Archive for April 12th, 2010

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports:

The text message arrived on Phil Jackson’s cellphone Sunday at 8 p.m., a few hours after the Lakers’ latest loss.

Kobe Bryant wanted to sit out the last two regular-season games.

It was somewhat surprising, seeing how Bryant had just told reporters he wanted to continue playing because “you can’t rest too much … you get rusty,” but then came the text, eventually followed by the Lakers’ official announcement Monday afternoon that Bryant won’t play another game until the playoff opener because of his broken right index finger.

The sporting world can now add an entire roster of Texas Legends to the history books: The newest NBA D-League franchise has a team name!

The Texas Legends begin play this November at their home in the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco, Texas.  Team owners, Donnie Nelson and Evan Wyly, revealed their team name during a “Birthday Party” press conference just prior to the Harlem Globetrotters game on Saturday evening.

“Texas Legends is a tribute to the men and women who helped make our great state what it is today!” Nelson commented.  “From early pioneers of freedom to modern day heroes, we celebrate those who’ve sacrificed greatly and achieved the honorable.”

The team is “Legendary”  even prior to drafting players.  Nelson and Wyly made history by hiring Nancy Lieberman as the Texas Legends’ head coach.  Lieberman is the first female head coach in NBA and NBA D-League history.  In addition to Lieberman, 1986 Slam Dunk Champion, “Spud” Webb is the team’s President of Basketball Operations, and NBA coaching legend Del Harris is the team’s General Manager.

“Our team name, Texas Legends, is a great fit because the NBA Development League is where future NBA legends are born!” Wyly added.

Thousands of name submissions came from the Metroplex, all corners of the United States, and even as far away as Europe, China, and Australia.  Fans sent in name choices which were then narrowed down to 40, and then a final three candidates.

“We’ve got a Legendary staff, and we will have a Legendary franchise,” Webb commented.  “Anytime a new franchise announces its team name it is a historic day, but to have such a unique name makes it even more exciting.  We’ve gotten off to a great start the past few months, and now with a team name it’s going to be a slam dunk.”

The Texas Legends is the 17th team in the NBA D-League franchise.

“The Texas Legends will be a franchise that is a tremendous opportunity for any player.” Harris concluded.  “This is the purpose of the NBA Development League – developing players both on and off the court – and preparing them for an NBA opportunity.  As a Texas Legend, you get the opportunity to become an NBA legend.”

The Sacramento Kings today picked up the option on the contract of head coach Paul Westphal for the 2011-12 season, it was announced by Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie.

“We’re all excited about the new direction Paul has given our team and his ability to keep our players focused during the course of the season,” said Petrie. “I think he’s done a tremendous job of helping us turn the corner. My congratulations to him and his staff. We continue to look forward to an ongoing great relationship as we rebuild the Kings.”

Westphal was named Sacramento’s head coach on June 12, 2009, becoming the franchise’s 23rd head coach. He has a lifetime record of 292-214 (.577) in eight seasons with the Phoenix Suns (1992-93 - 1995-96), Seattle Sonics (1998-99 - 2000-01), and Kings, including a trip to the NBA Finals in 1993 with the Suns.

“I’m very excited to continue to be able to have a chance to build what we have with the Kings,” Westphal said. “It’s been a great experience laying the foundation for years of exciting basketball to come. I’m thrilled by the support of the community, the Maloofs, the front office, and my staff and the players.”

Suns recall Taylor Griffin from D-League

Suns recall Taylor Griffin from D-League

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

Originally assigned for his third stint in Iowa on April 7, the 6-7, 238-pound Griffin appeared in three playoff games, averaging 6.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in 29.0 minutes for the Energy.  Griffin started the final two games for Iowa, both wins, in the Energy’s 2-1 series victory over Utah.  Griffin tallied one double-double and two double-digit rebounding efforts, including a 14-board performance in Iowa’s series-clinching victory April 11.

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

David Andersen season ends slightly early

Houston Rockets C David Andersen is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season (which ends Wednesday night) for precautionary reasons relating to the sore lower back that has caused him to miss the past 11 games.

Andersen finishes his first NBA season with averages of 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds while playing in 63 games.  He is expected to make a full recovery and be available to commence his usual offseason training program with no limitations.

The Detroit Pistons announced today that season ticket prices for the 2010-11 NBA season have been reduced between 10 and 50 percent in all price categories.  Also, for the first time ever, the team will offer a lowest-price guarantee to its season ticket holders.

“As an organization, we understand how fortunate we are to have such a loyal season ticket holder base,” said Alan Ostfield, President and CEO of Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Pistons.  “The economic situation here in Michigan continues to be a difficult one and we want to continue doing our part to respond to the stresses that have been placed on everyone in this region.”

The across-the-board price reductions for Pistons’ tickets are the largest rollbacks in team history, in response to the economic climate in the area. Additionally, the Pistons’ lowest-price guarantee insures season ticket holders that the team will not sell individual game tickets at a lower price.

For the 2010-11 season, the Pistons will increase the number of 100-Level season tickets available for less than $1,000. This popular season ticket offering sold out this past season.

“The Pistons’ experience will be enhanced for the season ticket holder next year by adding many new benefits,” said Shawn Kuzmin, Pistons’ Senior Vice President of Sales and Service. “These include a Loyalty benefits program, as well as a season ticket holder exchange program for unused tickets and access to ticket upgrades at all Pistons’ home games. The new Loyalty benefits program will reward ticket holders on their tenure with the Pistons by offering Palace cards, suites and concert tickets.”

Knicks may keep Earl Barron

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports:

Knicks may keep Earl Barron

In this wacky NBA world, their new 7-foot center, Earl Barron, has a better shot at returning next season than David Lee, an unrestricted free agent who may have played so well this season to have priced himself out of a return.

Knicks president Donnie Walsh told The Post last night he is interested in re-signing Barron for next season as their backup center, probably for the minimum. His 10-day contract expired last night and the Knicks will renew that deal for today’s game and the season finale Wednesday in Toronto.

“No doubt about it, I’d say we have interest in him next summer,” Walsh said of Barron. “We’re going to try to keep him here.”

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