Archive for September, 2009

76ers sign Rodney Carney

76ers sign Rodney Carney

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that the team has signed free agent swingman Rodney Carney.

“Rodney Carney is a player that we feel will mesh extremely well with our current personnel and in the up-tempo style of play that Coach Jordan will continue to implement this season,” Stefanski said. “We think that Rodney is one of the most athletic players in the league who has the ability to stretch the floor and we are happy to have him back.”

A three-year veteran, Carney (6-7, 205) spent his first two seasons with the Sixers before being traded to Minnesota along with Calvin Booth, cash considerations and a future first round pick in exchange for a future second round pick on July 9, 2008.  The move helped Philadelphia sign free agent forward Elton Brand last summer.

In 67 games with six starts for the Timberwolves last season, Carney averaged a career-high 7.2 points and 1.9 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game while shooting 41.6% from the floor and career-bests of 35.0% from 3-point range and 75.8% from the line.

Carney also had 45 steals to just 43 turnovers last season and would have ranked fifth in the NBA in steal-to-turnover ratio (1.05) had he qualified.  For his career, Carney has more steals (122) than turnovers (120).

The 25-year-old hit 79 3-pointers last season, after having just 63 3FGM his first two seasons combined.  Carney hit 2+ 3FGM 21 times last season, including a career-high 7 3FGM at Philadelphia on Mar. 25.

Last season, Philly ranked second-to-last in 3-pointers made (4.2 3FGM per) and last in 3-point percentage (31.8% 3FGs).  With the addition of Carney and Jason Kapono, who was acquired via trade back in June, the Sixers have obtained two players who shot a combined 38.9% from behind-the-arc last season.

Heat front-office take pay cuts

Times are tough these days economically for a lot of people. Myself included. I only had five or six hour-long full body massages these past two weeks as I vacation overseas. We’re all making sacrifices.

Anyway, the Miami Heat are cutting some payroll. Michael Wallace of the Miami Herald reports:

Economic problems have forced Heat president Pat Riley, coach Erik Spoelstra and several members of the team’s front-office to take pay cuts entering the season.

Spoelstra said recently that he expected to open his second season as coach with his entire staff of assistants intact. But financial problems that led to reductions of about 20 employees on the business staff earlier this year have apparently spilled over to basketball operations.

The Heat is already facing the prospect of having to pay about $3 million in NBA luxury tax fees for operating beyond the league’s $69.9 million threshold for excessive payrolls.

It needs to be said that the biggest waste of money in Miami these past few years was on former Heat center Mark Blount. He’s gone now, though, so things can only get brighter on South Beach.

InsideHoops talks to Brandon Jennings

Milwaukee Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings is a flashy, exciting point guard. And with Ramon Sessions gone, the kid has a great shot at being an immediate contributor.

Instead of spending one year on a college campus pretending to be a student, Jennings went overseas after high school and received limited minutes in Rome.

InsideHoops.com met with him in early August. Read the Brandon Jennings interview.

Suns buy out Sasha Pavlovic

The Phoenix Suns didn’t feel they had a need or use for Sasha Pavlovic, so the team and player have parted ways. Stefan Swiat of Suns.com reports:

Suns buy out Sasha Pavlovic

As expected, Sasha Pavlovic’s basketball career in Phoenix was finished before it ever even began. The Suns have agreed to buy out Pavlovic’s contract in a move that will allow the team greater salary cap flexibility moving forward.

Marc Cornstein, Pavlovic’s agent, approached the Suns recently to talk to the team about a prospective buyout. If Pavlovic would have remained with the Suns, there was a reasonable chance that he would have been waived in December, allowing the organization to pay much less of a luxury tax to the league.

The 6-7 guard/forward averaged just 4.6 points and 1.9 rebounds in 16.0 minutes per game last season.

InsideHoops talks to Earl Clark

Phoenix Suns rookie Earl Clark is confident. And ready for the league.

Like many kids, he knew he was going to make the NBA. Only unlike those other kids, he really did it.

Now he’s looking to prove doubters wrong.

Read this exclusive InsideHoops.com Earl Clark interview.

Mavericks re-sign James Singleton

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have re-signed forward James Singleton. Per team policy, terms of the deal were undisclosed.  Several media outlets reported that the deal is a $1.03 million qualifying offer for next season.

“We are excited to bring James back into the fold for next season,” said President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Donnie Nelson.  “His tireless work ethic and lockerroom presence were a large part of our success last year. We couldn’t be happier to keep James in the Mavericks family.”

Last season, Singleton (6-8, 230) played in 62 games (starting six times) for Dallas and averaged career-highs in points (5.1), rebounds (4.0) and minutes (14.3).  He also shot a career-high 52.9% (117-221 FGs) from the field, 32.5% (13-40 3FGs) from 3-point range and 85.9% (67-78 FTs) from the line.

Originally signed by Dallas as a free agent on July 11, 2008, Singleton holds career averages of 3.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 11.6 minutes in 174 games (16 starts).

The Chicago native attended Murray State University after transferring from Pearl River Community College (Miss.).

In an additional transaction, the Mavericks requested waivers on veteran guard Greg Buckner. Dallas acquired Buckner in a four-team trade on July 9, 2009.

Buckner (6-4, 210) was originally a second-round draft choice of the Mavericks in 1998. The veteran guard has played two stints in Dallas and holds career averages of 5.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 570 games.

“We wish Buck nothing but the very best,” said Nelson.  “Given our depth at that position, coupled with the number of guaranteed contracts, there is simply no room on our roster. This early release will also afford him the chance to secure an opportunity elsewhere.”

Greg Ostertag attempting comeback

Greg Ostertag was a somewhat solid NBA center. Weak as a starter, but better than most of the league’s backups. He was big. He got dunked on by Shaquille O’Neal a lot. He had limited ability

The former Utah Jazzman is reportedly attempting a comeback. Jody Genessy of the Deseret News reports:

The former Jazz center is attempting an NBA comeback.

He even recently worked out for a team.

Last week, Ostertag participated in a scrimmage with the Portland Trail Blazers, who are reportedly auditioning big men, including perhaps Jarron Collins, the Oregonian reported.

Ostertag had some rocky moments in his relationship with Sloan, which is why the Hall-of-Fame shout-out was unexpected.

Now 36 years old, Ostertag hasn’t played in the NBA for more than three years, which is why his reported workout was eye-opening.

I’d say there’s a 95 percent chance no one signs him, and a 5 percent chance he lands a nonguaranteed minimum deal for a team’s training camp.

Dwyane Wade`s future up in air

Half the fun of talking about LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and other top stars isn’t just raving about what they do on a basketball court. Speculating about where they may play in the future is just as entertaining.

Mike McGraw of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports (via blog):

dwyane wade future team

Asked if the Bulls would be his No. 1 destination should he leave Miami next year, Wade replied, “If I disclose that kind of information, the articles this season aren’t as exciting anymore. Speculation is not the same. You guys ain’t going to have nothing to talk about me.”

Then asked what would keep him Miami, Wade provided this answer: “Well, first of all I love the organization. I love what it stands for, from the owner Mickey Arison on down. It’s a first class organization. We’ve had some good times in Miami. I love the weather. It’s become home for me for the past six years. Hey, it’s not my fault Miami drafted me at No. 5 (in 2003) and Chicago did not move up (from No. 7).”

While LeBron, Wade and other top stars probably do have a strong opinion about what team they may try to play for once their current contracts  run out, it’s safe to assume they really aren’t 100 percent sure. Things can happen. Rosters change. Teams that appear to be attractive can shake things up. So while the speculation will continue, it’s mostly all in fun, because no matter what sources a reporter may have, the players themselves are perfectly likely to change their mind in the future.

Jerry Krause is sticking to his principals on an issue he cares about.

Mike McGraw of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports:

Former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause says there’s a simple reason why he’s not in Springfield, Mass., this weekend for Michael Jordan’s enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Krause is sending a Tex message.

Years ago, Krause made a vow never to return to the Hall of Fame unless Winter - a longtime Bulls assistant and creator of the triangle offense - was voted in.

“I would be a heck of a hypocrite if I went back on my word not to walk into that building,” Krause said Friday on WSCR’s Danny Mac Show.

“Many years ago I was on the Hall of Fame committee for five years. I resigned in a very public manner for a reason. The reason was because Tex Winter was not on the ballot one year. The committee had no say in who was on the ballot. The committee had no meetings. It was all done by mail and you did not know who the other committee members were.”

I’d say Tex Winter definitely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame more than a few others who have been inducted over the last four or five years.

The AP reports: From the coach who cut him to the players who disrespected him, Michael Jordan never forgot a slight. Not even on the night he was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. Jordan’s thank you list went well beyond friends and family, including any doubters who provided him the inspiration to become a better player — perhaps the greatest one ever. “You guys, I must say thank you very much for giving me that motivation that I definitely needed,” Jordan said.

The AP continues: Jordan cried before beginning his acceptance speech, then entertained the crowd with memories of any slights that sent him on his way to basketball’s birthplace: –The coach who cut him from the varsity as a North Carolina schoolboy. “I wanted to make sure you understood: You made a mistake, dude.” …  –Isiah Thomas, who allegedly orchestrated a “freezeout” of Jordan in his first All-Star game. “I wanted to prove to you, Magic (Johnson), Larry (Bird), George (Gervin), everybody that I deserved (to be there) just as much as anybody else, and I hope over the period of my career I’ve done that without a doubt.” … –Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy — Jordan called him Pat Riley’s “little guy” — who accused Jordan of “conning” players by acting friendly toward them, then attacking them in games.

Yahoo reports: Jordan wandered through an unfocused and uninspired speech at Symphony Hall, disparaging people who had little to do with his career, like Jeff Van Gundy and Bryon Russell. He ignored people who had so much to do with it, like his personal trainer, Tim Grover. This had been a moving and inspirational night for the NBA – one of its best ceremonies ever – and five minutes into Jordan’s speech it began to spiral into something else. Something unworthy of Jordan’s stature, something beneath him. Jordan spent more time pointlessly admonishing Van Gundy and Russell for crossing him with taunts a dozen years ago than he did singling out his three children. When he finally acknowledged his family, Jordan blurted, in part, to them, “I wouldn’t want to be you guys.”

Yahoo continues: No one ever feels sorry for Isiah Thomas, but Jordan tsk-tsked him and George Gervin and Magic Johnson for the 1985 All-Star game “freeze-out.” Jordan was a rookie, and the older stars decided to isolate him. It was a long time ago, and he obliterated them all for six NBA championships and five MVP trophies. Isiah and the Ice Man looked stunned, as intimidated 50 feet from the stage, as they might have been on the basketball court. The cheering and laughter egged Jordan on, but this was no public service for him. Just because he was smiling didn’t mean this speech hadn’t dissolved into a downright vicious volley.

Wolves sign Ramon Sessions

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed guard Ramon Sessions. Minnesota originally signed Sessions, a restricted free agent from the Milwaukee Bucks, to an offer sheet on Friday, Sept. 4. Per team policy, terms of the contract offer were not disclosed. It’s been reported by multiple media outlets that the contract is a four-year deal for $16.4 million.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Ramon to the Timberwolves,” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “Ramon has already demonstrated the ability to play significant minutes at the NBA level, yet is only 23. We believe, like our team, his best days are ahead of him.”

Sessions, a 6-3 guard from Nevada-Reno, had a break-out season in 2008-09, averaging 12.4 points (.445 FG%), 5.7 assists and 27.5 minutes per game in 79 contests (39 starts). His 5.7 assists per game led the Bucks and ranked 18th in the NBA. Sessions scored in double figures 53 times (12 times with 20+ points), dished out 10+ assists on 10 occasions and posted nine double-doubles during the season. Additionally, he finished the year with a 2.97:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, the ninth-best ratio in the NBA. He scored a career-high 44 points, along with 12 assists, against Detroit on Feb. 7.

In 2007-08 as a rookie, Sessions averaged 8.1 points, 7.5 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 17 games. He set a Bucks franchise record with 24 assists against Chicago on April 14, while also tallying 20 points. He became the first Bucks player to notch 20 points and 20 assists in the same game. Selected by Milwaukee in the second round (56th pick) of the 2007 NBA Draft, Sessions has averaged 11.6 points, 6.0 assists, 3.4 rebounds in 27.3 minutes per game in 96 career contests (46 starts).

Knicks sign Gabe Pruitt

New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that free agent guard Gabe Pruitt has been signed to a contract. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. InsideHoops.com assumes it’s a small, non-guaranteed deal.

Pruitt, 6-4, 170-pounds, has career averages of 2.0 points and 7.4 minutes in 62 games over two NBA seasons with the Boston Celtics. The Los Angeles, CA-native was selected by Boston, following his junior season at the University of Southern California, in the second round (32nd overall) of the 2007 NBA Draft. Pruitt averaged 2.1 points in 15 games as a rookie in 2007-08, but was inactive for the Celtics during the playoffs and NBA Finals. He averaged 2.0 points and 7.8 minutes in 47 games last season and appeared in four games for the Celtics in the first two rounds of the 2009 NBA Playoffs.

Clippers re-sign Steve Novak

The Los Angeles Clippers today announced that the team has re-signed restricted free agent forward Steve Novak. Per team policy terms of the deal were not announced.

In 71 games played for the Clippers last season, Novak averaged 6.9 points in 16.4 minutes per game. Completing his third NBA season, the sharpshooter out of Marquette connected on 119-286 three-pointers (.416) on the year.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Novak is a tall dude who can toss in some outside jumpers.

Knicks sign Warren Carter

New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that forward Warren Carter has been signed as a free agent. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. InsideHooops.com assumes that this is a nonguaranteed contract.

Carter, 6-9, 220-pounds, averaged 5.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 13.9 minutes as a member of the Knicks entry in the 2009 NBA Summer League last month. The Dallas, TX-native spent the last two seasons playing overseas in Spain and Turkey following his four-year collegiate career at the University of Illinois.

JR Rider wants NBA comeback

Paul Walsh of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: One of the baddest of bad boys in recent NBA history — former Timberwolf J.R. Rider — is negotiating a return to professional basketball in the United States at age 38. The owner of the first-year North Texas Fresh in the American Basketball Association said this morning that he is “in the process of getting it done” and bringing Rider on board. Owner Jay Bowdy said that Rider has another offer in play from a team overseas, where players can make more money.

The Star Tribune continues:  Rider’s agent, Joe Lee, said this morning that Rider hasn’t played organized ball since a 10-game pit stop with the Denver Nuggets in 2001-02. Still, he’s “been working out hard” and playing pickup ball with local college guys in suburban Phoenix, where Rider now makes his home, Lee said.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Rider has about the same shot at getting signed to an NBA team as I do.

NBA may need replacement refs

Howard Beck of the New York Times reports: Contract talks between the N.B.A. and its referees have collapsed amid acrimony and accusations of bad faith, increasing the odds that the league will hire replacement referees to start the preseason.  Negotiators, including Commissioner David Stern, met Tuesday afternoon at the league’s Midtown Manhattan offices but left without a deal, and with bad feelings all around. Stern charged the referees union with reneging on key points. The union’s lead negotiator, Lamell McMorris, accused Stern of acting unprofessionally and disrespectfully.

More from the Times: League officials, responding to the global recession, want to reduce the referee budget by 10 percent, or $3.2 million, according to the ESPN report. The union has offered to accept a reduction of $2.5 million, leaving a gap of $700,000. A person involved in the talks also cited those figures, although league officials called them inaccurate.

InsideHoops.com editor says: There’s been a lot of criticism against NBA refs over the last few seasons, and the two main reasons why have been: 1) Touch fouls (this may be the way they’re instructed to call things, which needs to be fixed) and 2) Inconsistency as to what is a foul for parts of a game, or some games, and what isn’t. If NBA replacement refs are used, the problem would likely only get worse.  Let’s hope this gets resolved.

The Memphis Grizzlies have withdrawn their qualifying offer to guard Juan Carlos Navarro, making him an unrestricted free agent, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

In his only NBA season (2007-08), Navarro averaged 10.9 points and 2.2 assists in 82 games and was named to the 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 now surrenders the right to match any future offer should Navarro 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.

Dwyane Wade will not sign extension

Dwyane Wade will not sign extension

Michael Wallace of the Miami Herald reports:  Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade said Wednesday he won’t sign a long-term extension with the Heat and will revisit his future with the team as a free agent next summer. Speaking from the Chicago-area church he bought for his mother two years ago, Wade said he and agent Henry Thomas told the Heat it would be best to hold off a decision until after the 2009-10 season.

The Miami Herald continues:  Wade has suggested for months that his plan was to bypass a potential extension that would add three years and about $60 million to the two seasons left on his contract. But his stance Wednesday was clearly the most definitive he has made on the issue of his future with the team that selected him fifth overall in the 2003 NBA Draft.

Michael Redd working on comeback

Michael Redd working on comeback

Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports: Michael Redd is back on the court, and that is good news for the Milwaukee Bucks. The 30-year-old shooting guard is encouraged with his progress six months after undergoing surgery in early March, to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Redd worked out with teammates at the Cousins Center on Wednesday and said he “could see the light.”

The Journal-Sentinel continues: Bucks strength and conditioning coach Jeff Macy has worked with Redd this week and been impressed. “He’s pretty much at an advanced stage of returning to play,” Macy said. “Physically, he’s very strong right now. He’s making the transition from machine-based conditioning. He’s more on his feet now.”

InsideHoops.com editor says: Redd faces an uphill battle in returning to All-Star form. His injuries were major. And with the trade of Richard Jefferson there will be even more pressure on him to step up and lead. The Bucks are rebuilding and have very few offensive weapons. They should struggle in 2009-10.

Share your Bucks opinion on the InsideHoops Milwaukee Bucks forum.

Timberwolves trade Darius Songaila, Bobby Brown to Hornets for Antonio Daniels, pick

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have acquired forward Darius Songaila and guard Bobby Brown from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for guard Antonio Daniels and a 2014 second round pick.

According to the Associated Press, “the move will cut the Hornets’ payroll by $1.3 million this season, but Songaila has two years left on his contract, while Daniels’ contract expires after next season. The Timberwolves take on a little more salary this season, but get out from under Songaila’s player option for next year, which will cost about $4.8 million.”

“This move gives us added depth at the guard position and the power forward position,” said Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower. “Darius brings toughness and experience to bolster our frontcourt. We know Bobby pretty well from when he played on our summer league team and are excited to add his speed and scoring ability.”

Songaila, (6-9, 248), averaged 7.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 77 games (29 starts) for the Washington Wizards last season. The six-year NBA veteran out of Wake Forest University, has career averages of 7.0 points and 3.5 rebounds over 410 games (78 starts) for the Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls and Wizards. Songaila has appeared in 21 career playoff games, averaging 5.6 points and 2.5 rebounds in those contests. The former 50th overall selection in the 2002 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics, Songaila has helped his native country Lithuania to third and fourth place finishes, respectively, in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.

Brown, (6-2, 175), averaged 5.3 points and 1.7 assists in 68 games last season with the Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves. Brown notched a career-high 21 points as a member of the Kings against the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 23, 2008. An undrafted rookie out of Cal State Fullerton in 2007, Brown spent the 2007-08 season playing for Alba Berlin of the German League. He averaged 14.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 0.90 steals in 16 games for Alba Berlin, leading the club to its first league championship since 2003. Brown played for the 2008 Hornets Summer League team, leading the Hornets in scoring (15.2) and assists (6.2) over the course of six games.

“Antonio has the ability to play both guard positions and will provide a veteran presence and added flexibility to our backcourt,” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “This trade also provides increased flexibility for personnel moves beginning next summer.”

Daniels, 34, was originally selected by the Vancouver Grizzlies with the fourth overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft and has appeared in 867 games during his 12-year career, including stops in Vancouver, San Antonio, Portland, Seattle, Washington and New Orleans. The 6-4 guard owns career averages of 7.6 points and 3.4 assists per game. A standout at Bowling Green and the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year in 1997, Daniels has competed in the playoffs in 10 of his 12 NBA seasons.

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

Basketball blog