Archive for September 23rd, 2010

Mavericks sign Steve Novak

The Dallas Mavericks announced today they have signed forward Steve Novak. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. InsideHoops.com assumes it’s a nonguaranteed contract for training camp.

Novak (6-10, 230) joins the Mavericks as a free agent from the Los Angeles Clippers where he spent the past two NBA seasons. He holds career averages of 4.1 points, 1.1 rebounds and 10.1 minutes in 195 career games with four starts.

Originally a second round draft pick (32nd overall) of the Houston Rockets in 2006, Novak played two seasons in Houston before being traded to the Clippers. In 2008-09, his first season with Los Angeles, Novak enjoyed a career year where he averaged 6.9 points and 1.8 rebounds in 16.4 minutes while shooting 44.4 percent from the floor and 91.3 percent from the free throw line.

Novak played his collegiate career at Marquette University. As a freshman, he saw action in 33 games and was a member of the Golden Eagles’ 2003 Final Four team along with current NBA players Dwyane Wade and Travis Diener. As a senior, Novak led Marquette averaging a team-high 17.5 points a game while shooting 97.5 percent from the foul line.

A native of Brown Deer, Wis., Novak played high school basketball for his father, Michael, and was named the 2002 Wisconsin Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Knicks sign Shawne Williams

New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that the team has signed forward Shawne Williams as a free agent. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. InsideHoops.com assumes it’s a nonguaranteed contract for training camp.

Williams, 6-9, 225-pounds, has career averages of 5.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 13.4 minutes in 126 games (six starts) over three NBA seasons with Indiana and Dallas. Originally selected by the Indiana Pacers with the 17th overall selection in the 2006 NBA Draft following his freshman year at the University of Memphis, Williams enjoyed his most productive season with the Pacers during the 2007-08 campaign when he posted career-highs of 6.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 14.9 minutes in a career-high 65 games.

The Phoenix Suns signed head coach Alvin Gentry to a contract extension that will keep him with the club through the 2012-13 season.

“It was important to extend Alvin’s contract before this season,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby. “He proved his mettle as the perfect coach for the Suns last season.  We are excited to have him lead our team going forward.”

Originally elevated as the 14th head coach in franchise history on an interim basis on Feb. 16, 2009, Gentry was named the club’s head coach on May 9, 2009.  In just 113 games under his leadership, Gentry’s Suns have compiled a 72-41 (.637) record, giving him the third-highest winning percentage among coaches in franchise history (Paul Westphal, Mike D’Antoni).

“This extension gives me the opportunity to keep improving this team,” said Gentry.  “It shows I’m working for an owner who wants to win and demonstrates the confidence he has in me.  I am really happy to be working with the management team we have in place and am very excited for the start of our new season.”

The 30-year coaching veteran in both the professional and collegiate ranks took the reins of the Suns in 2009 with the stated goals of establishing a homecourt advantage, returning the club to its trademark offensive explosiveness, and developing a young, productive bench.

In just a season-plus under his leadership, the Suns own a 46-12 (.793) home mark, seventh-best of any NBA team in that span, and perhaps most impressively are 31-6 (.838) at home against the ultra-competitive Western Conference.  Phoenix has led the NBA in scoring in each of the last two seasons and averaged 112.3 points during his tenure, even more than the trendsetting Suns posted from 2004-05 to 2007-08 (109.8).  In 2009-10, the Suns bench ranked 10th in the NBA, averaging 33.2 points.  Gentry and the bench gained national attention during the playoffs when the group increased its scoring average to 34.1 points, best in the NBA, as Gentry played 10 or more Suns in 16-straight postseason games for the first time since 1993.

In his first full season on the bench in 2009-10, Gentry was a two-time NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month for November 2009 and March 2010.  In leading the Suns to 54 wins, his career-high as a coach, and the conference’s third-best record, Gentry finished fifth in NBA Coach of the Year voting.

Gentry became just the fifth head coach in franchise history to lead his team to a Western Conference Finals berth in his first full season.  Gentry coached the Suns to 10 postseason victories in 2010, tied for the second-most in a single postseason in franchise history.

In 21 seasons in the NBA, Gentry has enjoyed three other head coaching stints with the Los Angeles Clippers (2000-03), Detroit Pistons (1997-2000) and Miami Heat (1995).  He has worked alongside some of the game’s most respected coaches, including Larry Brown, Kevin Loughery, Doug Collins and Mike D’Antoni.  Gentry joined the Suns organization as an assistant coach on June 1, 2004.

A point guard at Appalachian State under Press Maravich and Bobby Cremins, Gentry earned a degree in management in 1997 and began his coaching career as a graduate assistsant at the University of Colorado the following season.

The 55-year-old Gentry is married to Suzanne and has three children: Alexis, Ryan and Matthew.

Hornets trade Craig Brackins and Darius Songaila to 76ers for Willie Green and Jason Smith

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have acquired guard Willie Green and power forward/center Jason Smith from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for forward’s Craig Brackins and Darius Songaila.

“It is tough to trade Darius and Craig, but we believe both teams will benefit from this move,” said General Manager Dell Demps. “Willie is a combo-guard with versatility who can give us minutes at the back-up point guard spot and the shooting guard position. We are excited he is a part of our program and believe he can be an asset both offensively and defensively for us. Jason will have an opportunity to compete for minutes. He is a young, athletic big man with shooting ability and we are getting him at a good time of his career.”

Brackins (6-10, 230), was the 21st pick in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder. His rights, along with current Hornets forward Quincy Pondexter’s rights (26th overall pick), were traded to the Hornets on July 20, 2010 in exchange for the rights of Cole Aldrich (10th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft) and Morris Peterson. Brackins averaged 10.0 points and 4.6 rebounds over five games (all starts) in the 2010 NBA Summer League with the Hornets. In three seasons at Iowa State, the big man earned All-Big 12 First Team honors his sophomore season and All-Big 12 Second Team honors his junior season.

January 20, 2010: Darius Songaila of the New Orleans Hornets in action against the Memphis Grizzlies during an NBA game in the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, LA. Tyler Kaufman/CSM.

Songaila (6-9, 248), averaged 7.2 points and 3.1 rebounds over 75 games (one start) in his lone year with the Hornets in 2009-10. He was originally acquired by the Hornets in a trade on September 9, 2009 that sent Antonio Daniels and a 2014 second round pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Songaila and former Hornet Bobby Brown. The seven-year NBA veteran has career averages of 7.0 points and 3.5 rebounds over 485 career games (79 starts).

Green (6-3, 201), who was drafted in the second round (41st overall) by the Seattle SuperSonics in the 2003 NBA Draft and then traded on draft night to the Philadelphia 76ers, averaged 8.7 points, 2.1 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 73 games (18 starts) last season. He shot a career-high 45.7 percent from the floor and committed just 67 turnovers over the course of the 2009-10 season. The Detroit native has played all seven seasons with the 76ers, averaging 9.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 21.8 minutes over 422 games (211 starts). His best season was in 2007-08 when he averaged career-high’s of 12.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 0.8 steals in 74 games (all starts). Green played collegiately at Detroit Mercy for four seasons, earning Honorable Mention All-America and the Horizon League Player of the Year honors his senior season after averaging 22.6 points.

Smith (7-0, 240) was selected in the first round (20th overall) of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Miami HEAT and then traded to Philadelphia on draft night. He averaged 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 11.8 minutes per game over 56 games (two starts) last season with the 76ers. The Colorado native shot 43.1 percent from the floor and 34.5 percent from three-point range last season. Smith missed the entire 2008-09 season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during a workout in August of 2008. During his rookie season, Smith appeared in 76 games (one start), averaging 4.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.66 blocks in 14.6 minutes per game. The big man played three seasons at Colorado State University, earning First Team All-Mountain West Conference honors his sophomore and junior seasons and MWC Freshman of the Year accolades his first season. The 24-year old averaged 16.8 points and 10.1 rebounds his final season in Fort Collins before declaring early for the NBA Draft. Smith was a two-time Colorado state player of the year in high school.

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

Bucks popularity is on the rise

Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

The Bucks were so happy with last year’s marketing slogan - Work Hard Play Hard - they’ve embraced it again this year.

That, and Fear the Deer.

So far in the selling season, the numbers look good, according to John Steinmiller, vice president for business operations, and Jim Grayson, the team’s director of sales.

Both say the season-ticket renewal rate for current season-ticket holders is near 90%, which is the league’s benchmark rate.

Even better, Steinmiller said the franchise is close to selling 2,000 new, full-season equivalent packages. That is the biggest jump in new sales since the Bucks reached the National Basketball Association Conference Finals in the 2000-’01 season.


Milwaukee Bucks Brandon Jennings drives to the basket against the Washington Wizards in the third quarter at the Verizon Center in Washington on December 2, 2009. Wizards beat the Bucks 104-102 UPI/Alexis C. Glenn Photo via Newscom

The AP reports:

The new uniforms, called the NBA Revolution 30, were introduced Wednesday by the league and Adidas at the NBA Store. The company says the uniforms are 30 percent lighter and will dry twice as fast as previous uniforms.

The old uniforms became so heavy once wet that some players changed uniforms at halftime. In the new model, Adidas changed the numbers from a dense material to a breathable mesh.

”I actually thought when I first got them on that the jerseys had a cooling system on the inside to keep your body cool, something like an air conditioner in your jersey,” said Howard, who has an endorsement contract with Adidas. ”That’s what it feels like.”

The Revolution 30, made from 60 percent recycled materials, was tested over four years and will debut this season.

Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports:

jason richardson phoenix suns

Jason Richardson and the Suns need the same thing - a big season from him. Phoenix needs his scoring with Amar’e Stoudemire gone, and Richardson needs to play well and win to set up his next contract. He will be paid $14.4 million this season and said there has been preliminary talks about an extension that could keep him from becoming a free agent next summer.

“I feel like I’m going to college,” Richardson said. “I’ve got to pick a decision. It’s going to be fun. I’m not even worried about it. What happens, happens. If I get an extension here, I would love to be here and maybe finish my career here. It’s a business. You never know. There’s no pressure on me to go out and perform just because it’s my contract year. I’m always a firm believer that if you work hard, things will come out your way.”

Richardson said he is ready to be a first or second option again. He worked this summer on mid-range shooting and ball handling because of how he was run off the 3-point line last season.


Phoenix Suns Jason Richardson (L) heads up court on a fast break as Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant (R) watches in the first quarter of Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference Finals at the US Airways Center, in Phoenix, AZ, May 23,2010. . UPI/Art Foxall Photo via Newscom

Cleveland Cavaliers sign Jawad Williams

Cleveland Cavaliers sign Jawad Williams

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed forward Jawad Williams to a contract, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today.  Per league and team policy, terms of the contract were not announced. The Cavaliers extended a qualifying offer to Williams on June 30th.

In 54 games (six starts) during the 2009-10 season, the 6-foot-9 forward averaged a career-best 4.1 points on .393 shooting and 1.5 rebounds in 13.7 minutes per game.

Frank O’Neill, Lakers trainer from 1960-1974, died Tuesday at his home in Playa del Rey from congestive heart failure.  He was 81.

O’Neill, who took over training duties when the Lakers moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, received his training to become an athletic trainer while attending the University of Florida.  He earned his certificate as a physical therapist while in the Navy and worked with the Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles and the University of Southern California before joining the Lakers.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Frank O’Neill,” said Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak.   “Frank was a highly respected trainer and played an integral part in bringing our first championship to Los Angeles in 1972.  Our condolences and prayers go out to his family.”

Born on May 25, 1929, O’Neill is survived by his four children Frank, Jr., Patricia, Michael and Mark; and six grandchildren.

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