Archive for June, 2010

The AP reports:

Los Angeles Lakers assistant Brian Shaw is meeting with the Cleveland Cavaliers about their coaching vacancy.

Shaw arrived in Cleveland on Monday to visit with owner Dan Gilbert and front-office members, the Cavs said. It is not yet known if the club has offered him the job.

The 43-year-old Shaw has spent five seasons on Phil Jackson’s staff in Los Angeles. A 14-year NBA veteran, Shaw is also considered a candidate to replace Jackson if the 11-time champion retires. Jackson is expected to announce his plans later this week.

The Cavaliers have been looking for a coach since firing Mike Brown after their second-round playoff loss to Boston. The team was previously turned down by Tom Izzo, who rejected a reported $30 million offer to stay at Michigan State.

Joseph Ondrejko, an experienced veteran of selling tickets to professional sporting events and teams, was today named the Philadelphia 76ers new Vice President of Ticket Sales.

“Joe brings a tremendous amount of sales experience to the Sixers,” said Sixers Senior Vice President of Business Operations Lara Price. “As we begin a new era in Sixers basketball with the second overall pick Evan Turner and Head Coach Doug Collins, we’ll rely heavily on Joe to create and implement new and exciting opportunities for our fans to enjoy Sixers basketball.

“He has done incredible jobs with the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Tampa Bay Lightning and we’re looking for similar results here in Philadelphia,” added Price.

Ondrejko joins the Sixers from the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League, where he was responsible for significant increases in new season ticket sales and renewal percentages for the team, while also increasing revenue growth via inside sales, group sales and mini-game plans. He started with the Blue Jackets as Director of Group Ticket Sales, successfully restructuring the department which led to an increase in group sales during his first and only year in that position.

Prior to joining Columbus, Ondrejko spent five years with the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) of Palace Sports and Entertainment becoming the team’s Corporate Partnerships Manager, where he was responsible for developing new revenue streams, all arena signage, in-game promotions, and Lightning Network Broadcast advertising.

He began his tenure with the Lightning as a Corporate Account Manager, before being promoted to Senior Suite Sales Manager, during which time he was charged with developing and leading suite sales campaigns as well as maintaining, adding and renewing suite business on a yearly basis.

Rockets launch free agency fan caravan

The Houston Rockets today held a send off for the 2010 Rockets Free Agency Caravan. Held on the pad in front of Toyota Center, the first-of-its-kind event featured three Rockets-Red Tundras full of Red Rowdies departing on a mission to rendezvous with Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey for the start of the official NBA free agency period that begins on July 1. Nearly 200 Rockets employees joined Morey in sending off the Caravan, which is expected to meet him in the eventual destination city and deliver him to his initial meeting with one of Houston’s primary free agent targets.

“We have such great fans in Houston, and we wanted to bring that passion and energy to our initial free agent meeting,” said Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey. “We are always looking for ways to engage our fans. The inspiration for this Caravan came directly from their creative spirit.”

The 2010 Rockets Free Agency Caravan was inspired by one of the thousands of ideas submitted from fans via e-mail to the team. Morey asked Rockets fans to submit their suggestions for free agency recruitment to ideas@rocketball.com in a quest to find unique recruiting tactics.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports:

When Rockets general manager Daryl Morey begins pursuing free agents this week, he will not be alone.

A band of roughly a dozen Rockets fans will be traveling the country in a week-long expedition with the hopes they will be in a city when Morey arrives to meet with a free agent target.

Hoping to bring attention to the Rockets’ free agency goals, the group left Monday morning from Toyota Center, but initially can only guess where to go. When the free agency period officially begins, at 11 p.m. CDT Wednesday, Morey can tweet or text members of the group so they can travel to the city in which he talks to a player.

Kobe Bryant attends World Cup

Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Now that Lakers star  Kobe Bryant has a little free time, he has decided to spend it in South Africa, with the sport he grew up loving.

Kobe Bryant attends World Cup

On his first trip to Africa, Bryant took in the U.S. loss to Ghana on Saturday — former President Bill Clinton and Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger were there too — then spent Sunday visiting young soccer players at a training center in Soweto, where he answered questions.

His favorite player? Didier Drogba, the powerful forward of now-eliminated Ivory Coast.

The team he admires? Brazil, which he hopes to watch against Chile on Monday.

InsideHoops.com says: It would be cool to see Kobe meet the Brazil team, just to see the reactions on the Brazil players’ faces. I assume that every single one of them knows who Bryant is, but I wonder if they would mostly treat him like a celebrity, or just a star of a sport that most of them aren’t that into. Obviously they’d all be polite to each other, but I wonder how many of these soccer legends really know and like basketball.

Pacers still unsettled at Conseco

The AP reports:

The Indiana Pacers still are renegotiating the team’s lease of Conseco Fieldhouse with a Wednesday deadline approaching…

The CIB owns Conseco Fieldhouse, where the Pacers play home games and have been paying $15 million per year in operating costs. The team is approaching an option period in the lease, and the CIB has said the team could move, be sold or shut down if a resolution isn’t reached…

Team president of basketball operations Larry Bird has said he has received calls from people who want to move the team, though team owner Herb Simon has maintained that he wants the team to remain in Indiana.

2010 Nets summer league roster

Here is the 2010 New Jersey Nets summer league roster. Note that all summer league rosters are subject to change at any time:

AJ Abrams, G
Connor Atchley, F/C
Demond Carter, G
Wayne Chism, F
Jakim Donaldson, F
Derrick Favors, F
Vernon Goodridge, F/C
Brandon Heath , G
Damion James, F
James Peters, F
Gabe Pruitt, G
Alex Ruoff, G
Garret Siler, C
Lance Thomas, F
Cezary Trybanski, C
Ben Uzoh, G
Terrence Williams, G/F
Brian Zoubek, C

Marc Berman of the New York Post blog reports:

Allan Houston will be a big part of Knicks’ recruiting team this July – just as Donnie Walsh envisioned it when he was hired as his assistant.

Houston has an “in” with the LeBron James camp, having known LeBron advisor William Wesley for years. Wesley will be at the Akron summit.

But Houston also has a chance to tell the free agents such as James and Joe Johnson what Mike D’Antoni and Donnie Walsh can’t tell them – what it is like to win in New York.

Nets waive Keyon Dooling

Nets waive Keyon Dooling

The New Jersey Nets have requested waivers on guard Keyon Dooling, Nets President Rod Thorn announced today.

According to the Bergen Record, “Dooling had a $3.8 million team option, but only $500,000 was guaranteed. The Nets had until Tuesday to waive him or his salary would have been fully guaranteed for the upcoming season. The Nets will have roughly $27 million to use in free agency after this transaction.”

Dooling was acquired on July 21, 2008 from Orlando in exchange for cash considerations.  In two full seasons with New Jersey, Dooling appeared in 130 games, averaging 8.6 ppg, 1.6 rpg and 3.1 apg.  The former first round pick (10th overall) of the Magic in 2000 has career averages of 7.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg and 2.2 apg in 10 years with the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and New Jersey Nets.

Dirk Nowitzki entering free agency

Eddie Sefko of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:

Dirk Nowitzki entering free agency

That’s not a huge surprise, although the Mavericks were hoping talks about a contract extension for the nine-time all-star would come to fruition.

A source confirmed that an extension now is unlikely and that if the face of the franchise is to stay in Dallas, it will happen via a new contract in free agency.

Nowitzki said last month that he would exercise his early termination option and explore free agency. It’s the first time he’ll be free on the open market.

Julian Garcia of the New York Daily News reports:

Rod Thorn’s decision to retire as president of the Nets was likely hastened by the presence of what he perceived to be Russian spies inside the team’s offices, sources say.

According to sources close to the team, Thorn had quickly grown tired of having to answer to associates of new Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who took control of the Nets in early May. After months of dealing with Prokhorov’s underlings looking over his shoulder, Thorn decided to walk away.

He will step down on July 15, one week after the free agent signing period begins.

Before news of his impending retirement broke Friday night, Thorn told the Daily News that he had no issues with either Prokhorov or his field generals.

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports:

Greg Monroe: Post player with passing skills

What has John Kuester — and the rest of the Pistons’ front office — guardedly optimistic is that Greg Monroe isn’t your typical big guy.

Everyone likes the guys who attack every rebound and score in the post. By averaging 16.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game last season as a sophomore at Georgetown, Monroe has shown he can do that.

But Kuester, who uses his big men to make decisions on the offensive end, is already thinking of expanding his system to accommodate the talents of Monroe, a multi-skilled big guy who averaged 3.8 assists per game last season.

“When you can throw the ball in the post to a guy that’s a prolific passer, that gives your team a completely different look,” Dumars said. “When you can throw the ball down on the post and then have people start moving, it gives the defense a completely different look, and that’s why post players that can pass are so effective.

“You can run your offense through a guy like that a lot of times. Guys that have been great passers like that have been guys that have helped their teams tremendously.”

John Reid of the New Orleans Times Picayune reports:

Marcus Thornton wants to win starting spot

When the New Orleans Hornets traded veteran Morris Peterson to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night, along with the draft rights to Kansas center Cole Aldrich for the draft rights to forwards Craig Brackins and Quicy Pondexter, it virtually cleared the way for second-year shooting guard Marcus Thornton to enter next season as the starter.

But Thornton said Friday that his approach won’t change from last season, when he came off the bench. He plans to stay driven and anticipates battling to win the job in training camp.

“Until I find out that I’m starting, I’m going to push like I’m still second string,’’ Thornton said Friday. ”I’m going to work and do what I’ve been doing.’’

With a need to clear salary-cap space, the Hornets dealt Peterson, eliminating the $6.6 million salary they would had been required to pay him this season in the final year of his four-year contract.

Andray Blatche out 3 months

Andray Blatche out 3 months

Wizards forward Andray Blatche underwent successful surgery this evening to repair a fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot.  The procedure was performed by Dr. Ed Magur at Sibley Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Blatche is expected to take approximately three months to return to basketball-related activities.

In the 2009-10 NBA season, Blatche for the Wizards averaged 14.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

The AP reports:

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge says top draft pick Avery Bradley will have a “scope” on his left ankle and be sidelined 6-to-8 weeks.

Bradley was selected in the first round, 19th overall, in the NBA draft on Thursday night and was introduced by the Celtics on Friday, along with second-round pick Luke Harangody.

InsideHoops.com quick-take:

Well, at least it’s happening now, and not later on when it would cause Bradley to miss actual NBA games.

Bobcats make qualifying offer to Tyrus Thomas

Charlotte Bobcats General Manager Rod Higgins announced today that the team has made a qualifying offer to forward Tyrus Thomas, making him a restricted free agent. The qualifying offer allows the Bobcats to match any offer he receives from another team.

The Bobcats acquired Thomas from Chicago on February 18, 2010, in exchange for Acie Law, Ronald “Flip” Murray and a future first-round draft pick.  In 25 games with the Bobcats, Thomas averaged 10.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks, while scoring in double figures 14 times.  The fourth overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, Thomas has appeared in 279 career NBA games with averages of 8.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.

Thomas on Monday received the Jefferson Award as the Outstanding Athlete as a Newcomer in Service and Philanthropy for the work of his non-profit organization, Tyrus Thomas Inc., which focuses on youth outreach, community development and organizational support in cities including his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The Charlotte Bobcats, who became the NBA’s 30th team when they joined the league in 2004-05, finished the 2009-10 season with a franchise-best 44-38 overall record (31-10 at home) and first-ever playoff appearance.

Judge finalizes divorce of Dwyane Wade

The AP reports:

An Illinois judge has finalized the contentious divorce of Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, though the messy fight isn’t over.

Cook County Judge Marya Nega announced her widely expected decision during a brief hearing Friday.

Wade says he’s relieved the proceedings from his wife, Siohvaughn, are over.

Nets trade Chris Douglas-Roberts to Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks have acquired guard Chris Douglas-Roberts (6-7, 210) from the New Jersey Nets for a future second round draft pick, General Manager John Hammond announced today. The Nets receive the 2012 second round draft pick that the Bucks acquired from Chicago in the John Salmons trade on February 18, 2010.

After two years in the NBA, Douglas-Roberts has career averages of 7.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game while shooting 44.9 percent from the field. During the 2009-10 season, Douglas-Roberts played 67 games, starting 38, with averages of 9.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 25.8 minutes per game. He shot 44.5 percent from the field and 84.7 percent from the free throw line last season. His 84.7 percent mark from the free throw line ranked 21st in the league last year.

Douglas-Roberts finished his second season in the league with the fourth highest scoring increase amongst sophomore players. He averaged 4.9 points per game as a rookie and improved to 9.8 points in his second season. Only George Hill (+6.7 points per game increase), Brook Lopez (+5.8) and Robin Lopez (+5.3) had higher scoring increases among second year players.

A native of Detroit, MI, Douglas-Roberts, 23, was drafted by the Nets in the second round (40th overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft. He played three seasons at the University of Memphis where he was a consensus First Team All-American and helped lead the Tigers to the national championship game his junior year.

InsideHoops.com quick-take: News of this upcoming trade leaked days ago, so it’s not a surprise. I wonder how CDR feels being given away for a mere future second rounder. He’s probably going to take it personally. He does that, sometimes.

Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press reports:

Karen Davidson expects the Pistons to be sold by the start of the season.

Davidson made the announcement tonight while Joe Dumars, the Pistons president of basketball operations, was discussing the team’s new draft pick, Greg Monroe.

“You’re going to have a new owner pretty soon,” Davidson said. “Definitely. I’m absolutely encouraged by the interest. This is a major franchise.”

Davidson said the new owners would be in place by next season.

“Yes,” she said. “When’s the first game, late October, right? I would expect so (to be sold by then). It depends how many lawyers get in on it, you know?”

Jerry Tipton of McClatchy Newspapers reports:

Kentucky made NBA Draft history Thursday night when the Orlando Magic picked Daniel Orton with the 29th selection of the first round. That enabled UK to become the first college team to boast five first-round picks in an NBA Draft.

But long before Orton got selected with the next-to-last pick of the first round, another agonizing wait had unfolded.

After John Wall made individual history by becoming the first UK player chosen with an NBA Draft’s first overall pick, and after DeMarcus Cousins went to Sacramento with the fifth pick, Patrick Patterson learned what Tom Petty meant when the rocker sang about the waiting being the hardest part…

No college ever did as well as UK did in this NBA Draft. With Eric Bledsoe going to Oklahoma City with the 18th pick (his rights were reportedly traded to the Los Angeles Clippers), the Cats eclipsed the previous record of four first-rounders shared by North Carolina in 2005, Duke in 1999 and Connecticut in 2006.

The Atlanta Hawks tonight acquired the draft rights to Jordan Crawford (the 27th pick) and Tibor Pleiss (the 31st pick) from the New Jersey Nets, in exchange for the rights to Damion James, who the Hawks selected at the 24th spot in the 2010 NBA Draft. Atlanta subsequently sent the rights to Pleiss to Oklahoma City in exchange for financial considerations.

At the 53rd spot in the second round, the Hawks drafted 6-7 Pape Sy from the Le Havre club in France’s Pro A League.

“We wanted to select the best player available, and we feel like we accomplished that with Jordan Crawford,” said Hawks Executive Vice President/General Manager Rick Sund. “We’re thrilled to acquire a player of Jordan’s caliber. He’s a player we scouted throughout the year, and targeted in the pre-draft process.”

“Jordan is a prolific scorer with deep range, who rose to the occasion for his team in the postseason,” said Hawks Assistant GM/Director of Player Personnel Dave Pendergraft. “He’s a gym rat who loves to play the game, and will give us another player who can play multiple positions and put the ball in the basket.”

Crawford (a 6-4 guard) led Xavier and the Atlantic 10 in scoring last season (20.5 ppg), appearing in 35 games (.462 FG%, .773 FT%). He averaged 29.0 ppg in three contests in the NCAA Tournament, earning a spot on the NCAA Tournament All-West Region Team. He played in 30 games as a freshman at Indiana University (in 2007-08), finishing seventh among Big Ten freshmen in scoring at 9.7 ppg, hitting double-figures 15 times.

The Detroit native played at Communication and Media Arts High School in his hometown, before attending Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, VA for a year. His brother, Joe, played at University of Kentucky from 2004-08.

Crawford will be available to the Atlanta media when the Hawks commence their rookie camp, which is scheduled to begin on July 9 on the Philips Arena practice court.

“I was impressed with Pape’s workout,” said Hawks coach Larry Drew. “He had a strong desire to come in here and showcase his talent. He’s got a great shot, and the ability to play two positions. We were really hoping he’d be there for us.”

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