NBA Board of Governors approves sale of Detroit Pistons to Tom Gores

Detroit Pistons

The NBA Board of Governors has unanimously approved the sale of the Detroit Pistons to Tom Gores and his investment firm, Platinum Equity.  The transaction is expected to close shortly.

“We are delighted that the NBA’s Board of Governors approved Tom Gores’ purchase of majority ownership of the Pistons,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “We look forward to the Pistons’ continued growth, both on and off the court, under his leadership.”

Lakers officially name Mike Brown head coach

Lakers coach Mike Brown

The Los Angeles Lakers have hired Mike Brown as head coach, it was announced today. The two sides have had a widely-reported agreement for a while now, but the actual hiring just became official Tuesday afternoon, about three hours before the start of 2011 NBA Finals Game 1 between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat.

Brown, the 22nd head coach in franchise history and 18th in the Los Angeles era, spent last season as an NBA analyst for ESPN after previously serving as head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Hired by the Cavaliers in June of 2005, the 2008-09 NBA Coach of the Year posted a 272-138 regular season record over five seasons as well as a 42-29 postseason mark, ranking fifth in NBA history (minimum 400 games) with a .663 regular season win percentage and 10th in NBA history (minimum 25 games) with a .592 playoff win percentage.

The fourth youngest coach in NBA history to win 60 games in a season, Brown led the Cavaliers to the 2007 NBA Finals and NBA-best records in both 2008-09 (66-16) and 2009-10 (61-21).  His 2008-09 team became just the 12th team in NBA history to record 66 victories in a season while he and his staff earned the honor midway through that season to coach the Eastern Conference All-Star Team at the 2009 All-Star Game in Phoenix, AZ.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Mike Brown to the Lakers,” said General Manager Mitch Kupchak.  “What Mike brings to the table is unique in that he’s a proven winner in this league and yet also a rising star in his profession.  After an extensive and thorough search to find the right person to help carry on our championship legacy, we feel that Mike is poised and ready to do so.”

Brown joined the Cavaliers after spending two seasons as the associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers and three seasons as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs.  Posting a 341-201 (.629) record as an assistant coach, he won division titles with Indiana (2003-04) and three straight division titles with San Antonio (2000-03).  While with the Spurs, Brown’s teams won at least 58 games each season as well as the 2003 NBA Championship.  In his two seasons in Indiana, he helped the Pacers to consecutive playoff appearances including a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2004.

Brown, a 1992 graduate of the University of San Diego with a degree in business, played basketball two seasons at USD after spending two years at Mesa Community College.  The 41-year-old (born March 5, 1970 in Columbus, Ohio) began his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets in 1992, where he spent five seasons, first as the team’s video coordinator and then as a scout.  Following his time with the Nuggets, Brown spent three years with the Washington Wizards beginning in 1997, spending the first two years as an assistant under Bernie Bickerstaff and his final year as the team’s professional scout.

Fan reaction to the news has been in this forum topic.

Heat hold four players out of contact during Sunday practice

The AP reports:

Heat star Dwyane Wade and reserves Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller and James Jones were held out of contact portions of Sunday’s practice.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says they all will practice fully Monday. Miami hosts Game 1 of the NBA finals against Dallas on Tuesday night.

Spoelstra says the moves were given to ensure that everyone is “healthy going into this.”

American Airlines sponsors both 2011 NBA Finals arenas

The AP reports:

If you’re a basketball fan, you’ll hear the name American Airlines a lot over the next couple weeks.

American slapped its name on the arenas of both teams playing in the NBA finals back when stadium naming rights were a hot commodity—the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami and the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

So whether the Miami Heat or the Dallas Mavericks win the title, American figures to get a lot of TV time. The same thing happened in 2006, when the Heat defeated the Mavericks in six games.

American bought the naming rights to those arenas a decade ago. According to published reports at the time, which American wouldn’t confirm or deny, it agreed to pay $195 million over 30 years for the Dallas rights and $42 million over 20 years in Miami.

Stadium-naming rights were trendy then, and they reached a fever pitch in 2006 when Citigroup agreed to pay $20 million a year to christen the New York Mets’ new baseball home Citi Field when it opened a couple of years ago. But sports sponsorships became harder to sell during the recession, and the business hasn’t fully recovered.

Cavs talking trade for 2nd overall pick

Chris Broussard of ESPN the Magazine reports:

The Cavaliers are in discussions with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons about a three-team trade that would give Cleveland the top two picks of next month’s NBA draft.

The Cavaliers would use the picks to select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving and Arizona forward Derrick Williams, the sources said.

In the trade being discussed, Cleveland would absorb Detroit’s Rip Hamilton into the $14.6 million trade exception it received in last summer’s LeBron James sign-and-trade with Miami, while also receiving the Pistons’ No. 8 pick. The Cavaliers would then send that pick, along with their fourth pick, to Minnesota for the Timberwolves’ second pick.

Cleveland would then buy Hamilton out of the two years, $25 million remaining on his contract, leaving the veteran shooting guard free to sign with another club as a free agent. Chicago would be one of the likeliest destinations.

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

Margo Dydek, 7-foot-2 ex-WNBA player, dies at 37

The AP reports:

margo dydek

Margo Dydek, a 7-foot-2 former WNBA player who led the league in blocks nine times, died Friday after being placed in a medically induced coma following a heart attack a week ago. She was 37.

Her death was confirmed to The Associated Press by Cathy Roberts, operations manager of the Northside Wizards in the Queensland Basketball League, where Dydek was the coach.

The Poland-born Dydek, pregnant with her third child, was stricken with a heart attack May 19 and collapsed at her home in Brisbane. Dydek was early in her pregnancy and the fetus died, Roberts said.

Dydek was once said to be the tallest active professional female basketball player. She was the No. 1 pick in the 1998 WNBA draft by the Utah Starzz. She also played for San Antonio, Connecticut and Los Angeles…

Dydek held the record for most blocks in a WNBA career (877 in 323 games) and led the league from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2005-07. In 2008, Dydek signed with the Los Angeles Sparks following time away from basketball to give birth to her first son.

WNBA President statement on the passing of Margo Dydek: “The WNBA is deeply saddened by the passing of Margo Dydek,” said WNBA President Laurel Richie.  “She was a tremendous person, role model and athlete who touched the lives of her many fans and made an indelible mark on women’s basketball around the world.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.” editor Jeff Lenchiner says: I met Margo once while I was a working media member at a game, and once off-the-court, and she seemed like an extremely nice person both times. Wish I had more to share. Anyway, I’m sorry that she’s gone and wish the best to her friends, family and fans.

Carlos Boozer bought South Beach condo in March

Brian Bandell of the South Florida Business Journal reports:

carlos boozer

Carlos Boozer is taking his bags to South Beach – where he has a new condo with a closer view of the Miami Heat team that sent his Chicago Bulls packing from the playoffs.

The NBA power forward paid $2.35 million to BC Tower 8, a company managed by David Phillips, for a 4,135-square-foot unit at the Residences at the Bath Club, at 5959 Collins Ave. Boozer took out a $1.76 million mortgage with Charles Schwab Bank.

The deed was signed March 29, although it wasn’t recorded in county records until May 3.

That means Boozer bought the condo well before the Bulls started their playoff series against the Heat. Boozer took a jab at the Heat going into the series by referencing the “Big Two” – a swipe at Miami forward Chris Bosh.

Rockets offer head coaching job to Kevin McHale

After parting ways with head coach Rick Adelman, the Houston Rockets have needed a new man for the job. And that man may be a very tall guy with some of the greatest low-post moves the NBA has ever seen.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports:

Kevin McHale will walk through that door.

After a month-long search and long sessions debating the merits of three finalists, the Rockets offered McHale their head coaching position on Friday. McHale was chosen over Boston assistant Lawrence Frank and Dallas assistant Dwane Casey after meeting with Rockets owner Leslie Alexander on Wednesday to complete the interview process.

Though McHale is more celebrated as a Hall of Fame player who among other things inspired Rick Pitino’s rant about the inability to recapture the Boston glory days than as a coach, the Rockets were drawn to his apparent abilities as a leader and motivator.

McHale, 53, had spent most of his career in Minnesota in the front office and had been reluctant to coach throughout his career.

Tough to say that McHale is the best guy around for the job, but at the least, Rockets big-men should benefit from his teachings. Also, I liked hearing McHale’s analysis on television. So that’ll be missed.

McHale wants the job, so it’s expected that he’ll take the offer.
Read fan reaction and share your own opinion in this forum topic.

NCAA basketball approves charge circle reports:

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel during its conference call on Monday approved adding a visible restricted-area arc three feet from the center of the basket where a secondary defender cannot legally take a charge in Division I men’s and women’s basketball games.

The panel delayed implementation of the arc until the 2012-13 season for Divisions II and III to allow those schools time to plan and place the restricted-area arc in their home arenas. For the upcoming season, secondary defenders in Divisions II and III men’s games will not be allowed to draw a charge in an unmarked area directly beneath the basket, which was the men’s rule in 2010-11. In Divisions II and III women’s games, secondary defenders will not be allowed to draw a charge in an unmarked area three feet from the center of the basket.

The Playing Rules Oversight Panel is the final approval body for playing rules proposals from sport and rules committees. The panel of representatives from all three NCAA divisions convenes periodically to consider recommendations.

The three-foot restricted area was recommended by the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Rules Committees in an attempt to limit the number of collisions near the basket on charge/block plays. The arc is also intended to provide some benefit to offensive players who have legally gained an advantage.

Share your thoughts in our college and high school forum.

James, Wade lead wild comeback as Heat eliminate Bulls

The AP reports:

lebron james

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh joined to win a championship. Well, now they have their shot.

James scored 28 points, Wade added 21, and they led a furious rally in the final minutes as the Miami Heat eliminated Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls 83-80 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday.

James and Wade were simply spectacular down the stretch, each scoring eight during a game-ending 18-3 run as Miami wiped out a 12-point deficit to win the series.

dwyane wade

Now, the Heat are headed back to the NBA finals for the first time since 2006, and in a fitting twist, they’ll be facing the Mavericks. Back then, with Wade leading the way, Miami beat Dallas to capture the championship. This time, it’ll be James and Dirk Nowitzki going for their first rings.

The Heat will host Game 1 on Tuesday night…

Rose led Chicago with 25 points but hit just 9 of 29 shots. He fouled Wade on a key four-point play and missed a tying free throw with 26.7 seconds left.

James had 11 rebounds and six assists. Wade’s late surge helped negate his nine turnovers. Bosh added 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Heat pulled out a dramatic win.

Reuters reports:

Miami went on an 18-3 run to the buzzer to stun the Bulls and complete a 4-1 triumph in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals…

“Defense. Staying together,” James told a courtside reporter about how the Heat overcame a 77-65 deficit in the final three minutes. “Just buckled down defensively and executed.”