Archive for October, 2008

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that the team has exercised the third-year option on forward Corey Brewer and the fourth-year option on guard Randy Foye.

Brewer, a second-year forward from Florida, averaged 5.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in 22.8 minutes per game during his rookie campaign and ranked fourth among all NBA rookies with 0.96 steals per game. Brewer scored in double figures 18 times last season, and his 18 rebounds at Atlanta on Dec. 6 were the most by a Wolves rookie in 12 years.

Foye, the seventh overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft out of Villanova, appeared in 39 games for the Wolves last season after missing the season’s first three months while recovering from a knee injury. A member of the NBA All-Rookie Team in 2007, Foye averaged 13.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game last season.

Warriors sign Don Nelson to extension

The Golden State Warriors have signed Head Coach Don Nelson to a contract extension, it was announced today by President Robert Rowell.  Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.

“We’re elated that Don has elected to sign an extension,” said Rowell.  “He has proven to be one of the most successful and innovative coaches in the history of our game and his continued presence on the sidelines is certainly a prominent asset for our team and organization.  Our fans and players enjoy his entertaining style and we all look forward to the day he establishes the NBA’s all-time wins record for a coach.”

Nelson, 68, is currently the second-winningest coach in NBA history (1,280 wins), trailing only Lenny Wilkens (1,332) on the league’s all-time victory list.  Over the first two seasons of his most recent stint with Golden State, Nelson has posted a combined 90-74 record (.549) and guided the Warriors to their first consecutive winning campaigns since 1990-91 and 1991-92.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue to coach this team,” said Nelson.  “I’ve really enjoyed the last two years in the Bay Area and I’m excited about the future and the potential of our young team.  Additionally, I’d like to thank Chris Cohan, the entire Warriors organization and our great fans for their incredible support.  This is a special place for me.”

Last season, Nelson guided the Warriors to a 48-34 record, marking the team’s best record since 1993-94 and just the ninth time in franchise history (since 1946) and the third time since 1975-76 that the team has amassed 48 victories in a single season.  Additionally, Golden State’s 48-34 (.585) record in 2007-08 marked the best record for a non-playoff team since the NBA adopted its current 16-team postseason format prior to the 1984 NBA Playoffs.

Nelson returned to Golden State prior to the 2006-07 campaign, leading the Warriors to a 42-40 record that season and their first trip to the NBA Playoffs in 13 years.  Additionally, he guided Golden State to a First Round triumph over the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks, marking the first time that a #8 seed had defeated a #1 seed in a seven-game series in NBA history.

Entering in his 30th season as an NBA head coach in 2008-09, Nelson has compiled a 1,280-954 (.573) record in 2,234 regular-season games in 29 years.  Only Wilkens has coached more NBA games (2,487). In fact, as Nelson embarks on his 45th year in the NBA as a player, coach, general manager or consultant, only Wilkens has more combined games as a player and head coach than the 3,287 that “Nellie” has registered in his career.

Spurs exercise Ian Mahinmi option

The San Antonio Spurs announced today that they have exercised the third-year team option on center Ian Mahinmi’s rookie scale contract. Mahinmi is now signed through the 2009-10 season. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are very excited about Ian Mahinmi’s development,” said Spurs General Manager RC Buford. “We’ve literally seen him grow up in front of our eyes, since he joined us he’s grown more than an inch and gained over 30 pounds. He is a talented young man who has continued to work hard and improve as a basketball player. Being named to the D-League First Team last season – in his first year in the States – is an indication of what a bright future he has.”

Mahinmi, who turns 22 on November 5, is entering his second season with the Spurs. He split the 2007-08 campaign between San Antonio and the Austin Toros, the NBA Development League team owned and operated by the Spurs. Mahinmi started the season in San Antonio, appearing in six games with the Spurs, averaging 3.5 points in 3.8 minutes, before being assigned to the Toros on 11/21.

Mahinmi was named to the 2008 All-NBA Development League First Team. In 46 games with the Toros, he averaged 16.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.70 blocks in 29.6 minutes while shooting .615 (276-449) from the field and .766 (219-286) from the line. Mahinmi ranked 19th in the D-League in scoring, second in field goal percentage, eighth in rebounding and ninth in blocks. For the season Mahinmi posted 16 double-doubles. He scored in double figures 38 times, with 20-or-more 17 times and 30-plus four times. Mahinmi scored a season-high-tying 32 points (11-15 FG, 10-16 FT) and grabbed a season-best 17 rebounds vs. Utah on 12/21.

Oct 28: Lakers 96, Blazers 76

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant had 23 points, 11 rebounds and five assists Tuesday night, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 96-76 season-opening victory over the Portland Trail Blazers and spoiling rookie Greg Oden’s debut, which was cut short by another injury. Bryant orchestrated a well-balanced offense for the Lakers, who also played tenacious defense. Pau Gasol had all of his 15 points in the first half as Los Angeles moved in front to stay. Trevor Ariz added 11 points and Andrew Bynum, back after sitting out the last part of last season with a knee injury, had eight points and three rebounds… Travis Outlaw led Portland with 18 points and Rudy Fernandez had 16.

Pacers team notes

In addition to leading the team with an average of 15.1 ppg, T.J. Ford also led the Pacers with 38 assists (4.75 apg) and 12 steals (1.5 spg) in preseason.

Among those that played at least half the preseason games, Roy Hibbert led the team with an average of 6.0 rpg. He was also the team’s top offensive rebounder with a total of 18 and the best shot-blocker with 15 rejections. Hibbert recorded one of the Pacers’ two double-doubles in preseason with 12 points and 12 rebounds in the team’s win vs. Memphis, October 17.

The Pacers finished the 2008 preseason with a record of 4-4, their 16th preseason at, or above, .500 in the last 19 years. All-time, the Pacers have had a sub-.500 record in preseason just seven times.

Led by Roy Hibbert’s four, the Pacers blocked 13 shots against the Memphis Grizzlies at Conseco Fieldhouse, October 17. That was the most blocked shots by any NBA team during the preseason. The Pacers had four different players block at least two shots in that game.

The Pacers will start the season with a game on the road for the fifth time in the last six seasons, as they visit the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, 10/29. The Pacers head into that game having lost six in a row to the Pistons. But, their last win against Detroit came at The Palace of Auburn Hills, December 9, 2006.

When the Pacers host the defending NBA Champion Boston Celtics on opening night, it will mark just the third time in the Pacers’ 33 NBA seasons that they have hosted the league’s defending champion in their home opener. The only other times that the Pacers played the reigning champion on opening night were in 1976 when they also hosted the Celtics in their very first NBA home game, and in 1983 when the Philadelphia 76ers provided the opposition on opening night.

JTerry says do not overlook Mavs

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Jeff Caplan) reports: Jason Terry has a message for opponents and pundits overlooking the Dallas Mavericks. “I can see that they’re doubting us and it’s been a long time since we’ve had that doubt about this team and this organization,” said Terry, who appears set to take on the sixth-man role when the regular season opens at home Thursday against the Houston Rockets. “So I think guys are going to be ready and teams are going to come in kind of like, ‘Oh yeah, we ran through the Mavericks last year, they’re the same old team,’ but it’s going to be a big shock to them.”

InsideHoops.com editor says: The Mavs should be considered a very good team, but a clear notch below a squad deserving of being called a true championship contender. They could surprise, though, but chances are they’ll be in the low/mid West playoff mix.

Bulls name captains

The Arlington Heights Daily Herald (Mike McGraw) reports: The Bulls named Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng and Drew Gooden as team captains. Coach Vinny Del Negro said captain selection was a mutual decision after meeting with the players individually Monday. “I felt that way and most of the team did, so that was an easy decision,” Del Negro said. “I do take it very seriously. I think it’s important, especially with a young team like ours, that our captains show leadership. Not only during games, but in preparation and practice and things.”

Hawks mess up a lot

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Sekou K. Smith) reports on the Hawks: Few teams have endured a more dizzying array of bad draft picks (Shelden Williams anyone?), puzzling trades (everyone’s still waiting for those Gary Payton Hawks jerseys to go one sale), botched free agent signings (in their defense, Speedy Claxton did have severe injury issues and Josh Childress got a groundbreaking offer from Olympiacos), off-court drama Hollywood screenwriters couldn’t dream up (let’s not revisit the ownership squabble), stunning drama (Jason Collier’s family remains in our prayers) and just about any other crazy thing that could happen to a team during a four-year stretch fit for the Twilight Zone. To their credit, the Hawks have come through all of it in relatively decent shape. The roster is as balanced as it’s been in years. The salary structure is solid, with the ability to get better with a few moves here and there over the next couple of seasons. They rekindled some of the love with their fans by putting on as good a home playoff show as any team (other than the Celtics) during the postseason.

Oct 28: Bulls 108, Bucks 95

The AP reports: Luol Deng and Ben Gordon provided enough big shots to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 108-95 victory over former coach Scott Skiles and the Milwaukee Bucks in the season-opener Tuesday. Deng scored 21 points and Gordon added 18 to offset Michael Redd’s 30… Derrick Rose, the No. 1 draft pick out of Memphis and a Chicago native, wowed fans with his quickness and strength but mixed in enough mistakes to remind them he is a work in progress. He finished with 11 points, nine assists and four turnovers… Kirk Hinrich scored 15 points in a reserve role, while Tyrus Thomas added 15 points and 10 rebounds… Bucks C Andrew Bogut, bothered lately by a sprained left ankle, had nine points and seven rebounds.

Oct 28: Celtics 90, Cavs 85

The AP reports: Banner No. 17 is up in the rafters, and win No. 1 is in the books. NBA finals MVP Paul Pierce scored 27 points as the defending champion Boston Celtics followed an emotional ring ceremony and banner raising with a 90-85 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night. LeBron James scored 22, but he missed a driving layup with 41 seconds left and two free throws in the last 11 seconds… Pierce had 11 points in the third quarter, when the Celtics outscored Cleveland 24-13 to take a 67-63 lead.

InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: For the Celtics, Pierce shot 10-of-19 for his 27. Rajon Rondo (4-of-5) had 14 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Leon Powe (5-of-7) was terrific off the bench with 13. Tony Allen (4-of-9) had 11 off the bench. Kevin Garnett (5-of-15) was quiet. Kendrick Perkins grabbed 8 rebounds. For the Cavs, who started Delonte West at shooting guard, LeBron James was just 9-of-21 for 22 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Mo Williams scored double figures. Anderson Varejao had 9 points and 9 rebounds off the bench. That was about it. Both teams were awful from three-point range.

Heat exercise Daequan Cook option

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have exercised the third year Player Option on Daequan Cook. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Cook, a 6’5”, 210-pound guard, has appeared in 59 regular season games (19 starts) and has averaged 8.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 24.4 minutes. Last season, Cook set new HEAT rookie records in both three-point field goals made (79) and attempted (238) while shooting 33.2 percent accuracy from beyond the arc which was the fourth highest single-season percentage for a HEAT rookie. Additionally, Cook ranked among the NBA rookie leaders in three-point field goals made (2nd), three-point field goal attempted (2nd), three-point field goal percentage (3rd), scoring average (8th), minutes per game (10th), assists per game (tied-10th) and rebounds per game (tied-16th).

Cook was originally drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round (21st overall) of the 2007 NBA Draft. His draft rights were acquired by the HEAT along with Philadelphia’s 2009 second-round draft pick and cash considerations for the draft rights of Jason Smith (20th overall selection) on draft night.

Mavs exercise Shawne Williams option

The Dallas Mavericks announced today they have exercised the option on forward Shawne Williams for the 2009-10 season.

“We are excited to exercise the option on Shawne’s contract,” said General Manager/President of Basketball Operations Donnie Nelson.  “He is a young player that has improved every season and has a bright future as a Maverick.”

Williams (6-9, 225) was acquired in a trade with the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Eddie Jones on October 10, 2008.  He was selected by Indiana with the 17th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. The third-year forward averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 65 games (3 starts) last season with the Pacers improving on his rookie numbers of 3.9 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in 2006-07.

He played five games for the Mavericks this preseason and averaged 2.0 points and 1.6 rebounds in 8.6 minutes.

Sixers home opener time change

The Philadelphia 76ers today officially moved the start time of their home opener against the Toronto Raptors at the Wachovia Center on Wednesday, October 29 to 6:00 p.m. ET (from the scheduled 7:00 p.m. ET time) in anticipation of a World Series game being played at the South Philadelphia Sports Complex on Wednesday, October 29.

“We moved the start time of our home opener to 6:00 p.m. to allow our fans an opportunity to attend our game and to be able to see the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series,” said Lara Price, Senior Vice President of Business Operations.

The AT&T Pavilion at the Wachovia Center will remain open after the Sixers game late into the evening for fans to watch the baseball game with half-price domestic beer specials and delicious food, including Chickie’s & Pete’s world famous Crab Fries and chicken tenders. After the Sixers game, access to the AT&T Pavilion will be free and open to the public.

Bobcats sign Linton Johnson

Charlotte Bobcats General Manager Rod Higgins announced today that the team has signed forward Linton Johnson III. The Bobcats roster now stands at 15 players.

Johnson (6-8, 205 pounds) appeared in four preseason games with Washington this season with averages of 1.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in 12.8 minutes.

Over his five-year NBA career, Johnson has appeared in 147 games (27 starts) with averages of 4.1 points and 3.4 rebounds in 14.6 minutes with Chicago, San Antonio, New Jersey, New Orleans, Toronto and Phoenix. Johnson went undrafted out of Tulane University in the 2003 NBA Draft, but was signed as a free agent by the Bulls before the start of the 2003-04 season.

The Bobcats will open the 2008-09 season on Thursday, Oct. 30 at Cleveland, with their home opener slated for Saturday, Nov. 1 against Miami.

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have promoted Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations/General Manager Danny Ainge to President of Basketball Operations.  The team also announced that Ainge’s contract has been extended.  Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Danny has been a key part of building our World Championship team and basketball program,” Boston Celtics Managing Partner and Co-owner Stephen Pagliuca said. “He represents all that is the best of Celtics Pride and we applaud his success.”

Ainge, the 2007-08 NBA Executive of the Year, orchestrated the trades that brought Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to Boston that brought the Celtics their NBA record 17th Championship during the 2007-08 season.  Ainge was named to the position of Executive Director of Basketball Operations after the 2002-03 season.  Ainge is currently in his 6th year in the position and his 14th overall with the organization.

“Danny was visionary as he assembled the players who brought home our seventeenth banner,” Managing Partner and CEO Wyc Grousbeck said. “His work ethic, character and insight earned him Executive of the Year and earned us a world title.”

During his 14-year playing career, Ainge won two World Championships with Boston (1984, 1986) and appeared in six NBA Finals (four with Boston).  He finished his career third in NBA playoff history for games played (193) and sixth in most three-pointers made (172). He also finished eighth in three-pointers attempted (433).  Upon his retirement, Ainge was one of three players in NBA history to make 1,000 or more career three-pointers (1,002), along with Dale Ellis and Reggie Miller.

Derrick Rose ready for opener

The Arlington Heights Daily Herald (Mike McGraw) reports: Rookie guard Derrick Rose refused to admit feeling nervous about his official NBA debut. “I can’t wait, but I don’t think I’ll be nervous,” he said. “My first pro game was the preseason. I (treated it like) it was a real game. So I’m just going to continue to play hard and act like it’s not the first game and try to be aggressive.” Rose rented a suite for tonight’s game to accommodate his friends and family. Also, he admitted it was his idea to be announced as “from Chicago” during pregame introductions instead of from his college, Memphis. “I’ve been here my whole life,” he said. “I’ve only been in Memphis one year. I think that the fans in Memphis will understand.”

Shaq is The Big Shogun

The Arizona Republic (Paul Coro) reports: Shaquille O’Neal can talk the topic of supremacy, having climbed the NBA mountaintop four times and believing that he still sits above all centers. “Because I’ve done the most,” O’Neal said. “I’m not worried about guys winning dunk contests and doing stuff like that. You still have to outdo the shogun to become the shogun. When I leave, it’ll be because my time is up, not because someone is outplaying me or someone has done more than me. The only one who has even done close, and I don’t really consider him a center, is Mr. (Tim) Duncan. Any other center, the things that they have done, I invented.”

Good and bad of Suns

The East Valley Tribune (Jerry Brown) reports on the Suns: Reasons to be excited: Depth. The Suns have their top seven players back from last season and have added Barnes, Dragic and Lopez to the rotation. The Suns have plenty of available fouls up front and several ball-handlers to soak up the responsibilities when Nash is on the bench. Porter plans to play nine players a night, but 10 or 11 should be involved when injuries and fouls are factored in. Reasons to be worried: The already loaded Western Conference got even better over the summer. Andrew Bynum is healthy for the Lakers in Los Angeles. James Posey is coming off the bench in New Orleans. Ron Artest has joined forces with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady in Houston. Greg Oden and Rudy Fernandez are the latest to join a young and talented Portland team. And we haven’t mentioned the Spurs, Mavericks and Nuggets. A very good team won’t make the playoffs. Will the Suns find a chair when the music stops?

NBA opening night rosters

The NBA’s opening day rosters are official, and now posted on InsideHoops.com.

This evening was the deadline for NBA teams to trim their rosters down to 15 players or less.

The 2008-09 regular season starts Tuesday, October 28. InsideHoops is your online basketball home. We’re pumping out more content this season than ever.

Enjoy the season!

Lakers exercise option on Farmar

The Los Angeles Lakers have exercised a fourth year contract option for the 2009-10 season on Jordan Farmar, it was announced today. In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, the Lakers had until October 31 to exercise their option on Farmar. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.

Selected by the Lakers with the 26th pick in the first round of the 2006 NBA draft, Farmar, a third year guard out of UCLA, averaged 9.1 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 20.6 minutes over 82 games last season (all career-highs).

A participant in the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge during the 2007 and 2008 All-Star Weekends as well as the first player in league history to play in both an NBA and NBA Development League game in the same day, Farmar led the Lakers in scoring (12.3 ppg) and assists (3.4 apg) this preseason.

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