Mehmet Okur staying with Utah Jazz for 2009-10 NBA season

Utah Jazz center Mehmet Okur announced today he has elected to remain with the franchise for the 2009-10 season, and is declining to exercise his early termination option.

“We are looking forward to Memo’s return,” said Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor.  “He has clearly been an integral part of our success since his arrival and we are hopeful that he will continue to perform at such a high level in the future.”

Okur (6-11, 263, Turkey), appeared in 72 games (all starts) for the Jazz in 2008-09, averaging 17.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 33.5 minutes per game.  A seven-year NBA veteran, Okur finished the season second on the Jazz in points and second in total rebounds.

Originally signed by the Jazz as a free-agent on July 27, 2004, Okur has appeared in 388 out of a possible 410 regular season games with the Jazz over the past five seasons, averaging 16.0 points and 7.9 rebounds in 32.8 minutes per game. A 2007 NBA All-Star, Okur owns the single-season Jazz record for most three-pointers made and attempted (129-336) in a season (2006-07), and ranks fourth on the franchise’s all-time list for three-pointers attempted (1129) and fifth for three-pointers made (430).

JR Smith sentenced to 90 days in jail

The AP reports: A judge sentenced Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith to 90 days in jail Tuesday night for causing an auto accident that killed his friend, though Smith will likely end up serving only 30. Municipal Judge Debra J. Gelson suspended 60 days of the sentence providing Smith performs 500 hours of community service consisting of visiting sick children at hospitals. adds: This incident took place in June of 2007 in New Jersey. Smith drove an SUV through a stop sign.

The following is a statement from Nuggets Vice President of Basketball Operations Mark Warkentien on  J.R. Smith.

“We are fully aware of the legal proceedings involving J.R. Smith today and the judges’ decision. J.R. Smith took responsibility for his role in this tragic accident that occurred in June 2007. The legal statutes mandate that J.R. serve time for driving recklessly and he is grateful that the statutory sentence was reduced from 90 days to 30.

We will continue to support J.R. during this difficult period and will have no further comment at this time.”

Suns exercise option to keep Louis Amundson

The Phoenix Suns today exercised the second-year team option on the contract of forward Louis Amundson, the club has announced.

The 6-9, 238-pound Amundson became a fan favorite in his first season with the Suns in 2008-09 while posting career highs in nearly every statistical category.  Voted the winner of the 2009 Majerle Hustle Award by fans and Suns staff for his signature style of play, Amundson saw action in a career-high 76 games, including the final 61 consecutive contests (Dec. 9-April 15) and all 31 contests under head coach Alvin Gentry.

The UNLV product averaged 4.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 13.7 minutes in 2008-09 and posted six double-digit scoring efforts after entering the season with a career-best of eight points.  The third-year NBA performer enjoyed a career game on Feb. 27 vs. Toronto, exploding for a career-high 20 points, 10 rebounds and a career-best tying four blocks in recording his first career double-double and the first 20-10 game by a Suns reserve since the 2005-06 season.

Amundson was signed by the Suns on August 14, 2008.

Carlos Boozer stays with Jazz for 2009-10

Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer announced today that he is exercising his player option for 2009-10 and will be returning for his sixth season with the organization.

“We are excited that Carlos has decided to remain with the Jazz,” said Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor. “We are hopeful he can continue to play at an All-Star level and will have an injury-free season.”

Boozer (6-9, 266, Duke), appeared in 37 games (all starts) for the Jazz in 2008-09, averaging 16.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 32 minutes per game.  The seven-year NBA veteran had 20 double-doubles and 15 games of 20 or more points, leading the Jazz to the team’s third straight playoff appearance.

Originally signed by the Jazz as a free agent on July 14, 2004, Boozer has appeared in 276 regular season games with the Jazz over the past five seasons, averaging 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds in 34 minutes per game.  A two-time NBA All-Star (2007, 2008) Boozer was also selected to the 2008 All-NBA Third Team. The seven-year NBA veteran is a two-time member of the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Olympic Team, wining a gold medal in Athens in 2008 and bronze medal in Athens in 2004.

Corey Maggette has right wrist surgery

Golden State Warriors forward Corey Maggette underwent successful surgery on his right wrist yesterday (Monday, June 29), the team announced today.

The surgery, which was performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Roy Meals of UCLA, will require minimal rehabilitation and Maggette will be able to resume normal basketball activities within 3-4 weeks. The purpose of the procedure was to relieve pain in Maggette’s right wrist, a condition that had bothered him intermittently throughout this past season.

Bobby Brown exercises option to stay with Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that guard Bobby Brown has exercised the player option on his contract for the 2009-10 season.

After going undrafted out of Cal State Fullerton in 2008, Brown was signed as a free agent by the Sacramento Kings prior to the 2008-09 season. He was subsequently acquired by the Wolves along with Shelden Williams in exchange for Calvin Booth and Rashad McCants on Feb. 19, 2009. In 68 total games split between the Kings and Wolves during his rookie season, Brown averaged 5.3 points and 1.7 assists in 13.7 minutes per game.

Michael Finley staying with Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs announced today that guard/forward Michael Finley informed the team that he will return for the 2009-10 season.

The 6-7, 220-lb. Finley appeared in 81 games with San Antonio last season, averaging 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 28.8 minutes.  He ranked 23rd in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage shooting a career-high .411 (131-319) from beyond the arc.

Finley was originally signed by the Spurs on 9/2/05.  In his four seasons with the Silver and Black he has appeared in 322 games, averaging 9.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 26.1 minutes.  Among active players Finley ranks fourth in games played (1,057), fourth in minutes played (37,287), fifth in three-point field goals made (1,422) and ninth in field goals made (6,615).  In 1,057 career NBA games he has averaged 16.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 35.3 minutes.

Pistons fire coach Michael Curry

Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced this evening that Michael Curry will not return next season as the team’s head coach.

“This was a difficult decision to make,” Dumars said.  “I want to thank Michael for his hard work and dedication to the organization.  However, at this time, I have decided to make a change.”

Curry, who was named head coach on June 10, 2008, tallied a regular-season record of 39-43 in his first season as an NBA head coach with the Pistons and led the club to the first round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs.  Detroit was swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games.  He served one season in Detroit as an assistant coach under Flip Saunders (2007-08) and had two separate stints with the organization as a player (1995-97 and 1999-2003).

Blake Griffin started baseball at age 3

The AP reports: Blake Griffin got an early start playing in front of big crowds., playing baseball as a three-year-old. “I was really nervous,” Griffin said. He was the batboy/little brother hanger-on for older brother Taylor’s T-ball team of six-year-olds when the coach said he could bat in a lopsided game. “That was the largest crowd I’d ever played in front of.” He doubled the first time up, tripled the second. “We knew he was special right then,” his father said.

Grizzlies make qualifying offers to Hakim Warrick, Juan Carlos Navarro

The Memphis Grizzlies have made qualifying offers to restricted free agents Hakim Warrick and Juan Carlos Navarro, club General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

Warrick, the Grizzlies’ longest-tenured and last remaining player from the club’s most-recent playoff appearance in 2006, averaged 11.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in 82 games last season.  The 6-9, 219-pound forward has averaged 10.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in 307 games through four NBA seasons, all with the Grizzlies, who originally selected him with the 19th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.

In his only NBA season, Navarro averaged 10.9 points and 2.2 assists in 82 games and was named to the 2007-08 NBA All-Rookie Second Team.  After his rookie season, the 6-3, 170-pound guard signed with his former Spanish club F.C. Barcelona.  Memphis retains the right to match any future offer should he decide to return to the NBA.

In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, in order for a team to retain its right of first refusal with respect to a restricted free agent, the team must tender the player a qualifying offer prior to June 30.  A restricted free agent may sign an offer sheet with any team but is subject to a right of first refusal with the team for which the player last played.