J.J. Hickson may get big minutes this season

Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal reports:

Cleveland Cavaliers J.J. Hickson, left, slam dunks against Ray Allen during the third quarter against the Boston Celtics in game 2 of the second round of the NBA Playoffs in Cleveland on May 3, 2010. UPI/David Richard Photo via Newscom

Shortly after Byron Scott took the Cavaliers job, J.J. Hickson sought out his new coach. It was his big chance at a fresh start.

Hickson, who often aggravated former coach Mike Brown with his defensive lapses, wanted his new coach to know he was capable of much more than he had shown in his first two years in the league. In a short period of time, he convinced Scott, too.

”He’s going to have an opportunity this year to really shine and be one of the most improved players in the league,” said Scott, who stopped short of committing to playing him big minutes. ”I’m committed on him playing hard and giving me what I need on both ends of the floor. Am I going to commit to him playing a lot of minutes? No, but do I think he will? Yeah.”

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Donte Greene adds 25 pounds

Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reports:

Donte Greene adds 25 pounds

It’s not as easy to push around Donté Greene these days.

The Kings forward showed up for his third NBA season weighing 251 pounds – 25 more than his listed weight.

Now, when he has his post-practice workouts with assistant coach Shareef Abdur- Rahim, Greene has more bulk to use with the post moves he learns from Abdur-Rahim.

“I try to (mimic Abdur- Rahim) by watching film, but ‘Reef was a beast,” Greene said. “I’m just watching film and listening to what he tells me and trying to put it to work.”

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Elton Brand trims down

Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News reports:

Elton Brand trims down

Brand reported to training camp more than 10 pounds lighter than the 265 he carried last season. Now 31 and entering his 12th NBA season, Brand knew after last year’s disappointing run that changes were needed.

“It was funny, coach [Doug Collins] told me the number [weight of 255] and I’m like, ‘I don’t know if I could do it,’ and I was already under that number. Eating right, that’s the first thing,” Brand said. “I gave up Twizzlers, gave up fried foods. I like all types of good meals, so yeah, I had to give up a little bit. It was hard at first, but after a while you know you have a goal, so the urges start to dissipate a little bit.”

And so did the pounds.

Last season may have been one of the worst in Brand’s career. He and coach Eddie Jordan never seemed to be on the same page, often times not reading from the same book, even. Though Brand said he felt great all season, he was coming off his second straight summer of rehab, this time to correct a shoulder injury. The year before, he was coming off an Achilles’ injury. He never could get into a rhythm last year, partly because he never knew his role, partly because his body wouldn’t allow it.

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April 9, 2010: Philadelphia 76ers forward Elton Brand (42) in action during the NBA game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Bucks beat the 76ers, 95-90.

Terrence Williams shooting for Nets starting SG spot

Howard Kussoy of the New York Post reports:

Terrence Williams shooting for Nets starting SG spot

Terrence Williams currently is entrenched in an intriguing training-camp battle with Anthony Morrow, who was acquired this summer in a sign-and-trade with the Warriors, for the starting shooting-guard spot. Vying for the same position, the two wingmen are taking different paths.

Williams has impressed Nets coach Avery Johnson with his athleticism and his ability to penetrate, while removing some doubt about his questionable decision-making during his rookie season.

“Terrence’s versatility to score, post-up smaller guys, initiate our offense for us then play off the ball . . . you can do more things with him,” Johnson said. “He still may do something crazy one out of every five possessions, but it was four out of five earlier. He’s taking pretty good care of the ball and making good passes.”

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April 07, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..New Jersey Nets Terrence Williams brings the ball up the court, Williams had 6 points coming off the Nets bench..Milwaukee Bucks won over the New Jersey Nets 108-89. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

NBA fines Wizards owner Ted Leonsis

The NBA has fined Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis $100,000 for unauthorized public comments regarding the league’s collective bargaining negotiations, it was announced today.  Leonsis made his comments earlier today.

According to Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman newspaper, “Leonsis earlier today told business leaders in Northern Virginia that he expects the league will soon have a hard salary cap.”

Jason Williams to have knee surgery

Jason Williams to have knee surgery

Orlando Magic guard Jason Williams will undergo arthroscopic surgery tomorrow on his left knee, General Manager Otis Smith announced.  Williams is expected to miss approximately four weeks of action.

Williams (#44, 6’1”, 190, 11/18/75) played in all 82 games last season for the Magic, averaging 6.0 ppg., 3.6 apg. and 1.5 rpg. in 20.8 minpg., while shooting .380 (84-221) from three-point range.  He started in 18 outings, averaging 8.6 ppg., 5.1 apg., 2.7 rpg. and 1.11 stlpg. in 29.6 minpg. during that span.  Williams ranked seventh in the NBA in assists-to-turnover ratio (3.43, 298/87).  He also appeared in all 14 playoff games, averaging 2.6 ppg. and 1.6 apg. in 13.7 minpg.

Originally selected in the first round (seventh overall) of the 1998 NBA Draft, Williams has played in 761 career NBA regular season games with Sacramento, Memphis, Miami and Orlando, averaging 10.8 ppg., 6.0 apg., 2.3 rpg. and 1.21 stlpg. in 30.1 minpg.  He has also played in 67 career playoff contests, averaging 8.3 ppg., 3.3 apg. and 1.9 rpg. in 25.9 minpg.  Williams was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1998-99, currently stands as Memphis’ all-time leader in assists (2,041) and helped Miami capture the 2005-06 NBA Championship.

Apr. 01, 2010: Orlando Magic guard Jason Williams drives past the Dallas defense during an NBA game between the Orlando Magic and the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX Orlando defeated Dallas 97-82.

Bucks sign Brian Skinner

Bucks sign Brian Skinner

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed forward-center Brian Skinner (6-9, 255) to a contract, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

A 12-year NBA veteran, Skinner has played in 605 games and holds career averages of 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 49.4 percent from the field. Skinner spent the 2009-10 season with the Los Angeles Clippers, where he played in 16 games and tallied 1.6 points and 1.7 rebounds in 7.7 minutes per contest.

A Temple, TX native, Skinner was selected by the Clippers with the 22nd overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, and spent the first three years of his career in Los Angeles.  A trade to the Chicago Bulls in July 2001 marked the beginning of a nine-year stretch in which Skinner played for eight different teams, including two seasons (2003-04 and 2006-07) with Milwaukee. He enjoyed his best statistical season in 2003-04 when he averaged 10.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 56 games as a Buck.

The Milwaukee Bucks Training Camp roster now stands at 20 players.

Aaron Brooks wants contract extension

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports:

Aaron Brooks wants contract extension

Brooks had hoped his breakthrough season and status as the NBA’s Most Improved Player award winner would prompt the Rockets to offer a contract extension. Instead, he said the Rockets’ unwillingness to work on a new deal for beyond this season is “bothering” him.

“It’s kind of stressful,” Brooks said. “I was hoping we maybe could get something done this summer, but we couldn’t, so I’m stuck in the position I’m in.

“I understand, but it’s bothering me. It’s the business of basketball. You have to take it like it is. I’m stuck with that.”

Brooks’ agent, Leon Rose, is scheduled to meet with general manager Daryl Morey today to discuss the situation, but he would not comment other to confirm the meeting.

Asked if he felt he deserves a contract extension, Brooks said, “Oh, no doubt. I deserve at least discussions.”

Discuss your opinion on the Houston Rockets forum.

February 17, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..Houston Rockets Aaron Brooks brings he ball up the court, Brooks had 15 points and 12 assists to help the rockets to victory..Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Houston Rockets 99-127. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

Boozer should be big help for Bulls

John Jackson of the Chicago Sun-Times writes:

With Boozer as a viable option in the low post, teams no longer can gang up on Rose on the perimeter. When the ball is thrown in to Boozer, opponents now will have a choice to make — double-team Boozer or let him operate one-on-one in the post.

If teams choose to double-team Boozer, he’ll kick it out to Rose. If not, they’ll have to contend with a player who averaged 19.5 points for the Utah Jazz last season.

”[Boozer’s] versatility is a great asset,” Thibodeau said. ”It starts with his post-up game. The thing that often gets overlooked is his ability to pass out of the post. He’s a terrific passer out of the post, so when the ball goes in and we cut, those are other opportunities to get easy baskets.”

Boozer is the type of big man whose game meshes perfectly with Rose and the type of offense Thibodeau wants to run.

Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer, left, and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, battle for the ball during the first half of Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal series at Staples Center in Los Angeles on May 4, 2010. The Lakers won 111-103 . UPI Photo/Lori Shepler Photo via Newscom