Archive for February 17th, 2009

Rockets keeping McGrady and Yao

The AP reports: Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said Tuesday that oft-injured star Tracy McGrady won’t be dealt before Thursday’s trade deadline.
McGrady sat out Tuesday’s game against New Jersey as he seeks input from doctors on the best course of treatment for his troublesome left knee. He’s missed 18 games this season with the injury, the aftermath of offseason surgery. He sat out another game with a sprained ankle… Alexander also said he wants to keep All-Star center Yao Ming for his entire career. Yao’s contract is due to expire after the 2010-11 season.

Andrew Bynum out 6-10 more weeks

The Los Angeles Times (Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner ) reports: Andrew Bynum is expected to be sidelined six to 10 more weeks because of a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee, which keeps Gasol and Odom in the forefront of every discussion if the Lakers want to stay ahead of the Celtics and Cavaliers. Since Bynum went down seven games ago, Gasol and Odom have stepped up their production. Both have played at a high level with Bynum out, increasing their scoring, rebounding and minutes. Jackson was asked whether the Lakers needed Gasol and Odom to sustain their pace. “Yeah,” Jackson said. “It takes the load off Kobe scoring.”

Tony Allen needs thumb surgery

The bench of the Boston Celtics relies on a select few guys, and one of them is going to be unavailable for a while. The Boston Globe (Marc J. Spears) reports (via blog):

Celtics president Danny Ainge said that guard Tony Allen is slated to have left thumb surgery tomorrow and he is hopeful he will return to action by the playoffs. The injury-plagued Allen suffered the injury on Feb. 8 versus San Antonio and has already missed 15 games this season to ankle and thumb injuries.

Allen this season is 7th on the team in scoring and in 19.1 minutes per game averages 7.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. He’s shooting well from two-point range but his three-point shot has been virtually nonexistent.

Pacers notes

Positive-leaning team notes on the Indiana Pacers:

A leading candidate for the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award, Danny Granger is on course to become the first player in NBA history to improve his scoring average by at least five points a game in three consecutive seasons. Granger is fifth in the NBA this season with an average of 25.5 ppg, which is nearly six points per game more than his average (19.7) of a season ago.

T.J. Ford headed into the All-Star break with his best assists game of the season, having dealt 13 against the Bucks in Milwaukee, Feb. 11. Ford has handed 10 or more assists three times this season and has averaged 7.2 assists per game in his last six games.At Milwaukee, Feb. 11, Troy Murphy’s 23 points included five 3-pt field goals, giving him a career-high 104 3-pointers this season, and giving the Pacers at least two players with 100+ 3-pt FGS for the second straight season. Indiana had more than one player with at least 100 3-pt field goals in the same season just two times in their first 30 NBA seasons.

Over his last 25 games, Murphy has shot 64-132 from long distance (.485) and he is now 11th in the NBA with a career-best 43.5 percent from beyond the 3-pt arc.

Rockets-Nets team connections

Rockets guard/forward Tracy McGrady is a cousin of Nets guard Vince Carter.

Houston center Dikembe Mutombo played two seasons with the Nets (2002-03, 2003-04) prior to joining Houston.

New Jersey forward Eduardo Najera was selected by Houston in the second round of the 2000 NBA Draft.

Nets forward/center Stromile Swift played the 2005-06 season with the Rockets.

New Jersey forward/center Sean Williams is a native of Houston.

Miami Bucks fan blogger contest

The Milwaukee Bucks are looking for passionate and creative Bucks bloggers to enter the first-ever 6th Fan Blogger contest.  Finalists will receive the chance to blog during an upcoming Bucks game and the overall winner will be given the opportunity to blog at additional Bucks games the balance of the season.

“Every season we see more and more of our fans sharing their opinions and observations of our team on various sites online,” said Vice President of Business Operations John Steinmiller.  “This competition gives those passionate writers a chance to win a unique Bucks experience and the means to write about that experience on our team web site.

“ consistently ranks in the top ten among NBA web sites when it comes to original content.  This is another avenue of providing visitors to our site with fresh material and independent opinions.”

The contest is free and easy to enter.  Fans simply need to visit and explain why they have what it takes to be the 6th Fan Blogger.  The catch?  They have to do it in exactly 24 words – no more and no less.

Six finalists will be chosen based on the creativity of their 24-word entries.  The group will receive credentials to Milwaukee’s matinee matchup against the NBA World Champion Boston Celtics on Sunday, March 15 where they will blog about their game experience – commenting on both the action on and off the court.

The six writers will have their articles posted on that evening and fans will be able to decide which blog is the best via an online vote that will run through March 20.  The person with the winning entry will be extended an opportunity to blog at future Bucks games.  That winner will be announced at Milwaukee’s home game against Portland on March 21.

Jermaine O’Neal to wear No.7

The South Florida Sun-Sentinal (Ira Winderman) reports: Jermaine O’Neal will wear No. 7, Shawn Marion’s former number, with Jamario Moon to wear No. 8, which means the Heat will not, after all, be retiring Antoine Walker’s number. (Moon wore No. 33 in Toronto, which soon will be retired in honor of Alonzo Mourning. The late Alec Kessler is the only other Heat player to have worn No. 33.)

The Cleveland Plain Dealer (Brian Windhorst) reports: Cavaliers forward Ben Wallace is being listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game in Toronto after suffering lacerations to his right forearm that required 14 stitches. Wallace was injured while playing catch with a football in Richmond, Va. and received stitches there. He returned to Cleveland on Monday and was treated this morning at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health for removal of additional glass pieces from his arm.

NBA to borrow $175 million

The Sports Business Journal (Daniel Kaplan and John Lombardo) reports: The NBA is set to borrow $175 million Feb. 26, marking one of the first league financings since the implosion of the credit markets last fall. The money, which will be available to 15 teams, supplements an existing $1.7 billion leaguewide credit facility that uses the NBA’s media contracts as collateral to secure loans for the clubs. The NBA surveyed its teams, and 15 responded they would like to tap into the new borrowing. While the league said it is pleased to borrow in an extremely illiquid credit market, the deal came at a cost, with interest rates up to 8.27 percent, hammering home the notion that the era of cheap money in sports is over. The 15 teams can use the money for any purpose, but covering operating losses may be high on the list. editor says: Loan me three fiddy. I want some ribs.

Hawks assign Othello Hunter to D-League

The Atlanta Hawks today assigned forward Othello Hunter to the Anaheim Arsenal of the NBA Development League, according to Hawks Executive Vice President and General Manager Rick Sund.

A rookie from Ohio State, Hunter has averaged 0.6 ppg and 0.7 rpg (.429 FG%) in 10 games with the Hawks.

The Arsenal is the D-League affiliate of the Hawks, as well as the Los Angeles Clippers.

Thunder get Tyson Chandler from Hornets

The Oklahoman (Darnell Mayberry) reports (via blog): The Thunder has acquired center Tyson Chandler from New Orleans in exchange for Chris Wilcox and Joe Smith, according to a league source with knowledge of the negotiations. The Thunder will also include the draft rights to Devon Hardin, the 50th overall pick in the 2008 draft.

UPDATE: The trade has officially happened. More info here.

Sean Williams arrested

The New York Daily News (Julian Garcia) reports: Sean Williams, the Nets’ top draft pick in 2007, was arrested Sunday at Boston College for violating terms of a restraining order against him. Williams, who played at BC, was taken into custody prior to BC’s game against Duke and charged with trespassing, a misdemeanor. An arraignment is scheduled for later this month. Williams was at practice at the Toyota Center here last night but said “no comment” several times as he tied his sneakers and headed to the court.

The New York Post (Fred Kerber) reports: Sean Williams was arrested Sunday for violating terms of a restraining order that banned him from the Boston College campus. Williams, who declined comment, nodded his head affirmatively when asked if he had been invited to the B.C.-Duke game. So he went but violated the restraining order. Williams, you’ll recall, was bounced from the B.C. team in ‘07 for repeated team violations (read: marijuana). So by showing up he was guilty of trespassing, a misdemeanor. He faces a court hearing later this month.

Celtics trade Sam Cassell to Kings

The Boston Celtics announced today that the club has traded guard Sam Cassell and cash considerations to the Sacramento Kings for a future conditional second round draft pick.

“Sam was an important piece of our championship team last season.  His profound knowledge of the game and his infectious personality will be missed from our locker room.  We wish Sam the best of luck.” said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations.

Cassell, a 6’3”, 193lb guard, is in his 16th NBA season.  The former Florida State Seminole had yet to appear in a game for the Celtics this season.  He averaged 4.5 points and 1.2 assists in 12.6 minutes per game during the 2008 NBA playoffs in which the Celtics won their NBA-record 17th title.

For the second time this season, the Memphis Grizzlies have assigned center Hamed Haddadi to the NBA Development League’s Dakota Wizards, the club’s D-League affiliate, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

Haddadi will return to Dakota after posting 6.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.55 blocks in 17.7 minutes in 11 games (seven starts) after being assigned to the Wizards on Nov. 24.  Memphis recalled the 7-2, 280-pound center on Dec. 24.

The Ahvaz, Iran native recorded two points and one rebound in four minutes in his NBA debut on Dec. 30 vs. Phoenix, becoming the first Iranian-born player to appear in an NBA game.  Haddadi has averaged 1.3 points and 1.3 rebounds in 3.5 minutes through four games in his rookie season.

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