Archive for October 3rd, 2010

Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

April 26, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..Atlanta Hawks Al Horford had 8 points and 8 rebounds against the Bucks tonight..Milwaukee Bucks won over the Atlanta Hawks 111-104, in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs. The Series is now tied at 2-2. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

After three seasons of increasingly productive play from center Al Horford, the Hawks have decided they want him for the long term.

The feeling is mutual for Horford, who said team officials and his agent, Arn Tellem, have started negotiations on a contract extension.

The Hawks have until Nov. 1 to make a deal with Horford on an extension that begins in 2011-12 and can be lengthened for up to five years and about $82 million under the NBA’s current labor agreement. Horford will make $5.4 million in 2010-11, the final year of his rookie-scale contract…

If the sides don’t reach an agreement by the deadline, Horford would become a restricted free agent next summer if the Hawks extend a one-year, $7.1 million qualifying offer by June 30. The Hawks consequently would retain the right to match any offer sheets signed by Horford.

Share your Hawks opinions on the Atlanta Hawks forum.

Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer sustained a fracture of his right hand (5th metacarpal) on October 2, 2010.  He was evaluated by team physician Dr. Brian Cole and hand specialist Dr. Marc Cohen of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.  The fracture will require surgery and Carlos will likely be out 8 weeks.

ESPN reports: Boozer suffered the injury on Saturday during the Bulls’ day off. According to team sources, Boozer tripped over a bag in his house and fell. The team says Boozer broke the fifth metacarpal bone in his hand. He was evaluated by team physician Dr. Brian Cole and hand specialist Dr. Marc Cohen of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.

Earlier, the AP reported:

May 10, 2010 - Salt Lake City, UTAH, United States - epa02151941 Utah Jazz' Carlos Boozer lays the ball during the second half of their NBA Western Conference second round playoff basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, 10 May 2010. The Lakers beat the Jazz 111-96 to sweep and win the series 4-0.

Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer, one of Chicago’s top offseason acquisitions, broke his right hand Saturday and could be out for two months.

Boozer fractured the fifth metacarpal bone in his hand and will need surgery, the team said Sunday. He was evaluated by team physician Dr. Brian Cole and hand specialist Dr. Marc Cohen of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.

It was unclear how Boozer was injured. The Bulls did not practice Saturday, and a team spokeswoman called the injury “non-basketball related.”

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

Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports:

Partizan Belgrade's Jan Vesely (L) tries to stop Olympiacos Piraeus's Josh Childress during their Euroleague Basketball Final Four semifinal game in Paris May 7, 2010. REUTERS/Marko Djurica (FRANCE - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

It figured that Childress would need time to find his niche on a team loaded with wing players, but he already fits.

In an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday at University of California-San Diego, Childress’ 28 points and fellow newcomer Hedo Turkoglu’s 22 points led a team with Steve Nash and Jason Richardson to a 101-80 rout of a team with Grant Hill, Robin Lopez, Goran Dragic and Channing Frye.

Turkoglu stuck to perimeter scoring on 7-of-11 shooting, but Childress was all over the floor, like he had been all training camp.

“Don’t let it fool you,” Childress said. “I’m dragging.”

It was hard to tell with how often Childress beat teammates upcourt on fast breaks, cut in half-court offense, got steals and deflections and crashed the boards.

He had five rebounds Saturday, when he scored almost exclusively by moving without the ball.

“He has an unbelievable feel for the ball,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. “He’s athletic enough that he’s going to get out and run. He’s going to be able to get out in front of the pack enough that he can come up with easy plays.”

InsideHoops.com editor says: Childress’ European basketball experience probably gives him a court IQ advantage over a lot of other NBA players. Keep an eye on the away-from-ball things he does this season, like cutting, creating passing lanes, setting effective screens, etc.

What’s your take on Childress? Discuss it on the Phoenix Suns forum.

Cavaliers center options are limited

Anderson Varejao should start at center for the Cavs this season. But overall, the team is pretty weak at the spot.

Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:

After having a wealth of depth at the position last season with Shaquille O’Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Varejao as options, right now the team looks a little thin there.

The Cavs have taken a look at some experienced big men who are currently free agents such as Earl Barron, Josh Boone and D.J. Mbenga but went into camp without a proven third center.

There are some other options, including sneaking power forwards over; both J.J. Hickson and Leon Powe played center at times last season. But at the moment, Hickson is playing more on the wing than inside, and Powe is not even taking part in all of practice as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.

InsideHoops.com editor says: I look forward to seeing Hickson break out offensively this season. If he becomes a bit of a force, Varejao’s lack of scoring ability won’t be as much of an issue.

Have an opinion? Discuss it on the Cleveland Cavs forum.

Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times reports:

March 5, 2010 Los Angeles, CA..Clippers' Blake Griffin, who is out for the season with a knee injury after becoming the 2009 first overall pick of the NBA Draft, participates in the pregame shoot around before the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Oklahoma City defeated the Clippers, 104-87.

Smith was asked if Griffin was 98.9% back after having missed all of last season because of a stress fracture in his left kneecap.

“159.7531 percent,” he said, smiling. “Blake’s looking real good. He’s determined. I’m happy for him. Happy he’s back on the court. You know he’s going to do some special things this year.”

A few minutes later, he got much more specific about Griffin’s considerable talents.

“I can say this. I never played against Karl Malone,” Smith said. “But he has the strength of Karl Malone but can run and jump like LeBron James.

“He can definitely make LeBron plays, defensively. Out in the open, he can make something special happen. He’s kind of like a specialist. He has the best of both worlds. The physical strength, the power and he can run like a deer.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he was running a 40-yard dash with a car in the way, if he wouldn’t hurt the car versus hurting himself.”

Smith, who had off-season knee surgery, came out near the end of practice because of a tight back, Coach Vinny Del Negro said.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Don’t be surprised to see Griffin average around 17 points and eight or nine rebounds this season. And that may be a conservative estimate.

Have stuff to say? Share your thoughts on the Los Angeles Clippers forum.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports:

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose brings the ball up the floor against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the fourth quarter of game 3 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at the United Center in Chicago on April 22, 2010. The Bulls won 108-106 and trail the Cavliers 2-1 in the best of seven series.  UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

Rose said after practice Friday he hasn’t shot one layup all training camp. While that might be hyperbole, the point remains he has worked hard to further develop his outside shot to broaden his offensive game.

“He’s shooting with a lot of confidence,” [Bulls coach] Thibodeau said. “I don’t see any hesitation at all, which is a good sign. And he’s making good decisions. He’s putting pressure on the defense by getting the ball up the floor quickly. And he’s running the team great. If you sag off him, he’s not afraid to shoot. That’s what I want him to do. Most teams in this league fear him off the dribble.”

InsideHoops.com editor says: Rose is already in the league’s best point guard discussion. Right now, popular perception says Chris Paul and Deron Williams are a notch above the rest, but Rose is right there, and it’ll be fun watching him get even better.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts on the Chicago Bulls forum.

Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

March 30, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..Los Angeles Clipper Drew Gooden had a double-double scoring 20 points and 11 rebounds against the Bucks..Milwaukee Bucks won over Los Angeles Clippers 107-89. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

Some observers around the NBA thought the Bucks overpaid for the 6-foot-10, 250-pound Gooden, and he took notice.

“I felt I had to go to hell and back to get what I deserved and I worked hard,” Gooden said. “I did everything I was supposed to.

“I heard, ‘He got overpaid.’ But a lot of guys I talked to were like, ‘He deserved that,’ so I’ll take that.

“They don’t know what I’ve been through. My career numbers are just as good as some of those guys who got 80 (million) this year.”

Gooden spent the first half of last season in Dallas and contributed primarily at the center position while playing with all-star power forward Dirk Nowitzki.

But he was traded to Washington at the February deadline as the Mavericks picked up center Brendan Haywood and forward Caron Butler. Gooden never played for the Wizards but was released in a cost-cutting move and ended the season with the Los Angeles Clippers.

“I had to reinvent my game, and I have to credit Coach Carlisle,” Gooden said of Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. “I had to learn how to be a guy to come off the bench and give you 18 or 20 minutes and be a force defensively rather than offensively.

Have thoughts on the Bucks? Share them on the Milwaukee Bucks forum.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles reports:

ron artest

“They need to let more Americans play in the European leagues,” Artest said. “There are only like two [Americans] to a team while Europeans can come to America [and play in the NBA] like the whole San Antonio Spurs team — a whole American team can be full of Europeans. Europe has to be a little more fair to the American players.

“You see a lot of foreign players come over to America to play in the NBA. It’s not fair that a lot of American players can’t come to China or can’t come to Europe to play with as many players as they want, so there’s no balance … They should just make it more even.” …

Some countries such as Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria have no limits on the number of non-European players allowed on each team, but the major leagues in Spain and Greece allow a maximum of two non-Europeans per squad. In the United Kingdom, the maximum is three.

A recent trend has shown American-born players who are able to acquire dual citizenship because of their ancestry — such as former Florida Gators guard and 2009 Timberwolves second-round draft pick Nick Calathes — becoming more valuable to executives looking to fill out a European roster because they do not count against the non-European player limit. Calathes plays for Panathinaikos Athens, a perennial Euroleague champion, and has a Greek passport.

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