Archive for August, 2009

The AP reports: LeBron James is unlikely to accept a contract extension from the Cleveland Cavaliers until after the 2009-10 season, when he can become a free agent… “I signed a contract in 2006 with an option,” he said. “It would make no sense for me to sign that contract if I didn’t keep my options open. I’ll let you fill in the blanks.”

InsideHoops.com editor says: This is entirely unsurprising. Most other players would be advised to sign the extension. But LeBron is doing the right thing for himself. I still think he’s going to wind up staying with the Cavs, unless he and some other top 2010 free agent agree to play together on the Knicks or some other team.

Atlanta Hawks re-sign Marvin Williams

Atlanta Hawks re-sign Marvin Williams

The Atlanta Hawks today re-signed restricted free agent forward Marvin Williams, according to Executive Vice President/General Manager Rick Sund.  ESPN reports that the deal is likely a five year, $37.5 million contract.

“Marvin is an important part of our core, and we’re very pleased to keep him in a Hawks uniform,” Sund said. “As one of our talented and versatile young veterans, he’s shown improvement every year in the league, and we look for that trend to continue. A big priority this summer was to retain as many of our free agents as possible and keep our nucleus intact, so Marvin’s return is significant for us.”

The 23-year-old Williams, entering his fifth year with the Hawks, averaged 13.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 1.3 apg in 34.3 mpg (.458 FG%, .355 3FG%, .806 FT%) last season, playing in 61 games (59 starts).

Williams knocked down 55 three-pointers on the season after making just 25 in his first three seasons combined. He ranked second on the team in FTM (220), 3rd in rpg and 4th in ppg, FT% and 3FG%. He scored in double-figures 46 times, including 10 20-point outings, compiling six double-doubles.

In 284 career games, Williams is averaging 12.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 1.4 apg in 31.7 mpg (.450 FG%, .801 FT%). He’s also seen action in 13 postseason contests (10 starting assignments), putting up 8.5 ppg.

Williams was originally selected by Atlanta with the second overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft.

Detroit Pistons sign 2009 draft picks Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers and Jonas Jerebko

Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that the club has signed draft selections Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers and Jonas Jerebko to contracts. Daye received the standard first round draft pick deal. And according to the Detroit News, Summers and Jerebko each signed 2-year deals worth $457,000 per year.

Daye was drafted by Detroit with the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft.  A 6-foot-11 sophomore forward from Gonzaga, he averaged 12.7 points and 6.8 rebounds in 34 games (33 starts) last season.  Daye shot 48% (159-333) from the field and 43% (36-84) from beyond the arc.  He also finished the season with 70 blocks, the third-best single season total in program history, and scored a career-high 28 points against Santa Clara, shooting 10-for-13 from the field and 3-for-4 from three-point range.  As a freshman, Daye, the son of former NBA player Darren Daye, averaged 10.5 points and 4.7 rebounds in 33 games (one start).  He recorded 20 points and 10 rebounds in his collegiate debut against Montana State and finished the season with 54 blocks, the fourth-best single season total in program history.

Summers was selected with the 35th overall pick in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft.  He started 98 of his 101 games at Georgetown University and finished his collegiate career with averages of 11.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.  Summers averaged a career-best 13.6 points last season and scored in double figures 25 times, including a streak of 19 consecutive games.  Summers finished his career ranked 29th in scoring at Georgetown with 1,129 points and seventh in three-pointers made with 141.  A native of Baltimore, Maryland, he led the Hoyas to three straight postseason appearances (two NCAA Tournaments, one NIT).

Jerebko was selected with the 39th overall pick in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft.  A native of Sweden, he played professionally in Italy the last two seasons.  Jerebko averaged 9.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in 23 games for Angelico Biella last season.  Prior to his stint in Italy, Jerebko played two seasons in the Swedish league where he averaged 10.0 points in 2006-07 and 20.0 points and 11.6 rebounds in 2005-06.  He also represented Sweden on both the junior and senior men’s national team.

NBA suspends Rashard Lewis 10 games

NBA suspends Rashard Lewis 10 games for banned substance

Rashard Lewis of the Orlando Magic has been suspended without pay for ten games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program by testing positive for an elevated testosterone level, it was announced today by the NBA.

Lewis’ suspension will begin with the first game of the 2009-10 NBA regular season for which he is eligible and physically able to play.

Rashard Lewis Statement

“First and foremost I take full responsibility for the situation and accept the corresponding penalty.

Toward the end of the season I took an over-the-counter supplement which at the time I did not realize included a substance banned by the NBA.

I apologize to Magic fans, my teammates and this organization for not doing the research that should come with good judgment.

I hope this unintentional mistake will not reflect poorly on our team and its great character.

I hope every athlete can learn from my mistake that supplements, no matter how innocent they seem, should only be taken after consulting an expert in the field.”

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

Lewis, who will turn 30 on Saturday, said he took an over-the-counter supplement near the end of last season which he did not know contained the banned substance. He told the Sentinel the substance was in powder form and he mixed it into smoothies. He got it at a nutritional store, but did not specify the name of the store.

According to an NBA source, Lewis failed one drug test during the playoffs last season and was so surprised by the outcome he asked to be tested again during the Finals. Lewis also failed that test.

“The biggest thing I told him is we’re a team, we’re a family, we all do crazy stupid things and sometimes we have to make adjustments,” Magic General Manager Otis Smith said. “That’s what kids do, sometimes they make mistakes. I don’t know if it was a knowing mistake, I don’t think it was.”

Hornets hire Robert Pack as assistant coach

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that New Orleans Pack has been named an assistant coach for the 2009-10 season.

Pack, 40, joins Byron Scott’s staff after a one-year assistant coach stint with the NBA Developmental League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Vipers finished 21-29 last season.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to coach in the NBA,” Pack said. “It’s always been my dream and to have the chance to do so in my hometown is something I’m really grateful for. I’m really excited for the season to start and I just have to thank Coach Scott for such a great opportunity.”

Pack played 13 seasons as a point guard in the NBA. During the 2002-03 season, he played in 28 games and had four starts for the Hornets, averaging 5.2 points and 2.9 assists. Pack was a former high school standout at Lawless and played in college at USC.

Nicknamed “Pac-Man”, Pack played for seven different teams during his career—the Hornets, Denver, Portland, New Jersey, Washington, Dallas and Minnesota. Pack holds averages of 8.9 points, 4.6 assists and 2.0 rebounds over 552 career games.

Pack was a member of the 1991-92 Portland team that advanced to the NBA Finals, while with Denver, he was a member of the 1993-94 squad that made NBA history as the first No. 8 seed to defeat a No. 1 seed in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Pack also participated in the 1994 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest in Minneapolis, finishing second in the event.

At USC, Pack finished fourth on the Trojans all-time assists list (319) in just two seaons, while also becoming just the fourth player in school history to record back-to-back 100-assist seasons. He averaged 13.4 points and 5.6 assists per game while at USC. Prior to playing at USC, he played two seasons at Tyler (Texas) Junior College, earning All-State honors, and leading the Apache to a 50-11 combined record.

Xinhua reports: Los Angeles Lakers star Ron Artest has donated his diamond watch to a high school student in Wuhan Wednesday to support his education. Zheng Fengyu, 15, is the captain of Wuhan NO.1 middle school’s basketball team. Ron played basketball with Zheng Wednesday afternoon, and gave the boy later his watch, which is worth 45,000 U.S. dollars (about 300,000 yuan), according to a report by local media.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Stories like this are awesome. The scene sounds like something from a movie. Wish we could have seen it happen.

Trail Blazers sign Brandon Roy to extension

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed star guard Brandon Roy to a multi-year contract extension, it was announced today by General Manager Kevin Pritchard. Several media outlets reported it was likely going to be a five year deal, totalling around $82-85 million. We’ll update that info later tonight.

“This is one of the most exciting and important days in Trail Blazers history,” said Pritchard. “No one has played a bigger role in the rebirth of the franchise, both on and off the court, than Brandon Roy. While he’s a great player, he’s an even better person and I’m happy and proud to report that he’s going to be a Portland Trail Blazer for many years to come.”

Roy, 25, holds career averages of 19.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.12 steals, 36.9 minutes and a 46.5% mark from the floor in three seasons with the Trail Blazers. The 2006-07 NBA Rookie of the Year and two-time NBA All-Star, Roy is one of two players this decade (LeBron James) to be named Rookie of the Year and appear in two All-Star Games in his first three NBA seasons.

“First and foremost, I want to thank our great fans and my family and friends for all of their support,” said Roy. “I also want to thank Paul Allen, Larry Miller, Kevin Pritchard, Coach McMillan, my teammates and the entire Trail Blazers organization. Each year they’ve made me feel more and more at home here in Portland and now this really does feel like home and will be for a long time to come. I’m just really excited to get to back to work and focused on helping bring another NBA Championship to Portland.”

Roy posted team highs of 22.6 points, 5.1 assists, 1.13 steals and 37.2 minutes to go with 4.7 rebounds in 78 games (all starts) last season, helping lead the Trail Blazers to a 54-28 record, a share of the Northwest Division title and the team’s first trip to the playoffs in six seasons. Among NBA leaders, Roy ranked 10th in scoring, 17th in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.63) and 23rd in assists.

Roy’s inclusion on the 2008-09 All-NBA Second Team marks the first time a Trail Blazer has earned All-NBA honors since Clyde Drexler in 1991-92.

The 6-6, 211-pound Roy started all six games for Portland in the 2009 NBA Playoffs, where he averaged a team-best 26.7 points to add to 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.33 steals and 39.7 minutes. His scoring average ranked seventh among all players in the 2009 NBA playoffs and ranked fourth all-time by a Trail Blazer in a single postseason.

Acquired by the Trail Blazers in a draft day trade on June 28, 2006, Roy was originally selected by Minnesota with the sixth overall pick out of the University of Washington in the 2006 NBA Draft.

Allen Iverson needs a job

Allen Iverson needs a job

Super-scoring guard Allen Iverson needs a job and at this point it’s tough to say which teams he’s going to sign with.

There had been rumors that the Memphis Grizzlies had interest, but considering the young guards they already have it’s possible that adding Iverson would merely stunt the growth of talented shooting guard O.J. Mayo and possibly point guard Mike Conley as well.

Iverson’s time on the Denver Nuggets was OK at best. Chemistry with Carmelo Anthony and others wasn’t great, and the team got better once they traded  him to the Detroit Pistons for point guard Chauncey Billups.

On the Pistons things didn’t work out at all. Detroit was happy to say goodbye.

Now 34 years old, Iverson’s best role would be as a team’s prime bench scorer. Like a Leandro Barbosa for the Phoenix Suns (of a few years ago when they were really good).

The question is if he’d accept such a job, and which team would go for him.

At this point, I’d love to now tell you who the favorites are to land him. But so far there aren’t any.

Could he reunite with Larry Brown and join the Charlotte Bobcats? Or head back to the Philadelphia 76ers now that Andre Miller is gone and the best point guard they have is Lou Williams?

Or, will rumors of an overseas team offering him a relatively fat contract come true? Only Iverson knows if he’d consider crossing over the pond.

We’re over a month into free agency and Iverson’s future seems wide open.

Someone will sign him, right?

Rockets sign 2009 second round draft pick Jermaine Taylor

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed rookie guard Jermaine Taylor to a multi-year contract. The Houston Chronicle reports that the deal is worth $3.33 million over four years, with the first two years guaranteed and a team option on the third and fourth seasons.

Taylor, who was selected by Washington out of Central Florida in the second round (32nd overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft, had his rights acquired by the Rockets from the Wizards in exchange for cash considerations on June 25, 2009.

Taylor (6-4, 210, Central Florida) totaled 1,979 points and a school-record 251 3-pointers (.376, 251-668 3FG) over his four-year career at Central Florida, finishing as UCF’s career scoring leader at the Division I level. He also ranked fourth on the Conference USA career scoring list. As a senior, Taylor was named the C-USA Player of the Year and earned All-Conference USA First Team honors. Taylor was also selected All-District by the NABC and USBWA, as well as earning All-Tournament Team honors at the 2009 Portsmouth Invitational. Overall, he scored a school-record 812 points during his senior campaign and ranked third nationally in scoring (26.2 ppg, .480 FG%, .376 3FG%, .812 FT%). Taylor also averaged 29.1 points against league opponents and set the C-USA single-season record by notching 466 points in conference play. He scored at least 20 points in 24 of his 31 games, including nine 30-point performances and one 40-point contest. He connected on 92 3-pointers in 2008-09, which ranked fourth on the school’s single-season chart. Taylor also led the team in rebounds per game (5.2) and blocked shots (24), while ranking third on the team in total assists (58) and second in steals (39). His outstanding play earned him C-USA Player of the Week honors on five occasions during his final collegiate campaign. He also established a UCF Division I single-game record with 45 points vs. Rice (2/25/09).

As a junior, Taylor earned All-Conference USA Second Team selection after leading UCF in scoring with 20.8 points per game. He appeared in all 31 games as a reserve during his sophomore campaign, ranking second on the team and 16th in Conference USA in points per game (12.7). Taylor was also a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll recipient as a freshman.

With Houston in the 2009 NBA Summer League, Taylor averaged 11.0 points and 2.3 assists in four games (two starts).

76ers hire Randy Ayers as assistant coach

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that Head Coach Eddie Jordan has named Randy Ayers as an assistant coach.  Ayers joins a staff comprised of Associate Head Coach Mike O’Koren and Assistant Coaches Jim Lynam and Aaron McKie.

Ayers, who was head coach of the Sixers for 52 games during the 2003-04 season, previously served as an assistant coach on Jordan’s staff in Washington.  The Wizards allowed just 99.2 points per game in his first season with the team in 2007-08 after allowing 104.9 ppg the season prior.

Prior to joining the Wizards, Ayers was an assistant coach with Orlando.  In his two seasons with the Magic, Ayers helped the team lower its opponents scoring average from 101.8 ppg in 2004-05 to 96.0 ppg in 2005-06 to 94.0 ppg in 2006-07.

No stranger to Philadelphia, Ayers spent six-plus seasons as a member of the Sixers coaching staff, including the stint as head coach in 2003-04.  As the top assistant under Head Coach Larry Brown, Ayers helped guide the Sixers to five consecutive playoff appearances, including a trip to the NBA Finals in 2001.

Ayers coaching career also includes an eight-season run as head coach at The Ohio State University, where he led the Buckeyes to four postseason appearances and back-to-back Big Ten Championships in 1991 and 1992.  He was named National Coach of the Year by The Associated Press in 1991.

Hawks to talk extension with Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson is the best player on the Atlanta Hawks roster, and they’d like to have him stick around. Although not a superstar, the versatile shooting guard has skills and should continue to be in All-Star team discussions for years to come.

I had heard they were planning on getting into this soon. Didn’t know when, though. Apparently quite soon. Sekou Smith of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (via blog):

Multiple sources have confirmed that Hawks general manager Rick Sund is on an extended trip to the left coast, and part of his itinerary includes time in Los Angeles for face-to-face talks about a contract extension with Joe Johnson’s camp. A three-time All-Star, Johnson is heading into the final year of the five-year, $70 million deal he signed in August 2005 (which if traced back, you will realize was the rebirth of the franchise that has since made the playoffs in back-to-back years). With superstars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh headlining next summer’s free agent crop, several teams are lining up to be major players.

Johnson isn’t worthy of the max and if he demands it the Hawks should balk. But assuming he’s reasonable, the two sides may be fairly close in their goals.

Jason Williams works out for Knicks

Jason Williams works out for Knicks

Point guard Jason Williams, known by his nickname “White Chocolate,” is trying to make an NBA comeback, and his first shot at earning a deal came from the New York Knicks.

The Associated Press reports that Williams has now worked out for the Knicks, but no contract has been offered just yet. Said the AP:

Williams, who worked out Tuesday, is attempting a return from retirement this summer and the Knicks claimed him off waivers last week. They will retain exclusive negotiating rights if they make a contract offer by Thursday.

It’s highly unlikely any team will offer Williams anything more than a one-year deal at the NBA minimum. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets no offer at all.

The 2009-10 regular season NBA schedule comes out Tuesday, but it’s already having an impact on a few teams. The AP reports:

The NBA has fined three teams an undisclosed amount for leaking details of their schedules before the league released them. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves were penalized, an official with knowledge of the decisions told The Associated Press on Monday.

It would be interesting to find out how the league knew exactly which teams revealed the info. I’ll update this blog entry with more on that if it comes out.

Timberwolves sign Ryan Hollins to offer sheet

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed restricted free-agent center Ryan Hollins to an offer sheet. Under the terms of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Dallas Mavericks will have seven days upon receiving the offer sheet to match Minnesota’s offer. Several media outlets report that the deal may be for three years and a total of $7 million.

“We are excited about the opportunity to have Ryan Hollins on our team,” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “He is a lengthy, athletic center, with a lot of upside, who should complement Al and Kevin really well. We’ve had our eye on him the past several weeks and we are optimistic we can acquire him through this process.”

Hollins, a 7-0 center from UCLA, was originally selected with the 50th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats. He spent two-plus seasons with Charlotte before being traded to Dallas on Jan. 16, 2009. In 132 career games with the Bobcats and Mavericks, Hollins has averaged 2.7 points and 1.8 rebounds per game while shooting 51.8 percent from the field. He also appeared in nine playoff games for the Mavericks this spring, grabbing 24 total rebounds while shooting 57.1 percent from the field as Dallas advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals.

Jermaine O’Neal working hard

jermaine o'neal workouts

Talented veteran Miami Heat big-man Jermaine O’Neal has been more known for injury than anything else these past few years. But he’s been working hard to change that. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports (via blog):

O’Neal, who has been a regular in the weight room and on the court at AmericanAirlines Arena the past two months, showing up about four times a week, is poised to take the next step, with eight weeks of work planned with noted Chicago trainer Tim Grover. Yes, the same Tim Grover who last summer so reinvigorated Dwyane Wade.

While appearances can be deceiving, O’Neal has impressed those in the weight room with his physique and appearance. Granted, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll ever be able to again explode off both knees.

It’s safe to say O’Neal will not ever return to being the player he once was, but there’s definite room for improvement over the level of his play the past few seasons, so good news that he’s working hard to make it happen.

lamar odom almost re-joined miami heat

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Ira Winderman) reports: In an emotional, candid and introspective radio interview Friday, Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom revealed that he, indeed, stood on the verge of returning to South Florida as a free agent this week and insisted that he never attempted to use the Miami Heat as leverage. “I was really close,” Odom told ESPN-760 host Evan Cohen. “I weighed and I balanced every option. I did it 50 times, 60 times.” … “It was a tough decision,” he told the West Palm Beach station. “It was hard. Pat, Micky and Dwyane, I love those guys. Micky is an incredible owner. Of course, D-Wade is my friend. Pat? I don’t know what Pat is to me; he’s a little bit more special to me than just a coach. I look up to him tremendously. “It was hard.” … That, Odom said, made it difficult for him to inform Riley and Wade of his Thursday decision. “It was tough,” he said. “I sent them a text and let them know how appreciative I was, and I’ll probably get to speak to them face to face when I get down to Miami at the end of the month and I get set in my home and just relax and take some time out and reflect.”

OKC Thunder sign Kevin Ollie

OKC Thunder sign Kevin Ollie

The Oklahoma City Thunder have signed free agent guard Kevin Ollie to a contract, Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not announced. We’ll post contract details later today, here.

“We are excited to welcome Kevin Ollie to Oklahoma City,” Presti said. “He brings experience, leadership and professionalism to our team as we continue to develop our roster on and off the floor.”

Ollie, 36, has appeared in 637 NBA games over 12 seasons, averaging 3.8 points, 2.3 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per contest with Dallas, Orlando, Sacramento, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Chicago, Indiana, Milwaukee, Seattle, Cleveland and Minnesota. Last season, the 6-2 guard, averaged 4.0 points 2.3 assists, 1.5 rebounds and 17.0 minutes in 50 games (21 starts) with the Timberwolves.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Ollie is inexpensive, veteran point guard depth. He can teach Russell Westbrook some tricks of the trade.

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