Archive for December, 2010

Suns recall Gani Lawal from D-League

The Phoenix Suns have recalled rookie forward Gani Lawal from the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League, the club announced.  Lawal will join the team for tonight’s game against the Thunder in Oklahoma City.

Originally assigned on Nov. 16, Lawal appeared in 10 games with the Energy, posting averages of 11.2 points and 6.0 rebounds in 20.2 minutes.  The 6-9, 234-pound Lawal scored in double figures in five of his 10 games, including two scoring efforts of 20 or more.

The Georgia Tech product was selected by the Suns with the 46th overall pick (second round) of the 2010 NBA Draft.  He has not yet made his NBA debut.

Apr. 07, 2010: Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay shoots free throws and finished with 23 points during an NBA game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX Dallas defeated Memphis 110-84.

Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies has been suspended one game without pay for his Flagrant Foul, Penalty Two against Luis Scola of the Houston Rockets, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President Basketball Operations.

The incident, in which Gay made contact with his right shoulder and forearm to the back of Scola and was ejected following the Flagrant Foul, Penalty Two call, occurred with 6:00 remaining in the 4th period of the Grizzlies’ 103-87 loss to the Rockets at Toyota Center on Dec. 17.

Gay  will  serve  his  suspension  tonight when the Grizzlies visit the San Antonio Spurs.

NBA fines George Karl and Andre Miller

Denver Nuggets coach George Karl and Portland Trail Blazers guard Andre Miller have both been fined for separate incidents, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President Basketball Operations.

Karl has been fined $25,000 for public comments about the officiating following the Nuggets’ 113-112 home loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Dec. 16.

Miller has also been fined $25,000 for throwing the ball in the stands following the Blazers’ 103-98 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 15.

Washington Wizards' Gilbert Arenas carries the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first quarter at the Verizon Center in Washington on December 14, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

The Orlando Magic have acquired three-time NBA All-Star guard Gilbert Arenas from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Rashard Lewis, President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Otis Smith announced today.

“Gilbert (Arenas) is a proven All-Star in this league and we’re excited to add him to our team,” said Smith.  “He is one of the top scoring guards in the game, he can create scoring chances for his teammates and he is as tough as they come.  Rashard (Lewis) was important in helping our franchise get to the next level, and we wish him and his family all the best in the future.”

“This trade allows us to continue to rebuild around our core group of young players and provides financial flexibility as we move forward,” said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld.  “We’re thrilled to have been able to accomplish those goals while also getting back a two-time All-Star in Rashard Lewis, who brings us versatility, three-point shooting and a veteran presence.”

“When we re-signed Gilbert prior to the 2008-09 season, we envisioned a level of team success that we unfortunately were not able to achieve due to injuries and other factors beyond our control,” said Grunfeld.  “We appreciate the contributions that he made to this franchise and this city and wish him the best of luck.”

Arenas (6’4”, 215, 1/6/82) has played in 21 games this season (14 starts) with Washington, averaging a team-high 17.3 ppg., 5.6 apg., 3.3 rpg. and 1.43 stlpg. in 34.6 minpg.  He is currently tied for 21st in the NBA in assists, ranks 28th in steals and is tied for 35th in scoring.

Originally selected in the second round (31st overall) of the 2001 NBA Draft by Golden State, Arenas was named to the All-NBA Second Team once (2006-07) and to the All-NBA Third Team twice (2004-05, 2005-06), while also earning the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 2002-03.  He has been named to the NBA All-Star team three times (2005-07).

Arenas has appeared in 486 career NBA regular season games with Golden State and Washington, averaging 22.5 ppg., 5.6 apg., 4.2 rpg. and 1.71 stlpg. in 37.2 minpg.  He has shot .356 (1,016-2,856) from three-point range during his career.  Arenas has also played in 20 career playoff outings, averaging 24.2 ppg., 5.3 apg., 4.6 rpg. and 1.80 stlpg. in 41.4 minpg.

Lewis (6’10”, 230, 8/8/79) has played and started in 25 games this season with Orlando, averaging 12.2 ppg., 4.2 rpg. and 1.2 apg. in 32.4 minpg.  He played in 257 games with the Magic from 2007-10, averaging 16.3 ppg., 5.1 rpg., 2.1 apg. and 1.09 sltpg. in 35.5 minpg. during that span.

Originally selected in the second round (32nd overall) of the 1998 NBA Draft by Seattle, Lewis has appeared in 874 career NBA regular season games with Seattle and Orlando, averaging 16.5 ppg., 5.6 rpg., 1.8 apg. and 1.13 stlpg. in 34.4 minpg.  He was acquired by the Magic in a sign-and-trade deal with Seattle (now Oklahoma City) in exchange for a future conditional second round draft pick on July 11, 2007.

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

May 23, 2010 - Phoenix, ARIZONA, UNITED STATES - epa02170506 Phoenix Suns' guard Jason Richardson celebrates after scoring against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of game three of the NBA Western Conference basketball finals at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona, USA 23 May 2010. The western conference champions will face the eastern conference champions in the NBA finals.

The Orlando Magic have acquired Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, a 2011 first round draft selection and cash considerations, President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Otis Smith announced today.

“We’re very excited to welcome these three players to our family,” said Smith.  “Jason (Richardson) is a tremendous athlete who runs the floor, can shoot the ball and loves to compete.  We’re obviously familiar with Hedo (Turkoglu).  He is a great shooter and is a player that has flourished in our system.  We liked Earl (Clark) in the draft a few years ago, and he will help fortify our frontcourt.  Vince (Carter), Marcin (Gortat) and Mickael (Pietrus) did a lot for our organization and we wish them great success in the future.”

Richardson (6’6”, 225, 1/20/81) has played and started in 25 games this season with Phoenix, averaging a team-high 19.3 ppg., 4.4 rpg., 1.4 apg. and a team-high 1.08 stlpg. in 31.8 minpg., while shooting .470 (183-389) from the floor and .419 (62-148) from three-point range.  He currently ranks 24th in the NBA in scoring and 27th in three-point field goal percentage.

Originally selected in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2001 NBA Draft by Golden State, Richardson has appeared in 696 career NBA regular season games with Golden State, Charlotte and Phoenix, averaging 18.3 ppg., 5.2 rpg., 2.8 apg. and 1.18 stlpg. in 35.0 minpg.  He has shot .372 (1,291-3,472) from three-point range during his career.  Richardson has also played in 27 career playoff outings, averaging 19.5 ppg., 6.0 rpg., 1.4 apg. and 1.15 stlpg. in 35.6 minpg., while shooting .491 (193-393) from the floor and .421 (77-183) from three-point range.  He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2001-02, claimed the NBA Slam Dunk championship in 2002 and 2003, while also being named MVP of the Rookie Challenge in 2002.

Turkoglu (6’10”, 220, 3/19/79) has played in 25 games (16 starts) this season with Phoenix, averaging 9.5 ppg., 4.0 rpg. and 2.3 apg. in 25.2 minpg. while shooting .423 (41-97) from three-point range.  He currently ranks 24th in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage.

Originally selected in the first round (16th overall) of the 2000 NBA Draft by Sacramento, Turkoglu has appeared in 777 career NBA regular season games with Sacramento, San Antonio, Orlando, Toronto and Phoenix, averaging 12.1 ppg., 4.2 rpg. and 2.9 apg. in 28.1 minpg., while shooting .385 (986-2,562) from three-point range.  He has also played in 74 career playoff outings, averaging 11.8 ppg., 4.6 rpg. and 3.2 apg. in 32.1 minpg.  Turkoglu was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2000-01 and earned the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 2007-08.

Turkoglu played in 377 games during five seasons with Orlando from 2004-09, averaging 15.8 ppg., 4.6 rpg. and 3.7 apg. in 33.1 minpg.  He helped the Magic reach the NBA Finals in 2009.  Turkoglu was signed as a free agent by Orlando on July 14, 2004.

Clark (6’10”, 225, 1/17/88) has played in nine games with this season with Phoenix, averaging 3.2 ppg. and 1.9 rpg. in 8.0 minpg.  Originally selected in the first round (14th overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft by Phoenix, Clark appeared in 51 games with the Suns during his rookie campaign (2009-10), averaging 2.7 ppg. and 1.2 rpg. in 7.5 minpg.  He also played in three playoff contests, averaging 1.3 ppg. in 4.3 minpg.

“This transaction helps us now and in the future,” Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said.  “While it is difficult to see players like Jason, Hedo and Earl depart, we are excited to welcome Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mikael Pietrus.  Marcin addresses our need for more size, rebounding and defensive presence.  Vince and Mikael will be dynamic in our offense and improve our perimeter defense.  Gaining a first-round pick in this year’s draft is an added bonus.”

The 6-6, 220-pound Carter is a 12-year NBA veteran who owns eight NBA All-Star appearances, including seven selections as a starter.  Carter was the 1998-99 NBA Rookie of the Year, earned All-NBA honors in 2000-01 (Second Team) and 2001-02 (Third Team), and won an Olympic Gold Medal as a member of the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

The 33-year-old Carter, who currently ranks eighth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list among active players, is 169 points shy of 20,000 for his career.  Carter averaged 20 or more points in 10-straight seasons from 1999-2000 to 2008-09, and owns career averages of 22.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 874 games (866 starts) with Toronto (1998-04), New Jersey (2004-09) and Orlando (2009-10).  The graduate of the University of North Carolina has been Orlando’s second-leading scorer in each of the last two seasons (Dwight Howard), including a 15.1-point scoring average through 22 games in 2010-11.

Carter has appeared in 56 playoff games in six career appearances, and owns postseason averages of 23.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

Originally the fifth overall selection of the 1998 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, Carter’s draft rights were traded to the Toronto Raptors, with whom he spent the first six-plus seasons of his decorated career, becoming the Raptors’ all-time leading scorer (9,420).  On Dec. 17, 2004, Carter was traded to New Jersey where he helped to lead the Nets to playoff appearances in each of his first three seasons (2005, 2006, 2007).  Carter became a member of the Magic on June 25, 2009, when he was acquired along with Ryan Anderson in exchange for Rafer Alston, Tony Battie and Courtney Lee.

Gortat is a 6-11, 240-pound center who will bring defense, rebounding and toughness to the Suns. He was originally selected by Phoenix with the 57th overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft before dealing him to the Magic for cash considerations on June 28, 2005.

Through 25 games in 2010-11, the Polish-born Gortat is averaging a career-high 4.0 points and a career-high 4.7 rebounds in only 15.9 minutes.  In fact, despite playing fewer than 16 minutes per game, Gortat’s 4.7-rebound average would be tied for third-most on the Suns.  “The Polish Hammer” is averaging 14.3 rebounds per 48 minutes (19th-NBA), and his 54.3-percent field goal accuracy would rank 13th in the league overall if he had enough makes to qualify (min. 92 field goals).

A three-year NBA veteran, Gortat owns career averages of 3.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 13.3 minutes in 175 games (five starts), all with Orlando.  The 26-year-old has played every game of his career behind two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard (2008-09, 2009-10).  Following the 2008-09 season, Gortat signed a free agent offer sheet with the Dallas Mavericks, but the Magic matched the offer in order to retain him.

Gortat appeared in all 24 playoff games in the Magic’s run to the 2009 NBA Finals, averaging 3.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 11.3 minutes.

Pietrus is versatile, 6-6, 215-pound swingman who has developed into a reliable outside shooter.  A seven-year NBA veteran with Golden State (2003-08) and Orlando (2008-10), Pietrus owns career averages of 8.6 points and 3.2 rebounds in 458 games (146 starts), and is a 35.9-percent three-point shooter, including 37.3 percent from beyond the arc over the last two-plus seasons with the Magic (230-of-616).  The 28-year-old Pietrus is shooting a career-high 39.1-percent from three-point range through 19 games in 2010-11.

Pietrus, whose nationality and play earned him the nickname “Air France,” grew up in Les Abymes on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, which is located approximately 310 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico.  He left the island for France at the age of 15 to join the junior program of French powerhouse Pau Orthez (PO OR-tez), and played four seasons professionally for Pau Orthez after making his debut at the age of 17.

Pietrus was originally selected with the 11th overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors and spent his first five career seasons in Oakland before signing a free-agent deal with Orlando on July 10, 2008.  A key reserve during the Magic’s run to the 2009 NBA Finals, Pietrus averaged 10.5 points while appearing in all 24 games that postseason.

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

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 18:  Luke Babbitt #5 of the Nevada Wolf Pack shoots over Steve Jones #20 of the UNLV Rebels during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center on November 18, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 88-75.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Portland Trail Blazers have recalled forward Luke Babbitt from the NBA Development League’s Idaho Stampede, it was announced today by General Manager Rich Cho.

In four games with the Stampede, Babbitt posted averages of 18.0 points (20-21 FT) and 5.8 rebounds in 27.3 minutes. He totaled highs of 23 points, nine rebounds and two blocks on Dec. 11 vs. the Utah Flash.

Babbitt, 21, has appeared in eight games for the Trail Blazers, recording four points and two rebounds in 10 minutes Nov. 6 vs. the Toronto Raptors.

Acquired by Portland in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves after being selected 16th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft, Babbitt is expected to join the Trail Blazers in time for today’s game vs. Golden State.

Mehmet Okur returns for Jazz

March 12, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..Utah Jazz Mehmet Okur drives to the hoop, Okur had 20 points and 11 rebounds tonight against the Bucks..Milwaukee Buck won over the Utah Jazz 95-87. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

The AP reports:

Utah Jazz center Mehmet Okur is playing for the first time since rupturing his left Achilles’ tendon last season.

The 6-foot-11 forward came off the bench during the first half of Utah’s game against the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.

Okur was bothered by tendinitis late last season before the rupture occurred during the playoffs against Denver last April.

Washington Wizards' Gilbert Arenas carries the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first quarter at the Verizon Center in Washington on December 14, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo reports:

Orlando and Washington are engaged in serious discussions for a trade that would send Gilbert Arenas to the Magic, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Arenas has privately told people for days that he believes a deal will soon send him to Orlando, where he’ll be reunited with Magic general manager Otis Smith, a friend and mentor from Arenas’ days with the Golden State Warriors.

Mike Miller is close to returning

March 12 2010: Washington Wizards' Mike Miller (6) during the NBA basketball game between the Washington Wizards and Detroit Piston at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

The AP reports:

Miami Heat forward Mike Miller is close to being ready for game action. So close that his season debut could have come Friday night.

“I was very tempted to suit him up and my coaching staff talked me out of it because I would definitely look down and throw him in and he hasn’t had a practice yet,” coach Erik Spoelstra said before the Heat faced the New York Knicks.

Miller has been out all season after breaking his right thumb defending LeBron James in a preseason practice. Miller is working out again and is just waiting for the team to clear him to play in games.

May 08, 2010 - Atlanta, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES - epa02149239 Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson (R) tries to drive around Orlando Magic forward Matt Barnes in the first half of Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal round NBA playoff basketball game at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on 08 May 2010.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:

Hawks guard Joe Johnson will return to the lineup two weeks ahead of schedule after having right elbow surgery. Th efour-time All-Star will start Friday night against Charlotte at Philips Arena.

“The therapy just went great, the swelling’s gone down,” Johnson said. “We’ve just been shooting (with) no pain. It’s just feeling great, so I just didn’t feel like it was necessary to wait another two weeks and leave the guys hanging out there like that when I can really get out there and give ‘em everything I got.”

Johnson had surgery to remove a loose body from his elbow at the beginning of December. He had been expected to be out four to six weeks.

LeBron James throws party in NYC at 1OAK

LeBron James didn’t sign with the New York Knicks, but like everyone else on the planet he knows that when you visit NYC, a party is in order.

On Thursday, December 16th, the Miami Heat superstar hosted a “One of a Kind” evening at Chelsea hot-spot 1Oak joined by fellow teammate Dwayne Wade with gal pal Gabrielle Union, New York Knicks superstar Amar’e Stoudemire with model Amber Rose, Jersey Shore’s Ronnie Magro, New York Jets’ Braylon Edwards, record executive Steve Stoute, DJ Clue, and 1Oak owners Richie Akiva and Scott Sartiano.

Guests were treated to DOBEL Tequila, and the music was run by DJ’s Jus Ske and SussONE.

Tonight Madison Square Garden will be filled as New York basketball fanatics cheer on the hometown New York Knicks against the Heat.

LEBRON NYC 1Oak PARTY PHOTOS

LeBron James, Richie Akiva and Maverick Carter

lebron james nyc party photo

Amber Rose

lebron james party new york

Ronnie Magro

lebron james partying new york 1oak

Have an opinion? Fans are discussing their take in this forum topic.

March 12, 2010: Portland guard Brandon Roy in action during the NBA basketball game between the Sacramento Kings and the Portland Trail blazers at the Arco Arena in Sacramento CA. Portland defeated the Kings 110-94.  Damon Tarver/CSM.

Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reports:

The Trail Blazers have decided to shut Brandon Roy down for at least three games — again — as the All-Star guard continues to endure pain in his balky left knee.

Roy, who has failed to reach double figures in scoring in four of the last five games, has rarely resembled the All-Star player that Blazers fans have grown accustomed to and he looked like a shell of his former self during the Blazers’ 103-98 loss to the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night.

As much as at any time this season, Roy lacked explosiveness and athleticism and finished with just four points. In a down-to-the-wire fourth quarter, Roy played just 4:42. So when the Blazers returned to Portland, Roy met with coach Nate McMillan, the Blazers’ training staff and general manager Rich Cho, and the group decided sitting out the Blazers’ upcoming three-game home stand was the best course of action for Roy.

InsideHoops.com editor says: This is really a damn shame, seeing what’s happening with Roy and his health. It’s rare when you hear that nothing can be done medically about a situation like this. I wonder if long-term rest if the answer.

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming (11) holds on to the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half of their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on October 26, 2010. The Lakers won 112 to 110. UPI/Lori Shepler Photo via Newscom

An MRI performed today on Rockets center Yao Ming revealed a stress fracture of the Medial Malleolus in his left ankle. The fracture, which is related to his previous injury of the Tarsal Navicular bone, presented itself during the course of his current rehabilitation program. There is no timetable for his return at this time.

The team will have no additional comment at this time. Information regarding his treatment program will be made available at a later date.

Yao has played just five games this season, and is averaging 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game.

The Rockets have a 10-15 record, which currently places them 11th out of 15 Western conference teams.

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder top the Western Conference, while Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic and LeBron James of the Miami Heat lead the Eastern Conference after the first returns of 2011 NBA All-Star Balloting presented by T-Mobile. Bryant, The Finals MVP last season, is the overall leader with 722,682 votes.

The 2011 NBA All-Star Game, which will air live at 8 p.m. ET on TNT and ESPN Radio in the U.S., and reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages, will be played at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles – on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011.

See full NBA All-Star voting results.

Joakim Noah needs right thumb surgery

Chicago Bulls Joakim Noah (13) plays against the Washington Wizards during the second quarter quarter at the Verizon Center in Washington on April 2, 2010. UPI/Alexis C. Glenn Photo via Newscom

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah will have surgery to repair a torn ulna collateral ligament in his right thumb.  The surgery will be performed tomorrow morning by Dr. Mark Cohen and Dr. John Fernandez of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush University Medical Center.

Noah was first injured in the Nov. 27 game at Sacramento, and he has played the last two weeks with ongoing discomfort and slight functional impairment.   Additionally, Noah has had significant sprains of his right index and middle fingers, which will not require surgery.

“Joakim’s injury presentation was unusual in that he was able to function at a high level with the injury.  More often, athletes are unable to play at all due to pain and instability of the thumb,” said Chicago Bulls Head Team Physician Brian Cole.

“As the days proceeded from the original injury, it became clear for all that surgery was best for Joakim,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman.  “We have always valued Joakim’s toughness and willingness to put the team above himself, but in this case his health took precedence.”

Noah has started every Bulls game this year, and entering tonight’s game at Toronto, he had averaged 14.2 ppg, 11.7 rpg (fifth in the NBA), 2.8 apg, 1.61 bpg (16th), 1.22 spg, 37.2 mpg (18th).  He also had shot .511 (28th) from the field and .724 from the free throw line.

Noah also ranked in the top 10 in the NBA in offensive rebounds (third), offensive rebounds per game (fourth), defensive rebounds per game (sixth), total rebounds (sixth), double-doubles (sixth) and defensive rebounds (ninth).

Rockets trade Jermaine Taylor to Kings

Rockets trade Jermaine Taylor to Kings

The Sacramento Kings today acquired Jermaine Taylor and cash considerations from the Houston Rockets in exchange for a heavily-protected, second-round pick, according to Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie.

A 6-5 guard out of Central Florida, Taylor saw the court eight times this season for the Rockets, averaging 4.9 ppg (.500 FG% .400 3pt, .833 FT%) and 1.1 rpg. Originally selected with the 32nd overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards and later traded to Houston, Taylor appeared in 31 games (four starts) for the Rockets in 2009-10 and averaged 4.1 ppg and 1.5 rpg. He also made eight appearances for the Rio Grande Vipers of the NBA D-League, posting 19.8 ppg and 4.8 rpg.

Taylor was most recently named to the 2010 NBA Summer League All-Tournament Team after leading Houston in scoring, averaging 18.4 ppg (.471 FG%), 4.8 rpg and 2.0 apg in five games.

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.

The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired forward Joe Smith from the New Jersey Nets in a three-team trade, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. New Jersey will also send the Lakers Golden State’s second round draft choice in 2011 and Chicago’s second round draft choice in 2012.  The Lakers will also receive the draft rights to Sergei Lishouk from Houston, as well as a trade exception.  In return, New Jersey will receive guard Sasha Vujacic and a protected 2011 first round draft pick from the Lakers.  New Jersey will receive a protected 2012 first round draft pick from Houston, while the Rockets will receive guard Terrence Williams from New Jersey.

Smith, currently in his 16th NBA season, was selected first overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 1995 NBA Draft, after averaging 20.1 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in two seasons with the University of Maryland.

After garnering multiple National Collegiate Player of the Year awards, being named First Team All-America by the AP, and being selected ACC Player of the Year after his sophomore season with Maryland, Smith finished third in Rookie of the Year voting and was named All-Rookie First Team after averaging 15.3 points and 8.7 rebounds in his first NBA season with Golden State.

In 1,018 career games (619 starts), Smith is averaging 11.0 points and 6.4 rebounds in 26.5 minutes.  Signed by New Jersey as a free agent prior to the 2010-11 season, Smith has played in four games this season (three starts), averaging 0.5 points and 0.8 rebounds in 6.3 minutes.

Lishouk, a 6-11 forward from Ukraine, was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round of the 2004 NBA Draft, was traded to Houston in 2008 and currently plays for Valencia in Spain (ACB).

Vujacic, currently in his seventh season, was originally selected by the Lakers in the first round (27th overall) of the 2004 NBA draft after playing three seasons for Snaidero Udine of Italy’s top professional league.  In 420 career games (12 starts), Vujacic is averaging 4.8 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 14.3 minutes.

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

Andrew Bynum makes season debut

Los Angeles Lakers' Andrew Bynum poses for photos during the basketball team's media day at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California on Sept. 25, 2010. The Lakers will try to three-peat this season after winning back-to-back NBA championship titles. UPI/Jim Ruymen Photo via Newscom

Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum played his first game of the 2010-11 regular season Tuesday night in a 103-89 road win in Washington against the Wizards. Coming off the bench, Bynum played over 17 minutes, shooting just 1-of-5 for seven points, four rebounds, an assist and two blocks.

“I thought his first few minutes were good and then he tired after that…noticeable difference,” said Lakers coach Phil Jackson after the game. ” He gave us something that we needed at the time. We had both Lamar and Pau with two fouls.”

Jackson does not plan on forcing Bynum into unnecessary action. “I’ll try to work him out somewhat similar to what we did tonight, short minutes, relief minutes and see how he goes in the game.  I was ready to put him back in if we needed to tonight but that was a game in which we didn’t have to push it down the end.”

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2011 Knicks Legends Night is February 23

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports:

The Knicks will hold their annual Legends Night Feb. 23 vs. Milwaukee and unveil the player of the past decade, with fans eligible to vote. Two years ago, Legends Night featured winners of the past five decades but left open the 2000’s — an atrocious period in Knick history.

On the ballot for this past decade is current assistant general manager Allan Houston, Latrell Sprewell, Marcus Camby, David Lee and Kurt Thomas. Houston is a strong favorite to win, but Sprewell could take the fan vote. The Knicks are assembling a panel to vote and the online fan vote counts as one panel member.

Fans can also select a second player of the decade from the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s and they, too will be honored. In 2009, the inaugural class of decade winners were: Carl Braun (1940’s), Richie Guerin (1950’s), Willis Reed (1960’s), Walt Frazier (1970’s), Bernard King (1980’s) and Patrick Ewing (1990’s).

Sixers shorten bench, play better

Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News reports:

The Sixers have won five of their past seven games and aren’t even comparable to the team that started the season 3-13. The reasons have been many - better defense, Jodie Meeks, a slew of home games - but the biggest might be that coach Doug Collins has shortened his bench.

Benefiting from Collins’ decision are Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams. Suffering from it are Andres Nocioni, Evan Turner and Marreese Speights.

The reasoning is pretty plain and simple. Young and Williams have been terrific off the bench, both playing as well as anyone could have expected. Still, the coach agonizes over keeping his players happy.

“I’m as sensitive as anybody,” Collins said after yesterday’s practice at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “After the game is over, I always tell [assistant coaches] to make sure everyone is OK. I know what it’s all about. I try to stay on top of it as much as I can.”

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