Archive for April 20th, 2010

Trail Blazers sign Marcus Camby to two-year extension

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed forward/center Marcus Camby to a two-year contract extension, it was announced today by General Manager Kevin Pritchard.

According to Jason Quick of The Oregonian, “Camby on Tuesday afternoon signed a two-year deal that will pay him $21 million guaranteed, with an additional $5 million in incentives.”

Camby posted averages of 7.0 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.13 steals, 2.04 blocked shots and 31.2 minutes in 23 games (all starts) with the Trail Blazers this season. He ranked second in the NBA in rebounds (11.8), fifth in blocked shots (1.97) and eighth in steals-to-turnover ratio (1.04) for 2009-10.

“Portland felt right to me since I got here and the support from the team, fans and organization has been incredible,” said Camby. “I’m looking forward to continuing my career as a Trail Blazer and think this team can do something special.”

The 6-11, 235-pound NBA veteran was acquired from the L.A. Clippers on Feb. 16 in exchange for Travis Outlaw, Steve Blake and cash considerations.

“Marcus has been a great fit for us and is a big reason for our success,” said Pritchard. “He’s one of the league’s top defensive players, a consummate professional and we’re thrilled to see him in a Trail Blazers uniform for at least two more seasons.”

Camby, 36, has averaged 10.4 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.58 blocked shots in 14 NBA seasons with Toronto, New York, Denver, L.A. Clippers and Portland.

Portland went 17-6 with Camby in the lineup to grab the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference and finish with a 50-32 record.

Deron Williams playoff game was historic

Deron Williams’ 33-point, 14-assist effort in the Jazz’s Game 2 win last night in Denver was historic.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, in the history of the NBA playoffs, only one other player had as many points and as many assists in leading his team to a road victory - and it has been 43 years since that one previous instance!  Back on March 21, 1967, Oscar Robertson had 33 points and 16 assists to lead his Cincinnati Royals to a 120-116 win over Wilt Chamberlain’s 76ers in the opening game of an Eastern Division semifinals series.

It also marked only the third 30-point, 10-assist game in Jazz playoff history, and the first in a winning effort.

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that the search for a new head coach will begin immediately and Jeff Bower will resume his sole duties and focus as the team’s general manager.

“Jeff stepped in to coach in a difficult situation and did a phenomenal job this season serving both roles as head coach and general manager.” said Hornets President Hugh Weber. “We had a lot of setbacks with injuries but still competed every night even though our players missed a total of 230 games due to injury. This move allows Jeff to fully focus as the team’s general manager and build off of our great draft success of last season. He has been a valued part of shaping our franchise for a long time and we feel fortunate that Jeff will continue in a major role as GM. We will continue to supplement and evaluate our resources on the basketball side so we can compete and maximize our personnel decisions at the highest level.”

Bower took over the head coaching role this season on November 12 after the Hornets relieved Byron Scott of head coach duties. Bower guided the Hornets to a 34-39 record (.466) this season while the team endured many injuries to its key players. The Hornets high this season came on January 27th when the team was five games above .500 at 25-20 and occupied the sixth seed in the Western Conference before three-time All-Star Chris Paul went down with an injury and missed the next 29 of 37 games to finish the season.

Bower, who has spent his 14-plus seasons with the club, has been an invaluable asset for the Hornets at all levels in basketball operations.  He began his tenure with the Hornets as an advance scout from 1995 to 1997 before earning a promotion as the team’s director of scouting.  In addition to his scouting duties during the 1998-99 season, Bower joined the coaching ranks as an assistant after Paul Silas was named interim head coach on March 7, 1999 (and helped him lead the Hornets to a 22-13 record).  After serving as the assistant general manager for the 2000-01 season, Bower was promoted to general manager in June of 2001 and has since held that position.  He returned to the bench as an assistant coach under Floyd in 2003-04. Bower’s years of experience working at all levels in the Hornets’ basketball operations department culminated with his appointment to the current post of general manager just prior to the start of the team’s 2005-06 training camp.

“First off, I want to thank the Hornets organization for their belief in me to serve as both head coach and general manager for the majority of the 2009-10 season,” said Bower. “One thing that our team did night in and night out was compete regardless of circumstances. However, we were able to get some great support from our two rookies, who have shown that they are among the best rookies in this year’s class. I look forward to the challenges ahead as GM and to build off the positives from this season and the previous seasons in the draft and free agency.”

Prior to joining the Hornets, Bower enjoyed an impressive career at the collegiate level.  He spent three years as an assistant coach at Penn State University from 1983-86 before moving to Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.  After first serving as an assistant coach from 1986 through 1990, he was promoted to associate head coach, a position he held for five years.  Bower helped lead the Red Foxes to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1987 after winning the Northeast Conference.

The AP reports:

Dwight Howard wins second straight defensive player of the year award

Dwight Howard has won his second straight NBA defensive player of the year award after becoming the only player to lead the league in blocks and rebounds in the same season twice — let alone in consecutive years.

Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy and players confirmed the All-Star center will accept the award at a news conference Tuesday at 2 p.m.

“I think it’s a well deserved honor,” Van Gundy said. “He’s the most impactful defensive player.”

For complete voting results, click here.

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

Patience a friend to Knicks fans

Steve Adamek of the Bergen Record reports (via blog):

It’s more than two months until July 1, which means the Knicks and their fans will need a lot of patience.

Patience when Marcus Camby, a likely free-agent target, decides to re-up with Portland for two more years.

Patience when Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo proclaims that Chris Bosh can expect a max-salary offer from his team.

Patience when Dwyane Wade says the Heat are “in the driver’s seat” when it comes to his future.

Patience if LeBron James says anything suggestive (or definitive) about staying in Cleveland.

That’s the problem with these next two-plus months. While the Knicks can’t do anything (officially, anyway) in terms of recruiting members of the upcoming free-agent class, those members’ teams can sign them to extensions or new deals to keep them off the July 1 market.

Tony Parker OK with coming off bench

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News reports:

Tony Parker OK with coming off bench

Spurs point guard Tony Parker admits he hasn’t quite been feeling like himself lately. He’s been feeling a little off, a little out of sorts, a little Argentine.

“I’m Manu Jr.,” Parker said.

Coming off the bench, it seems, can create quite an identity crisis. For the past seven games including Sunday’s Game 1 defeat at Dallas, Parker — like Manu Ginobili once did — has found himself in unaccustomed territory as a reserve.

In the Spurs’ 100-94 playoff-opening loss, Parker backed up George Hill and produced a Manu Jr.-like bench line: 18 points and four assists.

It is an arrangement Parker has told coach Gregg Popovich he’s OK with, even though he started all but seven of his first 662 career games.

Game 2: Short-handed Jazz beat Nuggets

The AP reports:

Game 2: Short-handed Jazz beat Nuggets

With Utah running out of big bodies, Deron Williams carried an even bigger load.

Williams had 33 points and 14 assists while chalking up nearly 45 minutes to lead the Jazz to a 114-111 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round series.

“He took over from the beginning of the game, which is huge for us,” said Carlos Boozer, who added 20 points and 15 rebounds as the injury-riddled Jazz tied the series before it shifts to Salt Lake City for Game 3 on Friday night…

Utah was playing without two of its most experienced playoff performers in forward Andrei Kirilenko (calf), who is out for this series, and center Mehmet Okur, who tore his left Achilles’ tendon in Game 1 and is done for the playoffs…

Kyryo Fesenko played admirably on Nene, and Carmelo Anthony was flustered despite scoring 32 points just 48 hours after his playoff-best 42-point performance in the opener.

Anthony made 14 of 15 free throws but was just 9 of 25 from the field and was whistled for four offensive fouls.

The AP reports:

Game 2: LeBron scores 40, Cavs beat Bulls

“They were telling me I can’t make jump shots,” LeBron James said. “They asked me to shoot a jumper so I did that. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.”

James scored 40 points—15 in a tour-de-force fourth quarter—as the Cavaliers, fueled by a rabid home crowd that booed every move by Joakim Noah, maintained home-court advantage by beating the Bulls 112-102 on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

James added eight rebounds and eight assists for the Cavs, who led 96-93 with 4:30 left before the league’s soon-to-be-two-time MVP took over. He hit his 3 with the 6-foot-11 Noah coming at him and followed with a quick dance move and wink directed at Chicago’s talkative bench…

Noah, who drew the ire of Cleveland fans by criticizing the city’s lack of downtown activity, had 25 points and 13 rebounds…

Derrick Rose added 23 points and Luol Deng had 20 for the Bulls, who will head home for Game 3 on Thursday night.

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