Archive for June 15th, 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.

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