Archive for October 29th, 2009

Bobcats exercise Alexis Ajinca option

Charlotte Bobcats General Manager Rod Higgins announced today that the team has exercised its option on Alexis Ajinca for the 2010-11 season.

The 20th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Ajinca appeared in 31 games as a rookie last season with averages of 2.3 points and 1.0 rebounds in 5.9 minutes.  He was assigned to the D-League Sioux Falls Skyforce from March 9 – April 12 and averaged 11.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 22.7 minutes. An early-entry candidate in the 2008 draft, Ajinca spent the previous two seasons playing professionally in his native France.

Michael Lee of the Washington Post reports:

Reserve point guard Javaris Crittenton revealed after practice today that he had exploratory surgery last Friday on his left foot and will be out at least another month.

It was tough not to notice Crittenton, who was using crutches to walk down a hallway outside the Verizon Center practice court, his left foot carefully bandaged.

So far in his short NBA career Crittenton hasn’t made a real impression yet. He will need to make some noise in the near future if he wants to stick around in the league.

The Memphis Grizzlies today exercised the fourth-year team option on guard Mike Conley and picked up the third-year team options on guard O.J. Mayo and forward Darrell Arthur.  Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed. All three players are now signed through the 2010-11 season.

Conley, the fourth overall selection in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Grizzlies, owns career averages of 10.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 28.8 minutes in 136 games (108 starts). The third-year 6-1, 185-pound playmaker showed vast improvement last season, averaging 14.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists on 45.4 percent shooting in 36.3 minutes in 39 games after Lionel Hollins was named the team’s head coach on Jan. 25, 2009.

Mayo, the third overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, was the runner-up to the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose for the 2008-09 NBA Rookie of the Year Award after leading all first-year players in scoring (18.5 points, 28th in NBA) and minutes (38.0, 11th). The 6-4, 210-pound guard, who was acquired by the Grizzlies in an eight-player deal on draft night, owns career averages of 18.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 38.0 minutes in 83 games (all starts).

Arthur, who was originally selected by the New Orleans Hornets with the 27th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, was traded three times on draft night before he eventually landed in Memphis. In his first NBA season with the Grizzlies in 2008-09, Arthur ranked in the top 10 among NBA rookies in rebounds (4.6, 8th), blocks (0.68, 7th) and steals (0.68, 10th) and added 5.6 points in 76 games (64 starts). The 6-9, 235-pound forward is slated to miss up to four months after undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn right pectoralis muscle on Oct. 23.

Raptors exercise Marco Belinelli option

Raptors exercise Marco Belinelli option

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have exercised the fourth year team option on the Rookie Scale Contract of guard Marco Belinelli. Belinelli is now guaranteed through the 2010-11season. In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, the Raptors had until October 31 to exercise their option on Belinelli. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal was not disclosed.

Belinelli had 10 points in 19 minutes in Wednesday’s season-opening win versus Cleveland.

The 18th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Belinelli averaged 8.9 points, 2.1 assists, 1.7 rebounds and 21.0 minutes in 42 games last season with Golden State. He registered four 20-point games during the 2008-09 campaign, including a career-high 27 points December 12, 2008 at Atlanta.

Through 76 career games Belinelli owns a .397 mark from three-point range (69-for-174).  As a rookie he appeared in 33 games, averaging 2.9 points in 7.3 minutes.

Prior to joining the Warriors, the 23 year-old, 6-foot-5 guard from Bologna, Italy, played professionally in Italy for five seasons. In 33 games during the 2006-07 season with Fortitudo Bologna in Serie A, Belinelli averaged 16.4 points, while shooting .544 (99-for-182) from the field. In 13 Euroleague contests, he averaged 12.9 points on .438 (32-for-73) from the field.

Nets exercise three player options; decline Sean Williams option

The New Jersey Nets have exercised third year contract options on Courtney Lee and Brook Lopez, and a fourth year contract option on Yi Jianlian, while declining to pick up the fourth year contract option on Sean Williams, Nets President Rod Thorn announced today.  Lee, Lopez and Yi are now signed through the 2010-11 season.  Per team policy, terms of the contracts were not released.

Lee was selected by the Orlando Magic with the 22nd pick in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft.  He was traded to New Jersey on June 25, 2009 along with Rafer Alston and Tony Battie for Ryan Anderson and Vince Carter.  The Western Kentucky product appeared in 77 games for Orlando last season, earning 42 starts.  He averaged 8.4 points while shooting .450 (243-540) from the field and .404 (82-203) from downtown, 2.3 rebounds and 1.0 steal in 25.2 minutes per game.

Lopez was selected by the Nets in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft with the 10th overall pick.  He was the only Net to appear in all 82 games, earning 75 starts from 11/14 vs. ATL through 4/15 at NYK.  Lopez averaged 13.0 points (6th among rookies), 8.1 rebounds (2nd among rookies) and 1.84 blocks (9th in NBA, 1st among rookies) in 30.5 minutes per contest (7th among rookies).  He shot .531 (448-844) from the field (1st among rookies) and .793 (172-217) from the line (5th among rookies) while being selected to NBA All-Rookie First Team.  He finished third in NBA Rookie of the Year voting (Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo) and set the Nets all-time rookie blocks record with 151.  He recorded 55 games scoring in double figures, 13 games scoring 20+ points, one game scoring 30+ points, 23 games with 10+ rebounds and a Nets rookie center record 18 double-doubles.  The Stanford product led the Nets in scoring nine times, in rebounds 48 times and in blocks 57 times.

Yi was selected with the sixth pick in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft by Milwaukee.  He was traded to New Jersey, along with Bobby Simmons, for Richard Jefferson on June 26, 2008.  During the 2008-09 campaign, Yi appeared in 61 games, earning 52 starts.  He averaged 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 23.3 minutes per contest.  He shot .382 (191-500) from the field, .772 (95-123) from the line and .343 (48-140) from downtown.  The 7-foot forward recorded 23 games scoring in double figures, four games scoring 20+ points, four games with 10+ rebounds and three double-doubles.  He led the Nets in scoring three times, in rebounds 10 times, and in blocks nine times.  Yi missed 16 games with a broken fifth finger, right hand (1/12-2/10) which he suffered on 1/9/09 at Milwaukee.  Yi is a member of the Chinese National Team and competed in 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the 2004 games in Athens.

Sean Williams was selected 17th overall in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft by New Jersey.  He appeared in 106 games over two seasons, averaging 4.6 points and 3.8 rebounds in 15.5 minutes per contest.

Eddie House featured in cartoon

Boston Celtics guard Eddie House and his son, Jaelen, will be featured in the short-form series from the Cartoon Network My Dad’s a Pro. The series is the first initiative in a multifaceted partnership between Cartoon Network and the NBA.

My Dad’s A Pro premieres Wednesday, November 4 at 7:55 p.m. ET/PT. Each of the 10 four-minute episodes features a day in the life of Jaelen House, 9-year-old son to 2008 NBA Champion Boston Celtics guard Eddie House. Each week, viewers get a glimpse of what Jaelen’s not-so-everyday life is like as the son of one of the key players on one of the most storied NBA franchises. Whether he’s courtside at a crucial playoff game or at home celebrating his dad’s record-breaking game, Jaelen provides a never-before seen point-of-view.

House and his wife Charlsie have three sons: Jaelen and twins, Kaden and Kalek. Jaelen, House’s biggest and most enthusiastic fan, can be seen sitting courtside at most Celtics home games cheering his dad on.

Atlanta Dream of WNBA have new owners

Kathy Betty, a prominent Atlanta businesswoman and sports advocate, will become the new managing partner of the Atlanta Dream pending WNBA Board of Governors approval, league President Donna Orender announced today.  The team will be owned by Dream Too, LLC, an investment group led by Betty.

“I am confident Kathy’s passion for the game and the Atlanta community, as well as her vision for the Dream, will ensure that the team continues to build on its strong start,” said Orender. “Atlanta has been a great market, and Lisa Borders has been a constant ambassador. We look forward to building upon the success the team enjoyed both on and off the court this past season. At the same time, on behalf of the league, I want to extend our thanks to Ron Terwilliger for helping bring the WNBA to Atlanta in 2007.”

In addition to serving as the CEO of the Garry Betty Foundation, established by her late husband Garry Betty, former Earthlink CEO, to fund cancer research, Betty is a former partner with Ernst & Young and previously served as the Executive Vice President of Scott Madden, Inc., an Atlanta-based management consulting firm. Betty has compiled a lengthy track record of business success and community involvement. She also is a major contributor to Georgia Tech’s men’s and women’s basketball programs.

“The opportunity to own the Dream, which is all about providing accessible and affordable world-class entertainment for the families of Atlanta, is what excites me,” said Betty. “In addition, the fact that these women serve as role models for youth, and especially young girls, is something I feel strongly about.

“I want to personally thank Lisa Borders for her diligent work in saving the Dream.  The Dream belongs in Atlanta. Lisa understands that and so do I. In the midst of a tough political campaign, she carved out time to bring sponsorships to the table and find investors who will make the Dream a continued reality for the staff, players and, of course, our fans.”

In 2009, the Dream recorded the second-largest one-year turnaround in WNBA history, finishing with an 18-16 record after going 4-30 in its inaugural campaign in 2008 to earn the second seed in the Eastern Conference and their first-ever WNBA Playoff berth.  Forward Angel McCoughtry, the top pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft quickly emerged as a star and earned adidas Rookie of the Year honors, while Marynell Meadors was named WNBA Coach of the Year this past season.

Have WNBA opinions? Discuss them on the InsideHoops.com WNBA forum.

Shaq still pursuing law-enforcement work

Mark Puente of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports (via blog):

sherrif shaq

Predators lurking for local children on the Internet could soon be talking to a 7-foot-1 undercover deputy.

The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy is reviewing paperwork to determine whether Cavaliers center Shaquille O’Neal is eligible to carry a gun and a sheriff’s five-point badge.

Cuyahoga County Sheriff Bob Reid last week notified the state agency, which determines officers’ eligibility, that he intends to deputize O’Neal if approved by the state, according to records obtained by The Plain Dealer. O’Neal held law-enforcement commissions in Arizona, Virginia and Florida. Reid declined to comment until the process is complete.

If O’Neal is approved, he would need to complete 36 hours of police training within six months and take the Ohio police examination to maintain the appointment, said Holly Hollingsworth, spokeswoman for the Attorney General. He would also have to pass a test on a shooting range.

This is one of the few things Shaq appears to take pretty seriously. He’s pursued it for a long time. But I still doubt he does it full-time after his NBA basketball career wraps up in a few years. Helping the law will probably be a side-hobby for the big fella.

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