Archive for March, 2011

John Wall suspended, Juwan Howard and Zydrunas Ilgauskas fined

John Wall of the Washington Wizards has been suspended one game without pay, and Juwan Howard of the Miami Heat has been fined $35,000 for their roles in an incident during a game on Wednesday, March 30. Additionally, Miami’s Zydrunas Ilgauskas has been fined $25,000. The penalties were announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

Wall has been suspended for his Flagrant Foul, Penalty Two, which included throwing a closed-fist and forearm into the midsection of Ilgauskas, and Howard has been fined for escalating the altercation. The incident occurred with 8:48 remaining in the second quarter of the Heat’s 123-107 victory at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Ilgauskas, who received a Flagrant Foul, Penalty Two, for an elbow to the face of Wall, has been fined for making an obscene gesture following his ejection.

Wall will serve his suspension on Friday, April 1 when the Wizards host the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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

Washington junior guard Isaiah Thomas has decided to enter his name into the upcoming NBA Draft. The two-time first team All-Pac-10 member issued the following statement:

“Although it was a tough decision, I have decided to forego my senior season and enter my name into this year’s NBA draft.  At this time I will not hire an agent.  Over the past 3 years I’ve enjoyed every single minute of my Washington Husky career.  I am very thankful to have played for a great coach like Coach Romar and our entire coaching staff. I have just over two quarter left to earn my degree, and I fully plan on finishing school. Also, I would like to take the time to thank all of my teammates and Husky fans for their support and the unforgettable memories.  Go Dawgs!”

Coach Lorenzo Romar, who is in Houston for the NCAA Final Four, issued the following statement:

“Isaiah Thomas has had an unbelievable impact on our program during his time with us. We will definitely miss him, but we are behind him in his quest to fulfill a lifelong dream to play in the NBA.”

Thomas (Tacoma, Wash./Curtis HS/South Kent Prep [Conn.]), an honorable mention Associated Press All-American after averaging 16.8 points and 6.1 assists per game for the Huskies during their 2010-11 campaign, led the Pac-10 in assists, ranked fourth in scoring, 8th in steals (1.3 spg) and 8th in three-point makes per game (1.7). His 213 assists are the second most in UW single-season history.

Thomas helped the Huskies to their second-consecutive Pac-10 tournament championship and a 24-11 overall record. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the conference tournament for a second time, joining Arizona’s Sean Elliott as the only two-time winner.

Thomas also led Washington with 15.5 points and 7.5 assists in the Huskies two NCAA tournament games.

Thomas ended his junior season ranked among the Huskies all-time leader in points (1,721/6th), assists (415/3rd), 3-point makes (164/3rd) and steals (122/8th).

Bobcats center Joel Przybilla out for rest of season

Charlotte Bobcats center Joel Przybilla will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2010-11 season after continued pain and immobility in his right knee. Last season, Przybilla had season ending surgery to repair a ruptured patella tendon. He will undergo an additional procedure to remove surgical hardware (wires) that were inserted to help attach and repair the tendon.

A 7-1 center, Przybilla was selected by Houston with the ninth overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft before having his rights traded to Milwaukee. In 553 NBA games with Milwaukee, Atlanta, Portland and Charlotte, he holds career averages of 4.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks, while connecting on .568 from the field. Przybilla has also appeared in 10 career postseason games with the Bucks and Trail Blazers. This season, he has appeared 36 games total, including five with the Bobcats, with averages of 1.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in 14.4 minutes.

The Bobcats acquired Przybilla along with forwards Dante Cunningham and Sean Marks, two first-round draft picks and cash considerations from Portland on Feb. 24 in exchange for Gerald Wallace.

Nets sign Mario West to 10-day contract

Nets sign Mario West to 10-day contract

The New Jersey Nets have signed free agent guard Mario West to a 10-day contract, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.  Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.

West, 6’5”/ 210, is a fourth-year NBA veteran with career averages of 0.8 points and 0.8 rebounds in 156 games with Atlanta.  The Georgia Tech product went undrafted in 2007 and signed with Atlanta as a free agent on October 1, 2007.

West has appeared in 42 games, all starts, with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League this season.  He averaged 13.7 points, 2.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds while shooting .526 from the field and .365 from 3-point range.  Last season with the Hawks, West appeared in 39 games, including one start, while averaging 0.8 points and 0.7 rebounds in 3.6 minutes per contest.

West will wear No. 6 with the Nets.

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

Nets waive Quinton Ross

Quinton Ross

Quinton Ross

On NBA bubble

The New Jersey Nets have requested waivers on guard/forward Quinton Ross, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.

Ross played in 36 games for the Nets this season, making four starts, and averaging 1.6 points and 0.8 rebounds in 9.8 minutes per game. Ross missed a total of 24 games due to injury throughout the season, including 15 of the last 16 games with a lower back injury.

In seven NBA seasons, Ross holds career averages of 4.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game.

LeBron thinks D-Rose is MVP

Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports:

Derrick Rose

derrick rose

Kid is ballin’

Earlier this season, James backed New York Knicks center Amar’e Stoudemire for league MVP. With a few weeks left before the playoffs, things have changed.

James said Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose is his choice. Rose is generally regarded as the top candidate, with the Bulls on pace to earn the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Rose has kept the Bulls afloat despite injuries to Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah.

“I think Derrick Rose,” James said. “What he’s done for that team, with all the injuries they have and them being first in the Eastern Conference. They’re playing some really good basketball.”

James said he was leaning toward Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki until he was injured. Now, he’s in full support of Rose.

“You’ve got some guys here that have done their job also,” James said. “But Derrick Rose definitely has gotten a lot of the exposure and a lot of the media attention because of the work he’s done. He’s playing some unbelievable basketball.”

Alexis Stevens of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

The man who allegedly attacked NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins after Wednesday night’s game said Wilkins owed him money, Atlanta police said.

Rashan S. Michel, 36, was arrested and charged with one count of simple battery following the incident, Officer K.Y. Jones with Atlanta police told the AJC.

Michel, who told police he was owed money for suits purchased several years ago, hit Wilkins in the chest and also hit a security guard, Jones said. Michel, of Atlanta, has worked as an NBA and college basketball referee and previously owned his own clothing store.

ESPN.com and the AP report: Wilkins is a vice president with the team and serves as a television analyst. He had just finished working Atlanta’s 85-82 victory Wednesday night from his customary spot on press row when the alleged incident occurred at Philips Arena. Team spokesman Arthur Triche says the attacker was “promptly arrested and taken into custody by the Atlanta police department.” Wilkins was not injured.

Knicks edge Nets in MSG thriller

The AP reports:

Knicks edge Nets in MSG thriller

Carmelo Anthony scored 39 points for the second straight game, including the tiebreaking jumper with 1:08 left, and the New York Knicks rallied from a 16-point deficit to beat the New Jersey Nets 120-116 on Wednesday night.

Chauncey Billups added 33 points, six rebounds and six assists, and Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points for the Knicks, who have won two in a row after a six-game losing streak and trimmed their magic number for clinching a playoff spot to three.

Anthony scored only two points in the fourth quarter after a 20-point third, but it was the basket the Knicks needed in the first meeting since they beat out the Nets in the race to acquire the All-Star forward.

Deron Williams had 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in his return from a six-game absence with an injured wrist, but was short on a potential tying jumper in the final seconds and appeared hurt again after going down trying to chase down his miss.

Anthony Morrow scored a season-high 30 points to lead the Nets. Brook Lopez added 26 points and Kris Humphries finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds, but New Jersey came up short in a game it desperately wanted to win.

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that Trevor Booker has sustained a fractured sesamoid bone in his right foot.  Booker will be placed in a walking boot and will be re-evaluated in six weeks.  He last appeared in action on March 25th at Denver.

The 23rd overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, Booker finishes his rookie campaign ranked 19th among all rookies in points per game (5.3 ppg), tied for ninth among rookies in rebounds per game (3.9 rpg), and 2nd among all rookies with a .549 field goal percentage.

Booker appeared in 65 games and started 14 contests in 2010-11.

Jazz sign Kyle Weaver to 10-day contract

Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor announced today that the team has signed guard Kyle Weaver of the NBA Development League’s Austin Toros to a 10-day contract.  Weaver becomes the NBA’s 19th D-League Call-Up and 15th different player promoted to the NBA this season.  Following the transaction, the Jazz roster now stands at 15 players.

A 6-6 guard from Washington State, Weaver averaged 13.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting .429 from the field through 21 games (20 starts) for the Iowa Energy this season before being acquired by the Austin Toros.  During his nine-game stint with the Toros, Weaver averaged 13.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 30.8 minutes of play.

Originally selected by the Charlotte in the second round (38th overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft, Weaver was traded by the Bobcats to the Oklahoma City Thunder on August 8, 2008, in exchange for a future second-round pick.  During his two seasons with the Thunder (2008-10), Weaver appeared in 68 games (19 starts), averaging 4.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.6 points in 19.3 minutes of play.

Weaver attended training camp with the Chicago Bulls prior to the 2010-11 season, appearing in three preseason games and averaging 2.3 points and 2.3 assists in 8.7 minutes before being waived on October 21.

The 25-year-old Beloit, Wisconsin, native played four collegiate seasons at Washington State (2004-08), averaging 12.2 points with 4.3 assists during his senior season.  Weaver finished his Cougars career as the first player in Pac-10 history to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 400 assists, 175 steals and 75 blocked shots.

Weaver becomes the seventh D-League Call-Up in Jazz history, joining Rusty LaRue (2000-01), Mikki Moore (2003-04), Louis Amundson (2006-07), Sundiata Gaines (2009-10), Othyus Jeffers (2009-10) and Marcus Cousin (2010-11).

The AP reports:

A jury has rejected Elgin Baylor’s claim of age discrimination and harassment, giving the Los Angeles Clippers a major victory against their former general manager.

The Los Angeles Superior Court jury on Wednesday declined to award Baylor any damages. He claimed he was forced out of the job he held for 22 years.

The Clippers had contended that Baylor left the team on his own.

InsideHoops.com reports:

The following is a statement from Los Angeles Clippers’ General Counsel Robert H. Platt, concerning today’s legal decision:

Today’s verdict was inevitable and it represents a complete vindication of all of the baseless claims asserted by Mr. Baylor.

For more than two years, Mr. Baylor’s counsel has gone to extraordinary lengths in a fruitless effort to fabricate a case.  This was a case of FIRE!, ready, aim. The jury saw through their baseless rhetoric and quickly realized that there were no facts to support any of Mr. Baylor’s allegations.

Mr. Baylor initially sued the NBA, only to dismiss the League on the eve of trial in exchange for the League agreeing not to pursue a malicious prosecution case against Mr. Baylor.

In addition, Mr. Baylor and his lawyers held a loud press conference claiming race discrimination.  However, the Court threw out Mr. Baylor’s meritless race claims just one day before the trial was set to begin.

Solely on principle, my clients refused to settle this lawsuit despite having the opportunity to do so.  Even when faced with endless, public, malicious attacks, they were resolute in their demand that they be fully exonerated by a jury. That moment has now come.

My clients are to be credited for their willingness to see this through.  Personally I am gratified to know that this was a day on which justice was well-served.

Thunder assign Cole Aldrich to D-League

Oklahoma City Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today that the team has assigned center Cole Aldrich to the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League for a third time this season.

During his two earlier assignments with the 66ers, Aldrich appeared in 19 games (19 starts) and averaged 10.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots in 29.2 minutes. Aldrich has recorded four double-doubles with Tulsa and the 66ers own a 15-4 mark this season with him in the lineup.

Aldrich will be in uniform Friday night when the 66ers host the Dakota Wizards at the Tulsa Convention Center.

The AP reports:

The Anaheim city council unanimously approved a $75 million bond deal Tuesday night to entice the Sacramento Kings to relocate to Orange County.

The city council twice voted 5-0 for the lease-revenue bond measures, resulting in a round of applause from the audience at its packed City Hall meeting room.

“Anaheim took a giant step closer to bringing an NBA team to Anaheim and the Honda Center,” Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said. “I am thrilled. A better word is stoked.”

Tait repeatedly emphasized the city is borrowing no money and has no financial risk in the deal. According to every Anaheim official at the meeting, the city is merely acting as a conduit for a private investment by Henry Samueli, the billionaire owner of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.

“I’d like to recognize this is a historic moment for us,” Council Member Harry Sidhu said. “This is going to be a great economic engine for us. A lot of jobs are going to be created, and I’m fully confident in that.”

Samueli, who also manages the city-owned arena, is financing the deal, which includes $25 million in upgrades to Honda Center, including a practice court and new locker rooms. Another $50 million will be working capital for moving costs that could include relocation fees paid to the NBA’s other owners.

Cavaliers beat Heat 102-90

The AP reports:

Despite blowing a 23-point lead, the Cavs battled back and beat the Miami Heat 102-90 on Tuesday night, getting a dose of revenge against [LeBron] James, who was making his second homecoming visit to Cleveland since leaving the city as a free agent last summer.

J.J. Hickson scored 21 and Anthony Parker scored 20 for the Cavs, who were embarrassed by James and the Heat 118-90 on Dec. 2—a night when Cleveland fans unleashed their hatred on the superstar.

InsideHoops.com notes: LeBron had a triple-double in the loss, putting up 27 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. Dwyane Wade shot just 8-of-20 for 24 points, four rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks. Mike Bibby shot 7-of-11, all three-pointers, for 23 points but just one assist. And no other Heat players stepped up. Chris Bosh was quiet, shooting 5-of-14 for 10 points and little else. The entire Heat bench had six points.

Rockets beat Nets by 25

Kyle Lowry had 16 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds and the Houston Rockets moved within two games of the final playoff berth in the Western Conference with a 112-87 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday night.

Kevin Martin added 20 points as the Rockets (39-35) posted their sixth win in seven games and inched closer to idle eighth-place Memphis (41-33) with eight games left in the regular season.

InsideHoops.com notes: The Rockets won the rebounding battle 56-42 and the assists category 30-20… For the Nets, Brook Lopez shot 10-of-16 for 22 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Kris Humprhies shot just 3-of-10 for six points but did grab 13 boards. Jordan Farmar scored 12. Deron Williams did not play.

The Los Angeles Lakers have assigned forward Derrick Caracter to the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Caracter, selected by the Lakers in the second round (58th overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft, has appeared in 40 games this season, averaging 2.0 points and 1.1 rebounds in 5.3 minutes.

The 6’9” rookie out of UTEP will be available to play for the Jam tomorrow night in their game against the Utah Flash in Utah.

This marks the second D-League assignment for the Lakers this season, having also assigned rookie forward Devin Ebanks to the Jam for six games from December 27- January 9.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reports:

There was a time when LeBron James’ friends and associates were welcomed throughout Quicken Loans Arena. That apparently is no longer the case.

James was delayed in getting into the arena for the Miami Heat’s shootaround Tuesday morning when he arrived with a driver and a second car at the entrance of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ underground parking garage.

Cavs officials said James eventually was cleared to enter the building, but several people with him were not. The two cars then left, and James alone returned a short time later and was allowed in, officials said.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Generally, when you don’t work for a company anymore, you don’t get to enjoy the perks that company offers its employees. In this case, it’s a question of if LeBron (or someone on LeBron’s behalf) asked for permission in advance to bring extra people in.

What’s your opinion? Read fan reaction or share your view in this forum topic.

Suns broadcaster Gary Bender to retire

Hall of Fame broadcaster Gary Bender, who has spent nearly two decades as the voice of Phoenix Suns local home game telecasts, will make 2010-11 his final season behind the microphone and retire from broadcasting.

Bender, whose first broadcasting opportunity came at a 1,000-watt radio station in Hutchinson, Kan., in 1964, will see his illustrious career come full circle as he returns to his Midwest roots to serve as a consultant to the Kansas University Alumni Association and the school’s Endowment Association.  In his new role, Bender will advise both organizations on communications, programs, and events, and also serve as keynote speaker at awards programs.

“Gary defines the word ‘professional’ in the broadcasting industry,” said Suns President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Welts.  “His class, talent and character have combined to give Suns fans 18 years of great memories and unforgettable moments lived through his words.  He is part of our family, and the team and all Suns fans say ‘thank you’ for a job incredibly well done.”

Over more than five decades in the industry, Bender’s voice has provided the track for some of sports’ most indelible moments.  As the longtime voice of the Final Four on CBS, Bender called two of the most famous finishes in the history of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  He was courtside in 1982 for Michael Jordan’s game-winner that lifted North Carolina over Georgetown in the title game, and in 1983 for North Carolina State’s improbable championship-clinching win over Houston on Lorenzo Charles’ dunk as time expired.  And it was Bender who described the heart-wrenching race of speed skater Dan Jansen at the 1988 Winter Olympics on the day of his sister’s passing.

One of the most recognizable voices in sports broadcasting, Bender’s radio and television career spans 27 sports, three major networks, and some of the most storied franchises and institutions in sports.  He has served as the voice of the University of Kansas, the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams, and Phoenix Cardinals.  Bender’s time with CBS, ABC and Turner Sports saw him broadcast not only the Olympic Games and Final Four, but also the Masters Golf Tournament, Sunday Night Football, and national NBA and Major League Baseball telecasts.

A 1962 graduate of Wichita State, Bender earned a master’s in television/film from the University of Kansas.  He was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Phi Delta Theta Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

Bender joined the Suns family in 1993 for what he expected to be a brief stint; now in his 18th season handling play-by-play duties, he has broadcast more than 700 Suns games.  The Suns will honor Bender during the club’s April 11 game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at US Airways Center.

Bender is the author of Call of the Game: What Really Happens in the Broadcast Booth, and is currently working on a second book about his life in sports.

Charlotte Bobcats General Manager Rod Higgins announced today that the team has signed guard Garrett Temple for the remainder of the 2010-11 season.  Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 6-5 Temple signed his first 10-day contract with the Bobcats on March 7 and his second on March 17.  He has appeared in two games for the Bobcats.

Temple joined the Bobcats from the Erie Bayhawks of the NBA Development League, where he was selected to play in the 2011 D-League All-Star Game.  In 24 games he averaged 14.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.1 steals in 33.6 minutes.  He scored in double figures 18 times, with five games of 20 points or more.  Over the last two seasons, Temple has played in 54 career D-League games, with averages of 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 34.6 minutes.

In 41 total NBA games with Houston, Sacramento, San Antonio, Milwaukee and Charlotte, Temple has career averages of 3.8 points and 1.0 rebound in 10.9 minutes.  This season he played in three games for San Antonio before being released on Nov. 12 and played in nine games for Milwaukee after signing a pair of 10-day contracts beginning on Jan. 25.

Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports:

By beating the Spurs, the Grizzlies secured their first nonlosing season since the 2005-06 campaign.

Memphis improved to 41-33, one more win than it mustered last season. But don’t throw a parade, says Griz coach Lionel Hollins.

The Griz have more lofty goals after beating the San Antonio Spurs, 111-104, on Sunday night in FedExForum.

“We have a long ways to go. Forty-one was not our goal at the start of the season. It’s still not our goal,” Hollins said. “It’s a milestone in terms of being able to finish (at least) .500, which the team hasn’t done in a few years. It’s good for the organization and our fans. For us, we still have a lot of work to do.”

The Griz have treated their fans to 24 wins in their last 30 home games. At FedExForum, the Griz are 20-0 this season when they lead at halftime.

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