Archive for November 21st, 2008

Mobley not happy being traded

The Knicks and Clippers made a trade today that sent Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins to Los Angeles, and Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley to New York.

Mobley, an old shooting guard who can still play but whose career is winding down, isn’t happy about it.

Mobley today said the following to the Los Angeles Times (Lisa Dillman) “I’m a little upset… It was a surprise. I mean, I liked our team. I didn’t give up on our team. I don’t know what the owner was thinking, and don’t know what anyone was thinking… I thought we were going to come around. It’s hard. It’s hard because I like all the guys a lot. It’s tough.”

Knicks trade Zach Randolph to Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers acquired forward Zach Randolph and guard Mardy Collins from the New York Knicks today in exchange for forward Tim Thomas and guard Cuttino Mobley Clippers General Manager and head coach Mike Dunleavy announced today.

“In an attempt to make our team more competitive, we are excited about the acquisition of Zach Randolph,” Dunleavy said. “He is a 27-year old highly-skilled scorer and rebounder. Getting a player like Zach cost us two highly skilled veterans in Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas, but we feel that the move will help us both now and in the future. We wish nothing but the best of success for Cuttino and Tim with their new team.”

The six-foot-nine Randolph is known as one of the NBA’s most effective young post players, bringing a career 16.4 points per game scoring average and 8.2 rebounds in 467 career games to the Clippers. Randolph is a career 46 percent shooter from the field and averaged 17.6 points, a team-leading 10.3 rebounds in 69 games for the Knicks in 2007-08 while finishing 10th in the NBA with 40 double-doubles. Randolph is averaging 20.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in the first 11 games of the 2008-09 season.

The Michigan State product was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers in the first round (19th overall pick) of the 2001 NBA Draft. Randolph, 27, played six seasons in Portland, enjoying a break-out year in 2003-04 when he averaged 20.1 points and 10.5 rebounds for the Trailblazer en route to being named the NBA Most Improved Player of the Year. Randolph joined the Knicks prior to the 2007-08 season in a trade.

In his third pro season, the six-foot-six Collins is averaging 2.2 points and 1.7 assists in nine games this season. A former standout at Temple University, Collins was drafted by New York with the 29th overall pick in the first round of the 2006 NBA Draft. Collins has appeared in 107 career NBA games, with career averages of 3.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.

Cuttino Mobley joined the Clippers as a free agent on August 4, 2005 and was a key member of the club’s run to the 2005-06 Western Conference Semifinals, averaging 14.9 points that season and 13.3 points in 12 playoff games. A 10-year NBA veteran, Mobley is the Clippers third-leading scorer this season, averaging 13.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 2008-09.

“Cuttino and Tim are two veteran players that will help us work towards our joint goal of remaining competitive this season while also improving our long-term cap flexibility,” said New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh. “Zach is an extremely talented player who produces numbers that few players can and we thank him, and Mardy, for their efforts as Knickerbockers.”

Thomas, 6-10, 240-pounds, was selected by the New Jersey Nets with the seventh overall selection in the 1997 NBA Draft and enters his second tour with the Knicks. The Paterson, NJ-native has career averages of 11.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in 752 career games over 12 NBA seasons with Philadelphia, Milwaukee, New York, Chicago, Phoenix and L.A. Clippers. The Villanova product was acquired by New York during the 2003-04 season and averaged 12.9 points and 3.7 rebound in 95 games with the Knickerbockers before being traded to Chicago prior to the 2005-06 season. Last season with the L.A. Clippers, Thomas averaged 12.4 points and 5.1 rebounds in 63 games. In 10 games this season, Thomas is averaging 9.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

“Tim enjoyed a lot of success in our system a few years ago in Phoenix when he was a key part of a run to the Western Conference Finals,” Knicks Head Coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I am also very familiar with Cuttino and his knowledge of the game, and his ability to spread the floor and defend.”

With this transaction, the Clippers roster now stands at a total of 14 players, with three players (Chris Kaman, Al Thornton, Paul Davis) remaining from the team that finished the 2007-08 season.

Nuggets notes

Billups Earns Player of the Week Honors: Chauncey Billups was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for games played from 11/10-11/16. Billups led Denver to a 3-1 record in the four games, averaging 21.5 ppg to go along with 5.8 apg, 2.3 rpg and 1.25 spg.

A Win is a Win: Denver shot .337 (28-83) from the field in their win vs. Minnesota on 11/16, setting a new season-low. Incredibly, only one other time in team history have the Nuggets shot that poorly and still won the game – that being on 10/29/03 vs. San Antonio (.292 in a 80-72 win).

Like Old Times: The Nuggets scored a season-high 29 fast break points vs. Milwaukee on 11/18. This is only the second time this season that Denver has scored 20+ transition points, whereas last season Denver tallied 20+ points on the break on 38 occasions.

Sonny Weems has yet to see any action this season due to a left groin strain.

Steven Hunter underwent successful surgery on his right knee on 11/14 and is expected to miss 12 weeks.

Chris Andersen suffered a 7th rib fracture to his left rib cage vs. Memphis on 11/9 and is expected to miss 2-3 weeks.

The New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that forward Al Harrington has been acquired from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for guard Jamal Crawford.

“I drafted Al back in 1998 and I think his talents are a great fit for our style of play,” Walsh said. “This trade also gives us more long-term flexibility while enabling us to remain competitive this season. To acquire a player of Al’s caliber, we had to give up someone we all really liked in Jamal. We thank him for his contributions both on and off the court, and we wish him all the best in Golden State.”

Harrington, 6-9, 250-pounds, was selected by the Indiana Pacers with 25th overall selection in the 1998 NBA Draft out of St. Patrick’s High School in Elizabeth, NJ. The Orange, NJ-native has career averages of 13.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in 660 career games over 11 NBA seasons with Indiana, Atlanta and Golden State. Harrington averaged 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in 81 games during the 2007-08 season with Golden State and is averaging 12.4 points and 5.6 rebounds in five games during 2008-09 campaign.

“Al is a true NBA veteran who possesses multi-positional skills,” Head Coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He will fit perfectly into our system and will help us win some games immediately.”

Crawford, 28, has appeared in 11 games (all as a starter) with the Knicks this season, averaging 19.6 points and 4.4 assists in 35.6 minutes.  He has scored 25-plus points in five of his 11 outings this season, highlighted by a season-high 32 vs. Utah on November 9.  He currently ranks 25th in the NBA in scoring (19.6), first in three-point field goals made (35) and 18th in three-point field goal percentage (.455).

“We are elated to add a player of Jamal’s ability to our team,” said Warriors Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Mullin.  “We think he is an excellent fit for our style and the fact that he can play multiple positions as a combo guard is a big plus.  Additionally, he is a player who can help us immediately due to some of our injuries and, looking down the road, would have the ability to play with any combination of players in the backcourt.”

Last season, the 6-5 guard averaged a career-high 20.6 points and a team-leading 5.0 assists per game in 80 games with New York (all starts).   He ranked 23rd in the NBA in scoring and 24th in assists, making him one of only nine NBA players to rank among the top 25 in both categories, joining Chris Paul, Baron Davis, LeBron James, Allen Iverson, Andre Miller, Joe Johnson, Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter.

“I am really excited and energized about this opportunity,” said Crawford.  “The Warriors have been one of the most entertaining and fun teams in the league the last few years and I think my abilities are very conducive with their style and their needs.   It will be a tremendous honor to play for one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game, Don Nelson, and to be a part of a young team with a lot of emerging talent.”

Currently in his ninth NBA season, Crawford was originally selected in the first round (8th overall) of the 2000 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.   He was subsequently traded to the Chicago Bulls on draft night (June 28, 2000) in exchange for the draft rights to Chris Mihm.   The University of Michigan product played four years in Chicago (2000-2001 through 2003-04) and the last four-plus seasons in New York.    He scored a career-high 52 points for the Knicks against Miami on January 6, 2007 and has dished out a career-best 12 assists on three occasions.   Additionally, he is one of only 11 active NBA players to tally 50-or-more points in multiple games (also scored 50 for Chicago at Toronto on April 11, 2004).

Overall, Crawford has appeared in 543 NBA games during his career, averaging 14.7 points and 4.1 assists.

Crawford will wear uniform #11 for the Warriors.

Walter Herrmann has concussion

Pistons forward Walter Herrmann suffered a mild concussion in last night’s game at Boston.  Herrmann spent the night in a Boston hospital but was released this morning and has returned home.  He is listed as day to day.

Thunder assign Steven Hill to D-League

Oklahoma City Thunder General Manager Sam Presti announced today that the team has assigned center Steven Hill to the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League.

Hill (7-0, 245) saw action in one regular season game with the Thunder. The Branson, Missouri native scored two points and grabbed three rebounds in two minutes of action versus the Orlando Magic.

Hill is the first player to be assigned to the 66ers by the Oklahoma City Thunder since the Professional Basketball Club, LLC assumed control of the NBA Development League franchise on July 31, 2008.

Nov 20: Lakers 105, Suns 92

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant scored 24 points and Vladimir Radmanovic made all five of his 3-pointers to lead the Los Angeles Lakers past the Phoenix Suns, 105-92 on Thursday night. Bryant shot only 8-of-23, but the Lakers overwhelmed Phoenix with their depth. Six players reached double figures as Los Angeles improved its record to a league-best 9-1. Radmanovic scored 15, Lamar Odom 13, Jordan Farmar 11, and Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza 10 apiece for Los Angeles. Amare Stoudemire scored 21 for Phoenix on 9-for-21 shooting. Shaquille O’Neal added 15 points and nine rebounds against the Lakers, a team he helped win three NBA titles. The Suns’ Steve Nash was scoreless in the first half and finished with eight points and 10 assists, leaving the court with back spasms with 4:38 to play.

Nov 20: Celtics 98, Pistons 80

The AP reports: Rajon Rondo had 18 points and eight assists, outplaying the recent Pistons acquisition and leading the Boston Celtics to a 98-80 victory over Detroit on Thursday night in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference finals… Allen Iverson had 16 points and four assists for Detroit, which fell to 4-3 since he was acquired from Denver for Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess… Kevin Garnett scored 15 in his return from a one-game suspension, and Kendrick Perkins had 10 rebounds before both teams emptied their benches down the stretch… The Celtics scored the first seven points of the second quarter and opened a 40-27 lead with 5:13 left in the half. It was 49-40 at halftime and Boston went on an 18-5 run in the third to turn a 10-point lead into a 75-52 blowout. Stat Notes: For Boston, Rondo shot 7-of-11 and also had 3 steals. Garnett had 3 steals as well. Tony Allen shot 6-of-7 off the bench for 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Ray Allen scored 12. Eddie House shot 4-of-7 off the bench for 11. For Detroit, Iverson shot 5-of-13 for 16 points, just one rebound, and equal assists/turnovers. Rasheed Wallace had a modest 13 points and 6 rebounds. Richard Hamilton was shut down with 12 points and little else. Jason Maxiell had 10 points and 6 rebounds on 9 shots. All Boston did wrong was brick their free throws, shooting 19-of-28.

Age is hitting the West

The Rocky Mountain News (Chris Tomasson) reports: “A lot of the teams out West are maybe aging a little bit,” said Minnesota forward Mark Madsen. “If you look at some of the key players on some of the teams that have been historically dominant, not everyone has 20- to 25-year-olds. They’ve got some guys in their 30s.” Teams showing the most age are San Antonio, Dallas and Phoenix, although the Suns’ recent play suggests there’s no immediate plans to move to Sun City, Ariz. Put it all together and a possible West dropoff could help the Nuggets. They’ve been one of the few upper-echelon West teams for which the news in the first month has mostly been positive.

Baron Davis no fan of Elton Brand

Last summer, Elton Brand and Baron Davis talked about playing together on the Clippers. So Davis signed on as a free agent. Brand, however, didn’t re-sign with the team, and jumped ship to the Philadelphia 76ers. Davis still isn’t happy about it. The Los Angeles Times (Lisa Dillman) reports on the two players as their two teams are set to play against each other:

So will they hug, exchange pleasantries or even lock eyes before tonight’s game? “I’ve got nothing to say to him,” Davis said on Wednesday. This was in the visitors’ dressing room at Oklahoma City, not long after the Clippers beat the Thunder by 20 points. The mention of Brand quickly wiped away Davis’ smile, especially because he just had been talking about Oklahoma City’s Earl Watson, saying he regards Watson like “a brother.” Davis hasn’t spoken to Brand, and said he doesn’t plan to do so, because the former Clipper recruited Davis to come join him in Los Angeles and then Brand did a quick cut and run, heading East for a bigger bag of money, a five-year deal worth almost $80 million… Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy has rehashed the turn of events last summer — and is still wanting for answers. “Elton had a great five years here. I loved him,” he said. “There’s a disappointment because you just don’t understand. He and I text messaged and called and never went, either one of us, usually 10 to 15 minutes without calling or returning a text. And then next thing I know it went silent.”

So far, the 76ers are a modest 5-6, the Clippers an awful 2-9. Brand is averaging just 15.8 points on just 43.8% shooting, with 10.5 rebounds, 1.55 blocks and more turnovers than assists. Davis is putting up just 15.5 points (by coincidence, almost the same as Brand) on lousy 36.1% shooting and only 24.6% three-pointers, plus 3.3 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 1.8 steals. Both players will probably raise their shooting percentages in the coming weeks as they and their new teams adjust to each other.

Bruce Bowen now a reserve

San Antonio Spurs small forward Bruce Bowen has made a living out of playing amazing defense, angering opponents, and occasionally cheap-shotting them. But, he’s old, and the team’s roster is diluted right now with both Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili out with injuries. So, a change has been made. The San Antonio Express-News (Jeff McDonald) reports:

The Spurs seem to have followed the lead of Bruce Bowen, who started the first four games of the season — and the first 555 of his Spurs’ career — before being transformed into a reserve. He comes off the bench now, without complaint. “It’s a matter of priorities,” Bowen said. “So what if you’re only playing eight minutes? There are a lot of people out there who would love to play in the NBA, for just those eight minutes.” For Bonner, any amount of NBA minutes is a blessing. In the span of three games earlier this month, he played a grand total of 42 seconds. In the past four, he’s gotten an early call from Popovich, and made the most of it, averaging a shade more than nine points and making 7 of 14 3-pointers.

With 5 wins and 6 losses the Spurs currently sit in 9th place in the Western conference, one spot out of the playoffs. Until their backcourt is healthy, the team’s goal should probably be just to hover around making the playoffs, and focus on a second half of the season run for playoff positioning. But even with full health, this team lacks the good role players they had in the past, so going far in the post-season could be a serious challenge.

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