Archive for August 8th, 2008

By Jeff: The Memphis Commercial-Appeal reported that the Grizzlies gave Hawks free agent forward Josh Smith an offer sheet, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that he actually signed it. The deal, according to the AJC, is for five years and $58 million.

If that’s all true, once it’s official, the Hawks will have 7 days to match the offer, and I’d say they will definitely do it.

The Grizzlies are smart for doing this. Smith and Rudy Gay would make a talented, extremely athletic and very exciting frontcourt. And they didn’t overpay. So, the Hawks can’t be too upset that they’ll be forced to match the offer, because it’s less than a player like Smith would hope to get for his first big, long-term contract.

The Hawks aren’t sold on Smith as a true franchise player to build around. They see him more of a super-versatile, ultra-talented supporting player, which is why they weren’t offering him a big contract. With that said, they should match the offer, and again, I expect that they will.

Fan discussion about this news is here. Join in, or just read reactions.

Jason Smith tears ACL in left knee

Jason Smith, a very athletic big forward who definitely helped the 76ers a lot last season and was a very useful, but not absolutely essential piece of Philly’s success, has torn the ACL in his left knee. Usually, that means missing an entire season. It’s really too bad. Smith makes any roster better. Philly will have to replace him. Here’s the full news release:

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that center Jason Smith suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee during normal basketball activity on Wednesday.

Smith was examined by team Physician Dr. Jack McPhilemy on Thursday evening and will receive a second opinion from Dr. Dave Altchek in the coming weeks.

No timetable has been set for his 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.

The following is a statement from Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski regarding the injury to Sixers center Jason Smith: “It’s unfortunate that this happened, but Jason is resilient and he’ll receive the best treatment available,” Stefanski said. “I was there, along with Coach Cheeks and Tony DiLeo, when the injury occurred, which was during a routine, five-on-five drill at an NBA-approved camp held in Las Vegas. There was no contact made with Jason when he suffered the injury. “At this point, we will continue to explore all available options in order to add an additional big man to our roster.”

Euroleague.net reports: Lottomatica Roma added another piece to its revamped frontcourt by signing Angelo Gigli to a three-year deal. Gigli (25, 209) arrives from Benetton Treviso, where he spent the past two years. The big man was born in South Africa, but grew up in the Italian capital from age 2.

It’s always nice when pro athletes who do wacky, stupid, illegal stuff get a chance to right their wrongs.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune (Jimmy Smith) reports: Hornets forward Rasual Butler can avoid prosecution for felony weapons charges in Dade County if he successfully completes four pre-trial conditions arranged by his attorneys and the district attorney’s office in Miami… Butler must donate $500, which is equal to the charge’s appropriate fine, to the “Do the Right Thing” program for kids in the Miami community, perform 50 hours of community service in Dade County, take and complete an appropriate weapons education program in which he will be taught the safe and appropriate handling of a firearm, and renews his personal firearm license, which had lapsed.

The Dallas Morning News (Brandon George) reports:  Dallas Mavericks’ fans will have to wait a while to see 2008 second-round draft pick Shan Foster knocking down 3-pointers at American Airlines Center. Foster, a 6-6 guard from Vanderbilt, has signed a one-year contract with a team in Europe and will play overseas next season, Mavericks president Donnie Nelson said Thursday in an e-mail. Nelson, who is in China serving as an assistant coach for China’s men’s Olympic basketball team, didn’t specify the team Foster signed with. The Mavericks still retain Foster’s NBA rights.

Clippers sign Jason Williams

The Clippers have had an interesting summer. Elton Brand and Corey Maggette are gone. They signed Baron Davis, got Marcus Camby basically for free in a trade, and added Eric Gordon in the Draft. But with Davis, Jason Hart and Mike Taylor, it seemed the point guard spot was filled, but apparently not, as Davis now has a terrific backup in former Heat PG Jason Williams. The Los Angeles Times reports that the deal is just for one year. Though J-Will has looked pretty washed up recently, maybe he has something left. He certainly should be decent in limited minutes, like 3 per quarter or so. So Taylor may be gone.

Here’s the news:

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

A veteran of 10 NBA seasons, Williams joins the Clippers after playing the last three years for Miami, where he helped the Heat to the 2006 NBA Championship. Williams, 32, has played in 679 career regular season games and averaged 11.4 points, 6.3 assists and 2.4 rebounds for a total of three teams. The six-foot-one, 180 pound point guard has also started and played in 53 career playoff contests, averaging 9.8 points, 3.7 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 0.9 steals.

“Jason is an experienced and proven player,” Baylor said. “He is a terrific ball handler with great passing ability and court vision.”

Playing alongside new Clippers teammate Ricky Davis with the Heat last season, Williams averaged 8.8 points, 1.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 28.1 minutes while appearing in 67 games. The West Virginia native finished eighth in the league with a 3.37 assists per turnover ratio and 12th with a 0.91 steals per turnover ratio.

“We are excited to add Jason to our squad,” Clippers head coach Mike Dunleavy said. “He brings added veteran leadership and playoff experience to our backcourt.”

Drafted by the Sacramento Kings in 1998 following his junior year at the University of Florida, Williams was named to the 1999 NBA All-Rookie Team following an electrifying first season that saw him average 12.8 points and 6.0 assists. Over the next nine seasons, Williams has emerged as one of the most dependable point guards in the NBA, averaging double-figures in scoring and at least five assists per game in eight of his ten years in the league.

Williams moved to Memphis for the 2001-02 season and over the next four seasons became the Grizzlies all-time assists leader and all-time leader in three-point field goals attempted. Williams joined Miami prior to the 2005-06 season that ended with an NBA Championship.

The Clippers new-look roster now stands at 14 players as Los Angeles has revamped its roster by adding a total of 10 new faces for the 2008-09 season.

Heat sign Yakhouba Diawara

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have signed free agent guard/forward Yakhouba Diawara. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Diawara spent the previous two seasons playing for the Denver Nuggets. During the 2007-08 season, he played in 54 games (14 starts), averaging 2.8 points and 1.1 rebounds in 10.0 minutes per game, while shooting 41.0 percent from the field. In his first season in the NBA, he played in 64 games (19 starts) and averaged 4.4 points and 1.7 rebounds in 18.4 minutes per game.

During the 2005-06 season, Diawara played in 20 games for JDA Dijon Bourgogne of the French League where he averaged 16.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He also played 25 games for Climamio Bologna of the Italian League, where he averaged 10.6 points and 3.8 rebounds.

He was a member of the HEAT’s 2005 Summer League squad, playing in two games and averaging 5.0 points and 2.5 rebounds while shooting 57.1 percent from the field.

He played for two seasons at Pepperdine (2003-05), averaging 15.5 points and 6.0 rebounds over his two years. He was also named First Team All-West Coast Conference as a junior. He spent his first two collegiate seasons at Southern Idaho Junior College.

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