Archive for October, 2009

Bobby Jackson to retire

Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee reports:

bobby jackson retiring

If Bobby Jackson picks his wardrobe appropriately today, he’ll stand at the Arco Arena podium and formally announce his retirement in a three-piece suit and sneakers.

He’s leaving behind a 12-year playing career and joining the Kings in a varied capacity that often will involve business attire, but the player in him is far from gone just yet.

And if the moment is truly destined to capture the spirit of one of the Kings’ most popular players of all time, it will be the pair of Nikes with the cut-off hi-tops.

He used scissors to create a unique size and spark eye-rolls from the company’s reps last season because, well, they just didn’t get the job done in their original form and he wasn’t about to cater to any corporate types.

Jackson was a good player. Never a star, but always able to help a team’s rotation.

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that the team has exercised the third-year contract option for Marreese Speights and the fourth-year contract options for Jason Smith and Thaddeus Young.

“Thaddeus, Jason and Marreese are three of our young players who have done everything asked of them and continue to show improvement every time they step out on the court,” Stefanski said. “We are excited about the way they have developed to this point and we are looking to forward them continuing their careers with the Sixers.”

Speights (6-10, 245) was the 16th overall pick by the Sixers in the 2008 NBA Draft.  As a rookie last season, he averaged 7.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in just 16.0 minutes per game while shooting 50.2% from the floor.  He would have ranked third among rookies in field goal percentage had he qualified.  This preseason, Speights is second on the team in scoring (13.7 ppg) and first in rebounding (8.4 rpg) despite playing just over 20 minutes per game.

Smith (7-0, 240) was originally selected by Miami with the 20th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, but was acquired in a draft night trade by the Sixers.  He missed all of last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during a workout session in August of 2008.  As a rookie in 2007-08, Smith appeared in 76 games, averaging 4.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game.  This preseason, he is averaging 4.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game.

Young (6-8, 220) was the 12th overall pick by Philadelphia in the 2007 NBA Draft.  He averaged 15.3 points last season, up from 8.2 as a rookie in 2007-08.  That marked the biggest increase in scoring average of any player in the league last season with a minimum of 50 games played.  Over his final 15 games played in 2008-09, Young averaged 21.3 points on 56.3% shooting.  For his career, Young is shooting 51.0% from the floor and has 173 steals to 182 turnovers.

Speights (22 years old), Smith (23) and Young (21) join Jrue Holiday (19) and Lou Williams (turns 23 on Oct. 27th) as the quintet of Sixers who will be 23 years or younger heading into the season opener at Orlando on Oct. 28th.

Milwaukee Bucks General Manager John Hammond announced today that forward Joe Alexander re-aggravated his right hamstring injury during rehabilitation exercises this week.

After consulting with Bucks orthopedic physician Dr. Michael Gordon, M.D., Alexander is expected to be sidelined for a period of 8-to-12 weeks.  Alexander will be re-evaluated on a regular basis and his status will be updated as necessary.

Alexander, 22, originally suffered the injury during voluntary drills prior to the start of training camp on September 17.

In 59 games during his rookie season, Alexander averaged 4.7 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.  In the 2009 NBA Summer League, Alexander tallied 16.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists over the five game schedule in Las Vegas.

All fans of 1980’s NBA basketball will forever love what Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, plus Isiah Thomas and other stars from the decade brought to the world of hoops. But rumors in those days didn’t quite spread the way they do now in the age of InsideHoops.com and the internet.

Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas are old friends, right? Not so fast.

Ian Thompson of Sports Illustrated reports:

When he heard the criticisms from his former friend Magic Johnson in a soon-to-be-released book, Isiah Thomas said he’d had enough. And so he began to fight back.

“I’m really hurt, and I really feel taken advantage of for all these years,” said Thomas, the Hall of Fame point guard and former NBA coach and executive, most recently with the Knicks. “I’m totally blindsided by this. Every time that I’ve seen Magic, he has been friendly with me. Whenever he came to a Knick game, he was standing in the tunnel [to the locker room] with me. He and [Knicks assistant coach] Herb [Williams] and I, we would go out to dinner in New York. I didn’t know he felt this way.”

Get ready. This gets heated. More from SI:

 Much of their story involves Thomas, who as captain of the Detroit Pistons served as a primary threat to the championship ambitions of Bird’s Celtics and Magic’s Lakers. The book offers revelations that have stunned Thomas. Magic addresses years of rumors by finally accusing Thomas of questioning his sexuality after Johnson was diagnosed with HIV in 1991. Magic also admits that he joined with Michael Jordan and other players in blackballing Thomas from the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, saying, “Isiah killed his own chances when it came to the Olympics. Nobody on that team wanted to play with him. … Michael didn’t want to play with him. Scottie [Pippen] wanted no part of him. Bird wasn’t pushing for him. Karl Malone didn’t want him. Who was saying, ‘We need this guy?’ Nobody.”

“I’m glad that he’s finally had the nerve and the courage to stand up and say it was him, as opposed to letting Michael Jordan take the blame for it all these years,” Thomas responded during one of several interviews he gave to SI.com on Wednesday. “I wish he would have had the courage to say this stuff to me face to face, as opposed to writing it in some damn book to sell and he can make money off it.”

And more from SI, on the topic of Magic’s HIV:

“Isiah kept questioning people about it,” Magic says. “I couldn’t believe that. The one guy I thought I could count on had all these doubts. It was like he kicked me in the stomach.”

Thomas vehemently denied that he had gossiped behind Magic’s back, pointing out that he knew better than to engage in such hurtful talk.

“What most people don’t know is, before Magic had HIV, my brother had HIV,” Thomas said. “My brother died of HIV, AIDS, drug abuse. So I knew way more about the disease, because I was living with it in my house.”

“I felt awful for him; I felt awful for everybody,” Thomas said to SI.com. “But I knew enough at that time that he didn’t have to retire. The ‘blood’ thing we do in the NBA — where we stop the game because of blood on somebody’s shirt and all that ceremonious stuff — we’re not stopping HIV/AIDS that way. We still do it out of some insane fear that came about when Karl Malone and everybody was saying they weren’t playing if Magic was playing.”

And what does Larry Bird say in the book? SI:

“Let’s be real. I’m not going to say the things Magic said in private about Larry, but I do know the public stance he’s taken [in becoming Bird’s friend],” Thomas said. I know that’s not how he felt about Larry Bird. Magic hated Larry, and he tried to make other people hate Larry. Magic was no friend of Larry Bird’s during that time. And his Laker teammates will tell you that. And I’m sure they’ve got to be disgusted with the way he’s carried on with this whole me-and-Larry bull.”

I’ll be checking this book out for sure.

Kevin Love has hand surgery

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love underwent successful surgery on Tuesday evening to repair a fracture in his left hand (fourth metacarpal). The procedure was performed by Dr. Andrew Weiland of New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery and involved the insertion of three screws into Love’s hand. The typical recovery time for this type of injury is six to eight weeks.

Love suffered the injury during the third quarter of the Timberwolves’ Oct. 16 preseason game at Chicago. In his four preseason appearances, Love averaged 12.5 points (.471 FG%) and 11.5 rebounds per game.

Adonal Foyle has right knee surgery

Adonal Foyle has right knee surgery

Orlando Magic center Adonal Foyle has undergone arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, General Manager Otis Smith announced today.  His return to action will depend on how he responds to treatment.

Foyle has not played in any of Orlando’s preseason outings.  He appeared in 10 games last season with both the Magic and Memphis, averaging 1.7 ppg. and 2.6 rpg. in 6.2 minpg.  Foyle was traded to Memphis as part of the three-team deal that sent Rafer Alston to Orlando on Feb. 19, later waived by Memphis on Mar. 1, then re-signed by Orlando on Mar. 23.

Originally selected by Golden State in the first round (eighth overall) of the 1997 NBA Draft, Foyle (6’10”, 270, 3/9/75) has appeared in 733 regular season games during his 12-year NBA career with Golden State, Orlando and Memphis, averaging 4.1 ppg., 4.7 rpg. and 1.63 blkpg. in 17.8 minpg.  Foyle is Golden State’s all-time franchise leader in blocked shots with 1,140.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, “Foyle, 34, likely wouldn’t see much playing time with the Magic even when healthy. Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat are ahead of him on the depth chart at center, and Brandon Bass can play the position also if necessary.”

Lawrence Roberts signs in Serbia

Euroleague.net reports: The day before the club’s Euroleague opener, Partizan signed a one-year deal with big man Lawrence Roberts, who returns to Serbia after spending last season at Crvena Zvezda Belgrade. Roberts (27, 206) averaged 12 points and 8.1 rebounds in eight Eurocup games last season. He also posted 9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in the Adriatic League.

The Toronto Raptors have a hot rookie shooting guard in DeMar DeRozan.

Aside from being extremely athletic, DeRozan has both a first and last name with two capital letters. Clearly an added bonus.

But is the kid ready to be a real starter on a team that hopes to make the playoffs? One writer says no.

Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun reports:

Opinion: DeMar DeRozan not ready to start

The starting five, which has four legit pieces, has a major hole at shooting guard, an area rookie DeMar DeRozan has yet to seize.

The kid looks like a keeper, but the kid isn’t ready.

Assuming his right knee holds up, the right move is to start Antoine Wright.

If Wright’s knee regresses and the Raptors are forced into force-feeding DeRozan into the starting unit, then the team is in trouble.

DeRozan needs time and now is not the time to thrust him into a role he is clearly not equipped to handle.

I agree that it’s better to give Wright the bigger role and minutes early on, while giving DeRozan more time to learn the ropes. Ideally, DD will be ready to handle the job a few months into the season.

New York Knicks center Eddy Curry was once considered a good young talent and a solid inside offensive force. Now he’s simply a huge, out-of-shape, financial burden who can’t help the team.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports:

eddy curry

Curry, the team’s out-of-shape center who was banished from practicing with his teammates two weeks ago, must meet a certain weight before he will be allowed to rejoin the Knicks. According to a source close to the team, Garden Chairman James Dolan was involved in the decision to keep Curry away from the Knicks until he improved his conditioning.

Curry does not practice with his teammates or attend preseason games. It is unlikely that he will accompany the Knicks to their Oct. 28 season opener in Miami. Curry suffered a leg injury on the first day of training camp, and the club claimed that he would be out three days.

But Knicks president Donnie Walsh later said that Curry wasn’t fit enough to practice. Walsh said the plan to ban Curry had nothing to do with the center’s weight, which now appears to be a way for the Knicks to protect him.

The Knicks still want to trade Curry and free up more future salary cap space.

The Detroit Shock will relocate to Tulsa, Okla., and will be owned by a group of investors led by Oklahoma businessmen Bill Cameron and David Box, WNBA President Donna Orender announced today.  The sale and move are pending WNBA Board of Governors approval.

Nolan Richardson will become the team’s general manager and head coach.

“We are thrilled to have a team in Tulsa with such a strong championship pedigree, and we look forward to continuing the tradition of success that has been its hallmark,” said Cameron, lead investor and chairman of Tulsa Pro Hoops, LLC.  “We are confident this team will make Tulsa proud, both on the court and in the community.”

Cameron is the chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors of American Fidelity Assurance Co., one of the nation’s largest private, family-owned life and health insurance companies. Box is founder of The Box Talent Agency, the largest talent agency in Oklahoma.

“The WNBA congratulates Bill and David,” said Orender.  “We are confident that with their business acumen, passion for the game and commitment to the community, the team will achieve great things in Tulsa. At the same time, we are grateful to the Davidson family, the Pistons organization and the great fans in Detroit for helping us grow the game of women’s basketball.”

“This decision was one of the toughest we have ever made; it was not reached easily,” said Tom Wilson, President, Palace Sports and Entertainment. “The Shock has been a true force in the WNBA, but the fact of the matter is that the economic realities have caused us to make this decision. We deeply appreciate what the Shock have meant to Detroit and want to publicly thank the players, coaches and the entire organization for their class, commitment and championships. They represented Detroit well and we are delighted that they have found a new and exciting home in Tulsa. We are sure the fans in Tulsa will quickly embrace these dedicated players.”

During the Shock’s tenure in Detroit, the team appeared in four WNBA Finals, capturing three championships (2003, 2006 and 2008).  This past season, the team finished 18-16 and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Richardson, former head coach of the men’s programs at the University of Arkansas and the University of Tulsa, guided both schools to championships.  At Arkansas, he led the Razorbacks to the NCAA title in 1994 and a national runner-up finish the following season.  Prior to that, Richardson took the Tulsa Golden Hurricane to the National Invitation Tournament title in 1981. He won more than 500 games at Tulsa and Arkansas.

In a new multi-year agreement, Amway and the Orlando Magic have entered a partnership in which Amway will be the presenting sponsor of the Orlando Magic’s training camp as well as the season sponsor of the team’s practice jerseys. The Orlando Magic and Amway represent one of the first partnerships of this kind in the NBA, as this is the first season in which teams were granted clearance to have a sponsorship presence on their practice jerseys.

Amway was founded in 1959 by Magic owner Rich DeVos and his best friend, Jay Van Andel.  Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Amway is one of the world’s leading direct selling companies and now operates in more than 80 countries and territories around the world.

Earlier this year it was announced that the Orlando Magic and Amway would continue to build their partnership through the naming rights agreement of the new Amway Center. Amway Center will open in the fall of 2010 and compete to host major national events, concerts and family shows, while serving as the home to the Orlando Magic.

“The Orlando Magic is excited to further extend our partnership with Amway,” said Orlando Magic Chief Operating Officer Alex Martins. “There is certainly great pride in this unique partnership and Amway’s international business aligns perfectly with the worldwide popularity of the Magic, the NBA and its athletes. We are proud to have the Amway name on our practice jerseys as we work toward our goal of winning a championship.”

“This unique opportunity builds pride in the Amway business around the world,” said Amway Chief Marketing Officer Candace Matthews. “We’re looking forward to extending our partnership with the Orlando Magic. Both Amway and the Magic have fans around the world, and in both organizations, we are committed to the hard work it takes to succeed.”

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has acquired 6-10 forward Nathan Jawai and cash considerations from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for a conditional second-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. The pick is protected through the 55th draft position.

“Nathan is a young project who likely will add depth to our roster at his position,” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operation. “We were contemplating this trade prior to Kevin Love’s hand injury, so this move is not intended to replace Kevin in the short term by any means. That would not be fair to Nathan. Rather, this move provided us an opportunity to work with a young player with size, and later determine if he could be a fit for us.”

Jawai, a native of Sydney, Australia, was selected by the Indiana Pacers with the 41st overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft, and was subsequently traded to Toronto as part of the deal that sent Jermaine O’Neal to the Raptors. Jawai appeared in six games during his rookie season, playing a total of 19 minutes. He also appeared in 14 games for the Idaho Stampede of the NBA D-League, averaging 11.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while shooting 52.6 percent from the field.

Prior to entering the NBA Draft, Jawai played one season in the Australian National Basketball League (NBL), where he averaged 17.3 points and 9.4 rebounds per game for the Cairns Taipans. Jawai was the 2007-08 NBL Rookie of the Year, the 2007 NBL All-Star Game MVP and earned All-NBL Second Team honors.

Power forward Craig Smith, a new member of the Los Angeles Clippers, has been making a strong impression on his new teammates. That being, stay away from him or bad things may happen to you.

Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Craig Smith good at injuring his Clippers teammates

Rhino’s wreckage has taken out two teammates. First, it was rookie power forward Blake Griffin’s knee (four days before training camp), and on Friday, Marcus Camby, though that was more of a fluke when Camby rolled over on his left ankle and sprained it close to the end of practice.

Camby was clearly in pain and sat on the floor for several minutes before he was able to hobble back to the training room. He is doubtful with the Clippers facing three exhibition games in the next four days, starting today against Utah at Staples Center.

Earlier in the week, the 6-foot-7, 250-pound Smith seemed genuinely mystified about how Griffin got hurt in the first place in their informal scrimmage before training camp.

The bone bruise kept Griffin out until the second game of the exhibition season.

Hopefully Smith has not hurt any of his fellow Clippers during the time it took me to post this entry.

The Golden State Warriors have lots of talented small and medium-sized players, and not a lot of good big dudes. Which is why they tend to play small-ball. But coach Don Nelson tends to take that concept to a whole other level.

Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle reports:

The Warriors were already planning on playing small for stretches, but no one saw this coming. Nelson said this week that 6-foot-3, 202-pound Acie Law would get the majority of his minutes at small forward.

“He’s a natural there. He’s just small,” Nelson said. “But I think that’s about the only spot I have unless there’s an injury or something.”

Law is one of five point guards under contract with the Warriors.

A 6-foot-3, 202-pound player at small forward? I am 6-3 and around 205 pounds, which means in Don Nelson’s system I might be a slightly undersized power forward and play alongside “center” Corey Maggette.

Kevin Love out six weeks with broken left hand

The AP reports: Minnesota forward Kevin Love fractured a bone in his left hand during the Timberwolves’ 94-90 preseason loss to the Chicago Bulls on Friday night and will likely miss about six weeks.

InsideHoops.com editor says: The report says Love’s hand hit Oleksiy Pecherov’s elbow, causing the injury. This obviously hurts the Timberwolves, who rely on Love as one of their key young building blocks. It puts even more pressure on Al Jefferson, who already receives huge attention from defenders.

The Portland Trail Blazers exercised their fourth-year option on center Greg Oden and third-year options on the contracts of guard/forward Rudy Fernandez, forward Nicolas Batum and guard Jerryd Bayless.

The moves, announced today by General Manager Kevin Pritchard, keep all four players under contract through the 2010-11 season.

Portland selected Oden with the No. 1 overall pick and acquired Fernandez via trade in the 2007 NBA Draft.

The Trail Blazers acquired Batum and Bayless in 2008 draft day trades.

NBA fines Stan Van Gundy for public criticism of replacement refs

Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy has been fined $35,000 for publicly criticizing game officials, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

Van Gundy was fined for comments he made that appeared on Thursday, October 15.

The Orlando Magic have also been fined $35,000 for Van Gundy’s actions.

Reggie Evans sprains left foot

Raptors forward Reggie Evans sustained a left mid-foot sprain during the second quarter of Wednesday’s game against Boston in Hartford, Connecticut. No timetable has been set for his return to game action, although it is likely that he misses the remainder of the preseason.

Evans has averaged 7.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 16.8 minutes in five preseason games. He had a high of 11 points October 9 at Minnesota and nine rebounds October 7 versus Philadelphia.

LeBron James has the flu

The AP reports: LeBron James didn’t get any sympathy from his teammates when he came back to work after spending two days sick in bed. They ran the other way. “You come back around and everyone is like, ‘Ugh, you got the cooties,’” James said Thursday. “They don’t want to be around you.” James and two Cleveland teammates have tested positive for Influenza A, and are being treated as if they have the H1N1 virus by the Cavaliers, who are being proactive in dealing with a flu bug that already has sickened six players.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Maybe LeBron is faking it because he was afraid of having to see DeShawn Stevenson’s crazy tattoos.

Flip Murray out for rest of preseason

The Charlotte Bobcats announced today that guard Ronald “Flip” Murray will miss the remainder of the team’s preseason games due to a left shin injury. Murray missed Monday’s preseason game at Atlanta with inflammation in that area. He was evaluated on Tuesday by team physician Dr. Glenn Perry, who concluded that Murray shows early signs of a stress reaction.

No timetable has been set for his return and the team will continue to monitor and limit his activity until the injury improves. During his senior season at Shaw University (2000), Murray suffered a stress fracture and had a steel rod placed in the tibia bone.

The Bobcats will travel to Los Angeles this weekend to take on the Lakers on Saturday, Oct. 17, and either the Clippers or Utah Jazz on Sunday, Oct. 18, at Staples Center.

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