Archive for September 25th, 2008

Trail Blazers sign Shavlik Randolph

The Portland Trail Blazers signed forward Shavlik Randolph, General Manager Kevin Pritchard announced today. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. editor says: I assume this is just a training camp, nonguaranteed signing. Though, unlike tons of training camp signees, Randolph actually belongs in the league. Here’s more:

A member of the Philadelphia 76ers for three seasons, Randolph averaged 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 79 games, including seven starts. He averaged careers highs of 4.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 0.77 blocks in 13 games in 2006-07.

Randolph, 24, played three seasons at Duke University, averaging 6.3 points, a 506 field-goal percentage, 4.3 rebounds and 1.40 blocks during his college career. The 1.40 blocks per game are seventh all-time in Duke history. The Raleigh, N.C., native shot .591 from the field in a sophomore season that saw the Blue Devils reach the Final Four in 2004.

The signing of Randolph sets the Trail Blazers’ 2008 training camp roster at 18 players. He will wear jersey number 42.

Knicks add Dan Grunfeld to training camp

The New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that free agent guard/forward Dan Grunfeld has been signed to a contract. As per club policy, terms of the deal will not be disclosed. editor says: This contract is so nonguaranteed it was probably written on a napkin. It’s a training camp signing. And here’s more on the news:

Grunfeld, 6-6, 215-pounds, was undrafted out of Stanford University and spent the last two seasons playing overseas. The River Hills, WI native spent the 2007-08 season in Spain, where he averaged 14.7 points and 3.3 rebounds for Aguas De Valencia. Grunfeld averaged 12.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game for Oldenburg in Germany during the 2006-07 campaign. As a collegian, Grunfeld played four years at Stanford, highlighted by his junior season in 2004-05 when he earned First Team All-Pacific 10 Conference honors after averaging 17.9 points per game.

Grunfeld is the son of current Washington Wizards president, Ernie Grunfeld. The older Grunfeld was a part of the Knicks organization for over 17 years as a player (1982-86), broadcaster (1986-1989), assistant coach (1989-1990) and general manager (1991-1999).

The AP reports: The Rockets matched the Bobcats’ three-year, $9 million offer sheet for restricted free-agent Carl Landry on Thursday, keeping the forward in Houston. The Rockets took less than 24 hours to make the move, leaving Charlotte still searching for frontcourt depth before the start of training camp next week. “We obviously thought it was a good opportunity to get the guy,” Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins said. “But it’s part of the business.” editor says: This was expected. Landry is a decent player and signing him for $3 million per season is a reasonable deal.

Sun Yue has mononucleosis

Lakers guard Sun Yue, who arrived in Los Angeles from China on Sunday, was taken to the emergency room of a local hospital last night after becoming ill. He has tested positive for mononucleosis, it was announced today by the team.

He is not expected to be ready to practice by Tuesday when the Lakers open training camp and will be out indefinitely. His condition will be monitored on a regular basis. editor says: I hope he didn’t catch mono from kissing random Los Angeles girls. And I will immediately point out that I’m kidding and have no idea if he’s single or married or whatever, so don’t go spreading that as a rumor or something you crazy wackos.

Knicks sign Allan Houston

New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that guard Allan Houston has been re-signed as a free agent. editor says: I’m assuming this is as nonguaranteed as a contract can get. Also, the Knicks don’t actually need Houston, since right now the best guard on the team who doesn’t seem likely to be waived or traded anytime soon is shooting guard Jamal Crawford. They need to clean house and move big contracts that aren’t expiring in the next season or two away. On the positive side, fans really like Houston (”H20″) and seeing him around, even briefly, is cool. He can wave at them a bit, and stuff. And, here’s more on the news:

Originally retiring on Oct. 17, 2005 following training camp three seasons ago, Houston is the team’s fourth leading scorer in franchise history during the regular season (11,165) and eighth leading scorer during the playoffs (1,139). Only NBA legends Patrick Ewing, Walt “Clyde” Frazier and Willis Reed have scored more points during their regular season careers with the orange and blue. On Oct. 4, 1999, he was named a team captain, and held that title for six seasons. He was selected to be a member of the 2000 and 2001 NBA All-Star teams and was a member of the Gold medal-winning United States team at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney.

On May 16, 1999, the Louisville, KY native authored one of the most memorable shots in club history with a game-winning runner at Miami in the closing seconds of Game Five in the first round of the 1999 NBA Playoffs. After defeating the Heat, the Knicks went on to defeat the Atlanta Hawks in the conference semifinals and Indiana Pacers in the conference finals to make their first NBA Finals appearance since 1994.

Recognized for his work through the “Father Knows Best” program offered under the Allan Houston Legacy Foundation, Houston was recently named as the national spokesman for the National Fatherhood Initiative. Houston will be wearing jersey No. 14 in honor of his father, Wade, one of the first African-American basketball players at the University of Louisville.

“My father has been a great model of a man, and hopefully I can continue to carry what he taught me back to the court with the Knicks. Off the court, this is also symbolic to encourage men to be committed fathers as their role remains one of the most important factors in the lives of our youth.”

The Atlanta Hawks have exercised the contract options for the 2009-10 season on forward/center Al Horford and guard Acie Law, it was announced today by Executive VP/General Manager Rick Sund. Per team policy, financial terms were not disclosed.

A unanimous selection to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and runner-up for Rookie of the Year honors, Horford had an outstanding season in helping the Hawks reach the postseason for the first time in nine years. The first Atlanta pick to earn first team All-Rookie since Stacey Augmon in 1991-92, he nearly averaged a double-double a year ago, recording 10.1 points and 9.7 rebounds in 81 contests.

During the playoffs, the 6-10 forward/center from Florida increased his totals, scoring 12.6 points and grabbing 10.4 rebounds in the seven games against Boston.

Despite battling injuries much of the 2007-08 campaign, Law was fifth among rookies in assists and third on the Hawks, to go along with 4.2 points per game. He saw action in 56 contests and is coming off a fine summer effort at the Rocky Mountain Revue, where he was named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging 16.2 points, 3.6 assists and 2.2 rebounds. editor says: Standard and expected, especially for Horford. Law needs step up a bit this season so the Hawks can keep the faith.

The Sacramento Kings and swingman Francisco Garcia today reached an agreement in principle on a multi-year contract extension, it was announced by Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are all gratified we were able to reach an agreement in principle with Francisco on a contract extension,” said Petrie. “He embodies a lot of qualities we feel are necessary for our team to continue to improve. He’s a competitive leader and he’s gotten better every year. We’re looking forward to watching him grow even more this season.”

Garcia, a three-year NBA veteran, amassed career averages of 8.1 points (.440 FGs, .357 3FGs, .792 FTs), 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game through 225 outings with the Kings. His best year, statistically, occurred during the 2007-08 campaign when he averaged 12.3 points (.462 FGs, .391 3FGs, .779 FTs), 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game over 79 contests. Garcia started in 20 games last season (2007-08), averaging 16.4 points (.448 FGs, .370 3FGs, .798 FTs), 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. He recorded a career-high 31 points in 35 minutes at Phoenix on November 21, 2007.

“I feel great,” explained Garcia. “It’s good to know that I’m going to be here for years to come. This is a great organization that’s moving in the right direction. We have the best owners in the league. Our general manager is one of the best. And we have a good coaching staff with a lot of talented players. I’m looking forward to the upcoming season.”

Garcia was selected in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2005 NBA Draft by the Kings as an undergraduate out of Louisville. He enjoyed a three-year career for the Cardinals, averaging 14.4 points (.448 FGs, .369 3FGs, .849 FTs), 3.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.48 steals per game through 98 outings, of which he started 80.

“It’s very exciting to sign Francisco to a contract extension,” said Kings’ Owner Gavin Maloof. “He’s been a wonderful member of our organization both on and off the floor. We love his tenacity and leadership skills. He’s never afraid to take the big shot or make the big play. Francisco is a major part of our young core going forward.”

Danilo Gallinari still not healthy

The New York Daily News (Mark Lelinwalla) reports: Just as Danilo Gallinari was beginning to draw a crowd in front of the Garden Wednesday, a Knicks fan shouted out a special request to the sixth pick of this year’s NBA draft. “Go hard!” the man yelled. “We need you, go hard!” Although Gallinari smiled and nodded graciously, he may not be able to fulfill that request immediately. Still nursing a sore lower back, the Italian rookie said he doesn’t know if he’ll be ready to practice when camp opens in Saratoga Springs on Tuesday. editor says: It’s still unclear how many minutes Gallinari will get early on, once he’s healthy. I’d assume very few and that he’ll be deep on the bench. First he’ll have to prove himself to Mike D’Antoni in practice, and earn minutes from there. Of course, this is the case with almost all rookies.

Magic add 3 training camp players

The Orlando Magic will hold their 2008-09 training camp at the RDV Sportsplex in Orlando, beginning Tuesday, September 30. In addition, the Magic have signed free agents Dwyane Jones (F-C, 6-11, 251, 6/9/83, Saint Joseph’s), Jeremy Richardson (G-F, 6-7, 195, 3/1/84, Delta State) and Mike Wilks (G, 5-10, 180, 5/7/79, Rice). The roster currently stands at 16 players.

Orlando begins the preseason at home on October 6 vs. Atlanta. The Magic open the 2008-09 regular season at home on Wednesday, October 29, also against the Hawks. editor says: Those are good training camp signings. Better than what most teams add. Not that training camp additions matter too much, but still.

Moped ride caused Monta Ellis injury

The San Francisco Chronicle (Janny Hu) reports: Monta Ellis was riding a moped when he severely injured his left ankle last month in his native Jackson, Miss., sources close to the Warriors guard told The Chronicle on Wednesday. The 22-year-old tore a deltoid ligament in his ankle and sustained a high-ankle sprain in what one of the sources labeled a “low-speed” accident. Ellis underwent surgery Aug. 27 and is expected to be sidelined for at least another two months… Since riding a moped is prohibited under the uniform player contract, the Warriors could move to terminate Ellis’ deal, though such a move seems highly unlikely. A possible punishment for Ellis is a heavy fine or suspension. editor says: Who the hell gets hurt riding a moped? Don’t those things go like 20 miles an hour? What next, Stephen Jackson out for the season due to a tricycle incident? But seriously, the Warriors would only move to terminate Monta’s contract if the injury was going to really mess up his career. If it appears he’ll make a full recovery, they wouldn’t do it. He’s their best young player. As for a fine, if I owned the team, I’d fine him for the full amount of time he’s going to miss. No suspension. The team simply shouldn’t have to pay him if he can’t do his job for reasons due to this injury. And that’s it, move on from there.

Hawks hire Mark Price and Duane Ferrell

The Atlanta Hawks today named four-time NBA All-Star and Georgia Tech legend Mark Price as a Shooting Consultant, and former Hawk and Yellow Jacket star Duane Ferrell as Player Relations and Programs Manager, according to Executive Vice President and General Manager Rick Sund. Price joins the Hawks after spending last season as the Memphis Grizzlies’ Shooting Coach, while Ferrell served in a player development role for the Washington Wizards from 2001-04.

“Coach Woodson thought it was important that we add a shooting specialist to the staff,” Sund said. ”Mark is recognized as one of the premier shooters in the history of the league, and is a welcome addition to our coaching staff. We’re also pleased to enhance our basketball operations area with Duane’s experience. His work with the Wizards, coupled with his time as a player, adds another valuable asset to assist our guys with their development off the court.”

Price enjoyed an outstanding 12-year playing career, spending time with Cleveland, Washington, Golden State and Orlando from 1986-98, and averaged 15.2 ppg and 6.7 apg (.472 FG%, .402 3FG%, .904 FT%) in 772 games. He holds the NBA record for highest career free throw percentage in both the regular season (.904) and postseason (.944). The Cavaliers’ all-time leader in assists (4,206), he also ranks 19th in NBA history with a .402 career three-point percentage.

Price appeared in four NBA All-Star games, was named All-NBA First Team in 1992-93, All-NBA Third Team three times and led the league in free throw percentage five times. In addition to having his number retired in both Cleveland and at Georgia Tech (where he played from 1983-86), the basketball arena in his hometown of Enid, Oklahoma is named after him.

“We’re happy to have Mark on our staff, and we feel like he’s a great fit,” Woodson said. “As a player, he was one of the purest shooters to ever play the game, so we look forward to him working with our guys to improve their consistency from everywhere on the floor.”

“I’m very excited and honored to accept this new position with the Hawks,” Price said. “I’m thrilled to join Coach Woodson and his staff and look forward to working with such a promising organization filled with incredibly talented and exciting players.”

Ferrell played 11 NBA seasons for the Hawks (1988-94), Indiana Pacers (1994-97) and Golden State Warriors (1997-99). His best pro season came in 1991-92, when he averaged 12.7 ppg and 3.2 rpg, appearing in 66 games with the Hawks. In 583 career games, he put up 6.4 ppg and 1.9 rpg (.480 FG%, .750 FT%).

He is Georgia Tech’s ninth all-time leading scorer (1,818), where he played from 1985-88.

“It’s a dream situation for me to return to the organization where I saw my most success as a pro,” Ferrell said. “I played here for six years, and have been proud to call Atlanta my home since 1984. I want to do anything I can to help the players, coaches and franchise to reach their ultimate success, and I think this group is headed in that direction.”

Spurs sign Salim Stoudamire

The San Antonio Spurs announced today that they have signed guard Salim Stoudamire.  Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Stoudamire, 6-1, 175 lbs., has spent his entire three-year NBA career with the Atlanta Hawks.  Last year he appeared in 35 games, averaging 5.7 points in 11.5 minutes.  He scored in double figures in nine games including a season-high 18 points vs. Golden State on 2/22.  Stoudamire enjoyed his best season in 2005-06 when he played in 61 games, averaging 9.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 20.3 minutes.  For his career, he has appeared in 157 games, averaging 8.0 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 17.0 minutes per game.

Originally selected by Atlanta with the 31st pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, Stoudamire played four seasons at the University of Arizona where he played in 129 games, averaging 15.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists.  Stoudamire finished his collegiate career in ninth place in NCAA history in career three-point field goal percentage (.458, 342-747) and tied for 18th in career three-point field goals made.  As a senior he led the nation in three-point shooting (.504, 120-238) and ranked fourth nationally in free throw percentage (.910, 122-134).

The roster now stands at 19.

Lakers re-sign DJ Mbenga

The Los Angeles Lakers have re-signed free agent center Didier “DJ” Ilunga-Mbenga, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Mbenga, a 7-foot, 255 pound native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Lakers last season on January 21 and February 1 before signing for the remainder of the year on February 11.

In 26 games with the Lakers, Mbenga averaged 2.0 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.62 blocked shots in 7.8 minutes while totaling four points and five rebounds in 10 minutes over seven postseason games.

Earlier in the season, Mbenga signed with the Golden State Warriors on November 17 after spending three seasons with the Dallas Mavericks prior to their request for waivers on him October 30. In 16 games with the Warriors prior to his release January 6, Mbenga averaged 1.2 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.63 blocked shots in 8.1 minutes.

After signing with Dallas as a rookie free agent in 2004, Mbenga, 27, played 79 games over three seasons with the Mavericks, totaling 106 points, 75 rebounds and 35 blocked shots in 374 minutes. In his rookie year of 2004-05, he averaged 4.10 blocks per 48 minutes played while improving to 5.00 blocks per 48 minutes in 2005-06. In 2006-07 he was limited to just 21 games after missing the first 16 games of the year with a left foot tendon strain and suffering a torn right ACL 2/7/07 vs. Memphis.

In 121 career games including two starts, Mbenga is averaging 1.6 points, 1.2 rebounds and 0.50 blocked shots in 5.8 minutes.

The Lakers preseason roster now stands at 19.

Denver Nuggets guard Chucky Atkins underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee today.  The surgery, performed by Nuggets orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Steve Traina, repaired torn cartilage and cleaned out loose bodies.

Atkins began experiencing discomfort in the knee two weeks ago while playing pick-up games in preparation for the season.  An MRI was performed on Monday and revealed surgery was necessary.

Atkins will be sidelined for approximately six weeks.

Bobcats sign Carl Landry to offer sheet

Charlotte Bobcats General Manager Rod Higgins announced today that the team has extended an offer sheet to restricted free agent Carl Landry. Per team policy, terms were not disclosed.

In accordance with the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, Landry’s current team, the Houston Rockets, will have seven days to decide whether to match the offer.

Word is, the deal is for around 3 seasons and $3 million per season. If that’s true, the Rockets are likely to match the offer.

“Landry is an emerging NBA talent, as evidenced by his play over the final 42 regular-season games and into the Rockets first-round playoff appearance,” Higgins said.  “His ability to play both the power forward and center position will complement our post play.”

In his rookie season with Houston, Landry (6-9, 248 pounds) averaged 8.1 points and 4.9 rebounds in 42 games. He also shot .616 (135-219) from the field and was named All-Rookie Second Team. He scored a career-high 22 points at Indiana on Feb. 1 and tied his career high with 11 rebounds at New Orleans on Feb. 22. Landry also recorded his first career double-double, scoring 15 points and pulling down 11 rebounds against Minnesota on Jan. 11. He appeared in six playoff games with the Rockets last season and averaged 5.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 17.7 minutes.

Originally drafted by Seattle in the second round (31st overall) of the 2007 NBA Draft, Houston obtained his draft rights in exchange for a future second-round selection and cash considerations on June 28, 2007.

Landry finished his collegiate career at Purdue after playing his first two seasons at Vincennes University. In 64 career games for the Boilermakers, he averaged 18.4 points and 7.1 rebounds. As a senior he was named First-Team All-Big Ten by the league’s coaches.

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