Timberwolves hire Tony Ronzone as assistant GM

Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn today announced the hiring of Tony Ronzone as the franchise’s Assistant General Manager/Player Personnel. Ronzone has been with the Detroit Pistons for the past nine seasons, most recently as the team’s Director of Basketball Operations. Ronzone will report directly to Kahn.

“We are excited to be able to add a person with Tony’s extensive basketball experience to our player personnel staff,” Kahn said. “Even though Tony’s reputation is largely tied to international scouting, I believe he has always had a firm handle on NBA and college personnel as well. He is a relentless worker and we are fortunate to have him join us.”

Ronzone began with the Pistons in 2001, serving as the team’s Director of International Scouting until 2005 and as Director of Basketball Operations from 2005-10. In his most recent role with Detroit, Ronzone directed all of the Pistons’ international scouting activities and assisted with college scouting and evaluating NBA personnel. Ronzone began his NBA career as a scout with the Dallas Mavericks from 1998 through 2000.

“I’m pleased to be joining a great organization like the Minnesota Timberwolves and excited to work with David Kahn and the entire basketball staff,” Ronzone said. “This is a great opportunity and I look forward to using my knowledge and past experiences in helping the organization achieve its goals.”

Ronzone began his front office basketball career as a player/coach in New Zealand. In 1990, Ronzone returned to the U.S. as an assistant coach at Arizona State. He also coached the Saudi Arabian National Team in 1992, and spent five years as a coach in United Arab Emirates. Ronzone’s international coaching resume also includes stints as an assistant coach for the Chinese youth national team in 1998 and the Chinese National Team in 2001. He was the first American to ever coach with the Chinese National Team.

Ronzone played college basketball at the University of Nevada before finishing his collegiate career at Long Beach State. He played professionally overseas in New Zealand, Australia and the Philippines.

Ronzone is involved with USA Basketball, where he serves as Director of International Player Personnel. In this position, he assisted with the gold-medal winning men’s basketball team at the 2008 Olympics. He is also active in the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program.

Phil Jackson, Steve Nash trade playful jabs before series

Kirkland Crawford of the Detroit Free Press reports:

Phil Jackson, Steve Nash trade playful jabs before series

The Lakers coach has made a name for himself in two ways: winning 10 NBA championships and complaining to officials via the media with stealth-like effectiveness.

And his latest target is Suns All-Star guard Steve Nash.

A couple of days ago, Jackson was asked if it was tough to prepare for Nash and Jackson quipped, “yeah, because you can’t carry the ball like he does in practice.”

So, Nash, what’s your response?

“I’ve never heard anyone accuse me of carrying it,” Nash said. “I mean, the best coach in the league Gregg Popovich (of San Antonio) didn’t have a problem with it last week.”

Dwight Howard frustrated by Celtics in Game 1 loss

The AP reports:

Dwight Howard Frustrated by Celtics in Game 1 Loss

Dwight Howard knew what the Boston Celtics had planned. Whenever he got the ball in the post, someone was going to hit him, bump him, push him, do whatever it took to keep him from getting into rhythm.

It wasn’t a new approach.

The Celtics simply do it better than just about everyone else.

Howard made only 3 of his 10 shots from the floor Sunday, continuing what’s been a yearlong offensive struggle against the Celtics, and his Orlando Magic lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals to Boston 92-88.

”I played like a robot,” Howard said.

He doesn’t have long for reprogramming. Game 2 is Tuesday night.

Bryant, Bynum knee issues continue

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Bryant, Bynum knee issues continue

Kobe Bryant recently had a significant amount of fluid drained from his swollen right knee, The Times has learned, and hasn’t practiced since the last round.

Andrew Bynum practiced only once and said the torn cartilage in his right knee was “getting a little worse” after making it through Saturday’s scrimmage.

“We need some different company out on the court,” Phil Jackson said with a smile Sunday after yet another day of practice.

Jackson was a little more somber when discussing Bryant and Bynum, the former averaging a solid 32 points a game in the conference semifinals, the latter totaling only six points the last two games against the Jazz.

Jackson, on Bryant: “He came out [Sunday] and shot a little bit and tried to get in rhythm. We hope that he’s on board and his game is right at that point where it needs to be.”

Jackson, on Bynum: “I thought he played well [Saturday] and we’re hopeful that he’s going to be at that level.”