Archive for June, 2011

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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

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.

jeff green

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have extended a qualifying offer to forward Jeff Green, making him a restricted free agent. The qualifying offer allows the Celtics to match any off he receives from another team.

Green, a 6’9” forward, averaged 13.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 32.4 minutes per game split between Oklahoma City and Boston during the 2010-11 season.  In his 26 games with the Celtics, Green shot 48.5 percent from the field.  The fourth year pro also shot 43.4 percent from three-point territory in nine games during the playoffs.  In his first Celtic start against the Wizards on April 11, Green recorded 20 points and a career-high tying 15 rebounds.  Green, a member of the 2008 All-Rookie First Team, has posted career averages of 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 315 games.

Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post reports:

Nene

Now the real work begins for the Nuggets in trying to retain their starting center.

Nene will opt out of the final year of his contract worth nearly $12 million and, as a result, become an unrestricted free agent, a source familiar with the situation said Wednesday night.

It means Nene can sign with any team he wishes without the Nuggets getting a chance to match the offer when free agency begins after the expected NBA lockout, which likely will start Friday.

Nene had until today to make a final decision.

InsideHoops.com editor says: That’s a lot of money to give up for that final year. I’m torn as to whether this is a good move for Nene or not. Hard to say without knowing what changes will come to the NBA CBA/salary system.

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

Wednesday night at Dyckman Park basketball courts in New York City, InsideHoops.com hung out to check out some streetball. At halftime, T.J. Fredette, the brother of Jimmer Fredette, came out to deliver a quick rap performance for the crowd.

Fredette’s rapping did not win over the hearts of the always tough-to-please NYC crowd. But he seemed happy afterwards. And with brother Jimmer drafted in the lottery one week ago, the Fredette clan is probably on cloud nine these days.

Here’s InsideHoops.com video of T.J. Fredette performing at the Dyckman Park basketball court:

UPDATE: Fredette also rapped at the same park a year earlier, in 2010, and received a warm welcome from an appreciative crowd

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

Coach John Kuester

The Los Angeles Lakers have hired John Kuester to serve as an assistant coach, it was announced today by Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

“I’m extremely excited to have John join the team as a member of my coaching staff,” said Lakers Head Coach Mike Brown. “Having previously worked together in Cleveland, I know what assets he will bring to the team. His ability to effectively communicate with the players while teaching them valuable skills on both ends of the court is a quality that I respect and value. I look forward to working with him again.”

Kuester joins the Lakers after a two-year stint as head coach for the Detroit Pistons. Prior to his time in Detroit, Kuester spent 14 years as an assistant coach in the NBA, working for six different franchises (Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Jersey, Orlando and Cleveland).

“I’m extremely excited to be working with Mike Brown, as well as to have the opportunity to work with the Lakers, one of the premier organizations in the NBA,” said Kuester.

Kuester, who worked for the Celtics organization from 1990-1997, began his NBA coaching career in 1995 when was hired as an assistant coach for Boston. Kuester spent two seasons with the Celtics before joining the Philadelphia 76ers as an assistant coach at the start of the 1997-98 season. As a member of Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown’s staff, Kuester helped lead the team to the playoffs in five of his six seasons including an NBA Finals appearance in 2001.

In 2003, Kuester joined the Detroit Pistons where he helped guide the team to an NBA Championship in 2004. The North Carolina native had stints in New Jersey, Philadelphia and Orlando before joining the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2007. During his time in Cleveland, the Cavaliers posted a 111-53 (.677) record and made an Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2009.

Prior to joining the NBA, Kuester coached for ten years at the collegiate level. After serving as an assistant coach for the University of Richmond during the 1980-81 season, Kuester joined Rick Pitino’s staff at Boston University where he spent two seasons as his assistant before being named head coach of the Terriers in 1983. After a two-year stint in Boston, Kuester served five seasons (1985-90) as head coach at George Washington University.

The Portland Trail Blazers have extended a qualifying offer to center Greg Oden, it was announced today by the team. Portland has also extended a qualifying offer to guard Patrick Mills and exercised its third-year options on forward Luke Babbitt and guard Elliot Williams.

Both Oden and Mills become restricted free agents, ensuring that the Trail Blazers will have right of first refusal should another team try to sign them. The moves give Portland the right to match any contract offer they receive in the offseason.

“We’ve stood behind Greg Oden every day since he became a Trail Blazer and that continues with today’s announcement,” said Trail Blazers President Larry Miller . “Despite the setbacks he’s experienced, he continues to be resilient in working tirelessly on his rehabilitation. We’re all very encouraged with not only his progress, but with his commitment and determination to return to the basketball court.”

Oden, 23, is averaging 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.43 blocked shots to go with a 57.7% (290-for-503) mark from the floor in four seasons with the Trail Blazers.

Mills, 22, has appeared in 74 games over two seasons in Portland, averaging 5.1 points, 0.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

A rookie last season, Babbitt, 22, notched averages of 1.5 points, 1.3 rebounds and 5.7 minutes in 24 games. Acquired by Portland in a draft day trade on June 24, 2010, he also averaged 20.1 points and 7.4 rebounds in 14 games with the NBA D-League’s Idaho Stampede.

Williams, 22, missed his rookie 2010-11 season due to surgeries on both knees. Portland selected him with the 22nd overall pick in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft out of Memphis.

The New York Knickerbockers announced today that the team has extended a qualifying offer to forward Derrick Brown, making him a restricted free agent. The qualifying offer allows the Knicks to match any offer he receives from another team.

Brown, 6-8, 220-pounds, averaged 4.3 points and 1.9 rebounds in eight games for the Knicks during the 2010-11 season after being claimed off waivers on March 1, 2011. The Dayton, OH native was originally selected by the Charlotte Bobcats in the second round (40th overall) of 2009 NBA Draft after a three-year playing career at Xavier University.

CJ Miles

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has elected to exercise its fourth-year team option on guard/forward C.J. Miles’ contract for the 2011-12 season, as well as the rookie contract options for forwards Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward for the 2012-13 season.  Per team policy, financial terms were not released.

A six-year NBA veteran, Miles (6-6, 232, Skyline H.S. (TX)), appeared in 78 games (19 starts) for the Jazz in 2010-11, averaging career-highs in points (12.8), rebounds (3.3), assists (1.7) and minutes (25.2) and improving in all four categories for the fourth straight season.  Miles scored in double figures in 50 games, tallying 20+ points on 16 occasions including a career-high 40 points (14-18 FG, 6-7 3FG) in a win over Minnesota on March 16.  Originally selected by the Jazz in the second round (34th overall) of the 2005 NBA draft, Miles has appeared in 333 career games (145 starts), all with Utah, and owns career averages of 8.3 points and 2.2 rebounds.

Selected third overall in the 2010 NBA Draft by New Jersey, Favors appeared in 78 games (27 starts) for the Jazz and Nets as a rookie, averaging 6.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 0.87 blocks in 19.7 minutes per game.  The 6-10, 246-pound forward out of Georgia Tech was acquired by Utah from New Jersey on February 23 and appeared in 22 games (four starts) for the Jazz, averaging 8.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 20.2 minutes.  The 19-year-old Atlanta native was the youngest player in the NBA this past season and scored in double figures 20 times and had 10+ rebounds on seven occasions, posting two double-doubles.  Favors ranked first among all NBA rookies in blocks, fifth in rebounding and eighth in scoring and was selected to the 2010-11 T-Mobile NBA All-Rookie Second Team.

Hayward, the Jazz’s first-round pick in the 2010 Draft (selected ninth overall) appeared in 72 games (17 starts) for Utah, averaging 5.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 16.9 minutes.  The 6-8, 208-pound Butler product scored in double figures 15 times, including seven times in his final 10 games, and tallied a career-high 34 points against Denver (4/13), the most by a Jazz rookie since March 16, 1983.  Hayward led the NBA in three-point percentage over the final two-plus months of the season, connecting on 26-of-48 (.542) three-point attempts in his final 27 games (February 9 – April 13).

Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel (blog) reports:

Kentucky coach John Calipari once called DeAndre Liggins a Tony Allen clone.

While Liggins tries to blossom into a player of Tony Allen’s caliber, he has a pretty good teacher: Tony Allen.

Liggins, the No. 56 overall draft pick for the Orlando Magic, considers Allen a mentor. They met in Chicago – the city where they both grew up – after Liggins freshman year at Kentucky while hanging out in some of the same basketball circles.

These days they exchange text messages often, and they hung out earlier this week in Chicago before Liggins flew to Orlando to meet with his new team.

“He tells me the NBA is not easy,” Liggins said of Allen. “Defending the best player every night is not easy, especially in the NBA. You just have to continue to be tough.”

brandon jennings

The Milwaukee Bucks have exercised the fourth-year contract option on guard Brandon Jennings (6-1, 169) and the third-year contract option on forward Larry Sanders (6-11, 235), General Manager John Hammond announced today.

Jennings, 21, appeared in 63 games (61 starts) last season, averaging a career-high 16.2 points with 4.8 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 34.4 minutes per contest.  He recorded his first career triple-double (20 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds) in a 98-88 win over Charlotte on October 30, making him one of just two NBA players (Elgin Baylor) to score 50+ points in a game and have a triple-double in their first 100 NBA games.  In his two NBA seasons, Jennings has played in 145 games (143 starts), averaging 15.8 points, 5.3 assists and 3.6 rebounds.

Sanders, 22, played in 60 games (12 starts) last season, averaging 4.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 14.5 minutes per game. He recorded multiple blocks in 20 games and in just his 13th NBA game, had eight blocks to go along with 14 points and a career-high 10 rebounds against Denver on December 1. His eight blocks tied for the second-highest single game total in the 2010-11 season.  Sanders ranked fifth (3.96) in the NBA in blocked shots per 48 minutes (58 or more games played).

Under the terms of the NBA’s current collective bargaining agreement, the first two years of a first round draft pick’s contract are guaranteed, while the third and fourth year of the contract are the team’s option.  Jennings was selected by the Bucks with the 10th overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, while Sanders was selected by Milwaukee with the 15th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Standard procedure and expected for both players, especially Jennings, of course.

Chris Jent is returning to his alma mater as an assistant men’s basketball coach, Thad Matta, head coach of the Buckeyes, announced Wednesday. Jent fills the spot previously held by Brandon Miller, who recently resigned to spend more time with his family.

Jent left the Cleveland Cavaliers where he was most recently an assistant coach after first joining the organization as the director of player development in November of 2006. He was promoted to assistant coach in 2009.

As a member of the Cavaliers coaching staff, Jent was instrumental in the Cavaliers success. In 2008-09, the Cavaliers notched a franchise and NBA-best 66 wins as Cleveland finished the regular season as the league’s best defensive team, allowing an NBA-low 91.4 points per game.

The team also continued its postseason success, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009, becoming the only team in the NBA to reach at least the Eastern Conference Semifinals from 2005-09. In the 2007 postseason, Cleveland reached the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history as they topped the Washington Wizards, New Jersey Nets and Detroit Pistons to claim the team’s first Eastern Conference Championship.

Previously, Jent was an assistant coach for the Orlando Magic during the 2004-05 season before being named Orlando’s interim head coach for the final 18 games of the season. Prior to his one year stint with the Magic, he spent the 2003-04 season with the Philadelphia 76ers as assistant coach/player development.

He spent 10 seasons playing professionally, including two years in the NBA. He was a member of the 1994 NBA Champion Houston Rockets and also played for the New York Knicks during the 1996-97 season. Jent played five seasons in the CBA and also spent time playing overseas in Australia, Italy, Spain and Greece.

Jent, a native of Sparta, N.J., graduated from Ohio State with a degree in communication in 2006 after spending the 2005-06 season with the Buckeyes as a volunteer assistant. He played four seasons (1988-92) at Ohio State and helped lead the Buckeyes to three-consecutive NCAA tournaments and back-to-back Big Ten championships. He played in 123 games and scored 1,007 career points, which included 112 made 3-point field goals. His career 3-point shooting percentage (.382/112-293) ranks No. 8 all-time in Ohio State history.

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