Archive for February 24th, 2011

The Memphis Grizzlies have acquired Shane Battier and Ishmael Smith from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Hasheem Thabeet, DeMarre Carroll and a future, lottery-protected first-round draft pick, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

The move reunites the Grizzlies and the City of Memphis with Battier, one of the most-popular and effective players in franchise history.

“We are thrilled to have acquired a player of Shane’s caliber as we make a push toward the playoffs,” Wallace said.  “Shane is remembered fondly in our Memphis community for his contributions to the franchise’s prior postseason runs, and we expect that his combination of shooting, defense and leadership will be key ingredients in helping us get back there.  We are also pleased to add Ishmael Smith, who has a bright future in this league.”

The first-ever draft pick in the Memphis era (No. 6 overall in 2001), Battier starred for five seasons in the Bluff City (2001-06), averaging 10.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.28 steals in 32.3 minutes in 396 games (279 starts).  The franchise’s all-time leader in steals (507), Battier also ranks in the top 10 in team history in points (4,160, 6th), rebounds (1,908, 7th), blocks (418, 3rd), three-point field goals made (389, 4th), free throws made (765, 7th), games played (3rd) and games started (5th).

The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired center Semih Erden and forward Luke Harangody from the Boston Celtics in exchange for a second round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today.

The Cavaliers also waived forward Leon Powe.

“Semih and Luke are two young players that we’ve liked dating back to their respective drafts. Each has worked hard, continued to grow and proven themselves on the court this season,” said Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant. “Luke and Semih also understand what winning culture is about and we’re happy to have them as part of our team. We look forward to their continued growth with us.”

Erden, 24, has played in 37 games (seven starts) this season, averaging 4.1 points on .598 shooting and 2.9 rebounds in 14.4 minutes per game. The 7-foot, 240-pound rookie from Turkey was selected with the 60th overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft. He has seven seasons of international experience, playing the last five seasons (2005-2010) with Fenerbache Ulker Istanbul of the Turkish League.

With the Celtics during the 2010-11 season, he scored in double figures on four occasions and grabbed seven or more rebounds in five games this season. Semih Erden (pronounced SEM-ee Err-DEN) posted a season-high 14 points on a perfect 5-5 shooting and added seven rebounds in 30 minutes versus Utah on Jan. 21st.

Harangody, 23, is averaging 2.3 points on .394 shooting and 2.0 rebounds in 8.6 minutes per game in 28 games (zero starts). He was selected with the 52nd overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired forward Gerald Wallace from the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for center Joel Przybilla, forward Dante Cunningham, forward/center Sean Marks, a 2011 conditional first round pick acquired from New Orleans and a conditional 2013 first round pick, it was announced today by General Manager Rich Cho.

“I want to welcome Gerald to the Trail Blazers,” said Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen . “He is just the sort of talent we were looking for. I’m sure our fans will embrace him and hopefully he can help us make some noise in the playoffs.

“I also want to thank Joel, Dante and Sean. Joel has been a warrior for this franchise over the past six and 1/2 seasons and Dante has played an important role in the success this team has had this season.”

Wallace, 28, posted averages of 15.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.23 steals, 1.00 blocked shots and 39.0 minutes in 48 games (all starts) with the Bobcats this season. He scored 20 points or more 17 times and recorded 14 double-doubles.

“I’d like to thank Joel, Dante and Sean for their hard work and professionalism while in Portland,” said Cho. “We are very excited to add a player of Gerald Wallace’s caliber to the roster and feel that his athletic, defensive-minded style of play will be a great fit for us.”

Wallace (6-7, 220) was named to the 2010 Eastern Conference All-Star Team and the 2009-10 All-Defensive First Team.

Rockets trade Aaron Brooks to Suns

The Phoenix Suns have acquired guard Aaron Brooks from the Houston Rockets in exchange for guard Goran Dragic and a protected 2011 first-round draft pick, the team announced.

“We are excited to add Aaron Brooks to our team,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby.  “We are confident that he will upgrade our backcourt now and in the future.  He should add scoring to our second unit, which is important to our success.”

The 6-0, 161-pound Brooks is an established NBA point guard who owns career averages of 12.8 points and 3.6 assists in 247 games (124 starts).  Originally selected by the Rockets with the 26th overall pick (first round) of the 2007 NBA Draft, Brooks was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player a season ago after averaging career highs of 19.6 points and 5.3 assists while starting all 82 games for Houston.  Brooks garnered the honor after registering the largest scoring increase of any NBA player (+8.4 points) last season, and leading the NBA in three-point field goals made (209).

Brooks became just the sixth player in league history to tally at least 200 three-pointers and 400 assists in a single season.

The 26-year-old Brooks joins the Suns with 2010-11 averages of 11.6 points and 3.8 assists in 34 games (seven starts).  After dealing with injuries early, Brooks has appeared in 21 of the Rockets’ last 22 games and has scored 15 or more points in seven of those games.

A fourth-year pro, Brooks has made two playoff appearances in his first three NBA seasons, appearing in 19 postseason contests (13 starts), and averaging 12.8 points and 2.5 assists.  Brooks started all 13 playoff games for the Rockets in 2009, as Houston won a series and pushed the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers to seven games in the semifinal round.

Celtics trade Marquis Daniels to Kings

The Sacramento Kings today acquired forward-guard Marquis Daniels and cash considerations from the Boston Celtics in exchange for a protected second-round pick in the 2017 draft, according to Kings President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie.

Daniels, in his eighth NBA season out of Auburn, appeared in 49 games for the Celtics this season, averaging 5.5 ppg (.491 FG%, .684 FT%), 2.3 rpg, and 1.3 apg, before suffering a bruised spinal cord on February 6 versus Orlando and has not seen action since then.

Last night’s New York Knicks-Milwaukee Bucks game on MSG Network, featuring the Knicks debut of All-Star Carmelo Anthony, scored a whopping 6.75 household Nielsen rating (507,285 households) to become the highest-rated regular season Knicks game on MSG in 16 years.

The game narrowly missed topping Michael Jordan’s famous “Double Nickel” game from March 28, 1995 (6.78 HH) when Jordan scored 55 points in his return to Madison Square Garden after his first retirement from the NBA.

The game easily surpassed this season’s previous high of a 3.61 HH rating for the Knicks-Celtics game on December 15, 2010. Last night’s game also beat MSG and ESPN’s combined HH rating of 6.27 for that Knicks-Celtics matchup.

“Last night’s Knicks game was a defining moment at The Garden, and the production team translated that into a stunning experience on television for more than half a million fans watching at home,” said Mike Bair, president, MSG Media.

The game registered season-high numbers in every measurable demo, specifically the key M18-34 demo which scored an 8.42 HH rating that more than doubled this season’s previous high of a 4.06 HH rating for the Knicks-Lakers game on January 9, 2011. The quarter-hour high for the game was an 8.20 HH rating between 10:00-10:15 p.m.

Through 52 games on MSG Network this season, the Knicks are averaging a 1.62 HH rating, up 60% over last season at this time (1.01 HH). The Knicks are also averaging a 2.30 rating in the M18-34 demo, up 147% over last season at this time (0.93 M18-34).

The Knicks travel to Cleveland on Friday to face the Cavaliers at 7:30 p.m. and then to Miami on Sunday to take on the Heat at 8:00 p.m. Both games will be telecast live on MSG Network, and will be preceded by “Knicks Game Night” 30 minutes prior to tip-off.

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports:

Pistons reject Mavericks offer for Tayshaun Prince

The Detroit Pistons have spurned the Dallas Mavericks’ efforts to acquire small forward Tayshaun Prince — at least for now.

The Mavs offered the Pistons swingman Caron Butler and a 2011 first-round pick for Prince before today’s 3 p.m. deadline, according to a person close to the situation.

Butler is out for the season with an injury, but he has an expiring deal, so the trade, basically, would be Prince for the pick. Prince also has an expiring contract.

Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:

“If I signed Dennis Rodman, I’m not above signing Justin Bieber — if he’s old enough to play,’’ owner Mark Cuban said Wednesday night. “I don’t know if he’s eligible.

“Could you check on that for me, because I’ll sign him. We can ask for an exception for Bieber Fever. Get the Bieber Fever NBA exception.’’

Bieber, who turns 17 on Tuesday, was voted the Most Valuable Player of the NBA Celebrity All-Star game last Friday in Los Angeles. He scored eight points and distributed four assists, but his East team lost to the West, 54-45.

“That guy can play,’’ Cuban said. “If we’re down a man, he’s the one I’ll sign.

“You’re talking about selling tickets.’’

Cavaliers trade Mo Williams, Jamario Moon to Clippers for Baron Davis, pick

The Los Angeles Clippers today acquired point guard Mo Williams and forward Jamario Moon from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for point guard Baron Davis and a first round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Williams, who has averaged 13.8 points, 5.0 assists and 3.1 rebounds over his eight-year NBA career, is currently averaging 13.3 points, 7.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 36 games played this season. He has notched 10 points-assist double-doubles on the year and has recorded eight games this season in which he has scored 20 or more points.

“Mo Williams is a 28 year old All Star whose skill set not only compliments our front court players but is an excellent running mate with Eric Gordon on both ends of the floor,” stated Clippers’ Vice President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey. “Jamario is an elite athlete that can play multiple positions and will help us improve defensively.”

Williams turned in his most productive campaign in 2008-09 when he tallied 17.8 points and 4.1 assists while being named to the Eastern Conference All-Star Team. He helped propel the Cavaliers to the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals, scoring in double-figures in 13 of 14 playoff games played that season and tallying 20 or more points in four playoff games. In 30 career playoff games played, Williams has averaged 14.1 points and 4.2 assists per game.

Originally selected in the second round (47th overall) of the 2003 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz, Williams spent four seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks before being traded to Cleveland on August 13, 2008.

In his fifth NBA season, Moon has averaged 6.7 points and 4.5 rebounds over his career. During the 2010-11 season, Moon has tallied 4.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 19.1 minutes in 40 games played.

Moon was signed by the Cavaliers as a free agent on July 24, 2009 after having spent the 2008-09 season with the Miami Heat and the Toronto Raptors. As an undrafted rookie with the Raptors in 2007, Moon turned in a productive rookie year, averaging 8.5 points and 6.2 rebounds.

“On a personal level this was a difficult decision and I will miss Baron but it was the right move for the organization now and for the future,” Olshey said.

Originally signed by the Clippers prior to the start of the 2008-09 season, Davis has averaged 16.5 points and 7.3 assists over his career. In 43 games played this season, Davis has tallied 12.8 points and 7.0 assists.

Baron Davis, Mo Williams trade expected

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers both have tons of trouble racking up digits in the win category, and Thursday they are reportedly going to swap point guards. Scoring point Mo Williams will head to the Clippers where, when not shooting, he gets to dish to Blake Griffin. And aging Baron Davis will leave the warmth of Los Angeles to head to freezing Cleveland, where he gets to pass to old Antawn Jamison and bench players who act as starters.

It should be… interesting.  Ramona Shelburne and Chad Ford of ESPN report:

The Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed in principle to a trade that would send Baron Davis and the Clippers’ 2011 first-round draft pick to Cleveland in exchange for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon, league sources confirmed to ESPN.com.

The deal saves the Clippers considerable money the next two seasons while giving them a younger point guard who made the All-Star team while playing with LeBron James.

Davis is still owed nearly $28 million over the next two seasons and the balance of his $13 million contract this year. Moon’s contract expires after this season. Williams is owed the balance of his $9.3 million salary this season and, with player options of $8.5 million for each of the next two years, potentially could get out of his contract altogether. The savings should give the Clippers more flexibility in free agency the next two seasons.

The Clippers are getting the better player and a better contract, but they’re also giving up a first round draft pick.

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

Deron Williams reacts to leaving Jazz

Jody Genessy of the Deseret News reports:

Deron Williams reacts to leaving Jazz

“Everything happens for a reason. You take everything in stride,” Williams told Craig Bolerjack [FSN]. “But I had a great five-and-a-half years here in Utah. The fans have always been great to me. They’ve been the best. They’ve been so supportive through everything, and I’m going to miss them. I’m definitely going to miss them, miss the organization. We had a great organization, great times and great wins.”

Williams admitted it was very hard walking onto the bus and telling his teammates goodbye Wednesday morning as they left for shootaround without him.

“It’s tough, man. I’ve got great teammates, great coaches. I wanted to just say goodbye to them. It’s the last time I’m going to play with a lot of them,” Williams said. “I’ve had a lot of great years with those guys in the locker room. I’ve been here with C.J. (Miles) since I came and Paul (Millsap) for the last five years. Those guys I’m going to miss. Ronnie Price. We had a great group of guys in the locker room.”

Knicks fans welcome Carmelo Anthony

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reports:

Knicks fans welcome Carmelo Anthony

They started standing in Madison Square Garden at the 15-minute mark, when a faraway shot of the Knicks hallway huddle was shown on the JumboTron. They stayed standing, some 19,000 strong, while Carmelo Anthony went through warmups and grooved to “STAT and Melo,” a remix of Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” was played. And they gave Anthony a thundering ovation when his spot in the lineup was announced. Carmelo Anthony may have been excited to be in New York but no more than New York was excited to have him.

This is what they wanted, city and player. Anthony wanted to play in a big market — a big east coast market, if possible — and play on a team with a chance to win. New York won’t win a championship this season, but with Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, both 26, they have the building blocks of a potential dynasty. A couple of good drafts, a free agent or two, maybe another big deal (hello, Chris Paul) and the Knicks should be in business.

The fans wanted it, too. They liked Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton and Wilson Chandler. And Timofey Mozgov was starting to grow on them. But Anthony? They love Anthony. Late Monday night when news of the deal first broke, a cluster of weary people waiting in a cab line at JFK airport clutching BlackBerry’s burst out in a staggered cheer. On Wednesday it wasn’t just the Garden that was sold out; outside the arena hundreds of fans, some carrying hand made signs with messages to Anthony, pressed near the building to watch the game on the big screens hanging from the walls.

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