Los Angeles Lakers guard Shannon Brown becomes free agent

Shannon Brown

Lakers guard Shannon Brown has informed the team that he has elected not to exercise his option to extend his contract for the 2011-12 season, it was announced today.  Brown, therefore, has become an unrestricted free agent.

Originally acquired by the Lakers from the Charlotte Bobcats in February of 2009, Brown has appeared in 182 games with the Lakers, averaging 7.9 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18.7 minutes.

A two-time NBA Champion with the Lakers, Brown averaged a career-high 8.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists during the 2010-11 season.

NBA lockout announced

The National Basketball Association announced that it will commence a lockout of its players, effective at 12:01 am ET on July 1, until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached with the National Basketball Players Association.

“The expiring collective bargaining agreement created a broken system that produced huge financial losses for our teams,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. “We need a sustainable business model that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship, fairly compensates our players, and provides teams, if well-managed, with an opportunity to be profitable.”

“We have made several proposals to the union, including a deal targeting $2 billion annually as the players’ share — an average of approximately $5 million per player that could increase along with league revenue growth,” said Silver. “Elements of our proposal would also better align players’ pay with performance.”

“We will continue to make every effort to reach a new agreement that is fair and in the best interests of our teams, our players, our fans, and our game.”

During the lockout, players will not receive their salaries; teams will not negotiate, sign or trade player contracts; players will not be able to use team facilities for any purpose; and teams will not conduct or facilitate any summer camps, exhibitions, practices, workouts, coaching sessions, or team meetings.

Brian Scalabrine likely taking talents to Europe

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports:

Brian Scalabrine

Late in the regular season, Brian Scalabrine told the Tribune he might play in Europe next season as his professional career enters its final few seasons.

Now that the NBA will lockout its players beginning at 11:01 p.m. Chicago time Thursday night, Scalabrine’s plans will be set in motion quickly.

“For me personally, if in the next 15 days it’s still kind of like it is now, I’m just going to Europe and play,” Scalabrine said in a phone interview. “The thing about that is you have to commit for the whole year and you have no out clauses whatsoever. I support the players and the union and want to see the (NBA) game stay great. But at the end of the day, with two years or so left of playing basketball, I’m not interested in watching billionaires fight. I just like the game too much. I like the camaraderie. I like to play. So why not do it in a great city in Europe and educate my family?”

Scalabrine, who would be an NBA free agent whenever the lockout ends, said there are seven or eight European teams interested in signing him and that he’s in the process of securing his passport and possibly getting Italian citizenship. He said it’s likely he would play in Italy.

Dallas Mavericks exercise options on Rodrigue Beaubois, Dominique Jones

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have exercised contract options for guards Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones.  Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Beaubois (6-2, 182) played just 28 games for Dallas in 2010-11 after missing 54 with a fractured left foot.  He averaged 8.4 points, 2.3 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 17.7 minutes per game in his second season.

Jones (6-4, 215) averaged 2.3 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 7.5 minutes in 18 games as a rookie.  He also made 10 appearances for the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League and averaged 18.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.6 steals.

Lou Amundson exercises option to stay with Golden State Warriors

Louis Amundson

Golden State Warriors forward Lou Amundson has notified the team that he is exercising the player option on his contract for the 2011-12 season, the team announced today.

Amundson, 28, appeared in 46 games for the Warriors last season, averaging 4.3 points and 4.0 rebounds in a career-high 15.0 minutes per contest.  Overall during his five-year NBA career, the 6’9” forward has averaged 4.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in 228 regular-season games with Utah, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Golden State.

New Orleans Hornets extend qualifying offer to Marco Belinelli

Marco Belinelli

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that the team has extended a qualifying offer to guard Marco Belinelli for the 2011-12 season, making him a restricted free agent. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed.

“We were very pleased with the performances of both Marco and Jason Smith as each of them had their best professional season and it was fun to watch them grow and contribute to our success,” said Hornets General Manager Dell Demps. “We know both players will continue to improve and hope to have each of them back for the 2011-12 season.”

Belinelli averaged career-highs of 10.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 24.5 minutes in 80 games, 69 of which were starts (both career-highs).  He shot 43.7% from the field and a career-best 41.1% from beyond the arc. Belinelli registered four 20-point performances for the Hornets last season.

Carmelo Anthony rehabbing a sore elbow

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports:

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony has been secretly rehabbing a bum right elbow at the Knicks practice facility, and has been prohibited from lifting weights and any on-court work, including shooting, since the season ended in late April, The Post has learned.

Anthony is suffering from elbow bursitis, a condition he had earlier this season in Denver. It flared up with the Knicks in late February when he talked about the possibility of having a drainage procedure but added he “doesn’t like going under the knife.”

Anthony’s Westchester rehab would end because of the expected lockout tomorrow — one of the major behind-the-scenes detriments of NBA commissioner David Stern’s work stoppage. Anthony would no longer be able to talk to the coaching or medical staff or have elbow treatment at the practice facility.

Warriors waive forward Jeff Adrien

The Golden State Warriors have waived forward Jeff Adrien, the team announced today.

Adrien, 25, appeared in 23 games over two stints with the Warriors last season, averaging 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 8.5 minutes per contest.  After being waived by Golden State on December 9, 2010, Adrien went to the NBA Development League and appeared in 27 games combined between Erie and Rio Grande Valley, averaging 18.3 points, 11.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.03 steals and 1.44 blocks in 32.7 minutes per game.  He was subsequently re-signed by the Warriors as a free agent D-League call-up on February 25, 2011.

Cavaliers trade JJ Hickson to Kings for Omri Casspi, pick

JJ Hickson

The Sacramento Kings today acquired forward-center J.J. Hickson from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for forward Omri Casspi and a conditional future first-round draft pick, according to Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to acquire J.J. Hickson from the Cavaliers,” said Petrie. “We believe he’ll continue to fortify our frontline going forward. He’s an improving young player who is just 22 years old. We believe J.J. will be an important complement to our frontcourt and overall roster as well. We also wish Omri the best and hope he continues on to have a successful career with the Cavaliers.”

At 6-9 and 242 pounds, Hickson, who is a three-year NBA veteran, averaged 13.8 points (.458 FGs, .673 FTs), 8.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 28.2 minutes per game in 80 outings with the Cavaliers this past season, of which he started 66. His points and rebounds per game statistics have increased significantly in each of his three NBA seasons (from 4.0 ppg and 2.7 rpg as a rookie to 8.5 ppg and 4.9 rpg the following campaign to last year’s 13.8 ppg and 8.7 rpg). In the midst of a solid 2011 season, Hickson came on strong towards the end, scoring 20 points or more in nine of his last 15 games and pulling down 10 rebounds or more in 11 of his last 13 outings. He averaged 19.7 points per game over his last 15 and 12.5 rebounds per game in his last 13. He has posted career averages of 9.1 points (.495 FGs, .675 FTs) and 5.7 rebounds per game in 223 contests. Hickson has recorded career playoff averages of 3.5 points (.636 FGs, .668 FTs) in 11 outings. He was selected by Cleveland in the first round (19th overall pick) of the 2008 NBA Draft following his freshman season at North Carolina State where he earned ACC All-Freshman Team honors and was named Honorable Mention All-Conference.

Omri Casspi

Casspi, 23, played in 71 games (27 starts) during the 2010-11 season, averaging 8.6 points on .412 shooting, including .372 from three-point range, 4.3 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 24.1 minutes per game. In his 27 starts, he increased his averages to 10.7 points on .435 shooting, 5.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 31.3 minutes per game. The 6-foot-9, 225-pounder was born in Yavne, Israel and became the first Israeli player to be drafted in the first round (23rd overall in the 2009 NBA Draft) as well as the first player from Israel to play in the NBA when he made his debut on October 28, 2009 at Oklahoma City. In his two seasons in the NBA, he has career averages of 9.5 points on .431 shooting, 4.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 24.6 minutes per game in 148 games (58 starts).

The first round pick acquired from Sacramento is lottery-protected in 2012 (1-14). The pick is then protected in 2013 (1-13), 2014 (1-12) and 2015-2017 (1-10). If the pick is not conveyed by 2017, then Sacramento will convey its own 2017 second round draft pick to the Cavaliers protected (56-60).

“We want to thank J.J. for his hard work and contributions to the Cavaliers, both on the court and off the court in the community. This is another step in our on-going process to shape and position our team and roster for future growth and a platform for sustained success,” said Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant. “We’re excited to add a young, talented, tough-minded player like Omri, that we feel is a good fit for our team and can help improve our perimeter group, while also being able to obtain another important asset with the additional first round draft pick.”

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Celtics exercise option on Avery Bradley

Avery Bradley

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have exercised a contract option on guard Avery Bradley for the 2012-13 season. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bradley, a 6’2” guard, averaged 1.7 points in 5.2 minutes per game this past season for the Celtics. The 19th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft appeared in 31 games for the Celtics and netted a season-high of 20 points on 10-of-16 shooting in the final game of the season against New York on April 13. Bradley also made nine appearances for the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League and averaged 17.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.0 steals in those contests.