Archive for March 24th, 2010

Spurs sign Curtis Jerrells

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed guard Curtis Jerrells from the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League.  Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Jerrells, 6-1, 200 pounds, has appeared in 43 games this season with the Austin Toros. He averaged 20.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 40.0 minutes.

Jerrells has been selected as the NBA Development League Performer of the Week twice this season, most recently for games played during the week of March 15 when he averaged 32.7 points, 6.3 assists and 5.7 rebounds.  Jerrells also appeared in five preseason games for San Antonio, averaging 3.6 points and 1.8 assists in 14.8 minutes.  He was waived on 10/22.

Jerrells played collegiately for four years at Baylor University.  As a senior he averaged a team-high 16.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.9 assists while starting in all in 39 games for the Bears.  He was selected to the All-Big 12 Third Team and was named to the 2009 NIT All-Tournament Team after leading the Bears to the NIT championship game.  As a junior Jerrells was named to the All-Big 12 First Team, after averaging 15.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists.  He scored a career-high 36 points, including a school and Big 12 record 20-of-24 free throws, in a five-OT 116-110 win at Texas A&M on 1/23/08.

For his career, Jerrells averaged 15.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.34 steals.  Jerrells is the only player in school history to finish his career with more than 1,000 points, 400 assists and 100 steals.

Rumors Talk: Blatche blowing it

Rumors Talk: Blatche blowing it

Since the Washington Wizards scrapped their team, two main things have happened that I can think of. First, Josh Howard’s season ended due to injury. And second, big-man Andray Blatche emerged as a legit talent. His stats in the last month or so are inflated because he tends to get the ball a heck of a lot, but still, he’s doing great.

But as you read on the rumors page today, he messed up yesterday, arguing with Flip Saunders and then reportedly refusing to play the rest of the game. By doing this, Blatche sent a message to the masses that he has maturity issues to work on. Hopefully he does the right thing, says sorry to his coach and team, and moves on positively from there. But the Wizards really don’t need any more nonsense from any players.

The Knicks don’t need Raja Bell at all this season. It’s pointless to add him. Bell should probably just hang out someplace cool, regain full health, and focus on joining a championship contender next season.

I definitely hope Don Nelson goes on to coach the Warriors in summer league play, as he reportedly plans. The more head coaches involved in those games, the better. It’ll just raise the level of everything and make the games that much better.

Madison Square Garden’s atmosphere is electric and amazing, even in losing seasons. Can’t wait to see what it’s like when they have an actual good team out there.

The Nuggets without Kenyon Martin probably aren’t a championship contender. He’s certainly not their best player, but they drop a half-rung down the ladder without him.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas returned to the Cavaliers! In equally shocking news, I ate food today, and will likely do so again tomorrow.

I laughed when hearing that Nets CEO Brett Yormark snapped at a fan. I have no followup comment. That’s just friggin funny on its own. Anyway, Yormark is a respected guy. He’s fine. Just a rough day. Or season. But the Nets should give that fan a signed jersey and a free basketball or something. Or a date with a Nets dancer.

On second thought, I’ll take the Nets dancer date. The fan can have the jersey.

Talk to you tomorrow.

This feature is an editorialized take on the day’s hot NBA rumors stories.

Mother of Kiki Vandeweghe passes away

Dave D’Alessandro of the Newark Star-Ledger reports:

Kiki Vandeweghe flew from California to New Jersey last night, only to learn this morning that his mom, Colleen, died Wednesday morning at her home in Newport Beach.

The Nets coach will stay on the job for a while, or until they work out the funeral arrangements. Colleen Kay Hutchins, who was 83, is survived by her husband – former Knicks star Dr. Ernie Vandeweghe – and two sons and two daughters.

Vandeweghe, who had left the Nets Sunday and skipped Monday’s loss to Miami to be with his family, had been contending with his mother’s illness for more than a year.

“I was happy I went back. I was very lucky to spend some time with my dad, it’s harder on him than anybody,” Vandeweghe said at the shootaround Wednesday morning.

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.

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