Archive for June, 2009

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that Royal Ivey has declined the player option on his contract for the 2009-10 season, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Ivey (6-4, 215) signed as a free agent with Philadelphia on July 28, 2008.  He appeared in 71 games off the bench for the Sixers last season, averaging 3.0 points and 1.1 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per game.  For the season, Ivey had 36 steals to just 23 turnovers, posting the sixth-highest steal-to-turnover ratio (1.57) of any player in the league.

Tom Wilson, President and CEO of the Detroit Shock and Palace Sports and Entertainment, announced today that Bill Laimbeer has resigned from his duties as head coach and general manager of the Detroit Shock. In a related move, Wilson announced that effective immediately, Rick Mahorn has been promoted to head coach and Cheryl Reeve has been promoted to assistant coach/general manager.

“It’s disappointing that Bill has decided to step down as head coach and general manager of the Detroit Shock,” said Wilson. “But at the same time, Bill led the Shock to three WNBA Championships and a league-record 27 postseason victories during his seven-year tenure. We thank him for his guidance and dedication to the franchise and our organization.”

Laimbeer’s three WNBA titles (2003, 2006, 2008) are one shy of the WNBA record held by Hall of Fame coach Van Chancellor, who guided the Houston Comets to the first four WNBA titles in league history (1997-2000).

In his first full season as head coach, Laimbeer orchestrated a historic worst-to-first turnaround, for which he was named 2003 WNBA Coach of the Year. The Shock, 9-23 a year earlier, won a league-best 25 games and the 16-game turnaround was the largest in WNBA history.

In addition to three WNBA titles during his tenure, the Shock won four Eastern Conference Championships (2003, 2006, 2007, 2008), amassed a regular-season record of 137-92 (.598) in 229 WNBA games and won a WNBA record 10 WNBA Finals games. Laimbeer’s six consecutive playoff appearances rank second all-time in WNBA history and his 137 victories rank fifth in league history.

As a general manager, Laimbeer is credited with the drafting of 2003 WNBA Rookie of the Year Cheryl Ford, acquiring 2003 WNBA Finals MVP Ruth Riley in the 2003 WNBA dispersal draft and the acquisitions of 2008 WNBA Finals MVP Katie Smith and 2007 Sixth Woman of the Year Plenette Pierson.

The Orlando Sentinel (Brian Schmitz) reports: The agent for Hedo Turkoglu told the Sentinel on Monday that the Orlando Magic small forward will opt out of his contract and become a free agent in two weeks. “It would make sense for him to opt out,” Lon Babby, Turkoglu’s agent said by phone. “I can’t imagine a scenario in which he would not.” The Magic, fresh off an appearance in the NBA Finals, will be challenged to keep their core group together with Turkoglu and center Marcin Gortat testing the free-agent waters. The Magic already have tied up Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson to large, long-term deals… Turkoglu is scheduled to make $7.3 million next season in the final year of a six-year, $36 million deal.

The San Francisco Chronicle (Scott Ostler) reports: Jerry West’s fingerprints are all over this shiny championship trophy, just like they’re all over the other nine. West hired Phil Jackson as Lakers coach. In ‘96, West traded for just-drafted Kobe Bryant, a high school kid bypassed by 12 teams, including the Warriors. West has remained Bryant’s friend, confidant and adviser through some very hard times for Kobe, personally and professionally. It’s possible Bryant would have left the Lakers had it not been for West’s voice-of-reason counsel and friendship. The Lakers got Pau Gasol from the Grizzlies in ‘08. West was the Memphis general manager from 2002 to ‘07, and I know he has enormous respect for Gasol. You can bet that before that trade went down, West filled Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak’s ear about Gasol.

Economic conditions in Los Angeles, California and the country and world in general won’t prevent fans of the Lakers from getting to enjoy a championship parade. The Los Angeles Times (Julie Cart) reports:

In the end, the team and city will split the cost — each kicking in about $1 million for the festivities, which for the first time includes the significant expense of renting the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The city will pay for police, transportation and general staff, said Mark Szabo, spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The mayor said Sunday that it was “untenable” not to have a parade, even though city officials had been meeting behind closed doors to find hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts.

The AP (Christopher Weber) reports: Hundreds celebrated in the streets outside Staples Center after the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA title win Sunday night, with some revelers damaging police cruisers, throwing rocks and bottles at officers and setting bonfires in the street, authorities said. About 25 people were arrested, most part of a rowdy crowd that split off on to surrounding streets after police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly, officer Karen Rayner said. Several police cruisers were damaged and reinforcement officers were called in from throughout the city to help disperse the crowd, Rayner said. Aerial television footage showed people jumping on a police car, rocking vehicles attempting to pass through the crowd, setting small trees on fire and throwing fireworks and flares set up by police. No injuries were reported. A gas station was looted and several cars, buses and a news van were vandalized, police said.

Lakers win 2009 NBA championship

Lakers win 2009 NBA championship

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic 99-86 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to win the 2008-09 NBA championship, the franchise’s 15th title.

Kobe Bryant led the way for Los Angeles, shooting 10-of-23 for 30 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 4 blocks.

Lamar Odom (5-of-12) had 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Trevor Ariza added 15 points and 2 steals, Pau Gasol (6-of-9) had 14 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks, and Derek Fisher scored 13.

The Magic led by two after the first quarter, but the Lakers went on a huge run and won the second quarter 30-18. And the Magic scored just 15 points in the third quarter.

Orlando shot just 41.5% from the field and were an awful 8-of-27 from three-point range. And they hit a mere 10-of-16 free throws.

The Lakers won the rebounding battle, 47-36. They had 13 offensive rebounds, including 4 each from Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The team dished just 13 assists.

No one stepped up for the Magic. All five starters had double-digit points, and two players had 10 rebounds, but no one shined. Rashard Lewis led his team with 18 points (on 19 shots), 10 rebounds and 4 assists.  Hedo Turkoglu, Rafer Alston and Courtney Lee each scored 12. Dwight Howard was very quiet with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks.

The 2009 NBA Finals MVP award was given to Bryant, who enjoys his 4th championship.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson now has 10 NBA titles as head coach, the most of any coach in league history.

Phil Jackson fined for criticizing refs

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson has been fined $25,000 for criticizing game officials, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.  The Lakers were also fined $25,000 for their coach’s comments.

Jackson and the Lakers have been fined for his comments made on camera between the 1st and 2nd periods during Game 4 of The Finals.

Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor announced today that the team has exercised its option on center Kyrylo Fesenko for the 2009-10 season.  Per team policy, financial terms were not released.

 

The 7-1, 22-year old native of the Ukraine has appeared in 30 games over two seasons with the Jazz, holding career averages of 2.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.60 blocks while shooting .519 in 7.5 minutes per game.  He appeared in 21 games (one start) in 2008-09, averaging 2.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.71 blocks, hitting .583 (21-36) shots from the field in 7.4 minutes per game.  Fesenko’s best game came against Yao Ming at Houston on December 27, 2008, where he posted career highs of 12 points (6-8 FG) and 11 rebounds along with three blocks in 34 minutes. 

The AP reports: Derek Fisher hit two key 3-pointers—one with 4.6 seconds left in regulation, the other with 31.3 seconds to go in overtime—as the Los Angeles Lakers moved within one win of their 15th championship by beating the Orlando Magic 99-91 on Thursday night to open a 3-1 series lead. The 34-year-old Fisher, in his second stint with the Lakers after stops in Golden State and Utah, was best known for his turnaround fling with 0.4 seconds left in the 2004 playoffs against San Antonio. He’s got two more shots that rank right with it… Dwight Howard was magnificent everywhere but at the free-throw line. He scored 16 points with 21 rebounds and a finals-record nine blocks. But he made just 6 of 14 foul shots, and it was his two crucial misses with 11.1 seconds to go in regulation that doomed the Magic… Trevor Ariza and Pau Gasol each had 16 for Los Angeles. Ariza, traded by Orlando to L.A. in 2007, had 13 of the Lakers’ 30 points in the third quarter.

Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has issued a statement in response to this photo that has been circulating:

Recently, a photo has been circulating on the Internet which appears to depict me flashing a gang sign.  This photo of me was taken at a party I attended in Memphis while I was in school there, and was meant as a joke…a bad one, I now admit.  I want to emphatically state, now and forever, that Derrick Rose is anti-gang, anti-drug, and anti-violence.  I am not, nor have I ever been, affiliated with any gang and I can’t speak loudly enough against gang violence, and the things that gangs represent.

In posing for this picture, I am guilty of being young, naive and of using extremely poor judgment.  I sincerely apologize to all my fans for my mistake.  I pride myself on being a good citizen, and role model, that young people can look up to and I want to urge all my young fans to stay away from gangs and gang-related activities.

Read fan discussion and post your own opinion in this forum topic.

Rashard Lewis must ignore contract talk

The AP reports during the NBA Finals on Orlando Magic forward Rashard Lewis: Lewis was Orlando’s best player through the first three games, the leading scorer on a team that on Tuesday won a finals game for the first time. And for $110 million, the Magic should expect Lewis to be their go-to guy. Except they signed him because they knew he didn’t need to be, and Lewis won’t change his demeanor or his style to justify his paycheck. ”The contract is there and it’s not going nowhere,” Lewis said. ”They can’t take it from me and all I can do now is go out there and play basketball and try to win ballgames for my team, not go out there and put up big numbers to show everybody that I’m worth this contract.”

2009 Mavericks free agent camp

The Dallas Mavericks free agent mini-camp will take place June 11 and 12, 2009.

Click that link to see more info and a list of the players involved.

There are 20 free agents playing at it. I would guess that the best player, or couple of players, will have a good shot at being invited onto the Mavericks summer league team. And if one guy really stands out, perhaps the team will offer him a contract; probably something short, like one year, maybe two at the most, probably nonguaranteed.

Most of the players on the list are known guys.

The AP reports: Making easy shots and tough ones from everywhere, the Magic won their first game in two visits to the NBA finals as Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis scored 21 points apiece in a 108-104 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 on Tuesday night to pull within 2-1. Orlando shot a finals record 63 percent—including another record 75 percent in the first half—to snap a six-game finals losing streak and avoid falling into an 0-3 hole that 88 previous teams in postseason history have been unable to escape… Kobe Bryant, seeking a fourth title and his first since 2002, scored 31 points for the Lakers but the superstar had just 10 points in the second half and went only 4 of 15 from the field after the first quarter. He also missed five free throws, points that could have given the Lakers that 3-0 lead… Rafer Alston, who was just 3 of 17 from the field in the first two games, had 20 and Hedo Turkoglu and Mickael Pietrus 18 each… Pau Gasol scored 23 points but had just three rebounds and the Lakers were only 16 of 26 from the line.

Sacramento Kings to hire Paul Westphal

Sacramento Kings to hire Paul Westphal

The Sacramento Kings are rebuilding their player roster as well as the coaching staff.

And, according to Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee, Paul Westphal is going to be hired as the team’s new head coach: “Westphal, the former Phoenix and Seattle coach, was the second of four candidates to be interviewed by the job.”

In 2008-09 the Kings were the worst team in the league, winning 17 games and losing 65. Their star scorer, Kevin Martin, who averaged 24.6 points per game and not a lot else on 42.0% shooting, only played 51 games. They have a few promising young big-men in Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson, and a very mediocre point guard in Beno Udrih, plus Francisco Garcia, Rashad McCants and Andres Nocioni. And that’s about it.

Westphal will have to help develop the young talent, though there is still a lot more rebuilding to do before he has anything great to work with.

InsideHoops.com will update this blog entry shortly.

Denver Nuggets guard Dahntay Jones underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder to remove a bone spur on Monday.  The surgery was performed by Dr. Steve Traina of Western Orthopedic Group.

Jones is expected to make a full recovery in 4-6 weeks.

Toronto Raptors trade Jason Kapono to Philadelphia 76ers for Reggie Evans

From Philadelphia to Toronto, a bruiser has been traded for a shooter.

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have acquired forward Reggie Evans from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for guard-forward Jason Kapono.

“Reggie Evans will certainly add an element of toughness to our team,” said Bryan Colangelo, Raptors President and General Manager. “He has very good rebounding and defensive instincts, addressing two areas where we have underperformed.”

The seven-year veteran has averaged better than 6.5 rebounds in five of his NBA campaigns, with a career best of 9.3 per game (12th in the NBA) in 2004-05 with Seattle. He also averaged 7.9 rebounds during a four-year span from 2004-08.

Evans has ranked in the top-10 in the NBA in Rebounds Per 48 Minutes in each of the past six seasons, leading the league in 2006-07 at 19.7. He finished seventh in the NBA last season with an average of 15.3.

Evans has grabbed 20+ rebounds on three occasions, with a career-best 21 versus Charlotte on February 5, 2005. He collected a career-high 19 defensive rebounds against the Raptors on March 10, 2006.

The 6-foot-8, 245-pounder has appeared in 514 career regular season games with 270 starts. He owns career averages of 4.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 19.6 minutes. He has seen action in the postseason four times, averaging 4.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 17.1 minutes in 27 games.

Evans signed as a free agent with Seattle in 2002. He has played with Seattle (2002-06), Denver (2006-07) and Philadelphia (2007-09).

The native of Pensacola, Florida played two seasons at the University of Iowa where he averaged 15.3 points and 11.5 rebounds in 69 games. He was named Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American in both his junior and senior seasons.

Kapono signed with Toronto as a free agent July 11, 2007. He averaged 7.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in two seasons with the Raptors.

Evans is a short but rugged forward who adds rebounding to the Raptors frontcourt. Toronto up front has Chris Bosh, but Andrea Bargnani is not particularly strong, and Shawn Marion is undersized and not a lock to return to the team.

Kapono gives the 76ers a very badly-needed three-point shooter. With Andre Miller’s limited range, Kapono will help. He’ll be their best threat from deep range since Kyle Korver. He’d be a good first guard off the bench for them.

This trade helps both teams a bit.

Read fan discussion of the news and post your own opinion in this forum topic.

Scottie Reynolds has removed his name from the 2009 NBA draft pool and will return to Villanova for his senior season in 2009-10, it was announced today.

“The best decision for me is to return to Villanova for my senior year,” stated Reynolds, who averaged 15.2 points per game in helping lead Villanova to a school-record 30 victories last season. “I’d like to thank everyone who put their time into helping me get better during these NBA workouts. I especially want to thank my teammates and coaches here for all of their support. I felt like I learned a great deal from this process.

“I’m blessed to be in the situation I am in. I’m happy to be back at Villanova.”

The New Orleans Times-Picayune (Jimmy Smith) reports (via blog): The decision by the Hornets to part ways with lead assistant coach Kenny Gattison was anything but mutual, Gattison said Monday as he continued to search for another job. “This was not a mutual parting,” Gattison said via telephone. “In this economy, who would mutually agree to give up their job? Even though technically I only had a little over a month to go on my contract with the Hornets, given my years of service and contributions to the organization, I think some consideration should have been made toward my coaching career and my family. “If it’s something that they felt it was best to change, we played our last game over a month ago. The timing of it puts me in a very bad spot as far as going out and seeking employment.” The Hornets announced last Friday that the team and Gattison came to a collective understanding about Gattison’s departure so that he could seek other opportunities. Gattison said at a meeting last week he was told his services were no longer needed, and he has found many vacancies that were once open — on multiple basketball levels — have been filled.

Fabricio Oberto has heart-related surgery

San Antonio Spurs forward/center Fabricio Oberto underwent a successful Ablation procedure on 6/4.  The procedure was done to correct the electrical system of the heart that was sending Oberto into Atrial Fibrillation.  Oberto’s procedure was performed in Austin by Dr. Andrea Natale.

One week following his procedure Oberto will start a gradual, conservative cardiovascular exercise program.  After four weeks and with his doctor’s approval, he may begin strenuous exercise.

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