Archive for September 1st, 2009

Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports: Amaré Stoudemire’s competitive basketball play was back Tuesday and so was his eyewear. Going against a defender for the first time since a 42-point game on Feb. 18, Stoudemire played four-on-four, half-court games at US Airways Center with teammates also participating in voluntary workouts. “Sometimes, I felt like it was going faster than I expected, as far as competition,” Stoudemire said. “Other than that, I felt great. To finally be back out there with the guys and running sprints with them, I got my family back. It’s almost like you ran away from home for a while. Now, you’re back home and you feel how great it is to be around your family.”

Discuss Suns basketball in the InsideHoops Phoenix Suns forum.

Ed Pinckney joins 76ers broadcast team

Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, the leader in local sports coverage, today announced that Ed Pinckney has joined the 76ers broadcast team as color analyst.  Pinckney will work alongside Marc Zumoff for all 76ers broadcasts on Comcast SportsNet and The Comcast Network.

“We are thrilled to welcome Ed back home and to have someone with his credentials join Marc Zumoff, providing Sixers fans with one of the best broadcast teams in the NBA,” said Comcast SportsNet Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian Monihan. “Ed’s experience in the NBA, combined with his broadcasting experience and background as a player and coach at Villanova, will provide the insightful analysis and unique perspective that Sixers’ fans have come to expect from our talented crew.”

“I am extremely excited to be back in Philadelphia and to be a part of the Comcast SportsNet family,” said Pinckney. “I am honored to work alongside Marc Zumoff, and to share the passion and excitement that we both have for the Sixers with the fans of Philadelphia.”

“We are excited that Ed Pinckney will be returning to Philadelphia to join Marc Zumoff on our Sixers telecasts in order to provide fans with one of the most experienced, knowledgeable and talented broadcasting tandems in the NBA,” said Sixers Senior Vice President of Business Operations Lara Price.  “It seems only fitting that the city in which he won a National Championship while at Villanova University now welcomes him back as a member of Comcast SportsNet and the Sixers family.”

While playing for Villanova, Pinckney led the Wildcats to the 1985 National Championship with a 66-64 upset of the heavily favored Georgetown Hoyas.

Pinckney played 12 years in the NBA, including one as a Sixer during the 1995-96 season. Following his retirement from the NBA in 1997, he joined the Miami Heat’s radio and television broadcasting team. He then spent four seasons at his alma mater as an assistant coach and most recently served as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Pinckney also served as a Sixers Postgame Live analyst for two seasons.

Pinckney will join Zumoff for all Sixers broadcasts. Zumoff enters his 16th season as the Sixers television play-by-play announcer and his 28th as a part of the 76ers broadcast team.

Discuss the team on the InsideHoops Philadelphia 76ers forum.

Ricky Rubio stays in Spain two more years

The following statements are from Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn and Ricky Rubio regarding Rubio’s decision to continue playing professionally in Spain.

David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations:

“On Saturday night, an agreement was reached between Dan Fegan, the agent for Ricky Rubio, Jordi Villacampa, the president of Joventut Badalona, and myself on behalf of the Minnesota Timberwolves to buy out the last two years of Ricky’s contract with Joventut so that he could play in the NBA next season.

While the term sheet was being finalized Monday night, Ricky informed me that, despite considering us his first option the previous weekend - and, admittedly, after some back and forth throughout the summer - he preferred to stay at home to play for FC Barcelona, which earlier this summer had made a buyout offer to Joventut. He also reaffirmed that it was his intention to join us in Minnesota two years from now when he will be 20.

This morning I met with Ricky and his parents and told them that I understood Ricky’s decision.  It was clear to me yesterday and in this morning’s meeting that the pressure surrounding Ricky and his family to remain in Spain for at least two more years had only intensified as the summer wore on and was weighing heavily on them.

The NBA is the best basketball league in the world, by far. As an 18-year-old man, Ricky would have been challenged on a nightly basis to a degree he has never experienced. In order for Ricky to meet this challenge fully, I believe it is important that his family and other people important to him were comfortable with the move to the NBA and fully supportive.

I also agreed with Ricky’s position that two more years of competition in Spain and the Euroleague will only aid his development and that he will be much more ready for the NBA when he joins us.

On the night of the draft, I explained that the decision to draft Ricky was not difficult - that he was 18, the youngest player in the draft, and we were a building team that could wait for him.  Nothing has changed. When we received signals from Ricky this summer that he was considering accelerating his path to the NBA and joining us sooner, we threw ourselves into this process willingly and energetically, including meeting with Joventut on four separate occasions.

I explained to Ricky this morning that, starting today, I would now focus all my attention on the coming season for the Timberwolves and our current roster. We have begun the process to build a championship-contending team and this coming season will be an exciting one. I wished Ricky well and told him that, while I could not predict the future, I expected to see him in Minnesota soon.

I want to thank everybody who worked so hard on this process this summer, including Jonathan Blue and Dan Fegan of BEST and everybody associated with the Timberwolves family.”

Ricky Rubio Speaks

Ricky Rubio said the following: “The reason leading me to take this next step is to have a period of preparation to better take the challenge of the NBA in better conditions as a player. The Minnesota Timberwolves continue to be my first option and I wish to play with them in the near future.”

InsideHoops Editor Weighs In

This isn’t necessarily bad for the Wolves in the long run. Had Rubio come, he and Jonny Flynn would likely have competed with each other for minutes. Now, they’ll each continue to develop with a bit less obstruction. Though, this makes it harder for the rebuilding process to succeed since the team won’t be able to judge how Rubio fits in with star Al Jefferson and their other potentially key young guy, Kevin Love.

I still think that had Rubio come to the NBA this year the Wolves would have wound up trading him or Flynn in the not-so-distant future. In fact, I’ve heard unconfirmed rumblings that was the plan all along.

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

China’s national basketball team took a chance on an extremely young coach, but things got ugly in a hurry. Reuters reports:

Less than four months after becoming China’s youngest national basketball team coach, Guo Shiqiang looks like being one of the shortest-lived occupants of the post as well after a series of disappointing results.

Chinese media have been near unanimous in calling for the head of the 34-year-old former team mate of Yao Ming after defeats to Australia and Turkey followed last month’s embarrassing loss to Iran in the Asian championship final.

Liaoning Daily suggested it was “Time for restructuring” while the Shenzhen News announced the start of the “Countdown to Guo’s dismissal.”

Reuters also quotes other Chinese media outlets as calling for the guy’s dismissal. It sounds like every single person to ever live in China wanted him gone.

Discuss world hoops in the InsideHoops international basketball forum.

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