Archive for September 27th, 2008

Let’s count the ways that Jerome James is better than LeBron James:

1) Jerome is taller.

2) Jerome’s name would come first in an alphabetical order listing.

3) Being a Knick, Jerome has more local stores to choose from when buying NY Yankees hats than LeBron does.

4) Jerome is older, and older people are generally wiser than young people.

5) Jerome has five vowels in his name. LeBron only has four. Vowels are a good thing.

I’m sure there are more.

Aaron McKie to be Sixers assistant

The Philadelphia Daily News (Phil Jasner) reports: Aaron McKie is returning to the 76ers as an assistant coach and is expected to be introduced Monday, according to a team source familiar with the situation. McKie’s status apparently was placed on hold when he was arrested in June on charges that he had lied on application forms to purchase a gun in Pennsylvania in April. Brian McMonagle, his attorney, called it “an honest mistake.” McKie received probation in the case.

InsideHoops.com editor says: This reminds me, someone needs to sign Rick Brunson. I know he’s done playing, but still, someone add him to a 10-day contract, just for tradition’s sake.

Quotes from entire Wizards team

Here are some interview quotes from every Washington Wizards player except Gilbert Arenas, from the team’s media day today:

WIZARDS FORWARD ANTAWN JAMISON

On the Wizards:

“This team is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that we win games.  I think now we need more of our young players to step up.  I think if they can contribute, then we should be alright.  We definitely need somebody to pick up those points that we’re missing from Gilbert, but we still have two NBA All-Stars that are going to go out there and get it done.”

On training camp:

“I think there is something different with this training camp.  We actually need this in order to really get it going because we were left with a bad taste in our mouth after losing in the first round of the playoffs.  We need a lot of guys to get the reps in, understand their role and get some playing time because once the season starts we need to be clicking on all cylinders.  We can’t afford for things to take a week or two to get going.  We have to be playing pretty good basketball when the season gets started.”

WIZARDS FORWARD CARON BUTLER

On training camp:

“We’ve been working out here for the last month, and we’ve got the same corps together with some new additions, so I’m anxious to get this thing going.  I’m feeling really good physically.  I just can’t wait for the season to start.”

On the off-season:

“Yoga…Yoga got me through.  It helped me open up my hips and get looser.  I’ve dropped a few pounds so there is less impact on my body.  I went through the last two and a half months playing extremely hard with full contact and I didn’t have a single injury, so I’m feeling great physically.”

WIZARDS GUARD ANTONIO DANIELS

On his wrist:

“No, I didn’t [have surgery on my wrist].  I got another opinion, and they told me it wasn’t the best thing for me to do.  I feel a lot better.  I’ll play with it lightly braced like I did this summer and God willing I’ll be fine.”

On training camp:

“Training camp is very important for a number of different reasons.  You have the young guys and the new guys, the free agents that are very important to this team and they need to be implemented into the offense, the offensive structure and the defensive foundation.   They have to learn what it’s about and what’s going on.  The guys that have been here understand what’s going on, but we need this training camp to redevelop that connection that we had [last season].”

WIZARDS CENTER BRENDAN HAYWOOD

On training camp:

“I look at training camp as a necessary evil.  It’s one of those things that you know you have to go through.  You want to go out there, play your best, start building for something and get past it. I think everybody will go out there, play their role and work hard.”

On Etan Thomas:

“I think everybody is happy to see him back, especially after what he went through last year.  That will be one of the feel good stories this year for the Washington Wizards.  I’m excited to have him back.”

WIZARDS GUARD DESHAWN STEVENSON

On expectations for this season:

“The first thing is to get everybody healthy…win games and get to the playoffs, get past the first round and do the things that we know we can do.”

On starting the season without Gilbert Arenas:

“We’d love to have him, but people will just have to step up.  People are going to be put in bigger roles, so we’ve just got to go out there and do what we have to do to win games.”

WIZARDS FORWARD DARIUS SONGAILA

On training camp:

“It’s always good to start off healthy because you kind of get into the groove of things.  During preseason and training camp, you start to form chemistry with the team.  So if you miss that, then you kind of fall behind.”

WIZARDS FORWARD/CENTER ANDRAY BLATCHE

On his goals for this season:

“I’m looking forward to this year.  I feel like this year is going to be a big year for me.  I’ve been here for awhile and I’ve been working hard.  I think this might be a breakout season for me.  I’ve been working so hard.”

WIZARDS CENTER ETAN THOMAS

On missing last season:

“It was really tough to sit there and watch and not be able to do anything, but it was also really motivational to be able to watch tapes of the games during my rehab.  It’s great to be back and to come down and work out with the guys.”

On returning to action:

“I feel great.  I’m really excited to be back and for camp to start.  I got checked out last week and everything looked good, so I’m ready to go.  I’m looking to make a big difference [this season].  I’m going to go out there and play hard and play physical — that’s what I bring to the table.”

WIZARDS GUARD/FORWARD NICK YOUNG

On training camp:

“I’m looking forward to it.  I just want to work hard and make it through two-a-days.  I’m going to go out and give it my all.”

WIZARDS FORWARD/CENTER OLEKSIY PECHEROV

On what he needs to do to be successful:

“It’s about effort, it’s about energy, it’s about giving 100 percent and it’s about staying healthy.  If we’re healthy this season, then it is going to be a good season.”

WIZARDS FORWARD DOMINIC MCGUIRE

On the off-season:

“I’ve been in the gym twice a day, and I had my first child, so that was big for me.  I’ve just been working out and spending time with him [my son].”

On training camp:

“[I need to show] that I’m a lot better player than what I showed last year.  Last year was a learning experience for me, and I’ve improved a lot since then.”

WIZARDS GUARD JUAN DIXON

On returning to the Wizards:

“It feels great to be back.  I’m really excited to be back in Washington and to resume my career with the Wizards.  I’m looking forward to the start of training camp.  I’m ready to step-in and contribute wherever Coach (Eddie) Jordan and the team need me.”

On how the team has changed since he was last here:

“I think this team is more established.  Ernie (Grunfeld) had just got here when I was here; Eddie Jordan was trying to get his system in.  Now guys are more familiar with Coach, and Coach is more familiar with the guys.  It’s a more open game too — guys are out there having fun and playing.”

WIZARDS GUARD DEE BROWN

On expectations for this season:

“Every time you see me out there I’m going to be trying my hardest.  I’m going to compete and work hard every day.  I’m going to stay positive.  Whatever my team needs me to do to win, that’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to do whatever Coach (Eddie) Jordan needs me to do in order to be successful and for this team to win.”

On Eddie Jordan:

“He’s been phenomenal for me.  He’s a great coach and he really loves the game.”

WIZARDS CENTER JAVALE MCGEE

On the off-season:

“I’ve been trying to get stronger, working on my conditioning and trying to learn the plays.  It’s been great. I’ve just been working real hard.”

WIZARDS FORWARD DERMARR JOHNSON

On playing in his hometown of Washington DC:

“It feels good.  All of my family and friends that saw me play when I was growing up now have the chance to see me play as a pro.  I had been exploring the option [of playing for the Wizards] all summer.  I spent the whole summer here coming to the gym and working out.  I can’t wait.  There’s nothing better for me than being here with the Wizards.”

WIZARDS FORWARD LINTON JOHNSON

On the upcoming season:

“It’s another exciting year.  It feels good to be a part of this organization.  Last year I started off in Spain, so it’s good to be back here at home.  I’m excited because we have a good group of guys.  I’m familiar with the system because it’s similar to what I played with the [New Jersey] Nets and with the [New Orleans] Hornets.”

WIZARDS FORWARD TAJ MCCULLOUGH

On what is expected of him:

“They’re looking for me to keep doing what I’ve been doing — working hard, rebounding and not going outside of my game.”

Heat withdraw K.Powell qualifying offer

The Miami Heat announced today that they have mutually agreed with forward Kasib Powell to withdraw the qualifying offer that was extended to Powell, immediately making him an unrestricted free agent. Powell was originally signed by the HEAT to a 10-day contract on Mar. 22, 2008. He was re-signed for the remainder of the season on Apr. 8. In 11 games with Miami (four starts) last season he averaged 7.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.82 steals and 27.6 minutes.

LaFrentz out 6-8 months after surgery

The Portland Trail Blazers announced that center/forward Raef LaFrentz underwent arthroscopic surgery today to repair a tear in the labrum of his right shoulder.

Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the surgery at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles, Calif.

LaFrentz, who sustained the injury during Portland’s game at Seattle on February 22, 2008, is expected to be out 6-8 months.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Raef has played a combined total of 66 games in the two previous seasons. It may be time to hang up the sneakers.

Grizzlies sign Quinton Ross

The Memphis Grizzlies announced today that they have signed free-agent swingman Quinton Ross.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are pleased to bring Quinton Ross to our team,” said Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace. “He has been one of the best and most versatile backcourt defenders in the NBA the past four seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers. We are excited to bring him into training camp next week.”

A four-year NBA veteran, Ross has spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Clippers (2004-08), averaging 4.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 0.71 steals in 21.1 minutes in 302 games (151 starts).

The 6-6, 193-pound guard/forward enjoyed his best statistical season in 2006-07, setting career highs in points (5.2), steals (0.86) and field goal percentage (.467) in a career-best 81 games played.  In the 2005-06 season, he helped the Clippers reach the Western Conference Semifinals by averaging 7.7 points on 53.4 percent shooting in 12 postseason games (10 starts), including 18 points (9-14 FG) and five rebounds in 40 minutes in Game 5 of the 2006 Western Conference Semifinals vs. Phoenix on May 18, 2006.

Undrafted in 2003 out of Southern Methodist University, Ross has played the most games of any undrafted player in Clippers history, surpassing former Grizzlies forward Bo Outlaw’s mark last season.  Prior to joining the NBA, Ross spent one season overseas with Telindus BC Oostende in Belgium in 2003-04 before signing with the Clippers on August 16, 2004.

The Dallas native is a cousin to Grizzlies rookie forward Darrell Arthur, who was the 27th overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft.

Spurs name new marketing/sales exec

Spurs Sports & Entertainment announced today that Frank Miceli will join the management team as senior vice president of marketing and sales, overseeing all marketing, promotional, ticket sales, new media and communications initiatives for the San Antonio Spurs (NBA), San Antonio Rampage (AHL), San Antonio Silver Stars (WNBA), Austin Toros (NBA D-League) and the AT&T Center.

“Frank is a very highly regarded and accomplished leader in the sports and entertainment industry,” said Spurs Sports & Entertainment President of Business Operations Rick Pych. “He shares our commitment to constantly strive to provide the best entertainment product and value for our fans. We are very fortunate to have someone of Frank’s high character and work ethic join us, and we look forward to adding his experience and vision to our team.”

Miceli comes to SS&E after having spent the last 18 years with Comcast-Spectacor, most recently as chief operating officer for both the Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL) and Philadelphia Wings (NLL). A South Philadelphia native, Miceli served as the COO of the Phantoms since their inaugural season in l996 and became COO of the Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League in 2006.

“Spurs Sports & Entertainment is a world-class organization. Joining this outstanding management team, led by Rick Pych, is an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Miceli. “I am looking forward to continuing to drive the expansion and growth of the sports properties, while building upon the business success of the Spurs, Silver Stars, Rampage, Toros and AT&T Center. My experience working with Ed Snider and Peter Luukko at Comcast-Spectacor has prepared me well for this opportunity, and I am ready for the new challenge and opportunity to continue my career in San Antonio.”

Prior to 1996, Miceli was the director of sales and marketing for the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) where he was responsible for moving the team’s season ticket base into their new home at the Wachovia Center. He began his career with Comcast-Spectacor in l990 as vice president of marketing and advertising for Spectathlete.

Additionally in 2000 while operating the Phantoms, he was also charged with overseeing the day-to-day operations of Comcast-Spectacor’s three Baltimore Orioles minor league affiliates until 2006 when all three teams were sold.

“Frank has been an integral part of the growth and success of Comcast-Spectacor as a leader in the sports and entertainment industry,” said Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider. “I know I’m really going to miss Frank, especially his enthusiasm and humor.”

Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko added, “I’ve had the real pleasure of literally growing up in the business with Frank and I consider him one of my closest friends. This was such a fantastic opportunity for Frank and we all support his decision. We are all going to miss Frank and wish him and his family success in San Antonio.”

Jason Williams retires

Los Angeles Clippers point guard Jason Williams announced his retirement from the NBA today, ending his 10-year career. Signed by the Clippers as a free agent on August 7, 2008, Williams did not appear in a game for Los Angeles.

Williams enjoyed a 10-year NBA career that saw him take the court for three different teams, (Sacramento 1998-2001, Memphis 2001-2005 and Miami 2005-2008). A member of the NBA Champion Miami Heat in 2005-06, Williams started all 23 playoff games and averaged 9.3 points and 3.9 assists for Miami in helping to win the organization’s first title.

The West Virginia native leaves the NBA with career averages of 11.4 points, 6.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 2.4 rebounds while shooting 39.6 percent from the floor, 32.5 percent from three-point range and 81.6 percent from the foul line in 679 total games. Williams finishes his career with a 2.77 assist-to-turnover ratio.

He enjoyed his best statistical season in 2001-02 when he averaged 14.8 points, 8.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds for Memphis. In his four seasons with the Grizzlies, Williams became the club’s all-time assists leader and all-time leader in three-point field goals attempted in addition to being named the NBA’s Most Improved Player for the 2002-03 season by Sports Illustrated when he finished tied for second in the league in assists per game.

Originally drafted with the seventh overall selection in the 1998 NBA Draft by Sacramento after one season at the University of Florida, Williams was named to the 1998-99 NBA All-Rookie Team following an electrifying first season that saw him average 12.8 points and 6.0 assists.  Over the next nine seasons, Williams emerged as one of the most dependable point guards in the NBA, averaging double-figures in scoring and at least five assists per game in eight of his ten years in the league.

InsideHoops.com editor says: J-Will, aka “White Chocolate,” was a fun player to watch in his prime. Wild, flashy, sometimes out of control, he played like a streetballer, but was good. I will say he was one of the worst players in the whole league to interview. Getting decent answers from him was so painful I don’t think I ever wound up posting a single word he said. Still, he’ll be missed.

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