Archive for December, 2010

Will Kings fire coach Paul Westphal?

Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports:

Oct 19, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings coach Paul Westphal reacts during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center. The Kings defeated the Clippers 96-94. Photo via Newscom

Sacramento Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof are strongly considering firing GM Geoff Petrie and coach Paul Westphal in a sweeping indictment of the direction of the team, two people familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com.

Petrie is on extremely shaky ground with the Kings foundering at 5-22 and Westphal openly feuding with combustible first-round pick DeMarcus Cousins, who has proved to be a disastrous mistake whose selection will doom Petrie. There are concerns within the organization about whether Westphal is the right coach to calm Cousins and groom him into a dependable star.

But while Petrie has gone to bat for Westphal, urging the Maloofs to give him time with Cousins before making an assessment, it may be a moot point. The Maloofs have developed far more serious concerns about whether Petrie himself should be let go. It was Petrie, according to sources, who supported the decision to guarantee the 2011-12 season on Westphal’s contract months ahead of schedule – a decision that, with Westphal apparently losing the team, has become a very expensive one.

CORAL GABLES, FL - APRIL 01:  Renardo Sidney Jr. #1 of the West Team looks to shoot over Ryan Kelly #4 of the East Team in the 2009 McDonald's All American Men's High School Basketball Game at BankUnited Center on April 1, 2009 in Coral Gables, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Can you say “behavior problems?” If not, just say “Renardo Sidney.”

The AP reports:

Two players from Mississippi State’s basketball team fought in the stands Thursday night between games at the Diamond Head Classic

Sophomore forward Renardo Sidney and junior forward Elgin Bailey got into the altercation about 10 minutes before the tipoff of the game between tournament host Hawaii and Utah at the Stan Sheriff Center. Punches were thrown in the fight that lasted several minutes and was broken up by teammates…

Sidney, a highly touted McDonald’s All-American out of Fairfax (Los Angeles) High, sat out all last season while awaiting clearance from the NCAA. He has appeared in just two games this season and scored 31 points with nine rebounds. Just this week, he was suspended by Stansbury for “conduct detrimental to the team” and was benched for the first-round game loss to Washington State on Wednesday.

RENARDO SIDNEY FIGHT VIDEO

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: Lebron James attends an after party following the 'Home & Home' concert at the 40 / 40 Club on September 13, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

By Jeff Lenchiner

It’s simple logic. Fewer teams in a sports league would mean more stars getting to play together, which presumably would make those teams better, and make for better basketball.

I know plenty of NBA fans who would love to see the NBA reverse directions and knock some teams out of the league, but even with David Stern suggesting that the idea is not to be totally ruled out, no one expects it will ever happen.

And, of course, no fan wants to see their favorite team cease to exist. So, the very idea of contraction is bound to frighten those whose local squad tends to not produce much in the wins, attendance or jersey sale departments.

But, count Miami Heat superstar LeBron James as a player who would support NBA contraction (eliminating some teams from the league) if it was to occur.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports:

“Hopefully the league can figure out one way where it can go back to the ’80s where you had three or four All-Stars, three or four superstars, three or four Hall of Famers on the same team,” James said. “The league was great. It wasn’t as watered down as it is [now].”

In fact, James seemed to have a couple of ideas of which teams could go and some players that would make other teams better right now.

“[Contraction] is not my job; I’m a player but that is why it the league was so great,” James said.

“Imagine if you could take Kevin Love off Minnesota and add him to another team and you shrink the [league]. Looking at some of the teams that aren’t that great, you take Brook Lopez or you take Devin Harris off these teams that aren’t that good right now and you add him to a team that could be really good. Not saying let’s take New Jersey and let’s take Minnesota out of the league. But hey, you guys are not stupid, I’m not stupid, it would be great for the league.”

Personally, I’d be quite happy if there were 20 teams instead of 30. Unless one of the teams that would cease to exist happened to be based near me, of course. Because then the idea is crazy and evil.

What’s your opinion? Share it with other fans in this forum topic.

Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony is expected to return to the team after Christmas following the death of his sister.

Michelle Anthony died of a pre-existing medical condition Tuesday in Baltimore; she is survived by her four children. Carmelo Anthony left the Nuggets on Wednesday to be with his family as they make funeral arrangements.

Anthony and his family ask that their privacy be respected as they grieve.

The Nuggets played at San Antonio on Wednesday.

The Sacramento Bee blog reports:

DeMarcus Cousins has his anger issues, but apparently, so does his coach. After Wednesday’s practice - which I missed while monitoring a live chat for the Bee - Paul Westphal announced that his rookie center had been fined and removed from the starting lineup for making a right-handed choke sign during Wednesday’s loss to Golden State. At the time, the Kings led 98-93, were 19.3 from a victory, with Warriors swingman Reggie Williams at the free throw line. Cousins, who was fined Nov. 12 after clashing with an assistant and team trainer, flashed a grin and placed his right hand around his throat. Williams missed two of his three attempts.

The punishment is reminiscent of Westphal’s benching last year of Spencer Hawes. The former Kings center had publicly complained about the player rotations, and when he arrived for the next game, discovered he had been de-activated and his uniform removed from the locker room.

Bobcats name Paul Silas interim head coach

Charlotte Bobcats Chairman and CEO Michael Jordan today named Paul Silas interim head coach of the team, effective immediately.

In 10 seasons as an NBA head coach, Silas has a career record of 355-400 with the Clippers (1980-83), Hornets (1999-2003) and Cavaliers (2003-05) He has also spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach for the Hornets, Knicks, Nets and Suns.

During his four-plus seasons as head coach of the Hornets, Silas compiled a 208-155 (.573) record and led the team to the playoffs in each of his four full seasons. He remains the team’s all-time leader in coaching wins and ranks second in winning percentage. Silas was named interim head coach of the Hornets on March 7, 1999, and led the team to a 22-13 record over the final 35 games of the 1998-99 season after replacing Dave Cowens.

A 16-year NBA veteran, Silas averaged 9.4 points and 9.9 rebounds in 1,254 career games for the Hawks, Suns, Celtics, Nuggets and SuperSonics. He was a two-time All-Star (1972 and 1975) and won three NBA Championships (1974 and 1976 with Boston and 1979 with Seattle). Silas currently ranks 19th on the NBA’s career lists for rebounds (12,357) and games played (1,254).

Have an opinion? Share it on the InsideHoops NBA forum.

By Jerald L. Hoover

New York Knicks Landry Fields drives to the basket in the first half against the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 8, 2010.   UPI/John Angelillo Photo via Newscom

The power of advance scouting took a turn for the worse as 29 teams didn’t get the memo on Knicks rookie Landry Fields. Mysteriously picked in the second round with the 39th pick, he wasn’t even on the radar as a potential draft candidate.  And this despite averaging 22 points and 9 rebounds his senior year at Stanford University.  True, the Pac-Ten Conference was rather weak this past year, but Fields has had some monster games against serious competition.

Case in point: Against the John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins-led Kentucky Wildcats, Fields notched 25 points and 12 rebounds. Albeit it was in a losing effort but as Cousins admitted, “we couldn’t do anything with him.”

A lot of NBA teams are drafting on alleged potential, and they seem to think if a person stayed for four years in college, something must be wrong.  It’s that type of imprudent thinking that sets some franchises back or even gets coaches fired. Many ‘one and done’ players aren’t mentally or physically strong enough for the riggers or strategies of the NBA.

Fields, on the other hand, after spending four years in college was more NBA ready.  In fact of the 38 players selected before him, only the aforementioned Wall and Cousins were in the opening Night starting lineup for their respective teams.  And Cousins only started because of an injury to veteran center Samuel Dalembart.  And only second-year Rookie of the Year candidate LA Clippers Blake Griffin has more double-doubles than Fields.  But, Fields was able to win Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month.  That feat hadn’t been done in New York since former Knick Channing Frye won it in November of 2005.

Talk about being a steal of the draft: at present Fields is the NBA’s leading rebounding guard. That’s right; all guards — not just rookies — at a rate of almost eight per game.  And once he gets his jumpshot more sound (he will however chuck up a few threes per game) he’s going to be even more dangerous.

If there’s a player that Fields may be compared to, it would be Houston Rocket and former Duke Blue Devil Shane Battier.  Battier also stayed in college for four years, but he played on the highly ranked Duke team and was much more of a high profile player in college.  But, his impact as a rookie wasn’t as high as Fields’ is at this point.

Fields should keep improving, and barring health issues he should be playing in this season’s NBA Rookies vs. Sophomores game during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.  That’s not bad for a guy not even thought of by 29 teams on Draft night.

Have an opinion on the team? Share it on the New York Knicks forum.

You can follow Jerald Hoover on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jerryhoover65

Bobcats, coach Larry Brown part ways

February 20, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..Charlotte Bobcats Head Coach Larry Brown..Milwaukee Buck won over the Charlotte Bobcats 93-88. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

Charlotte Bobcats Chairman and CEO Michael Jordan announced today that Larry Brown is stepping down as head coach of the team, effective immediately.

“I met with Coach Brown two weeks ago about the team’s performance and what we could do to improve it. We met again this morning after practice. The team has clearly not lived up to either of our expectations and we both agreed that a change was necessary,” Jordan said.

“This was a difficult decision for both of us, but one that needed to be made. I want to thank Larry for everything he has done for our team. He has played a key role in this organization’s development including coaching us to our first-ever playoff appearance last season. Larry will continue to be a valuable advisor to me regarding the team. The search for a successor will begin immediately.”

Brown was named the third head coach in team history on April 29, 2008, and compiled a record of 88-104 (.458) in two-plus seasons with the Bobcats.

The AP reports: The 70-year-old Brown, a Hall of Fame coach who was in the third season of his 13th professional and college head coaching job, had been upset with his team for weeks. The Bobcats (9-19) had lost three games by 31 or more points in 10 days before Tuesday’s fourth-quarter meltdown against Oklahoma City. Brown, who had two years left on his contract, didn’t immediately return a message on his cell phone seeking comment.

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

Clippers sign Ike Diogu

Portland Trailblazers forward Ike Diogu dunks in the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center in Denver on December 22, 2008. (UPI Photo/Gary C. Caskey) Photo via Newscom Photo via Newscom

The Los Angeles Clippers today signed free agent forward Ike Diogu. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not announced.

The ninth overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, Diogu last played for the Detroit Pistons during the 2010-11 preseason, averaging 2.3 points and 1.7 rebounds in three games played. Diogu was waived by the Pistons on October 20th. He appeared in 29 games with the Kings and Portland Trail Blazers in 2008-09 before signing as a free agent with the New Orleans Hornets for 2009-10. Diogu was forced to miss all of last season due to surgery on his left knee.

Diogu, 27, has appeared in 187 NBA games and brings career averages of 6.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 0.4 assists to the Clippers while shooting 50.1 percent from the field in his four-year NBA career.

A former standout at Arizona State University, the 6-foot-9 averaged 21.4 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.7 blocked shots and 35.1 minutes during his three-year collegiate career. As a junior in 2004-5, Diogu was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year and earned was the first player in Arizona State history to earn Second Team All-America honors.

Diogu will be in uniform and available for tonight’s game vs. the Houston Rockets at STAPLES Center.

Carmelo Anthony out tonight due to death in family

Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony has been excused from Wednesday night’s game in San Antonio due to a death in his family.

“Our entire organization supports Carmelo during this difficult time for him and his family,” Nuggets executive vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri said. “It is heartbreaking news, particularly during the holiday season.”

Anthony would like to thank Nuggets fans for their thoughts and prayers and asks that they and the media respect his privacy during this time.

Suns release Earl Barron

earl barron

The Phoenix Suns have released center Earl Barron, the team announced today.

The 7-0, 250-pound center appeared in 12 games for Phoenix, including six starts, averaging 3.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in 15.3 minutes. Barron, a four-year NBA veteran with the Miami Heat (2005-08) and New York Knicks (2009-10), joined the Suns on Nov. 16.

The Suns’ roster now stands at 13.

InsideHoops.com editor says: With new center Marcin Gortat on board and Robin Lopez already around, plus Garret Siler ready to maybe sometimes stand up and get off the bench, the Suns didn’t need Barron’s assistance anymore.

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

The Charlotte Bobcats have recalled rookie guard Sherron Collins from their NBA Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.  Collins is expected to rejoin the Bobcats tonight when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder at Time Warner Cable Arena.

The 5-11 Collins appeared in five games with the Red Claws, averaging 12.0 points, 3.2 assists, 1.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 26.0 minutes, while shooting .396 from the field (19-48) and .842 from the free-throw line (16-19).

Collins, who was assigned to the Red Claws on December 9, scored in double figures in three of the five games, including an 18-point, eight-assist outing against the Springfield Armor on December 17.

Craig Smith out at least two weeks

Los Angeles Clippers forward Craig Smith will miss a minimum of two weeks due to a herniated disc in his lower back.

Smith received an epidural this morning and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

In 24 games played this season, Smith has averaged 5.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 13.8 minutes per contest.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 14: NBA player Brandon Jennings arrives at the 2010 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 14, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Milwaukee Bucks General Manager John Hammond announced today that guard Brandon Jennings (6-1, 169) had successful surgery this afternoon to repair a fracture of the fifth metatarsal of his left foot.  The surgery was performed at the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin by Bucks Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Michael Gordon along with foot and ankle specialist  Dr. Eric Malicky.  Jennings is expected to miss four to six weeks of action and will be re-evaluated throughout his recovery.

Jennings, 21, had started all 25 of the Bucks games prior to his injury and led the club with 17.9 points, 5.5 assists and 47 3-pointers. Jennings had started in 107 consecutive games (114 including the postseason) prior to the injury. The second-year pro was a member of the 2009-10 All-Rookie First Team and won the NBA’s Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award in October/November, December, January and March. He tallied 55 points in his seventh professional game (November 14, 2009 against Golden State) and recorded his first career triple-double against Charlotte on October 30, 2010 – becoming the second player in NBA history (along with Elgin Baylor) to score 50-plus points and record a triple-double in their first 100 NBA games.

The AP reports:

Sister, cousin of Willie Green killed in car crash

The sister and cousin of New Orleans player Willie Green were killed early Monday when their sport utility vehicle sped from a Detroit area freeway and slammed into a tree a few hours after the Hornets’ overtime loss to the Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Family members identified the victims as Tamara Green, 30, and Ben Green, 27, said Troy police Lt. Robert Redmond.

The pair and other relatives had attended the game to watch Willie Green, a college star at the University of Detroit Mercy, play against his hometown professional team. They had stopped at a nearby restaurant after the game.

Heat recall Dexter Pittman from D-League

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 10: Dexter Pittman #34 of the Texas Longhorns reacts in the second half against the Iowa State Cyclones during the first round game of the 2010 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center on March 10, 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Miami Heat announced today that Dexter Pittman has been recalled from the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League. He was assigned to the Heat’s D-League affiliate on November 26.

“It was a very productive stint for Dexter,” said Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, “and shows how valuable the NBA Development League is. He had an opportunity to play and learn from his mistakes, play through fatigue, foul trouble and all these things he can’t get from just practice. We were encouraged by the three-week opportunity he had.”

Pittman appeared in eight games (all starts) and averaged 16.6 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.63 blocks and 30.6 minutes while shooting 60.2 percent from the field. He recorded four double-doubles after posting 18 points and a team-high 10 rebounds at Iowa on December 1, 18 points and a game-high 15 rebounds vs. Iowa on December 3, 15 points and a team-high 10 rebounds vs. Austin on December 7 and then a game-high 27 points and a game-high 10 rebounds vs. Utah on December 17.

Pittman, the 32nd overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, blocked a Sioux Falls season-high six shots vs. Utah on December 17, his third multi-block game. Additionally, he led the team in points three times, rebounds six times and in blocks on three occasions.

Wizards sign Lester Hudson

Wizards sign Lester Hudson

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed point guard Lester Hudson.  Per team policy, terms of the deal were not announced. It is likely a short-term, nonguaranteed contract.

Hudson (6-3, 190 lbs.) appeared in six games earlier this season for Washington, before being waived on November 22nd to make room for Alonzo Gee.  Gee appeared in 11 games (five starts) for the Wizards, and averaged 2.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in 11.5 minutes per game.

Have an opinion? Share it on the Washington Wizards forum.

April 26, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..Milwaukee Bucks Brandon Jennings brings the ball up the court, Jennings had 23 points and 6 assists against the Hawks 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.

Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings (6-1, 169) will undergo surgery this afternoon to repair a fracture of the fifth metatarsal of his left foot, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

Jennings, 21, was examined by Bucks orthopaedic physician Dr. Michael Gordon following Saturday’s game vs. Utah and an MRI procedure on Sunday confirmed the diagnosis.

Jennings is expected to miss four to six weeks of action and will be re-evaluated throughout his recovery.

The AP reports:

Jennings had started every game since being picked 10th overall in 2009, a string of 107 regular-season games and seven in the postseason. He’d been averaging 17.9 points per game and 5.5 assists in 25 games this year.

Jennings said earlier in the week that he hurt himself on a drive to the basket against the Spurs when he came down awkwardly on his knee and it put pressure on his ankle. Against the Jazz, he went 3 of 7 from the field and finished with six points, four assists and three rebounds.

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

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 16: Rick Pitino the Head Coach of the Louisville Cardinals gives instructions to his team during the game against the Butler Bulldogs at the KFC Yum! Center on November 16, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The AP reports:

Louisville’s Rick Pitino will coach Puerto Rico’s national team next summer in hopes of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics.

The Puerto Rico basketball federation on Monday introduced Pitino as its next coach. Pitino met with players and officials Sunday to discuss the possibility.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports:

Arroyo is the starting point guard for the Miami Heat. Barea plays the same position for the Dallas Mavericks. Both are natives of Puerto Rico. Both are expected to play for the Puerto Rican national basketball team that has been vigorously recruiting Pitino as its coach for next summer.

“I want to make sure those two guys are committed and if they know of other guys who are committed and it’s not just the two of them,” Pitino said.

Guys such as Renaldo Balkman, the former first-round pick of the New York Knicks. And Angel Garcia, a Puerto Rican player who just walked out on Memphis to sign a pro contract with a team in Spain.

Sixers showing life in December

April 9, 2010: Philadelphia 76ers guard Andre Iguodala (9) going up for the dunk while Milwaukee Bucks guard John Salmons (15) looks on during the NBA game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Kate Fagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

It’s not quite yet the New Year, but it feels like a different season for the 76ers.

Only a third of the way through the schedule, the Sixers have climbed out of the bottom of the Eastern Conference by going 8-3 in their last 11 games, including Saturday night’s 97-89 road victory over the shorthanded Orlando Magic.

For the Sixers, it was the perfect start to perhaps the most difficult stretch of their season: an eight-game road trip filled almost entirely playoff opponents.

The Sixers, 11-16, know they must keep their heads above water during the next two weeks.

“This stretch we had coming up, was it going to be doom and gloom or was it going to be opportunity?” Sixers coach Doug Collins asked after Saturday’s win, then quickly responded: “It was an opportunity for us.”

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