Archive for October 24th, 2008

Larry Hughes out 2-4 weeks

The Chicago Sun-Times (Brian Hanley) reports: Bulls guard Larry Hughes is expected to miss up two to four weeks with a dislocated right shoulder. Hughes, who initially was expected to be out from six to eight weeks, underwent a second MRI Friday, in which dye was injected into the injured joint, to give a more detailed picture of the damage.

Mo Williams must fit with LeBron

The Sporting News (Sean Deveney) reports:  Is Maurice Williams the guy LeBron’s been looking for? The plan in Cleveland seems to center on lining up as many perimeter scorers as possible around LeBron James. They’ve got Daniel Gibson, Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak and, now, Williams, acquired from Milwaukee as part of a three-team trade this summer. Williams is owed $43 million over the next five years, so acquiring him from the Bucks was a risky move. But the Cavs see Williams as much more than a perimeter scorer. He is not a great playmaker (which caused some tensions with Michael Redd in Milwaukee), but he has the ability to run a fast break, something the Cavaliers have simply not done well at all in recent years. And, unlike the Cavs’ other outside options, he has the ability to create his own shot, which will naturally take pressure off James in halfcourt sets. Williams has been terrific for the Cavs thus far in the preseason.

Bulls need leader and post game

SI (Marty Burns) reports on potential problems for the Bulls: No team leader. Even before last season’s disaster, the Bulls lacked a clear go-to guy and team leader who could take charge on and off the court. Hinrich, Deng, Gordon, Nocioni, Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes are solid NBA players, but none is a true superstar who can carry a team. Chicago, in fact, has not sent a representative to the All-Star Game since Michael Jordan made his final appearance as a member of the Bulls in 1998.

More from SI: Low post is still lacking. After being unable or unwilling to lure Kevin Garnett and Pau Gasol in recent years, the Bulls once more enter the season without a reliable low-post scoring threat. Gooden, 27, is a decent option on the block, but the 6-foot-10 power forward is known more for cashing in on the offensive glass and hitting the mid-range jumper. Without a big guy to draw double teams and run the pick-and-roll with Rose, the Bulls have to work too hard all the time to get open shots.

Rudy Gay is a budding star

SI (Arash Markazi) reports on Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies: The 21-year-old swingman nearly won the Most Improved Player award after boosting his scoring average from 10.8 points as a rookie to 20.1 points last season, an NBA-high 9.3-point increase. Gay became the first second-year player to average more than 20 points in three years and set a franchise record for most points in a season (1,632). This year, Iavaroni will give Gay more freedom on the court and allow him to lead the team after he was thrust into that role in the middle of last season. “If he is the best player on our team, he has to understand with that comes a lot of responsibility,” Iavaroni said. “He will ultimately be judged by how well we play because he must bring it every night for us to have success. He needs to understand that. That’s going to be his challenge this year.”

Rockets waive DJ Strawberry

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has waived guard D.J. Strawberry.

Strawberry (6-5, 201, Maryland) averaged 8.2 points and 1.0 steals in five preseason games this year. Strawberry was acquired by the Rockets from the Phoenix Suns on August 25, 2008 after a rookie campaign with the Suns in which he averaged 2.2 points on .315 (29-92) shooting in 33 games.

The Rockets roster now stands at 14 players.

Barnes to start at SF for Suns

The East Valley Tribune (Jerry Brown) reports: In a move that was anticipated a month ago but dragged through the entire training camp, Porter named Matt Barnes the starter at small forward over Grant Hill. The move makes sense for several reasons. Barnes brings defense, athleticism and more 3-point shooting range to help with spacing the floor for the starters. And Hill brings experience and ball-handling ability to the second unit when rookie Goran Dragic is manning the point guard spot. “Grant brings calmness to that second unit and he can help Goran — who has made a lot of strides by is still very experienced — as another person who can handle the ball. Matt fits well with the first unit as a spacer, while Grant will allow Goran and L.B. (Leandro Barbosa) to do the same thing with that second group.”

Pacers rookies to get minutes

Most rookies tend to play very few minutes. But on the Pacers there’s room for almost anyone who can play to have an impact. The Indianapolis Star (Mike Wells) reports:

There were questions about them coming into training camp. Some wondered if center Roy Hibbert could make the transition from playing in a halfcourt offense at Georgetown to the up-tempo style of Indiana Pacers coach Jim O’Brien. The concern surrounding Brandon Rush was if he could crack the rotation at one of the wing positions, the Pacers’ deepest. The rookies have gone through growing pains, but they’ve also done enough to earn a place in the rotation when the regular season opens Wednesday in Detroit… Hibbert will back up starter Rasho Nesterovic and Rush will be in the mix at shooting guard and small forward. They were the first two players off the bench Thursday.

It’ll be especially interesting to see how Hibbert plays, considering he stayed in college longer than he had to.

Bucks waive Matt Freije

The Milwaukee Bucks have requested waivers on forward Matt Freije, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

Freije, 27, signed a free agent contract with Milwaukee on October 1. He appeared in five preseason games, averaging 7.0 points and 2.8 rebounds in 12.0 minutes.

The Bucks roster currently stands at 15 entering tonight’s game against the Chicago Bulls (7:30 p.m., WTMJ 620 AM).

Glance at Heat rotation

The Palm Beach Post (Chris Perkins) reports on the Miami Heat: Right now it appears the rotation for Wednesday’s season opener at New York will surely include the seven-man group of point guard Chris Quinn, shooting guard Dwyane Wade, small forward Shawn Marion, power forward Michael Beasley, power forward/center Udonis Haslem, center Mark Blount and point guard/shooting guard Marcus Banks. The other spots (it’s unknown whether the Heat will regularly use an eight- or nine-man rotation) could be comprised of rookie point guard Mario Chalmers, small forward Yakhouba Diawara, small forward Dorell Wright and point guard Shaun Livingston.

Bulls exercise 3 player options

The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has picked up the options for the 2009-10 season for forward Tyrus Thomas, guard Thabo Sefolosha and forward/center Joakim Noah. The announcement means that all three players will be under contract for the Bulls for the 2009-10 season.

In two seasons with Chicago, Thomas (6-9, 215) has appeared in 146 games (31 starts) and averaged 6.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg and 1.01 bpg in 15.7 mpg; he has shot .443 from the field and .673 from the line.  Selected to the 2006-07 T-Mobile NBA All-Rookie Second Team, Thomas was drafted in the first round (fourth overall) by Portland in NBA Draft 2006 and was traded to the Bulls, along with Viktor Khryapa, for the draft rights to LaMarcus Aldridge.

Sefolosha (6-7, 215) has played in 140 games (26 starts) the last two years for the Bulls and posted averages of 5.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.4 apg in 16.5 mpg and shot .427 from the field, .338 from behind the arc and .658 from the line.  Sefolosha was selected in the first round (13th overall) by Philadelphia in NBA Draft 2006 and was traded to the Bulls in a draft-day deal for the draft rights to Rodney Carney and cash considerations.

Noah (6-11, 232) enters his second season with the Bulls, after appearing in 74 games (31 starts) his rookie year.  In 2007-08, he compiled averages of 6.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.1 apg, 0.92 spg and 0.86 bpg in 20.7 mpg; he shot .482 from the field and .691 from the line.  The Bulls selected Noah in the first round (ninth overall) in NBA Draft 2007.

Camby gets over pain of trade

Marcus Camby appears to have gotten over the pain that comes from having to make almost $1 million per month in Los Angeles instead of making it in Denver. The Rocky Mountain News (Aaron J. Lopez) reports:

Whatever the reason, former Nuggets center Marcus Camby no longer openly harbors the bitterness that came over him when Denver traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers in a cost-cutting move July 13. Sure, Camby still believes the Nuggets could have handled the situation better, but he appears to have moved on from the days when he felt “blindsided, distraught, disrespected.” “I was upset at the time, how things transpired out there in Denver, but after being out here, that is like a thing of the past right now,” Camby said during a telephone interview from Los Angeles. “I’m enjoying my new situation. I’m enjoying this new chapter of my career. I’m going to try to make the best of the situation, but I think the situation can be a great one and a promising one.”

To be serious, I realize that my opening line is a bit off, in that it wasn’t about the money for Camby. It was personal. He really enjoyed being in Denver. Still, I think he’ll be OK. It’ll be interesting seeing how Camby fits alongside Chris Kaman. And anything Baron Davis does is worth watching.

Video of Rafer Alston being arrested

This is a video clip of when Rafer Alston was arrested for DWI. He’s currently on trial for it.

This took place in Houston.

The video is here.

Rafer should have gone into Skip 2 My Lou streetball mode, taken out a basketball, started dribbling through the legs of the police officer, bounced the ball off the officer’s forehead, unleashed a crossover, yanked the officer’s shirt over his head, dribbled by him, dunked the ball over a nearby tree branch, and then started moonwalking.

–Jeff

Spurs waive three players

The San Antonio Spurs announced Thursday that they have waived guard/forward Devin Green, guard Salim Stoudamire and center Darryl Watkins.

Green appeared in four games during the preseason, averaging 7.0 points, 2.8 assists, 1.8 rebounds and 1.25 steals in 21.8 minutes per game.

Stoudamire played in two preseason games, averaging 5.5 points, 2.5 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 19.0 minutes of action.

Green saw action in five preseason games, averaging 3.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in 15.0 minutes of action.

The Spurs roster now stands at 16.

Nets waive four players

The New Jersey Nets have requested waivers on Eddie Gill, Brian Hamilton, Julius Hodge and Keith Van Horn, Nets President Rod Thorn announced Thursday.  Gill, Hamilton and Hodge each signed as free agents with the Nets on September 27, 2008, while Van Horn was obtained on February 19, 2008 in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks.

Gill appeared in six games for the Nets during the preseason, averaging 4.5 points and 1.0 assists in 13.7 minutes per game. The five-year NBA veteran has averaged 3.1 points and 1.1 assists in 181 career games with New Jersey, Memphis, Portland and Indiana.

Hamilton played in three preseason contests, totaling one point and five rebounds in 21 minutes of action.

Hodge posted averages of 3.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in four preseason games with the Nets.  In two NBA seasons with Denver and Milwaukee, Hodge has appeared in 23 games, averaging 1.2 points and 0.7 rebounds in 4.2 minutes per game.

Van Horn, who was acquired by New Jersey as part of an eight player trade with the Dallas Mavericks on February 19, 2008, has not appeared in an NBA game since the 2005-06 season.

The Nets roster now stands at 15 players.

Oct 23: Lakers 88, Bobcats 77

The AP reports: Pau Gasol scored 13 points and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Charlotte Bobcats 88-77 on Thursday night without the ailing Kobe Bryant… Adam Morrison scored 13 points for the Bobcats, who finished the preseason 0-7. The fifth-year team will open the regular season Oct. 30 at Cleveland under Larry Brown, who is coaching his ninth NBA team following the firing of Sam Vincent in April… Despite Jason Richardson’s 1-for-8 shooting in the first half and Charlotte’s 27.0 field goal percentage, the Lakers led only 36-30 at intermission.

Oct 23: Suns 102, Thunder 93

The AP reports: Amare Stoudemire scored 17 points before dislocating his left pinky and the Phoenix Suns, with their regulars together for the first time, beat the short-handed Oklahoma City Thunder 102-93 on Thursday night … Steve Nash, returning after missing three games because of a sprained right ankle, scored 15 points for the Suns. Leandro Barbosa also had 15 points, Shaquille O’Neal added 13, and Matt Barnes had 12. Rookie Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 22 points. Kevin Durant, last season’s Rookie of the Year, added 19, Johan Petro had 17 and Jeff Green 12.

Oct 23: Rockets 110, Kings 97

The AP reports: Ron Artest scored 19 points against his former Sacramento teammates to help the Rockets beat the Kings 110-97 on Thursday night in the final preseason game for both teams. Yao Ming left the game early in the fourth quarter and finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and two blocks for Houston (5-2). Tracy McGrady, playing only his second exhibition game, added 14 points in 33 minutes… Aaron Brooks added 15 points for the Rockets and Luther Head had 13. In his best game as a professional, second-year center Spencer Hawes had 25 points and 16 rebounds for the Kings (1-7), who lost their sixth straight. Kevin Martin added 22 points, John Salmons had 16 and rookie Jason Thompson 10.

Oct 23: Jazz 100, Blazers 89

The AP reports: Kyle Korver hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and finished with 15 points to help the Utah Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers 100-89 on Thursday night in the exhibition finale for both teams. Ronnie Brewer led Utah (4-3) with 22 points, and Carlos Boozer added 16. Channing Frye led Portland (4-3) with 17 points, and Rudy Fernandez had 16… Steve Blake added 14 points for Portland, rookie Jerryd Bayless and Travis Outlaw each scored 13 points and Shavlik Randolph had 10.

Oct 23: Pacers 114, Mavs 91

The AP reports: Danny Granger scored 24 points, T.J. Ford had 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, and the Indiana Pacers beat the Dallas Mavericks 114-91 on Thursday night in the final preseason game for both teams. Marquis Daniels added 22 points and nine rebounds, and Rasho Nesterovic had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers (4-4). Josh Howard scored 19 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Mavericks (4-4).

Oct 23: Hornets 100, Heat 80

The AP reports: David West scored 22 points, Peja Stojakovic added 14 and the New Orleans Hornets were 9-of-16 from 3-point range in their 100-80 exhibition victory over the Miami Heat on Thursday at the University of South Alabama… New Orleans point guard Chris Paul had 13 assists and six points, Morris Peterson and Devin Brown each scored 12 points, and Rasual Butler added 11. Rookie Michael Beasley led the Heat with 14 points, Shawn Marion added 12, and Dwyane Wade had 11.

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