Archive for October 20th, 2008

I spent some time in Barcelona this summer. It was my second time there. And I can tell you that Barcelona is a fantastic, wonderful place, but only if you don’t spend too much time in the heart of the city, where tourists flock. The most famous street in downtown Barcelona is Las Ramblas, and it’s flooded with street performers, locals, but also hoards of pickpockets and nutjobs. And it’s directly next to an extremely bad neighborhood called La Raval, a neighborhood where not a lot of actual Spanish people live.

I quickly learned that the best way to enjoy Barcelona is to stick to the residental neighborhoods. They have less nightlife than the busy areas, but are still as alive as you’d want them to be, and far more fascinating than the crowded tourist spots.

The point of my mentioning this is, Tyson Chandler himself recently learned that the tourist heart of Barcelona has problems. Here’s Chandler, via his NBA.com blog:

So after we left the restaurant, I took off, walking faster to get ahead of them and take pictures. I’m taking pictures and all of a sudden, I hear somebody start cursing at me. I’m looking through my camera lens at the time, so I can’t see anything but the pictures I’m taking. I come from up under, and this dude walks up to me, cursing me out.

I put my camera down and I’m like, “Am I not supposed to be taking pictures here?” He starts yelling in Spanish and I can’t understand him obviously. He looked homeless to me, and I’m saying, “Oh, I’m not supposed to be taking pictures here. I’m sorry.”

He’s just screaming at me and I put the camera away and walk away. But then he’s still going off and I see like 10 more homeless people up against the wall with dogs and stuff. It looked to me like the other 10 people were asking him what he was doing, but they were speaking Spanish, so I don’t know what they were saying.

The guy’s walking toward me and I’m putting my hand out like, “Stay back.” I walk backwards and start to turn around, but then, in the corner of my eye, I see him reach back to throw something. I kinda ducked and all these coins hit me.

He threw a bunch of coins at me.

At this point, I wanted to just go at it. This dude just hit me all over my back with coins, and he’s still screaming at me. But I told him, “Listen, you had better stay back.”

And I look at my wife and that’s the only thing that could calm me down. I see my pregnant wife and realize that I can’t have a situation go down like that. My teammates were in shock, because they saw what happened. I didn’t want anything else to happen so I tried to calm myself down. I started walking away from him and he kept his distance.

I personally know three girls (separate people who don’t know each other) who had their cameras stolen by pickpockets in Barcelona this summer.

I loved the place, as soon as I learned to hang out about a 20+ minute walk away from La Ramblas.

–Jeff

Larry Brown digs Jared Dudley

The Charlotte Observer (Rick Bonnell) reports: Larry Brown, the Charlotte Bobcats’ Hall of Fame coach, calls Jared Dudley the most pleasant surprise of this preseason. The only surprise to me is how long it took Brown to fall in love with Dudley’s approach. Brown said Dudley had a terrible performance in summer league. I concur. He was self-conscious initially, trying to do everything just-so, then hurt his back. But trying too hard is not the worst offense, right? Dudley started training camp third-team, mostly playing with guys who’ll migrate to various D-League addresses soon enough. But he never complained, always tried, and now he’s, at worst, in a tie with Adam Morrison for the second-best small forward on this team. That’s how it’s always been. On Tuesday, the Bobcats will play the Los Angeles Lakers in San Diego, Dudley’s hometown. About 300 friends and family will attend, cheering wildly. But that’s as well as he’ll be remembered along the West Coast.

Jamison will be OK

The AP reports: Wizards all-star forward Antawn Jamison practised Monday without a protective sleeve on his banged-up right knee and expects to be at 100 per cent for the start of the regular season next week. “No pain at all. No stiffness or anything like that,” Jamison said after practice. “I feel pretty good.” He bruised the knee and left in the first quarter of Washington’s first exhibition game, at Dallas on Oct. 7.

Bobcats owner not selling team

The AP reports: The first black majority owner of a major professional sports team is not interested in selling, even as he loses millions in a bad economy. Bob Johnson said Monday he remains committed to the Charlotte Bobcats, who have struggled to win and attract fans since he paid $300 million for the expansion franchise four years ago. Johnson laid off nearly 40 employees in the past month to save money, and three top executives have left the organization. But in an interview with The Associated Press, Johnson said he has no intention of unloading the team, and will spend what it takes to get the Bobcats to the playoffs for the first time.

Lakers waive Brandon Heath

The Los Angeles Lakers have requested waivers on guard Brandon Heath, it was announced today.

Heath, a 6-3 guard out of San Diego State spent last season playing in France for Entente Orleans 45 where he averaged 12.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 25 games. In five preseason games with the Lakers, Heath averaged 1.4 points in 8.6 minutes.

The Lakers preseason roster now stands at 17.

Baron Davis back in 1 week

Los Angeles Clippers point guard Baron Davis underwent an examination today by Dr. Roy Meals, a hand specialist with the UCLA Medical Group.  The examination revealed that Davis had sustained a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left ring finger.  The injury does not require surgery and is expected to heal on its own.  Davis will wear a splint and is expected to resume all basketball activities in one week.

Davis was originally diagnosed with a sprained left ring finger after falling on his hand during practice at the Los Angeles Clippers Training Center on Friday, October 17th.  X-rays taken after the injury occurred were negative and a subsequent MRI revealed results that were inconclusive, leading to today’s follow up examination.

Cavs waive Vernon Hamilton

The Cleveland Cavaliers announced today that they have waived guard Vernon Hamilton.  Hamilton played in four games during the Cavaliers current preseason, averaging 0.8 points, 0.8 assists and 1.0 rebound in 6.8 minutes per game.

Grizzlies waive Brent Petway

The Memphis Grizzlies waived forward Brent Petway, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

Petway, who signed on Sept. 29, appeared in one preseason game at Houston on Oct. 7, recording two points and one rebound in four minutes.

An updated preseason roster is attached. The current roster stands at 14 players.

The Grizzlies will play their final two preseason games vs. the Miami Heat at 6:30 p.m. CST on Tuesday, Oct. 21 at AmericanAirlines Arena and vs. the Orlando Magic at 6 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at AMWAY Arena.

I was with Darius Miles a few days ago in New Jersey, before a recent Nets-Celtics preseason game, and talked with Miles for a quick 90 seconds.

So, I label it a “mini-interview.”

And in our very brief conversation, Darius said he’s not a main option anymore and now more of a role player.

See his exact quotes here.

As for his time with the Celtics, that ended today as the team waived him.

Deron Williams out at least 2 weeks

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams, who injured his left ankle at the 5:39 mark of the first quarter of Saturday night’s preseason game at Chicago.

As a result of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) testing conducted on Williams’ ankle earlier today, Jazz team physician Dr. Lyle Mason has determined that Williams suffered a second degree inversion sprain.  The MRI also showed all bone structure and tendons in and around the ankle to be normal.

The time frame for Williams’ return to action is a minimum of two weeks.

Originally selected by the Jazz in the first round (third overall) in the 2005 NBA Draft, Williams has appeared in 242 of a possible 246 regular season games and all 29 playoff games in his first three NBA seasons,  posting career averages of 15.3 points and 8.1 assists in 34.4 minutes per game.  Williams started all 82 games for the Jazz in 2007-08, averaging 18.8 points and 10.5 assists in 37.3 minutes per game.  He became only the third player in NBA history to total 1500+ points and 800+ assists while shooting .500+ in a single season (Kevin Johnson, Magic Johnson) and was also selected to the All-NBA Second Team.

James Jones has wrist surgery

The Miami HEAT announced that forward James Jones underwent successful surgery on Saturday, October 18th to repair a ruptured extensor tendon in his right wrist. The surgery was performed by Dr. Ann Ouellette and consulted by HEAT team physician Dr. Harlan Selesnick at Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables. Jones is expected to be out three months.

Jones was signed by the HEAT as a free agent on July 9.

Sixers waive Antywane Robinson

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that the team has waived Antywane Robinson.  He appeared in three preseason games for the Sixers, playing a total of 15 minutes.  The roster now stands at 15.

Robinson (6-8, 220) played all four seasons at Temple University, earning Atlantic-10 All-Conference Second Team honors his senior season.  In 116 career games played for the Owls, he had 85 steals to 54 turnovers.  He has yet to appear in a regular season game since going undrafted in 2006, but played preseason games for the Atlanta Hawks in 2007.  After being waived by the Hawks, Robinson joined the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the D-League before playing overseas for Elan Bearnais Pau-Orthez of the French League.

InsideHoops.com editor says: The guy’s first name is Antywane?!?

Uncertain McGrady health

The Houston Chronicle (Jonathan Feigen) reports: A day after Tracy McGrady expressed concern about whether he would be ready for the Rockets’ season opener Oct. 29, he was so encouraged by his play in Sunday’s scrimmage-heavy practice that he spoke confidently about playing in the preseason finale Thursday night in Sacramento. “Actually, I felt pretty good today,” McGrady said. “I wanted to really push myself in practice, to start today a push toward the game on Thursday. I came in here, did what I wanted to do, went hard and felt pretty good. “I am (encouraged.) It’s better for my psyche coming out here and knowing I can get up and down and I can do some of the things I had trouble with earlier. Still struggling a little bit defensively, but I’m coming around.”

Yi Jianlian glance

The New York Daily News (Julian Garcia) reports on Nets forward Yi Jianlian’s preseason play so far: Yi has been pretty good offensively (14 ppg) but has struggled to grab rebounds (five in three games) and on the defensive end. Yi admitted he had a hard time with defending the pick-and-roll in his first two preseason games, but Frank said “it’ll happen” as long as Yi continues to work at it and learn how to play aggressively on that end “without committing needless fouls.” Frank added this, too: “I think the thing you can’t discount too is there’s a little bit - not much - but a little bit of a language barrier. So he’s got to do a little bit more thinking initially until he gets comfortable with voice recognition. He’ll get it. It’s just going to take some time.” As for rebounding, Frank said, “In the Olympics he was one of the leading rebounders, so I think he has it in him.”

Cavs starting SG job uncertain

The News-Herald (Bob Finnan) reports: Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said recently the starting job at shooting guard is still up for grabs… Many observers think Sasha Pavlovic will retain that starting job once the regular season starts on Oct. 28 in Boston… Pavlovic missed a week of training camp after spraining his ankle. Veteran Wally Szczerbiak, another candidate for the starting job, has also been bothered by soreness in camp… The plan going into camp appeared to be for Delonte West to start opposite Mo Williams in the Cavs’ backcourt. But he missed 12 days of camp battling depression and a mood disorder and might be better suited coming off the bench.

Celtics waive Darius Miles

The Boston Celtics announced today that the club has requested waivers on forward Darius Miles. The training camp roster now stands at 15.

“Darius was a model citizen during his time here in Boston.  He showed that he still has a lot of basketball left in him.” said Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations/General Manger Danny Ainge.

Miles signed as a free agent on August 22, 2008. The 6’9, 235-pound forward appeared in six preseason games, averaging 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds in 10.4 minutes per game.

Mavericks waive C.Rhodes

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have requested waivers on forward Charles Rhodes.

Rhodes (6-8, 245) was signed by the Mavericks as a rookie free agent after he went undrafted out of Mississippi State in the 2008 NBA Draft. He saw action in 5 preseason games and averaged 1.0 point and 2.4 rebounds in 6.0 minutes per game.

The Mavericks roster now stands at 18 players.

Bulls waive two players

The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has waived forward Elton Brown and guard Darius Washington.

Brown (6-9, 250) appeared in two preseason games with the Bulls and averaged 2.5 ppg and 2.0 rpg in 8.0 mpg.

Washington (6-2, 195) saw action in two preseason games and averaged 8.0 ppg in 13.0 mpg.

Chicago’s preseason roster now stands at 15.

Bucks waive two players

The Milwaukee Bucks have requested waivers on guards Ron Howard and Kevin Kruger, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

In three preseason games with the Bucks, Howard, 25, posted averages of 2.0 points and 1.0 assist per game.

Kruger, 25, played in two games for the Bucks and averaged 4.0 points, 1.5 assists and 1.0 rebound per game.

The Bucks roster currently stands at 16 players.

Spurs waive Charles Gaines

The San Antonio Spurs announced today that they have waived forward Charles Gaines.

Gaines averaged 3.3 points in four preseason games for San Antonio.

The Spurs roster stands at 19. Four more cuts to go to get to a full, 15-man roster.

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