Archive for March, 2010

Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor announced today the Jazz has signed rookie guard Othyus Jeffers for the remainder of the season.

Jeffers (6-5, 210, Robert Morris (IL)) was originally signed to a 10-day contract by the Jazz on March 3 before being re-signed to a second 10-day contract on March 14. Jeffers has appeared in seven games for the Jazz, averaging 2.7 points and 1.1 rebounds in 4.4 minutes per game. The Jazz is 7-3 since signing Jeffers. He recorded career-highs in points (eight) and minutes (nine) at Phoenix on March 19. Jeffers has scored in five of the seven games he has appeared in. The Chicago native made his NBA debut vs. the L.A. Clippers on March 6.

Jeffers became the 18th NBA Development League (D-League) Call-Up to the NBA this season, as well as the fifth D-League Call-Up in Jazz history, joining Rusty LaRue (2000-01), Mikki Moore (2003-04), Louis Amundson (2006-07) and Sundiata Gaines (2009-10).

Prior to his call-up, the Chicago native appeared in 22 games (16 starts) with the Iowa Energy of the NBA D-League, averaging 14.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Jeffers began the season with NGC Cantu in Italy, averaging 9.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals. He was selected by the Iowa Energy in the third round (47th overall pick) of the 2008 D-League Draft.

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the Rockets have recalled guard Jermaine Taylor and signed forward Mike Harris for the remainder of the season from Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Harris marks his third Call-Up of 2009-10, earning one each with the Rockets and Washington Wizards earlier this season.

Taylor (6-4, 210, Central Florida) has averaged 19.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.25 steals in eight games (four starts) with Rio Grande Valley. The rookie out of Central Florida also posted back-to-back 30-point outings in his first stint with the Vipers at Albuquerque (30 points on 2/2/10 and 32 points on 2/3/10).

Harris (6-6, 235, Rice) returns to Houston from the Rio Grande Valley, where he was averaging a league-leading 27.1 points (.582, 363-624 FG), 10.5 rebounds (third in D-League), 1.9 assists and 1.18 steals in 34 games (31 starts) with the Vipers. At the time of his Call-Up, Harris also stood sixth in the D-League with 18 double-doubles on the season. Harris earned NBA D-League Player of the Month for Jan. 2010 and has been named the NBA D-League Performer of the Week two times this season (Jan. 11-17 and Mar. 8-14). He was also named to the D-League’s 2010 Western Conference All-Star Team. Harris scored a career-high 48 points (second-highest total in Vipers history) with a career-best 24 rebounds (tied a franchise record) at Dakota (1/17/10).

A former standout at Rice University, Harris has averaged 1.3 points and 1.0 rebounds in seven NBA games with Houston and Washington this season. Signed by the Rockets on Dec. 23, Harris averaged 2.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in two games before being waived by Houston on Jan. 6. Re-acquired by Rio Grande Valley on Jan. 8, he later signed a 10-day contract with the Wizards on Feb. 24, averaging 0.8 points and 0.8 boards in five appearances. He was again re-acquired by the Vipers on Mar. 7. Harris actually began the 2009-10 season as a training camp invitee with Oklahoma City, but was waived by the Thunder on Oct. 23. Harris also spent his rookie NBA season with the Rockets in 2007-08, averaging 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds in 17 games.

Orlando Magic are on fire

John Schuhmann of NBA.com reports:

The Magic are 14-3 since the [NBA All-Star] break, second only to the Bucks (15-3). But statistically, Orlando has been more dominant than anybody. The Magic have outscored their opponents by 14.8 points every 100 possessions over those 17 games. The next best team since the break has been the Phoenix Suns, who have been just 9.3 points better than their opponents.

The Magic have been terrific defensively since November. For the second straight season, they’re the top defense in the league, allowing 99.7 points every 100 possessions, a hair less than the Celtics. But it’s been on offense that they’ve taken off since the break.

With Vince Carter finding the right balance between aggressiveness and unselfishness, and Jameer Nelson all the way back from arthroscopic knee surgery, the Magic are now as potent as any offense in the league. And when a team has both a great offense and a great defense … well, even Magic coach Stan Van Gundy admits that he’s happy with the way his team is playing…

Orlando is taking care of business against the weaker teams, and the Magic have held their own against the rest of the elite. Van Gundy may want to fine tune some things, but with three weeks to go in the regular season, no team is more ready for the playoffs than the Magic.

NETS Basketball will host Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Basketball Super League, Israel’s top division, in a 2010 preseason game on Sunday, October 3 at 7:00 p.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

The game will mark the first preseason game the NETS will play at the Prudential Center since the team announced it will play its home games in Newark for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.

Maccabi Haifa, owned by New Jersey native Jeffrey Rosen, is currently tied for second place in the Super League and has been ranked as high as 21st in Europe.  Maccabi Haifa’s charity program, “Haifa Hoops for Kids,” a joint initiative between Maccabi Haifa and United Jewish Communities of MetroWest New Jersey, demonstrates the team’s commitment to assisting underprivileged and special needs children in Israel.

Maccabi Haifa’s 30-minute magazine show, “Inside Israeli Basketball,” is aired monthly on the YES Network.  The show captures the intricacies of Israel and the Super League seen through the eyes of Maccabi Haifa’s American players and their Israeli counterparts.

“We are honored to host Maccabi Haifa at the Prudential Center and to offer our fans the chance to see one of the best teams in Israel and a team rich in history,” said NETS CEO Brett Yormark.

“We are thrilled to bring Maccabi Haifa to America to play the NETS in a preseason game,” said Rosen.  “It has been our goal to build Maccabi Haifa into an international brand and playing an NBA team such as the NETS is just another step in the right direction.”

Maccabi Haifa, an Israeli Basketball Super League team, has a long and storied legacy as it was one of the original eight teams to form the Super League during the 1954 season. This past season under the ownership of American businessman Jeffrey Rosen, the team earned an appearance in both the Super League Finals as well as the State Cup Finals in the team’s first season back in the Super League after a 10-year absence.  The team was purchased by Jeffrey Rosen in July 2007.

Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee reports:

In a major shake-up within the business operations, the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday bought out team President John Thomas, ending an often contentious, 11-year relationship.

Co-owner Joe Maloof said the restructuring is part of the organization’s attempt to regain its economic vitality and reconnect with its fans.

As part of the effort, longtime Kings legal consultant Matina Kolokotronis takes over as president. In the other moves, assistant general manager Jason Levien assumes additional duties as general counsel and senior vice president. John Rinehart was promoted from chief financial officer to senior vice president of business operations.

And Kevin Kaplan, the marketing consultant who has been instrumental in the reduced ticket pricing, sellout campaign and game-by-game promotional deals, becomes more firmly entrenched as the most trusted outside adviser.

Stephon Marbury was successful in China

Reuters reports:

Stephon Marbury was successful in China

Former NBA All Star Stephon Marbury, the highest profile American import to China’s domestic league, said he would return to the country after a hugely popular stint with Shanxi.

The 33-year-old former Minnesota, New Jersey, Phoenix, New York Knicks and Boston point guard finished his two-month spell on a high with an MVP performance in China’s All Star Game last Sunday.

The New Yorker’s average of 22.9 points and 9.5 assists in his 15 regular season games failed to drag Shanxi into the playoffs, however, and he has yet to agree a new deal with the Taiyuan-based team.

Michael Lee of the Washington Post reports (via blog):

Andray Blatche reacts badly to Flip Saunders instruction

Mired in a 12-game slide and facing the distraction of supended guard Gilbert Arenas’s sentencing on Friday, the Washington Wizards have another potential mess on their hands with the benching of Andray Blatche in Tuesday’s 95-86 loss to Charlotte.

Wizards Coach Flip Saunders removed Blatche from the game after he played 7 minutes 31 seconds in the first quarter. Saunders said initially he wanted to talk to the power forward about not getting back on defense. Blatche, however, wanted no part of the discussion and essentially boycotted the rest of the game.

That left the Wizards short-handed in a game they may have won had Blatche been reinserted. With Blatche watching from the bench, Washington ended up getting outrebounded 61-42, including a 23-11 deficit offensively. Among players still with the team and eligible to participate, Blatche leads the Wizards in scoring at 12.7 points per game.

“Yeah I guess, just because of everything,” Saunders said when asked if this incident was the low point in a season filled with forgettable moments.

Cavaliers sign Zydrunas Ilgauskas

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed free agent center Zydrunas Ilgauskas to a contract, Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts. Per team and league policy, terms of the contract were not released.

Ilgauskas has averages of 7.5 points on .452 shooting, 5.3 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 20.5 minutes per game in 53 games (six starts) this season with Cleveland. He was traded to Washington, where he did not appear in any games, as part of the three-team trade on Feb. 17th in which the Cavaliers acquired forward Antawn Jamison and guard Sebastian Telfair.

“The entire Cleveland Cavaliers organization from our hard-working part-time game day people to our front office, to the coaching staff, players, ownership and everyone else are thrilled that Zydrunas is coming back home to help us with our upcoming playoffs mission and hopefully, beyond. Things didn’t seem quite right around here without the big guy.   If there ever was a benchmark to measure what the franchise aspires all of its team members to be, whether they play on the court or off the court, that benchmark would be Zydrunas Ilgauskas. That’s why  having “Z” back means so much to the Cavs, the city of Cleveland and the entire state of Ohio,” said Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert.

The two-time all-star is the Cavaliers’ all-time leader in games played (760), rebounds (5,841), blocks (1,259) and minutes played (21,572) while ranking second in points scored (10,540). The native of Lithuania is also the all-time leader in postseason games played (64) and total rebounds (512) while currently placed second in minutes played (1,950) and blocked shots (75). He ranks fifth among all active NBA players in games played with one franchise behind only Kobe Bryant (L.A. Lakers), Tim Duncan (San Antonio), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas) and Paul Pierce (Boston).

“Having the opportunity to bring Zydrunas back to the Cavaliers is very special for the franchise and our fans. We’re happy and we feel fortunate that Z wants to be here. We’re also very happy for his wife Jennifer and his children too, and we’re excited to see him back on the court with his teammates tomorrow,” said Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry.

Ilgauskas, 34, was drafted by the Cavaliers with the 20th overall pick of the 1996 NBA Draft. He missed the entire 1996-97 and 1999-2000 seasons and large portions of the 1998-99 (77 games) and 2000-01 (58 games) seasons due to foot injuries. Since the 2002-03 season, he has played in 587 of a possible 628 regular-season games with Cleveland. He was named an all-star during the 2002-03 and 2004-05 seasons. He has career averages of 13.9 points on .475 shooting, 7.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.7 blocks in 28.4 minutes per game in 760 games (673 starts).

The Cavaliers have also waived forward Darnell Jackson. “Darnell was a good, hard-working teammate for us. We thank him and wish him the best going forward,” stated Ferry.  The second-year forward averaged 0.8 points on .320 shooting and 0.7 rebounds in 4.3 minutes per game in 27 games this season. The Cavaliers roster now stands at 15 players.

Spurs sign Garrett Temple

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed guard Garrett Temple.  Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

San Antonio is Temple’s third NBA team this season.  He also saw time with the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings.  In two games with the Spurs, Temple has averaged 5.5 points in 17.0 minutes.  On the season he has appeared in 16 games and is averaging 4.2 points and 1.1 rebounds in 10.9 minutes.  He was originally signed to a 10-day contract by San Antonio on 3/13.

The 6-6, 190-pound Temple was signed as an undrafted free agent by Houston on 9/22.  He averaged 2.5 points in four preseason games with the Rockets before being waived on 10/21.  Temple was allocated to Rio Grande Valley on 11/4 and averaged 14.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 30 games with the Vipers.  He signed his first of two 10-day contracts with Houston on 2/8.  In nine games with the Rockets he averaged 5.0 points and 1.6 rebounds in 13.1 minutes.  On 3/3 Temple signed a 10-day contract with Sacramento.  He averaged 2.2 points in 4.6 minutes with the Kings.

Temple averaged 6.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists over his four seasons at LSU.  He left school as the Tigers all-time leader in games played (134), starts (131) and minutes played (4,432).  Temple also ranked fourth in career assists (482), seventh in steals (191) and fourth in blocks (113) in school history.

The Spurs roster stands at 13.

Timberwolves sign Brian Cardinal

Timberwolves sign Brian Cardinal

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed free-agent forward Brian Cardinal. The Timberwolves initially acquired Cardinal in a draft-day deal with Memphis on June 26, 2008. Cardinal was traded to New York in exchange for Darko Milicic on Feb. 17, 2010, and subsequently waived by the Knicks.

Cardinal, a 6-8 forward, had appeared in 27 games for the Wolves this season prior to last month’s trade, averaging 1.7 points in 9.0 minutes per game. The 10-year veteran has appeared in 354 games over his career, including 91 with Minnesota over the last two seasons, and owns career averages of 5.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.

Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports:

Those who labeled Suns rookie Earl Clark’s three-game assignment to D-League affiliate Iowa as a demotion last week have raised the ire of Suns General Manager Steve Kerr.

“It’s stupid,” Kerr said. “I don’t know why people look at it that way. I’m hopeful that someday, after it’s collectively bargained, you’d be able to send a guy down on an injury stint, like Major League Baseball.”

Players are limited to three D-League trips per season in their first two years. Kerr attended the final two of Clark’s three games with Iowa, for which he averaged 21 points and nine rebounds.

Clark shot decent from mid-range but did not take a 3-pointer. He has tried five 3s, making two, in Suns games. Clark puts in extra shooting after games and before practices but still has work to do with his mechanics.

Chris Paul returns for Hornets

The AP reports:

Chris Paul returns for Hornets

The New Orleans Hornets enjoyed one of their best nights of the NBA season, routing Dallas 115-99 and welcoming back injured star Chris Paul after a 25-game absence.

Marcus Thornton scored 28 points while David West added 25 points and 10 assists for the Hornets, whose 23-0 run late in the second quarter and early in the third proved decisive against the Southwest division leaders.

Paul started and scored 11 points and added three assists in 21 minutes, but his time was limited by Hornets coach Jeff Bower in his first game back after a left knee injury.

“I was just happy to get out there on the court,” Paul said. “I wasn’t worrying about scoring or anything like that. I just wanted to try to get the feel back and get the win.”

New Jersey Nets CEO Brett Yormark has a good reputation. But every once in a while, even the best executives are prone to get emotional, especially during an especially dismal season like this one. Here’s what went down in New Jersey Monday, as the team lost to the Miami Heat.

Julian Garcia of the New York Daily News reports:

With the Nets trailing 79-67 between the third and fourth quarters, Yormark left his courtside seat and passed Chris Lisi of Middletown, N.J., who was sitting in the second row and wearing a paper bag over his head. Yormark then walked back toward Lisi, and in full view of reporters and photographers got into a shouting match with Lisi and a pal.

As Yormark jabbed his finger toward Lisi as he shouted something, Lisi pulled out a pair of tickets and waved them back at the CEO, who then stomped away as security personnel approached.

A Yormark spokesperson said the executive had no comment regarding the incident, but Lisi claimed that Yormark had incited it by asking him why he had the bag over his head. When Lisi sarcastically answered, “Because the Nets are so good,” Yormark snapped at him. Neither Lisi nor his companion, who joined in the shouting match, is a season-ticket holder, and they seemed to be unaware of whom they were arguing with.

It’s probably best to chalk this one up to every human being needing to let some steam off once in a while.

Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks will play host to the Denver Nuggets. And at the small forward spot, it’s about to be ON!

Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News reports:

Danilo Gallinari asks to guard Carmelo Anthony

How else to describe the decision to have Danilo Gallinari guard Denver’s Carmelo Anthony Tuesday at the Garden? Anthony already has hung 50 points on the Knicks this season - more than LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant or any other NBA player.

Here’s the kicker: Not exactly known as a defender, Gallinari asked for the assignment.

“I like to play against the best because that’s the only way to improve,” he said Monday after practice in Greenburgh. “It’s a part of learning. It’s a part of trying to understand where I am and what I have to do get to that level and what they have more than me. I like the challenge.”

Andre Iguodala playing hurt

Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News reports:

Andre Iguodala playing hurt

Mired in one of the worst shooting slumps in his 6-year career, 76ers forward Andre Iguodala revealed yesterday that he is suffering from plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

Iguodala is just 28-for-85 (32.9 percent) in his past six games after posting 30 points in a home loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has also missed 27 of his last 29 shots from beyond the arc.

“It has been hurting for the past couple of weeks,” said Iguodala, who scored 23 points on 8-for-14 shooting in 37 minutes in last night’s 109-93 loss to the Magic. “It’s not something particular that happened, I just noticed it. It’s bothering, but something I can play through.”

ESPN The Magazine reports:

NBA commissioner David Stern and legendary former Georgetown coach John Thompson recently reached out to troubled ex-76ers guard Allen Iverson, according to Iverson’s longtime business manager, Gary Moore.

Stern telephoned Moore Monday and asked how Iverson was coping with the myriad of problems that have come his way. Moore said the two spoke for about 10 minutes and he assured the commissioner Iverson is doing fine.

“David was genuinely concerned for Allen,” Moore said. “He asked about his daughter and his wife. He said that if Allen needed him he knows how to get him.”

Moore said Stern also asked about a recent Philadelphia Inquirer report that said Iverson was battling alcohol and gambling problems.

Stern confirmed the conversation through an NBA spokesman but refused to comment. No future meeting or discussion between Stern and Iverson was set up.

Leon Powe comeback trail

George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal reports:

Leon Powe comeback trail

They’ve rebuilt him — or at least his knee — and it’s paying off for the Cavs during the playoff run.

Coach Mike Brown will have some tough decisions when it comes to his playoff rotation and Leon Powe, who sparkled in the postseason during his career with the Boston Celtics, isn’t making it easier.

Powe had his best game (16 points, seven rebounds) against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

”I’ve worked hard on my leg to try and get back to this point,” Powe said, ”but it’s moving a little bit faster than I thought, which is a sign of my dedication to [rehab] and that is a tribute to me.”

He still isn’t very fast. He doesn’t jump very high, but somehow he was able to even get a dunk in against the Pistons.

”My family keeps asking me to get them a dunk,” he said, ”but I wasn’t sure if I was ready for it. When I saw the opportunity, I went and tried it and I dunked it. I was happy about it.”

Warriors keep Reggie Williams, waive Raja Bell

The Golden State Warriors have signed forward Reggie Williams for the remainder of the season, the team announced today.

Williams, 23, has appeared in 11 games with Golden State, averaging 12.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 24.1 minutes per contest, while shooting 53.0% (53-100 FG) from the field, 48.6% (17-35 3FG) from long range and 90.0% (18-20 FT) from the line. He registered a career-high 28 points in 34 minutes at New Orleans on March 8, and scored 18 fourth quarter points – including 4-of-5 three-pointers – en route to a 22-point performance in the Warriors victory over New Orleans on March 17. A 6-6, 210-pound forward, Williams signed his first 10-day with the Warriors on March 2 as a free agent call-up from the NBA Development League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce, and signed a second 10-day on March 12.

In a related move, the Warriors have waived guard Raja Bell. The Warriors roster now stands at 15 players.

Wolves waive Alando Tucker

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has waived forward Alando Tucker. The Timberwolves acquired Tucker from Phoenix on Dec. 29, 2009 along with a conditional second-round draft pick and cash considerations in exchange for Jason Hart.

A 6-6 forward, Tucker appeared in four games for the Wolves this season, averaging 2.0 points in 6.3 minutes per game. The 29th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Suns, Tucker owns career averages of 4.1 points and 1.0 rebounds in 51 appearances.

Golden State Warriors are for sale

Golden State Warriors are for sale

The Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA) have retained Galatioto Sports Partners (“GSP”) to conduct a sale of the team, it was announced today.  GSP, acting as the Club’s exclusive financial advisor, will manage all aspects of the sales process.  As such, all related inquiries should be made directly to GSP.

Neither the Warriors nor GSP anticipate making any further public comments regarding the sales process until and unless a definitive agreement on a transaction is reached.

The Warriors, currently majority-owned by Christopher Cohan, are an NBA franchise located in the San Francisco Bay Area, the fifth-largest market in the NBA.  The team plays its home games in Oakland, California, at Oracle Arena.

Galatioto Sports Partners, the leading sports advisory and finance firm, specializes in providing investment banking and innovative financing solutions to the global professional sports market.  GSP was established in early 2005 by Salvatore Galatioto.  The principals of the GSP have acted in a variety of capacities on more than 70 transactions in the major North American and European sports leagues.

InsideHoops.com editor says: The Golden State Warriors need a new owner, new GM, new coach  and new players. Otherwise, they’re good.

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