Archive for July 26th, 2010

ramon_sessions

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has traded guard Ramon Sessions, center Ryan Hollins and a future second-round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for the player contracts of guards Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair.

“I want to thank Ramon and Ryan for their time with us last season,” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “With the arrivals of Luke Ridnour, Michael Beasley, Nikola Pekovic and the signing of Darko Milicic, it was clear that Ramon and Ryan would have lesser roles this season if they were to remain. This move provides them a better opportunity in Cleveland and adds to our flexibility both this season and beyond in relation to the salary cap.”

West, the 24th overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 2004 NBA Draft, has played six seasons in the league with Boston, Seattle and Cleveland. He owns career averages of 10.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

Telfair, the 13th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by Portland, also has six years of experience in the NBA. He owns career averages of 7.9 points, 1.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists in stints with Portland, Boston, Minnesota, the L.A. Clippers and Cleveland. In his two previous seasons with the Wolves, Telfair posted career highs in scoring (9.8 ppg in 2008-09) and assists (5.9 apg in 2007-08).

“In Ramon, we’re excited to add a young, multi-dimensional guard, and with Ryan, we’re adding a young, athletic center. We think both Ramon and Ryan are really good fits for this team. We’re also happy to add another asset for the future with the additional draft pick,” said Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant. “At the same time, we’d like to thank Sebastian and Delonte and wish them well in the future.”

Sessions, 24, played in all 82 games (one start) during the 2009-10 season, averaging 8.2 points on a career-high .456 shooting, 2.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 21.1 minutes per game. His 3.1 assists per game ranked 8th among all reserves last season. Prior to signing with the Timberwolves before the 2009-10 season, the 6-foot-3 guard played his first two seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks. He posted career highs in scoring, assists and steals during the 2008-09 season, averaging 12.4 points on .445 shooting, 3.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.1 steals in 27.5 minutes per game in 79 games (39 starts). In the 39 starts, he upped his averages to 15.1 points on .444 shooting, 4.2 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 1.3 steals in 33.7 minutes per game. Sessions finished the 2008-09 season ranked among the league leaders in assists-to-turnovers ratio (8th at 2.97) and assists per game (18th at 5.7).

The South Carolina native set the Bucks franchise record in assists with 24 while scoring 20 points against Chicago on April 14, 2008, also becoming the first player in Milwaukee franchise history to have at least 20 points and 20 assists in a game in the process. Sessions scored a career-high 44 points on Feb. 7, 2009 versus Detroit and on 17 occasions in his career has recorded double figures in assists. In his three-year career, Ramon, pronounced “ra-MAHN”, has averages of 10.0 points on .449 shooting, 3.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 24.4 minutes in 178 games (47 starts).

Hollins, 25, set career bests in nearly every statistical category during the 2009-10 season. The 7-foot center averaged 6.1 points on .558 shooting, 2.8 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 16.8 minutes per game in 73 games (27 starts). The 7-foot center scored a career-best 19 points on two occasions during the season (Nov. 25, 2009 vs. Denver and Jan. 29, 2010 vs. the Los Angeles Clippers) and averaged 9.2 points on .610 shooting and 3.7 rebounds in 22.8 minutes per game in his 27 starts. Over his four-year career, he has averages of 3.9 points on .541 shooting, 2.2 rebounds and 0.5 blocks in 11.6 minutes in 205 games (31 starts).

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

March 06, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..Cleveland Cavaliers Delonte West brings the ball up the court, West had 27 points and 7 assists coming off the Cavaliers bench tonight..Milwaukee Buck won over the Cleveland Cavaliers 92-85. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

The Portland Trail Blazers announced today that Head Coach Nate McMillan has finalized his coaching staff for the 2010-11 season with the hiring of Bernie Bickerstaff, Bob Ociepka and Buck Williams.

Bickerstaff, Ociepka and Williams join assistant coaches Bill Bayno and Kaleb Canales to complete McMillan’s staff.

“After many interviews, I’m excited to bring a new balance and chemistry to the team,” said McMillan. “The Bs – Bernie, Bob and Buck - will be a great addition to the Trail Blazers family and to our community. I’ve added a lot of experience to my bench, and I feel they will help the team continue to grow and take the next step.”

Bickerstaff, 66, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls as part of an extensive NBA career that began in 1973 as an assistant coach at Washington and led to head coaching positions with Seattle (1985-90), Denver (1995-96), Washington (1997-99) and Charlotte (2004-07).

Bickerstaff helped guide Washington to the 1978 NBA Championship as an assistant coach. Ranked 36th on the NBA’s all-time wins list (415), he was head coach of the SuperSonics during McMillan’s first four seasons in Seattle and was named the 1987 NBA Coach of the Year with the club.

Bickerstaff served as general manager of the Denver Nuggets (1990-97) and Charlotte Bobcats (2004-07), and as Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Bobcats (2007-08).

Ociepka, 61, also joins the Trail Blazers from the Bulls, where the Chicago native was an assistant coach for the past two seasons. With 20 years of NBA experience, Ociepka (pronounced o-SEEP-ka) spent time as an assistant coach with Minnesota (2006-08), Milwaukee (2003-06), Detroit (1998-99, 2001-03), Cleveland (1999-2001), Philadelphia (1996-97), L.A. Clippers (1993-96) and Indiana (1989-93). He also served as a scout with Detroit and Orlando.

Williams, who needs no introduction to Trail Blazers fans, was the team’s power forward from 1989-96 and helped lead Portland to the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992 as Western Conference Champions. Williams, 50, is the team’s all-time leader in field goal percentage (55.0%), ranks fourth in rebounds (4,861), seventh in games played (557) and ninth in minutes played (17,130). A hard-nosed, physical player, Williams’ streak of 196 consecutive games played is the third longest in franchise history.

One of nine players in NBA history to amass 16,000 points and 13,000 rebounds, the three-time All-Star and 1982 NBA Rookie of the Year also played for New Jersey and New York during his 17-year NBA career.

In addition to his coaching responsibilities, Williams will also serve as a community ambassador for the Trail Blazers joining the likes of fellow ambassadors: Harry Glickman, Dale Schlueter, Jerome Kersey, Terry Porter, Chris Dudley and Brian Grant.

Hawks sign Josh Powell

Hawks sign Josh Powell

The Atlanta Hawks have signed forward/center Josh Powell to a contract, according to Executive Vice President/General Manager Rick Sund.  Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Powell, a 6-9, 240-pound forward/center, joins the Hawks after two seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he was a reserve player for the two-time World Champions.  He tallied 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds during his Lakers career (10.4 minutes per game), and connected on .409 of his field goal attempts.

“I look forward to joining a franchise I’m very familiar with,” said Powell.  “The Hawks have done some great things over the past few years, and I think it’s great to come back home and play here.  They’ve enjoyed success in the East, and while they have room to improve and grow, the nucleus is here to make that next step.

“Obviously, I followed the Hawks quite a bit growing up, and the excitement during the Dominique (Wilkins) years was a great thing to watch.  We have to continue to get better and hopefully I can bring a little bit of what I’ve learned from my days with Lakers to the team.”

A five-year professional, Powell was a local product at Riverdale (GA) High School who played collegiately at North Carolina State.  Undrafted in the 2003 NBA Draft following his sophomore season at NC State, he spent several seasons in Europe before joining the Dallas Mavericks in 2005.

After one season with the Mavericks (2005-06), Powell split the next season between the Golden State Warriors (30 games) and Indiana Pacers (seven games) before landing with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2007-08. He brings 37 games of playoff experience to Atlanta, averaging 5.6 minutes per game.

Powell finished with averages of 9.7 points and 4.5 rebounds over his two-year collegiate career at NC State, with a 12.4 scoring mark as a sophomore.

Feb. 28, 2010 - Los Angeles, USA - LOS ANGELES (USA), 28/02/2010.- Los Angeles Lakers player Josh Powell makes a smash against Denver Nuggets during their NBA Basketball game played at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA on 28 February 2010.

Poll results: Best teams in league

An InsideHoops.com poll started on July 17 asking readers to select the five best teams in the NBA gave some expected results.

The league champion Los Angeles Lakers, receiving 3,540 votes, got more support than any team, followed by the Miami Heat (3,151 votes), Orlando Magic (2,931) and Boston Celtics (2,900).

The other two teams  to receive over 1,000 votes were the Chicago Bulls (1,426), who added Carlos Boozer this summer, and Oklahoma City Thunder (1,149), a talented young team featuring star Kevin Durant.

The Dallas Mavericks (873) also received support.

Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant (L) and Pau Gasol of Spain watch practice for Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals basketball series against the Boston Celtics in Los Angeles, California, June 16, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Celtics re-sign Marquis Daniels

Celtics re-sign Marquis Daniels

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have re-signed guard/forward Marquis Daniels. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Daniels, a 6’6″ guard/forward, appeared in 51 games for the Celtics last season averaging 5.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 18.4 minutes per game.  The former Auburn Tiger also shot a career-best 49.8% from the field.  Daniels netted a season-high with 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the floor against New Jersey on February 27. Daniels made four starts during last season and he averaged 11.8 points and 3.3 rebounds while shooting 65.6% from the field.  Over his seven year career Daniels has posted career averages of 9.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steal in 22.9 minutes per game.  His best statistical season came during the 2008-09 season when he was with the Indiana when he averaged career-highs of 13.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 31.5 minutes per game.  He also made a career-high 43 starts that season.

Boston Celtics Marquis Daniels scores a reverse layup while defended by Jamario Moon of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the fourth quarter in game 5 of the second round of the NBA Playoffs in Cleveland on May 11, 2010. UPI/David Richard Photo via Newscom

Bulls sign F/C Kurt Thomas

Bulls sign F/C Kurt Thomas

The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has signed free agent forward/center Kurt Thomas.  In accordance with team policy, terms of the contract were not announced.

Thomas (6-9, 230), a 15-year NBA veteran, most recently played with the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2009-10 campaign.  Last year, he appeared in 70 games and averaged 3.0 ppg and 4.2 rpg in 15.0 mpg and shot .476 from the field and .800 from the line.

The Dallas, Texas., native has enjoyed stints with the Bucks (2009-10), San Antonio Spurs (2008-09, 2007-08), Seattle Supersonics (2007-08), Phoenix Suns (2005-07), New York Knicks (1998-2005), Dallas Mavericks (1997-98) and Miami Heat (1995-97).  In 966 career games, Thomas has posted averages of 8.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.1 apg in 25.7 mpg.  He owns career shooting averages of .485 from the field and .765 from the line.

Originally selected by the Miami Heat in the first round (10th overall) of the 1995 NBA Draft, the 37-year old Thomas has been a member of 10 playoff teams.  In 89 playoff games, he has averaged 5.8 ppg and 5.6 rpg in 20.4 mpg.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Good move by the Bulls. Thomas can mentor Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, and teach them the hard-nosed tricks of the trade.

April 12, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..Milwaukee Bucks Kurt Thomas dribbles up the court, Thomas had 6 points and 10 rebounds against the Hawks tonight..Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Atlanta Hawks 96-104. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

Raptors sign Linas Kleiza

Raptors sign Linas Kleiza

The Toronto Raptors announced Monday they have signed forward Linas Kleiza (LYNN-as CLAY-za) to a multi-year contract as all required paperwork has now been officially filed with the League Office. Kleiza’s rights technically became property of the Raptors on July 17 when an offer sheet was not matched by the Denver Nuggets. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed.

“We are very happy to add a tough-minded, hard-nosed forward who will certainly get a chance to contribute given the departure of Hedo Turkoglu,” said Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo. “Linas has that unique inside/outside game that makes him a tough cover at a couple of different positions.”

Kleiza played last season in Greece with Olympiakos after four seasons (2005-09) with the Nuggets. He averaged 14.0 points and 5.1 rebounds in 31 regular season games with Olympiakos. He shot .596 from the field, .374 from three-point range and .800 from the foul line.

In 22 Euroleague outings, Kleiza contributed 17.1 points and 6.5 rebounds. In the regular season he finished second in the Euroleague in scoring at 19.7 points per contest. He led Olympiakos to the Euroleague Championship game in Paris.

Kleiza averaged 8.3 points and 3.5 rebounds in 301 career games with Denver. He saw action in 26 postseason games, where he averaged 6.4 points and 3.2 rebounds. He averaged 14.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in the 2008 NBA Playoffs.

Kleiza, 6-foot-8, 245 pounds, was born in Lithuanian, attended high school in Maryland and played collegiately at the University of Missouri. He was selected 27th overall by Portland in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft.

Mar. 24, 2010 - 05669403 date 23 03 2010 Copyright imago Ane Edition Euro League Basketball Season 2009 10 Peace & Friendship Stage Piraeus Quarter Final Game 1 Olympiacos Piraeus Asseco Prokom 83 79 Linas Kleiza Piraeus with Dunk Olympiacos Piraeus Asseco Prokom 83 79 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxGRE Basketball men EC 1 Euro League Euro League 2009 2010 Piraeus Action shot Vdig 2010 vertical premiumd.

Press Release — Madison Square Garden and Anheuser-Busch announced today a long-term extension of their longstanding marketing partnership. The new marketing deal makes Anheuser-Busch a “Signature Partner” of Madison Square Garden with exposure across MSG’s unrivaled set of assets, including its professional sports teams (New York Knicks and New York Rangers), television networks (MSG and MSG Plus), digital platforms, in-arena signage and an expanded presence in the transformed Madison Square Garden.

The renewed marketing partnership keeps MSG in Anheuser-Busch’s stable of industry-leading sports and entertainment sponsorship properties and is highlighted by the entitlement of the Budweiser Fan Deck to be developed in the transformed Madison Square Garden. The Budweiser Fan Deck is a 10,000-square foot space that will be located in the upper bowl and serve as a unique gathering space for fans with direct views into the arena bowl.

With Budweiser and Bud Light continuing as the official beer sponsor of the Knicks and Rangers respectively, the agreement provides for additional fan focused initiatives, including brand-sponsored Knicks and Rangers viewing parties.

“Our relationship with Madison Square Garden represents one of the longest tenured partnerships in our portfolio,” said Mark Wright, vice president of media, sports and entertainment marketing, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. “Budweiser and Bud Light’s renewed support of the Knicks and Rangers is symbolic of a larger and continued investment in sports and we look forward to expanding our presence in The World’s Most Famous Arena as the transformation is completed.”

“We are proud to continue our longstanding relationship with Anheuser-Busch, and make them a ‘Signature Partner’ with an integrated presence across our sports and media properties,” said Hank Ratner, president and CEO, Madison Square Garden. “One of the exciting new cornerstone elements of the partnership is their expanded presence in the transformed Madison Square Garden with our new fan deck. The Budweiser Fan Deck will provide fans with a unique new space in the arena to socialize and experience games and concerts, truly enhancing the fan experience.”

Added Scott O’Neil, president, MSG Sports: “There is no brand more fitting for The World’s Most Famous Arena than the King of Beers. Anheuser-Busch and Madison Square Garden are storied companies each with well over a century old connection to New York City. This is an exciting new era of our partnership and on behalf of the millions of fans that attend our more than 400 events annually – we look forward to building on the great history our companies have together.”

Suns waive Taylor Griffin

The Phoenix Suns have waived forward Taylor Griffin, the team announced today.

Griffin appeared in just eight games for the Suns as a rookie in 2009-10, averaging 1.3 points in 4.0 minutes.

Taylor is the brother of forward Blake Griffin, who was selected #1 by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2009.

The New Jersey Nets have named Bobby Marks as assistant general manager, General Manager Billy King announced today.  Marks was promoted from his previous position of vice president of basketball operations.

“Bobby has been a well-respected member of this department for an extended period of time,” said King.  “He is very deserving of this promotion, and his expertise will be invaluable as we look to re-build the Nets into a championship-caliber team.”

In his new role, Marks will assist King in the areas of salary cap management, scouting, player personnel and the day to day business of basketball operations.  A member of the department for 15 seasons, Marks served as the team’s vice president of basketball operations for the past four years.  After originally joining the Nets as a public relations intern in the spring of 1995, Marks was hired in January of 1996 as a basketball operations assistant.  He is currently the longest tenured member of the department.

A graduate of Marist College, where he was a member of the football team, Marks received his B.A. in communications in 1995.  The Little Falls, NJ native currently resides in West Orange, New Jersey with his wife, Michelle, and sons, Jake and Cooper.

Pacers have done nothing this summer

The Indiana Pacers seem to be on a 300-year rebuilding plan.

Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star reports (via blog):

Pacers officials weren’t lying when they said they were going to take their time when it came to making a roster move.

We’re in the last week of July and the only additions the Pacers have made so far have been three draft picks in what was supposed to be the “Summer of Dangling Expiring Contracts.”

In fact, somebody in the league recently mentioned to me that the Pacers’ biggest offseason move so far has been naming Clark Kellogg the vice president of player relations.

Until something changes, Pacers star Danny Granger still lacks the teammates to really compete in the East.

March 14, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..Indiana Pacers Danny Granger pulls up for the mid range jumper, Granger had 29 points and 4 rebounds against the Bucks today..Milwaukee Buck won over the Indiana Pacers 98-94. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

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