Archive for September 9th, 2008

Warriors sign three players

The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent guard DeMarcus Nelson, free agent guard/forward Dion Dowell and free agent forward Rob Kurz to contracts, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Mullin announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not announced.

InsideHoops.com says: It’s quite likely that all three are just going to be around for training camp, then cut.

All three players went undrafted in the 2008 NBA Draft and participated on the Warriors Summer League team at the 2008 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and the Rocky Mountain Revue in Salt Lake City.

Nelson, 22, played four seasons at Duke, becoming one of only six players in school history to record over 1,300 points, 600 rebounds, 200 assists and 125 steals in a career. As a senior, the 6-4 guard was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, while also being chosen to the All-ACC First Team after averaging 14.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.56 steals per contest. In nine games with Golden State’s Summer League team in July, Nelson averaged 8.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 19.0 minutes per game. In four games at the Rocky Mountain Revue, he averaged 12.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.25 steals in 27.8 minutes.

A Bay Area native, Nelson was born in Oakland and grew up in Vallejo, where he played his first three high school seasons at Vallejo High School before transferring to Sheldon High School in Sacramento for his senior season. Following his senior season at Sheldon, in which he averaged over 30 points per game, Nelson was named Mr. Basketball in the State of California and received second team Parade All-America honors. He holds the California state high school record for scoring with 3,462 career points.

Dowell, 23, spent his final two collegiate seasons at the University of Houston after spending two years at the University of Texas. As a senior at Houston, the 6-7 swingman averaged 10.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 42.6% (120-282 FG) from the field and a team-leading 40.8% (73-179 3FG) from three-point range. In eight games on the Warriors Summer League squad, Dowell averaged 4.9 points and 3.9 rebounds in 16.9 minutes.

Kurz, 23, played four seasons at Notre Dame, where he averaged 12.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 33 games as a senior. Additionally, the 6-9 forward also averaged a team-high 1.45 blocks per contest. In nine games with the Warriors Summer League team, he averaged 7.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.11 blocks in 16.4 minutes per contest, while shooting 54.2% (26-48 FG) from the field. In four games at the Rocky Mountain Revue, Kurz averaged 12.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.25 blocks in 24.5 minutes, while shooting 62.5% (20-32 FG) from the field.

Nelson will wear uniform #20, Dowell #11 and Kurz #31.

With the signings, Golden State now has 18 players under contract.

No finger surgery for Kobe

Now we know why Kobe Bryant was taking so long to have surgery on his finger. Because he wasn’t sure about even having it. Here’s the Associated Press today:

Lakers star Kobe Bryant says Tuesday on his Web site that he plans to forgo surgery to repair ligament damage in his right pinkie finger. Bryant says on kb24.com that he opted not to have surgery after learning recovery could be 12 weeks.

Although I play a doctor on television (and play husband to multiple supermodels in real life), I’m no expert on ligament issues in fingers. But let’s consider this. The regular season starts in around 7.5 weeks. If Kobe was out 10 weeks, that’s not so bad. Missing 12 is obviously a bit worse. And, it could always take more than 12. Could the Lakers still win and hang around for a playoff spot while Kobe was out? If so, Kobe should probably have the surgery now. If not, he’s probably doing the right thing in delaying it. And then the worry is if the finger will hold up all season and through the playoffs.

Here’s what Bryant said today on his official website:

“I have always felt that I can still focus and play at a high level even through various injuries. That’s really just part of the game. When the doctors told me recovery from a procedure could be 12 weeks, I just decided now was not the time to have surgery. What it really came down to for me is that I just didn’t want to miss any time ‘punching the clock’ for the Lakers, given all we are trying to accomplish as a team this NBA season. I am just really excited and looking forward to being there with the guys when camp opens in a few weeks. That is a real bonding process and if I can avoid being on the sidelines for that, God willing, I will,” said Bryant.

I think the Lakers, featuring Pau Gasol, a healthy Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, would do OK for a few weeks without Kobe. Not great, but they’d hang around the 6th-9th West playoff spot. So, I’m not sure Kobe is making the right move by delaying the surgery. But again, medical info about the finger will help. I’m sure articles quoting medical experts will come out today and in the next few days, and I’ll be sure to quote everything worth knowing on the NBA Rumors page.

–Jeff

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that the team has agreed in principle to a contract extension with Head Coach Maurice Cheeks.  Per team policy, terms of the agreement are not disclosed.  This extension is in addition to the one Cheeks signed back on February 20.

“Over the course of my time here, Coach Cheeks and I have developed an excellent working relationship, one which I look forward to continuing with him as we move forward in an effort to achieve our collective goals,” Stefanski said.

“I just want to thank the 76ers organization, particularly Mr. Snider, Peter Luukko and Ed Stefanski, for continuing to provide this team with everything necessary to compete and achieve our goals,” Cheeks said. “My focus remains the same as it was when I first arrived - to do whatever it takes to help us win basketball games.”

This past season, Cheeks finished fourth in voting for the NBA’s Coach of the Year award, after guiding the Sixers to a 40-42 mark and their first playoff appearance since 2005.  On February 4, the Sixers were 18-30 but won 18 of their next 23 games, becoming just the sixth team in league history to go over .500 after being at least 12 games below .500 at some point during the same season.

Cheeks was named the 21st head coach in franchise history on May 23, 2005 and has posted a 113-133 (.459) mark during that span and has a career record of 275-272 (.503).  Prior to joining Philadelphia, he posted a mark of 162-139 (.538) in three-plus seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, helping them reaching the playoffs in each of his first two seasons there.  Cheeks spent seven seasons as an assistant coach for the Sixers, working under head coaches John Lucas (1994-96), Johnny Davis (1996-97) and Larry Brown (1997-2001), with whom he helped guide the Sixers to a 56-26 (.683) record and an Eastern Conference title.

Cheeks played 15 seasons in the NBA, the first 11 with Philadelphia, and retired in 1993 as the league’s all-time steals leader and was fifth on the all-time assist list.  He was selected to the NBA’s All-Defensive Team five times, played in four NBA All-Star Games and was a member of the Sixers 1982-83 NBA Championship team.

Thunder have huge first sales day

In its first day of season ticket sales, the Oklahoma City Thunder sold more than 6,300 season tickets. The team’s select-a-seat event hosted fans who were selected in random order based on an initial ticket request list. Monday’s sales also reflect significant support from corporate sponsors.

“The response has been fantastic. We are trying to accommodate as many fans as possible with the seats of their choice but demand is very high,” said team spokesman Dan Mahoney. Mahoney said the select-a-seat process continues Tuesday, starting at 8:00 a.m. for fans with randomly selected appointment times.

Mahoney said the team expects it will hit its limit on season tickets before the weeklong select-a-seat process is complete and will have to put fans on a waiting list. “We have set aside more than 4,000 seats for single game tickets, group sales and eight-game partial season ticket packages,” Mahoney said. “We have taken steps to make Thunder basketball games as accessible as possible for a wide variety of fans”

The team also is limiting fans to six tickets per account. Fans not able to purchase full season tickets will be placed on the list for the partial ticket plans. That will also put them on the waiting list for future full season tickets.

The Thunder opens its 2008-09 regular season on October 29 at home vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. The team’s preseason schedule includes an October 13 game vs. the Houston Rockets in Tulsa and an October 14 game vs. the LA Clippers at the Ford Center.

The Portland Trail Blazers announced that forward/center Channing Frye underwent arthroscopic surgery today to remove bone spurs from his left ankle. A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Saturday and Computed Tomography (CT) Scan today revealed the spurs.

“Channing underwent arthroscopic surgery today on his left ankle after recently experiencing discomfort,” said Trail Blazers General Manager Kevin Pritchard. “We expect him to make a full recovery in 8-10 weeks.”

Dr. Richard Ferkel performed the surgery at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute in Van Nuys, Calif.

Here’s the Oregonian (Jason Quick):

Frye was in the best shape of his career this summer, and was the most frequent participant at the team’s practice facility over the off season. A big man who can shoot, Frye was expected to enter training camp as the backup power forward to LaMarcus Aldridge, a valuable piece to a second unit that expects to spread the floor and play uptempo. Frye spent much of the summer trimming his frame and working on his three-point shooting.

This hurts the Blazers a bit, but they’ll still be OK. The main changes the team is ungoing are mixing Greg Oden, Jerryd Bayless and Rudy Fernandez into the mix. Frye being out weakens their bench.

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