Archive for June, 2011

Eddy Curry working out with Miami Heat

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports:

Eddy Curry

A source familiar with the situation confirmed Sunday to the Sun Sentinel that veteran center Eddy Curry has been working with the Miami Heat in recent days, as the Heat look at free-agent options.

By league rules, teams cannot currently work out free agents who finished the season on an NBA roster. Workouts of those types of free agents cannot begin until July 1, when a lockout is expected to be imposed, shutting down all league activity.

Curry was waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 1. In ensuing weeks he worked out for several NBA teams, including the Heat, in a bid to secure a place on a playoff roster.

Omar Cook signs in Italy

Euroleague.net reports:

Omar Cook

Armani Jeans Milano has turned to a veteran floor general to lead the team on the court next season by signing Omar Cook. The playmaker has spent the past three seasons in the Euroleague and is the competition’s career leader in assists per game (5.53 apg.). Cook (1.86 meters, 29 years old) arrives from Power Electronics Valencia, which he led within one game of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four last season. Cook averaged 8 points, 5.5 assists and 1.8 steals in 21 Euroleague games last season. Those numbers ranked him second in the league in assists and third in steals per game.

Adrian Dantley gone from Nuggets

The Denver Post reports:

Adrian Dantley won’t be a Nuggets assistant coach next season, a source confirmed.

Dantley, a Hall of Fame player, was on the Denver staff for eight seasons. He was an interim head coach late in the 2009-10 season when George Karl left the Nuggets because of throat and neck cancer. The Nuggets went 13-12 while directed by Dantley and lost a first-round playoff series to the Utah Jazz.

Dantley’s departure follows that of Stacey Augmon. Augmon left Karl’s staff to become an assistant coach at UNLV, where he starred as a player.

Dantley’s contract wasn’t renewed.

Ricky Doyle of NESN reports:

Glen Davis

Glen Davis struggled throughout the playoffs as the Celtics were bounced in the second round by the Miami Heat. In an effort to help himself mentally, Davis has hired a sports psychologist.

The 6-foot-9 forward appeared on KFXX in Portland to discuss a number of topics, including his playoff struggles, which included him averaging only 4.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per game.

He said he wasn’t there mentally and that he is doing a lot of mental preparation for the upcoming season.

“I hired a sports psychologist to help you tap into the zone…as far as you miss a shot, you don’t worry about that,” he said. “You go to the other end and use that energy to do something else on defense…Let it pass like a cloud. Clouds pass by you all the time and you don’t worry about it. You’ve just got to keep going. That’s what I’ve been concentrating on, just how to handle things like a professional.”

Lenn Robbins of the New York Post reports:

Josh Harrellson, the No. 45 overall pick whom the Knicks acquired from the Hornets in a draft-night deal for about $750,000, said he thinks he can have a long NBA career as — his words — a garbage man.

It’s a role he said he always felt comfortable with but certainly perfected at Kentucky, where he had one of the most volatile careers in Wildcats history.

Harrellson was recruited by Billy Gillispie, who quickly found the perfect scapegoat in the 6-foot-10, 270-pound center. Gillispie once locked Harrellson in a bathroom during halftime of a game and made him take the equipment truck home from a road game.

Harrellson was hoping for a second life at Kentucky when Gillispie was fired and replaced by John Calipari. But after grabbing 26 boards in the Blue-White game, he drew Calipari’s ire by tweeting that he got no love from his coach. Calipari then banned players from using Twitter.

The AP reports:

When Ricky Rubio held his introductory news conference this week, he jokingly promised that he would keep his credit card in his pocket on his first trip to the Mall of America so his family didn’t buy everything in sight.

That didn’t keep him from busting it out for a good cause Saturday. As a hectic first week in his new hometown drew to a close, Rubio participated in his first charitable endeavor for the Minnesota Timberwolves, going shopping at a Build-A-Bear store with a 3-year-old boy whose family lost almost everything when a tornado ripped through North Minneapolis.

“For these guys, whatever (they need),” Rubio said.

When the Spanish point guard showed up to meet the McPherson family, little Taj was, of course, wearing a Dwyane Wade jersey. Hand-in-hand, Rubio and the little boy stuffed a brand new bear, then went to various stations in the store to pick out clothes and get him all stitched up.

The AP reports:

Denver Nuggets center Nene will not join Brazil’s national team at the FIBA Americas Championship, the regional qualifying tournament for the 2012 London Olympics.

The Brazilian basketball confederation said Nene asked to be released on Friday, citing “personal” and “contractual” reasons.

Leandro Barbosa

The Toronto Raptors announced Saturday guard Leandro Barbosa has exercised his contract option year for the 2011-12 NBA season.

Barbosa, 6-foot-3, 175 pounds, averaged 13.3 points, 2.1 assists and 24.1 minutes in 58 games in the 2010-11 season, his first with the Raptors. He led the team in bench points on 36 occasions. He also ranked second on the team in 3FGM (72) and third in scoring.

The 28-year-old native of Sao Paulo, Brazil has averaged 12.7 points, 2.3 assists and 25.0 minutes in 524 regular season games in his eight-year NBA career. He was voted 2006-07 NBA Sixth Man of the Year.

Guard Isaiah Thomas, pride of the University of Washington, was drafted #60 overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings. He was the last pick of the entire event. The kid has a bright future in life and basketball.

Here are Isaiah Thomas quotes from draft night:

On being drafted: “I’m very excited. You know me. That’s all I wanted. All I needed was a chance…and I got it. I’m going to take full advantage of it.”

How nerve-wracking was it to have to wait so long to hear your name called: “It was real nerve-wracking because I didn’t expect to go that late. Even my agent was a little surprised because we heard different things coming up into the draft. Other than that, it was just a blessing to get picked. I’m just glad. God has a plan for me and He chose for me to get picked by Sacramento. It’s a great organization and it’s a young team. I’m just ready to get after it.”

How did the draft process go with Sacramento and what do you know about them: “I know a little bit. I had two of my good friends Jon Brockman and Spencer Hawes play there in previous years, so I know a little bit. I had a great workout there. It was one of my first workouts and I shot the ball well and just competed at a high level. They liked that. I talked to Coach Paul Westphal today and one of the Maloof brothers after they selected me and they were surprised that I dropped that late, but they were also excited. They told me they can’t wait to meet me and can’t wait to get things going because they the type of player I am. I’m just happy because everybody doesn’t get this opportunity.”

Will being selected as the last pick add to the chip that is already on your shoulder?: “Yes. You know it will. I will be in the gym tomorrow. While I’m disappointed that some of the player got chosen ahead of me, at the same time, everything happens for a reason. I’m just ready to get after it and show the other 29 teams that they made a mistake.”

How did you spend the draft?: “I was on my own. I was just waiting for my agent to call. I didn’t watch the draft. I was looking at (the TV) every few minutes, but I was just on my own playing the waiting game until my time came.”

When did you know you were going to be selected?: “During the 58th pick I found out that Sacramento was going to take me. My agent called me and I was just excited. I shed a little tear with my family members. I got back home (to his Seattle apartment) right as my agent called. He called me right as I was walking up to my family members. It was just a blessing. It is a moment I will cherish for my life, but at the same time I got my foot in the door and now I’m going to knock it down.”

What were you doing prior to the draft?: “I was up at the UW all day. I was just chilling with my teammates…Scott Suggs, Darnell (Gant), Dez (Desmond Simmons). We were in the gym for like four hours. We were just chilling and talking. It was good. I had my UW shirt on when I was drafted…I’m in purple now…so you know I’m going to always stay true to my school.”

What’s your message to Husky and Kings fans?: “Husky fans, I hope you stay rooting for me and Kings’ fans, I’m going to bring a winner’s mentality and give 110 percent every chance I get.”

The AP reports:

Russian tycoon and New Jersey Nets basketball team owner Mikhail Prokhorov was confirmed Saturday as the new head of a Kremlin-friendly political party.

The 46-year-old billionaire was all but unanimously elected head of the Right Cause party by its members.

Right Cause is seen as a Kremlin creation designed to lure opposition-minded, pro-business voters, while building an illusion of competition with the ruling United Russia party ahead December’s parliamentary elections.

Prokhorov said last month he was targeting second place in that vote.

President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that Russia needs more political competition, but the Justice Ministry made a mockery of that only days later when it denied registration to a real opposition party.

Recording 22 points and eight rebounds, Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty H.S. / San Jose, Calif.) led the way as the 2011 USA Basketball Men’s U16 (under 16) National Team (4-0) conquered Canada (2-2) 113-70 in medal semifinal action at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship on Friday night at Poliforum Benito Juarez in Cancun, Mexico.

With the victory, the U.S. not only advanced to the gold medal game, in which it will have a rematch with Argentina (3-1), but qualified for the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship. Argentina defeated Puerto Rico (3-1) 96-90 in the other semifinal and Canada will face Puerto Rico for the bronze medal. The gold medal game will be streamed live online on June 25 at 9:00 p.m. (EDT) at www.fibaamericas.com.

Every healthy member of the U.S. team scored no less than five points apiece and five were in double digits. In addition to Gordon, who also had four assists, three blocked shots and three steals, Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young H.S. / Chicago, Ill.) had 16 points, Theo Pinson (Oakridge Military Academy / Greensboro, N.C.) netted 15, Justin Jackson (Home School Christian Youth Association / Houston, Texas) notched 14 and Kendrick Nunn (Simeon H.S. / Chicago, Ill.) chipped in 10 points. Further, Tyus Jones (Apple Valley H.S. / Apple Valley, Minn.) and Larry Austin (Lanphier H.S. / Springfield, Ill.) dished out eight and seven of the USA’s 30 assists, respectively.

“We talked about this being a crucial game for us, because it automatically qualifies us for the U17 World Championship,” said USA U16 National Team head coach Don Showalter (Mid-Prairie High School, Iowa). “We respect Canada a lot. They’re coached very well, they’ve always given us good games the last two years. They took third in the world last year at the U17s and we certainly didn’t take them lightly. I thought our kids were really, really focused coming out of the locker room.”

Utilizing its near-perfect pressure defense, the USA ran out to a 10-0 run to start the game and by the time the first quarter expired, the U.S. was on top 31-7.  In that span, Gordon, who had been in foul trouble much of the USA’s first three games and did not get whistled for a single infraction tonight, had 14 points.

“We knew there was a lot on the line, this qualified us for the (U17) World Championship,” said Gordon. “We had a lot of energy, we pumped ourselves up in the locker room. We got each other motivated. It was all good teamwork.

The red, white and blue kept Canada at bay with about a 20-point differential throughout most of the second period. With 3:49 to play before the break, however, the USA reeled off nine unanswered points and the lead ballooned to 56-21. By the midway point the U.S. had the game well in hand, 63-38.

The USA eased up in the second half, winning the third quarter 29-16 before cruising in for the eventual win.

“I’ve not played on a team (that plays defense) like this,” said Pinson. “We preach defense in my high school team, but we don’t preach it like this team. We knew we have to win with defense.”

toronto raptors

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have exercised team options on the Rookie Scale Contracts of guard-forward DeMar DeRozan and forwards James Johnson and Ed Davis. The club picked up the fourth year team options for DeRozan and Johnson and the third year option for Davis. The contracts for all players are now guaranteed through the 2012-13 season. In accordance with the league’s collective bargaining agreement, the Raptors had until October 31 to exercise their option on the three players. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

DeRozan, 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, was the ninth overall pick by Toronto in the 2009 NBA Draft. In his two seasons with the Raptors he has averaged 13.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 28.4 minutes in 159 games (147 starts).

Last season DeRozan was the only Raptor to appear in and start all 82 games. He ranked second on the team in scoring (17.2) and third among all sophomores. He had the biggest scoring increase among all sophomores and third in the NBA (8.6 to 17.2).

Johnson, 6-foot-9, 245 pounds, joined the Raptors on February 22 from Chicago for a 2011 first-round draft pick. He averaged 9.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 25 games (all starts) with the Raptors. He had a season-high 18 points and a team-high six assists April 10 versus New Jersey. He set a career high with 10 rebounds March 30 versus Milwaukee.

Davis, 6-foot-9, 235 pounds, was the 13th overall pick by Toronto in the 2010 NBA Draft. He averaged 7.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 24.6 minutes in 65 appearances in the 2010-11 season. He led the team with 13 double-doubles and tied for the team lead with 17 games of 10 or more rebounds. He ranked first in the NBA among rookies in field goal percentage (.576), fourth in rebounds (7.1) and third in blocks (1.03). His field goal percentage set a franchise rookie record.

marc gasol

The Memphis Grizzlies extended a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Marc Gasol, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

Gasol, a 7-1, 265-pound center, posted 15.0 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.15 blocks and helped lead the Grizzlies through a 13-game playoff run that included a first-round upset over the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs and a seven-game series with the Oklahoma City Thunder.  The 26-year old finished second in rebounds per game and third in blocks per game during the playoffs.

During the 2010-11 regular season, Gasol averaged 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and a career-high 2.5 assists while leading the Grizzlies in blocks (1.68) and field goal percentage (.527) in 31.9 minutes in 81 games (all starts).

The Barcelona, Spain native holds career averages of 12.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.44 blocks in 32.7 minutes in 232 games (225 starts) over three seasons in Memphis after his draft rights (48th overall in the 2007 NBA Draft) were acquired in a package from the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for older brother Pau Gasol on Feb. 1, 2008.  The Grizzlies originally signed Marc on July 9, 2008.

Extending a qualifying offer prior to the June 30 deadline gives Memphis the ability to match any offer sheet a player signs with another team during the offseason.

timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves last night completed five trades during the 2011 NBA Draft. After selecting Arizona’s Derrick Williams with the second overall pick, Minnesota completed the following transactions:

- Acquired Brad Miller, the draft rights to Nikola Mirotic (23rd overall pick) and Chandler Parsons (38th overall pick), and a future first-round pick from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Jonny Flynn, the draft rights to Donatas Motiejunas (20th overall pick) and a future second-round pick.

- Sent the draft rights to Mirotic to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the draft rights to Norris Cole (28th overall pick) and Malcolm Lee (43rd overall pick), and cash considerations.

- Sent the draft rights to Cole to the Miami Heat in exchange for the draft rights to Bojan Bogdanovic (31st overall pick), a future second-round pick and cash considerations.

- Sent the draft rights to Bogdanovic to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for a future second-round pick and cash considerations.

- Sent the draft rights to Parsons back to Houston in exchange for cash considerations.

Additionally, one subsequent trade between Minnesota and Portland is still pending and is contingent upon a trade Portland made earlier in the draft.

Miller, a 7-0 center/forward from Purdue, has played 13 seasons in the NBA during stints with Charlotte, Chicago, Indiana, Sacramento and Houston. An All-Star in both 2003 and 2004, Miller is one of just five players in NBA history to make an All-Star team despite going undrafted, joining Connie Hawkins, Moses Malone, John Starks and Ben Wallace. Miller owns career averages of 11.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 853 career games.

Lee, a 6-5 guard from UCLA, averaged 9.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists over his three-year collegiate career. Lee earned both First Team All-Pac-10 and Pac-10 All-Defensive Team honors this season after averaging a career-best 13.1 points per game.

The New Jersey Nets have acquired the draft rights to the 31st overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, Bojan Bogdanovic, from the Minnesota Timberwolves, in exchange for the Nets’ 2013 second round pick and cash considerations, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.  Minnesota acquired the pick in a previous transaction with the Miami Heat.

Bogdanovic, 6′8″/216, averaged 18.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals during the 2010-11 season with Cibona VIP in the Adriatic League.  He shot .452 (146-323) from the field and .745 (117-157) from the line.

InsideHoops.com editor says: I hear Bogdanovic has a legit chance to someday help a team’s bench. Whichever team finally decides to stop trading him, that is.

The Chicago Bulls acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves the 23rd pick (Nikola Mirotic, Montenegro) of the 2011 NBA Draft.  In exchange, the Bulls conveyed the 28th pick (Norris Cole, Cleveland State) and 43rd pick (Malcolm Lee, UCLA) of the Draft, as well as cash.  Minnesota had acquired the 23rd pick from the Houston Rockets in an earlier Draft-related trade.

Nikola Mirotic (KNEE-coh-lah ME-row-titch), a 6-10, 220-pound forward, spent the 2010-11 season with Real Madrid’s senior team.  The 20-year old native of Podgorica, Montenegro appeared in 27 contests, and averaged 7.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg and 0.60 spg in 16.1 mpg, and he shot .415 from behind the arc.  An early-entry candidate for the 2011 NBA Draft, Mirotec played for Joker School Podgorica Academy in his native Montenegro from 2004-06, before he joined Real Madrid’s junior squad in 2006.  Most recently, he was the recipient of the 2010-11 Euroleague Rising Star award for the best player under 23 years of age.

Cole, a 6-2, 170-pound guard, completed his collegiate career as the school leader in games played (140), consecutive starts (105), minutes played (4,114), and third in Cleveland State history in points scored (1,978).  This past season, he was named Horizon League Player of the Year, as well as Defensive Player of the Year, when he posted averages of 21.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.3 apg and 2.20 spg.  In four years with the Vikings, he played in 140 games and posted 14.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.50 spg and 29.4 mpg.

Lee, 6-5, 200 pounds, was an early-entry candidate for the 2011 NBA Draft.  As a junior, he earned First Team All-Pac 10 and Pac-10 All-Defensive Team honors.  On the season, he averaged 13.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.0 apg and 33.1 mpg in 33 games.  He appeared in 94 games during his three-year career with the Bruins, and averaged 9.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.0 apg and 26.7 mpg.

The Miami Heat announced today they have acquired the draft rights to guard Norris Cole (28th overall) from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the draft rights to Bojan Bogdanovic (31st overall) and a future second-round draft pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Cole, a 6’2”, 170-pound guard, played all four seasons at Cleveland State University appearing in 140 games (106 starts) and averaged 14.1 points, 3.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 1.48 steals and 29.4 minutes while shooting 43.5 percent from the field, 32.1 percent from three-point range and 82.6 percent from the foul line. He finished his collegiate career as Cleveland State’s all-time leader in games played, consecutive games played (140), consecutive starts (105) and minutes played (4,114). He finished second on the school’s all-time list in wins (90) and free throw percentage, third in points (1,978), free throws made (485), field goal attempts (1,555) and tied for third in assists (455), fourth in free throw attempts (587) and field goals made (677), fifth in three-point field goal attempts (433), sixth in steals (207) and ninth in three-point field goals made (139).

Cole was named as the 2011 Horizon League Player of the Year and the 2011 Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the only player in league history to capture both honors during the same season. He set single-season school records during his senior season in points (780), minutes (1,285), field goal attempts (572), free throws made (227) and free throws attempted (266). Additionally, the five-time Horizon League Player of the Week last season posted just the second 40-20 game in Division I over the last 15 years, scoring 41 points while grabbing 20 rebounds vs. Youngstown State on February 12, 2011.

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports:

Mike Miller

Miami Heat forward Mike Miller is recovering from surgery for a ruptured tendon in his left thumb.

Miller was injured during the latter stages of the regular season, finishing the postseason in protective bracing on his non-shooting hand.

Miller sustained a similar injury to his right thumb during the preseason.

David Aldridge of NBA.com reports:

The Detroit Pistons have expanded their head coaching search by interviewing Orlando Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing, according to league sources.

Ewing, 49, has long desired to be a head coach, and has decried what he viewed as pigeonholing him as a “big man” assistant, a role he has undertaken while an assistant coach in Houston with Yao Ming and in Orlando with Dwight Howard. Ewing has said that he does a lot more than just work with bigs and is ready to run a team. He badly wanted to get a shot with the Knicks, the team for whom he became a superstar after being taken first overall in the 1985 Draft.

Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:

David West

With less than one week remaining before a deadline to decide whether to opt out of the final year of his contract, New Orleans Hornets forward David West said Friday he still hasn’t decided to stay or go.

West, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on March 24 and had reconstructive surgery on April 12, can walk away from $7.5 million next season and test the free-agent market. He must decide by June 30.

“I’m going to talk to (the Hornets) later in the day,” West, a two-time All-Star, said Friday morning. “I just want to make sure I make the clearest decision possible as to what the next step in my career will be. I’ll talk to them later, maybe throw some ideas around.

“I never really intended. . . . even before I got hurt, my whole intention was to wait and make sure the decision I made was a clear-headed one.”
West did not indicate which way he was leaning. Conventional thinking, following the injury, was that West would likely choose to remain with the Hornets and play next season – if there is one considering the impending labor unrest – because his value on the open market would have been diminished by the injury.

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