Archive for June, 2010

John Wall to wear jersey #2

The AP reports:

John Wall to wear jersey #2

The Washington Wizards’ No. 1 overall draft pick announced Wednesday night on Twitter his choice of jersey for the start of his NBA career.

Wall made the simple post: “I picked to wear (number symbol)2 for nxt yr”. He offered no immediate explanation, although the easy interpretation is that he added up the digits of the number he wore at the University of Kentucky.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News reports:

Richard Jefferson opts out of Spurs contract

In a surprise move, Richard Jefferson has informed the Spurs that he intends to opt out of the final season of his contract and will become a free agent at midnight eastern time.

Jefferson was due to make $15 million next year. Opting out gives him the freedom to negotiate a long-term deal, in advance of a new collective bargaining agreement next season.

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

The AP reports:

Former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker pleaded not guilty Wednesday to criminal bad check charges alleging he failed to repay almost $1 million in gambling debts and penalties to three Las Vegas casinos.

A Clark County District Court hearing master, Melisa De La Garza, set trial for Nov. 22 in Las Vegas. Walker and his lawyer, Jonathan Powell, said nothing to reporters after the brief arraignment.

Powell has said he and the Clark County district attorney’s office were negotiating toward resolving the Nevada case without sending Walker to prison. Walker could face probation or up to 12 years behind bars if convicted.

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has extended qualifying offers to guard Kyle Lowry and forward Luis Scola.

The Rockets also exercised a team option to extend the contract of center/forward Chuck Hayes to include the upcoming 2010-11 season.

Grizzlies make qualifying offer to Rudy Gay

The Memphis Grizzlies have made a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Rudy Gay, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.  Per team policy, financial terms were not released.

Gay, a 6-8, 230-pound forward, placed second on the Grizzlies in scoring last season (19.6 points, T-18th in the NBA) while posting 5.9 rebounds and a career-high 1.48 steals in a career-high 39.7 minutes (3rd) in 80 games (all starts) last season.  The four-year NBA veteran holds career averages of 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.25 steals in 35.3 minutes in 318 career games (282 starts), all with the Grizzlies.

Currently Memphis’ longest-tenured player, the 23-year-old ranks in the Top 10 in franchise history in points (5,538, 3rd), rebounds (1,756, 8th), field goals made (2,118, 3rd), three-point field goals made (337, 4th), steals (398, 3rd), games played (8th) and games started (4th).  Memphis acquired Gay’s draft rights (eighth overall in the 2006 NBA Draft) along with Stromile Swift from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Shane Battier on July 12, 2006.

In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, in order for a team to retain its right of first refusal with respect to a restricted free agent, the team must tender the player a qualifying offer on or prior to June 30.  A restricted free agent may sign an offer sheet with any team but is subject to a right of first refusal with the team for which the player last played.

Matt Ehalt of the New York Daily News reports:

“It’s urgent that they sign somebody,” Walt Frazier said of the Knicks. “They made sacrifices for a couple years waiting for this moment. I’m sure pretty confident they are going to sign somebody.”

When assessing free agency, Frazier said he thinks the Knicks have a 50-50 chance of signing the free agents. Frazier says LeBron James is the “panacea” and he believes that some of the other free agents available are just pieces and the Knicks would need a couple of players of that caliber to reach a championship level. Other free agents include Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson and Amare Stoudemire.

While titles and banners haven’t been the Knicks forterecently, Frazier says he believes that winning a championship in New York is an unmatched experience.

Suns announce executive staff changes

The Suns announced today the promotion of Jay Parry to Senior Vice President of Brand and Business Development for the club and added additional responsibilities to two veteran executives.  Ralph Marchetta adds the title of Senior Vice President of Suns Ticket Operations, continuing as General Manager of Sports and Entertainment Services which manages US Airways Center. Senior Vice President of Marketing Partnerships Lynn Agnello will add Suite Sales and Service to her current role with the team.

“The new assignments announced today create one of the most experienced and talented senior business teams to be found anywhere in sports and entertainment,” said Rick Welts, President and CEO of the Phoenix Suns.  “The characteristics that made Jay so successful with the Mercury will now be expanded across the entire organization.  Ralph and Lynn have shown their ability to excel as their management responsibilities have grown, and the three of them together are a formidable team.”

As Senior Vice President of Brand and Business Development, Parry will oversee the day to day operations of Ticket Sales, Premium Seats, Suns Digital Media, CRM and Database Marketing, Public Relations, Marketing and Community Relations departments.

For the past seven years, Parry served as President and Chief Operating Officer for the Phoenix Mercury and has been responsible for overseeing all business operations.  Under Parry’s leadership, the organization won two WNBA championships (2007, 2009) and has posted significant business growth in the areas of corporate partnerships and acquiring new fans. Parry was also a driving force behind the Mercury’s development of an innovative alliance with Lifelock that resulted in the first-ever corporate-branded jersey in WNBA or NBA history.

Marchetta has been with the organization since March 1992, before the opening of America West Arena, as an event manager and entered the world of booking in 1996.  He was named Vice President of Entertainment in 2002 before assuming the General Manager role for US Airways Center in 2007.  Marchetta is responsible for bringing some of the most prestigious concerts to the Valley including The Police, Eric Clapton, U2, George Strait. He also secured long-term relationships with Feld Entertainment (Ringling Bros and Barnum Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice shows) and concert promoter Live Nation.

Agnello is entering her 10th season with the Suns as Senior Vice President of Marketing Partnerships for the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury. She has built an unprecedented discipline of full-service sales and activation, generating revenue through partnership packages which include broadcasts in HD, digital media, radio, cable, print, website, signage, and promotional elements. As the only local professional sports team controlling and marketing all its own media and promotional assets, she leads the franchise’s relationships with over 100 marketing partners. She joined the organization in 2001.

Bulls waive Rob Kurz and Chris Richard

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has waived forwards Rob Kurz and Chris Richard.

Kurz (6-9, 230), 25, signed with the Bulls as a free agent on April 9, 2010.  He did not make an appearance in a Bulls uniform during his time with the team.

Richard (6-9, 256), 25, played in 18 games last season with Chicago and averaged 2.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg and 12.4 mpg.

New Orleans Hornets Head Coach Monty Williams announced three new members of his coaching staff today. Williams will be joined by Mike Malone, Bryan Gates and James Borrego.

“I’m thrilled to have Mike, Bryan and James on board,” said Head Coach Monty Williams. “They all have great experience, tireless work ethics and I believe they’ll bring a lot of fresh perspectives to the staff. I’m looking forward to working with all of them and excited to see how all of our different insight will come together to help this team reach its potential. I think this is the start of a great combination of strengths.”

Malone joins the Hornets after a five-year stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers. As a member of the Cavaliers coaching staff, Malone has been instrumental in the team’s success since his arrival. The Cavs made their fifth-straight playoff appearance in 2010—just the second time in franchise history the team has done so. Over the last five campaigns, Cleveland has gone 272-138 (.663), which is third-best in the NBA during that span. In addition to his coaching duties with the Cavaliers, Malone was an assistant coach with the Canadian Men’s Senior National Team. He helped guide the Canadian team to a top four finish in the 2009 FIBA Americas Championship in Puerto Rico. Malone has also spent time with the New York Knicks, as well as coaching at Manhattan College, UVA, Providence College and Oakland (Mich.) University. Malone played college basketball at Loyola College (Md.). He is the son of former Cavaliers’ Head Coach and current Orlando Magic Assistant Coach Brendan Malone, who is a 23-year veteran of the NBA.

Gates begins his first season as an assistant coach with the Hornets following a one-year stint with the Sacramento Kings. He went to Sacramento following a highly-successful career as a head coach in the NBA Development League with the Idaho Stampede. Gates is a two-time recipient of the Dennis Johnson D-League Coach of the Year award (2006-07, 2007-08), having spent three seasons as the head coach for Idaho where he compiled a record of 101-51 (.664). He led the Stampede to the NBA Development League Championship in 2007-08.  In all, Gates worked 12 seasons with the Stampede, serving as either the head coach or as an assistant coach with the club since its inception, and has also coached for the IBA’s Rapid City Thrillers, CBL’s Hickory Nutz, USBL’s Oklahoma Storm, and the Beirut Blue Stars in Lebanon.

Following seven seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, Borrego begins his first season with the Hornets. He joined the Spurs in the summer of 2003 as an assistant video coordinator and was named head video coordinator in the summer of 2004. He has served as an assistant coach for the Spurs summer league teams each of the last six years. Borrego served as an assistant coach at San Diego for two seasons (2001–03). During the 2002–03 campaign, USD won the WCC Championship and appeared in the 2003 NCAA Tournament. He played three seasons at University of San Diego and, as a senior, during the 2000–01 season, earned a spot on the West Coast Conference All-Academic Team.

Eddie Sefko of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram report:

dirk nowitzki

For the first time in 12 years, Dirk Nowitzki will not be a Dallas Maverick when the clock strikes 11 tonight.

His free agency, confirmed Tuesday when his notification that he will opt out of the final year of his contract arrived at the Mavericks’ office, is not expected to last long. In fact, when he wakes up Thursday morning in Germany, he’ll likely have a handshake deal waiting for him…

The first step was for Nowitzki to inform the Mavericks he would opt out. The letter was faxed about noon Tuesday. He surrendered his 2010-11 salary of $21.5 million.

It’s a smart move on his part, because he now can sign a new four-year contract that could (and likely will) include a no-trade clause. He’ll also be capable of earning about $96 million over the next four years, money that would not be subject to any changes in the salary structure that could come next summer in collective-bargaining negotiations.

Blazers waive Ryan Gomes

Blazers waive Ryan Gomes

The Portland Trail Blazers have waived forward Ryan Gomes. Gomes, along with Luke Babbitt (16th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft), was acquired in a draft day trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves for guard/forward Martell Webster.

In his NBA career, Gomes averages 11.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game with 45.3% shooting.

Last season, Gomes for the Wolves averaged 10.9 ppg and 4.6 rpg.

It’s very likely that somoene will sign him as a free agent.

Houston Rockets All-Star Center Yao Ming has elected not to exercise the early termination option in his contract in order to complete the final year of his contract with the Rockets.  Yao and Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey released the following statements today:

Yao Ming: “My decision is very clear, I am going to stay with the Rockets through the end of my current contract.  Since my first day in Houston, I always felt that this community treated me very nice and made me feel like it was my second home.  I feel Mr. Alexander and Daryl Morey have done a great job of building this team into a winner and I am comfortable that they will continue to bring in very good players to help us continue to build a championship team.”

Daryl Morey: “We are very excited to have Yao Ming committed to coming back for next season.  He has been the foundation of this team since his arrival in 2002 and we are looking forward to having him back on the court next season.”

The Miami Heat announced today that they have made a qualifying offer to Joel Anthony, making him a restricted free agent and giving Miami the opportunity to match any contract offer he receives.

Anthony, a 6’9”, 245-pound center, was originally signed as a free agent by the Heat on July 3, 2007, after going undrafted out of UNLV, and then re-signed with Miami on July 20, 2009. He has appeared in 169 regular season games (45 starts) during his three-year stint with Miami, averaging 2.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.38 blocks and 17.0 minutes while shooting 47.8 percent from the floor and 66.8 percent from the foul line.

Anthony concluded the 2009-10 season tied with John Salley for ninth place on the Heat’s all-time blocked shots list with 233. Additionally, he has appeared in 11 postseason contests (two starts) with the Heat and has averaged 2.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.09 blocks and 15.2 minutes while shooting 75 percent from the field and 83.3 percent from the foul line.

During the 2009-10 season, he appeared in a team-high 80 regular season games (16 starts) and averaged 2.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.43 blocks and 16.1 minutes while connecting on 47.8 percent of his field goal attempts and 71.7 percent of his free throw attempts. In addition to topping the Heat in games played he also led the team in blocks with 109, the 15th best total in the NBA. Anthony also saw action in each of Miami’s five postseason games in 2010 and averaged 2.6 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.00 blocks and 15.8 minutes while connecting on 71.4 percent of his field goal attempts and 75 percent of his free throw attempts.

Nets trade Yi Jianlian to Wizards for Quinton Ross

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has acquired forward Yi Jianlian and cash considerations from the New Jersey Nets in exchange for guard/forward Quinton Ross.

“This trade is a good opportunity to add a skilled seven-footer with significant NBA experience who was the sixth overall pick in the draft just three years ago,” said Grunfeld.  “Yi fits in very well with our ongoing plan of building towards the future with a core of young, talented players.”

Yi averaged career highs of 12.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 52 games (51 starts) last season with New Jersey.  The seven-foot native of China holds career averages of 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds in 179 games (152 starts) in three seasons with Milwaukee and New Jersey.

Originally selected by the Bucks with the sixth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Yi was traded to New Jersey along with Bobby Simmons in exchange for Richard Jefferson prior to the 2008-09 season.  He averaged 8.6 points and 5.2 rebounds as a rookie and was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for December.  Yi followed his rookie campaign by averaging 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds with the Nets in 2008-09.  Prior to entering the draft, he led Guangdong to the Chinese Basketball Association title and competed for the Chinese National Team in the 2008 and 2004 Olympics.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Yi didn’t do much in New Jersey aside from frustrating teammate Brook Lopez by making various defensive mistakes. But he’s still a young player who can score and move around decently on offense. His passing, physical strength and defense is still a work in progress.

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

Heat waive James Jones

Heat waive James Jones

The Miami Heat announced today that they have requested waivers on forward James Jones, a 6’8”, 220-pound forward, was signed by the Heat as a free agent on July 9, 2008.

He appeared in 76 regular season games (seven starts) during his two-year stint with Miami, averaging 4.1 points, 1.4 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 14.9 minutes while shooting 36.6 percent from the floor, 37.6 percent from three- point range and 83.1 percent from the foul line.

Additionally, he appeared in eight postseason contests (seven starts) with the Heat and averaged 8.6 points, 2.0 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 30.5 minutes while shooting 51.5 percent from the field, 47.8 percent from three-point range and 92.3 percent from the foul line.

During the 2009-10 season, he appeared in 36 regular season games (six starts) and averaged 4.1 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 14.0 minutes while connecting on 36.1 percent of his field goal attempts, 41.1 percent of his three-point attempts and 82.1 percent of his free throw attempts. In his lone 2010 postseason appearance he had two points in nine minutes of action.

The seven-year NBA veteran, and University of Miami graduate, was originally drafted in the second round of the 2003 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers with the 49th overall pick. He has appeared in 366 career games (65 starts) and has averaged 6.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 18.9 minutes while shooting 39.8 percent from the floor, 39.5 percent from three-point range and 86.1 percent from the foul line.

Michael Wallace of the Miami Herald reports:

Dwyane Wade gives Heat a wish-list of free agent targets

Dwyane Wade has given the Miami Heat his “wish list” of potential targets he wants team president Pat Riley to pursue when free agency opens at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

Landing the services of LeBron James and either Amare Stoudemire or Chris Bosh in Miami would be the beginning of the kind of championship makeover Wade seeks this summer.

Wade stopped short of offering names of the marquee players he discussed with Riley in recent weeks. But the Heat’s star guard repeatedly mentioned James and Bosh when he talked about players who instantly could push a team to title contention.

Talk of James and Bosh coming to Miami intensified Monday amid national speculation the two were leaning toward joining Wade, with each taking slightly less money than the maximum they could command.

Cavs like Brian Shaw, Byron Scott

Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal reports:

While the Cavaliers await a decision on LeBron James’ future, their coaching search appears to be nearing the final stages.

Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw arrived in town Monday and will continue meetings with owner Dan Gilbert and General Manager Chris Grant today, the team confirmed. The Cavs would like to make a decision on their next coach today, according to a source with knowledge of their plans, although a ”decision” does not necessarily mean a contract offer today.

By the conclusion of the interviews with Shaw, however, the team will probably choose between him and Byron Scott.

Shaw, who is represented by CAA Sports, the same firm that represents James, is the second known candidate, after Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, to be brought to Cleveland for an interview. Team executives met with Scott in Michigan on Father’s Day, according to his agent, Brian McInerney, but no offer was made.

Marbury hopes Nets gets LeBron

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports:

Stephon Marbury said he is rooting for LeBron James to sign with the Nets to rescuscitate Newark and, eventually, his home borough, Brooklyn.

“LJ 23 should go to the Nets so that Newark would be able to grow and build businesses for the people there,” Marbury wrote in an e-mail to The Post. “After he builds the economy in Newark he can come to my borough and create a brand new life for people struggling to make it in this tough economy.”

Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

It didn’t escape Brandon Jennings’ notice that the Bucks also obtained veteran small forward Corey Maggette in a trade with Golden State, with center Dan Gadzuric and guard Charlie Bell going to the Warriors.

“He’s a guy who can get to the line,” Jennings said of the 30-year-old Maggette, who will be entering his 12th pro season. “That’s what we missed last year. He can get you 20 or more (points per game), so I’m excited.”

Maggette was part of a high-octane Warriors offense that featured shooting guard Monta Ellis and rookie point guard Stephen Curry.

“He runs the floor,” Jennings said of the 6-6 Maggette. “Even though he demands the ball a lot, that’s all right, though. We’re going to need somebody who can take over at the end of the game.”

Free-agent negotiations begin Thursday, and Jennings said he hopes guard John Salmons will choose to return to the Bucks.

Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor announced today that the team has tendered qualifying offers to center Kyrylo Fesenko and guard Wesley Matthews.  Per team policy, financial terms were not released.

In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, in order for a team to retain its right of first refusal with respect to a restricted free agent, the team must tender the player a qualifying offer by June 30.  A restricted free agent may sign an offer sheet with any team, but is subject to a right of first refusal with the team for which the player last played.

A three-year NBA veteran, Fesenko (7-1, 300, Ukraine) appeared in 49 games (five starts) for the Jazz in 2009-10, averaging 2.6 points and 1.8 rebounds in 8.3 minutes.  He also appeared in all 10 Jazz playoff games (nine starts), averaging 3.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 0.50 blocks in 18.0 minutes.  Fesenko scored in double figures three times on the season, and grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds in Game 4 of the Conference Semifinals vs. the L.A. Lakers.  Originally selected by Philadelphia in the second round (38th overall selection) of the 2007 NBA Draft, the Jazz acquired Fesenko’s rights in a draft night deal that sent the draft rights to Herbert Hill (55th overall pick) to the 76ers. Fesenko has appeared in a total of 79 regular season games (all with the Jazz) and owns career averages of 2.4 points and 1.8 rebounds in 8.0 minutes per game.

Matthews (6-5, 220, Marquette) appeared in all 82 games (48 starts) for the Jazz as a rookie in 2009-10, averaging 9.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 24.7 minutes.  He also started all 10 Jazz playoff games, where he averaged 13.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.80 steals in 37.1 minutes.  Matthews became just the ninth rookie in Jazz history to appear in all 82 games, and his 48 starts marked the most by a Jazz rookie since Jarron Collins (68) in 2001-02.  Matthews scored in double figures 40 times, scoring 20+ points on three occasions, and started the team’s final 28 games of the regular season.  He finished the season ranked in the Top 10 in scoring, minutes and free throw percentage among NBA rookies.  Matthews was not selected in the 2009 NBA Draft and appeared with the Jazz in the team’s summer league entry in the 2009 Orlando Pro Summer League before making the team as an undrafted rookie free agent in training camp.

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