Archive for February, 2010

The San Antonio Spurs announced today that they have recalled guard Malik Hairston from the Austin Toros, the NBA Development League team owned and operated by the Spurs.

Hairston, who was assigned to Austin on 1/14, has appeared in 15 games for the Toros and averaged 29.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 40.8 minutes.

Hairston has appeared in 21 games for the Spurs this season and averaged 0.5 points in 3.5 minutes.

Last season Hairston split the year between San Antonio and Austin. In 15 games with the Spurs he averaged 3.3 points and 1.9 rebounds. In Austin, he earned All-D-League Honorable Mention after averaging 22.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 30 games.

Hairston will join the Spurs tonight for their game at Detroit.

Richard Jefferson moved to bench

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News reports:

Richard Jefferson moved to bench

Gregg Popovich has moved Jefferson — a starter in 548 of 623 career games — to the bench, partially in hopes of producing a long-awaited spark from his team’s defining offseason acquisition.

Jefferson has appeared as a reserve in both the Spurs’ games since the All-Star break, replaced at forward by Keith Bogans in a lineup shuffle that also moved Matt Bonner to center in place of Antonio McDyess.

The results for Jefferson have been mixed so far — one solid game in a victory over Indiana, one inconsequential outing in a 106-94 loss at Philadelphia.

Jefferson has accepted his new role, even if it isn’t his preference.

“I prefer to start, but I prefer winning more,” said Jefferson, who had a streak of 232 consecutive starts snapped by injury Jan. 18 in New Orleans. “I trust Pop and what he’s trying to do.”

Behind huge games from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Saturday night in New York the Oklahoma City Thunder topped the Knicks 121-118 in overtime. Durant (10-of-25, 14-of-15 free throws) scored 36 points, while Westbrook (13-of-23) was dominant with 31 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.

For the Knicks, tonight marked the debut of new squad members Tracy McGrady, Eddie House and Sergio Rodriguez. And although victory narrowly eluded them, the results were more positive than anyone could have expected.

While Rodriguez provided a much bigger spark than his five points and six assists suggests, the Knicks were carried by David Lee’s 30 points (12-of-16), 10 rebounds and six assists, McGrady’s 26 points and five assists, and Eddie House’s 24 points and five rebounds off the bench.

Here’s what Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game about McGrady and House:

“I thought it was really, really good. Just their intensity. Just the little things, getting the ball here and there. Talking in the timeouts. Talking going on the floor, understanding who they got. Just all the intangibles that they’re bringing. It’s something that we really work on, in a sence, that’s pretty good. As soon as they get used to each other a little bit better, Tracy gets his legs a little bit more. He kind of ran out of gas toward the end. Foul shots were tough, you saw it. But, not having played all year, a couple of years, almost, 26 points, not bad against a team that defends really well. They’re long and athletic. They’re palying well.”

More D’Antoni thoughts on McGrady:

“His basketball IQ is way up. He does that. He makes the soccer pass or the hockey pass, whatever you want to call it. Butu he does that. Obviously, he can score. He’s very intelligent on defense. He’s pointing and talking. The guy has been around and been an all-star a long time.”

Although the Knicks lost tonight, this was the most fun night of pro basketball Madison Square Garden has enjoyed in years. Unless you love watching amazing individual performances where one superstar shines while everyone else watches. Then, the shows LeBron James and Kobe Bryant put on in recent seasons eclipse tonight.

As for Rodriguez, he was a one-man carnival. In a good way. The guard flung himself all over the court on both ends of the floor, made tons of brilliant passes, and was an absolute  joy to watch.

Great showing by the new Knicks, even in a loss.

Good first half in Tracy McGrady debut

Starting at shooting guard alongside Chris Duhon, Tracy McGrady looked very good and certainly better than expected in his New York Knicks debut Saturday night as the team hosts the Oklahoma City Thunder in Madison Square Garden.

T-Mac came out gunning and shot 7-of-12  for 19 points, two rebounds, three assists (two turnovers) and a steal in 17 first half minutes.

The Knicks lead 57-52 at the break.

Also in the first half, David Lee shot 6-of-9 for 16 points and five rebounds.

For the Thunder, Russell Westbrook (6-of-9) has 15 points and four rebounds. Kevin Durant (4-of-10) has 14.

The Knicks had 14 first half assists, the Thunder just six.

McGrady played six games for the Houston Rockets and has not been on the court since December 23 until tonight.

Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports:

Grizzlies swingman Ronnie Brewer will miss at least three weeks with a partially torn right hamstring.

Brewer, who was injured Friday during the Grizzlies’ 100-87 double overtime loss to Miami, had his condition confirmed this morning after a magnetic resonance imaging exam.

Brewer did not travel this afternoon with the team to New Jersey where the Griz will face the Nets on Sunday evening. The Grizzlies are officially saying that Brewer will be out indefinitely and a timetable for his return will be set in a week.

Jon Brockman out two to four weeks

Sacramento Kings forward Jon Brockman will miss two to four weeks of action with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, which was confirmed by an MRI taken yesterday.

Brockman, currently in his rookie season, is averaging 3.0 points (.511 FGs, .600 FTs) and 4.6 rebounds per game through 44 outings of which he has started in four.

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed guard Garrett Temple to a second 10-day contract and has waived forward Brian Cook.

Temple (6-6, 190, LSU), who has averaged 6.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in three games with Houston, signed his first 10-day contract with the Rockets on Feb. 8, marking his first-ever GATORADE Call-Up to the NBA. Temple was playing with Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner Rio Grande Valley, where he was averaging 14.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 30 games (30 starts) with the Vipers. He was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by Houston on Sept. 22, 2009. Temple averaged 2.5 points and 0.3 assists in four preseason games with the Rockets before being waived on Oct. 21. He also averaged 4.6 points and 0.4 assists in five games with Houston in the 2009 NBA Summer League.

Cook (6-9, 250, Illinois), who was in his second season with the Rockets, averaged 1.4 points and 0.6 rebounds in 15 games this season. He was acquired by Houston from Orlando in a three-team trade on Feb. 19, 2009, and exercised the player option on his contract for the 2009-10 season on June 22.

By Jerald Hoover

The big deal is finally done and as it seems all parties got what they wanted out of the trade:  The Knicks created much-needed LeBron James cap space (for this summer’s free agency class) all the while bringing in a former All-star whom they hope can be lighting in a bottle and regain more than a glimpse of his former self.  McGrady alone can be enough to entice others to come along for the ride if he looks anything he used to.

Flashy point guard Sergio Rodriguez, aka “Spanish Chocolate,” was brought in as an apparent upgrade over Chris Duhon, who seems to be devoid of any type of penetrating move.  Rodriguez, while turnover-prone, is lightning quick at 6-foot-3 and has exceptional court vision.

Did the Knicks give up too much in the way of first round picks.  In a word, NO!  First off, first round picks are a crap-shoot at best, and yes, even those picked 1st or 2nd in the draft.  Please see the file on the Clippers Michael Olowokandi and Detroit’s Darko Milicic for top picks in their respective drafts.

The Knicks are just flip-flopping on the 2011 pick, and yes they’re giving up the 2012 pick, but it’s Lottery-protected.  Not only that, if one thinks about it the Knicks could always parley someone like Wilson Chandler to a team for a first round pick.

The Rockets not only rid themselves of McGrady and his high maintenance ways (according to them), but they bring in a young scoring stud in Kevin Martin to go along with Aaron Brooks in the backcourt.  They should be extremely explosive.  Swingman Trevor Ariza should have a field day.

The Sacramento Kings gained a young forward in Carl Landry who should help down low with Jason Thompson.

Jerald L Hoover is a producer and director of a Mount V, NY basketball documentary: Four Square Miles to Glory.

Tim Buckley of the Deseret News reports:

He doesn’t like it, but Deron Williams knows trades come with the territory.

“It stinks that these things happen in the NBA,” Williams said Friday, one day after the Jazz dealt close friend and starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer to Memphis for a protected 2011 first-round draft choice.

This particular trade, however, left Williams particularly offended — so much so he questioned the team’s thinking and suggested it could influence the length of his future with the franchise.

The All-Star point prefaced Friday’s remarks by saying, “I haven’t really got nothing much good to say about the trade, so …”

Tracy McGrady ready to rock

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports:

Tracy McGrady ready to rock

“Just stay tuned,” Tracy McGrady said. “This is not the same Tracy from last season, when I was hobbling on one leg. That’s not going to be me. I’m a lot more explosive, a lot more confident in my leg. What I’ve been as far as rehabbing, I feel I can do everything I can do in the past.”

“I’m pretty close to being 100 percent. With surgery, I know Allan Houston had it, a lot of guys who had surgery ended their careers. I’ve worked extremely hard to not allow myself to be one of those players where I can’t prolong my career.”

It has been exactly a year since McGrady’s microfracture right-knee surgery derailed his career.

“Last couple of years, I’ve been injured,” McGrady said. “I recognize that. You got one of the best players in the league that’s going to be a free agent, Bosh, Dwayne, Stoudemire. Those guys are on top right now. I will do what I have to do for two months and I can get my name back in there.”

Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star reports:

T.J. Ford didn’t expect there was a possibility that he would be traded. Brandon Rush said he was “shocked” four times during a 40-second interview.

The two Indiana Pacers were caught off guard when they heard the team was working on a deal to send them to the Charlotte Bobcats for Gerald Henderson, Nazr Mohammed and D.J. Augustin on Thursday.

The deal fell through when the Bobcats pulled out about 10 minutes before the trade deadline.

“I was definitely more shocked than anything,” Rush said. “I didn’t see it coming. Nobody told me anything about being on the trade block. It was more of a shock.”

The AP reports:

Tracy McGrady would take pay cut to play with stars in New York

“I’ve made a lot of money over my career and I could retire right now and I could be fine financially. My kids can be fine when they get older. Money is not an issue for me,” McGrady said.

“So if these guys were to bring in a LeBron, a D-Wade, along with a Chris Bosh or a (Amare) Stoudemire, I’d be a damn fool to not want to stay here. So I’m just telling you right now that I will definitely embrace the opportunity to be here. Money is not an issue.”

McGrady said the Knicks were his preference once Houston decided to try to trade him, adding he would have sought a buyout if he were sent elsewhere. He finally got his wish Thursday in a three-team deal that included Sacramento, saying he was disappointed this season by a lack of communication from Rockets management.

“I didn’t know. I really didn’t know,” McGrady said. “And that’s just the unfortunate situation, that I just like for management to be upfront and honest with me. That’s all I ask, honesty. And if we can’t sit and have a conversation eye to eye and be honest with me, then all the respect and trust goes out the window.”

Antawn Jamison shoots 0-for-12 in Cavaliers debut

Forward Antawn Jamison struggled mightily in his Cleveland Cavaliers debut, coming off the bench to shoot 0-for-12 as the team lost 110-93 to the Bobcats in Charlotte.

Playing 26 minutes, Jamison finished with two points, seven rebounds, an assist and a steal.

Stephen Jackson (9-of-17) played well for the Bobcats, finishing with 29 points, eight rebounds and four assists (though, five turnovers). Boris Diaw had 18 points and nine rebounds. And All-Star Gerald Wallace contributed 18 points, five rebounds and an impressive nine assists.

For the Cavs, LeBron James had an extremely quiet night with 22 points, three assists, nine rebounds and four steals.

As a team, the Cavs shot just 39.0%. They amazingly shot better from three-point range than overall, hitting 12-of-29 (41.4%) from outside the arc.

Charlotte had 10 more rebounds than Cleveland, and had 27 assists compared to just 15 for Cleveland.

Jamison is obviously a better player than he showed today, so this is a fluke, but it’s worth keeping an eye on Cavs team chemistry over the next 1-2 weeks.

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has re-assigned guard Jermaine Taylor to Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. In his first stint with Rio Grande Valley, Taylor averaged 21.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.25 steals in four games (one start). He also posted back-to-back 30-point outings with the Vipers at Albuquerque (30 points on 2/2/10 and 32 points on 2/3/10).

Taylor (6-4, 210, Central Florida) has averaged 2.6 points and 0.2 assists in 17 games with the Rockets. A rookie out of Central Florida, Taylor recorded a season-high seven points (2-2 FG, 3-3 FT), one rebound and one steal in just 2:17 of action vs. Atlanta (1/25/10). Taylor, who had his draft rights acquired by Houston from Washington on June 25, 2009, was selected by the Wizards in the second round (32nd overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft. He also averaged 11.0 points and 2.3 assists in four games (two starts) with Houston in the 2009 NBA Summer League.

Mehmet Okur father of new baby boy

Utah Jazz center Mehmet Okur and his wife, Yeliz, welcomed the couple’s second child, a baby boy - Yigit Mehmet Okur (21 inches; 8 lbs., 2 oz.) early this morning in Salt Lake City.  Memo, Yeliz, daughter Melisa, and new addition Yigit are all doing well.

Okur, who left the team in Oakland to be with his wife for the birth, will miss tonight’s Jazz game at Golden State.

Okur this season is averaging 12.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game, shooting 43.5% from the field.

The 34-19 Jazz are currently the no.3 seed in the Western conference.

Knicks waive Brian Cardinal

Knicks waive Brian Cardinal

New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that the team has waived forward Brian Cardinal.

Just a day ago, the team traded Darko Milicic for Cardinal. It was mainly a financial-related transaction.

The 6-8, 240-pound Cardinal has an NBA career average of 5.4 points and 2.7 rebounds on 41.2% shooting in 15.7 minutes per game. His best seasons came with the Warriors in 2003-04 (9.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and with the Grizzlies in 2004-05 (9.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg). editor Jeff Lenchiner says: Knicks fans will miss Brian Cardinal and his contributions, but the pain and loss they’re feeling will ease with time. The Cardinal era was a great one for the Knicks, but even legends must someday say farewell and move on. (Note to new basketball fans: I’m kidding. Cardinal just arrived a day ago and now he’s already gone.)

Josh Howard wants to stick it to Mavs

Eddie Sefko, special to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, reports:

Josh Howard’s exit from the Dallas Mavericks went from amicable to a bit testy after he made his debut in Washington on Wednesday night.

Howard said after his first game as a Wizard — he was 5-of-14 from the field with 14 points and one rebound in 27 minutes — that he looks forward to being able to “stick it to the Mavs” regarding the trade after six-plus seasons in Dallas.

The Mavericks took the high road, with owner Mark Cuban saying only, “I wish Josh nothing but the best.”

The juicy piece of irony is that Howard ended up in Washington, which may well have been the site where he had the beginning of the end, according to several Maverick sources.

They say Howard had a long night of partying on Jan. 19, the night after the Mavericks had won in Boston and less than 24 hours before playing the Wizards.

Spurs trade Theo Ratliff to Bobcats

Charlotte Bobcats General Manager Rod Higgins announced today that the team has acquired center Theo Ratliff from the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for a protected second-round draft pick in 2016.

The 6-10 Ratliff is in his 15th NBA season, with career averages of 7.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocked shots, 0.6 assists and 0.5 steals in 25.7 minutes in 772 games played for Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Portland, Boston, Minnesota and San Antonio. The 18th overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft, Ratliff was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 1999 and 2004 and was voted the starting center for the Eastern Conference in the 2001 NBA All-Star Game but was unable to play due to a stress fracture in his right wrist suffered four days before the game.

In 21 games played with San Antonio this season, Ratliff is averaging 1.6 points, 1.9 rebounds, 0.9 blocked shots and 0.4 assists in 8.7 minutes.

Ratliff, who previously played for Bobcats Head Coach Larry Brown in Philadelphia from 1997-2001, led the NBA in blocked shots per game in 2000-01, 2002-03 and 2003-04. One of only seven players in NBA history to lead the league in blocked shots at least three times, his 1,920 career blocked shots ranks 18th all-time and fifth among active players. He is the last NBA player to record at least 300 blocked shots in a season, finishing with 307 in 2003-04, and is the only player to do so since Dikembe Mutumbo in 1995-96.

Ratliff has also played in 39 career playoff games, averaging 5.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots in 21.2 minutes for Detroit and Philadelphia.

Wizards trade Dominic McGuire to Kings

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has acquired a protected 2010 second-round draft pick from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for guard/forward Dominic McGuire and cash considerations.

“This trade continues the process of putting us in a more positive financial position,” said Grunfeld.

McGuire was initially acquired by Washington with the 47th overall pick in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft.  In 190 career games (58 starts) with Washington, McGuire has averaged 2.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game.

Spurs will trade Theo Ratliff to Bobcats

Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News reports:

Spurs will Theo Ratliff to Bobcats

The NBA’s trade deadline nearly came and passed Thursday with the Spurs staying on the sidelines, but a last-minute deal that will send Theo Ratliff to the Charlotte Bobcats was awaiting official NBA approval late Thursday afternoon, according to league sources.

The Spurs are expected to receive a future draft pick from the Bobcats, giving them some relief from the luxury tax they will have to play this summer. Under NBA collective bargaining rules, only $825,497 of Ratliff’s veteran minimum salary of $1.3 million counted against their salary cap. Combined with the recent buyout of Marcus Haislip’s two-year deal, the Spurs will have saved about $1.7 million in luxury tax payments.

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