Archive for October, 2009

The Boston Celtics had a nice off-season, adding Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels and Shelden Williams. But power forward Glen Davis is still one of the team’s most important players, even if his minutes may decrease this season.

Unfortunately, due to an off-court incident, Davis won’t be playing basketball at all for a while.

The Celtics announced today that forward Glen Davis underwent successful surgery to reduce and fix a right thumb fracture.  The surgery was performed by Celtics Team Physician, Dr. Brian McKeon and was assisted by Dr. Hervey Kimball and Dr. Drew Terrono at New England Baptist Hospital.  Davis is expected to miss the next six weeks.

“I would first like to apologize to my fans, teammates, coaches and the entire Celtics organization. I am extremely disappointed that this incident occurred and that it will prevent me from starting the season with the rest of my teammates. My teammates and the entire Celtics organization are extremely important to me and I will do my best to expedite the healing process and be back on the court as soon as possible,” said Davis.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports reports:

Glen Davis out 6-8 weeks after fight with buddy

Boston Celtics forward Glen Davis told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday that he will be sidelined six to eight weeks after breaking his right thumb while trying to protect himself from a friend who slugged him.

Davis said the incident happened early Sunday morning when Davis’ girlfriend, Jenna Gomez, one of her girlfriends and one of his high school friends were returning to his West Boston home after celebrating Gomez’s birthday. Davis said he and his high school friend got into a heated debate over some “personal issues,” and the friend, who was driving their vehicle, threw a punch at Davis. Davis retaliated by throwing a punch back that broke his hand.

Davis underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair the thumb at a Boston suburban hospital.

“I was defending myself,” Davis said in a phone interview with Yahoo! Sports. “I wasn’t just fighting. I feel like I let my team down by breaking my hand. I let my team down trying to defend myself. I have to make better decisions on how I choose my friends.”

Whoever the guy is that fought with Davis, obviously the word “friend” should no longer apply.

Have Celtics opinions? Discuss them on the InsideHoops.com Boston Celtics forum.

Blake Griffin out up to 6 weeks

Blake Griffin out up to 6 weeks

Los Angeles Clippers’ rookie forward Blake Griffin suffered a non-displaced stress fracture of his left patella during the Clippers’ last preseason game vs. the New Orleans Hornets on Friday, October 23rd.

Griffin, who underwent an MRI yesterday which confirmed the diagnosis, was examined by both team physician Dr. Steven Shimoyama as well as specialist Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Based on communication between the two physicians, it has been determined that Griffin will be sidelined for approximately six weeks.

During this time Griffin will receive bone stimulation and PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) treatment.

Griffin originally suffered a bruised left patella during practice on Thursday, September 24th and was eventually cleared to resume full basketball activity.

Griffin, the first overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, averaged 13.7 points, 8.10 rebounds and 28.0 minutes in seven preseason games played.

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

Suns get rights to Jarron Collins

The Phoenix Suns today announced that the club has been awarded the rights to center Jarron Collins.  Collins, who spent the preseason with the Portland Trail Blazers, became available after being waived October 22, 2009.

The 6-11, 249-pound Collins is an eight-year NBA veteran who has spent every career regular season with the Utah Jazz.  The 30-year-old owns career averages of 4.3 points and 3.1 rebounds in 16.9 minutes in 480 games (206 starts).  Collins, who has averaged 8.8 rebounds per 48 minutes over the course of his NBA career, is a durable post player who has appeared in 70 or more games in five of his eight NBA seasons.

Collins was a four-year performer at Stanford where he helped lead the Cardinal to the 1998 Final Four.  He is one of 10 players in Stanford history with 1,000 points and 700 rebounds.

Jarron is the younger twin brother of Hawks center Jason Collins.  He joins teammates Robin Lopez (New Jersey’s Brook) and Taylor Griffin (L.A. Clippers’ Blake) as Suns players with brothers in the NBA.  Phoenix now has a member of three of the NBA’s five active brother pairings.

Cavaliers exercise J.J. Hickson option

The Cleveland Cavaliers have exercised the third-year contract option on forward J.J. Hickson, Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry announced today.

Hickson’s extension keeps him under contract with the Cavaliers through the 2010-11 season.  In 62 games played as a rookie during the 2008-09 season, he averaged 4.0 points on .515 shooting and 2.7 rebounds in 11.4 minutes per game. In six games (one start) during the 2009 preseason, Hickson posted averages of 9.8 points on .522 shooting and 3.5 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game.

“J.J. is a young, talented player who continues to work hard and still has a great deal of upside,” Ferry said. “We are excited to keep him in our program and help him fulfill his potential.”

The 6-foot-9 forward was selected with the 19th overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft by Cleveland. The 21-year old played one season at North Carolina State, earning ACC All-Freshmen Team honors after averaging 14.8 points on a conference-best .591 shooting and 8.5 rebounds in 28.7 minutes per game in 31 games.

Hornets exercise Julian Wright option

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have picked up the option for the 2010-11 season for forward Julian Wright.

Wright (6-8, 225) is in his third season with the Hornets after being drafted in the first round (13th overall pick) of the 2007 NBA Draft. The University of Kansas product averaged 4.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 14.3 minutes last season in 58 games (19 starts). Wright started all seven preseason games this season and averaged 7.7 points and 5.6 rebounds in 24.9 minutes.

Nicolas Batum to have right shoulder surgery

Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum will undergo surgery on his right shoulder to repair a torn labrum, it was announced today by General Manager Kevin Pritchard.

The surgery will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Friday in Los Angeles at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. A timeline for Batum’s return will be determined following surgery.

As a rookie last season, Batum appeared in 79 games (76 starts), averaging 5.4 points (44.6% FT), 2.8 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 18.4 minutes.

Batum ranked eighth in 3-point shooting (36.9%) and 10th in blocked shots (0.51) among rookie leaders a season ago. He scored in double figures on 13 occasions.

A leader on the French National Team that finished fifth in the 2009 European Championships, Batum ranked second on the team with 9.6 points and 4.9 rebounds to go with 1.8 assists, 1.00 block and 28.6 minutes in nine games.

Bulls name captains

How important are a team’s captains? In most cases the title doesn’t mean much. Players who haev leadership qualities tend to rise up and motivate others whether they’re a captain or not.

Bulls.com reports:

Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Lindsey Hunter have been named team captions for the 2009-10 season. The players voted over the weekend and an announcement was made on Monday.

Of the three, Deng is the only projected starter. He was also a captain last season. Hinrich, however, has been elected captain in six of his seven NBA seasons.

In his 17th season as a pro, not much is expected of Hunter from a statistical standpoint, but his contributions to the team are significant, serving as a mentor for Derrick Rose and the team’s other young players.

Star point guard Derrick Rose wasn’t named a captain. He isn’t very vocal so that’s not too surprising. I bet next year he becomes one, though.

Bulls exercise options on Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah

The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has picked up the options for the 2010-11 season for guard Derrick Rose and forward/center Joakim Noah. By exercising the respective player options, both players will be under contract with the Bulls for the 2010-11 season.

Rose, appeared in 81 games (80 starts) last year en route to being selected the 2008-09 T-Mobile NBA Rookie of the Year.  On the season, he averaged 16.8 ppg, a team-high 6.3 apg and 3.9 rpg in 37.0 mpg. The Chicago native shot .475 from the field and .788 from the free throw line.  He finished the 2008-09 campaign in the top three in several categories all-time among Bulls rookies, including total points (third with 1,361), scoring average (third) and assists (third with 512).  Rose was the first selection in NBA Draft 2008.

In two seasons with Chicago, Noah (6-11, 232) has appeared in 154 games (86 starts) and averaged 6.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.2 apg and 1.13 bpg in 22.5 mpg; he has shot .520 from the field and .684 from the line.  The Bulls selected Noah in the first round (ninth overall) in NBA Draft 2007.

Have Bulls opinions? Share them on the InsideHoops Chicago Bulls forum.

Dan Duggan of the Boston Herald reports:

When Ray Allen said he entered training camp in the best shape of his career, it was an attention-grabber.

After all, it’s tough to improve your condition when you have 4.5 percent body fat.

“I’m never out of shape, so I don’t really have to get back in shape,” Allen said. “But even getting quicker ahead of the game so when I came in here it was like I could just start getting stronger now and just focus on the small little things I needed to do to get back into basketball shape.”

Allen credits a more intensive running schedule this offseason for his improved conditioning. The difference between this summer and his first two with the Celtics [team stats] is that his ankles finally are healthy.

Lots of NBA players tend to declare things like this quite often, and whether it turns out to be true or not usually remains to be seen. But as is the case with all older players, Allen has to pace himself so that he’s healthy enough to stay atop his game for the entire post-season.

The Sacramento Kings today exercised the fourth-year option on center Spencer Hawes and third–year options on forwards Jason Thompson and Donté Greene, it was announced by Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie.

Hawes, currently in his third NBA season, was selected by Sacramento in the first round (10th overall) of the 2007 NBA Draft as an undergraduate out of Washington. He has averaged 8.2 points (.464 FGs, .324 3FGs, .660 FTs), 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 0.90 blocks per game in 148 games over his first two seasons.

Thompson was selected by the Kings as a senior out of Rider (12th overall) in the 2008 NBA Draft. He averaged 11.1 points (.497 FGs, .692 FTs), 7.4 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game in 82 games in 2008-09, becoming just the second rookie in the Sacramento-era to play in all 82 contests.

Originally selected by Memphis in the first round (28th overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft as an undergraduate out of Syracuse, Greene joined the Kings after being acquired in a trade with Houston last summer. He averaged 3.8 points (.326 FGs, .260 3FGs, .853 FTs) and 1.6 rebounds per game as a rookie in 2008-09.

Talk Kings basketball on the InsideHoops.com Sacramento Kings forum.

Jody Genessy of the Deseret News reports:

The Mad Dog is coming to Utah.

The really good news about Mark Madsen’s arrival in the Beehive State is that he’s coming to coach basketball, not to give dancing lessons.

Madsen, who became legendary for his funky championship-celebration gyrations after his Los Angeles Lakers won an NBA title earlier this decade, is joining the Utah Flash’s coaching staff this season.

The former NBA player, who most recently was with the Minnesota Timberwolves, announced on his personal Web site late Thursday night that he was invited to be an assistant on head coach Brad Jones’ staff this season. The Flash confirmed the hiring in a Friday morning press release.

“I am very excited about joining the Utah Flash organization,” Madsen said. “Not only for the opportunity to assist head coach Brad Jones and to learn the Utah Jazz system, but also to share my knowledge and experience with the players.”

The Flash are a cool D-League team. Their owner likes to make a bit of noise, in a good way. It’ll be fun to check on them once in a while just to see how Madsen adjusts and learns the new job.

Kings hire Bobby Jackson

Kings hire Bobby Jackson as 'Ambassador' and assistant

Former Sacramento Kings guard Bobby Jackson today announced his retirement from the NBA as a player to pursue a career with the Kings off the court. Jackson will serve as the first-ever Kings Ambassador, as well as assisting President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie in Sacramento’s scouting department.

“It’s a tough day for me because I’m retiring from professionally playing the game I love,” said Jackson. “But it’s also a happy day because I’m retiring on my own terms and I get to work in a city and for an organization and franchise that I’ve grown fond of. I’m eager to help get the community involved in supporting the Kings as well as assist the team in putting a good product on the court.”

As the team Ambassador, Jackson will represent the Kings throughout the Sacramento region, engaging with fans, promoting the team and making frequent appearances in the community to support the organization’s initiatives.

Jackson played six of his 12 NBA seasons with the Kings, averaging 10.6 points (44.0 FG%, 35.6 3pt%, 81.0 FT%), 3.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game in 365 games with Sacramento. Drafted by the Seattle Sonics with the 23rd overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft and then traded to Denver on the night of the Draft, Jackson played for six teams in his NBA career: Denver, (1997-98), Minnesota (1998-99 - 1999-00), Sacramento (2000-01 - 2004-05, 2008-09), Memphis (2005-06), New Orleans (2006-07 -2007-08), and Houston (2007-08). Jackson ranks fifth in three-pointers made (381) and sixth in attempted (1,070) in Kings franchise history. He also ranks 10th in steals (356) in the Sacramento era.

“Bobby has been one of our most beloved players with the Kings,” Petrie said. “And it’s very gratifying to see him retire as a King along with the fact that he’s going to go forward and join the organization is really exciting for all of us. I’m really looking forward to working with him in a different type of environment. I know he’ll bring the same attributes as he did on the court.”

Jackson averaged 9.7 points (41.7 FG%, 35.4 3pt%, 79.3 FT%), 3.1 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game in 755 career games. In eight of his 12 seasons, Jackson played in the NBA Playoffs and averaged 9.2 points (40.5 FG%, 27.0 3pt%, 80.7 FT%), 2.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game in 58 contests.

His best season came in 2002-03 when he earned the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award after averaging a career-best 15.2 points (46.4 FG%, 37.9 3pt%, 84.6 FT%), 3.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game in 59 games. He became just the second point guard in league history to win the award, joining Orlando’s Darrell Armstrong (1999). Jackson tallied a career-best 31 points versus the Clippers on Nov. 29, 2002.

Jackson remains one of the most beloved players in Sacramento-era history for his efforts both on and off the court. He established the Bobby Jackson Foundation in February 2004, a community-based organization created in honor of his mother, Sarah, who passed away in January 2002 after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. Additionally, he serves as the local spokesman for the Sacramento affiliate Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in memory of his mother.

Talk Kings basketball on the InsideHoops.com Sacramento Kings forum.

The NBA and the National Basketball Referees Association announced today that they have entered into a new two-year labor agreement.  The agreement, which will cover the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, ends the lockout of referees that commenced on September 18.

“We are pleased to reach this agreement,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said.  “The negotiations extended further than either side had hoped, but when our regular season tips off on Tuesday we’ll have the best referees in the world officiating our games.  We appreciate the job done by our replacement officials during the preseason.”

Per league policy, terms of the agreement will not be disclosed. InsideHoops.com will edit this page with more info over the weekend.

The NBA referees will begin a three-day training camp this weekend in order to prepare for the start of the regular season on Tuesday.

Rockets waive Brent Barry

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has waived guard Brent Barry.

Barry (6-7, 210, Oregon State) signed as a free agent with the Rockets prior to last season on July 10 and averaged 3.7 points and 1.4 assists in 56 games (one start) played.  The 14-year NBA veteran was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 15th overall selection in the 1995 NBA Draft before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers prior to his rookie season.  Barry played two and a half seasons with the Clippers before being traded to the Miami Heat on Feb. 19, 1998.  His playing career also included stops in Chicago (1998-99), Seattle (1999-2004) and San Antonio (2004-08).  He has averaged 9.3 points, 3.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds over 912 (449 starts) career games played.

The Rockets roster now stands at 15 players: David Andersen, Trevor Ariza, Shane Battier, Aaron Brooks, Chase Budinger, Brian Cook, Joey Dorsey, Chuck Hayes, Carl Landry, Kyle Lowry, Tracy McGrady, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Luis Scola, Jermaine Taylor and Yao Ming.

New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that the team has exercised its fourth-year option on forward Wilson Chandler and its third-year option on forward Danilo Gallinari.

Chandler, 6-8, 225-pounds, has averaged 12.3 points and 4.9 rebounds in 117 games over his first two NBA seasons. The Benton Harbor, MI-native enjoyed a breakout sophomore campaign last season, averaging 14.4 points and 5.4 rebounds while playing in all 82 games and was also selected to play in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge at 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend in Phoenix.

Gallinari, 6-10, 225-pounds, averaged 6.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 28 games as a rookie in 2008-09. The Milan, Italy-native was selected by New York with the sixth overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.

Stephen Curry missing shots early on

The Golden State Warriors have all sorts of issues. A minor one, for now, is that rookie guard Stephen Curry isn’t quite a shooting star just yet.

Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group reports:

Stephen Curry missing shots early on

The rookie No. 1 draft pick entered the game shooting 34.8 percent, including 4-for-21 from 3-point range.

Nelson said Curry is not even making shots in practice.

“I just thought it was a fluke for the first few weeks,” Nelson said.

“He was always a volume shooter,” Nelson said. “We’re having him think more as a point guard. That may be a factor, but I don’t think so. He feels free to take shots, and we encourage him to do it. I don’t really know any reason.

“He was a great shooter in college. … All I’ve been doing is just encouraging him. Keep shooting.”

Nelson has told the Warriors’ strength and conditioning personnel about cutting back Curry’s weightlifting to see if that’s the problem.

Curry said he lifts three days a week “heavy” for an hour straight. At most at Davidson, he said, he lifted “light” twice a week. But he said he doesn’t think weights are the issue.

I see this as no big deal at all. He’s shooting 35 percent now, on a team that’s making all sorts of adjustments. He’ll probably start shooting 40 percent soon, and perhaps higher in the near future. No problem just yet.

Dionte Christmas, a 6-5, 205-pound basketball player released by the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, decided to spend the next day driving badly without a license with a gun under his seat.

The AP reports:

Police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore says Christmas was stopped by Highway Patrol officers at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday for erratic driving in North Philadelphia. Vanore says he was found to be driving without a license, and the vehicle had a 9mm semiautomatic pistol under the driver’s seat.

The report says he’s going to be charged with a felony.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

He was initially stopped for driving erratically, and subsequently found to be driving without a license, Vanore said.

The vehicle had a Hi-Point 9mm semiautomatic pistol under the driver’s seat with seven rounds in it, Vanore said.

Christmas was taken to the 35th Police District to be charged with felony firearms offenses. His passenger was not charged, Vanore said.

Talent-wise, Christmas might be good enough to make an NBA roster but more than likely will head to Europe for an overseas career.

Grizzlies want Mike Conley to step up

Grizzlies want Mike Conley to step up

For most of his short NBA career, Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley has merely been solid.

Entering the league in the 2007-08 season, Conley didn’t shoot particularly well and averaged 9.4 points and 4.2 assists per game.

In his second season the 6-1, 185-pound Conley improved his three-point shooting range and free throw shooting, but the rest of his game didn’t show much improvement.

The time has come for him to make a strong impression on Grizzlies management.

Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports:

Conley has received a strong message. The coaching staff is demanding he be more assertive and in charge of a group that features strong personalities and offensive wills.

Under Hollins, Conley already proved he is a credible NBA point guard. The pressure this season is for Conley to build on his personal gains and prove his position isn’t in need of an upgrade.

“I don’t want to be the weak link,” Conley said. “You want to be a key part of why a team is winning. It forces me to look at the game differently. I’ve got to be a force so that guys can’t sag off me or take me for granted.

“I know people may have given up and lost interest in me, but I use all of that as motivation. The people who doubt me, I try to go out and prove them wrong. I know I can help make this team better. I’m at the point now where I feel like people are going to realize that I belong in this league.”

Conley’s shooting has been good this preaseason. But he must soon prove that he’s capable of being a starter on a winning team.

When a team is 16-1 it is a safe assumption that they’re pretty good. Actually, more like very good, or great. But Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers judges by what his eyes tell him as he watches the team play, not the win-loss column.

Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe reports:

“Last year, I kept making a point when we were 16-1 we were horrible, that we were playing horrible,’’ Rivers said. “People were laughing; I believed that. I thought we were and it proved itself a little bit right after that. So you just watch your team.’’

Chemistry becomes a cliché after a while, but making sure roles are clear and every player is comfortable in theirs is a priority.

“A lot of the jobs for guys are new, even some of the guys that have been here, and it’s going to take them time to understand it completely,’’ Rivers said. “And that’s what we mean by, ‘We’ll be better as the year goes on.’ ’’

This reminds me of when the Houston Rockets went on their incredible 20+ game winning streak a while back. Even though they kept winning game after game, there was nothing particularly impressive about the team other than good chemistry and smart, unselfish play. Yet they kept right on winning.

Trail Blazers sign LaMarcus Aldridge to contract extension

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed forward LaMarcus Aldridge to a five-year contract extension, it was announced today by General Manager Kevin Pritchard. We’ll post details of the contract tonight or tomorrow.

“It’s a blessing and I’m very thankful,” said Aldridge. “I want to thank Paul Allen, Kevin Pritchard, Larry Miller, Nate McMillan and Tom Penn for giving me the opportunity to be in Portland for many years to come. I also want to thank the Portland fans, my friends and family for all of their support. I’m really happy we got this done and now I’m really excited to get the season started.”

Aldridge, 24, holds career averages of 15.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.11 blocks, 32.0 minutes and a 48.7% mark from the floor in 220 games over three seasons with the Trail Blazers. The forward has started all 157 games in which he has played over the past two seasons.

“This is a great day for the Trail Blazers franchise,” said Pritchard. “LaMarcus is the epitome of what we’re about. He’s a hard-working, committed and unselfish young man who plays the right way.”

The Trail Blazers have improved dramatically since Aldridge joined the team in 2006, going from 21 wins the year prior to his arrival in Portland to 54 wins, a share of the Northwest Division title and a trip to the playoffs in 2008-09.

Aldridge posted a career-high 18.1 points (48.4% FG, 78.1% FT) to go with 7.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.95 steals, 0.95 blocks and 37.1 minutes last season. Among NBA leaders, Aldridge ranked 31st in scoring, 28th in rebounding and 31st in blocked shots. The Dallas, Texas, native led the team in scoring 25 times and rebounding 17 times in 2008-09. His 19 double-doubles marked a team high.

The 6-11, 240-pound Aldridge started all six games for Portland in the 2009 NBA Playoffs, where he averaged 19.5 points (49.0% FG), 7.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.67 blocks in 39.5 minutes per game. He netted 20 points or more in three games and led the Trail Blazers in rebounds three times.

Acquired by the Trail Blazers in a draft day trade on June 28, 2006, Aldridge was originally selected by Chicago with the second overall pick out of the University of Texas in the 2006 NBA Draft.

Basketball blog