Archive for September 18th, 2008

Utah Jazz forward Kyle Korver will participate in a fundraiser on September 19 in an attempt to set the Guinness World Record for the longest kickball game ever played.

The Kyle Korver Foundation is sponsoring the 25-hour kickball game marathon with the goal of raising $10,000 for the Helping Hand Rescue Mission in North Philadelphia.  Korver, entering his sixth NBA season, has worked closely with the Mission and the underprivileged kids in the surrounding community for over two years.

Adam Bruckner, assistant coach of the Philadelphia Kixx (National Indoor Soccer League, www.kixxonline.com) and youth director at the Mission, is spearheading the event.  The game will be played at Capitolo playground (9th and Federal), which borders the famous cheese steak stops of Pat’s and Geno’s in South Philadelphia. The event is free of charge for spectators and fans are encouraged to cheer on the tireless participants.

Each team will have a roster of 20 players, and Guinness rules require that four males and females be on the field at all times.  Players will be allowed to substitute and rest, but the game will be played continually for more than 24 hours.

As multidimensional as the forward is as an NBA player, Korver is even more so as a person. The forward continually finds time to participate in a myriad of charitable activities, and in 2006 he established the Kyle Korver Foundation as a way to streamline all his charitable efforts and focus on making a positive impact on the lives of underprivileged children.  The Foundation will match any funds raised through pledges for the night, and the money will go towards building a recreation room and learning center at the Mission (6th and Green).  The Kyle Korver Foundation is a 501(c)3 charity and donations will be tax deductible.

NBA fines Michael Beasley $50,000

Michael Beasley of the Miami Heat has been fined $50,000 for his involvement in an incident at the league’s Rookie Transition Program earlier this month, and for his initial failure to cooperate with a league investigation of the matter.

Beasley was involved in the same incident for which Miami’s Mario Chalmers and Memphis’ Darrell Arthur were previously fined.

UPDATE: The Palm Beach Post (Chris Perkins) reports: “According to NBA sources, Beasley was in a hotel room with Chalmers, Arthur and two women when the incident took place, but he might have been hiding. The incident occurred when hotel security investigated a smoke alarm going off. When they used a pass key to enter the room, they smelled marijuana. No drugs were found, and Chalmers and Arthur denied using any. Beasley intially was cleared by the NBA, but apparently came forward later.”

Orlando Magic to unveil new uniforms

Early Tuesday (September 23) afternoon the Orlando Magic will reveal the new team uniforms.

Magic All-Star and Olympic Gold Medalist Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw will participate. The event is taking place at Cheyenne Saloon at Church Street Station, the same location where the Magic’s inaugural uniform was revealed in 1989. (120 W Church St .; Orlando, FL 32801).

This is the 20th Magic season in the league.

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced forward Al Jefferson has suffered a mild sprain of the MCL (medial collateral ligament) in his right knee. A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exam taken yesterday at TRIA Orthopaedic Center in Bloomington, Minn. confirmed the injury. Jefferson is expected to be sidelined for 2-3 weeks and is expected to be ready by the start of the regular season.

In 2008, his first season with the Timberwolves, Jefferson averaged 21.0 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 1.4 apg and 1.5 bpg, all career highs.  Jefferson was one of only four players in the NBA in 2007-08 to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.  In four seasons in the NBA, Jefferson holds career averages of 13.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 0.9 apg and 1.1 bpg.

Celtics to visit White House Friday

On Friday, September 19, the Boston Celtics will travel to Washington D.C. to meet with President George W. Bush and receive recognition for winning the 2008 NBA World Championship. Celtics players will be accompanied by coaches, ownership, and members of the front office for the event. Head Coach Doc Rivers, Executive Director of Basketball Operations/General Manager Danny Ainge, as well as Team Co-Owners Irving Grousbeck, Wycliffe Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca and Bob Epstein are expected to be in attendance.

At approximately 3:00 p.m., President Bush will address members of the team and guests in the White House’s East Room. While on stage with the President, the team will present him with a personalized team jersey and autographed team ball.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Just keep Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis away from the president’s buffet table and everything will be alright.

13 training camp signings reported here

Brad Ames of Priority Sports informs InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner that the following players will be in the following training camps:

Eddie Gill: New Jersey

Trey Johnson: Phoenix

Ronald Dupree: Cleveland

Frank Robinson: Atlanta

Linton Johnson: Washington

Antywane Robinson: Philadelphia

Jared Reiner: Philadelphia.

Britton Johnsen: Utah

Matt Freije: Milwaukee

Luke Jackson: Portland

Rob Kurz: Golden State

Chris Alexander: Oklahoma City

Darryl Watkins: San Antonio

The Detroit News (Chris McCosky) reports: Pistons president Joe Dumars, speaking to a media assemblage in Lansing Wednesday, made it abundantly clear that he won’t apologize, rationalize or make excuses for not pulling off any blockbuster deal or radically altering his roster this summer. “I said we would look to make changes but we wouldn’t do a bad deal,” he said. “The deals that were presented were not good deals for us. You don’t make deals so you can walk in here on a day like today and say, ‘Hey, we made a deal.’ You want to resist that, and I did and I make no qualms about it.” … “There’s nothing to patch up,” Dumars said. “I’m the one who was upset, so who do I need to patch things up with? It’s been good. Guys understand that six straight years of making the conference finals and going to the NBA Finals only twice isn’t enough and I am not going to rest on that. What you do is keep pushing, keep moving forward.”

InsideHoops.com editor says: The Pistons were successful last season. They won 59 regular season games, second only to the Celtics. And they did well in the playoffs, losing to those same eventual-champion Celtics. True, Rasheed Wallace is getting old, as is Chauncey Billups, but it’s not like a breakup was actually necessary. Detroit can still ride the current core for another season, but ideally they find another Rodney Stuckey, in the form of a forward or center. That would help. Anyway, if they keep the current roster I think they’ll still win 50+ games this season and finish second or third, fourth at the worst, in the Eastern conference.

Gilbert Arenas has more knee surgery

Gilbert Arenas is now probably out until sometime in December, as his knee needed additional work. At this point, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison are already pretty used to playing without Arenas, so the team should do OK and stay in contention for a playoff spot through November. And, here’s the news:

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced that guard Gilbert Arenas had an arthroscopic lavage (washout) procedure performed on his left knee this morning.  The procedure was performed by Wizards Team Physician Dr. Marc Connell at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC.

“After Gilbert’s normal course of rehabilitation was ramped up, he experienced some swelling and discomfort in his knee,” said Connell.  “A subsequent MRI showed that the knee is structurally sound. The decision was made to perform an arthroscopic lavage procedure, during which a moderate amount of debris was removed after saline solution was washed through the knee.  The presence of debris is common with the nature of his previous injury.  This was a proactive procedure that will enhance his rehabilitation process.”

Arenas will begin rehabilitation immediately, although no timetable has been set for him to return to the court.

“Gilbert worked extremely hard over the summer and we know how much he’s looking forward to returning to help the team” said Grunfeld.  “However, our team has proven its resiliency in dealing with injuries in the past and we’re approaching the start of training camp with confidence that they will once again compete at a high level until Gilbert’s return.”

Arenas played in eight games last season before he underwent surgery in November to repair a partially torn meniscus and articular surface defect in his left knee.  He returned to play in five more games and finished with averages of 19.4 points and 5.1 assists in 13 contests.

The Wizards will hold training camp from September 27-October 3 at the Siegel Center on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Thunder name TV broadcasters

Veteran sports play-by-play announcer Brian Davis and former NBA player Grant Long have been named the Oklahoma City Thunder’s television broadcast team, it was announced today by Thunder Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Ken Adelson.

“We’re excited to welcome Brian and Grant to the Thunder family,” Adelson said. “Both Brian and Grant will be important representatives for the Thunder in the Oklahoma City community and we look forward to our fans building a relationship with them. Brian brings a wealth of sports broadcasting experience and he has an excellent working knowledge of our team, and we feel very fortunate to have him. Grant has experience in the NBA both as a player and as a broadcaster. Thunder fans will enjoy his insight into the game. ”

Davis has called games at the professional level in four major league sports – football, as radio voice of the Seattle Seahawks (2000-2003); basketball and hockey with the Seattle SuperSonics and NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks; and as the television voice of Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire. Davis comes to Oklahoma City from Seattle where last he worked for FSN Northwest and served as host to the Sonics’ pre-game, halftime and post-game shows. Several times over the last few seasons in Seattle, Davis was the main television play-by-play announcer for the Sonics. He also served as the play-by-play announcer for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals preseason games from 2005-2007. In addition to his role on the Sonics telecasts, Davis was also the lead play-by-play announcer for FSN’s local and national Pac-10 football and basketball games and was the host of the weekly magazine programs Huskies All Access and Sonics All Access. In all, Davis participated in well over 100 events last year for FSN Northwest.

Long was the color analyst with the Atlanta Hawks broadcast team for two years and served as an analyst with Turner Broadcasting & FOX Network. The Eastern Michigan alum spent 14 seasons as a player in the NBA after being drafted 33rd overall in the 1988 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat. He also played for Atlanta, Detroit, Vancouver/Memphis and Boston. Long has spent the last two basketball seasons at his alma mater, working in the Player Development Department with the University.

The Thunder is currently in discussions with several potential TV partners.

Jason Smith has ACL surgery

Philadelphia 76ers center Jason Smith underwent successful ACL reconstruction surgery on his left knee today. The surgery was performed 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. Team physician Dr. Jack McPhilemy observed the surgery.

Smith will stay the night in the hospital and is scheduled to be released tomorrow afternoon.

Smith suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee during normal basketball activity on Wednesday, August 6, 2008. No timetable has been set for Smith’s return.

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.

Spurs add 3 to training camp roster

The San Antonio Spurs announced today that they have signed free agents Desmon Farmer, Devin Green and Darryl Watkins. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Farmer, a 6-5 guard, spent last season playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the NBA Development League.  He appeared in 33 games, averaging 24.7 points (ranked second in the D-League), 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 38.3 minutes. He shot .473 (260-550) from the field, .418 (89-213) from three-point range and .840 (205-244) from the line.  The former USC Trojan started 2006-07 season with the Seattle Sonics seeing action in eight games and averaging 1.6 points and 1.1 assists in 4.0 minutes before being waived in January.  He spent the rest of the season with the Tulsa 66ers of the D-League, averaging 19.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 32.8 minutes in 32 games. He spent all of the 2005-06 season with the 66ers. For his career Farmer has played in 88 D-League games, averaging 16.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 29.8 minutes. In four seasons with the Trojans he averaged 13.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 121 games.

Green, a 6-7 swingman, played on the Spurs summer league teams in Las Vegas and at the Rocky Mountain Revue in Salt Lake City.  He averaged 10.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 25.7 minutes while shooting .522 (12-23) from the field in three games in Las Vegas.   At the Rocky Mountain Revue, Green appeared in four games, averaging 10.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.25 steals in 28.0 minutes. Last season he split time with the L.A. Defenders in the D-League and Siviglia Wear Teramo of the Italian SerieA League.  Green played in 24 games for the Defenders averaging 16.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 34.9 minutes while shooting .489 (153-313) from the field, .333 (20-60) from three-point range and .791 (68-86) from the foul line.  He saw action in 11 games for Sivglia averaging 10.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 26.4 minutes. During the 2005-06 season Green appeared in 27 games for the L.A. Lakers averaging 0.9 points in 5.0 minutes.  Green played four seasons at Hampton University and averaged 14.3 points and 6.2 rebounds in 123 games.

Watkins spent part of the 2007-08 season with the Sacramento Kings averaging 1.3 and 1.3 rebounds in 7.9 minutes in nine games before being waived on 12/10.  The 6-11 center then joined the L.A. Defenders of the D-League.  He saw action in 18 games, including 16 starts, averaging 4.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in 19.8 minutes.  Midway through the season he was traded to the Iowa Energy where he played in 22 games, averaging 8.5 points and 5.9 rebounds in 22.4 minutes. For the season Watkins played in a combined 40 games, averaging 6.9 points and 5.8 rebounds in 20.1 minutes while shooting .523 (112-214) from the field and .654 (53-81) from the line.  Watkins played four seasons at Syracuse University averaging 6.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.48 blocks in 106 career games.

The Spurs roster now stands at 17.

Summer winners

Aside from a Bulls shooting guard who scores a lot and feels he’s worth more than the $10 million per season Chicago is reportedly offering, every notable free agent in the league has a contract for the upcoming season. So, although more signings may occur, winners from this summer in the deals department are becoming clear.

The 76ers signed Elton Brand. They’re paying him a lot and didn’t get a steal, but what they are getting is an All-Star level power forward who, assuming he’s as good as he was before getting injured and stays hungry, can do damage in the East. This was the most impactful signing of the summer.

The Bucks traded for Richard Jefferson, and gave up no proven pieces in the process. They traded Mo Williams away for Luke Ridnour, who as a passer fits the team’s need at point guard more than Mo did. They drafted Joe Alexander, a dunking, running forward to come off the bench. They’re a winner for adding RJ.

The Blazers drafted extremely well, adding Jerryd Bayless, a hard-to-guard scoring point guard who appears ready to drop 20 points anytime he feels like it, and Rudy Fernandez, an impressive, already-successful overseas talent. They’ll also have Greg Oden active this year, though he was added to the squad a year ago thanks to a very lucky day in the draft lottery.

The Heat may have lucked out when the Bulls drafted Derrick Rose, because Michael Beasley may be the better player of the two.

The Bulls, thanks to draft lottery luck, are summer winners for getting Rose at all.

The Rockets traded for Ron Artest and didn’t give up any proven pieces to get him.

The Timberwolves traded for Mike Miller, giving no stars up in return, and got Kevin Love in the draft. Those are two nice players to put next to Al Jefferson. The team will still probably struggle, but there’s some interesting stuff on paper in Minnesota.

Possible winner: The Raptors traded TJ Ford for Jermaine O’Neal. If JO can stay healthy and transform into the All-Star player he used to be, Toronto is a big winner. But in recent seasons, even when healthy, O’Neal has been closer to “good” or sometimes “very good” than great.

Possible winner: The Clippers lost Brand, which obviously isn’t good, and Corey Maggette signed elsewhere, but they signed Baron Davis and traded for Marcus Camby. With B-Diddy, rookie Eric Gordon, Al Thornton, Camby and Chris Kaman, they now have a weird lineup that could be fun to watch. Worth keeping an eye on, but probably not a winner.

Watch InsideHoops.com for similar, longer features like this. They’ll appear in the regular portion of the site and may not be mentioned in any blog entry.

Mustafa Shakur to Spain

Euroleague.net reports: Tau Ceramica has completed its roster for the upcoming season by inking playmaker Mustafa Shakur to a one-year deal. Shakur (190, 24) arrives from Prokom Trefl Sopot, where he averaged 7.6 points and 2.1 assists in seven Euroleague games last season. He scored 4 points against Tau in Vitoria last season.

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