Archive for September 10th, 2009

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The Memphis Grizzlies have withdrawn their qualifying offer to guard Juan Carlos Navarro, making him an unrestricted free agent, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball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

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