Archive for December, 2009

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports:

With the Rockets ending the year surprisingly in the thick of playoff contention, Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said Thursday he was going to extend the contract of Rockets coach Rick Adelman in the coming weeks.

Adelman, whose winning percentage with the Rockets is better than any coach in franchise history, had gone into his third season with the Rockets in the final guaranteed of year of his contract, with the Rockets intending to address his contract situation in the off-season.

“I’m going to pick up his option,” Alexander said. “We’re going to do it soon, relatively soon.

“I think he’s done a terrific job. He’s taken a team that has lost two key starters and he melded the team and he’s won. That’s what we want here. He’s very self-effacing. He only cares about — which I love — is the team and winning.”

Manu Ginobili regaining form

Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News reports:

Nearly 24 hours after the fact, the Spurs still were buzzing about the way Manu Ginobili turned Tuesday’s game against the Timberwolves into a personal time machine that transported him back to his days as one of the NBA’s most electrifying players.

Ginobili came to training camp after a summer of enforced inactivity designed to assure complete recovery from a stress fracture of the right ankle. He lately has been reintroducing bits and pieces of the unique game that made him one of the league’s best players.

Tuesday night’s near-triple double was the latest evidence he is getting closer to being the real Manu Ginobili.

Up next: The confidence that will allow him to attack the basket when he believes his legs have regained the explosiveness that once made him a human highlight reel.

Wednesday in Cleveland the Cavaliers beat the Atlanta Hawks, 106-101. In the win, Cavs forward LeBron James, who turned 25 years old today, shot 15-of-23 (4-of-6 three-pointers) and hit 14-of-16 free throws for 48 points. He also had 10 rebounds, six assists (three turnovers), two steals and two blocks in 43 minutes.

The AP reports:

lebron james scores 48 points on hawks

With the score tied at 101 and the shot clock down to its final tick, Mo Williams  passed the ball to Anderson Varejao on the left wing. The 6-foot-11 forward, who missed his first 18 career 3-pointers, stepped up and drilled his long shot just before the horn sounded.

When he ran to the other end of the floor, James rushed into his arms.

“I saw that Mo got kind of tied up and I just tried to get open,” Varejao said. “I just shot it.”

A birthday swish for James.

“That’s what I told him,” Varejao said. “Happy birthday.”

After a not-so-impressive start to the season, Cleveland has steadily come along and winning nonstop lately.

Blazers sign Shavlik Randolph

Blazers sign Shavlik Randolph

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed forward Shavlik Randolph, it was announced today by General Manager Kevin Pritchard.

Randolph, 26, rejoins the Trail Blazers after averaging 1.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.7 minutes in 10 games with Portland last season.

Portland was allowed to sign Randolph and bring its roster to 16 players after the NBA awarded the team its second hardship exemption of the season on Tuesday.

The Duke University product has career averages of 2.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 8.3 minutes in 91 games (seven starts) with Philadelphia, Portland and Miami.

Randolph (6-10, 240) appeared in two games for Miami this season, netting two points, seven rebounds and a blocked shot in 23 minutes before being waived on Dec. 14.

He will wear No. 42 with the Trail Blazers.

Knicks interested in Tracy McGrady

Marc Berman of the New York Post report:

Mike D’Antoni threw the Knicks’ hat into the ring in the Tracy McGrady sweepstakes.

D’Antoni acknowledged for the first time publicly the Knicks are interested in pursuing the former superstar, McGrady, saying the Rockets swingman has enough left in the tank to be a leading man and calling the issue “an intriguing thing that will be evaluated in-depth.”

“It’s a name Donnie [Walsh] I’m sure will analyze and look at and see if it makes sense,” D’Antoni said. “I think you always have to be intrigued with someone like McGrady and Allen Iverson. It’s up to Donnie to evaluate it and sit down and talk about it and see what the other side of the coin is. I don’t know what it entails. I’m sure the antennae goes up and there will be discussions.”

Tuesday night in Washington, D.C. the Wizards lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 110-98.

The Thunder shot 54.4 percent from the field in the win, and nailed 10-of-18 from three-point range.

Wizards coach Flip Saunders is tired of his team’s inability to play defense.

Mike Jones of the Washington Times reports:

“This team needs a mindset change. This team for the last five years has been known as one of the worst defensive teams in the league, and until we make a commitment…” Saunders said, stopping himself short before hunkering down in front of the microphone. “We couldn’t stop anybody out there. We could’ve taken five guys out of this room and they would’ve had a chance. …

“[Oklahoma City] is playing a lot better, but that is not the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Los Angeles Lakers or one of those teams yet. Until they score on you and it hurts, we’re kidding ourselves.” …

The Wizards had primarily used a zone defense to slow the Thunder in the second quarter, but in the third Oklahoma City found a way around it to make 10 of its 19 field goal attempts - further stoking Saunders’ frustrations.

“Zone got us back in the game, and we did well playing some zone. And then guys want to come out of the zone and play man-to-man, but they can’t guard anybody!” the coach fumed. “I could go out there on that floor and take anyone on our team one-on-one at [54] years old and drive around them.”

It’s tough to say what Saunders can do. Other than Russell Westbrook, who was slightly off, virtually every member of the Thunder who played real minutes shot well last night.

It may be time for the Wizards to break up the Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison core.

What would the NBA fine be if…

NBA players must obey certain rules and often face fines if they do things they aren’t supposed to do.

So, just joking around here, but what would the fine be if a player:

1) Pulled a cellphone out while on the court during a game.

2) Started posting on his blog and on Twitter

3) Demanded a trade, while criticizing the refs

4) Then used his cellphone to strike another player

The Phoenix Suns today traded swingman Alando Tucker, a future conditional second-round pick and cash considerations to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for guard Jason Hart, the team announced.  The Suns have waived Hart.

“We want to thank Alando for his service to our organization,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr.  “He is a high-character person who has been a good teammate and a hard worker since arriving in Phoenix and we appreciate all of his efforts.  We wish him well in Minnesota.”

“I want to thank Jason Hart for being a consummate professional with us,” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “This was a very hard trade to make precisely because Jason has been so helpful to our team both on and off the court. We wish him well… “We are eager to have Alando join us this week. Everything we know about him is that he is a hard working young man who has not had the opportunity for significant playing time.”

The 6-6, 205-pound Tucker was originally selected by the Suns with the 29th overall pick (first round) in the 2007 NBA Draft.  In two-plus seasons in Phoenix, the Wisconsin product has appeared in 47 games with the Suns, including 11 appearances in 2009-10 in which he averaged 3.9 points in 6.5 minutes. The Lockport, Ill.-native owns career NBA averages of 4.3 points and 1.0 rebounds in 8.5 minutes.

Coming off a 15-point win over the NBA-leading LA Lakers, the Suns (20-12) return to action Wednesday night, hosting the Eastern Conference-best Boston Celtics (23-7) at US Airways Center at 7 p.m. Phoenix time.  The game can be seen locally on FOX Sports Arizona and heard on Sports 620 KTAR.

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

In a pair of roster moves, the Portland Trail Blazers waived forward Anthony Tolliver and assigned guard Patty Mills to the NBA Development League’s Idaho Stampede, it was announced today by General Manager Kevin Pritchard.

Tolliver appeared in two games for the Trail Blazers, grabbing a rebound in four minutes. He was called up from the Stampede on Dec. 17 after the NBA awarded Portland a hardship exemption.

Mills, selected by the Trail Blazers with the 55th overall pick in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft, will join the Stampede on Wednesday. The Australian national fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during an NBA Summer League practice session July 9. He underwent surgery on July 13 and recently completed a successful rehabilitation.

The Trail Blazers’ roster now stands at 15.

Tracy McGrady inactive as Rockets seek trade

The Houston Rockets are actively seeking a trade for guard Tracy McGrady, who will remain inactive until it happens.

Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey issued the following statement today regarding the team’s agreement with McGrady to seek a trade: “After multiple conversations with Tracy and his representatives, we have agreed to look into trade opportunities and have granted him an indefinite leave from team activities.”

After playing just 66 games in 2007-08 and 35 last season, McGrady in 2009-10 has logged just 45 minutes in six games.

Houston has also been without injured center Yao Ming this season.

Despite their two top stars not being on the court, the Rockets have an 18-13 record. If the regular season ended today, they’d be the Western conference 7th seed for the playoffs.

McGrady is the highest paid player in the entire league this year. His contract is expiring, so if the Rockets can’t find a suitable trade that actually helps their team, it’s quite possible T-Mac simply remains inactive all season.

It’s also possible that the team doesn’t find a trade for McGrady and the two sides someday make amends. Perhaps we’ll still actually see McGrady on the court wearing a Rockets jersey weeks or months from now.

But for now, the team will actively seek a trade — but only one that helps them, of course.

– Jeff Lenchiner

Fans have been discussing the T-Mac ordeal in this forum topic.

The Phoenix Suns yesterday assigned rookie forward Taylor Griffin to the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr.

The 6-7, 238-pound Griffin will spend his second stint in Iowa after he was originally assigned to the Energy on Dec. 7, starting both games he appeared in and averaging 13.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 4.0 steals in 37.0 minutes before being recalled Dec. 14.

Griffin was selected by the Suns with the 48th overall pick (second round) of the 2009 NBA Draft and has appeared in two games this season for Phoenix.

Coming off a 15-point win over the NBA-leading LA Lakers, the Suns (20-12) return to action Wednesday night, hosting the Eastern Conference-best Boston Celtics (23-7) at US Airways Center at 7 p.m. Phoenix time.  The game can be seen locally on FOX Sports Arizona and heard on Sports 620 KTAR.

The Sacramento Kings and Maloof family today signed President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie to a multi-year contract extension.

According to the Sacramento Bee, “after earning approximately $4 million this season, the NBA’s longest-tenured executive will make $1.2 million, $1.4 million and $1.5 million – absorbing a massive financial hit in his desire to remain with the organization.”

“First of all I want to thank Joe, Gavin and the rest of the Maloof family for the ongoing opportunity to grow our exciting young team,” said Petrie. “We all are looking forward to a brighter and more successful future. Secondly, I want to thank our entire management staff for the hard work and support they have committed over the years. We also have been a team and will continue to be one. Finally, a hat’s off to Paul (Westphal) and his staff for the professionalism, knowledge and experience he has brought to the Kings.”

A two-time NBA Executive of the Year award winner, Geoff Petrie has been a key figure behind the success of the Sacramento Kings over the past 16 years.

“Geoff is like a member of the Maloof family,” said Joe Maloof. “We’ve known him for all of these years. He’s someone we can depend on and someone we can trust and look to for advice and guidance. We’re pleased to have someone as talented as Geoff lead this organization.”

Under Petrie’s direction, the Kings have qualified for the NBA Playoffs in eight of the past 11 campaigns and nine of the past 14 years overall, while winning Pacific Division titles in 2001-02 and 2002-03 and advancing to the 2002 Western Conference Finals. Between 2000-01 and 2004-05, Sacramento joined San Antonio and Dallas as the only teams in the league to register 50-plus wins in each of those years.

“Kings fans can rest assure that the future of this franchise is secure with Geoff Petrie leading the way,” explained Gavin Maloof. “He has a good eye and special ability to pick talent. We are pleased that Geoff will be with us for many more years. We’re all looking forward to seeing this young, talented team rise.”

When Petrie was named The Sporting News NBA Executive of the Year following the 1998-99 campaign, he became the first person to win both the league’s executive and rookie annual awards. Petrie shared the 1971 NBA Rookie of the Year award with Boston’s Dave Cowens. Following the 2000-01 season, Petrie was named The Sporting News Executive of the Year for a second time.

Additionally, the contracts of Wayne Cooper and Mike Petrie were renewed as each received promotions. Cooper was promoted to Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager while Petrie was promoted to Assistant Vice President of Basketball Operations.

Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks has been fined $25,000 for public statements detrimental to the NBA.

The statements, which concerned a trade request, were made by Robinson’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, on Dec. 19.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports (via blog):

The Players’ Association is planning to appeal the fine since the remarks were not made by the player himself. In fact, the next day Robinson said he “wanted to stay.”

Goodwin said 10 days ago Robinson’s benching was “personal” and “not basketball-related” and said the Knicks coach had “disrespected” Robinson for making a comparison that he would play “Satan” if it would help him win.

I’m really not sure why Robinson should be fined for this.

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

Mullens appeared in 11 games (11 starts) for the 66ers since he was originally assigned to Tulsa on November 21. The 7-0 center averaged 15.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.27 blocks per contest while with Tulsa.

Joakim Noah an All-Star candidate?

John Jackson of the Chicago Sun-Times reports:

Joakim Noah an All-Star candidate

If someone had told you in training camp that the Bulls player with the best chance of making the All-Star team this season was Joakim Noah, your most likely response would have been laughter.

How much of a long shot was Noah? He wasn’t even among the five Bulls listed on the official NBA ballot.

But two months into the season, no one is laughing when the subject of Noah possibly being an All-Star is brought up now. The 6-11 center has been one of the few bright spots for the Bulls, averaging 10.5 points and 12.4 rebounds (third-best in the NBA).

”He’s been strong,” Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. ”He’s one of the top rebounders in the league with his energy and his length. He’s around that basket, and he’s been pretty consistent the whole year.”

Tyrus Thomas terrific in return

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports:

Tyrus Thomas terrific in return

The first day of the rest of the Bulls’ season transpired Saturday night at the United Center.

There was Tyrus Thomas, swatting shots and filling lanes. There was Kirk Hinrich, pushing the tempo and picking up fullcourt. There was Joakim Noah, stuffing the box score with another monster double-double of 17 points and 18 rebounds with four blocks.

The Bulls have more double-digit collapses than double-digit victories, which is why their 96-85 triumph over the Hornets was as welcome as Thomas’ return.

Sidelined for seven weeks and 22 games following surgery to repair a fractured radius in his left forearm, Thomas was an athletic jolt, finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

Jazz seek point guard

Jody Genessy of the Deseret News reports:

Utah Jazz brass met Saturday to begin the process of filling the roster spot that opened up when the organization traded rookie point guard Eric Maynor and injured Matt Harpring’s contracts to Oklahoma City last week.

Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor said the team has compiled a list of 10-12 players who will be evaluated.

O’Connor wanted to meet with coach Jerry Sloan and other pertinent Jazz personnel to gather input and discuss options as the team tries to find a player who will fit in for at least the rest of the season.

Thunder assign DJ White to D-League

Oklahoma City Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced that the team has assigned forward DJ White to the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League.

White has appeared in eight games this season for the Thunder averaging 4.8 points and 1.9 rebounds in 9.1 minutes per game.

White, who was assigned to Tulsa three times last season, appeared in six games for the 66ers in the 2008-09 season. He averaged 18.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 31.3 minutes per contest.

Eddy Curry frustrated by lack of minutes

Eddy Curry frustrated by lack of minutes

New York Knicks center Eddy Curry has had a rough time over the last few seasons, playing just 59 games in 2007-08, a mere three in 2008-09, and just seven this season. He also became a big fatso, before slimming down recently.

But despite getting into relatively decent shape, Curry still sits on the bench twiddling his thumbs. And apparently he’s getting frustrated.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports:

Curry made a point to say he’s spoken with Donnie Walsh but not D’Antoni. In fact, Curry refused to use D’Antoni’s name.

“It’s frustrating, because I worked so hard to get back and to be ready to go and now it’s just like go every game trying to figure out if I’m going to play or not, sitting over there waiting to see what’s going to happen,” Curry said. “It’s tough to deal with, especially at this stage of my career, at this age. I ain’t that old, but I’ve been here for a while.”

The Knicks have played well recently and as long as that continues it’s possible both Curry and Nate Robinson will see little time on the court.

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Andrew Bynum was the top center in the Western Conference the first month of the season as he effortlessly absorbed Pau Gasol’s points and rebounds while the Lakers’ power forward missed 11 games.

Then Gasol returned from a hamstring injury and Bynum disappeared.

There’s not a lot to criticize on a team tied with Boston for the NBA’s best record (23-5), but Bynum continues to take steps back.

His numbers without Gasol: 20.3 points and 11.8 rebounds a game. His numbers since Gasol’s return: 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds a game.

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