Archive for October 28th, 2008

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. 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.”

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