Archive for November, 2009

Former Kings employee bet on NBA games

Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reports:

A former Kings employee has been barred from working in the NBA after an investigation showed he gambled while employed by the team.

The Kings in January fired Jack Mai, who was in his third season as the team’s assistant director of scouting. His dismissal was not related to gambling.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Kings said they had been informed that Mai participated in “improper wagering activities” while working for the team. The Kings added that they cooperated with the league’s investigation.

The NBA is naturally focused on stamping out any form of gambling/betting that is against their rules after the Tim Donaghy scandal. They should be commended for this, continuing to monitor and look into it, and outing anyone, including this former Kings employee, who did anything wrong.

Have an opinion? Share your reaction in this forum topic.

The AP reports:

Gerald Wallace broke out of his shooting slump with 31 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, helping the Charlotte Bobcats to the most lopsided victory in team history, 116-81 over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.

Stephen Jackson added 23 points for Charlotte, which held the listless Raptors to 35 percent shooting. The sixth-year Bobcats’ previous biggest win was a 32-point rout of Indiana on Nov. 16, 2005.

While Wallace entered as the NBA’s third-leading rebounder, he was shooting 38 percent from the field and averaging only 13.7 points. But he took advantage of one of the NBA’s worst defenses by beating numerous defenders off the dribble.

The Raptors shot just 34.5 percent from the field in this game and hit just 4 of their 19 three-point attempts.

Toronto point guard Jose Calderon dished 8 assists, but the four other Raptors started combine for just three.

Hedo Turkoglu, the big Raptors off-season addition, brought nothing. In 22 minutes  he shot just 2-of-7 for five points, two assists and almost nothing else.

The lone bright spot for Toronto off the bench today was Amir Johnson, who shot 6-of-9.

Thunder waive Ryan Bowen

Oklahoma City Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today that the team has waived forward Ryan Bowen.

Bowen appeared in one game for the Thunder scoring four points to go along with two rebounds and one steal in eight minutes of action against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 22nd.

The Thunder roster now stands at 14.

Have a reaction? Share your opinion in this forum topic.

Late bus delays Knicks in L.A.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports:

The Knicks couldn’t beat the L.A. traffic or the world champion Lakers last night at Staples Center.

The night started with a bad omen when half the team — and coach Mike D’Antoni — showed up to Staples Center just 45 minutes before tip-off, nearly an hour late.

The team bus got caught in a massive traffic jam on the L.A. freeways and then the Lakers jammed them 100-90. Even worse, center Eddy Curry, after an ineffective first half, sat out the second half with a sore knee – an ailment that plagued him all last season. The Knicks, who play in Sacramento tonight, dropped to 3-11. Curry may not be available.

Kobe Bryant shot 14-of-20 against the Knicks, finishing with 34 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists (but 4 turnovers) and 3 steals. Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest each scored 17 (though Artest had 6 turnovers), and Pau Gasol added 11 points with 16 rebounds.

Lots of Knicks players struggled, including Wilson Chandler (5-of-20, 15 points), Chris Duhon (2-of-9) and Al Harrington (2-of-7).

Share your opinion on the InsideHoops New York Knicks forum.

Wizards owner Abe Pollin dies

The following statement was released Tuesday afternoon by the Washington Wizards:

Washington Sports & Entertainment Chairman Abe Pollin passed away earlier today. Further details will be released through Washington Sports & Entertainment as they become available. The Pollin family asks that their privacy be respected in this difficult time.

Philly Burbs reports: Pollin was known as a driving force in the revitalization of downtown Washington, particularly in the Chinatown area where the Wizards play, as well as a loyal man and passionate owner who desperately wanted to bring another championship to a franchise that last celebrated a title in 1977-78, when Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes were the team’s stars.

The Washington Post reports: Decades ago, Abe Pollin showed up at Wes Unseld’s wedding. Years later, he showed up at Unseld’s father’s funeral. Fill in the blanks for all the moments in between, “too many to even mention,” said Unseld, a man who worked for Pollin as a player and a coach and an executive. More than 30 years ago, Pollin met young lawyers who were just showing up in a business in which he had already toiled for years. “He couldn’t have been nicer to me, a kid lawyer,” said Gary Bettman, now the commissioner of the NHL. “Just extraordinarily kind, when he didn’t need to be,” said Stan Kasten, now the president of the Washington Nationals.

Share your thoughts on the InsideHoops Washington Wizards forum.

Thunder recall Kyle Weaver from D-League

Oklahoma City Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today that the team has recalled guard Kyle Weaver from the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League.

Weaver was originally assigned to Tulsa on November 21.  He has joined the team in Salt Lake City and is expected to be in uniform tonight when the Thunder take on the Jazz.

Bruce Ratner, CEO and Chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies, issued the following statement today regarding the NYS Court of Appeals ruling in favor of the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.

The Court’s ruling upholds the State’s right to use eminent domain given the public benefits associated with the Atlantic Yards Development in Brooklyn.

“Once again the courts have made it clear that this project represents a significant public benefit for the people of Brooklyn and the entire City,” Mr. Ratner said. “Our commitment to the entire project is as strong today as when we started six years ago. Today, however, this project is even more important given the need for jobs and economic development.”

Mr. Ratner said construction activity on the yards will continue, with the intent that the Nets will play ball in the Barclays Center in the 2011-2012 NBA Season.

In addition to Barclays, which has the exclusive naming rights, eight companies have signed on as founding partners for the arena.

The courts have ruled consistently in favor of the development. Mr. Ratner explained as well that the arena and larger development are expected to create 16,924 union construction jobs and over 8,000 permanent jobs. The tax revenues that will be generated for the City and State during the construction period are expected to exceed $240 million and after construction reach approximately $70 million a year.

Michael Redd returns tonight

Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

michael redd

Michael Redd is ready to return in Monday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.

Redd fared well in his first contact practice with some 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 work at Trinity University on Sunday, and he worked out again in the Bucks’ shootaround Monday morning at the AT&T Center.

Bucks coach Scott Skiles said he will bring Redd off the bench against San Antonio after the shooting guard missed nine games with a left patella tendon strain.

“He got through it well,” Skiles said of the contact work on Sunday. “We’ll bring him off the bench tonight and probably not play a lot of minutes or anything. Just get his feet back under him in a game and see how it goes.”

The Bucks have had great chemistry without Redd. Is it possible that his return will actually throw things off? It’s always hard to suggest such things about good players, but keep an eye on it.

Andrew Bynum putting up big stats

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Andrew Bynum putting up big stats

Bynum had 25 points on nine-for-11 shooting in the Lakers’ 101-85 victory Sunday over the Oklahoma City Thunder. He also had nine rebounds and made all seven of his free throws in almost 29 minutes.

Toronto forward-center Chris Bosh is the only player in the league averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds a game, though Bynum is close to being there too.

He is now averaging 19.9 points and 11.2 rebounds.

Are the All-Star voters paying attention?

“I hope to make it,” Bynum said. “That’s really a goal I had coming into this season. I think I’m playing at the level I need to be playing. All I can do is get votes now. I’ve got to keep it up.”

I still consider Bynum more of a product of a great team system (and great teammates) than a go-to center, but he’s winning me over regularly lately.

Share Lakers opinions on the InsideHoops Los Angeles Lakers forum.

An overtime thriller in Madison Square Garden ended on a Kevin Garnett game-winning, buzzer-beating jumper from the top of the key as the Boston Celtics beat the Knicks 107-105 in overtime Sunday in New York.

The packed Garden crowd, loaded with a celebrity roster including Will Ferrell, Brooke Shields, Mark Wahlberg, Rosie Perez and Spike Lee, was treated to the most thrilling Knicks game so far this short season.

“He’s that type of player,” said Celtics forward Paul Pierce about Garnett, who shot badly all game until it counted most. “You’re talking about a Hall of Fame player.”

paul pierce

Boston had six players score double-digits. Their star today was Pierce, who delivered 33 points (9-of-17, 6-of-7 three-pointers), nine rebounds and six assists.

Also for Boston, center Kendrick Perkins shot 6-of-7 for 16 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks. Point guard Rajon Rondo was one rebound  short of a triple-double: 14 points (just 5-of-13), 9 rebounds, 10 assists and 4 steals.

Struggling today for the winners were Ray Allen (just 3-of-13 for 13 points) and Garnett (just 4-of-15 for 10 points).

Off the bench, Rasheed Wallace had more technical fouls (1) than points (0, on 0-of-6 shooting), though his defense was solid and he finished with four steals.

The Knicks were led in scoring for the third consecutive game by Al Harrington, who came off the bench to contribute 30 points and 9 rebounds. David Lee was terrific with 22 points and 15 rebounds, though he had five turnovers. Nate Robinson was huge as a bench scorer, scoring 19. And to the delight of Mike D’Antoni and Knicks observers, all his shots were at the right basket today.

The starting Knicks backcourt couldn’t throw a rock into the ocean today. Chris Duhon and Larry Hughes combined to shoot 3-of-17 for 7 points, with 10 assists.

Madison Square Garden recorded its fifth sellout in eight home games. They entered the game ranked fifth in the league in home attendance with an average of 19,626 fans per game.

Wizards struggling early

Despite the return of Gilbert Arenas this season, the Washington Wizards are off to a rocky start to the 2009-10 NBA season.

Mike Jones of the Washington Times reports:

Two road games, two dysfunctional performances and another new low for the Washington Wizards.

A night after getting run out of the gym by the Oklahoma City Thunder because of a sorry excuse for a defensive showing, the Wizards rode into San Antonio and actually did a decent job defending the hosting Spurs. But an ice cold offense crippled Washington in an 106-84 loss.

On Friday, the Wizards got a combined 69 points from Antawn Jamison, Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler. Saturday night, the trio combined for just 41 points to lead a squad that posted a season-worst .333 shooting clip from the field. The Wizards also got outrebounded 59-44.

Arenas had a team-high 18 points against the Spurs, but his 7-for-18 shooting performance was anything but effective, and his three turnovers were one more than his assist total for the night.

With a 3-0 record, the Wizards are tied with the Bobcats for last in the Southeast division, and have the same wins-losses as the Knicks. Only the Nets (0-13) have fewer wins in the East, and just one team (the Timberwolves) has fewer in the West.

Share your opinion on the InsideHoops Washington Wizards forum.

Oklahoma City Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced that the team has assigned center Byron Mullens and guard Kyle Weaver to the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League.

Weaver, who played two games for the 66ers last season, has appeared in two games for the Thunder this year averaging 5.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steal in 8.0 minutes per contest.

Mullens, the 24th overall pick (selected by Dallas) in the 2009 NBA Draft, was acquired by the Thunder in a draft night trade. Mullens has not appeared in a game for the Thunder this season. The 7-0 center averaged 8.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in one season at The Ohio State University.

The Tulsa 66ers, who were purchased by the Professional Basketball Club LLC on July 31, 2008, are the minor league affiliate of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Celtics assign Bill Walker to D-League

The Boston Celtics announced today that forward Bill Walker has been assigned to the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League. Walker is the team’s first assignment to the NBA Development League this season.

Walker, a 6’6” forward, has appeared in one game for the Celtics this season and has logged two minutes of playing time.  The Kansas State product has posted career averages of 2.9 points and 1.0 rebound in 7.2 minutes per game over 30 games with the Celtics.

Similar to regular websites, blogs, Facebook, YouTube and other online destinations, Twitter is part of the Internet. The purpose of all of them is basically the same, to present online content.

So, if someone works for a company with rules dictating what type of content employees can post on the web, logically it applies to Twitter, too.

The rumor is that Bill Simmons is suspended from Twitter, except for posts involving his book tour.

Jay Yarow of Business Insider reports:

ESPN is suspending its hotshot writer Bill Simmons from Twitter for two weeks.

The reason: He started mouthing off at Boston sports station WEEI on Twitter. WEEI is an ESPN partner.

Steve Krakauer of MediaIte reports:

So here’s what did him in. On November 11, Simmons tweeted an angry message to Boston radio station WEEI: “Hey WEEI: You were wrong, I did a Boston interview today. With your competition. Rather give them ratings over deceitful scumbags like you.”

Harsh – and since WEEI and ESPN have a partnership, this apparently is a no-no when it comes to ESPN’s much-discussed social media guidelines.

Rob King of ESPN reports (via his blog):

While it’s unfortunate — and sometimes painful — that not everyone outside of ESPN chooses to play by such rules, we choose to hold ourselves to higher standards. Regardless of the provocation, Bill’s communication regarding WEEI fell short of those standards. So we’ve taken appropriate measures.

You have to follow your company’s rules. Even if you’re atop your field. Usually.

Warriors sign Chris Hunter

The Golden State Warriors have signed forward/center Chris Hunter to a contract, the team announced today.  Hunter, who is being called up from the NBA Development League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants, will be in uniform for tonight’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena.

Hunter, 25, was a D-League All-Star last season with Fort Wayne, where he averaged 19.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.19 blocks and 32.7 minutes per contest in 47 games.  The 6-11, 240-pound Hunter ranked fourth in the D-League in rebounding and ninth in scoring, while shooting 55.1% (353-641 FG) from the field and 81.1% (197-243 FT) from the line.  With his signing, Hunter becomes the first player to receive a Gatorade Call-Up from the D-League this season.

An All-NBA Development League Second Team selection last season, Hunter was signed by the New York Knicks on April 14, 2009, for their final regular season game, but did not play.  He also appeared in two games with the Knicks during the 2009-10 preseason.  Hunter played four seasons at the University of Michigan (2002-03 thru 2005-06) before beginning his professional career overseas in Poland and Belgium.

Golden State’s roster now stands at 16 players.  The Warriors are able to add Hunter to the roster under the NBA’s hardship rules, which allows a team that has 15 players on its Active and Inactive Lists and is unable to meet the minimum number of players requirement (8), the ability to sign an additional player.

Hunter will wear uniform #31.

Discuss your Warriors opinions on the InsideHoops Golden State Warriors forum.

The WNBA is in active discussions with potential investors to relocate the Sacramento Monarchs to the Bay Area in time for the start of the 2010 WNBA season, league President Donna Orender announced today.  Going forward, Maloof Sports & Entertainment will no longer operate the Monarchs.

“The Bay Area has been a desirable market for the WNBA and the availability of the Monarchs provides an opportunity to move a well-known franchise and broaden its fan base within Northern California,” said Orender. “Maloof Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Monarchs, has deemed it essential to focus all of its resources on the Sacramento Kings at this time. We understand this decision was a difficult one for them and appreciate the vision, leadership, and support of the Maloof family over the past 10 years.

“The Maloofs have shown a passion for women’s basketball and seen the WNBA as great entertainment that has a positive impact on the way society views women and sports. They take great pride in the Monarchs’ players, both for their contributions on the court and in the Sacramento community.”

One of the league’s original eight teams in 1997, the Monarchs won the WNBA championship in 2005 and the Western Conference crown in 2006. Featuring former Stanford player and WNBA All-Star Nicole Powell, Olympic gold-medalist and WNBA All-Star Kara Lawson, and Piedmont, Calif. standout Courtney Paris, the team also holds the second pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft.

“We enjoyed our time with the WNBA and the Monarchs,” said co-owner Joe Maloof.  “We are extremely proud of an amazing run that included six straight playoff appearances and the 2005 WNBA Championship.  All of our resources are now dedicated to bringing the Sacramento Kings back to championship caliber form.”

Have WNBA opinions? Share them on the InsideHoops WNBA message board.

No Allen Iverson for Knicks

The Memphis Grizzlies and guard Allen Iverson recently came to an understanding that things simply weren’t going to work out. Iverson was waived, and became a free agent.

There have been rumblings that the Knicks were strongly considering adding the former All-Star and league MVP, but apparently it isn’t going to happen.

Howard Beck of the New York Times reports:

No Allen Iverson for Knicks

The Knicks’ pursuit of Allen Iverson is dead.

In an abrupt reversal, Knicks officials decided late Thursday not to offer Iverson a contract, putting an end to their brief flirtation, according to a person close to the deliberations.

Although team officials were highly intrigued by Iverson, a four-time scoring champion, they finally decided that he posed too great a risk because of his long history of problems on and off the court.

Team officials spent three days weighing the potential merits and pitfalls of signing Iverson, and alternately talked themselves into and then out of making the move.

Iverson is obviously seen by most teams as more trouble than he’s worth right now, but it still made sense for the Knicks to consider adding him. Although he’s best as a scorer, Iverson could have been used as a starting point guard, since Chris Duhon and rookie Toney Douglas are best suited as reserves. The Knicks currently aren’t winning very often. And they don’t really have a lot of top-level youth that would be affected by Iverson being there.

But, Iverson reportedly won’t be heading to New York.

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

Chris Bosh wants respect

Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh tends to be left out of conversations involving top players in his draft class. He’s noticed, and gotten annoyed about it, and used the motivation to make himself better.

Doug Smith of the Toronto Star reports:

Chris Bosh wants respect

“It’s mentality, mentality,” [Bosh] said when asked where the numbers come from, a mentality buried and finally brought to the fore by being held out of conversations about the game’s greats.

“Was it hidden? Yeah, I guess so,” he said after Toronto had dropped a 104-91 decision to the Utah Jazz. “I always thought of myself as a good basketball player, but after a while I really wanted to turn the corner. I looked at all the other guys who are considered top guys and I was tired of not having my name mentioned.

“I wanted to do the necessary work to make sure I put myself in a situation to be successful.”

This season Bosh is putting up monster stats. In 35.9 minutes per game he’s averaging 26.8 points and 12.3 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field.

Share your Raptors opinion on the InsideHoops Toronto Raptors forum.

Manu Ginobili out 7-10 days

Manu Ginobili out 7-10 days

Manu Ginobili underwent an MRI examination this afternoon in San Antonio. The exam confirmed that he has a mild left groin strain and showed that he has no structural damage in the area. Ginobili will begin his rehabilitation process tomorrow. He is expected to miss seven-to-ten days.

Ginobili suffered the injury in the first quarter of last night’s Spurs-Mavericks game.

This season in nine games the 6-6, 205-pound shooting guard is averaging 14.1 points and 4.2 assists in 23.4 minutes per game. He’s shooting just 37.8 percent from the field.

Have Spurs opinions? Share them on the InsideHoops San Antonio Spurs forum.

The Orlando Magic are off to a pretty good start, with a 9-3 record despite playing the season’s first 10 games without Rashard Lewis and also enduring injuries to Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson.

The team faces an even bigger challenge now that starting point guard Jameer Nelson is injured once again and out for weeks.

Aside from great coaching, Dwight Howard wants a bit less negativity coming from Stan Van Gundy.

Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel reports:

Dwight Howard asks Stan Van Gundy to stop the negativity

Orlando Magic superstar Dwight Howard told the Sentinel on Thursday that he asked Stan Van Gundy in a private meeting to quell what he perceived as the coach’s recurring negativity.

The fiery, demanding Van Gundy confirmed that he met with Howard, who was speaking on behalf of the team.

“I think, as a team, there was a lot of negativity and it’s not like Stan’s a negative guy,” Howard said before the Magic left for Boston to face the Celtics on Friday night. “But it’s like there’s always some clashes and focusing so much on our mistakes. Instead of bringing each other down, we have to pull each other up.

“That’s the only thing I wanted from coach.”

Van Gundy told the Sentinel that his negativity was “draining the enthusiasm” from his team. He vowed to change his tactics — from practices to press conferences to the bench on game nights — after listening to Howard’s concerns.

A ton of pressure now rests on the aging shoulders of backup point guard Jason Williams, who with Nelson out will start and play a very key role on the team. And old Anthony Johnson must regain some youth and contribute as well.

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

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