Archive for September 5th, 2008

Thunder have new operations director

The Oklahoma City Thunder promoted longtime employee Marc St. Yves, it was announced today by the team’s General Manager Sam Presti. St. Yves, entering his 30th year with the franchise, will assume the role of Director of Team Operations for the Thunder.

“We are pleased to reward Marc for his years of service for our team and in the NBA,” Presti said. “He is an invaluable part of the operation we are building in Oklahoma City and expect him to further enhance our organization with his professionalism and diligence.”

In his new role St. Yves will oversee all of the day-to-day team operations including facilities, equipment, travel and logistics for all team functions.

St. Yves previously held the position of Equipment Manager for the club, a title he had held since 1985. The Seattle native began his association with the franchise as a 13 year-old ball boy during the team’s 1979-80 season.

Cavs sign Lorenzen Wright

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed veteran center Lorenzen Wright to a contract, Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry announced today. Per team and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Wright, 32, played 13 games last season with the Atlanta Hawks and five games with the Sacramento Kings. The 6-foot-11, 255 pound center was drafted by the L.A. Clippers with the seventh overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft and has played in 761 career games (445 starts) with averages of 8.1 points and 6.5 rebounds in 24.2 minutes per game.

“Lorenzen brings us valuable size and experience and adds depth to our front court,” Ferry said. “We think he’s a good fit for us and look forward to him joining our team.”

The 12-year veteran has appeared in 15 postseason games (11 starts) and averaged 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 24.2 minutes per game.

Raptors training camp in Ottawa

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday that Head Coach Sam Mitchell and his team will conduct training camp at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario from September 30 – October 4, and then back at Air Canada Centre from October 5-28. This will be the first time the team has held camp in the nation’s capital.

“We are very excited to hold training camp in our nation’s capital, symbolizing our identity as Canada’s team,” said Bryan Colangelo, Raptors President and General Manager. “Carleton University offers us state of the art facilities and a great working relationship with a highly successful basketball program.”

The Raptors will conduct two-a-day practices at the Ravens’ Nest Gymnasium on the campus of Carleton University. All practice sessions will be closed to the public. A specific practice schedule with days, times and media availability will be released later.

The team will host an open intrasquad game Saturday, Oct. 4 at 1 p.m. at the Ravens’ Nest Gymnasium. Admission information will be available in the near future.

The Raptors Basketball Development Department, in conjunction with Carleton University Men’s and Women’s Basketball, will conduct three clinics for ages 10-14 at the Ravens’ Nest Gymnasium. A co-ed clinic Thursday, October 2 from 6-7:30 p.m. will be open to the general public. There will be no fee to register for the clinic, however a waiver must be completed and brought by the participant to the clinic. Registration for the co-ed clinic may be done online by going to the Carleton University web site, www.carleton.ca/athletics, and clicking on the Raptors logo.

The Raptors open the 2008 preseason Tuesday, October 7 at Cleveland and return home to play host to the New York Knicks the following evening at 7 p.m. at Air Canada Centre. The club’s 2008-09 regular season opener is Wednesday, October 29 at Philadelphia. The home opener is set for Friday, October 31 versus the Golden State Warriors.

Coach Porter wants Suns to defend

The Suns are known for scoring. As for defense, they’ve actually been better at it than a lot of fans give them credit for. It’s not true that the Suns back away and let the other team shoot layups just to get the ball back quicker. Sometimes they guard layups and only give up open 10-footers. See? But if coach Terry Porter has his way, even that will change. Here’s the Arizona Republic (Paul Coro):

“Our defense will be better just because we’re going to have different schemes,” said Porter, who will have the Suns denying middle penetration, a change from previous seasons, when the Suns forced dribblers to the paint. “It’s always a challenge when you get a new group together. You have to see how everyone responds and plays off each other. From an energy standpoint, we’re going to be solid. Effort is going to be consistent. It really comes down to having more of a presence at the defensive end.”

It’ll be interesting to see how big a factor aging legend Shaquille O’Neal is this season, especially on defense. More from the Arizona Republic:

Depth will bring rotation challenges for Porter to manage. He said a 10-man rotation is hard but added that going nine deep could work. Dragic, a 22-year-old Slovenian, is one of those with a role, backing up Nash. The Suns went through a whirlwind summer to get Dragic. Porter has just begun to get a live look at Dragic in recent weeks. “He’s really good at reading different pick-and-roll situations and fast breaks,” Porter said. “The challenging part for him will be just the adjustment to the culture, the NBA style of play and the physicality of the game. Most point guards struggle a bit their rookie year. “At times, I’m probably going to have to be a little more patient than I am, because I played that position.”

As long as the Suns keep their offense as it’s been, with lots of exciting fast breaks and sweet pick-and-rolls, cutting and movement, I’ll love watching them play. Hopefully, what they do with the ball doesn’t change much now that Mike D’Antoni is gone.

–Jeff

Cousin says Marbury is selfish

A good way to sell a book is to write interesting details about someone famous. And when you’re actually related to that famous person, you probably have some decent stuff to share. Stephon Marbury for a long time has been known as a “me-first” kind of guy, and that’s probably sometimes been unfair. But his own cousin has joined in and shared stuff that helps solidify that reputation. Here’s the New York Daily News (Mark Lelinwalla):

Stephon Marbury has carried the stigma of being a selfish player for the majority of his 12-year NBA career. Now, his older cousin is saying Marbury is even more self-centered off the court and is dishing details on the Knicks point guard in his autobiography, “The Beautiful Struggle,” the Daily News has learned. The book, due out in late September from Xlibris Publishing, has former NBA pro and current overseas player Jamel Thomas alleging that Marbury ruined a potential deal for him with the Minnesota Timberwolves. In it, Thomas includes a conversation that he allegedly had with Kevin Garnett, in which Garnett tells him how Marbury’s presence on the team spoiled his cousin’s chances of signing with Minnesota.

For all you fans who watch every basketball movie that comes out, you’ve seen a little of Jamel Thomas already in the Sebastian Telfair documentary “Through the Fire,” which I really liked. Anyway, as someone who covers the NBA for a living who is also a New Yorker, I’ll definitely be checking the book out and will let you know how must-read it is.

–Jeff

 

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