism and work ethic here in Philadelphia.”

Iguodala (6-6, 207) was originally selected with the ninth overall pick by Philadelphia in the 2004 NBA Draft following his sophomore season at the University of Arizona.  He has played and started 322 of a possible 328 games in his four-year career, averaging 14.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.85 steals in 37.5 minutes per game while shooting 46.8% from the floor, 33.1% from 3-point range and 76.5% from the line.

Last season, the 24-year-old averaged a career-high 19.9 points per game and is one of 10 players under the age of 25 who ranked among the top-30 scorers.  Iguodala is also one of a handful of players who have increased their scoring average in each of the past four seasons.  Over the past two seasons, the Sixers have compiled a record of 46-30 (.605) in games in which Iguodala has scored 20+ points and 24-58 (.293) in games in which he played and scored below 20 points.

Iguodala also averaged 5.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.09 steals last season, joining 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 2006-07, Iguodala joined Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Tracy McGrady as the only players to average at least 18.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

Since he entered the league in 2004-05, Iguodala has the third most steals of any player, trailing only Shawn Marion and Allen Iverson.  Iguodala ranked sixth in the NBA in steals last season and had almost as many steal (160) as turnovers (167) over the final 66 games.

In 2006, Iguodala was named MVP of the 2006 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge during All-Star Weekend while also finishing second in the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk competition.  The past two summers, Iguodala was a member of the U.S. Select Team which helped prepare the Senior National Team for the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship and the 2008 Olympics.

Clippers sign Paul Davis

The Los Angeles Clippers today signed free agent center Paul Davis, according to Vice President of Basketball Operations Elgin Baylor.  Per team policy, terms of the deal were not announced.

Paul Davis joins Baron Davis and Ricky Davis on the Clippers’ roster to bring the “Davis” count to an NBA tying three.  Many teams’ rosters have had as many as three players with the same surname throughout league history, but none with four.  The most recent example?  The ’05-’06 Toronto Raptors, with Aaron, Alvin and Eric Williams.

Paul Davis was drafted by the Clippers with the 34th overall selection in the second round of the 2006 NBA Draft and appeared in a total of 53 games for Los Angeles over the last two seasons. The Clippers had previously renounced his rights on July 16.

Paul Davis, 24, averaged 2.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 8.8 minutes in 22 games last season before having his season cut short by a torn anterior cruciate ligament and torn lateral meniscus suffered in his right knee on Dec. 21, 2007.

A former stand-out at Michigan State University, the 6-foot-11 center has career averages of 2.0 points and 1.7 rebounds in 7.1 minutes.

The Clippers new-look roster now stands at 15 players as Los Angeles has revamped its roster by adding a total of 10 new faces for the 2008-09 season.

LeBron is all-world unguardable

I’m watching USA vs Germany, in the last game of the preliminary round. And anytime LeBron James has the ball, it’s simply unfair. When he does something, it isn’t just good, it’s mind-blowing and absurd. It’s like he’s being guarded by Division 3 college players.

The USA is up 51-23 with under two minutes left in the first half. Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman don’t add up to anything even close to enough. The USA will win. Next up for the USA is the quarterfinals in two days, and then the tournament is single-elimination.

And, just as I was about to post this, Germany went on a bit of a run. At the half it’s 53-29, USA up.

Anyway, yeah, LeBron’s sorta good and stuff.

Luol Deng may miss Euro qualifying event

The AP reports: Luol Deng could be forced to miss Great Britain’s qualifying campaign for the 2009 European Championship because the team can’t find an insurer to cover the forward’s lucrative new six-year contract with the Chicago Bulls. The national team is exploring solutions to the problem with the NBA and the Bulls, who gave Deng a new deal last month reportedly worth up to US$80 million.

Heat waive Bobby Jones

The Heat have now cut Bobby Jones for what feels like the 194th time. This marks the 2,294th time (give or take) Jones has been waived in his short NBA career. InsideHoops.com still believes he deserves to someday make a roster and stay on it for a season or two. Here’s the news:

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have requested waivers on forward Bobby Jones. Jones was claimed off waivers by the HEAT on Aug. 5 after being waived by the New York Knicks on July 29.

Jones, whose first stint with the HEAT began on Mar. 12, 2008 after signing a 10-day contract, appeared in six games with Miami during the 2007-08 season and averaged 8.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 23.8 minutes. Overall he appeared in 47 games last season, with five teams including the HEAT, and averaged 3.8 points, 2.0 rebounds and 11.3 minutes per game.

Lakers sign Josh Powell

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed free agent Josh Powell, it was announced today.  Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.

Powell, a three-year NBA veteran, spent last season with the Los Angeles Clippers where he averaged 5.5 points and 5.2 rebounds in 64 games. After going undrafted in 2003, the 6-9 forward spent two seasons overseas where he played in both the Italian and Russian basketball leagues. Prior to the 2005-06 season, Powell was signed as a free agent by the Dallas Mavericks where he averaged 3.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in 37 games. The North Carolina State alum was traded to the Indiana Pacers in July of 2006 and played in seven games before being acquired by the Golden State Warriors in a midseason trade. Powell finished the 2006-07 season with averages of 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 37 games.

Powell has career averages of 4.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in 138 games with Dallas, Indiana, Golden State and the Clippers.

Kings trade Ron Artest to Rockets

The Sacramento Kings today acquired Donté Greene, Bobby Jackson, a future first round draft pick and other considerations from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Ron Artest, Sean Singletary and Patrick Ewing, Jr., it was announced by Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie.

“In acquiring Bobby, Donte’ Greene and a future first-round pick, we’re excited about adding the veteran experience and proven ability of Bobby,” explained Petrie. “Donté Greene, a first-round pick in this year’s draft, brings us another young frontcourt player with a high level of talent who played exceptionally well in the Las Vegas Summer League. The future first-round pick gives us an additional asset down the road. We’re looking forward to watching them play and seeing them contribute to this team.

“I also want to thank Ron for his effort and contributions over the past two and a half seasons. We all wish him the very best. Sean and Patrick are two fine young players and we wish them future success as well.”

Greene, a 6-9, 221-pound forward out of Syracuse, was an early entry candidate for the 2008 NBA Draft. He was selected in the first round (28th overall) by the Memphis Grizzlies and traded to Houston on the 2008 NBA Draft night. Greene averaged 22.6 points per game (2nd in the league) for the Rockets through five outings in the 2008 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. In his lone season with the Orangeman, Greene led Syracuse in scoring and was fourth in the Big East with an average of 17.7 points per game, which ranked as the second-best freshman scoring average in SU history. He also topped the team in blocks per game (1.63) and ranked second in rebounding average (7.2). A Second-Team All-Big East selection, Greene was named to the conference’s All-Rookie Team and earned Big East Rookie of the Week honors five times. He was also a First-Team NABC pick and made the USBWA District II squad. Greene’s 620 points in 2007-08 was the second highest for a freshman in Syracuse history (778 by Carmelo Anthony), while setting a freshman record for three-point field goals made (90). In addition to his collegiate career, Greene was a member of the silver-medal-winning USA Basketball Men’s U19 Team at the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championship, as well as the gold-medal-winning USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team at the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. Greene was also named Maryland’s 2007 Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at Towson Catholic High School (Baltimore).

Jackson, a 6-1, 185-pound guard, was a key member of the Kings’ success during the early to mid 2000’s and played an integral role in Sacramento’s two Pacific Division titles (2001-02 and 2002-03) and trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2002. He returns to the Kings with career averages of 10.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 684 games (133 starts) with Denver, Minnesota, Sacramento, Memphis, New Orleans and Houston. An 11-year NBA veteran, Jackson, who played five seasons for the Kings (2000-01 to 2004-05), had his best campaign with Sacramento in 2002-03, averaging a career-best 15.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.20 steals per game en route to winning the 2003 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award, becoming the first player in Kings history, and just the second point guard in league history to win the award. He also finished second in voting for the 2002 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award and fourth for the 2001 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. Having been to the playoffs on eight different occasions, Jackson has amassed career averages of 9.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game through 58 post season contests. His most productive playoff campaign, statistically, occurred in 2003 when he averaged 14.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.0 steals per game through 12 outings for the Kings. Jackson was selected by Seattle in the first round (23rd overall) of the 1997 NBA Draft (draft rights were traded to Denver) out of Minnesota where he helped lead the Gophers to a 49-11 record and the school’s only NCAA Final Four appearance during his two-year career there.

Artest, a nine-year NBA veteran, amassed averages of 18.1 points (.419 FG%, .333 3pt%, .733 FT%), 6.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.08 steals, and 38.6 minutes in 110 games with the Kings over a two and a half year span (2005-06 to 2007-08). He guided Sacramento to a playoff berth and a 26-14 record to finish the season after being acquired on January 26, 2005, in addition to being named to the NBA All Defensive First Team (joining former Kings’ player Doug Christie as the only players in Kings franchise history to earn Defensive First Team accolades). Artest has recorded career averages of 16.0 points (.425 FG%, .329 3pt%, .720 FT%), 5.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.13 steals, and 34.7 minutes per game in 535 regular season games (started 507) through nine NBA seasons with Chicago (1999-00 – first half of 2001-02), Indiana (second-half of 2001-02 – first half of 2005-06), and Sacramento (second half of 2005-06 – 2007-08). He ranks ninth all-time in NBA history in steals per game, second only to Allen Iverson among active players in that category. Artest was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year during the 2003-04 season. He was drafted by Chicago as an undergraduate out of St. Johns with the 16th overall pick of the 1999 NBA Draft.

Singletary, a 6-0, 185-pound guard, who was selected by the Kings in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft out of Virginia, averaged 19.8 points and 6.1 assists in his senior season for the Cavaliers, the only player in Division I to rank in the Top 40 in both scoring and assists. The three-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference First Team selection was also the only player in Division I to have a 40-point game, a 10-rebound game and a 10-assist game during the same season and the only player in Virginia men’s basketball history to accomplish all three in the same season. He finished his collegiate career at Virginia ranked second in steals (200), third in assists (587), third in three-point field goals made (222), fourth in free throws made (573), fifth in points scored (2,079), and ninth in field goals made (642). Singletary averaged 16.9 points (.406 FG%, .362 3pt%, .846 FT%), 4.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.62 steals per game in 123 games over four seasons. He averaged over 10 points and 3.9 assists per game in each of his four seasons.

Ewing Jr., a 6-8, 240-pound forward from Georgetown, was selected by the Kings in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft. He averaged 6.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game in 34 contests in 2007-08, his senior season with the Hoyas. The son of former New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing, Ewing Jr. was the inaugural Big East Sixth Man of the Year in 2007-08. Ewing Jr. played two seasons at Indiana (2003-04 and 2004-05) before transferring to Georgetown. He shot over 50 percent from the field in three of his four college seasons.

Suns sign Louis Amundson

The Phoenix Suns have signed free-agent forward Louis Amundson to a contract, the club announced today.

“Louis is a talented, versatile young player who brings a lot of energy and skill to our roster,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr.  “He gives us added depth in the frontcourt and we think he’ll fit in well with our team.”

The 6-9, 238-pound Amundson is a two-year NBA veteran who has appeared in 27 career games with the Utah Jazz and most recently the Philadelphia 76ers.  As a Sixer, the 25-year-old tallied career-highs of eight points, 11 rebounds, including eight offensive, and four blocks in 23 minutes of play at the Detroit Pistons on April 15, 2007.  Amundson, who saw action in two of the club’s first-round playoff games against Detroit in 2008, averaged 2.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 5.0 minutes in the series.

The Ventura, Calif.-native was a productive member of the Golden State Warriors’ 2008 NBA Summer League squad, posting 6.2 points and 5.4 rebounds in 17.6 minutes in five games.  In 2006-07, Amundson’s 11.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.48 blocks in 25 games for the Colorado 14ers of the NBA Development League earned him a spot on the All-D-League First Team as well as D-League Rookie of the Year honors.

Undrafted out of college, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas graduate played five seasons for the Runnin’ Rebels after receiving a medical redshirt for his sophomore season.  Amundson became the first player in Mountain West Conference history to record two career games of at least 20 points and 20 rebounds.

Bucks sign Francisco Elson

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed center Francisco Elson to a contract, General Manager John Hammond announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.  Elson (7-0, 240) comes to the Bucks after splitting the 2007-08 season with San Antonio and Seattle.

“Francisco is a player of high character who will bring length and athleticism to the front line,” said Hammond.  “In addition, he has extensive playoff experience and has been part of an NBA Championship team.  He knows what it takes to be a part of a winning team and we welcome a player with his level of experience.”

Elson, 32, began last season with San Antonio and appeared in 41 games with averages of 3.5 points and 3.3 rebounds before a February trade sent him to Seattle.  He played 22 games for the Sonics and posted averages of 3.0 points and 3.0 rebounds.

Elson was originally drafted by Denver in the second round of the 1999 NBA Draft (41st overall).  He went overseas to play four years in Spain before joining the Nuggets, spending time with FC Barcelona (1999-2001), Pamesa Valencia (2001-02), and Caja San Fernando (2002-03).  He joined the Nuggets prior to the 2003-04 season and went on to play three seasons in Denver before signing with the Spurs prior to the 2006-07 season.  He posted career-high averages in points (5.0) and rebounds (4.8) while appearing in 70 games in his only full season with San Antonio.  He appeared in all 20 of San Antonio’s playoff games (8 starts) during their run to the 2007 NBA Championship.  He logged 230 minutes of playing time and posted averages of 3.3 points and 3.1 rebounds while also becoming the first Dutch player to win an NBA title.

In five NBA seasons, Elson owns career averages of 4.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in 334 games.  He has 30 games of playoff experience with Denver and San Antonio, and owns playoff career averages of 2.9 points and 2.8 rebounds.

Prior to entering the 1999 NBA Draft, Elson enjoyed a two-year stint at the University of California, which included an NIT Championship during his senior year in 1999.  In two seasons with the Bears he averaged 5.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 59 games.  He played his first two seasons of college basketball at Kilgore Junior College.

Elson is a native of the Netherlands and is fluent in Dutch, Spanish, German, South American Suriname and English.

The Portland Trail Blazers announced that guard Brandon Roy underwent arthroscopic surgery today to repair a partial tear in the meniscus of his left knee.  Roy is expected to be out 4-8 weeks.

“We are looking forward to Brandon making a full recovery and expect him to be ready for the start of the regular season,” said Trail Blazers General Manager Kevin Pritchard.

Trail Blazers team physician Dr. Don Roberts performed the surgery at Southwest Washington Regional Surgery Center in Vancouver, Wash.

The title really says it all. I don’t care what the stats or scoreboard says. The majority of Kobe’s shot attempts were tough, forced, stupid shots that shouldn’t be taken.

Why does he feel a need to shoot when there’s a defender right on him? Why not drive, and if defenders approach, dish off? And only shoot when open?

He’s been doing this throughout the tournament so far. Stop it, Kobe.

Bracey Wright signs in Spain

Euroleague.net reports: DKV Joventut has announced an agreement with shooting guard Bracey Wright, who inked a one-year deal with the Spanish powerhouse. Wright (191, 24) arrives from Aris TT Bank, where he averaged 14.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 18 Euroleague games last season.

The Portland Trail Blazers announced today that guard Brandon Roy will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Thursday to repair a tear in the meniscus of his left knee.  A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) taken Tuesday revealed the tear in the meniscus.

Trail Blazers team physician Dr. Don Roberts will perform the surgery at Southwest Washington Regional Surgery Center in Vancouver, Wash.

A timetable for Roy’s return will be set following the arthroscopic surgery.

Andre Barrett signs in Spain

Euroleague.net reports: FC Barcelona has signed playmaker Andre Barrett for the next two seasons, the club announced Wednesday. Barrett (178, 26) makes his European debut with the Spanish giants after spending the past four seasons with six different clubs in the NBA.

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