Archive for August 22nd, 2008

Spurs re-sign Michael Finley

Jeff says: Finley, now at age 82, a full 23 years older than Greg Oden, is at the end of his career and I don’t think he should play more than a few minutes per quarter as a backup. That said, he’s probably still useful off the bench, plus his Spurs experience makes him more useful to them than many other ancient veterans would be. Here’s the news release:

The San Antonio Spurs announced today that they have re-signed guard Michael Finley. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

The 6-7, 225-lb Finley was one of two Spurs (Fabricio Oberto was the other) to appear in all 82 games during the 2007-08 season. He averaged 10.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 26.9 minutes and shot .414 (315-761) from the field, .370 (132-357) from three-point land and .800 (64-80) from the line. Finley scored in double figures 47 times and had 20-or-more five times on the season. The University of Wisconsin product saw action in all 17 of San Antonio’s playoff games, averaging 6.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 23.0 minutes per game.

Finley was originally signed by the Spurs on 9/2/05. The two-time All-Star has also spent time with the Phoenix Suns and the Dallas Mavericks. Over his 13-year NBA career, he has appeared in 976 games and has averaged 16.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 32.8 minutes.

Jeff says: Ruland, a former NBA big-man, is a big dude. For all you size-challenged people out there, if Ruland ever decides to fall asleep while standing up, and you happen to be near him, move away, quickly. Why would he fall asleep standing up? No reason at all. Just saying, if for some absurd reason that ever happened, get out of the way. Anyway, here’s the news release:

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that Jeff Ruland has been hired as an assistant coach.  Ruland’s main area of concentration as part of Head Coach Maurice Cheeks’ staff will be to work with and help develop the Sixers post players.

“That I am able to add a coach with the experience and credentials of Jeff Ruland to my staff is exciting,” Cheeks said. “He’ll be an invaluable resource for our players - particularly our big men - and an asset to the organization as a whole.”

“I’m excited to re-join the 76ers and have the opportunity to help the organization reach the goal of winning a championship, as well as return to a city that is very close to me and my family,” Ruland said. “I owe a lot to the Thunderbirds and the ownership there. Sam Bregman and David Kahn played a large part in my move back to the NBA. I am a shining example of how the NBA Development League continues to prosper and promote, not only players, but coaches as well.”

An eight-year NBA veteran, Ruland most recently served as head coach of the Albuquerque Thunderbirds of the NBA Development League during the 2007-08 season.  Prior to that, Ruland was head coach of his alma mater Iona, helping the Gaels secure three NCAA Tournament berths during his nine seasons at the helm.

A two-time NBA All-Star, Ruland appeared in 332 career games with 189 starts, averaging a point-rebound double-double with 17.4 ppg and 10.2 rpg.  His best season came with Washington in 1983-84 when he led the NBA in minutes played while averaging 22.2 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists.

In June of 1986, the Sixers acquired Ruland and Cliff Robinson from the Bullets in exchange for Moses Malone, Terry Catledge and two first round draft picks.  However, a knee injury forced Ruland to retire after just five games with the Sixers.  Five years later, he came out of retirement to join the Sixers during the 1991-92 season, but suffered a torn Achilles after appearing in 13 games.

Following his second retirement from the NBA in 1993, Ruland again returned to the Sixers, this time as an assistant coach on Fred Carter’s staff during the 1993-94 season.  In 1995, Ruland was hired as an assistant coach at Iona College by Tim Welsh, who most recently completed a 10-year run as head coach at Providence College.

During his playing career at Iona, Ruland was coached by the legendary Jim Valvano.  Ruland played for several coaches during his NBA career, including two current members of the Sixers staff, assistant coach Jim Lynam and scout Gene Shue.

Celtics sign Darius Miles

Jeff says: Miles has always been a question mark. Early on he was just an athletic dunker who didn’t really know how to play basketball. But as his career progressed, he kept showing stretches of occasional brilliance. He was still raw and not yet developed, yet for 10 or 15 minutes here and there Miles seemed like a future star, if he could just learn how to play. Only that never really happened, because he got hurt, badly, over and over. And fell out of shape. And even when he was playing well, there was never a sense that he ever really loved basketball. But now he’s apparently back, in shape, and ready to contribute. I think the Celtics are making the right move, taking a low-risk chance on him with potential decent reward. And, here’s the news release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed free agent forward Darius Miles. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Miles, a 6’9”, 235lbs forward out of East St. Louis High School has posted career averages of 10.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.15 blocks in 412 career games. Miles was originally drafted with the third overall pick in the 2000 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. Miles last played for the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2005-06 season when he averaged a career high 14.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in 40 games. Miles missed all of the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons due to microfracture surgery on his right knee.

“Darius has been in twice for workouts with us and has impressed us with his progress, health, and attitude;” said Danny Ainge, Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations/General Manager. “Darius will have the next couple of months to prove to myself and Coach Rivers that he can help us win.”

The Bellville, Illinois native became the first player in NBA history to receive All-Rookie honors straight out of high school when he averaged 9.4 points and 1.54 blocks for the Clippers in the 2000-01 season. Miles scored in double-figures in 31 of the 40 games that he appeared in during his last NBA season in 2005-06. As a starter in 23 of those 40 games he averaged 16.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.

“I’ve watched the Boston Celtics play a lot last year and loved what I saw in their teamwork and chemistry on the court and it’s the team that I want to try to resume my career with.” said Miles. “I am excited about having an opportunity to play on a team that I feel my personality fits with and a team that can have great success on the court.”

Nuggets re-sign J.R. Smith

As expected, the Nuggets have kept their super-athletic, three-point shooting restricted free agent who teams around the league seem to have not even bothered trying to sign because Denver was going to match any sane offer.  Here’s the news release:

The Denver Nuggets have re-signed G J.R. Smith to a multi-year contract, Nuggets Vice President of Basketball Operations Mark Warkentien announced today.  Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released. We’ll post the reported salary later tonight.

“We’re extremely delighted to have J.R. back,” said Warkentien.  “His blend of off-the-charts-athleticism and long-range shooting ability is rare, especially for someone his age.   We believe his best basketball is still to come.”

Smith, 22, has averaged 12.6 ppg in 137 regular season games for the Nuggets over the past two seasons – primarily as a reserve (just 24 starts).  He has shot .396 (306-772) from three-point range as a Nugget, which ranks as the best percentage in team history (minimum 100 made treys).

This past season, Smith averaged 12.3 ppg in 19.2 minutes per game, while notching career-bests for field goal percentage (.461) and three-point percentage (.403).  He led the NBA in three-point field goals made per 48 minutes (5.3) and twice tied the team record for three-pointers made in a quarter with seven.  He scored a career-high 43 points off the bench in 33 minutes at Chicago on 2/22, setting a team record for points in a non-starting role.  Smith continued his strong play in the postseason, averaging 18.3 ppg in 27.0 minutes in four games against the Lakers.

The 6-6, 220, swingman was acquired from Chicago on July 20, 2006, in exchange for Howard Eisley and two second-round draft picks.  He was originally selected by the New Orleans Hornets in the first round (18th overall) of the 2004 NBA Draft.

Web viewing of NBA games may soon exist

The Oklahoman (Mel Bracht) reports: Say you’re working late and can’t make it to the Ford Center to watch Oklahoma City’s new NBA team play its game that night. Instead, you log on to your computer and watch streaming video of the team’s game broadcast. Sound far-fetched? Not if the NBA has its way. The league is aggresively promoting three new Internet elements — video streaming in home markets, interactive TV and video-on-demand — for the upcoming season. Ed Desser, a media consultant for Oklahoma City’s team, said many details have yet to be worked out, and didn’t expect the team to offer the Internet elements anytime soon.

Seattle starts 3-on-3 league

The Seattle Times (Jayda Evans) reports: The latest game to hit Seattle will be 3BA International, a proposed three-on-three basketball league whose rules emphasize speed and stamina. Sonics legend Shawn Kemp will play in the Seattle vs. Portland exhibition game set for 7:30 tonight at KeyArena. “It’s the Arena Football version of basketball,” said former NBA player A.C. Green, who will coach the Portland team…  Teams made up of aspiring pros and former college players average about 150 points a contest. KeyArena will be re-formatted for the players to play on a league-regulated court that’s 50 feet wide and 72 feet long, using an 18-second shot clock.

Bobby Jackson wants to be a coach

The Sacramento Bee (Melody Gutierrez) reports: Bobby Jackson, who’s entering his 12th season, has been candid about his intentions. He sees himself playing one to three more years before committing himself to coaching. “No more than three years,” said Jackson, who will be at the California State Fair tonight to meet fans and sign autographs from 6 to 7 p.m. “I’m not trying to get into (coaching) right now. My main focus right now is (playing).” And even that will be a major adjustment, Jackson said. Only two players – Brad Miller and Kevin Martin – remain from his first go-around with the Kings from 2000 to 2005.

Heat sign Dorell Wright

The Miami Heat announced Thursday that they have re-signed guard/forward Dorell Wright. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Wright, who originally signed with the HEAT on July 27, 2004 after being drafted in the first round (19th overall) in the 2004 NBA Draft, has appeared in 133 games (55 starts). During his four-year NBA career in Miami, he has averaged 6.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 19.2 minutes while shooting 46.1 percent from the field and 79.2 percent from the foul line. Additionally, Wright has increased his points per game, rebounds per game and blocks per game averages while also increasing his offensive rebounds and games started in each of his four seasons with the HEAT. Over that same span, he has scored in double-figures on 34 occasions and has tallied eight double-doubles.

During the 2007-08 season, Wright appeared in 44 games (34 starts) and set career-highs with 7.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 0.93 blocks in 25.1 minutes while shooting a career-best 48.8 percent from the field. Wright also dished out 1.4 assists while leading the HEAT in blocks on 16 occasions, rebounds seven times, steals on five occasions, minutes four times and points once. Wright became the first player in HEAT franchise history to be perfect shooting from both the field and the free throw line with at least five attempts in each category after he shot 5-for-5 from the field and 7-for-7 from the foul line versus Toronto on February 4, 2008.

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