Archive for July, 2009

Quentin Richardson is being traded all around the league this off-season.

The Los Angeles Clippers today acquired guard Sebastian Telfair, forward Craig Smith and forward Mark Madsen from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for forward Quentin Richardson.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Madsen and Smith have expiring contracts, as does Richardson, and Telfair has two years left, at $2.5 million and $2.7 million.

Richardson, who was re-acquired by the Clippers in a trade with Memphis on July 17, joins his fifth NBA team in the Timberwolves.

“We are really excited to add these three players to our team,” Clippers General Manager and Head Coach Mike Dunleavy said. “This move really gives some much needed depth.”

Telfair, 23, averaged a career-high 9.8 points, 4.6 assists, 1.7 rebounds and 27.9 minutes in 75 games last year for the Timberwolves. A five-year NBA veteran who was drafted by Portland with the 13th overall selection in the 2004 NBA Draft, Telfair joins his fourth NBA team. A 6-foot point guard, Telfair brings career averages of 8.2 points, 4.0 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 349 total NBA games to Los Angeles.

A former New York City high school legend before being drafted by the Trail Blazers, Telfair led Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln High School to three PSAL titles and one state championship en route to becoming New York’s all-time leading prep scorer, surpassing Kenny Anderson.

Inglewood native and former Fairfax High School star Smith returns to Los Angeles after averaging a career-high 10.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 19.7 minutes in 74 games last season for Minnesota. A career 55 percent shooter from the field, Smith shot 56.3 percent in 2008-09. Smith has appeared in 233 career NBA games since his rookie year of 2006-07, when he played in all 82 contests for the Timberwolves.

Smith was drafted by Minnesota with the 36th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft after a standout career at Boston College that saw him average 18.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.4 steals in 130 games from 2002-2006. Smith finished his Eagles career as the school’s all-time leading rebounder (1,114) and second in points (2,349) and was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference first Team in 2005-06.

A nine-year NBA veteran, the 33-year old Madsen is back in the city where he started his NBA career from 2000-2003 as the 29th overall pick out of Stanford University in the 2000 draft by the Lakers. The 6-foot-9, 255 pound Madsen has played in 453 career NBA games and averaged 2.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 0.4 assists in 11.8 minutes. Madsen joined the Timberwolves in 2003 and played in 19 contests, starting one and average 0.3 points and 0.9 rebounds last season. editor says: At this rate, Quentin Richardson will have been traded to all 30 NBA teams before the season even starts. In fact, there’s breaking news now that Quentin Richardson has been traded to for 27 GMail accounts, some gum, and the rights to Manute Bol. The NBA should establish a new league rule stating that all trades must involve Q-Rich in some way.

Read basketball fan reaction and discuss your own opinion in this forum topic.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed restricted free agent forward Jamario Moon to a contract offer sheet, Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry announced today. Per team and league policy, terms of the contract offer were not released.

Several media outlets are reporting that the offer is for two years, though they aren’t sure what the dollar amount of the deal is. It’s likely Moon is receiving between $2 and $3.2 million per season. We’ll update this info tonight.

The Miami Heat have seven days to match the offer and retain Moon.

Moon played in 80 games (60 starts) this past season for the Toronto Raptors and the Miami Heat. He averaged 7.2 points on .468 shooting, 4.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 25.8 minutes per game. The 6-foot-8 forward scored in double figures on 25 occasions. He led the NBA in steals-to-turnovers ratio (2.0) during the 2008-09 season. In two seasons in the NBA, Moon has career averages of 7.8 points on .478 shooting, 5.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks in 26.8 minutes per game.

UPDATE: The Heat decline to match the offer. So, Cavs get Moon.

Chicago Bulls waive Anthony Roberson

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has waived guard Anthony Roberson.

Roberson (6-2, 195), joined the Bulls on Feb. 19, 2009 in a four-player trade with the New York Knicks.  In six regular season games with Chicago last season, he averaged 2.0 ppg in 3.8 mpg.

Shaq lands sports-reality TV show

USA Today (Gary Levin) reports: NBA star Shaquille O’Neal is getting ready to multitask. The four-time hoops champion, who joins the Cleveland Cavaliers next season, will star in “Shaq Vs.,” an ABC reality series that pits him against top athletes in their own sports. Filming begins Wednesday in Pittsburgh, where Shaq takes on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in football. Future hourlong episodes will pit him against Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, tennis pro Serena Williams and beach volleyball Olympians Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh. editor says: The show sounds like it should be fun to watch, if done correctly. Ideally, the guest athletes share cool stuff that we wouldn’t normally hear or see and bring something new, aside from showing off skills we already know they possess.

Thunder are talking playoffs

The Oklahoma City Thunder are a team built around kids. Talented kids like Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook and, if he rises to the challenge, James Harden. But they’re still kids and need a parent to accompany them to PG-13 movies.

But, they think making the playoffs is more than possible.

The Oklahoman (Darnell Mayberry) reports: Talking about playoffs following a 23-win season might be premature for the Thunder. But that’s exactly what star forward Kevin Durant has been doing this summer, saying the postseason needs to be Oklahoma City’s goal in 2009-10. “Anything less than the playoffs is a failure for us,” Durant said on June 30 while in town for his youth basketball camp… Oklahoma City added more talent this summer in No. 3 overall pick James Harden. Draft picks Serge Ibaka and Byron Mullens also could prove to be everything Mo Sene and Robert Swift weren’t… Nineteen of the Thunder’s losses came by four points or less, the third-most defeats in the league by that margin, trailing only Indiana and San Antonio.

Ron Artest almost signed with Cavaliers

The New York Daily News (Mark Lelinwalla) reports: Ron Artest also told the Daily News that before he inked his five-year, $33 million deal with the Lakers earlier this month, he gave heavy consideration to signing with LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and the Cleveland Cavaliers. “It was close (to happening), but the Lakers showed more interest,” Artest said. “They’re my boys (James and O’Neal), though. Shaq is still my boy. I’m looking forward to playing with Kobe and going after a championship.”

The Boston Herald reports: The Cavaliers have picked up where the Celtics couldn’t get things done. The Cavs have signed restricted free agent swingman Jamario Moon to an offer sheet, the Miami Heat confirmed today. Miami has seven days to match the offer. The 6-foot-8 Moon played 25.9 minutes per game last season for the Heat and Raptors, averaging 7.2 points and 4.6 rebounds.

The Memphis Grizzlies signed Hasheem Thabeet, the second overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, to a multi-year contract, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Thabeet, a 7-3, 267-pound center, averaged 13.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per game (second in the NCAA) as a junior at the University of Connecticut, earning 2008-09 Big East Co-Player of the Year (Pittsburgh’s DeJuan Blair) honors and winning his second consecutive National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Selected by Memphis with the second overall pick behind the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Thabeet has averaged 8.0 points and 4.5 rebounds on 50.0 percent shooting in 24.8 minutes, helping lead the Grizzlies to a 4-0 start in the 2009 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Nev.

The Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania native, who ranks second on the all-time Big East blocked shots list (243) behind Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing, is the first Tanzanian-born player drafted by an NBA team.

Walter Herrmann signs in Spain reports: Tau Ceramica agreed to terms of a contract with small forward Walter Herrmann, who inked a two-year deal with the Euroleague powerhouse on Friday. Herrmann (206, 30) arrives from the Detroit Pistons, where he averaged 3.9 points and 1.8 rebounds in 60 NBA games last season. He has previously played three Euroleague seasons with Unicaja, averaging 7.3 points and 1.6 rebounds in 15 games in the 2005-06 season. editor says: More long-haired, blond basketball players will need to step up and fill the void.

LeBron James extension now available

The Cleveland Plain Dealer (Brian Windhorst) reports: At 12:01 a.m. Saturday, the Cavaliers were able to offer LeBron James a contract extension because July 18 is the three-year anniversary of when he signed his most recent contract. It is believed the team will initiate contact soon to formally present an offer, which can be an extension of up to three years and around $65 million. James still has an option in his contract for the 2010-11 season, and the Cavs could offer three years on top of that. editor says: It is widely assumed that LeBron will not sign an extension at this time and wait for 2010 NBA free agency.

The AP reports: A federal judge on Friday dismissed a civil insider trading lawsuit against Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. While granting Cuban’s motion, U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater gave the Securities and Exchange Commission 30 days to file an amended complaint. The SEC alleged Cuban was involved in insider trading when he sold shares in an Internet search engine company, Inc., after receiving confidential information about a private offering in 2004.

Sacramento Kings’ Head Coach Paul Westphal today announced an addition to his coaching staff, reaching an agreement with former Idaho Stampede (D-League) Head Coach Bryan Gates to join the team as an assistant coach.

“We’re just thrilled to be able to add Bryan to our staff,” said Westphal. “He’s had great success everywhere he’s been. He’s really been looking for a chance to take a step into the NBA and we’re thrilled to provide that opportunity. I think he’s going to add a lot to our staff.”

Gates is a two-time recipient of the Dennis Johnson D-League Coach of the Year award (2006-07, 2007-08), having spent the past three seasons as the head coach for Idaho where he compiled a record of 101-51 (.664 winning percentage), including winning the NBA Development League Championship in 2007-08. In all, Gates worked 12 seasons with the Stampede, serving in various roles with the club since its inception, and has also coached for the IBA’s Rapid City Thrillers, CBL’s Hickory Nutz, USBL’s Oklahoma Storm, and the Beirut Blue Stars in Lebanon.

Oklahoma City Thunder waive Earl Watson

The Oklahoma City Thunder waived guard Earl Watson it was announced today by Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

The 8-year NBA veteran appeared in 68 games (18 starts) with Oklahoma City this past season and averaged 6.6 points, 5.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 26.1 minutes per contest.

Watson, a 6-1 guard out of UCLA, holds career averages of 7.3 points, 4.6 assists, 2.2 rebounds in 597 career games (156 starts) with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Denver Nuggets, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Seattle Supersonics.

Utah Jazz match Trail Blazers offer and retain Paul Millsap

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has exercised its first right of refusal and retained restricted free agent forward Paul Millsap, pending the results of a physical.  Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.  Utah had seven days to match an offer sheet made to Millsap by Portland.

The Deseret News reported that the deal is worth $32 million over four years.

“Keeping Paul on our roster was one of our main goals this offseason,” said Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor.  “We look forward to watching him play a key role on this team for many years to come.”

A three-year NBA veteran, Millsap (6-8, 250, Louisiana Tech) appeared in 76 games (38 starts) in 2008-09 averaging 13.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 30.1 minutes per game.  As a starter Millsap increased his numbers in each statistical category, averaging 16.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists including a streak of 19-straight double-doubles, the longest streak in the NBA since 2006.  Millsap finished the season with 29 double-doubles overall.  The native of Monroe, La., also set career-highs in points (32 at Boston 12/15) and rebounds (17 at L.A. Lakers 1/2) while finishing fourth in voting for the league’s Most Improved Player award.

“We are excited to keep Paul with the Jazz,” said Jazz President Randy Rigby. “Since he arrived in 2006 he has been an integral part of our team, establishing himself as one of the up-and-coming power forwards in the NBA.”

Originally selected by the Jazz in the second round (47th overall pick) of the 2006 NBA Draft, Millsap has appeared in 240 of a possible 246 games over his first three seasons, holding career averages of 9.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 22.8 minutes per game. Millsap was named to the 2006-07 All-Rookie Team (one point shy of the First Team) and finished sixth in Rookie of the Year balloting. Selected to play in both the 2007 and 2008 Rookie Challenge, Millsap is the only player in NCAA history to lead the nation in rebounding three straight years. The forward finished his career at Louisiana Tech with averages of 18.6 points, 12.7 rebounds and 1.99 blocks in 92 career games in three seasons.

Is it possible that the New Orleans Hornets would consider trading superstar point guard Chris Paul?

Well, lots of things in this world are possible. For example, It’s possible I am going to walk down the street here in Las Vegas into a casino, bet my life savings on Red on a roulette table, close my eyes and hope for the best. But, I’m not going to.

And, the Hornets aren’t going to trade Chris Paul.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:

In response Friday, Hornets President Hugh Weber said the possibility of them trading Paul is zero.

“There is no chance of him getting traded,” Weber said sternly. “I don’t know how to say it any stronger, but there is just no deal we would contemplate for Chris. I can’t speak for Chris, but I think he was talking about the nature of the business and the fact that the question was asked the way it was.”

“I have not nor will I enter any discussions for him,” Bower said.”(Trading Paul) is not going to happen. I think what Chris said just shows his selflessness that he’s not different than anyone else on the team.”

Yao Ming to have left foot surgery

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming has elected to undergo surgery in order to repair the broken bone in his left foot.

The surgery, which will be performed next week by Rockets Team Physician Dr. Tom Clanton at the Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute, will involve a bone graft in the navicular bone of Yao’s left foot in order to promote bone regeneration.

Additionally, Clanton will also perform a surgical procedure designed to reduce the arch in Yao’s left foot by realigning and restructuring the bones in the foot.

While no timetable has been set for his return to action, Yao is expected to be available for the team’s training camp in 2010.

“This combination of procedures should not only allow healing of his navicular stress fracture, but also improve the mechanics of his foot to reduce the stress on that bone and give him the best long-term prognosis,” said Dr. Clanton. “This surgical option is similar to the successful procedure used by Cleveland Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas in 2001.”

Statement from Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey:

“Yao and the Rockets conducted due diligence in seeking a number of expert opinions regarding his medical options. The consensus opinion was that he undergo a procedure to heal and realign his foot. We will implement all the resources available to help him make a complete and successful recovery.”

Statement from Yao:

“After much thought and reflection, I have decided to have surgery on my left foot. This surgery will allow me to continue my career playing basketball and I look forward to returning to the court. I would like to thank everyone who sent me their best wishes. I am very grateful to have the support of teammates, friends and fans as I dedicate myself to making a completely successful recovery.”

Antoine Walker arrested in casino

The Miami Herald reports:  Former NBA forward Antoine Walker, a member of the Miami Heat’s 2006 championship team, was arrested Wednesday night in Harrah’s Casino in South Lake Tahoe, Nev., NBC Sports has reported. This came a day after a warrant was issued stemming from Walker’s $822,500 in gambling debts. He is accused of three felony counts of writing bad checks. County prosecutors say he failed to make good on 10 checks totaling $1 million written to Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood and the Red Rock Resort. editor says: This is sure to help his NBA comeback attempt!

The AP reports: The Phoenix Mercury have suspended guard Diana Taurasi for two games without pay after she was cited on drunk-driving related charges. In a release Thursday, the team said Taurasi was suspended ”for conduct detrimental to the team.” Taurasi will miss Saturday’s game against Detroit and next Wednesday’s game against Minnesota… Taurasi faces three drunk-driving related charges, including extreme DUI, for a July 2 incident in which she also was cited for speeding. The 27-year-old guard was cited hours after she scored 22 points in the Mercury’s 93-81 victory over the Seattle Storm.

The San Antonio Spurs announced today that they signed DeJuan Blair. The Spurs drafted Blair in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft with the 37th overall pick. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Blair, a 6-7, 265 lb. forward, spent the past two seasons at the University of Pittsburgh. Last season he was named a First Team All-American by the Associated Press, the Co-Big East Player of the Year and earned First Team All-Conference honors.  He was a finalist for the Wooden and Naismith Player of the Year awards.  Blair led the nation in offensive rebounding (5.6 rpg), ranked fourth in total rebounding (12.3 rpg) and 19th in field goal percentage (.593).  For the season he averaged 15.7 points and 1.54 steals in 35 games.  Blair recorded 21 double-doubles, including two 20-point 20-rebound games (one of only two players in Pitt history - along with Billy Knight - to register two 20-point/20-rebound performances in a career). In the NCAA Tournament he averaged 16.8 points and 13.8 rebounds in four games being named to the East Regional All-Tournament Team.

As a freshman Blair was named the Big East Co-Rookie of the Year and was an All-Big East Honorable Mention.  He averaged 11.6 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.68 steals in 37 games.  He scored in double figures 25 times and posted 14 double-doubles.  He became the first freshman in school history to surpass 400 points and 300 rebounds.

For his career Blair appeared in 72 games for the Panthers, averaging 13.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.61 steals while shooting .568 (394-694) from the field.

Yao Ming buys Shanghai Sharks

Reuters reports: Houston Rockets center Yao Ming has purchased his financially troubled former club the Shanghai Sharks, Chinese media reported on Thursday. The seven-time NBA All Star’s investment company signed a framework agreement with the club’s three co-owners who agreed to sell Yao all their shares in the club, Xinhua news agency said… The Sharks shared in the worst deficit in 14 years of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) last year and were in danger of failing to start the new season in November because of their dire finances.

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