Archive for October 27th, 2008

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.

Bucks waive Griffin and sign Croshere

The Milwaukee Bucks have acquired forward Austin Croshere (pronounced CROW-zhur) off of waivers, General Manager John Hammond announced today.  In a subsequent move, the team requested waivers on forward Adrian Griffin.

Croshere (6-10, 235) comes to the Bucks with 11 years of NBA experience.  He spent his first nine seasons with the Indiana Pacers, the team that drafted him with the 12th overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft.  He followed up his Pacers career with one-year stints in Dallas (2006-07) and Golden State (2007-08).  He averaged 3.9 points and 2.4 rebounds in 44 games with the Warriors last season.  He comes to Milwaukee with 645 regular season games to his credit and career averages of 6.9 points and 4.1 rebounds.  The 33-year-old has also appeared in 68 playoff games and owns postseason averages of 6.7 points and 3.6 rebounds.

Griffin (6-5, 230) appeared in two preseason games with the Bucks.

Bulls re-sign Michael Ruffin

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has re-signed forward/center Michael Ruffin to a contract.  Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Ruffin (6-8, 248) was a member of Chicago’s 2008 preseason roster but missed seven games due to a left ankle sprain.

Chicago’s roster now stands at 14.

Raptors exercise option on Bargnani

The Toronto Raptors announced Monday they have exercised the fourth year team option on the Rookie Scale Contract of forward Andrea Bargnani. Bargnani is now guaranteed through the 2009-10 season. In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, the Raptors had until October 31 to exercise their option on Bargnani. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bargnani was selected by Toronto with the first overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft.  He has averaged 10.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 143 regular season games. He’s shot .832 (259-311) from the charity stripe in his two seasons with the club. He scored a career-high 28 points versus the Los Angeles Lakers on February 1, 2008 and grabbed a personal-best 11 rebounds on two occasions (November 11, 2007 versus Memphis and February 24, 2007 at Charlotte).

The 7-foot, 260 pounder was named to the 2007 NBA All-Rookie First Team, and participated in the T-Mobile Rookie-Sophomore Challenge during the 2007 and 2008 All-Star Weekend.

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has exercised the third-year option on both center/forward Oleksiy Pecherov and guard Nick Young.  Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.

“Nick and ‘Pech’ both showed a great deal of potential as rookies and we’re counting on them to continue to progress and contribute,” said Grunfeld.  “We like the fact that we have a group of promising young players behind our established veterans, and we’re excited to retain Nick and ‘Pech’ for their third seasons.”

Under the terms of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, the first two years of a first round draft pick’s contract are guaranteed while the third and fourth year of the contract are the team’s option.  Pecherov was selected with the 18th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, while Young was selected with the 16th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

Pecherov averaged 3.6 points and 1.9 rebounds in 35 games as a rookie with the Wizards last season.  He was selected by the Wizards in the 2006 Draft (the franchise’s first-ever international first round pick), but played the 2006-07 season overseas before joining the team for the 2007-08 season.

Young averaged 7.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 75 games as rookie with the Wizards last season.  His best game came on March 30 at the L.A. Lakers when he scored 27 points in 31 minutes.

Bobcats waive Jermareo Davidson

The Charlotte Bobcats today requested waivers on forward Jermareo Davidson. The Bobcats roster now stands at 14 players.

Davidson appeared in three preseason games with averages of 2.0 points, 0.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shot in 8.8 minutes.

Originally drafted by Golden State with the 36th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Davidson’s draft rights were acquired from the Warriors, along with Jason Richardson, in exchange for Brandan Wright, whom the Bobcats selected with the eighth overall pick.

In his rookie season, he appeared in 38 games with averages of 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 8.4 minutes.

Aaron Brooks out 1-3 weeks

Houston Rockets guard Aaron Brooks has been diagnosed with a bone contusion in the right ankle. He is expected to miss 1-3 weeks with the injury.

Brooks is a backup point guard and an undersized player who relies very heavily on his speed and quickness.

Knicks waive Patrick Ewing Jr

The New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that forward Patrick Ewing, Jr. has been waived.

Originally acquired from the Houston Rockets on Aug. 29, 2008, the rookie appeared in three preseason games.

The Bergen Record (Steve Adamek) reports: Junior, meanwhile, said of the possibility of not fulfilling what he said was a “dream” since his days running around the Knicks’ old Purchase College practice floor when his father played, “I’ll just go on with my life and take the next step. I’m not one to sit around and think about things. I just get on with the next step.”

The New York Post reports: The Knicks were heavily leaning toward cutting Ewing, a swingman, before Friday night’s preseason finale, but the decision became more difficult after Ewing lit up the Garden with an electrifying 9-minute stint in the fourth quarter, when he executed two monster dunks and sank a 3-pointer against the Nets. The fans chanted his name in the final minutes.

Lakers waive Coby Karl

The Los Angeles Lakers have waived free agent guard Coby Karl, it was announced today.

Karl, who was signed by the Lakers as an undrafted rookie free agent on July 30, 2007, appeared in 17 games last season, averaging 1.8 points and 0.8 rebounds in 4.2 minutes.

Karl also played in 17 games with the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA Development League last season where he averaged 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 37.6 minutes while posting a .411 3-point field goal percentage.  In the D-Fenders’ two playoff games, Karl averaged 13.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.0 steals in 37.0 minutes.

Karl, a 6-5 guard from Boise State, averaged 14.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a senior and was named First Team All-WAC.  Karl’s 1,698 career points ranks third on Boise State’s all-time scoring list while leaving Boise State as the all-time leader in games played (127) and three-pointers made (266).

Jordan Farmar looked great in preseason

The Los Angeles Daily News (Elliot Teaford) report: Not to be overlooked was the play of backup guard Jordan Farmar, who ignited the second unit during the preseason. He has never lacked for confidence, dating to his days as a prep standout at Taft High of Woodland Hills and as a collegian at UCLA. But he raised his game to a new a level in October, prompting Odom to say of the 21-year-old Farmar, “At a young age, he’s found his niche.” The Lakers’ second unit, their so-called Bench Mob, was one of the best in the league last season. Coach Phil Jackson declined to stick with the status quo this season, however. He moved Odom to the bench, for instance.

Big expectations for Sixers youth

The Philadelphia Daily News (Phil Jasner) reports: Lou Williams, the fourth-year guard, began building a reputation last season as an off-the-bench energy jolt, capable of not only scoring but changing the pace of a game. Thaddeus Young was the rookie who blossomed in the latter stages, starting 22 of the last 38 games, a seemingly natural small forward who had to find the bulk of his minutes as an undersized power forward… Williams came to the Sixers as a raw talent directly out of South Gwinnett (Ga.) High midway through the second round of the 2005 NBA draft, the first high school player selected by them since Darryl Dawkins in 1975. Young was the No. 12 overall pick from Georgia Tech in 2007, with just one season of college experience. “They drafted us off our potential,” said Young, who expected to be fully back practicing today after suffering a midback strain last Friday. “They don’t know [yet] what we really can do. They see bits and pieces and flashes of it, but we haven’t been that consistent, All-Star types.”

Brook Lopez may start for Nets

The New York Post (Mike Puma) reports: The Nets’ opening night starting lineup could include a little rookie flavoring. Though coach Lawrence Frank wasn’t ready yesterday to reveal his plans for Wednesday’s opener at Washington, it’s a safe bet that rookie Brook Lopez will get the nod at center, with Josh Boone and Sean Williams coming off the bench. Boone, who missed the Nets’ final four preseason games after he was diagnosed with a rapid heartbeat, practiced on a limited basis yesterday, sitting out the 5-on-5 drills. He might have to win back his starting job from Lopez, the 7-footer from Stanford who impressed the Nets with a strong preseason. “Coach has said a lot of times this preseason that after Vince [Carter] and Devin [Harris], three through 12 is wide open and everybody has a shot at the starting lineup,” Lopez said. “[The rookies] are all getting a little experience this preseason and we’re all really learning. We just have to be prepared when he calls on us.”

The New York Post (Fred Kerber) reports (via blog):  Lawrence Frank won’t announce his starting five for Wednesday but if you were to flip a coin for the center spot it would likely go, “Heads, Boone; tails, probably Boone.” Figure an edge defensively and a little experience gives Boone the edge over Brook Lopez at this point. Josh Boone, who went out Oct. 17 when he experienced a rapid heartbeat - a condition that doctors were unable to duplicate or pinpoint and have since issued a clearance to continue - went through practice today. He said it went well and he felt far better than he expected.

Warriors waive Rob Kurz

The Golden State Warriors have waived forward Rob Kurz, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Mullin announced today.

Kurz, who was originally signed as a free agent September 9, appeared in four of Golden State’s six preseason games, averaging 4.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in 14 minutes per game.

The Warriors roster now stands at 15 players.

Antoine Wright a starting SG

The Dallas Morning News (Tim MacMahon) reports: Antoine Wright seems to have shored up the starting spot at shooting guard, allowing Jerry Stackhouse and Jason Terry to provide firepower off the pine. Erick Dampier and DeSagana Diop provide a solid defensive 1-2 punch in the middle. So I reckon that leaves backup point guard as the biggest concern in the rotation. Sorry, but it’s tough to get too worked up about who will run the point for the 12-15 minutes per game that Jason Kidd is resting.

Rockets want to be like Celtics

The AP reports: The Rockets hope Ron Artest can do for them what Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen did for Boston last season, forming a trio with Paul Pierce to lead the Celtics to the NBA championship. Boston was the worst team in the Eastern Conference in 2006-07, before Garnett and Allen arrived. “For that team to go from worst to first,” Tracy McGrady said, “that gives me hope.” Yao Ming dismisses comparisons between the threesomes by pointing out the glaring difference. “Boston already got a championship. They can say they have the best three guys,” Yao said. “We are looking for that day. I have that confidence that we can do that.” The Rockets don’t have to make as big of a jump as the Celtics did. Houston went 55-27 in 2007-08, its first season under Rick Adelman, and lost to Utah in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight season.

Rudy Fernandez can play

The Columbian (Brian Hendrickson) reports: This fall was supposed to be a transition period for Rudy Fernandez. But the Portland Trail Blazers rookie at times has looked like he has been playing NBA ball all along. The seven-year veteran of the Spanish ACB League filled up his stat line throughout the preseason, throwing down electrifying lob dunks, assisting on a pass through an opponent’s legs, and scoring in a variety of ways. He has also demonstrated an exceptional understanding of the game, a dynamic range of skills and an ability to inject instant energy into the offense. But when he explains the quick adjustment to his new teammates and league, Fernandez makes the move sound fundamental. “Basketball is basketball, Europe or in USA,” he explained. The Blazers never expected the transition to be that easy, but Fernandez has certainly made it look that way. He led the Blazers in steals (2.6 a game) during the preseason, and ranked third in assists (4.0 average) and fourth in scoring (12.0 average). And if Fernandez continues to play with that level of comfort, then his quick, smooth transition could pay big dividends.

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