Archive for June, 2011

Mark Heisler of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Lamar Odom

In a rare show of exasperation after a week of seeing his players’ names in headlines, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak zinged an unnamed agent, whose identity was obvious.

“A lot of the stuff you read the last three or four days was agent-driven,” said Kupchak.

“A lot of times agents these days think the way to consummate a trade is to suggest publicly ideas that they come up with and I think that’s part of the problem, as well.”

Kupchak also noted that a “prominent media member” started this, saying they should “blow up” the team.

That was none other than … Magic Johnson, former Lakers icon and part-owner.

The AP reports:

dallas mavericks championship parade cost

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has received a bill for the cost of a parade honoring the NBA champions, which he has pledged to pay out of his own pocket.

City officials determined the cost of the June 16 downtown celebration came to $340,947. City spokesman Frank Librio said Thursday the bill was sent straight to Cuban, who has agreed to pay promptly.

According to the city’s summary sheet, the largest expense, at $270,715, was for the 540-strong police presence.

Chris Sheridan of ESPN New York reports:

The book on Iman Shumpert was that he couldn’t shoot. But when the New York Knicks saw him knocking down shot after shot when they worked him out, they determined the book was outdated.

Outgoing Knicks president Donnie Walsh raved about Shumpert’s shooting ability, his defensive abilities and his 40-inch vertical leap Thursday night after the Knicks took the Georgia Tech combo guard with the 17th pick in the draft, passing over Marshon Brooks of Providence, Chris Singleton of Florida State and Kenneth Faried of Morehead State.

“He shot the ball extremely well. His shot’s not broke. Some guys you see, and you can tell right away they can’t shoot and they’re going to have to learn form. He has good form, he was hitting shots, he can defend very well. Very well. And he’s got tremendously long arms, so I really liked him a lot,” Walsh said.

Walsh said the Knicks had one trade in the works that would have allowed them to move up, but the team they were talking to ended up having the opportunity to draft the player they wanted.

Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports:

Biyombo worked out for the Bobcats just Wednesday in the final audition before the draft. The knock on Biyombo was his offensive limitations, but coach Paul Silas said Wednesday he didn’t think that was as bad as advertised. The Bobcats expect to play Biyombo as both a power forward and a center.

There was some uncertainty Thursday night as to whether Biyombo would have to be bought out from his contract with a Spanish pro team.

“He got into a dispute with his Spanish team. It’s something we’ll address,” Bobcats general manager Rich Cho said of Biyombo’s buyout. “I think he will be here” next season.

The Los Angeles Lakers have sent the draft rights to second round selection (56th overall) Chukwudiebere Maduabum to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for a future second round draft pick, it was announced today.

Maduabum, a 6’9” forward from Nigeria, appeared in three games last season with the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League.

Entering the 2011 NBA Draft, the Lakers held four picks in the second round, selecting Darius Morris (41st overall), Andrew Goudelock (46th overall), Maduabum (56th overall) and Ater Majok (58th overall).

raymond felton

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired guard Raymond Felton from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for guard Andre Miller, while sending Rudy Fernandez and Petteri Koponen’s NBA rights to Dallas as part of a three-team trade. The Trail Blazers selected guard Nolan Smith with the 21st overall pick in the first round, and guard Jon Diebler with the 51st overall pick in the second round.

Portland also acquired the draft rights to Jordan Hamilton (taken 26th overall) and Tanguy Ngombo (taken 57th overall) from Dallas for Fernandez and Koponen. Hamilton’s rights were then sent to Denver as part of the Felton trade and Portland is currently in discussions to trade Ngombo’s rights.

“I want to acknowledge our basketball personnel staff for their hard work and thorough preparation for tonight’s NBA Draft,” said Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen. “I thought it was a very good night for the Portland Trail Blazers and our fans.

“I also want to thank both Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez for their contributions to the team these past few seasons and wish them all the best for the future.”

Felton, 26, has career averages of 13.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.46 steals in six seasons with Charlotte, New York and Denver.

The North Carolina product averaged career highs in points (15.5), assists (8.3) and steals (1.67) last season while ranking in the NBA’s top-10 in both assists and steals per game.

“When you get two players who have won national championships at the collegiate level, you know you’re bringing in winners,” said acting General Manager Chad Buchanan. “Both Raymond and Nolan are as competitive as it gets, and we’re excited to call them both Trail Blazers.”

Smith, 22, played four seasons at Duke, where he was a member of the 2010 NCAA Championship team and named consensus First Team All-American, ACC Player of the Year and ACC Tournament MVP as a senior in 2011. He posted a career-high 20.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists his senior 2010-11 season.

Diebler, 23, averaged 10.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting 41.6 percent (374-for-900) from 3-point range in four seasons at Ohio State. He finished his four-year career as the Big Ten’s all-time leader for career 3-pointers.

“We really value Raymond’s leadership on the court and in the locker room,” said Head Coach Nate McMillan. “Not only can he shoot the ball with range, he has an excellent pick-and-roll game.

“Nolan proved he is a team-first player when he stepped in for Kyrie Irving at Duke this year. We really like his up-tempo style and the way he competes on the defensive end of the floor.”

andre miller

Miller, 35, averaged 13.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.27 steals in two seasons with the Trail Blazers. Portland signed Miller as a free agent in 2009.

Fernandez (6-6, 185) is a three-year veteran who was drafted by the Phoenix Suns with the 24th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. His draft rights, along with James Jones, were traded to Portland for cash considerations.

The Palma de Mallorca, Spain native has appeared 218 career games (9 starts) with the Trailblazers and holds career averages of 9.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 24.1 minutes per game. As a rookie, Fernandez set an NBA record with 159 three-pointers and competed in the 2009 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest and the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge.

The 26-year-old (4/4/85) shooting guard has seen action in 18 postseason games averaging 5.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists while shooting .423 from behind-the-arc. Six of those postseason games came against the Mavericks in the opening round of the 2011 Playoffs.

Koponen (6-4, 195) is a native of Helsinki, Finland and was originally the 30th overall selection of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. Portland acquired the rights Koponen from Philadelphia for the 42nd pick, Derrick Byars, and cash considerations.

Koponen spent the 2010-11 season playing for Solar Bologna in Italy. He competed in 33 games and averaged 12.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

“We could not be happier with the additions of Rudy Fernandez and Petteri Koponen,” Mavericks President of Basketball Operations Donnie Nelson said. “Rudy is an athletic, young, exciting player with significant upside. His international and postseason experience will prove to be very valuable. Petteri is a young combo guard who was a first round selection in 2007 and is developing nicely in Europe.”

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

Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star reports:

The Indiana Pacers are expected to name Brian Shaw associate head coach once Frank Vogel’s interim coach title is removed from his name at some point after the draft, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Shaw interviewed with Vogel earlier this week.

Shaw was a head coaching candidate for jobs with the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors. He interviewed for the Pacers job in 2007.

george hill

The Indiana Pacers announced Thursday night they had acquired San Antonio Spurs guard George Hill in exchange for Kawhi Leonard, (the 15th overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft), Davis Bertans (the 42nd overall pick in the draft) and the rights to Erazem Lorbeck (the Pacers’ second-round pick from the 2005 draft).

Hill, who was born in Indianapolis and played collegiately for IUPUI, played three seasons with the Spurs, averaging 9.9 points per game, 11.3 in the playoffs. He was the Spurs’ first-round draft pick in 2008 (26th overall).

“We are very excited to have him as a part of our team,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “He’s got playoff experience (20 games) and we look forward to him being part of our core group going forward.”

The 25-year-old Hill played for Indianapolis Broad Ripple High School, averaging 36.2 points per game. At IUPUI, Hill led the Jaguars to a school-record 26 victories his senior season, averaging 21.5 ppg, 6.8 rebounds per game and 4.3 assists per game.

“It’s tough, but at the same time, things happen for a reason,” said Hill. “My hat is off to San Antonio for the opportunity I had here and I’m really looking forward to coming home to Indiana and helping the Pacers win games.”

TMZ reports:

ron artest

Say goodbye to Ron Artest and HELLOOOO to Metta World Peace … Mr. Metta World Peace to you.

Yes, Ron is going the way of Cassius Clay, Lew Alcindor and Chad Johnson.  Ron’s filed a petition in L.A. County Superior Court to change his name to — World Peace.

FYI, metta means loving, kindness, happiness and all that jazz.

InsideHoops.com editor says: This all sounds perfectly normal.

Atlanta Hawks still seeking investors

Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks have issued the following statement:

“As we have stated for an extended period of time, we engaged an investment banker to assist us in looking for investors for the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena operating rights.  We have spoken with a number of parties, but at this time, there is no deal in place, nor is there an exclusive negotiating agreement in place.  We will have no further comment at this time.”

ESPN reports:

stephen jackson

The Milwaukee Bucks have agreed in principle to a three-team trade with the Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats, multiple sources said Thursday.

NBA.com reports:

Milwaukee gets Beno Udrih, Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston and 19th pick (which currently belongs to Charlotte).

Charlotte gets Corey Maggette and 7th pick (via the Kings).

Sacramento gets John Salmons and 10th pick (Milwaukee’s pick).

Marc Stein of ESPN reports:

Detroit Pistons

Former Detroit Pistons center Bill Laimbeer interviewed for the Pistons’ coaching vacancy Wednesday, according to NBA coaching sources.

Laimbeer is the fourth known candidate to be interviewed for the post, but his chances of landing the job appear to be remote given that the Pistons, according to sources, are determined to hire a former NBA head coach to replace the fired John Kuester.

If that determination holds, former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson and ex-New Jersey Nets coach Lawrence Frank are ahead of Laimbeer in Detroit’s pecking order, with sources maintaining that Woodson — who has already coached in Detroit as an assistant under Larry Brown — began the search process as the favorite.

The Pistons, though, also like Milwaukee Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson, despite the fact that Sampson’s head coaching experience is restricted to the college ranks.

vince carter

The Phoenix Suns and guard Vince Carter have agreed to modify the date on which Carter’s contract becomes fully guaranteed, the club announced today.  Originally, the Suns had until Thursday, June 30, but that date has been changed to the start of NBA free agency for the 2011-2012 season.

“This change gives us additional time and flexibility to make a decision on Vince’s contract,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby.

The 6-6, 220-pound Carter was originally acquired by the Suns from the Orlando Magic on Dec. 18, 2010, along with Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, a 2011 first-round pick and cash considerations in exchange for Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark.  Carter appeared in 51 games (41 starts) following the trade, and averaged 13.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in a Suns uniform.

Carter is a 12-year NBA veteran who owns eight NBA All-Star appearances, including seven selections as a starter.  Carter was the 1998-99 NBA Rookie of the Year, earned All-NBA honors in 2000-01 (Second Team) and 2001-02 (Third Team), and won an Olympic Gold Medal as a member of the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

The 33-year-old Carter, who currently ranks eighth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list among active players (20,520), is 189 points shy of passing George Gervin for 34th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.  Carter averaged 20 or more points in 10-straight seasons from 1999-2000 to 2008-09, and owns career averages of 22.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 925 games (907 starts) with Toronto (1998-04), New Jersey (2004-09), Orlando (2009-10) and the Suns. Carter has appeared in 56 playoff games in six career appearances, and owns postseason averages of 23.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

aaron brooks

The Phoenix Suns have extended a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Aaron Brooks, the team announced today.

The 6-0, 161-pound Brooks was acquired by the Suns from the Houston Rockets at the 2011 trade deadline on Feb. 24 in exchange for Goran Dragic and a 2011 first-round draft pick.  The 26-year-old Brooks appeared in 25 games (five starts) for Phoenix, averaging 9.6 points and 4.2 assists following the trade.

An established NBA point guard who owns career averages of 12.5 points and 3.6 assists in 272 games (129 starts), Brooks was originally selected by the Rockets with the 26th overall pick (first round) of the 2007 NBA Draft.  The former Oregon Duck was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2009-10 after averaging career highs of 19.6 points and 5.3 assists while starting all 82 games for Houston.  Brooks garnered the honor after registering the largest scoring increase of any NBA player (+8.4 points), and leading the NBA in three-point field goals made (209).  The sharpshooting playmaker became just the sixth player in league history to tally at least 200 three-pointers and 400 assists in a single season.

A four-year pro, Brooks has made two playoff appearances in his first three NBA seasons, appearing in 19 postseason contests (13 starts), and averaging 12.8 points and 2.5 assists.  Brooks started all 13 playoff games for the Rockets in 2009, as Houston won its opening round series and pushed the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers to seven games in the semifinal round.  Brooks averaged career playoff highs of 16.8 points and 3.4 assists in 2009.

A four-year performer at the University of Oregon, Brooks earned Second-Team All-America honors as a senior, and was a member of the Wooden Award All-American Team and the All-Pac-10 First Team as a senior when he led the conference in scoring (17.7).

Alan Hahn of New York Newsday reports:

As Donnie Walsh prepares to make his exit from the Knicks’ front office, he puts his support behind the staff he leaves behind. And at this point, it is very possible that the franchise moves forward with a hierarchy that includes Glen Grunwald, Mark Warkentien, Allan Houston and Mike D’Antoni .

“I think if everybody is comfortable with that, that’s what they should do,” Walsh said of the committee approach. “I think they’re all qualified, they all like each other and they’ve been working together like that for a long time.”

With the focus currently on the No. 17 pick the Knicks have in Thursday’s NBA draft, the search for Walsh’s successor has not yet gotten under way. Walsh’s contract ends on June 30, as does most of his basketball operations staff, with the exception of Grunwald, who has been tapped to serve as interim general manager, and Houston, who has been promoted from assistant general manager to GM of the team’s D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks.

ESPN reports:

Corey Maggette

The Milwaukee Bucks are listening to offers for the 10th pick in Thursday’s NBA draft and are open to making it part of a bigger deal, league sources say.

The Bucks also would not be opposed to including Corey Maggette in a trade. However, Milwaukee, is looking to upgrade its team, a team source said, and not merely dump salary.

Maggette, who will turn 32 in November, averaged 12 points a game last season.

The Denver Nuggets are interested in picking up a top 10 pick and have canvassed the first 10 teams’ interest in trading for point guard Ray Felton, sources said.

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register reports:

mike brown

New Lakers coach Mike Brown was definitely listening when Vanessa Bryant was breaking down the ins and outs of Orange County for him.

Brown and his star player Kobe Bryant will be fellow Orange County residents. Brown is buying a house in Anaheim Hills — and it’s a lot of house at 9,500 square feet — and will brave the commute from the intersection of the 91 and 55 freeways to El Segundo for practice and downtown Los Angeles for games.

According to Google Maps, that’ll be 45 minutes to practice without traffic (but an hour and 20 minutes with traffic) and 43 minutes to Staples without traffic (but an hour and 40 minutes with traffic.)

Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald reports:

Jermaine O'Neal

Few players deliberate more over the pros and cons of surgery than Jermaine O’Neal, who after undergoing knee surgery last January has decided to take a more holistic approach with the torn ligament in his left wrist.

O’Neal, who went through the playoffs with the wrist injury, has decided to forgo surgery in favor of rehabilitation, according to Danny Ainge. The Celtics president said yesterday that O’Neal, attempting to take advantage of the team’s resources before players are locked out on July 1, has been a regular at the workout facility in Waltham.

“He has every intention of coming back,” Ainge said of the only true center on his team’s roster. “He has every desire to play, and didn’t like the way it finished this year, and doesn’t want to end his career on that type of note. He wants to be a much greater contributor.

“He chose not to have surgery.”

Chad Ford of ESPN reports:

Is Thunder point guard Eric Maynor worth a lottery pick? Sources say the Thunder have been quietly gauging interest in Maynor over the last few days in an attempt to move up into the top half of the draft. They’ve spoken to the Kings (No. 7) and Bobcats (No. 9) in particular in the last few days.

Maynor was the 20th pick in the 2009 draft, which was one of the most loaded point guard drafts ever.

Kate Fagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

andre iguodala

In recent weeks, the Sixers have discussed trades involving swingman Andre Iguodala with both the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers, along with various other teams, but have yet to find a deal they deem worthy of execution.

Two factors seem to be slowing the Sixers’ willingness to deal Iguodala: the impending change in ownership and the impending lockout.

A little more than two weeks ago, news broke that Comcast-Spectacor was in serious discussions to sell the team to a group led by New York investor Joshua Harris. Although the deal is not yet official, many league sources have conveyed the belief that the Sixers front office is in a bit of a holding pattern until the new ownership officially takes the reins.

During a meeting with reporters after Tuesday’s final predraft workout at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Sixers president Rod Thorn said it’s business as usual for the basketball side, although Thorn also said that nothing was imminent with any trades.

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